What is the difference between Echo Dot and Echo Tap?

Amazon surprised everyone by following up to the hugely successful Amazon Echo with the Echo Dot and Echo Tap. The Echo Dot will go for $90 and Amazon is currently accepting pre-order only from current Echo owners. Although some have reported loopholes allowing you to start ordering it now but it may no longer work. The Echo Tap will go for $130.

Amazon Tap:
Amazon Tap is basically an Alexa powered bluetooth speaker with WiFi capability. There is a microphone button which will allow you to ‘Tap’ the button to ask and command Alexa the same things you did with your Echo. You need to be connected to a WiFi network or a mobile hotspot for it to work. The Tap is intended for you to carry with you outside your home. It can stream music, powered by Dolby, from Prime and other apps or music from your device.

A fully charged Tap can last up to 9 hours of continuous use and 3 week on standby.

The device will come with a cradle and as we have learned through Amazon Echo, Alexa simply continues to surprise us with new features as it matures. Recent upgrades allow you to order Dominos pizza or request an Uber from your Echo. The same will be supported via your Tap.

Amazon Dot:

The Amazon Dot looks like a squashed Echo or Tap. It also features Alexa operating system and allows you to issue voice commands to get answers or trigger an activity. The Dot is a bit less purposeful than Echo or Tap. A Dot can serve the purpose of a 2nd device in your house and avoiding the purpose of a 2nd Echo. The speakers are not intended to stream music but it does have a speaker for things like notifications such as alarms.

You may not be able to stream music directly through Dot, but it has a 35mm audio jack as well as bluetooth capability to sync with a speaker.

The Dot will be first sold in limited quantity. For now, you can only order an Echo Dot through an Alexa powered device such as Echo or Fire TV by asking Alexa, “Alexa, order an Amazon Echo Dot.”

 

Sling Offering Discount for TVPAD Owners $99

If you have Asian friends, chances are they own or know someone who have been using a TVPAD to live stream their favorite TV shows from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China. TVPAD has been in a legal battle with the said TV stations from Asia on the legality of the channels. When TVPAD 1 and 2 came out, it came pre-installed with the app store with apps which enable the consumers to watch live TV channels from Asia. TVPAD tried to bypass this in TVPAD 3 by removing the said apps. However, it didn’t take long for the techies to find a simple solution to add the app manually. Users enjoyed this simple method to get their TV fix from many of their home country. After several years of legal wrangling, the TV stations prevailed. The TV stations such as China Central TV, TVB Holdings, Dish Network (who own live stream rights to TVB) won an injunction against TVPAD parent company. Not only did they win an injunction, they were able to enforce ISP to block all traffic relating to TVPAD! Suddenly, TVPADs in the US became expensive paperweights. TVPAD will still work outside of the US but not in the US.

Sling took this opportunity and launched a promotion to offer $99 for one year of service for many Chinese TV stations. In order to qualify, you must enter your TVPAD’s MAD address to quality.

tvpad sling

 

Note, there are not many LIVE TV streams. Most are apps or are TV content that is localized for the Americas region. Still, $99/year comes down to less than $10/month and it comes with a free Roku 2. You can also subscribe and install the Sling TV app on your Fire TV to watch the subscribed content. Sling is great for cord cutters.

Amazon Introduces Add On Subscription to Prime and Prices

amazon prime subscriptionAmazon announced this week the ability for Prime users to add on subscriptions to some of the most coveted TV series and movies through their streaming partners program. For most people, Prime provided sufficient content but left others to want more. With add-on paid subscription, a Prime user can add popular premium content such as stars, Showtime, Comedy Central, Drama Fever and others. There are many movie subscriptions, workout, as well as documentaries, and something for children. Here is a sample of Amazon’s add-on subscription price list as well as their promo free trial length.

Showtime – $8.99 / month (7 day free trial)
Starz – $8.99 / month (7 day free trial)
Comedy Central Stand up plus – $3.99 / month (7 day free trial)
Acorn TV – $4.99 / month (30 day free trial)
Lifetime Movie Club – $3.99 / month (7 day free trial)
Gaia – $9.99/month (7 day free trial)
Quello Concerts – $7.99 / month (7 day free trial)
Dramafever Instant (Asian J and K Dramas) – $3.99/month (7 day free trial)
Hooplakidz – $5.99/month (7 day free trial)
Smithsonian Earth – $3.99/month (7 day free trial)
The Ring TV (boxing) – $2.99 / month (7 day free trial)
Dove Channel (Rated G content such as Veggietales) – $4.99/month (7 day free trial)

Check out the full list here.

Amazon blocks sale of Chromecast and Apple TV

Amazon has a love – hate relationship with Google and Apple. On one hand, Amazon has made a lot of money selling Android devices such as smartphones, tablets, accessories, and other related devices. It’s very own Fire tablet OS is based off of Android! Similarly, it has sold a lot of Apple products as well as resale of the said products from iMacs all the way down to iPod touches and all of its accessories.

The big disagreement comes from the fact that both Chromecast and Apple TV lacks support for Amazon’s Prime content. This has been called out by many users in the past as support for Prime on Chromecast and Apple TV would be a very nice icing on the cake. It would absolutely expand the media library especially for Prime subscribers.

However, this would also put Amazon at risk as it may mean the death to its very own Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV stick. With this in mind, Amazon is likely to have made a conscious decision to block the sale at one of the world’s largest e-retailer. Amazon officially responded that the reason for pulling Apple TV, Chromecast, and Nexus TV is to “prevent confusion”. Right…ridiculing your customer base doesn’t bode well with said consumer *sneer*.

 

Amazon Prime’s Top TV Shows for July 2015

Here are the top 10 most popular TV shows that were watched on Amazon Prime for the month of July 2015!

  1. Under The Dome, Season 3 2015
  2. Downton Abbey Season 5 2015
  3. Catastrophe Season 1 2015
  4. The Good Wife, Season 6 2014
  5. Downton Abbey Season 1 2010
  6. Under The Dome, Season 1 2013
  7. Creative Galaxy 2014
  8. Downton Abbey Season 4 2014
  9. Extant, Season 2 2015
  10. Suits Season 4 2015

amazon prime top 10 tv july

Amazon Prime’s Top Movies for July 2015

Here are Amazon’s top movies for the month of July.

  1. Transformers: Age of Extinction 2014 PG-13 CC
  2. The Expendables 3 2014 PG-13 CC
  3. A Most Wanted Man 2014 R CC
  4. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire 2013 PG-13 CC
  5. The Words 2012 PG-13 CC
  6. Little Accidents 2015 NR CC
  7. The Prince 2014 R CC
  8. Wolf of Wall Street 2013 R CC
  9. Beastly 2011 PG-13 CC
  10. Seven Psychopaths 2012 R CC

amazon prime top 10 july

Netflix to add video previews to next update

Netflix has done very well considering they have not made any major improvement to its user interface since late 2013. Netflix announced today that they will make some updates starting with today. One such improvement is the ability for users to view video previews when navigating through the menu screens. Currently, when you navigate through the interface to search for a movie to watch you get a static screen capture. After the update, you will be able to see a video. Kind a like what www.paypal.com at its homepage.

Netflix feels this is to give a “more immersive and cinematic experience” giving users an easier way to select something to watch.

Personally, it helps as it will allow me to better recall where I last left off. Sometimes I simply forget and by viewing a video, it allows me to remember better.

Netflix-motion

Comcast Subscribers can now watch HBO Go, Showtime Anytime on Fire TV

Comcast recently announced that it has reached an agreement to enable its subscribers access to apps such as HBO Go and Showtime Anytime on Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. This is a great win for Comcast subscribers who was frustrated at not being able to watch content like Game of Thrones using their Fire TV.

comcast fire tv

 

 

Fire TV Stick Overheating and rebooting Problems

Some users have complained that the Fire TV Stick gets really hot and reboot on its own. This is unusual as I have not encountered this problem. The TV Stick does get warm but not uncomfortable to touch. Chromecast users reported similar issues early in production and Google never mentioned anything or admitted to any flaw. It is possible that it was due to some software code and an update fixed it. What can you do when the Fire TV sticks reboots due to overheating.

For the most part, the Fire TV Stick should work without any issues even if it is warm. If the Fire TV Stick freezes or its response is lagging or is slow, you will want to try to fit it. Here are some tips to resolve overheating issues.

First, you can completely unplug it for 2 min. then plug it back in. This will allow the Fire TV Stick to clear all cache and reload fresh. If that doesn’t fix it, try a factory reset. You will have to go through the hassle of setting up again but it shouldn’t take long. If that still doesn’t fix the overheating issues and your device continues to lag or freezes, I would return the device to Amazon and get a replacement. Amazon’s return service is very quick and simple and you shouldn’t have any issues.

Amazon Prime Releases for June 2015

Amazon released new movies, TV shows, and concerts for the month of June. You can find some old and some new show and even Katy Perry’s concert!

 

Amazon Prime

“The Shining”
“Roman Holiday”
“Apocalypse Now”
“Apocalypse Now Redux”
“Something Wild” (1986)
“Sid & Nancy”
“Sucker Punch”
“Troll”
“Troll 2”
“Repo: The Genetic Opera”
“The Island of Dr. Moreau”
“Seven Psychopaths”
“The Paper Chase”
“People Will Talk”
“Far From Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog”
“Murder of a Cat”
“Nine Months”
“Word and Pictures”
“Life of Crime”
“Transformers: Age of Extinction”
“Leprechaun: Origins”
“A Most Wanted Man”
“Lucky Number Slevin”
“Covert Affairs” season 5
“Katy Perry: The Prismatic World Tour”
“The Mist”