A real deal? For $50/mo. Verizon offers FiOS Internet 50/25 Mbps + TV Local + HBO® and HBO GO®

Somebody at Verizon finally woke up. I never thought I would see a deal from a cable company I would ever consider until now. You can find the deal at http://www.verizon.com/home/MLP/OnlineCS1.html?promotion_code=JUNCT/W04&CMP=AFC-CON_2014-Q2_CJ-NA-CJConsCpn_0001&AID=11761168&PID=552179&SID=VTB4N3F3b0JDak1BQUJObmx2WUFBQUEw.

The $50 they charge is actually the same they charge (depending where you look) for internet alone. Also note that this package does not offer telephone services, but for many, who cares?

Of course that does not include everything you need. I used the Verizon chat service and found out there are more monthly charges, but not a lot. Take a look at the chart below for the list and my alternative suggestions.

What you need  Cost Alternatives  Cost
One regular cable box $11.99/mo. None  
Rent for Digital Adapter per TV (no HD channels) $5.99/mo. HDHomeRun PRIME (HDHR3-CC)

Roku Box



Base FIOS deal $50/mo. Base FIOS deal $50/mo.
TOTAL per month $78.00~/mo. TOTAL per month $50.00~/mo.


Let’s say you hook the set top box up to your Living Room TV. BAM! You got cable for approximately 20 channels in HD and a program guide. In your other rooms you can start with the Verizon digital adapter to see how you like it. Then add a couple of Roku boxes to all your TV’s. Why? With Roku you can now access HBOGO (and on your tablets and phone as well) along with tons of free movie channels such as Snagfilms (free), Netflix (pay) and tons of other content for FREE! You can also get a free DVR. Sign up for the regular HULU (not HULUPLUS) and watch your favorite programs when you want.

If you want to use your cable cord in other rooms you can also purchase the Silicondust, HDHomeRun PRIME (HDHR3-CC) at http://www.hdhomerun.com/products/hdhomerun/prime/. It allows you to watch all unscrambled content form Verizon similar to the digital adapter you rent from Verizon.

Keep in mind both the Roku and Silicondust options are one-time costs, paid back in a short time.

That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. The deal is not for everybody, and I strongly suggest you contact Verizon and ask a lot of questions before you decide.



Amazon Fire TV – Another Box that Woulda Coulda Shoulda

You read article after article about the new Amazon Fire TV and see the praises heaped on the device. I admit if I was an Amazon prime member and had their tablets, I would look hard at this new entry into the IPTV market. But devices are not the only part of the IPTV viewing experience.

First, you need to know there are three discreet ways you can get IPTV.

  1. Windows PC – A great known in the market, running software like Playon TV, Hulu and a bunch of other apps, including XBMC and PLex media servers. I have a media PC running all of the above and love it.
  2. Linux – Roku and others use their own version of linux and provide their content via Channels you get for free and pay for. A great way to extend you PC an native Roku channels to different rooms in your house wirelessly (great picture quality). BUT, you can only get the channels that Roku lets you have, kind of like iTunes.
  3. Android – I hope this is the future. There are tons of apps made by everybody that gives you the choices we are all craving for. That is, don’t tell me what I want. Let me pick. The more choices I have, the more freedom I have. Not locked into anyone.

Just like the latest HDTV entries that come with their own built in apps, everybody has a different take on what consumers want. The book by Arthur Freeman entitled “Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda: Overcoming Regrets, Mistakes, and Missed Opportunities” says a lot.

My regret is that every manufacturer wants to lock you into their system. Cable and cell phone companies have been doing this for a while (Don’t we love that?). What happened to “open systems”? Where users could pick what they wanted with few restrictions? Reading closely you find out that Amazon uses a “highly customized” version of Android; or in my view a locked version of android. If they woulda used a more open version of Android, you could pick from hundreds of apps not just from their list of available apps.

Amazon and others coulda given us a more open system, giving us choices and let us be loyal customers thankful for the choices.

Somebody shoulda told Amazon people want content, let us pick what we want to watch.

There is hope. I just purchased an Android media box disguised as a game controller. It is called Ouya. It started as a Kickstarter project and is now in production. I haven’t even set it up yet, but based on information on the internet and their forums will let you load all the apps you want without the Amazon, Roku, Boxee, etc. restrictions. So let me list you the FREE apps I am going to install which will also get me off of cable:

  1. ABC
  2. NBC
  3. CBS
  4. PBS
  5. Crackle
  6. Snagfilms
  7. French TV
  8. TV5 MONDE
  9. Tele-Loisirs
  10. Hulu/HuluPlus
  11. Playon
  12. Allcast
  13. YouTube
  14. Plex
  15. Netflix (maybe, Snagfilms has a ton of great movies)

I don’t know about you, but this pretty much fills my TV viewing appetite. So is the Amazon Fire TV a great device? Yep, as far as the device part goes, now who is going to step up and really give us what we want, freedom of choice? No one I know…yet.