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HOW TO NEGOTIATE A LOWER CABLE BILL.

You could just get a Roku or Amazon Fire and cut the cable, of course.

IN THE MAIL: From Stephen Hunter, Sniper’s Honor: A Bob Lee Swagger Novel.

Plus, today only at Amazon: Roku LT Streaming Media Player, $36.99 (26% off).

WATCH OUT ROKU: Introducing Amazon Fire TV. I ordered one.

A REVIEW of the Roku Streaming Stick. My own Roku is several generations old, but still good. I suppose I should upgrade, sometime.

AT AMAZON, browse the Top Holiday Deals. New ones appearing all the time.

Also, take $25 off a $100 Bosch purchase.

Plus, today only: Roku LT Streaming Media Player (Purple) (2700R) (2013 Version), $36.99. Love my Roku, which is a couple of generations older — and which cost a lot more.

Also today only: Black & Decker 20-Volt Lithium-Ion Drill Kit, $49.99 (50% off).

AT AMAZON, Warehouse Deals in Home Furnishings. Tables, chairs, stools, laptop desks, and more.

Also, this week’s deals in HDTV and video. Including Roku players, Apple TV and more.

AT AMAZON, up to 55% off on select DeWalt power tools.

Also, today only: Roku LT Streaming Player, $39.00 (22% off). I paid a lot more than that for my older-model Roku, and regard it as money well spent.

And, at the same link, a Lightning Deal good only for the next couple of hours: “Bond 50: The Complete 22 Film Collection” on Blu-ray, $129.99 (57% off).

AT AMAZON, suggestions and markdowns on Graduation Gifts.

Also, up to 50% off on History Channel documentaries.

And, today only: 3M Streaming Projector Powered by Roku, $169.99 (43% off). “The portable ultra-compact 3M Streaming Projector Powered by Roku allows you to wirelessly stream your favorite online movies onto a 120-inch projection field.”

NOW OUT: The New Roku 3. I’m very happy with my older-model Roku. Not sure if I’ll upgrade, but given this strong positive review of the Roku 3 from the WSJ’s Walt Mossberg, I’m considering it.

GETTING CRAFTY: Why Coders Should Try Quilting and Origami.

YES, I WISH THAT PJTV WERE AVAILABLE ON ROKU, TOO.

AT AMAZON, Top Holiday Deals in Movies & TV.

Also, today only: Roku LT Streaming Player, $39.99. At this price, how can you not give it a try?

IN RESPONSE TO LAST NIGHT’S POST on Power Line adapters, reader Ron Cullinan writes:

Glenn, I go to your site multiple times a day and keep noticing the number of people who are excited about having power line adapters since you told them about the ability to have “wired” internet in an unwired home. I’ve helped a lot of my clients with this same issue (I’m a Realtor) and they are always amazed at how easy it is.

However, you might also mention to people that the system is MUCH more amazing than they think. One of the modern problems is that we have all these devices that can connect to the internet, particularly the TV (think Roku, DVD player, the TV itself, the Satellite/Cable box) and you have a problem with insufficient connections if you don’t realize it’s pure Ethernet. When I looked at this issue, I quickly realized that all one needs to do is plug the adapter into an inexpensive Ethernet switch and voila, you have all the connections you need. These switches run from $15 to $50 and are invaluable to me. I have one with ten outlets for my main TV another with five for the bedroom TV setup and in my office, I have a dozen or more switch connections going (not sure anymore, too many to count, given the jumble of cables running in here.)

Anyway, thought you might want to update your next reference about these wonderful devices and let people know it’s not limited to the single outlet from the receiving adapter.

Done!

SLOW DEATH: Cable TV Continues Slow Death, Losing 400,000 Customers This Year. “Are Roku, Netflix streaming, and the President’s weak economy facilitating the industry’s decline?”

A JOURNALIST READER WHO I’M SURE WOULD PREFER ANONYMITY WRITES: “I know this game gets tired, but imagine, just imagine the months of fury, the global advertising boycotts, the anguished Senate investigations if a network did this with our current president.”

Yeah, several readers have emailed that they’re canceling HBO, having previously resisted doing so because they liked Game of Thrones. Hey, there’s always the Roku box.

CUTTING THE CABLE: Roku boxes and other streaming media players.

MAKING HIGHER EDUCATION less like buying a house and more like getting cable. Well, that’s an improvement, but can we make it more like a Roku box?

#MEDIAMATTERSFAIL: WaPo: This Rush Limbaugh boycott has pretty much fizzled, huh?

Meanwhile, I suspect that those people who dropped HBO for a Roku Box over Bill Maher won’t be coming back, because the alternative is better.

UPDATE: Reader Kirby Angell writes: “I was at the cable store dropping all of the movie channels, but I told them I specifically wanted to drop HBO because of Bill Maher and objectionable content. Then I found out if I got a new cable modem I could get a faster internet connection. Yesterday the cable guy was out with the new modem and while testing it he said ‘lots’ of people were dropping cable service and going with streaming only. He said he would drop it at his house but there was one show he would miss and that’s the only reason he keeps it. I’ve never seen Game of Thrones which he would miss, but I love Walking Dead and would still wait until I can stream it at my convenience than pay for cable. Soon the cable companies’ only product may be the pipe.”

SAYING GOODBYE: Reader Steven Borg writes: “Saw your sale on the Roku box today. Over a week ago, I called my cable provider to cancel HBO (and Bill Maher). It was included free, and I decided not to subsidize them with my cable dollars, so I cancelled my entire cable subscription and bought a Roku 2 XS through Amazon. I added Hulu+ and Netflix and I’m happier than I’ve ever been with cable. Plus, I’m saving over $60 a month AND not supporting Bill Maher! ;-) How much fun is that! I can ‘Be Brietbart’, save money, and get a better experience all at once!”

SAY GOODBYE TO HBO: Today only: Roku 2 XS 1080p Streaming Player, $79.99.

OVERREACH: Limbaugh Attack Boomerangs On White House. And on Bill Maher. “This is one issue on which the mainstream media is offering the White House no cover. As National Journal put it: ‘[E]ven the most ardent Obama supporter would have to admit that if Limbaugh crossed the line on acceptable discourse, then Maher obliterated that line, even acknowledging the difference between a political talkmeister and a comedian.’”

Hey, if you replace your cable/HBO with a Roku box, be sure and tell ‘em why.

UPDATE: Reader Tony Methvin writes: “I cancelled HBO in a chat session with a Comcast CSR. They asked for my reason and I mentioned ‘Bill Maher & guests make unacceptable political jokes about conservative women and sexual assaults (Dan Savage); and the HBO movie ‘Game Change’ was political propaganda against my values.’ the CSR said they had heard this often recently. I like that my TiVo allows Netflix and YouTube streaming as an alternative. BTW Lilyhammer is a great Netflix series. In your face smashing of the nanny state fun!”

And reader Mike Couvillion writes: “The Roku is a good device but has one, big glaring omission in capability that keeps me from getting it–it can’t stream from existing internal media servers. I have nearly 6 Terabytes of media digitized format (yes, all legal or self produced home movies) on a media server and cannot stream to the Roku. I actually use an Xtreamer device for that. Xtreamer has other issues, but if Roku ever addresses the issue (other than the hack-through-a-channel they promote) I’d buy one that day.”

And reader Darren Gold writes, “Don’t let David Axelrod off the hook for calling Miss California a dog! Please get it out there that in 2009 David Axelrod implied that Miss California was a dog. This was right after Miss California’s answer in the Miss America contest that angered the left. What would Sasha and Malia think?”

What, indeed?

And here’s Ed Driscoll’s Roku review. There are other devices, too, but this one’s cheap and easy.

REPUBLICANS PAN HBO PALIN MOVIE: “She’s a good and decent person, and this continuing maligning of her by the liberal left is reprehensible to me.”

So if you’re mad, cancel HBO — or cancel cable altogether — and get a Roku box or something. Just tell ‘em why you’re canceling when you do.

SO IF YOU WANT TO CANCEL YOUR CABLE/HBO AND GET A ROKU BOX, here’s one for a mere $50.99. For added mischief, when you cancel cable, you can tell the company that it’s because of Bill Maher . . . .

But it goes beyond Maher. Give your money to people you like. Don’t give it to the people you don’t. Don’t make that a short-term boycott, make it a long-term strategy.

Meanwhile, reader Allen Covert writes:

I dropped all HBO channels from my satellite package yesterday. It took five minutes on the phone. My dvd player came with netflix and amazon so I can see almost any movie I want when I want.

Yes, there are all kinds of gadgets that support this.

IT’S ON THE SHELF WHERE THEY KEEP THE POLITICALLY INCONVENIENT STUFF: Kirsten Powers on Rush and Sandra Fluke: Where’s the outrage at misogynistic liberal men?

UPDATE: Reader Ron Shrewsbury writes: “We could put Bill Maher out of business in a month if conservatives were willing to cancel their cabal accounts until the suppliers drop HBO. But be honest, how many conservatives do you know who would give up TV for even one day for a project like this? And that’s why liberals will continue to kick our butts on this front. They do seem to be more willing to make sacrifices.” I don’t have HBO, so my boycott’s been ongoing. . . .

But yeah. Dump ‘em and get a Roku box. You won’t be sorry.

TODAY ONLY: Roku 2 XD Streaming Player 1080p for $61.99.

UPDATE: Reader Duane Lester writes: “Thanks for the head-up on the Roku. I was able to talk the wife into it for that price.”

AT AMAZON, Blu-Ray players and streaming devices (think Roku) for under $100.

Plus, new “lightning deals” every few hours. (Bumped).

POPULAR SCIENCE tests the Roku 2XS.

It’s hard to beat the price. And my older Roku was easy to set up and works perfectly.

A GUIDE TO DITCHING CABLE TV. I’ve been happy with the Roku Box.

A YEAR’S EXPERIENCE WITH THE ROKU BOX, as reported by SayUncle.

ROKU UPDATE: Reader John Steele writes:

After your last mention I broke down and bought a Roku XD box. I have to say that compared to this Windows Plug-n-Play is an Erector Set. I have never seen a device this flexible that installed and configured as quickly and easily as this thing. Out of the box to running subscribed to Netflix and HuluPlus a total of maybe 10 minutes. And the performance is simply excellent.

Do you have any recommendations on a universal remote that will include the Roku functions?

I don’t know, but maybe some InstaPundit readers will. And yeah, it really is easy.

UPDATE: Reader Diana Holden writes: “Regarding your post about Roku remotes — My husband and I have had a Roku box for about a year and love it. We use the Logitech Harmony 700 remote and it works beautifully. We have our satellite, TV, Blu-Ray, and Roku on the remote and haven’t had any problems.”

And reader Basil Copeland sends a warning for readers with hearing problems:

I’m hard of hearing, and dependent on captions or subtitles to fully appreciate movies. I did not think to investigate the possibility that streaming video doesn’t provide captions. Apparently, that is a major issue with the Roku box. In the few hours since I set it up, I’ve found a lot of discussion on the Internet about this issue, and whether or not captions or subtitles are available for streaming media players. It seems that it exists for some platforms, but not for Roku. So until that changes, the box will probably sit unused.

Bummer. I imagine they’ll fix it sooner or later.

TODAY ONLY, A 42″ Panasonic Plasma HDTV for $599. I have one of these in the bedroom (I think I paid $999) and overall I think I like it better than the much more expensive JVC I have in the basement. It’s nearly as good on the HDTV channels, and it handles non-HDTV channels much better for some reason.

UPDATE: Reader Matthew Davidian writes:

We got the same model a month and a half ago from Amazon and we are extremely pleased with it.

You didn’t mention one of the best things about that model: it plays Netflix, Amazon VOD, You Tube, etc.) right out of the box, so you don’t need a separate Roku box. Although we still have a Western Digital TV Live Plus hooked up to ours to play back DVD’s from our library which we have ripped to a 2TB Western Digital network drive.

Between NetFlix and the Western Digital, our cable box has been feeling left out recently.

We paid $800 for it in December when it was on sale, at $600 it is a steal. I wish I had another room where I needed a TV so I could buy another one!

I must have the older model, then, or else I need to read the owner’s manual . . .

MORE ON THE ROKU BOX: Reader Erin Willis writes: “I bought the Roku the day you recommended it. It was the first electronics purchase I had made without input from my husband (I’m not old-fashioned; I just know the comparative advantages in our marriage). I’m no technophile but I set it up, linked it to the wireless, and immediately accessed my Amazon video on demand. The husband was very impressed with the picture and quality of the feed. We plan on spending more time with it tonight but I wanted to thank you for the recommendation. Keep them coming!” Will do.

I’VE MENTIONED THE ROKU BOX BEFORE. Here’s a blog review from Ken Nelson. He likes it, too! “Super easy to install. Works great. I’m quite impressed.” That was my experience, too.

UPDATE: Reader Dave Rosenfeld writes:

Here’s my two cents on the Roku box:

I bought myself a Roku XDS (the top-of-the-line model) from Amazon just before Christmas. It’s one of the best entertainment purchases I’ve ever made. Setup was a snap. It can do 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz wireless, so it works great with my dual-band wireless-N router.

My Netflix streaming and Hulu Plus subscriptions cost me less than $20 a month, total. For that, I get current shows plus a huge library of past seasons and old shows, in 1080p. Amazon video-on-demand gives me access to recent movies. Plus, it has Pandora. I used to get far less than this from the cable company for nearly $150 a month. What
more could you ask?

Yeah, it’s bad news for cable companies.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Rob Minneman writes:

Since people are chiming in on the Roku box, I figured I’d give you my $0.02, too.

I bought a Roku HD right before Thanksgiving. Our family only has a 720p HDTV, so it seemed like the right idea. I love it; the Netflix streaming is great, and I think we’ll get onto Hulu Plus sooner or later. Plus, it’s got Pandora and MLB.TV.

So we canceled the cable. That saves us $55/month (and our cable bill is low, compared to some people I know!) So, for $70 (including the HDMI cable) we wiped out a $55/month bill. And $10/month in Netflix has wiped out our monthly movie rental charges of $15-20.

My only regret is that I bought a Roku HD, instead of an XDS, and upgraded our wireless router to dual-band. I’d have been better off with higher-speed equipment, I think, as we don’t often get HD signals across our lower-speed
wireless network.

I’ve got my Roku plugged into a Monster Powerline adapter. That works very well.

THINGS THAT DON’T SUCK: So I gave my brother a Roku box for his birthday, since I heard they’d dropped cable.

His response: “Holy cow… this thing works great! Totally beats cable!!!” That’s my experience, too. Especially if you like movies.

UPDATE: Alex Nunez emails: “I gave my brother-in-law a Roku for Christmas. He was a bit of a streaming-media skeptic, and a user of the old Apple TV. He’s basically been floored by how much the Roku offers. I’m at a point where I’m considering one, and I already have a Playstation 3 that I use for Netflix.”

ONE-DAY-ONLY SALE: Roku XDS for 79.99. Mine’s worked fine — my daughter and I watched Spinal Tap on it the other night. The cable-TV folks should be very afraid.

THINGS YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED THIS WEEKEND:

Leaking the Black Friday deals early.

What Gravitas Gets You.

Video Killed The Congressional Star.

Apparently, I don’t exactly have a sparkling personality. Sigh.

I report on the Roku Box.

Beware Global Aging.

An insufficiency of open-mindedness and empathy.

Holly Beck tries to help out a boy in Nicaragua.

Sleeping through the Bush Presidency.

Strangling innovation with red tape.

The racism of Britain’s elites.

SpaceShip Two Progress.

Chevy Nova fun.

ROKU BOX TEST DRIVE: Okay, I finally hooked up my Roku Box (this older model, not one of the released-just-after-I-bought it newer models) and it was as simple and pleasant to use as advertised. Watched a couple of shows from Amazon on Demand last night (An episode of Grey’s Anatomy and This Is Spinal Tap — found the latter much more believable) and the picture was perfect. I kind of wish I’d bought the newer model now, but I’m not sure why as the one I bought works perfectly. Glad I don’t own stock in video-rental stores.

UPDATE: Reader Steve Schubart writes: “Glad you are enjoying your Roku player. We use ours for Netflix, Pandora, and Amazon Video primarily, but new stations are being added all of the time. Hulu Plus just became available for a subscription as well. Beyond video rental, glad I do not own any cable TV stock.” Indeed.

And Jim Treacher writes: “I’ve been watching Hulu on my Roku. I like it so much, I don’t mind that I can’t talk about it without sounding like I’m making baby noises.”

AND I HAVEN’T EVEN GOTTEN AROUND TO HOOKING UP MY OLD ONE YET: New Roku Boxes Announced.

ONE DAY ONLY: The Roku HD Player for $79.99.

UPDATE: Okay, I cracked and ordered one. At that price, I couldn’t resist any longer.

GIZMODO: Roku Channel Store Opens, But Hulu Is A No-Show.

MY EARLIER POST on the Roku Netflix viewer produced this email from reader Christine Lanzon: “Thanks for recommending Roku Netflix viewer. I hadn’t heard of it until I read about it on Instapundit, and I ordered it the same day for my bedroom TV, a smallish HiDef set that I didn’t want to hook up to cable if I could help it. It is small, had clear directions, set up without hassle, and works as advertised — and the remote comes with the batteries included! That made me fall in love.” Jeez, I guess I should get one myself. If it’s good enough for Jim Treacher, after all . . . .

EARLIER TODAY I MENTIONED Netflix streaming via the Roku device, but now reader Denise Stevenson emails: “Amazon just released a beta version of their streaming service on the Roku on Tuesday. Works great, with better selection and quality than the Netflix stuff.” That’s cool. Maybe they can put PJTV on the Roku, too . . . .

UPDATE: Jim Treacher emails: “I got a Roku for Christmas and it’s fantastic. You don’t get the full selection of movies they’ve got on DVD, but there’s a hell of a lot. Waiting for discs to go back and forth in the mail seems silly now. I say go ahead and let the Postal Service go to 5 days a week.”

WIL WHEATON on the Roku Netflix Digital Video Player. “It’s a tiny little box that streams anything from Netflix’s on-demand library straight into your television, and that’s all it does.” More bad news for broadcast and cable networks, I’d say.

UPDATE: Reader Stephen DeMaura writes: “My girlfriend and I got one for Christmas and it has been the best gift in years. The picture quality is fantastic and the only issues we have experienced have been with Comcast not the device.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Hiawatha Bray wrote on the Roku.

INDCJOURNAL POSTS AN AMUSING PHOTO-REPORT from yesterday’s protests in front of the Supreme Court. If you watched the TV coverage, you’ll find this behind-the-scenes look amusing. If you provided the TV coverage, you’d better hope your friends don’t see this post. . . .

Fans of the ’80s metal band “Krokus,” on the other hand, will be scratching their heads.