SHARING NETFLIX

Almost half of Netflix subscribers share their password with someone, according to a Consumer Reports survey. We’re a bit shocked, but can understand how it could happen. It’s perfectly legal to share with a spouse, or someone in your household. It gets questionable when you tell a friend, “hey use my password to get on.” Netflix allows up to four different locations to be streaming a movie at once. Go over that limit, and someone will be shut off. Hulu is stricter. Only one movie can be streamed at a time. If you give your password to a friend, they might be watching when you want to watch. Amazon Instant Video allows two at a time, but you both must […]

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NUMBERS REPORT: STREAMING

Consumer research outfit NPD.com projects that within two years, 40 percent of households will get TV, movies and apps from a streaming stick plugged into their TV. So far there are five: Apple TV, Roku, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV and Walmart’s new Spark. This is a hot area for innovation and we can expect fast and wide development; basically, everything is going to come from the Internet.

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ANOTHER WAY TO ESCAPE CABLE TV

More and more people are getting TV channels without paying a monthly cable bill, often called the movement to “cut the cord.” Now Walmart has entered the fray, with its $25 “Vudu Spark.” The Spark comes with its own remote control and plugs into the USB port on your TV or laptop. It comes pre-loaded with the Vudu movie and TV app, and that’s it. But it’s $10 less than the Google Chromecast and comes with a $25 credit for Vudu movies. The downside of these movie and TV-streaming sticks is you have to pay for most of the things you watch. You don’t have to pay much, but obviously it adds up depending on how much watching you do. […]

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A BIGGER STICK

In March, Intel is coming out with “Compute Stick,” a plastic thingie that plugs into any late model TV and – Poof, turns it into a Windows 8.1 computer. This is way beyond the Roku, Chrome Cast and the Amazon Fire Sticks we wrote about recently. You just have to ask yourself if you want a whole computer on your TV. It’s $149 for the Windows version, and for the real techie types, there’s a Linux version for $89. A keyboard would be extra – but they’re cheap. Our take on this? It would be good for people who find themselves squinting when they look at computer monitors. Get the BIG picture.

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ROKU VERSUS FIRE STICK

We just bought a $39 Amazon “Fire Stick” for our second TV, to bring in hundreds of extra movie and TV channels, plus games and apps. On our main TV, we have the $49 Roku 3 stick. Here’s the difference: Roku usually gives you more choices.

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VACCINES, CALLING THE SHOTS

PBS.org/Nova has all the TV episodes from the science program NOVA, the day after they air. “Vaccines, calling the Shots” takes you around the world to look at epidemics – particularly appropriate these days. “Rise of the Hackers” finds the super sleuths who decode the world’s most sophisticated cyber weapons.

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WE DO THE ROKU

The other day, our smart TV got dumber. It stopped giving us channels like Amazon and Netflix. Using the “reset” command fixed it, but in the meantime, we had a chance to explore the $49 Roku Streaming Stick and we took it.

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CUTTING THE CORD: SAVING THE SHOWS AND THE BUDGET

A reader wrote to say he stopped his cable TV service and is now bringing $90 “back to the bottom line” each month. He bought the Winegard Flat Wave Antenna we wrote about to bring in free channels. But then there was another problem.
The $30 antenna weighs only a third of an ounce and connected easily to hi

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CUTTING THE CORD

According to Forbes Magazine, a fifth of American TV watchers are “definitely” or “probably” going to drop cable TV this year. That’s around 20 million people. Are they right? Should you join them?

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STREAMING TV

Why, asked a reader, do we have Google TV when we could have Roku to bring in channels like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon?

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