Connect with us

Cars

10 best free video streaming services for cord cutters

Published

on

Streaming killed the Blu-Ray
Samsung is discontinuing its Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray player lines. That’s lousy news for people who love older TV shows and movies.

When cord-cutting became a thing, it was all about saving money. Today, cord-cutting costs are catching up with cable. Indeed, with Disney Plus coming, with its must-watch package of Marvel Universe, Star Wars, and Disney films, plus internet TV streaming services like AT&T DirecTV Now drastically raising its prices, I can easily see a cord cutter’s total viewing bill crossing the $100-a-month barrier. 

Fortunately, there are some answers.

There’s at least one inexpensive TV-bundling service: Philo TV. At $16 a month for three simultaneous streams of 45 popular channels, it’s a steal. But, if you can live with commercials, there are at least 10 good free streaming services to try.

Cord cutting on the cheap

First, get a Roku

To access most of these streaming servcies, you’ll need an up-to-date Roku streaming device. A big reason why I recommend Roku is it gives you access to more online-streaming services than any of the others. To find these, check out the Roku Channel Store

For example, if you can’t put up a TV antenna for over-the-air (OTA) shows, many stations have their own local news Roku apps. These include FOX25 Boston, WSB Atlanta, and WGN Chicago.

In addition, there are literally hundreds of more obscure channels. Want to stream stuff for your cat? Your dog? Want to watch 50s TV shows? Practice yoga? Follow technology news with CNET? It’s all there — and it’s all free.

Next, try private channels

There are also private Roku channels, which are not listed on the Roku Channel Store. To add these, you’ll must manually enter their channel access codes. The best of these let you watch The Internet Archive’s public domain videos. The best known of private channel had been Nowhere TV with a hodgepodge of content, but it’s no longer available in the US.

While private channels can be fun, be wary of them. Roku doesn’t support or vet these networks. Some content may be pirated, or they may disappear from one day to another.

Now check out these free streaming services

The networks below are legal, stable, and will likely to be available for years to come.

Hoopla and Kanopy

The first two — Hoopla and Kanopy — require you to have a library card with a library system that supports either of them. Their offerings aren’t quite identical, but they both offer high-end movies and documentaries. They also come with a lot of PBS titles and The Great Courses (a personal favorite). Hoopla also offers ebooks and music, while Kanopy comes with movies from the Criterion Collection.

Unfortunately, you probably can’t get both services. Darn it!

Crackle

Crackle is perhaps the best-known free streaming TV and movie service. Sponsored by Sony, Crackle boasts TV shows and movies from the 80s through the 00s. You’ll also find newer films on it sometimes, as well as bit of original content such as StartUp, a dark show about technology companies. Call it organized crime 2.0. It’s a hidden gem of a show with actors such as Martin Freedman, Ronald Perlman, and Adam Brody. Give Crackle and StartUp a try.

IMDb Freedive

Everyone knows about Amazon Prime Video. It’s a great add-on if you’re already an Amazon Prime customer. But, did you know Amazon also offers a commercial-driven free video service? Well, now you do. It’s IMDb Freedive. This is a video-on-demand (VoD) service. It features older TV shows including Fringe, Heroes, The Bachelor, and Without a Trace and commercial movies such as Awakenings, Memento, Monster, The Illusionist, and Groundhog Day.

IMDb Freedrive is only available in the US. It’s also the only free channel not available on Roku. You can either watch it on your computer or with an Amazon Fire TV device.

FilmRise

For another good free VoD network check out FilmRise. Its movies tend to be more obscure, but it offers a good selection of popular TV shows such as Third Rock from the Sun, Cybill, and Roseanne.

Pluto TV

You may already know about Pluto TV. If offers access to dozens of other streaming networks with a single interface. Some of these “channels” aren’t that interesting, but then, there are others, like Mystery Science Theater 3000 (classic MST3K shows), The Onion, and RiffTrax, which bring a smile to my face. Give it a look. I’ll bet you’ll find something you like, too.

Viacom is buying Pluto TV, however, so I’m not sure how much longer Pluto TV will be free.

The Roku Channel

Roku is also offering its own network now: The Roku Channel. It borrows free movies and TV shows from other streaming networks and its own free content. It offers a mix of older and current TV shows and films. One interesting twist is you can watch these not only with your Roku but on the web via  The Roku Channel for the web.

Tubi TV

TubI TV is one of the better free VoD services. It comes with perhaps the biggest video library, with 7,000 titles. That’s thanks to its access to Lionsgate, MGM, Paramount Pictures, and Starz Digital’s libraries. If you register, which I recommend you do, you can resume play from where you stopped to let in the cat. For a free service, that’s a nice benefit.

Vudu

You probably know Vudu as Walmart’s online rental VoD service. What you probably didn’t know is it also offers free movies and shows, with commercials. These are usually older shows  (21 Jump Street and WildFire) and movies (National Lampoon Vacation, Gods of Egypt). But, for free, what’s to argue with?

Xumo

Finally, Xumo is a lot like Pluto TV. It others a wide variety of networks with an even wider variety of shows. If you’re a golfer, you’ll like that Xumo is the first network to carry the  PGA Tour’ new streaming channel. One nice feature is that as it learns what shows you like and offers you selections it believes you’ll want to watch.

Yes, you do have to put up with commercials on all of these — and there’s no DVR features to be seen. But, they are free, and with so many selections to choose from, I can guarantee you’ll find something to watch that won’t hurt your pocketbook by even a single penny.

Related Stories:

Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Cars

This is the new Tesla Model S

Published

on

Tesla has redesigned the Model S, its electric sedan, with a new interior and even more range on offer. The upgrade includes new battery modules, battery packs, and drive units, Tesla said today, complete with an entirely new interior. The automaker is also reworking its Model X SUV, it says.

It’s a welcome revamp for what is the oldest EV that Tesla currently sells. The Model S was certainly groundbreaking when Tesla first launched it, and not only for its reliance on all-electric propulsion: its touchscreen-dominated dashboard went on to arguably set expectations for what a modern car interior should look like.

Tesla built on that with the Model 3 and Model Y, its more affordable models, and in comparison to their minimalistic lines the Model S’ interior looked positively fussy. That’s all being upturned today, with the reveal of the new Model S cabin that Tesla says it’s been preparing its Fremont factory to build.

It’s definitely unique. The steering wheel has been cut down to a pared-back rectangle which Tesla calls the yoke, similar to what we’ve seen Tesla show before on the second-generation Roadster. That has simple controls built-in – a pair of scroll wheels flanked by buttons for indicators, lights, and multimedia control – with a dedicated 12.3-inch driver instrumentation display behind.

In the center console, meanwhile, there’s a full touchscreen for controlling the infotainment system. As in the Model 3, it’s oriented horizontally, a change from the Model S’ vertical touchscreen. Beneath it there’s cubbies along with a wireless charging pad for phones.

The 17-inch center display has a 2200 x 1300 resolution now, and can be tilted from left to right depending on visibility needs. Tesla says the onboard processing is good for up to 10 teraflops of power, which can be used for in-car gaming. There’ll be support for wireless controllers, too.

Overhead, there’s a full glass roof as standard, which uses infrared and UV blocking to avoid heat and glare. Meanwhile, there’s a 22-speaker, 960 watt audio system for music, with microphones embedded for active noise canceling. Each seat gets heating, as does the steering wheel and the windshield; front seats also get ventilation.

Tri-zone climate control with HEPA air filtration is standard, as is ambient lighting. Custom driver profiles are supported, and the power liftgate and power folding side mirrors are standard too. Wireless and USB-C fast charging is fitted for each passenger. Buyers of the new Model S get a year’s Premium Connectivity bundled, with live traffic, satellite view maps, music streaming, internet browser, and video streaming with access to services like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and Twitch.

The dashboard as a whole is far cleaner, with Tesla’s invisible air vents system for the HVAC. In the rear, meanwhile, there’s now a second, 8-inch touchscreen display presented at the back of the center console. That’s used to control things like climate control and other settings.

Outside, the changes aren’t quite so dramatic, though it’s still a different look to the Model S we’re familiar with. The big difference is the arrival of the redesigned Model S Plaid, its most potent version of the EV. That, the automaker says, should be capable of doing 0-60 mph in under 2.0 seconds, the quarter mile in under 9.3 seconds, and a top speed of 200 mph. It starts at $119,990 for the Plaid with 390 miles of range, or $139,990 for the Plaid+ with a whopping 520+ miles of range. The new Model S Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive Long Range – which can do 412 miles – starts at $79,990

Under the sheet metal, the changes have been led by advancements made for the Model 3 and Model Y, Tesla says. “While our Model S and Model X battery module architecture evolved over the past 8 years, both the battery pack and modules have now been fully redesigned,” Tesla says. “Additionally, we have incorporated Model 3 and Model Y motor technology throughout as well as our heat pump for better winter range.”

The changes also help with high-speed quarter-mile runs, Tesla claims, with an apparent 5x improvement in how many can be carried out. The Model S and Model X Performance models have been replaced by the Plaid trim, with its tri-motor configuration. The controversial “Full Self-Driving Capability” package is $10,000.

Production of the new Model S and Model X will resume later in Q1 2021, Tesla says, “and ramp back to full capacity over time.” According to the online order system, new orders should ship from March for the Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive and Plaid, and late 2021 for the Model S Plaid+.

Continue Reading

Cars

EV drivers are getting better Google Maps route planning – with a catch

Published

on

Google is adding new features for electric vehicle drivers to Google Maps, improving its algorithms for EV route planning, though just who’ll be able to make the most of them will depend on what’s parked in your garage. The goal, Google says, is to improve how trip planning for journeys that involve two or more recharging pitstops is handled, to reduce stress and trim driving time.

The new routing algorithms rely on what’s known as graph theory, effectively calculating multiple routes through different charging locations so as to pick the most efficient. That’s not just a matter of distance: factors like speed, altitude changes, weather, traffic, and other trip metrics have a significant impact on how far an EV can actually go on a charge. Meanwhile, the speed of individual chargers also needs to be taken into account.

Google says that it can combine all of those factors for the best route in under 10 seconds. “You can see how long each charge will take and your updated total trip time,” Alex Donaldson, Product Manager for Google Maps explains, “so your final ETA will never again be a mystery.”

It’s not the first addition to Google Maps with EVs in mind. Google previously updated its listings for charging locations with extra details about just what sort of connectors you might find at each charger, so that drivers could better match their car’s capabilities to the plugs on offer. It then added real-time status to the maps, so that drivers would know not only whether a compatible plug was there, but if it was currently in use with another vehicle.

The difference between that and Google’s new features announced today, of course, is just who can access them. The real-time charger location and status information is available to anybody with Google Maps on their phone or in the browser, whereas the updated routing algorithms launching today require having a vehicle that’s running Android Automotive OS. That’s Google’s platform for vehicles – not to be confused with Android Auto, which involves projecting your smartphone display on top of the car’s underlying infotainment system – which so far is only available on a couple of models.

Right now, indeed, you’ll need to be driving either a new Polestar 2 or a new Volvo XC40 Recharge in order to have Android Automotive OS on your dashboard. Volvo is set to launch more models with the platform, along with other automakers like GM, but it’s worth noting that the timescales of car companies are typically a lot more protracted than that of consumer tech firms.

Other additions to the version of Google Maps built into car dashboards are more information on charging locations. That includes which are the fastest, and which are compatible with any specific charging company membership you might have. “You can also see if a charging spot is close to a grocery store or coffee shop,” Donaldson says, “so you can knock out errands or recharge yourself with a latte while you wait.”

In Europe, Google Maps will also begin showing what payment methods are supported at different stations. That’s launching initially in twelve countries – Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, and Luxembourg – with more promised in the pipeline.

Continue Reading

Cars

This Ferrari Breadvan pays homage to a 1960s racing icon

Published

on

What you’re staring at is a one-off homage to Ferrari’s 250 GT SWB Breadvan racecar that first appeared at the 1962 24 Hours of Le Mans. The vintage-inspired bodywork is the brainchild of Dutch coachbuilder Niels van Roij Design and is commissioned by an anonymous client.

“We see it as a great privilege that we can honor the Breadvan through this Hommage commission,” said Van Roij. “It is a complex task to translate the essence of the legendry ’62 car into a contemporary design. We intend to be inspired by the old car, but will ensure we are not limited by it in our creativity.”

This modern Ferrari Breadvan started life as a Ferrari 550 Maranello. After many sketches and building a full-size clay model, the Breadvan Hommage gains a new front bumper, a domed hood, and fresh air vents. The body panels were hand-beaten to perfection by coachbuilder Bas van Roomen, and only the windshield was carried over from the donor vehicle.

It’s a different story in the rear. The roofline stretches flat towards the back, where the line breaks into a nearly 90-degree angle to form the silhouette of a bread van. Like the vintage model, Niels van Roij saw it proper to fit four round taillights, a glass rear window, and lengthy quad exhaust tips as the original.

Of course, the retro theme is applied to the cabin with hand-beaten aluminum trim pieces, quilted black leather trim, and milled aluminum switchgear. Meanwhile, carbon-fiber sport seats are standard, and the groovy blue upholstery adds a nice vintage flair.

Otherwise, the mechanical bits and pieces were untouched save for a new handmade exhaust system, bespoke Koni shock absorbers, and Vredestein Ultrac Vorti+ tires. Motivating this modern Ferrari Breadvan is a naturally-aspirated 5.5-liter V8 engine producing 478 horsepower and 419 pound-feet of torque with a six-speed gated manual gearbox and rear-wheel drive.

Since the Ferrari Breadvan Hommage is a one-off, you won’t expect to see it outside a swanky coffee shop or restaurant anytime soon, unless you’re lucky. We’ve seen a lot of one-off Ferraris before, but the Breadvan is definitely one of the most fascinating by far.

Ferrari Breadvan Hommage Gallery

Continue Reading

Trending