It's a great time to be a cord-cutter. You've got Netflix for movies and past-season TV shows, Hulu Plus for current major-network offerings, Aereo for local channels, and PlayOn for all your basic-cable stations: Comedy Central, Food Network, HGTV, Syfy, TBS, and loads of others.
Of course, one of PlayOn's big shortcomings has been its lack of HD support. That changes today with the introduction of PlayOn HD, which brings 720p video to the mix. And its companion product, PlayLater, now supports HD as well.
All of which brings us to today's deal. For a limited time, you can get a PlayOn HD and PlayLater HD lifetime-license bundle for $69.99. Normally they'd run $129.99. What's more, if you already have a PlayOn or PlayLater license, you can upgrade to HD for just $4.99. And if you have a bundle, the upgrade costs only $7.99. (Just scroll down and look for the orange "Add HD to my license" button.)
I've written about PlayOn before: It slings shows from your Windows PC to various devices, including tablets, smartphones, game consoles, media center boxes, and the like. It's akin to Roku, with your PC filling the role of "the box." (Indeed, you can actually use a Roku box as the bridge between your PC and your TV. And that allows you to stream from Hulu without paying for a Hulu Plus subscription.)
As for PlayLater, it's a singularly awesome product that can record from most of the same channels that PlayOn can stream. These include ABC, Amazon Instant Video, Comedy Central, Food Network, HBO Go (!), NBC, SyFy, and TBS. (Obviously certain channels, like HBO Go and Netflix, require you to have an active, paid subscription. But many of them are free.)
In other words, PlayLater turns your PC into a DVR that can record various normally-unrecordable sources for later viewing. It stores these recordings as MP4 files, and can even auto-sync with iTunes so they're queued up and ready for viewing on your iDevice. (Those files will also play on Android, Windows Phone, and other devices.)
I do have a few quibbles with PlayOn, mostly centered around its clumsy navigation and lack of a favorites option. But it's definitely one of the best tools for streaming video from tons of basic-cable and premium-channel sources. And with HD support finally added to the mix, it's even better.
For anyone thinking seriously about cutting the cable-TV cord, this bundle offers a tremendous bang for the buck. Indeed, for about the cost a month of cable service, you get unlimited streaming and recording. That's hard to pass up.
Bonus deal: Game time! Today only, the insanely popular board game Carcassonne is free for Kindle Fire tablets. Regular price: $4.99. Similar to Settlers of Catan (which, sadly, isn't currently available for Kindle Fire), the game supports live-human and AI multiplayer and comes with "The River II" expansion.
Bonus deal No. 2: OK, not really a deal, but an announcement: If you happen to live in the Metro Detroit area, come on out to the Sterling Heights Computer Club meeting tonight at 7:30 p.m., where I'll be the guest speaker! The topic: Finding great deals on tech stuff, natch. The meeting takes place at Macomb Community College, and I'll be raffling off a couple cool prizes. Hope to see you there!
Deals found on The Cheapskate are subject to availability, expiration, and other terms determined by sellers.
Want to know more about The Cheapskate blog and how it works?.