Gadgets that save you money
Here's what you can do: State the gadget and present your case for why you think it saves you money. Give realistic costs in your argument.
This post was inspired by OneFineJay's suggestion via Twitter a few days ago. I hope he shares with us what his most money-saving gadget is. Here's mine:
Last week was my birthday, and my wife shocked me with a gadget gift, of all things. I was expecting an electric razor ('cuz I'd asked for one) but the box instead held a Roku digital media player. (Thanks, dear. You know I'm always grateful for any gift that comes with yellow, white and red cables for plugging into other electronics equipment!)
The Roku is a small black box you hook up to your TV, and here's what it allows you to do: You can sync it with your Netflix account and use it to watch the "instant" movies from the rental service, straight to your TV. (Here's a good, recent USAToday story on the company.)
You can also sync it with your Amazon Video on Demand account to watch movies and tv shows from that service. Or, if you're a baseball net, you can get access (for a fee) to MLB.TV premium.
So, here's how the cost breaks down:
*Roku player: $99
*Netflix subscription: $9/month
*My monthly DSL bill: $23/month
So, for $32 a month, I can watch a lot of movies and TV shows, on demand, commercial free. Sure, it's not premium stuff, like HBO, but it's not bad either. I feel like I'm saving money vs a regular cable plan and that it is providing value to me.
For someone who eschews cable, I'm leaning toward thinking the selection, quality and the price point feels about right. Thus far, I've had Roku plugged in for less than a week and I've watched Wall-E, a Thomas Jefferson documentary, and Say Anything (my wife's favorite John Cusack film, I learned). I've got another 10 or so movies in my "watch instantly" queue.
Pluses: affordable startup and recurring costs, extremely easy to set up, good quality video. Minuses: Netflix needs to make more "watch instantly" movies available, Roku should partner up with more content services, like Youtube or iTunes, if it can, or allow you to tap into your own stored content on your home computer.
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