The first time I launched the new Amazon Prime Music service, I quickly zeroed in on the 50 Great '90s Alternative Songs playlist. I instantly was transported back to my freshman year of college, when I discovered there was more to music than pop, when Seattle grunge was just coming into its own and a flannel shirt was the fashion du jour. It's basically my happy place.
Maybe that's saying a little too much about how old I am, but it's also the kind of experience that Amazon delivers with its latest offering for Prime subscribers - an ad-free streaming music library with a user-friendly interface that caters incredibly well to whatever you're in the mood for. With "over a million songs and hundreds of playlists" to choose from, free access to such a deep music library is a great perk that increases the attractiveness of a Prime account. Users can also listen to individual songs and albums.
Something that Amazon has learned to do very well over the years is recommend products that are similar or that have affinities with the item you're considering. Take that recommendation engine, apply it to the music you've listened to and you've got a service that recommends artists and albums you should check out, much like Pandora. Unlike Pandora, however, you can download songs to mobile devices for offline listening. As someone without an extensive mp3 library, this promises to make finding music for my long training runs a lot easier on my Android phone's data package. Expect those personalized recommendations to be a mix of both free streaming music and tracks and albums you'll need to pay for if you want to have a listen.
Summer means a lot of things, but if you're finally thawing out from this year's apocalyptic winter, there's really only one thing on your mind: getting outside. Few things go better with summer air than a cold drink and live music - especially when it's free.
When most people think music festivals, there's a good chance they're thinking of one of the big three: Bonnaroo, Coachella, or Lollapalooza. While these fests have consistently stacked lineups and are set in iconic locations, they're also notoriously expensive. If you weren't lucky enough to buy a face-value ticket before they sold out, be prepared to pay $430 for Bonnaroo, $562 for Lollapalooza, and $825 for Coachella.
If you just cringed at those numbers, you're not alone. Thankfully, plenty of free alternatives exist. Here are our picks for the best free music festivals this summer.
Columbia, MD (September 20th)
Virgin Mobile FreeFrest is - you guessed it - a free one-day festival sponsored by Virgin Mobile and Samsung. This year's lineup is yet to be released, but last year's featured plenty of names familiar to any music fan: Robin Thicke, MGMT, Pretty Lights, Vampire Weekend, and others. While there's no cost of admission, there is a suggested donation of $10, which goes to fight youth homelessness. Over the past four years, FreeFest has raised nearly $800,000 for the cause.
When 32 squads of 11 take to the pitch this June in Brazil, countless story lines are sure to emerge. Will host and odds-on favorite Brazil break their recent slump and win the tournament for the first time since 2002? Does the middling U.S. team have a prayer of advancing out of Group G, dubbed by some as the "Group of Death?" Do any of the underdogs - Australia, Costa Rica, and South Korea - have an upset victory up their sleeves?
These potential story lines, of course, are a whole lot more fun to watch live than to read about the next day. If you lack a cable subscription or don't own a TV, don't fret - we've got a breakdown on how to get you World Cup fix online.
WatchESPN - for those with cable
To access World Cup programming, you'll have to provide proof of your cable or satellite subscription. Service providers that allow subscribers to watch online are: AT&T U-verse, BEK TV, BendBroadBand, Bright House Networks, Charter, Comcast XFINITY, Cox, DISH, Google Fiber, Midcontinent Communications, Optimum, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, and Yadtel Telecom.
Not a Cable Subscriber? That's OK.
This morning, Amazon announced it's rolling out the first wave of HBO content on Prime Instant Video. When news broke a few months ago on Amazon's $20 price hike for Prime users, many suspected this was coming. Now that it's here, what does it mean for subscribers?
HBO, which has been notoriously stingy with its library of critically acclaimed programming, has released a solid volume of shows for availability on Prime, albeit most of them a few years old.
Starting today, Prime subscribers can stream:
If you're looking to give Amazon Prime a spin, check out this free 30-day trial being offered until June 30th. Be sure to cancel within 30 if you don't intend to sign up for a yearly subscription, as Amazon will charge your card $99.
We got rid of satellite TV a few months ago, and we don't miss it a bit. Not only is there extra wiggle room in our budget now, but we've got a content library that's easier to access and less choked with (though not completely free of) commercials. We're also better able to choose shows we enjoy watching, instead of just seeing what's on. Best of all, we don't have to deal with DVR snafus when sporting events run long.
If you get rid of your pay TV service, what you do next will depend on what you want/"need" to watch, and what equipment you already have in place. If you have a video game console, it's probably compatible with quite a bit of streaming media. There are also plenty of dongles and boxes to attach to your TV for streaming: Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, and a new $50 stick from Roku - to name just a few. A smart TV, which is already configured for streaming without additional hardware, is another option.
Most of the devices that plug into your TV have small content libraries of their own, some free, some for a fee. Unfortunately, all content sources aren't compatible with all devices. Netflix works with most devices - you just need the streaming membership in addition to (or instead of) any Netflix DVD membership you have. All these prices will be increasing by $1-$2 per month for new subscribers soon, according to Netflix. You can also avoid a device by plugging a laptop directly into most newer TVs via an HDMI cable. This is a quick and simple option, if somewhat unwieldy.
Looking for frugal ways to entertain the kids this summer? Starting as early as June 3rd in select cities nationwide, Regal Cinemas will be offering $1 admission to popular kids movies for 9 weeks this summer. This special ticket price will only be valid for 10:00 a.m. showings on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Better yet, a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Will Rogers Institute, where the money collected will help fund pulmonary research laboratories, medical school fellowships, neonatal ventilators for children’s hospitals and free educational materials.
Here's the movie schedule:
|1||The Smurfs 2||PG||10am|
|2||Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2||PG||10am|
|2||The Pirates: Band of Misfits||PG||10am|
|3||Despicable Me 2||PG||10am|
|5||Adventures of TinTin||PG||10am|
|5||Rise of the Guardians||PG||10am|
|6||Kung Fu Panda 2||PG||10am|
|8||Walking with Dinosaurs||PG||10am|
|9||Mr. Peabody & Sherman||PG||10am|
Start dates and participation varies by location, so check out the Summer Movie Express page to see if your theater is participating.
Tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day! The event was created in response to an article that proposed the idea by Joe Field, the owner of Flying Colors Comics in Concord, Ca. Since Free Comic Book Day started in 2002, millions of comics have been given away and several celebrities, like LeVar Burton and Stan Lee, have given their support.
Comic stores around the world will participate by offering free comics, special sales and other extra events. For instance, Jellaby author Kean Soo will sign copies of his comic at Challengers in Chicago. In Beaverton, Ore., Things From Another World is offering 20% off almost everything in the store (in addition to a free comic) and will host Joshua Williamson, Vicente Navarrete, and Ben Bates. Check with your local store to see what events they are hosting.
The number and type of comic that's distributed varies, so check with your local store. However, your free comic will be from this list.
Free comic book titles include:
Maybe every desk at your office but yours is sporting a bouquet of roses. Perhaps you can all but guarantee that someone will come back to the office next week with a brand new engagement ring that you'll be obliged to politely squeal over. And maybe it's only going to take one more stupidly cloying diamond commercial to push you over the edge.
Well, good for all those happy couples, but you've got better things to do on Friday night because it's been a long week and your pajama pants are calling. Lucky for you, thanks to Netflix, Amazon and Hulu Plus, it also happens to be a killer night to binge on some distinctly non-Valentine-ish streaming video content. Both Netflix and Amazon have released fresh exclusive content this week, but our list, by the whole Brad's Deals team, is a mix of new and old. And those happy couples are totally missing out.
So bust out your favorite bunny slippers, open a bottle of wine and order a pizza - this is going to be your best singleton's Valentine's Day ever.
Our top pick for your Friday night pizza party is Papa Murphy's "Heartbaker" Pizza for $7. Pour all of your vengeful anti-Valentine voodoo fantasies into slicing it up, and once you're finished you can literally "eat your heart out". The only downside is that it's take and bake, and you have to pick it up - no delivery here.
If that's going a bit too far for you, check out one of these old standbys:
We asked the entire Brad's Deals team for their favorite series to binge watch and came up with a pretty sweet list. These are our Top 10, plus a slew of honorable mentions.
If you don't already have a video streaming service, you'll need to get one. Short on cash? Netflix, Amazon and Hulu Plus all have free trials. Just be sure to cancel the trial before the subscription fees kick in if you don't want to spend the cash.
1) House of Cards
Netflix proves that it loves you by releasing Season 2 of the critically-acclaimed political thriller on Valentine's Day. From the opening moments of Season 1, you know exactly who Frank Underwood is, and you're compelled to watch as he manipulates everyone around him. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are both divinely wicked. And just like that, my plans for the evening are made.
Available on Netflix.
When I set out to cover this story, I'll admit that this is not the headline I had in mind. How do you get from an Amazon Prime price hike to canceling Netflix? On the surface, the connection seems tenuous at best. But the more I dug in, the more this conclusion seemed obvious. I'll start this off with a little background and news about the potential price hike, and then I'll detail how and why it makes sense to cancel Netflix instead of Amazon Prime.
News broke late last week that Amazon seriously considering raising the price of an Amazon Prime membership by as much as $40. Amazon's Chief Financial Officer Thomas Szkutak mentioned the possible price hike on Thursday in a conference call discussing Q4 results, and cited rising fuel costs as the primary reason why it might happen.
An Amazon Prime membership currently runs $79 per year, a cost which many cash-strapped online consumers already find cost prohibitive. However, it would be the first price increase for Prime since it was launched nearly a decade ago in 2005. How many services can you name that today cost the same as they did nine years ago? Consider, too, that Amazon Prime today offers members significantly more than its initial offering of only free 2-day shipping - so you actually get more bang for your buck today than you did nine years ago.
No matter who you are cheering for this Sunday, either team will look way better if you have a nice HDTV on which to watch the Super Bowl. And if you didn't get a nice TV for the holidays, maybe now is the time to improve your viewing pleasure. The retailers know this, which is why there are always some good prices this time of year. Here are some of our picks for good deals on HDTVs both large and small, categorized by screen size:
(Note: Not all free shipping options will necessarily arrive by 2/1/2014. Advantages of stores like Sears, Walmart and Best Buy are in-store pickup options.)
50" and Higher
40" to 46"
32" to 39"
At Amazon, if you buy a Samsung HDTV from a select list, you can get a free Samsung Tab 3 Android tablet. While many of the sale prices on this list simply match the lowest prices we're seeing online, this is still a pretty compelling deal if you were also in the market for an Android table, which is free! That's one of the stronger HDTV/tech bundles we've since the holidays.
Go sports team!