Mailbag

If someone emails me a question directly or I see something in the search strings, I’ll post the question and response here.  Enjoy!

Q: What is the cost of Sling TV with Channel Master?

A: Prices are as listed on their web site.  The Channel Master DVR+ has a Sling TV client, but fees are charged and collected by Sling TV.

Q: Can I attach an antenna to a Roku?

A: No.  You can, however, watch programming streamed with a Tablo whole house DVR with a Roku.

Q: Can I get continuous programming on my Roku?

A: Yes.  Sort of.  The B/W channel is true Linear Programming.  Linear Programming means that someone plans 24 hours worth of programming and you watch whatever is on when you tune  in the channel.  If you just want to have something play continuously, there are a lot of channels that let you ‘Play all’ clips.

Q: Can I get Live TV without cable/satellite?

A: Sure.  Visit TVFool.com to see what channels you can expect to receive with an antenna and visit TitanTV.com to see what is on those channels.  No reception in your location?  Check out Sling TV and Sony’s Vue service.

Q: Is it illegal to ‘format shift’ DVDs I have purchased and stream them from a media server in my home?

A: Maybe.  I am not a lawyer.  You can read about Fair Use here.  The Copyright Office of the US concedes that, “The doctrine of fair use has developed through a substantial number of court decisions over the years,” and that, “[the] distinction between what is fair use and what is infringement in a particular case will not always be clear or easily defined.”  Even as I key this, courts are conflicted as to what Fair Use is.  If you are making your digital copies available to others, then you are probably going to have a problem.  If you download digital copies made available by others, you are probably going to have a problem.  If you are making copies of copyrighted materials you legally purchased and are taking reasonable measures to prevent others from using the copies illegally, you are probably not on anyone’s radar, because you are not “[diminishing] the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work.”  That said, you are on your own if the courts disagree.

Q: Is PlayOn/PlayLater legal?

A: No one is suing MediaMall.  Just the same, whether you are using a Roku, Plex, or PlayOn, beware of third party scripts.  It’s almost never OK to download copyrighted materials without compensating the copyright holder.

Q: Is there a YouTube channel for Roku?

A: Yes.  Quite a few (including YT’s own app).  What’s On (enter asecret as your zip code and restart to reveal YT content);VideoBuzz (must be side-loaded); Plex and PlayOn both have Roku channels that include YouTube scripts.

Q: What’s the best DVR for cable cutters?

A: Tivo — if money is no object.  Tablo is a whole house DVR that is smart like Tivo but less capable and less expensive.  For my money, it’s tough to beat the Channel Master DVR+.  If you want to record web videos and Netflix streamed programming, check out PlayOn/PlayLater by MediaMall.

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