"Patriots are not revolutionaries trying to overthrow the government of the United States.
Patriots are Counter-Revolutionaries trying to prevent the government from overthrowing the Constitution."
The Coach’s Team (TCT) offers the best in conservative essays along with articles taken from various internet sites. The victory of Donald Trump has provided a God-sent opportunity to reverse the years of willful damage done our nation by Barack Hussein Obama.
Sunday, December 17, 2017
Meet Roku's new entry level unit - and a high tech backpack that can charge your phone
wannabes, also known as folks who want to pull the plug on conventional
television delivery systems such as cable and satellite, have a new low cost
reason to make that move thanks to Roku's new entry level Express.
This $40 CAD
unit is the latest in the Roku line of streaming devices that all offer similar
programming but with different capabilities - from "entry level" HD
to 4K with HDR.
And if you're
using your cord cutting experience as a way to get out into the supposedly
great outdoors, Lifepack has created a backpack that not only carries your
stuff, it helps keep your tunes close and charges your electronics at the same
talk about the Roku first, because I need to screw up my courage to actually go
outdoors to use the Lifepack before I can write aboutit.
Chas Smith, general manager of Roku TV's and players, "the Roku Express is
one of our most popular streaming players, and is a great starting point for
first time streamers or for people looking to extend the Roku experience to
other TV's." He's right, too. Someone like my Dad, if he would ever stoop
to getting Internet service, would love a Roku Express. It can put him in touch
with oodles of old movies, TV shows, music and the like and he'd have a ball.
And the Express would be more than adequate for his 720p television.
I just need
to convince him he needs the Internet…
says the new Express is five times more powerful than its predecessor and since
I received my review sample I've been using it nearly every day to stream
various video and audio sources - as well as news and sports and even cat
videos. Sure, you don't get 4K from the Express but you do get excellent 1080p
performance and that's probably more important right now to most people.
quality - remembering the GIGO syndrome (Garbage in, garbage out) - of the
Express is great. We've been watching The Crown via the Roku's built-in Netflix
app, and I've mentioned more than once to my wife how great the show looks and
sounds. At the other end of the GIGO spectrum, I also watched some old TV
Christmas specials that looked as ifthey were sub-VHS quality.
comes with everything you need to get it up and running, as long as you have
Wi-Fi and Internet access and, of course, a TV with HDMI. It even comes with a
high speed HDMI cable! A quick start guide is also in the box, along with the
Roku remote, USB power, batteries and an adhesive strip with which you can
stick the Roku to your TV, shelf or whatever. I just sat the thing on the TV
stand, below the TV (a 1080p plasma) and it worked fine.
You have to
either sign up for or log into your existing Roku account once the Express is
hooked up and if it's a new account you'll have to put in your credit card
info. This rubs me the wrong way, but I must admit I've never been charged for
anything since I first started using a Roku about a year and a half ago.
of putting in your credit card into is you can access paid content without
hassle. And there are quite a few paid services on offer. Cheap bastard that I
am, I've never tried such a service other than the Netflix account I've had
since before Roku and a couple of "free previews" that I never
continued with once the free period was done, but there are also enough free
apps to keep you going for years. You can partake of anything from all-audio
services to classic rock, comedy and TV video channels, news
"services" and the like. New apps come on stream all the time, too.
which I've been messing is a Christmas channel and last night my dear wife and
I were watching a terrific Christmas concert from some small symphony orchestra
of which we'd never heard. Great stuff - and if not for the Roku (and the app)
we'd never have known it existed. And it's free!
in many cases you get what you pay for, so some of the free apps (many,
actually) are of dubious worth to me - but since there's such a broad variety
on offer there's undoubtedly several interesting channels regardless of your
interests, from cars to aviation, lifestyle, you name it. I've managed to find
several I enjoy streaming - and another nice thing about Roku is that if you've
added apps to one device they'll show up on all of them.
Also, if you
add an app that turns out to suck out loud, you can delete it whenever you want
and it'll disappear from your "channel scroll" as if it were never
there. I do this all the time: add a service that looks interesting, but when
it turns out to be much ado about nothing (gee, someone should write a play
with that theme…) it's gone in seconds.
you can use multiple Rokus on multiple TV's (or other devices; I have a Roku
Ultra plugged into the rear HDMI port of my Oppo UDP-205
universal UHD disc player, for example, where it gives me 4K video with HDR)
you can partake of the same programming in multiple locations. You can even, in
the case of such apps as Netflix, start a program in one room and continue it
in another - so if you want to continue your evening's entertainment in bed,
for example, you can.
like all Roku devices, use the Roku Operating System and its simple home screen
is really easy to navigate. The company says Canadian consumers can access more
than 4,000 streaming channels, and they estimate some 150,000 movies and TV
episodes are available there. I hope the person they hired to count all that
stuff got paid well.
a free Roku app for iOS and Android mobile devices that lets you use those
things as your remote or to facilitate streaming media to the TV from such
devices. It also has a virtual keyboard and offers such stuff as voice search
and private listening. It works fine, but I prefer using the Roku remote and
rarely stream from my smart devices.
what you can access for your $40, the Roku seems like a bargain. Besides the
GIGO syndrome, you should also keep Sturgeon's Law in mind ("90 per cent
of anything is crap) when it comes to the free programming available.
Bag Man on
the Lifepack Solar Powered & Anti-Theft Backpack is kind of like the Swiss
army knife of backpacks. It not only carries your stuff, it's also built to
keep your devices charged while annoying those around you with its Bluetooth
It even has
some stealthy pockets in which you can store stuff you really don't want stolen
- such as your passport or Nexus card or even tiny bits of contraband. Two
nearly invisible pockets are sewn into the straps, where they'd be really handy
if you're actually packing the backpack on your back. Of course that doesn't
help if the backpack gets stolen, but the folks behind the Lifepack think they
have that figured out, too.
because the thing comes with its own combination lock, one that extends out
from inside on a cord that's long enough to be useful. And even more
interesting for those taking the Lifepack to the beach, or wherever, there's
also a bottle opener! Alas, I couldn't find a corkscrew amongst the zillion
other features of this nifty product.
innovations of the Lifepack are the Solarbank, which is the USB charger and
portable speaker. It isn't a really great portable speaker as far as sound
quality is concerned, but I think it will probably be just fine for folks who
aren't audio snobs and just want some tunes at the picnic table or in the hotel
room. It even includes an auxiliary in jack for direct connection to your
tunes, if you don't have or don't want to use Bluetooth.
And to be
honest, the closest audiophile Bluetooth speaker (in size) that I've heard is
the Bose SoundLink Mini, which currently lists on Bose'
Canadian website for $229.99 CAD. It sounds plenty better than the Lifepack's,
but considering that the entire Lifepack lists
for 179.00 USD right now (on sale from $269.00 USD), it's really an
apples-to-oranges audio comparison.
there's so much else to like about the Lifepack. It's designed with a two
compartment configuration, one called "workzone" to put your mobile
office stuff in while the "lifezone" side is meant for the clothes
you want to take with you. Its capacity for clothes is a lot less than in my
carryon luggage but for a quick overnight trip or such thing (or a trip to the
beach, carrying your swim suit and towel, perhaps) it might be perfect.
is designed to hold up to a 15 inch Laptop (and some 17 inchers, depending on
their overall size).
sliders are lockable, thanks to big eye holes on them, and with a bit of
futzing you can get all four of them into the Lifepack's locking mechanism.
And if those
pockets hidden in the straps aren't enough stealth for you, there's another pair
hidden on the back of the backpack.There are also small pockets on each side, one of which has a USB port
(the Solbarbank power supply has its own ports as well).
speaker/power centre fits into a pocket on the upper area of the front section
and it works well there. I wish it were lower but, that said, the unit perches
on its own bum very well and the presence of the speaker doesn't make it want
to fall over. I do wish, however, that the space where the Solarbank sits could
be used as another little pocket if you took out the speaker, but it just
leaves a big hole there through which other stuff inside can be reached.
you should leave the speaker where it's meant to be whether you like it or not.
is nice and light and appears to be built very well. It's as comfortable as a
backpack can be when worn by a fat old oaf and I love how you can organize life
vs. work. I wish it had a couple more small pockets with zippers inside,
however, proving yet again that you can never please some people.
One of the
Lifepack's aces in the hole is its solar charging aspect. Leave the Lifepack
where it can see the sun and the Solarbank will charge itself, leaving you
plenty of music or charging time. You need to charge it conventionally first,
via USB, but this isn't a big deal. After that, the owner's manual says, two
hours of good sunlight a day should top up a 50 per cent depleted smart phone,
giving endless power - hey, there is such a thing as perpetual motion!
charging a smart phone from zip to full is claimed to take four hours. And
thanks to the Solarbank's two USB ports, you can charge a pair of devices at a
also says a full charge of the Solarbank from depleted will take about 30 hours
of "ideal sunlight," so if you want to do this you'd best be in a
orbit around the earth that has the sun in view perpetually.
Or you can
just use USB and get it done quickly and efficiently. That's what I did, since
I'm afraid that taking the Solarbank outside to a sunlit location might cause
me to burst into flames.
never use the Lifepack's solar features, but despite that it's still a terrific
product as far as being an efficient and comfortable backpack that can hold my
stuff while bringing my tunes along for the ride.