Daily deal – HAVA Titanium HD streamer with WiFi for $85

My daily deal for today is for the HAVA HD TV streamer. I mentioned this device several weeks ago in my “watch TV in your hotel room” article, at the time, the unit sold for about $180.

Today only, you’ll find the HAVA Titanium HD WiFi at Woot.com for just $79.99 (plus $5 shipping).

As the title says – this is for the WiFi version, so you get the HAVA Titanium and their WiFi kit, all for under $80.

With the HAVA, you can watch whatever is on TV at home, anywhere in the world. The viewer application runs on Windows, Windows Mobile, Symbian and even for the Nokia Internet Tablet.

In addition to streaming live TV, the HAVA Titanium can act as a DVR and a media player, when you connect a USB memory stick or hard drive to its USB port.

UPDATE: Item sold out about an hour after this article went live. Sorry!

Daily deal – Sling Media Slingbox Solo for $140

In my daily deal for today, you’ll be able to pick up one of the items we selected as the best travel technology products of 2008.

The Slingbox Solo allows you to remotely watch TV, anywhere in the world, using your computer or smartphone. The device hooks up to your home TV setup, through a cable box, DVR or directly to your cable/antenna signal, and streams the signal over the Internet.

Imagine being stuck in a rural hotel for a week with nothing but 4 local channels. Simply open your laptop and connect to your home Slingbox. You are now in full control of what you watch, and you’ll even be able to use the virtual remote control to change channels, or start programming on your TiVo.

I’ve been a huge Slingbox fan for ages, and highly recommend it for anyone who travels more than a couple of days a year.

The Slingbox Solo normally retails for $179, but if you purchase it from Buy.com through Amazon, you’ll be able to pick one up for just $139.99, that even comes with free shipping. When you get to the Amazon page, be sure to select Buy.com as the seller in order to get the low price.

Included in the box are the cables you’ll need to connect the box to your signal, as well as a special infra-red cable for remotely controlling your video source.

What the digital TV switchover means for people on the road

By now, most of you have probably seen the commercials warning about the upcoming digital TV switchover planned to take place on February 17th 2009.

Of course, I’m not going to waste your time explaining how to get ready for the transition at home, but I do want to take a minute to help those of you who depend on TV when they are on the road.

There are a couple of scenarios where travelers carry a gadget capable of receiving TV on the road, one involves those little 2″ LCD TV’s, the other is PC hardware for receiving and watching TV on your portable computer.
If you have been a happy user of a portable LCD TV, then the bad news is that you are pretty much out of options. All of these units are analogue only, which means no digital reception. So far, nobody has come forward with a digital unit, though that might change when companies announce their 2009 lineup at the CES in Vegas this week.

If you absolutely must get your TV fix, then you could consider this 7″ Haier unit ($129) or this $150 7″ Axion LCD TV.

Of course, neither unit is as portable as what you are probably used to, but both feature an integrated digital (ATSC) tuner. Portable TV’s in this price range usually come with a small digital/HDTV antenna, but depending on your location, you may not be able to pick up the signal, not to mention you’ll look like an idiot trying to position the antenna in the airport departure lounge.

For users of a computer based TV receiver things can be a little trickier.

Sites like Amazon are still selling PC TV tuners that are not compatible with the upcoming digital transition, so when you shop for a tuner, you’ll need to keep an eye open for units that won’t become close to useless after February 17th.

The magic words you are looking for are “ATSC”, “Digital TV” or “Digital Terrestrial”. More advanced tuners may even include support for “QAM”, which is the digital system used by cable companies.

Some PC TV receivers can be upgraded with digital support, while others simply lack the hardware to receive the broadcasts. If in doubt, check the support site of the device manufacturer.

There are of course alternatives to receiving TV over the air with a tuner. My personal favorite is the Slingbox, which lets you “stream” the signal from your home TV signal over the Internet to your laptop, desktop or mobile phone.

Alternatively, some mobile phone operators offer their own “mobile TV” service, usually starting at $10/month. Both options require a connection to the Internet, and can be fairly data intensive.