This post brought to you by Merge by Windstream. All opinions are 100% mine.
The only cable in my home is the high speed Internet. When people talk about the latest cable TV show, my wife and I head to Hulu and often find it there for us to watch on our own schedule. As for movies, NetFlix is a verb in our home, replacing the drive to go find a flick. This is becoming a pretty commonplace scenario, too. Hulu is watched on our computers and NetFlix through the WII. To simplify things, we've talked about getting a Roku box that will let us watch everything through one device. Apparently, high speed Internet provider, Windstream shares my vision.
Merge : An All-In-One Solution
Windstream has launched a service called Merge by Windstream, that offers the Roku box alongside a high-speed Internet connection all as one package.
• High-speed Internet connection
• Roku 2 HD streaming box
• 24/7 U.S. based support
• Unlimited nationwide calling
The main benefit that I saw with Windstream Merge is the convenience of an all-in-one solution. At my house, without Merge, this is how it works. If we want to watch movies on NetFlix, we fire up the WII, switch the TV input to the WII and load the WII NetFlix program. If we want to watch a TV show on Hulu, we hook my wife's laptop up to the TV via HDMI (mine doesn't have HDMI out), switch the TV input to HDMI2 and open the web browser and go to Hulu. If we want to watch anything else online, it's the same process as Hulu and involves getting off the couch to switch shows, pause, etc.
With Merge, you sit on the couch and control everything through the Roku via a remote, the way it should be. All of your Internet entertainment is handled with one easy device and your ability to relax is left in tact. If you prefer to watch on your laptop, tablet, or mobile phone rather than your TV, you can do that, too. You have to have accounts with Hulu, Pandora, NetFlix and any other service that requires it, but this is no different from my current Merge-less scenario. As a bonus, Windstream's current promotion (as of this writing) includes 6 months of Hulu Plus, a month of Merge free and free professional installation.
Packages start at $52.99/month and are available in multiple speed tiers – starting at 3MB and progressing up to 24MB. I was tempted, but unfortunately, the service is not offered in Arizona. Of course, I can still grab a Roku on my own and pair it with my high speed Internet connection for a similar solution, but I won't get the 6 months of free Hulu Plus.
Ticket to Hollywood Sweepstakes
To help spread the word about Merge, Windstream invites you to Like them on Facebook and enter to win their Ticket to Hollywood Sweepstakes. Only legal residents of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas who are 18 years of age or older and also the age of majority in their state of residence can enter. To enter, all you have to do is head to the Ticket to Hollywood Sweepstakes page and fill out the form before August 31, 2012 at 11:59:59.
The prize at stake here includes:
• Roundtrip airfare for two
• Five nights at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
• Movie tickets for two for a year
• A one-year subscription to Hulu Plus
• A movie studio backlot tour
• A 60 inch flat screen TV
• $1,000 cash
I wish I could enter and I hope those of you who can don't pass up the opportunity.
Merge brings the convenience of Roku together with fast internet connections for a new kind of service I haven't seen offered before. With speeds and pricing very close to what I now have, the real benefit here is the convenience. I can only imagine that support would be easier as well, given that everything is supplied by a single company. Although I was unable to try the service myself, it seems like a pretty easy choice if you want to simplify your online media consumption. Merge is leading the way in a direction everything is sure to go soon enough and that contest doesn't hurt, either.The only cable in my home is the high speed Internet. When people talk about the latest cable TV show, my wife and I head to Hulu and often find it there for us to watch on our own schedule. As for movies, NetFlix is a verb in our home, replacing the drive to go find a flick. This is becoming a pretty commonplace scenario, too. Hulu is watched on our computers and NetFlix through the WII. To simplify things, we've talked about getting a Roku box that will let us watch everything through one device. Apparently, high speed Internet provider, Windstream shares my vision.