By Marc Saltzman
YOU’VE PICKED UP a shiny new tablet, but now
you want to load it up with stuff to read, watch or
listen to. Here’s the good news: You don’t have to
blow your budget on TV shows, music, movies or
e-books. In fact, if you know where to look, you
don’t have to spend anything at all.
Oh sure, you’re well aware there are free games
and apps, but you can also enjoy a ton of media
without having to open your wallet.
For new releases, you can borrow
e-books and audiobooks from many
local libraries. This means you won’t
have to physically get to a library, and
you’ll never face late fees again.
All you need is your library card and the free
OverDrive app. Once it’s been downloaded, you’ll
be prompted to create an Adobe ID (if you don’t
already have one), and authorize it to work with
OverDrive. Now you can borrow e-books and
audiobooks wirelessly—even current New York
For classic books, including those in the public
domain (free), awesome apps include Gutenberg
Project, which offers more than 46,000 free e-books
and audiobooks. Popular picks include Pride and
Prejudice by Jane Austen, Dracula by Bram Stoker,
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur
Conan Doyle and Shakespeare’s timeless works.
Rather than pay to download the songs by track, or
subscribe to for-pay music
streaming services, the free
TuneIn Radio app gives you
access to more than 100,000
radio stations from around the world. Use
the Search feature to find something you’re
in the mood to hear, be it an artist, song
title, music genre or country of origin.
Want local radio? Tap to see all the
AM and FM stations in your area and tune
in at home or on the go (with album artwork even). Alternatively, you can listen to
Internet-only stations, such as 1.FM.
Another great app is Songza, which offers
curated playlists based on the day of the week, time
of day and mood you might be in.
Free TV shows, movies
Several apps offer ways to watch
television shows without having to
pay anything. All of the major TV
networks have free apps that let you
watch full episodes. The CBS app,
for example, offers The Big Bang Theory, CSI:
Crime Scene Investigation, Survivor and The Young
and the Restless, to name a few, while the NBC app
offers The Voice, The Blacklist, The Tonight Show,
Days of Our Lives and so on. And there’s no shortage of content to watch on the Hulu app (though
you need to pay for Hulu Plus).
You can download many hundreds of free
shows—often pilots or the first episode of a new season—from iTunes for the iPad and from Google
Play. Also check out apps by You Tube, Crackle,
SideReel, Flixster and Popcornflix.
Free podcasts and
Finally, audio-based podcasts
can be great entertainment on a
long trip, whether you’re interested
in downloading a comedy routine,
Same goes for classic radio dramas.
Popularized in the ’40s before TV took off, old-time radio (OTR) shows, as they’re referred to
today, are enjoying a 21st-century renaissance
thanks to the Internet and MP3 files. A whole new
generation of listeners can now experience these
wonderfully written and performed “theater of the
Filling up your tablet with these tales is as easy
as subscribing to one of the many dozen OTR
podcasts (some with daily updates) or bookmarking websites such as archive.org, relicradio.com and
otrcat.com, each with thousands of free download-able episodes. C
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Filling your tablet
with great stuff Have questions about electronics or computers you purchased at
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Q&A with Marc Saltzman
The Costco Connection
P.O. Box 34088
Seattle, WA 98124-1088
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“Marc Saltzman Q&A”
in the subject line. Marc
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tions in this column. We
regret that unpublished
questions cannot be
a leading high-tech
to more than three
on radio and TV, and is
the author of 15 books.
He’s on Twitter at
The Costco Connection
Costco features a variety of tablets with
Android, Apple or Windows platforms in
the warehouses and online at Costco.com.