Saturday, November 27, 2021

Disney+, for a little while

One of the tips that should be considered by cord cutters -- and I feel strongly about this -- is to subscribe to a service only when it has something you want. For example, right now, I'm using Disney+.

I mentioned this past summer that I wasn't subscribing to Disney+ because there was very little I would watch on it. But right now, there is.

You may have picked up that I'm a Beatles fan. When I set up my new Plex server, the first music I added was my catalog of Beatles music. It took a while to get it all in because I have a lot. I have all of their US albums and their UK albums, at least from their official catalog. And I have both the mono and stereo games. If you're a die-hard Beatles fans, you understand the reason for that. For the uninitiated, even though their albums were released in stereo, the Beatles themselves only participated in the mono mixing of their recordings until their last few albums. Those were versions the Beatles themselves thought of as their official releases, and those were the ones that were sent to radio stations. Those are the original releases.

So, yeah, I'm a Beatles fan. And that plays into Disney+ because of the recent release of Peter Jackson's new "Get Back" documentary. It's airing on Disney+ -- not Apple TV+, as you might have thought -- so it's now a service of interest. And with shows on Hulu having returned and being several episodes in, and ESPN+ still on the table during football season, I'm subscribing to the Disney Bundle.

I won't keep it long. I'll finish "Get Back" very soon, I expect, and football season is winding down. Plus, I'll catch up on my TV shows from Hulu ... maybe. If not, I'll keep Hulu, but if I do, I'll drop the Disney Bundle and save the money.

That's the thing I suggest everyone do. Only subscribe to what you watch. When you're caught up, stop the subscriptions and don't resume it until you have something you want to watch. Right now, I'm watching the Beatles. And football. And some current TV. For the time being, the Disney Bundle (Hulu, ESPN+, and Disney+) are an active part of my Streaming Life. But not for long.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Cheap Hulu

Just a couple of days after I was fussing about Hulu's price increase. Hulu+Live TV, actually, but that till is a form of Hulu. Well, now I feel I should mention a great deal Hulu is running for Black Friday. Subscribers -- new and existing -- can get the standard Hulu service for 99¢/month for a year.

Hulu actually did this three years ago, but then changed it to $1.99/month for the past two years. And, you couldn't get it if you were already a subscriber. It was for new subscribers only. This year, anyone can get it.

The only downside would be if you have the Disney Bundle. There's no plan that takes this Hulu deal into consideration. Still, it's a heckuva deal. If you were thinking of the Disney Bundle with standard Hulu, it may be cheaper to go this route. However you do it, it's a great way to include Hulu in your Streaming Life.

Thursday, November 25, 2021


Thanksgiving Proclamation

Issued by President George Washington, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 1789
By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go. Washington

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Finding the right TV antenna

If you're a cord cutter, or wanting to be, one thing I would suggest is getting a TV antenna. Depending on where you live, that can be an easy thing or a hard thing. For me, it was not easy.

I live around 40 miles (not less than, but not much more than) from the major TV towers that serve my area. Picking up a good, clear, consistent TV signal means an outdoor antenna for me. That may or may not be the case for you. So, how do you determine this?

There are a few of different Websites that are popular for this. I like different aspects of both, but found that, at least in my case, one give a more accurate picture of what I needed.

One that's highly recommended is TV Fool. It does a pretty good job, However, it underestimated my antenna needs. I tried an indoor antenna -- it called it a "set top antenna" -- but that didn't get me what I was after.

Another thing it didn't quite get right was the actual frequency of one of the Savannah station. It said WSAV is actually broadcasting on channel 39. However, the FCC says it's channel 16 after the most recent repack (which was a while back). So, the database isn't always up to date.

Another popular Website is AntennaWeb. It was a little more accurate when it came to telling me what antenna I needed.

It also got the actually channel for WSAV correct. It actually overestimated for some of the channels. I did need a large antenna with a pre-amp to pick up WTOC, but not the other major channels. However, the larger antenna doesn't hurt.

I had actually purchased a smaller antenna and was able to get the UHF stations without any problem. But, WTOC, being a VHF station, only came in with difficulty. Now, I will say that it was good most of the time. But, every minute or two, there would be a hiccup. The large antenna and preamp solved that.

The other Website is the FCC. They actually have a pretty good map and information about the station, but make no recommendation about an antenna. After all, it's the stations they oversee, not the receiving antennae.

Note the map. I blew it up on two of the stations so you could get a view of what that looked like. It's actually the best for locating the TV tower, in my opinion. As for picking an antenna, it's not that great, but then again, that's not what it's trying to do.

So, what do I recommend? All of them. None are perfect. But using them all, you can get a lot of good information that helps with troubleshooting issues. And honestly, I would expect issues.

But you don't want issues, do you? You just want it to work. And, if I were to pick one that would decrease the chance for issues, I'd say go with AntennaWeb over the others. If it says you need a large outdoor antenna, you probably need a large outdoor antenna.

If you go with TV Fool, be prepared for getting the UHF stations under its recommendations, but expect to be disappointed for VHF. If you're close enough to the tower, you may not be disappointed, but if you live a ways off, as I do, don't expect it to always get it right. If you can live with the UHF stations, you'll be okay with TV Fool.

If you want to get the signal to more than one TV? Well, that's a whole 'nuther thing. This will help you know what antenna you need to get a signal to a device. To get it to more than one device is something we'll talk about later.

And you thought your Streaming Life would be simple. Well, life isn't. No matter what kind of life.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Another Hulu price increase

It seems like just a couple of months ago that Hulu announced a price increase. That's because it was. And now, word is that Hulu is upping its prices. But it's not exactly "another" increase. Let me explain.

In September, Hulu announced that its pricing of their standard plan was going up by a dollar a month. Rather than $5.99 it would be $6.99 each month. Still a good deal, but a price increase is a price increase, and that's never fun.

Now, word is that Hulu is upping the price of their Hulu+Live TV plan is going up by $5/month. I haven't seen a notice from Hulu, but Engadget is reporting the increase will happen in late December, but will include an offset that might make it more palatable:

Disney plans to add Disney+ and ESPN+ to your subscription, and you have no choice in the matter. On Friday, the company sent an email to current subscribers informing them of the impending change. Starting on December 21st, all Hulu + Live subscriptions will include access to Disney’s two other streaming platforms. Previously, you could get Hulu + Live TV on its own.

And with the change, the price of Hulu + Live TV plans is increasing by $5 per month for both current and new customers. Come the 21st, the ad-supported tier will cost $69.99 per month, while the “no ads” package will cost $75.99 every 30 days. If you’re a Hulu + Live TV customer with an existing Disney+ and or ESPN+ subscription, those will roll into the new plan.

Is this a good thing? Well, no. But yeah. Actually, no.

If you have Hulu+Live TV with the Disney bundle -- Disney+ and ESPN+ -- it's currently $73/month. So, that will actually go down by $3/month. But, if you don't want the bundle, just Hulu+Live TV, you will pay $5 more, and get the bundle anyway.

It's a good thing in that if you want it all, you get it for a better price. But, if you only want the one service, you lose that option, and to get that one service, you have to pay more, because the bundle is the only way to get it.

I'm not personally interested in Hulu+Live TV, but if you are, you'll bet paying more, but getting more. If that's something you want in your Streaming Life, you'll be getting a good deal.