Monday, March 20, 2023

Tubi is number one

For some time, Pluto TV has been the top free ad-supported television (FAST) service. Pluto TV has ruled the roost for years.

Not any more.

Tubi has taken over as the top FAST service, according to recent stats.

This is a bit of a surprise, as I've just gotten into the mindset that Pluto TV was the top FAST service. It always has been, and always will be.

Only, reality has stepped in.

Pluto TV is now the second largest free live streaming service, and Tubi TV is the new king of the FAST services, with 1% of all streaming, compared to Pluto TV's 0.7%:

"Reaching 1% of total viewing minutes is a huge milestone for us because it validates we are driving massive viewership and our data-informed personalization and recommendations get the right content in front of the right people," said Mark Rotblat, Chief Revenue Officer at Tubi. "Advertisers can feel confident that our light ad loads, addressability and tools for cross-screen planning and measurement are built with their success in mind and they can shift a significant portion of their video investment dollars to a 100% addressable audience on Tubi."

Tubi is now owned by FOX and used FOX's super bowl this year to push the free service with several virtual ads. It seems that big ad spend has helped Tubi grow and become the largest free ad-supported service in America.

I actually prefer both Pluto TV and Xumo Play to Tubi, or at least did the last time I spent a lot of time looking at them. I need to spend more time with Tubi, so I can see if changes to the service justify it's new reign at the top.

Tubi TV has been a part of my Streaming Life for some time. It may become a bigger part soon.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

An Amazon browser?

There are rumors that Amazon is looking to launch a Web browser.

If you've used Fire TV devices, or Kindle Fire devices, you've seen the Silk browser. So you know Amazon already has a browser. But, it's only been available on some Amazon devices.

It seems as if Amazon is looking to release a browser for other platforms now, including your computer or mobile phone, according to Cord Cutters News:

Recently Amazon started to email customers to see if they would be interested in using a browser on a desktop and laptop. Amazon already offers a browser on mobile devices, Fire TV, and Echo Show devices, but currently, the Amazon Silk Browser is not available on desktops and mobile devices. It first launched the Silk browser back in 2011.

A browser can be a very profitable tool for Amazon. First, Amazon could use it to push Amazon products and services. Secondly, Amazon can use it to collect data about their habits to better offer ads and services targeted at them.

I don't know if I would use it, as it likely is for collecting data, and I don't want to share any more of my data with Amazon, or anyone. My Streaming Life, like my regular life, is not for the benefit of others.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Another pirate shut down

I have trashed piracy for years. To me, if some one creates entertainment and you enjoy it, you should compensate the entertainer.

Piracy has others that had nothing to do with the creation of the content getting paid for the work of others.

It's theft. There is no difference between taking entertainment and taking a physical item. If you built a table, and someone took the table and sold it to others, and kept the money, they would have stolen from you.

Piracy is the same way. It's content created by someone, who others take and sell. And because it's not a single physical item, they sell it over and over to multiple people.

Piracy is theft, pure and simple.

That's why I always read with interest when pirates are shut down. And a recent report tells of just that. IPTV service Streamzz was recently shut down.

First launched in 2019, Streamzz hosted more than 75,000 movies and 15,000 TV series episodes. The service was used by more than 60 pirated websites, including IPTV services. Based out of Germany, the website had more than 7 million monthly visits on average.

"The shutdown of Streamzz is fresh proof that no one in the content piracy ecosystem -- whether they're a streaming service, video streaming host or anything in between -- is above the law," said Jan van Voorn, executive vice president and global content protection chief of the Motion Picture Association and head of ACE. “We will target piracy services of various kinds in order to protect the global creative economy."

ACE worked with Constantin Film, a member of the coalition, on this action.

I'm glad to see when pirates are shut down. If you have been supporting pirates, I hope you change your ways and stop giving thieves your money. Your Steaming Life should be free of such things.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Netflix subtitles improvements ... finally

Netflix did something recently that some users have wanted for some time. This week, the streaming giant updated their apps to allow users to change how subtitles work.

I have to admit that I never realized that Netflix didn't offer such customization. There are a couple of reason I never noticed it. First, I don't use Netflix that much. Next, when I have used it, I never felt the need to alter the subtitles.

However, some users have wanted to change them, but were not able to. Until now, according to a report in The Verge:

Netflix already offers similar subtitle customizations via the web. Now, the feature is also available globally to TV users, a welcome update considering that Netflix reported in 2018 that 70 percent of its content is watched on TVs, and smart TVs and app-supported streaming boxes have only grown in popularity since. Other streaming platforms such as Disney Plus, Hulu, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime Video also offer similar user adjustments to their own subtitles.

I'm glad Netflix is finally listening to users' wants and requests. It's about time. If Netflix is a part of your Streaming Life, then this should be a welcome update.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Roku drops Roku 4 from support

Roku has finally announced that the Roku 4, model 4400, is no longer receiving support.

I found out about this because of an article I read on Cord Cutters News. According to the Website, Roku sent emails to owners of Roku 4 about the decision. Since I never owned a Roku 4, I didn't get an email. I did check the Roku Hardware page and see that the Roku 4 was moved to the Legacy section, indicating it had indeed been moved from the list of supported devices. I never did get the email.

While your current player will continue to stream and receive critical updates, it doesn’t have the latest capabilities and will soon stop receiving feature updates.

You can keep using your Roku player to stream the channels you currently have. However, this device will no longer get new features or streaming channels, updates to existing channels, or other software-related updates. You may lose access to some channels over time as those channel partners make updates.

I think it's about time. The Roku 4 was the first high end Roku device that I never recommended. That device has had a troubled history, and I thought they should have discontinued support for it a long time ago.

When it came out, I actually considered getting a new Roku device. However, I waited, and I'm glad I did.

When the Roku 4 was released in late 2015, the Roku 3 was two years old, having been released in late 2013. However, they had refreshed the Roku 3 in early 2015, and when the Roku 4 was released, they didn't discontinue the Roku 3.

I had purchased my first Roku in 2010, and had the top of the line model. When new top of the line devices were released, the previous one had been discontinued. However, the Roku 4 was not a replacement for the Roku 3. Rather, it was an expansion of the line. They kept the Roku 3 in the lineup.

Since this was not the way things had been done in the past, I wondered what was up with that. So, I waited to get one. And I'm glad I did.

The Roku 4 had all kind of issues, from being noisy -- it was the first Roku to have a fan -- to locking up or simply stop working altogether. Several Roku users that frequented the support forum actually recommended against it. I didn't, but I did report to others about the issues that had been experienced by some, and always recommended the Roku 3, since it was still in the lineup.

Roku replaced the Roku 4 with the Roku Ultra a year later, and did actually remove the Roku 4 from the lineup, but continued support. I always thought Roku should have offered an exchange for the Roku 4 and dropped support immediately. I would have suggested notifying all Roku users of the decision immediately and offered a year to exchange the device, and gotten that poorly built device out of circulation.

Roku didn't, of course. Rather, they kept pretending it was worth supporting. Well, until recently.

I'm glad to see it moved to the legacy section. By the way, the Roku 3 (both models) are still in the list of supported devices. The Roku 3 was a rock solid device in its day. The Roku 4 was not. I'm glad my Streaming Life never included one of those.