Saturday, November 26, 2022

HBO Max ad-supported

HBO Max has an ad-supported tier that's 1/3 off the price of the regular service. And, that discounted service is on sale right now. But is it worth it?

Short answer: yes.

Long answer: just keep reading.

I subscribe to several streaming services. In fact, I have to check my streaming device menu to see just what all services I have a subscription.

There's Hulu, Netflix, HBO Max, Frndly TV, Peacock, Paramount Plus, AMC Plus, Disney Plus, Discovery Plus, Showtime, Apple TV Plus, and Starz.

So, how much do I pay per month for all this? Around $10-$15 each month.

How? Simple. I only subscribe to one at a time. I binge watch all the stuff I want to watch during that month, then the next month I'll subscribe to a different service.

Some of the services are only $5 or so, and I may subscribe to two of those during a month. My goal is to keep it under $15/month. So, most of the time, it's one of those services, but sometimes it's two.

Over a year, I get to watch a lot of stuff from all those services, and I pay a lot less than most people who watch those services.

This month, I'm doing HBO Max. I actually did Netflix this month. Or, more properly, Netflix with ads is the service I chose to do in November. And while we are still in November, I wanted to watch a movie that was on HBO Max, so I actually started it up a few days early. My December service is HBO Max.

Actually, it's HBO Max Ad-supported. Regular HBO Max is $15/month, while the ad-supported version is $10/month. And, right now, they're running a special where it's $2/month for three months. And that price is good for returning customers, not just new customers. I don't know if I'll keep it all three months, but at this price, I can.

So how is it? It's fine. I watched two movies yesterday. One was a classic film, and the other was a new HBO Max exclusive.

I launched Casablanca, which is a great film, and watched it after lunch, while doing laundry. It played without issue. Last night, I watched A Christmas Story Christmas, which I had been wanting to watch. It played fine without issue.

Actually, I didn't get any ads for either movie. Probably a server glitch, but that tells me that if there's an ad server problem, rather than crash your app, the service simply skips the ad and keeps playing the content. So, I got a test I didn't expect, and it passed the test with flying colors.

So, what am I missing by using the ad-supported version of HBO Max? No same day movies -- that is, no online viewing of movies the day it premieres in theaters -- and no downloads of movies.

I don't really care about either one of those, and ads don't bother me, so for me, the $10/month plan is just fine. And the current deal of $2/month for three months is great. If you want HBO Max content, the current special is a great way to add it to your Streaming Life.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Watching college football games this weekend: Week 13

College football season in now in Week 13, the last full regular season week. All regular season games, excepting possible make-ups of postponed games, and the Army-Navy games, will conclude this week. Three games have already been played: two from the MAC on Tuesday, and one SEC game yesterday. All four unbeaten teams are also playing, including the Big Ten East Division being decided between Ohio State and Michigan. Of the other two unbeatens, both are favored with top ranked Georgia playing host to in-state rival Georgia Tech, while Texas Christian hosts Iowa State.

If you want to watch all of the games this season, you need access to most of the networks, which can get expensive. Of course, you might not want to be able to watch all the games.

This weekend, only one game will not be on these networks. Here are the networks carrying games:

  • ABC
  • ACC Network
  • Big 12 (No games this week)
  • Big Ten
  • CBS
  • CBS Sports Network
  • ESPN
  • ESPN 2
  • ESPN 3
  • ESPN U
  • SEC Network
  • ESPN+
  • Fox
  • Fox Sports 1
  • Longhorn Network (No games this week)
  • NBC (No games this week)
  • NFL Network (No games this week)
  • Pac 12 Network
  • Peacock (No games this week)
  • Stadium
  • FloSports
  • Team1Sports

Here is how to watch these networks listed. Note the prices reflect the announced price increases for Sling TV:

ABC

  • Antenna, over the air, free.
  • Vidgo Plus, $60/month.
  • YouTube TV, $65/month.
  • Fubo TV, $70/month.
  • Hulu+Live TV, $70.
  • DirecTV Stream Entertainment, $70/month.

ACC Network

  • Sling Orange, with Sports Extra, $51/month.
  • Sling Orange+Blue, with Sports Extra, $70/month.
  • Vidgo Plus, $60/month.
  • YouTube TV, $65/month.
  • Fubo TV, $70/month.
  • Hulu+Live TV, $70.
  • DirecTV Stream Choice, $90/month.

Big Ten Network

  • Sling Blue, with Sports Extra, $51/month.
  • Sling Orange+Blue, with Sports Extra, $70/month.
  • Vidgo Plus, $60/month.
  • YouTube TV, $65/month.
  • Fubo TV, $70/month.
  • Hulu+Live TV, $70.
  • DirecTV Stream Choice, $90/month.

CBS

  • Antenna, over the air, free.
  • Paramount+ Premium, $10/month.
  • Vidgo Plus, $60/month.
  • YouTube TV, $65/month.
  • Fubo TV, $70/month.
  • Hulu+Live TV, $70.
  • DirecTV Stream Entertainment, $70/month.

CBS Sports Network

  • YouTube TV, $65/month.
  • Fubo TV, $70/month.
  • Hulu+Live TV, $70.
  • DirecTV Stream Ultimate, $105/month.

ESPN

  • Sling Orange, $40/month.
  • Sling Orange+Blue, $55/month.
  • Vidgo Plus, $60/month.
  • YouTube TV, $65/month.
  • Fubo TV, $70/month.
  • Hulu+Live TV, $70.
  • DirecTV Stream Entertainment, $70/month.

ESPN2

  • Sling Orange, $40/month.
  • Sling Orange+Blue, $55/month.
  • Vidgo Plus, $60/month.
  • YouTube TV, $65/month.
  • Fubo TV, $70/month.
  • Hulu+Live TV, $70.
  • DirecTV Stream Entertainment, $70/month.

ESPN U

  • Sling Orange, $40/month.
  • Sling Orange+Blue, $55/month.
  • Vidgo Plus, $60/month.
  • YouTube TV, $65/month.
  • Hulu+Live TV, $70.
  • DirecTV Stream Entertainment, $70/month.
  • Fubo TV Elite, $80/month.

ESPN3

ESPN3 is usually included with a service that carries standard ESPN/ESPN2.

  • Sling Orange, $40/month.
  • Sling Orange+Blue, $55/month.
  • Vidgo Plus, $60/month.
  • YouTube TV, $65/month.
  • Fubo TV, $70/month.
  • Hulu+Live TV, $70.
  • DirecTV Stream Entertainment, $70/month.

ESPN+

ESPN+ is a standalone sports programming service. It is not the same thing as regular ESPN that you get with cable or one of the live streaming services. Some content from ESPN, ESPN2, or other ESPN networks may be available on ESPN+, but often, it's content that is only available on ESPN+.

  • ESPN+, $7/month.
  • Disney Bundle, $14/month.

Fox

  • Antenna, over the air, free.
  • Vidgo Plus, $60/month.
  • YouTube TV, $65/month.
  • Fubo TV, $70/month.
  • Hulu+Live TV, $70.
  • DirecTV Stream Entertainment, $70/month.

Fox Sports 1

  • Sling Blue, with Sports Extra, $51/month.
  • Sling Orange+Blue, with Sports Extra, $70/month.
  • Vidgo Plus, $60/month.
  • YouTube TV, $65/month.
  • Fubo TV, $70/month.
  • Hulu+Live TV, $70.
  • DirecTV Stream Entertainment, $70/month.

Longhorn Network

  • Sling Blue, with Sports Extra, $51/month.
  • Sling Orange+Blue, with Sports Extra, $70/month.
  • Vidgo Plus, $60/month.

NBC

  • Antenna, over the air, free.
  • YouTube TV, $65/month.
  • Fubo TV, $70/month.
  • Hulu+Live TV, $70.
  • DirecTV Stream Entertainment, $70/month.

NFL Network

  • Sling Blue, with Sports Extra, $51/month.
  • Sling Orange+Blue, with Sports Extra, $70/month.
  • Vidgo Plus, $60/month.
  • YouTube TV, $65/month.
  • Fubo TV, $70/month.
  • Hulu+Live TV, $70.

Pac 12 Network

  • Sling Blue, $40/month.
  • Sling Orange+Blue, $55/month.
  • Vidgo Plus, $60/month.
  • Fubo TV Pro, with Fubo Extra, $78/month.
  • Fubo TV Elite, $80/month.

Peacock TV

Peacock is a standalone streaming service that carries NBCUniversal programming, including much sports from NBC as well as exclusive sports programming. Peacock Premium is $5/month, but is included with Xfinity Internet plans.

SEC Network

  • Sling Orange, $40/month.
  • Sling Orange+Blue, $55/month.
  • Vidgo Plus, $60/month.
  • YouTube TV, $65/month.
  • Hulu+Live TV, $70.
  • DirecTV Stream Choice, $90/month.
  • Fubo TV Ultimate, $100/month.

Stadium, Mountain West

  • Website, free.
  • Stadium app, free.
  • Plex, free.
  • Roku Channel, free.
  • Sling Free, free.
  • STIRR, free.
  • Tubi, free.
  • Xumo, free.
  • Vidgo Plus, $60/month.
  • YouTube TV, $65/month.
  • Fubo TV, $70/month.
  • Stadium app, free.

FloSports

  • FloSports app, $13/month.

Team1Sports

  • Team1Sports app, free

This list of networks covers all the games airing today. It also covers games next week through Friday, as the early games next week are all on one of these networks.

NOTE: Several networks are not needed this weekend.

To watch all the games, having an antenna won't really matter, as in order to get all the networks carrying games, the services also carry the OTA stations. So, how much to watch them all?

The services necessary will cost $98. That's $78 for Fubo TV Pro + Fubo Extra, along with $7 for ESPN+, and $13 for FloSports.

If you want college football in your Streaming Life, you have options, though it can get expensive depending just how many games you want to watch.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Thanksgiving 2022

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 23, 2022

How to watch Doctor Who

Today is Doctor Who day. Well, it is for those that care about that sort of thing.

On November 23, 1963, at 5:46 PM, BBC aired the first episode ever of Doctor Who. Nobody figured that 59 years later, the TV show would still be relevant.

Now, to be sure, the show has not been on for 59 years. In 1989, the 26th season of the show ended. From a London policeman walking in the fog outside 76 Totter's Lane on November 23, 1963, to The Doctor and Ace walking in the sunshine across a field, 26 years and 13 days had passed.

The show was canceled, and would remain so for years.

A 1996 TV movie made by Universal and BBC failed to be picked up as a series. On March 26, 2005, BBC aired the first episode of the revived series. Initially, it was considered to be a reboot of the series, but it developed into a continuation instead, with all previous episodes as part of the same canon.

The show was a worldwide hit, and reached its peak popularity during David Tennant's time as the 10th Doctor, and began to taper off during Matt Smith's 11th Doctor and Peter Capaldi's 12th Doctor, bottoming out during Jodie Whitaker's 13th Doctor.

There are fans that only like the original classic Doctor Who. There are fans that only like the newer series. There are fans that like both.

So, how does one watch Doctor Who? Well, that depends on which version you want.

Classic Doctor Who episodes -- all that exist, which is another story in itself -- are available on Brit Box. Additionally, some free ad-support television (FAST) services carry streams of Doctor Who. This includes Pluto TV, Xumo, Plex, and Roku Channel.

The revived series is available on HBO Max. Next year, new episodes will debut on Disney+, but for now, HBO Max is your home for NuWho.

Whichever show you like -- classic, new, or both -- you have options when it comes to inviting the Doctor and his TARDIS crew into your Streaming Life.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Free holiday content

Being a streamer and having streaming devices connected to the TV opens up a lot of possibilities for streaming holiday content.

Let me drop this in right now: I'm not one that's afraid to say "Christmas." I say holidays because the content I'm talking about is more than just Christmas, although the bulk of it is for Christmas.

Anyway, there are a lot of ways to stream content for Christmas, Thanksgiving, and other holidays using your streaming devices. And I'm talking about free content. That's right, won't cost you a cent.

Most of this is free ad-supported television (FAST) content. Now, if commercials are a problem for you, this isn't the article for you. But, if you don't mind watching some commercials, and appreciate free content as a result, then you have lots of options for watching FAST holiday movies and TV.

Pluto TV

The granddaddy of FAST apps has a Season's Greetings section. It has nine linear (live streaming) channels. If you look around the live channel guide, you'll see Christmas channels in other sections, but they are duplicates of what's in the Season's Greetings section. Of course, some other channels will occasionally have Christmas or other holiday content. These nine are all Christmas content, including movies, fireplace, music videos, and one Spanish language channel.

Xumo

The Comcast backed FAST service has a Holiday Hub that has 17 live streaming channels. This includes five music channels and a music video channel, but no fireplace channels.

Crackle

This long-time favorite now has a more family friendly approach since it was acquired by Chicken Soup for the Soul. Crackle doesn't have a live-streaming hub of holiday content, but does have a Holiday section of 160 on-demand movies. They are mostly Christmas themed, but there are other holidays represented, including Thanksgiving. Additionally, there are four selections in the TV section, mostly Kirstie's Handmade episodes.

Tubi

The Fox-owned Tubi has a Holiday Hits category with 200 on-demand selections. There is no linear content, but that is a fair number of on-demand movies and TV. Tubi has some fireplace and Christmas music based selections that run about an hour each.

Plex

This service has both live streaming and on-demand sections. However, it's doesn't contain the focus of other services. There is no Holiday or similar category in the Movies & Shows section. However, there are over 250 on-demand holiday themed movies. But beware: there are all sorts of sub-genre and mixed genre holiday movies, including horror films. Not everything is suitable for family viewing.

Unfortunately, in the Live TV section, there is no category for holiday content.

Others?

This is not intended to be an all-encompassing list of apps and services offering holiday content, but simple to share information about some of the ways you can watch it.

Why haven't I mentioned Roku Channel? Because, at least as of today, Roku Channel doesn't have a holiday hub of any type. Same with Sling TV free. On these services, you may find some content here and there mixed in with other programming, but there isn't a single place to go for holiday content within these apps. Perhaps they will after Thanksgiving. If they do, I'll provide an update.

Despite the disappointment that some of the services and apps don't have a section for holiday content, there are several free options for holiday content, mostly Christmas content. If that's something you want in your Streaming Life, you'll be happy.

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