Friday, October 22, 2021

The Roku-Google pissing contest continues

Remember when Roku and Google got into a pissing contest over a new agreement to carry the YouTube TV app? Well, nothing has changed. Yet. It could be about to get worse, though. Roku might lose the YouTube app as well.

In a recent blog post, Roku says there has been no progress made:

​There are two primary concerns we are working to address: First, Google continues to interfere with Roku’s independent search results, requiring that we preference YouTube over other content providers. This is a concern shared by many companies who believe that customers deserve neutral and relevant results to their search queries. Second, Google discriminates against Roku by demanding search, voice, and data features that they do not insist on from other streaming platforms. ​

​While we are working to resolve our differences, we want to be transparent about these negotiations. As we shared in April, the threat remains that Google may remove YouTubeTV from the Roku platform. We continue to believe that streamers stand to benefit from Google and Roku reaching a fair agreement and we remain committed to trying to achieve that goal.

Roku refers to the threat of Google removing YouTube TV from the Google platform. Google, however, says that YouTube, not just YouTube TV, will be removed in December if negotiations don't go well:

In a statement to Variety, a Google rep said, “Since our negotiations with Roku earlier this year, we’ve continued to work with them to find a resolution that benefits our mutual users. Roku has once again chosen to make unproductive and baseless claims rather than try to work constructively with us. Since we haven’t been able to continue our conversations in good faith, our partnership for all new Roku devices will unfortunately end on December 9. We are, however, giving Roku the ability to continue distributing both YouTube and YouTube TV apps to all existing users to make sure they are not impacted.”

This ups the stakes. Current users will continue to get the service, but new users won't. And they'll be the loudest, whiniest ones.

Don't get me wrong, things should go in such a way that a platform is able to carry the apps they want to carry. However, Google has the right to ask for things. Who is right? Probably neither. But more Roku than Google.

In the NBCUniversal dustup, I thought Google was correct. In this one, I lean more towards Roku.

If YouTube and YouTube TV come off Roku in December, what will that mean for me? Nothing. I already have the apps and the apps will continue to work. But for new users of Roku, they'll be all whiny and such, and as I said, I understand that.

Should they avoid buying Roku? Between now and December, no. If you have the YouTube or YouTube TV app, the services will continue to work. After December 9, if things don't go well? I don't know. I'll think about it between now and then.

Our Streaming Lives shouldn't be this hard.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Tablo Connect

I've mentioned before that I manage the TV setup for a couple of houses. At my mother's house -- it belongs to me and two of my sisters since my mother's passing -- I bought and paid to set up a TV antenna. That house has a good location for aiming an antenna at Savannah and getting 25 stations.

My house is not in such a situation. Even though I'm a couple of miles closer to Savannah, the lay of the land means I'm not going to get a lot of channels. An antenna isn't worth the effort.

At my mother's house (I still think of it that way) I have Air TV set up for watching local channels from the antenna. At another house I manage, there's an antenna and a Tablo setup. A while back, I added Tablo to my mother's house, giving that location two different ways to pick up over the air TV. I even added a Fire TV Recast there. She had a Fire TV television set, and this would work with it. So there were three different ways to pick up TV antenna content. But that's at my mother's house, not at my house.

Enter Tablo Connect.

With Air TV and Fire TV Recast, you can only watch if you're on the same network from streaming device. You can watch on a mobile device -- phone or tablet -- but not on a dedicated streaming device.

Tablo has a feature called Tablo Connect. It lets you watch TV away from your network, not just with a mobile device, but with a dedicated streaming device. Tablo Connect lets users of Fire TV, Apple TV (new models), and Android/Google TV including Chromecast and Nvidia Shield can watch away from home.

Notice that Roku isn't a part of this. My favorite streaming device doesn't support Tablo Connect. Or Tablo Connect doesn't support Roku. Either way, they don't work together. So, if you're have Roku and only Roku user, you can't take advantage of this feature.

I have the four major platforms. Roku, of course, but also Apple TV, Fire TV, and Android/Google TV (Chromecast). That means I have three options when it comes to using Tablo Connect. And, I've decided to do just that.

I had to configure my router to work with Tablo Connect. Port forwarding was required and was actually easy to set up. Not as easy as I hoped, as I entered the ports backwards. Silly me. But, I corrected my error, and the setup completed in short order.

Next was to sync a device with the Tablo device. My Fire TV, Chromecast, and Apple TV all were set up with Tablo, and I decided to use the Chromecast device. syncing was seamless. In fact, all I had to do was check the menu to sync, but it said the device was already synced.

Taking the Chromecast to my house, I connected it to my TV and launched the Tablo app. Sure enough, the app worked just like I was at the location with the antenna. Sure, I was only a couple of miles away, but I was on a different network, meaning I could have been anywhere and it would have been the same.

Now, I can watch live TV from my TV antenna, even though I'm miles away. I always hated not being able to put up an antenna here. But, I did the next best thing: I put one up at another house and use it.

I'm limited to that one TV to watch by, however. I could add other devices with the Tablo app to other TVs, but I first need to take the device to my mother's house and sync it. I might just do that. But there's one other thing I might do.

Remember I said there's a third house I managed the TV for? It's a bit away from here, and gets local TV from a different city. That's the one that first had a Tablo. I may configure it for Tablo Connect, and put another device on my TV that gets over the air channels from there.

I love playing with these big boy tech toys. It's one of the fun parts of my Streaming Life.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021


When I was a teenager, there was an underground comic called The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. I don't recall if I saw the comics themselves, or if they were printed in another magazine, but I do remember reading them. Well, some of them anyway. It's possible I ended up reading them all, or all that were available at the time.

I did a lot of stupid stuff when I was a teenager.

I will admit that some of the antics of the "brothers" were funny. Some were ... let's say that while they characters weren't really brothers, they were freaks. If you really want to know the details, go look it up. I'm not going to tell any of the tales of the trio, but I will say that some of the satire was very well done, some emphasized shock value to get points across. I didn't always agree, but I did appreciate the humor. Well, some of the humor.

This bit of the 1960s and 1970s (when I discovered the trio) isn't relegated to the past, as it turns out. Streaming service Tubi has announced they'll be producing original content containing the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, with the series starting November 14:

THE FREAK BROTHERS will headline Tubi’s first foray into adult animation, as it expands its adult humor collection in the coming months. The additional episodes from Season One will drop on Sundays, one every week, through the finale, Sunday, Dec. 26. The eight-episode series chronicles the escapades of a trio of stoner anti-establishment characters and their cat who wake up from a 50-year nap after smoking a magical strain of weed in 1969, and must adjust to life with a new family in present-day San Francisco.

I'm not sure what to think about it. What was shocking in 1970 is tame today. Well, much of it is. Will this turn into The Second Hundred Years? Another second-half of It's About Time? Or, Encino Man, for you younger ones. It seems it will just be one of those tropes where someone from the past deals with the world today.

That's not what the original Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers were. They were contemporary, from today's world, but with a different outlook on the world. They weren't outsiders from out of time. They were of the time as the times were changing.

I'm not sure if I'll watch the show. I had the opportunity a couple of years ago to re-read some of The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers and I was less than impressed. I was no longer a teenager looking for something that was rebellious. I was a grown man who had real life to deal with. I did find some part of it still funny, though. And a few things still outside the acceptable behavior of pretty much anyone civilized.

I can't say I look back fondly on The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers but I'm not sure I like what they're doing to it. But, I could be wrong. It may turn out to be funny and relevant. And, if it does, it may become a regular part of my Streaming Life.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Frndly.TV gets friendlier II

Last week, Frndly.TV announced that they would be adding two more channels to their lineup. GAC Family and GAC Living join the lineup today.

Frndly TV, the leading affordable live TV provider for the whole family, and GAC Media, home to GAC Family and GAC Living, today announced an agreement which makes both networks available to all Frndly TV subscribers. GAC Family and GAC Living will debut on Frndly TV on Tuesday, October 19 increasing the service’s offering to 23 channels, with nine channels in total having been added since February 2021.

If you aren't sure what those channels are, you probably know them by their old names: Great American County and Ride TV.

Discovery sold Great American County off to a newly formed GAC Media, which then bought Ride TV. Great American Country is now rebranded as GAC Family and Ride TV is now GAC Living. As stated, they join the Frndly.TV lineup today.

If you are looking for a good source of family oriented programming, Frndly.TV is a bargain at $6/month. For HD and DVR capability, the $8 is required. There is also a $10/month plan that has more concurrent streams and longer DVR retention. Whichever plan you pick, I think you'll like including Frndly.TV in your Streaming Life.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Watching The Simpsons

Over the years, I've seen many episodes of The Simpsons. I remember first watching the characters when they were shorts/bumpers featured within The Tracey Ullman Show during its first couple of seasons. I don't remember watching it when it first became its own thing, but I may have. I did see many episodes over the next 30+ years, but never watched it regularly.

Now, there is the opportunity for me to catch up on all the episodes. And get paid in the process.

Platin Casino, a company with a UK Website and a Maltese incorporation, is offering to pay people to watch the show.

I'm wondering if I should try this. I'd have to allot 35½ hours a week to do this. If I spent 12 hours each on Saturday and Sunday, that would mean I'd still need to spend around 2½ hours each night, if I kept my day job.

This sounds more like something a person without a job would do.

Maybe more companies will start doing this. Then I could get paid for what I do. My Streaming Life and my real life would finally become one!