Sunday, April 30, 2023

Finally, a Roku TV

For years, I've had a Roku device. But I've never had a Roku TV.

There weren't any such thing when I started streaming in 2010, and my Roku was a set top box that worked really well with my existing TV.

I did try a Roku stick when they were introduced. If you wonder what that has to do with a Roku TV, you may remember (or just now be finding out) that the first Roku Sticks were MHL devices, not standard HDMI devices, and were initially sold as part of a "Roku Ready TV." I never had one of those, but when they came out with an HDMI version, I bought one.

I own a Roku Streambar, which is a third form factor Roku device. But in all this time I never owned a Roku TV.

I've used Roku TV devices. My sister had one at my mothers, and when my mother passed away, I had to handle a lot of things on site for a while and actually stayed there for a period of time. I used the Roku TV then, hated it, and attached a Roku Stick to it, making the fact it was a Roku TV no longer a factor. I used the attached Roku device, and just the screen and sound from the TV, not the Roku software and interface of the TV.

The reason is that the TV was very slow and sluggish. Well, at least compared to the higher end Roku devices I had attached to my TVs. I didn't like the infrared remote that came with the TV -- it was the infrared, line of sight part that I didn't like -- so I was going to get a Voice Remote anyway, so I just got a Stick for a few dollars more, since it included the Voice Remote anyway.

So while I never owned a Roku TV, I have used Roku TV, but wasn't impressed.

That could change. The owning part has actually changed.

I decided to add a third TV to the mix, putting TVs in the living room (existing) and two bedrooms (a TV was already in one bedroom). And, when I decided to make the purchase, the new Roku built TVs were on sale at Best Buy. So, I bought one.

I've installed it and used it a little. And I like it, so far. I'm going to try it for a bit and see if I continue to like it, or if my opinion will change.

My Streaming Life has never included a Roku TV of my own. Until now. I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Why Netflix won't sell its DVD business to Redbox

You may have heard that Netflix is shutting down its DVD business. That's kind of a big deal.

Netflix started as a DVD business, and did that for several years before they started a streaming line. Now, it's primarily a streaming business and DVDs are an afterthought.

With the recent news about Netflix getting out of the DVD business, some may have wondered by they don't sell the business to Redbox.

So, why don't they sell the business to Redbox?

TV Answer Man Phillip Swann was asked that very question recently, and explained it very well:

Why wouldn’t Netflix sell? Money is money, right? The unit is closing anyway so why not get a few more dollars from the old girl?

My guess is that Netflix believes that a Redbox sale would help boost the DVD business at a time when Netflix wants to keep the world focused exclusively on streaming. That is Netflix’s priority now. While the sale would bring in some money, the relatively small amount that Redbox would pay for less than two million subscribers is not worth it to Netflix. Putting another nail in the DVD category is more important.

That makes sense. Netflix must figure that what they'll make on streaming is more than what they'd get from selling the DVD business.

My Streaming Life hasn't included DVD rentals for a very long time. I've ripped DVDs I own and added them to my local video library, but actual DVDs from rental? Nope. I won't miss Netflix DVDs, not really. But I hate that those that use the service won't easily transfer to another service like Redbox.

Friday, April 28, 2023

Frndly TV viewership increases

For a while, I've been a fan of Frndly TV. It's a good selection of family friendly TV at a low cost. In fact, it is the only year-round live TV streaming service I use.

Now I know that I mention that I don't use a live TV streaming service, but the fact is I have subscribe to Frndly TV for years. I don't use the expensive ones that get most of the major cable channels because I don't care for the content that's available. If I did have one of those services, the content I would watch would be the same content you get on Frndly TV, or a close approximation.

I've thought of Frndly TV as a well kept secret and never understood why more people didn't subscribe. Well, more people are subscribing.

A report this week says that the viewership for April (so far) is up 90% over last April. It has nearly doubled in a year:

Here is a quick breakdown of what Frndly TV announced about its 1st quarter 2023 numbers:

  • Total viewership on Frndly TV increased 82%
  • Viewership per subscriber increased 50% per week
  • Weekly active users increased 30%
  • Impressions increased 90%
  • Ad sales revenue increased 78%

"These numbers show the continuing appeal of Frndly TV to both our subscribers and advertisers," said Steve Sklar, Frndly TV Head of Advertising Sales. "We are demonstrating to the marketplace that quality, feel-good programming at a very accessible price is a model of success."

Frndly TV did not disclose subscriber numbers at this time.

For $7/month, you get a lot of content, including the three Hallmark channels, as well as a lot of other family friendly programming. I actually use the $9/month plan that includes HD (1080), DVR, and two streams.

My Streaming Life includes Frndly TV, and you may want to consider it for yours.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

YouTube TV upgrades

There are many that cut the cord that turn around and subscribe to a live streaming service such as Sling TV, YouTube TV, Hulu+Live TV, or others. That's not something I did, or do.

The reason I didn't is that when I cut the cord, they didn't exist. I cut the cord in January 2011, and the first live streaming service didn't launch until 2015. After over four years, I found that I didn't need to pay for such a service. And, more importantly, I didn't want to.

I mention this so you'll have a better perspective on what I'm writing. When upgrades or changes happen to these live streaming services, they don't usually impact me. I don't get as excited about these things as others, because quite honestly, it doesn't really matter to me.

However, I realize that many who cut the cord are simply transferring their bills from one company to another. I cut the cord to save money, not to simply pay someone else the money.

Sure, many people are paying less money for a live streaming service than they paid for cable or satellite, but I'm paying even less, because I found that I don't need such a service. At least, I don't need it year round.

I read an article recently about upgrades to YouTube TV. It's mostly about picture quality, but that is a big deal. Getting a better picture for the same money is a good thing. Only, it's not for the same money, since it's for an extra $8/month:

The biggest one though is listed as "Picture Quality Experiments" and this could make the extra $8 a month actually worth it.

The first of these picture quality experiments is a transcoding upgrade that will improve the bitrate for live HD content — aka content in 1080p. Practically, this should reduce visible compression and pixelation and create a noticeably better picture. According to YouTube TV, this bitrate improvement will be targeted at "devices that support the VP9 codec with high-speed internet connections" and is temporary for now but could become permanent this summer.

The article also mentions Multiview, that rolled out for March Madness to allow subscribers to watch multiple games at the same time.

Improvements to YouTube TV are going to be very helpful to subscribers. My Streaming Life doesn't involve YouTube TV -- not at the moment, anyway -- but if yours does, this may be a welcome upgrade and option.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

PBS coming to Local Now

I've been a supporter of PBS for years. No, I don't like everything they air, but I do appreciate what they do, and feel it's worthwhile to support. And I do.

I first became a PBS supporter, giving back in the 1970s. It was a result of one of those fundraisers that everyone hates, but are necessary because, well, quite honestly, they work. It worked on me, and I'm a tough nut to crack.

Anyway, I am a PBS supporter, and use the PBS app. As a supporter, I can access the Passport content.

I was happy when I saw an article recently that PBS was coming to Local Now:

Not all markets are live yet on the Local Now app, but PBS stations are starting to go live. If your market is not let yet by the end of 2023, you should find your local PBS on Local Now.

"The addition of local PBS stations is a major achievement for Local Now and cements our position as the leader of free-streaming local news and entertainment in America," said Byron Allen, Founder/Chairman/CEO of Allen Media Group, the parent company of Local Now told Deadline. "Viewers of all ages know and love PBS, and soon they will be able to stream this amazing content for free, anytime."
I checked this morning, and it's not yet available for me. I'm assuming being in southeast Georgia, I'm not high on their priority list. It's like that for a lot of things. Many of the networks don't think about us, or like us. Well, me anyway.

Still, the news that PBS is coming is a thing I was happy to see. My Streaming Life is getting better.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023


One of the things I struggle with regarding this blog is the appearance. I like traditional things, and this blog has had a traditional look since it launched. However, I realize that sometimes things need to change. So we changed.

Is it change for the sake of change? Well, yes, I suppose it is. I hate change for the sake of change. If something is working, why mess with it? Sure, if there is a reason, then great, make the change. If things are better, or can be better, then change. But to change just to change? I don't like that.

I hate it when grocery stores or other retailers change things up. The old adage about Walmart rearranging everything just about the time you figure out where everything is rings true. So, did I do the same thing here?

Well, probably. I've tried to justify it, but I'm not sure if there was a good reason to change.

The look is a more modern look, which I'm thinking of in the line of a new shirt or new trousers or a new haircut. Of course, my wardrobe is a simple one, with many of the same style shirts and trousers, so any change is a big change for me.

I hope I get used to the change here. I hope you get used to the change here. And another change may be coming. I want things to look good, but I'm not really sure what it is I want.

My Streaming Life is pretty simple, and I want the blog of the same name to be that way too. Changing when it needs to, but remaining simple and comfortable.

Monday, April 24, 2023

Amazon Internet is coming ... next year

Amazon announced this past week that its Internet service would begin service in 2024.

No exact date beyond that was announced in the letter to shareholders sent out last week.

CEO Andy Jassy also said that the expected price for equipment would be about $200 less than that of Starlink.

Beta service will begin some time next year:

Our teams have developed low-cost antennas (i.e. customer terminals) that will lower the barriers to access. We recently unveiled the new terminals that will communicate with the satellites passing overhead, and we expect to be able to produce our standard residential version for less than $400 each. They’re small: 11 inches square, 1 inch thick, and weigh less than 5 pounds without their mounting bracket, but they deliver speeds up to 400 megabits per second. And they’re powered by Amazon-designed baseband chips. We’re preparing to launch two prototype satellites to test the entire end-to-end communications network this year, and plan to be in beta with commercial customers in 2024.

While I'm happy with my Comcast home Internet service, it's nice to have other options. I may become unhappy with Comcast service one day, and want to have a viable option. Starlink is an option now, but an additional option is welcome, especially if the startup cost is cheaper. My Streaming Life is good, but I want to keep my options open.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Installing an antenna

How easy is it to install an antenna?

Well, it's not always that easy. There are a lot of things involved in it. But, you can do it. Maybe.

So, just what is involved?

I've wanted to write about this for some time, but as there are many factors to consider, it's not something I've followed through on. But TV Answer Man Phillip Swann did.

He has broken it out into seven steps. And the second step is the most important:

2. Choose the right antenna

Once you know where the broadcast towers are located, you can choose the right antenna. There are many different types of antennas available on the market, so make sure to choose one that is designed to receive signals from the direction of your local broadcast towers. If you are unsure, consult with a professional or ask for recommendations at your local electronics store.

Let me add that I've also found that Tyler the Antenna Man offers a very good service for helping with that. Don't skimp on an antenna. If you put the money into an antenna, you might as well do it right.

My Streaming Life is better with an antenna. Yours might be as well.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Netflix DVDs are going away

The news hit this past week that Netflix was exiting the DVD market.

For those that may not remember, or who never knew, Netflix started as a DVD rental service where you would use a Web page on the Internet to order movies on DVD.

Think about it. You used the Internet (Net) to order movies ("flicks"). Net, flicks. Net, flix. Netflix.

And you thought it was just for streaming.

Well, soon it will be. Reports came out this week that Netflix announced it's dwindling DVD service will go away:

While times have changed since our first shipment in March 1998, our goal has remained the same: to provide you with access to the broadest collection of movies and shows possible, delivered directly to your door, with no due dates or late fees.

As the DVD business continues to shrink, it’s going to become increasingly difficult to achieve that goal. In our final season, we’ll continue providing you the best service possible, all the way to the very last shipment.

I stopped using DVDs some time ago, and before they moved the DVD service to it's own Website. My Streaming Life has supplanted the need for DVDs. But I have to admit, I'll miss the service not being there, even though I've not used it in years.

Friday, April 21, 2023

Netflix password sharing limits coming to USA

If you are sharing your Netflix password with others, you may start encountering some push back from Netflix soon.

The company has announced that the crackdown on password sharing is coming to the United States.

Netflix has been doing this in other countries for a little bit now, and so far the results have been good. Well, good for Netflix, which is why they're doing this.

Now, the USA is going to be part of the crackdown:

After testing out its password sharing crackdown in several markets, including Canada, Netflix says they saw subscriber numbers go up after the crackdown.

"A Netflix account is meant to be shared in one household (people who live in the same location with the account owner)," Netflix says on the customer-help section. "People who are not in your household will need to sign up for their own account to watch Netflix."

This won't be a big deal for me. I found out years ago that the content on Netflix wasn't enough for me to keep the subscription. I'll subscribe to the service from time to time, as part of my subscription rotation, but it's not something I watch with any regularity.

However, Netflix is a very popular streaming service, and part of that is the password sharing. That's ending soon in the USA. Well, you can pay more to share passwords, which is the whole idea.

The cost for sharing is nearly as much as the cost for a separate subscription, meaning that many will simply pay for a new subscription rather than for a sharing plan. My Streaming Life won't be impacted by this, but yours might.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Watching the NBA playoffs (2023)

Not only did I miss the beginning of the NHL playoffs, I also missed the beginning of the NBA playoffs as well.

Same reason, as well. I don't normally watch basketball at any level. And wouldn't you know it, the playoffs started a few days ago and I missed the beginning.

The games are airing on ABC, ESPN, and TNT.


  • Antenna, over the air, free.
  • DirecTV (Entertainment), $65/month.
  • Hulu+Live TV, $70/month.
  • Vidgo (Plus), $70/month.
  • YouTube TV, $73/month.
  • Fubo (Pro), $75/month.


  • Sling (Orange), $40/month.
  • Sling (Orange+Blue), $55/month.
  • DirecTV (Entertainment), $65/month.
  • Hulu+Live TV, $70/month.
  • Vidgo (Plus), $70/month.
  • YouTube TV, $73/month.
  • Fubo (Pro), $75/month.


  • Sling (Orange), $40/month.
  • Sling (Blue), $40/month.
  • Sling (Orange+Blue), $55/month.
  • DirecTV (Entertainment), $65/month.
  • Hulu+Live TV, $70/month.
  • Vidgo (Plus), $70/month.
  • YouTube TV, $73/month.
  • Fubo (Pro), $75/month.
My Streaming Life doesn't usually include basketball, but if you want it in yours, then you have plenty of options.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Streaming NHL playoffs (2023)

Oopsie! I missed the fact that the NHL playoffs were starting. They started yesterday.

Part of the reason I missed it is that I don't watch hockey. Actually, that's the entire reason. I don't watch a lot of sports. I used to watch baseball and football, but nothing else. Now, I don't even watch much baseball any more, and only college football. I'm not sure if that's because of age, or my getting fed up with the behavior of professional athletes. Probably both.

However, just because I don't watch it doesn't mean it's not important for others. And if watching the NHL playoffs is important for you, then here's how you can watch the games.

ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, TBS, and TNT will carry the various games throughout the playoffs, with the finals on TNT.


  • Antenna, over the air, free.
  • DirecTV (Entertainment), $65/month.
  • Hulu+Live TV, $70/month.
  • Vidgo (Plus), $70/month.
  • YouTube TV, $73/month.
  • Fubo (Pro), $75/month.


  • Sling (Orange), $40/month.
  • Sling (Orange+Blue), $55/month.
  • DirecTV (Entertainment), $65/month.
  • Hulu+Live TV, $70/month.
  • Vidgo (Plus), $70/month.
  • YouTube TV, $73/month.
  • Fubo (Pro), $75/month.


  • Sling (Orange), $40/month.
  • Sling (Blue), $40/month.
  • Sling (Orange+Blue), $55/month.
  • DirecTV (Entertainment), $65/month.
  • Hulu+Live TV, $70/month.
  • Vidgo (Plus), $70/month.
  • YouTube TV, $73/month.
  • Fubo (Pro), $75/month.


  • Sling (Orange), $40/month.
  • Sling (Blue), $40/month.
  • Sling (Orange+Blue), $55/month.
  • DirecTV (Entertainment), $65/month.
  • Hulu+Live TV, $70/month.
  • Vidgo (Plus), $70/month.
  • YouTube TV, $73/month.
  • Fubo (Pro), $75/month.

My Streaming Life doesn't usually include ice hockey, but if you want it in yours, then you have plenty of options.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

AMC+ ad-supported

I've mentioned before about unknowingly been a subscriber to AMC+. Briefly, I subscribed, then forgot I had subscribed and it renewed at an annual rate. It expires in November.

Why does this matter? Well, it doesn't, not really. Except that a new plan that AMC+ is planning would save some money.

According to a report, AMC is planning a new ad-supported tier:

AMC+ is joining a long list of premium subscription streaming products that have opted to embrace advertising alongside their ad-free tiers. In the last 6 months, both Disney+ and Netflix have launched cheaper ad-supported tiers, while HBO Max launched its ad-supported tier in 2021. Among major streaming services, only Apple TV+ remains completely ad-free (though its Major League Soccer games do have sponsors).

I like the idea of ad-supported tiers being available to save money, while those that want to pay more to keep commercials away can do so.

My Streaming Life would include the ad-supported tier if it was available when I (unintentionally) subscribed. And if I do renew, it will be at the lower rate. I can deal with ads, and with saving money.

Monday, April 17, 2023

New roof and indoor antennae

Some years back, my mother replaced her roof. She had wanted a metal roof for some time, and finally pulled the trigger and got one.

It did not impact her TV viewing, since she had cable at the time. When I put up an antenna at her house, I put up one outside because her house is over 40 miles from the TV towers.

But, what if she lived closer? What if an indoor antenna would have worked. Would the new roof have caused a problem?

Well, yes, it would have.

Tablo answered a question recently from someone who was looking to put a metal roof on a house. As the questioner has an indoor antenna, that will be a problem:

Investing in a metal roof can be tempting since they last more than twice as long as more traditional asphalt shingles.

But whereas asphalt, wood, and clay shingles do absorb some Over-the-Air TV signal reducing overall signal strength, metal will completely block signals and prevent them from reaching your antenna.

Unless Glenn is willing to relocate his antenna outdoors, he should probably stick with what is currently installed.

My mother's situation was that an outdoor antenna was necessary anyway. She didn't have the issue that questioner Glen will have. My Streaming Life has had to overcome the distance to the TV towers. Fortunately for me, I didn't have to re-do anything when my mother replaced her roof.

Sunday, April 16, 2023

A glimmer of hope for in-market baseball streaming

People in Georgia and four other states can't stream Braves baseball live unless they subscribe to an expensive service that includes regional sports networks Bally Sports South and Bally Sports Southeast.

Fans of other teams have similar problems, as Major League Baseball has teams locked into regional sports contracts that blackout live games in large areas.

This could change as regional sports networks are having a very hard time right now. AT&T SportsNet has shut down, and Bally Sports has missed some payments and has filed for bankruptcy.

Businesses shutting down and people losing their jobs isn't how I wanted the dam to break, but this appears to be going on, and an upside of this is that baseball teams may not be restricted from streaming in-market games live.

According to an analysis from Cord Cutters News, the end of blackouts for live streaming games won't happen all at one, and the final end to it is years away.

Any time that has a contract with AT&T SportsNets are likely to be some of the first to offer in-market streaming. Warner Bros. Discovery has already said they plan to shut down AT&T SportsNets this year just. The question now is when will AT&T SportsNets shut down. After that happens, it is reported that the TV rights will return to MLB, allowing them to be resold or allowing them to be streamed online. For now, though, there are rumors that AT&T SportsNet may keep running until the end of the 2023 MLB season.

The teams with AT&T SportsNets contracts include the Astros, Pirates, and Rockies at this time.

Bally Sports is also reportedly struggling to make payments to some MLB teams. Now MLB is asking for these teams to be released from their RSN contracts. If that happens, The Arizona Diamondbacks, Cleveland Guardians, and Minnesota Twins could be free to stream online as soon as this season.

Fans of these teams may be the first to benefit from an otherwise difficult situation. My Streaming Life may eventually benefit from it as well.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Watching USFL Season 2

Spring football, specifically the USFL's sophomore season, begins today. Eight teams will be playing this season.

  • Birmingham Stallions
  • Houston Gamblers
  • Memphis Showboats
  • Michigan Panthers
  • New Jersey Generals
  • New Orleans Breakers
  • Philadelphia Stars
  • Pittsburgh Maulers

Seven of those teams played last season, with the Memphis Showboats beginning play this season, after the Tampa Bay Bandits decided to not play in 2023.

A ten-week season with four games each week (all eight teams playing) means 40 regular season games. All will be available to watch.


  • Antenna, over the air, free.
  • DirecTV (Entertainment), $65/month.
  • Hulu+Live TV, $70/month.
  • Vidgo (Plus), $70/month.
  • YouTube TV, $73/month.
  • Fubo (Pro), $75/month.

Fox Sports 1

  • Sling (Blue), $40/month.
  • Sling (Orange+Blue), $55/month.
  • DirecTV (Entertainment), $65/month.
  • Hulu+Live TV, $70/month.
  • Vidgo (Plus), $70/month.
  • YouTube TV, $73/month.
  • Fubo (Pro), $75/month.


  • Antenna, over the air, free.
  • DirecTV (Entertainment), $65/month.
  • Hulu+Live TV, $70/month.
  • YouTube TV, $73/month.
  • Fubo (Pro), $75/month.


  • Sling (Blue), $40/month.
  • Sling (Orange+Blue), $55/month.
  • DirecTV (Entertainment), $65/month.
  • Hulu+Live TV, $70/month.
  • YouTube TV, $73/month.
  • Fubo (Pro), $75/month.


All games on NBC or USA will also be on Peacock ($5/month).

With an antenna, Peacock, and Sling (Blue), it's possible to watch every game for $45/month. My Streaming Life might just include some spring football.

Friday, April 14, 2023

New Onn box is coming

A couple of years ago, I tested the Walmart streaming devices. I was less than impressed.

In recent months, word was that Walmart was discontinuing the devices. They became hard to get as the stock dwindled and the items were not replaced.

There was speculation that Walmart was moving to the Xumo device, as they had partnered with Xfinity and Spectrum to carry those.

The other speculation was that a lineup refresh was coming.

Well, why not both?

Why not indeed.

Turns out that while plans for the new Xumo device are still in the works, a new lineup of Onn streaming devices have been announced. And while the devices have some upgraded hardware, they're still pretty skimpy in regards to the specs:

Under the hood, the new 2023 Onn 4K Streaming Box is powered by an Amlogic S905Y4. This is a very minor update over the 2021 model which used an Amlogic S905Y2. The only real difference between the two is the addition of AV1 video decoding on the newer model. It’s still a quad-core CPU and still has a Mali-G31 GPU. Like the old one, the new Onn streamer still has 2GB of RAM and, unfortunately, still has only 8GB of internal storage.

I'll probably get one to test it -- it is pretty cheap, after all -- but don't have high hopes about it. My Streaming Life is just fine without it. If I want a good Google TV device, I have an NVIDIA Shield.

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Google TV expands live coverage

Google TV has integrated more live TV into its interface.

A post on the Google Chromecast blog give the details about the addition of live streaming channels from some of the most popular free ad-supported television (FAST) services:

... we’re integrating access to free channels from Tubi, Plex and Haystack News directly into the Live tab, alongside the existing lineup of channels from Pluto TV. We’re also launching free built-in channels from Google TV that you can watch without even downloading or launching an app. In total, you can now browse over 800 channels and premium programming, including news channels from NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX. You can also tune in to channels from around the world, with programming in more than 10 languages including Spanish, Hindi and Japanese.

The post says it's available for Sony TVs. Well, if that's the case, it hasn't rolled out to mine yet. I saw the post and ran a check for updates on my TV. I did it again this morning, and I still haven't received the update.

Maybe I'm missing something. I'll keep playing with it. It looks like a good thing, but I've not seen content from the new services yet. My Streaming Life is good, but this just might make it better.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Does everybody have a smart TV?

I have a smart TV. I've had a smart TV for years. It's not always been the same smart TV, but several years ago, I got a smart TV and when I replaced it, I got another smart TV to replace it.

Here's the thing: I don't use my smart TV.

Oh, to be sure, I use my TV. I just don't use the "smarts" in my smart TV.

It's a good TV. It's a Sony, with a really good picture, and a Google TV interface. But I don't use the Google TV interface that comes with my Sony smart TV.

Why is that, you ask?

No really, go ahead and ask.

Well, since you asked, here's why I don't use the smarts in the smart TV.

First among the reasons is that I already had a Roku device. And an Apple TV device. And a Fire TV device. And a Chromecast (Google TV) device. And an Nvidia Shield (Google TV) device.

I have the best streaming platforms there are. My personal preference is Roku, but I find the others to be good devices as well.

Another reason I don't use the Google TV interface is I don't like the remote on the Sony TV. It's not bad. Well, it is, but it's better than some I've seen and used. But I like the remotes with the Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast with Google TV, and Nvidia Shield better. All of them are superior remotes to the Sony remote.

Another reason is that I want the same interface on all my TVs. Sure, I could put Chromecast or Nvidia Shield on my secondary TV, and I do have a Chromecast on it, in fact. Actually, I have a Chromecast, Fire TV, and Roku device on my secondary TV. But the remote figures into this again. I want the same experience on all my TVs. Unless I replace my TV in the bedroom with a Sony TV, I will still have a difference experience, even if I use a Google TV interface. And I'm not going to replace the TV in the bedroom. Not any time soon, anyway.

So, the only way to get the same experience is to use the same platform and same remote. And that means a separate streaming device.

Since I had these streaming devices on my old TV, it was a simple matter to put them on my new Sony TV and keep using them.

Right now, my platform of choice is Roku. So, I use Roku on both my main living room TV, and on my bedroom TV. If I want to change to Fire TV, I can do that easily enough, as I have that platform on both TVs as well. And I have Chromecast with Google TV on both TVs. I don't have two Nvidia Shield devices, and while I have a second Apple TV, I'm out of HDMI ports on the bedroom TV. Apple TV got the boot while I try out Fire TV on it.

According to a recent report, 80% of homes in the USA have smart TVs. Ryan Downey from The Streaming Advisor nailed it, though. People are buying smart TVs because that's what the stores carry:

While this is being lauded as some kind of milestone it is simply a reflection that consumers really have no choice but to buy a smart TV when they get a new set. There is no doubt that people are enjoying the features and apps. But the fact that they are buying them does not mean that they prefer them. They are the only choice. There will soon be a day when over 90 percent of TV sets in the us are smart TVs. People will buy new ones to replace non-smart TVs as they go bad or need to get replaced for one reason or another.

I didn't buy a new smart TV because I wanted a new smart TV. I wanted a new TV. What they had was a smart TV. So, I got a smart TV. Then I put a Roku on it. I didn't want a smart TV, and I bought the TV based on how the picture looked, and my previous experience with a Sony TV. So it's a TV with a Roku attached. Nothing more.

My Streaming Life includes a smart TV, but only as far as it is a TV. The smarts are from my platform of choice, Roku, and not the platform that came with my TV of choice, Sony.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Disney Bundle Basic on Hulu at last

I've subscribed to Hulu for years. Ever since Hulu started a paid subscription plan, I've been a subscriber.

For those that don't remember, or never knew, originally Hulu was a free Web-based service that was supported by ads. When streaming devices became more popular, around 10+ years ago, Hulu started a subscription service called Hulu Plus.

Later, Hulu dropped the free ad-supported service and it became a fully paid service, still supported by ads. Later, Hulu added an ad-free service. Then live TV. And then the Disney Bundle. And now, the Disney Bundle with ads or without.

Early on, Roku had Hulu Plus (later called just plain "Hulu") and had all the Hulu options available. Until the Disney Bundle with ads that launched a few months ago. Hulu only supported the Disney Bundle ad-free version. The cheaper "with ads" version wasn't available on Roku.

That's now changed. The Disney Bundle with Ads is now available on Roku. It's about time.

I think Disney was the holdup on this, not Roku. But, wherever the issue was, it's not an issue any longer. It's now a thing. I can watch Disney Bundle with Ads on Roku. And I'm trying it out. I've modified my subscription to the ad-supported version and will try it for a bit.

Monday, April 10, 2023

Spending on streaming is down ... but is still too much

Recently, we talked about how much people are still spending on cable TV. In that report, it was brought out that many cable and satellite subscribers also subscribe to streaming services.

I recognize that for some people, cable (or satellite) is exactly what they need. It's not for me, though.

For many streamers that cut the cord, they subscribe to several services each month. That's not for me either.

Cord Cutters News had a report recently that the average monthly amount spent on streaming services is down. They also mentioned that the average is $69/month.

According to Parks Associates, the average cord cutter now spends just $69 on streaming services, down from a high of $90 in 2021.

"Consumers are trying new services – they’re hopping in and out based on the season for sports, fresh content offerings, and the deals and bundles offered," said Elizabeth Parks, President and CMO, Parks Associates. "Currently we see 32 million US internet households hopping around with various services, and retention and churn will continue to challenge the industry."

To me, that's a lot of money. I pay nowhere near that amount.

I have Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, Discovery+, Peacock, Frndly TV, Paramount+, and other services. But here's the thing: I don't have them all every month. In fact, no month has them all.

I subscribe to Frndly TV year-round, because I really like the content. I also subscribe to Amazon Prime year-round, but I do that for the shipping. Streaming is a bonus. I currently get Peacock as part of my Xfinity package. Paramount+ is included with my Walmart+ subscription, kinda like Prime Video is included with Amazon Prime.

The rest of the services? I'll subscribe to one a month. This month, say, HBO Max. Next month, Disney+. The next month, Netflix. And so on. Over the year, I watch all I want, and for a lot less than $69/month.

My Streaming Life is good, and less expensive than many others'. I'm happy with it. Very happy.

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Cable TV is ... wait for it ... expensive

A new report shows just how expensive cable TV is for many people. And while it's not a shock to me that cable costs more than streaming, it still causes me to shake my head that people will pay so much for cable.

A report by Scripps, -- the company that owns Bounce, Grit, Laff, Court TV, ion Mystery and other channels -- shows that the average cost of cable or satellite TV subscriber , not counting Internet, is over $146/month.

Cord Cutters News breaks it down:

According to Scripps Networks, the average TV bill for cable TV is $103.90, but cable TV subscribers also pay an extra $42.30 a month for streaming services. This has been a growing trend recently as cable TV no longer gives customers access to everything. Now with a growing number of news shows and sports networks becoming streaming exclusives, cable TV subscribers have to pay for cord cutting services to get the shows they want.

A few big examples have been Peacock putting a growing number of sporting events behind a paywall. Paramount has put the new Star Trek shows exclusively on Paramount+.

More and more people with cable or satellite are also paying for streaming services. Once they realize that the streaming services can cover the content they want, most of the time anyway, they'll do what I did a dozen years ago and cut cable altogether. My Streaming Life is good, and I don't miss cable one little bit.

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Amazon Prime Video tops streaming services

Recently, Cord Cutters News conducted a poll about video subscription services, and the results were a little surprising to me.

I've always thought of Netflix as the top streaming service. It's just something I always assumed. However, I'm not a user of Netflix, but I figured I was just different. I don't get much value from Netflix, but I assumed most people do.

Cord Cutters News says that Netflix is now number two, behind Prime Video:

According to our readers, Amazon Prime Video was the most popular subscription streaming, with 70.8% of our readers paying for it. Netflix followed Amazon at 61.5% and Paramount+ at 52.3%.

Here is a quick list of the top on-demand subscription services.

  • Amazon 70.8%
  • Netflix 61.5%
  • Paramount+ 52.3%
  • Hulu 48.4%
  • Disney+ 43.5%
  • HBO Max 37.6%
  • YouTube 36.7%
  • Apple TV 29.3%
  • Showtime 11.7%
  • Peacock 5.6%

Amazon seems to have been helped by the number of Americans who already have Amazon Prime for free shipping but also happen to use its video services. The integration of Amazon Prime into the Fire TV, one of the most popular streaming players sold, also likely helped its subscriber growth.

I use Prime Video because I use the shipping benefits. Netflix is something I rarely use. And I mean rarely. Paramount+ is included with Walmart+ (which may replace Amazon Prime). Hulu is something I use a lot, but am currently not using, as I wait for shows to build up again. Disney+ is part of a rotation, and I don't currently have it. HBO Max is the same way. YouTube is something I use, but not YouTube TV. Showtime isn't part of any rotation, unless it's part of a bundle. And Peacock is free with Xfinity Internet, but that is going away soon.

Maybe I'm not all that different from others. Nah. I'm not the typical streamer. I don't need all these services, and only use a few, and rotate them around. My Streaming Life is a lot cheaper because of this.

Friday, April 7, 2023

DirecTV: turning streaming into cable

I understand that for many people, change is hard. But if change saves money, why not at least consider change?

This is one of the most frustrating things about people moving from cable to streaming: expecting the same experience.

To me, if you want the full cable experience, including the high fees, just stay with cable. But people are not like that.

One thing that used to really frustrate me was when I people would move to the area I lived because of the economy. Their state was having higher taxes and high unemployment and all kinds of troubles, so they'd move to where I lived to get work and benefit from a better economy.

Then, they'd vote like they voted where they came from. They never realized that the reason the economy was so bad was that the people they were electing were totally incapable of running a state or local government and would raise taxes and cause economic problems. So they'd vote like they used to, then things would get worse because of the incompetents they'd elect. That was frustrating.

Now, the cable refugees are turning streaming into cable. Or allowing the streaming companies to turn streaming into cable.

DirecTV is rebranding again. They do this a lot. It was DirecTV Now, AT&T TV Now, AT&T TV, and other names. Now, it's changing from DirecTV Stream to simply DirecTV. Just like the satellite service.

Satellite TV and cable TV are pretty much the same thing. They are expensive services (after an introductory offer) that rent equipment to you and raise the price a lot.

DirecTV is now launching a new streaming box called Gemini, and just like cable (or satellite) you rent the box.

And the new streaming box not only comes with a monthly rental fee, but you also get to pay other fees as well:

DIRECTV STREAM is also now known as DIRECTV internet if you use one of DIRECTV’s streaming players. The price will now be $64.99, just like with cable, but it will come with a $15-a-month fee. The good news is DIRECTV will give you a two-year price lock guarantee if you use the DIRECTV streaming player.

There is also a new up to $13.99 a month sports fee for new DIRECTV internet customers who accept a new Gemini or older Osprey streaming player.

Great. Just great. Just frikkin' great. Bringing all the worst of cable and satellite to streaming.

If you are wanting the full cable/satellite experience, including all the fees and rentals, do me a favor. Stick with cable or satellite. Don't come to streaming and bring all the garbage from cable and satellite with you. Either learn new things, or you will not only experience the same problems as before, but you'll bring those problems to streaming. My Streaming Life doesn't need all that garbage. If you want cable or satellite, stick with that and stay away from streaming.

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Streaming the Masters (2023)

One of the four major golf tournaments starts today.

The Masters begins today and is scheduled to conclude Sunday from Augusta National.

If you're a streamer -- and of course you are -- you have options to watch every round of the prestigious event.

CBS and ESPN will cover the event beginning today. ESPN has the first two rounds, while CBS has the final two rounds.


  • Sling TV (Orange) ($40/month)
  • DirecTV (Entertainment) ($65/month)
  • Vidgo (Plus) ($70/month)
  • YouTube TV ($73/month)
  • Hulu+Live TV ($70/month)
  • Fubo (Pro) ($75/month)

ESPN+ is an standalone service that is $7/month. It does not include the standard ESPN content.


  • Antenna (Free)
  • Paramount+ ($10/month)
  • DirecTV (Entertainment) ($65/month)
  • YouTube TV ($73/month)
  • Hulu+Live TV ($70/month)
  • Fubo (Pro) ($75/month)

If golf is something you want in your Streaming Life, you have plenty of options to watch one of the most prestigious tournaments, starting today.

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Game box streaming is way down

My son is the one that got me into streaming. In late 2008 or early 2009, he introduced me to streaming.

I was aware of such a thing, but he allowed me to see it first hand. He was the first person who actually streamed that I knew.

I visited his house one weekend, and he as it was football season at the time, he wanted to look at something on TV. I was a bit surprised when he picked up his Xbox controller and started watching TV.

That was when I realized that he was streaming TV and wasn't watching cable. I didn't ask a bunch of questions, though I asked a couple, and realized that there were many ways to stream, as many game systems supported it, in addition to Roku and Apple TV.

Following that visit, after gaining the confidence and better understanding of streaming TV, I started my research into moving to streaming and dropping cable.

I thought about this when I saw an article recently about how much the number of game systems being used has dropped over the last several years. According to an article on Cord Cutters News, game box streaming is way down from 2025:

Based on a survey conducted by Aluma Insights, only 6% of American households use an Xbox or PlayStation console to stream video (OTT Services), down from 26% in 2015.

Only 9% of surveyed households still use a traditional pay TV set-top to watch streaming services and, surprisingly, 6% of reported use their smartphone or tablet to stream video.

I rarely used a game system to stream, but seeing the drop in game system usage for streaming brought back memories of when I was introduced to my son's Streaming Life.

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Curiosity Stream price increase

Curiosity Stream has been a bargain at $3/month or $20/year for quite some time. But that's changing.

Not the bargain part, just the pricing. It's going up. Not a lot by amount, but a lot by percentage.

The monthly plan will be $5/month going forward, while the annual plan will increase to $40/year.

That price is still a good price for the content, but it is nearly double what it was. The annual plan did double, while the monthly plan went up by 67%.

If you're a new customer, you get the price now. For current subscribers, the price increase will roll out over the next several months.

Everything is going up, and has gone up a lot in the last three years, and streaming services are no exception. It will cost more to keep these services in your Streaming Life.

Monday, April 3, 2023

Cord cutting in 2023

Cord cutting is changing all the time.

Over the years since I cut the cord in early 2011, many things have changed in cord cutting. Services have come and gone. Prices have gone up. And up.

So, what do you need to know in 2023?

Tom's Guide has an interesting write-up about the current landscape of streaming:

We've long loved Sling TV, which we believe is one of the best streaming services. Sling TV's lower price and customization options make it great for those who want the lowest bill possible. That said, recent complications and changes pushed me away.

I switched to YouTube TV not long before Google (hilariously) announced a price increase, which means I'll be looking around for an alternative in June. And while Fubo TV became simply Fubo, it too added complexities that you probably won't notice until checkout. Meanwhile, one competitor is really stretching the word "unlimited" when it comes to its DVR. 

Your Streaming Life is changing all the time. Not every change is good, but it beats cable.

Sunday, April 2, 2023

CBS locals are back on Fubo

A different kind of dispute ended recently.

There was a dispute between Fubo and CBS affiliates earlier this year that resulted in the local CBS stations being replaced with a national CBS feed. That's over, and the local channels are back.

Cord Cutters News said that many CBS affiliates allow the network to negotiate for them, and that resulted in the dispute that involved only local removal, but allowed national feeds to continue.

In recent years, local stations have given up their rights to negotiate with streaming services like fuboTV directly. Now they let Paramount do it for them, and they get to devices if they agree to the deal or not.

It seems that locals were at first unhappy with the deal Paramount had agreed to, but locals also gave Paramount the right to stream a national feed if they didn’t agree to the new contract.

For cord cutters, a national feed during a dispute does make it easier, as the network shows and events are still available, just not the local news, weather, sports, and commercials. It's much easier on your Streaming Life if you don't lose everything during disputes.

Saturday, April 1, 2023

How to watch the Final Four (2023)

College basketball season wraps up this weekend, with the Final Four.

If you're a streamer -- and of course you are -- it's pretty simple when it comes to watching the Final Four today and Monday. Watch CBS.

If you have an antenna, and a local CBS affiliate is in range, that's easy, and free.

If you don't have an antenna, or the CBS affiliate is too far away, you can watch the games online.


The Tiffany Network carried games from every round, and has the Final Four and Championship games.

  • Over the air/antenna (free)
  • Paramount Plus (Premium) ($10/month)
  • YouTube TV ($65/month)
  • Hulu+Live TV ($70/month)
  • Fubo TV ($75/month)
  • DirecTV Stream ($75/month)

Free options, paid options, you got options. The Final Four can easily be a part of your Streaming Life, if you like.