Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Keep Peacock or not?

I have a decision to make soon. I'm an Xfinity Internet subscriber, and Xfinity Internet subscribers get Peacock Premium free. That's changing next month.

According to Comcast, NBCUniversal will stop offering the service for free to Xfinity Internet customers:

Why is this changing?

NBCUniversal included Peacock Premium at no extra cost to customers with Xfinity services, and that offering is concluding.

This is a classic example of blaming others when it's yourself. Comcast owns NBCUniversal, so if they say Xfinity gets Peacock for free, Xfinity gets Peacock for free. That's like a parent blaming one kid for not sharing with another kid something the parent owns. If it stands, it's the parents who let it happen.

Anyway, on June 26, 2023, I love my free Peacock service. I'll have to decide by then if I want to pay for Peacock.

There are two tiers. One, Peacock Premium, is $5/month while the other, Peacock Premium Plus, is $10/month. The difference is that Peacock Premium Plus doesn't have commercials in the on-demand content, and includes local NBC station, WSAV in Savannah for me. Peacock Premium has ads in on-demand content, and no live local NBC stream.

Will I subscribe to Peacock? Maybe. Maybe not. There is a special they're running right now where a year of Peacock Premium (the $5/month plan) is $20. That's tempting. I'm not sure if I'll fall for the temptation.

My Streaming Life has included Peacock since the service launched, but only because it was free. I'm undecided on keeping it going forward, but I'm leaning against it.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Local Now grows

I read an article on Cord Cutters News this week that surprised me. I did a little digging and found more about it. The numbers in my research are a little different, but the point of Luke Bouma's article is still valid.

The story was that Local Now had topped 450 live streaming channels. That's a big number. And, it is true, but there's a catch. First, a little of what they said:

Recently Local Now topped 450 free live TV channels making it one of the largest free streaming services for cord cutters when looking at the number of free live channels.

Local Now also provides localized news, weather, sports, traffic, and entertainment, produced by various leading news organizations in more than 225 markets across the U.S.

Local Now is not done expanding as it recently announced a deal to add all local PBS stations later this year. No dates have been announced yet for when all of the local PBS stations will be added other than it should happen in 2023. Already though, in a handful of markets, PBS stations are starting to go live on Local Now so check to see if your local PBS is now free with Local Now.

All that is true, but let me tell you why I look at it a little differently.

I counted all the channels, one at a time, starting at the top. Just so you know, these numbers are based on a Savannah, Georgia viewing market.

I counted 487 channels, which is in line with the CCN report of "over 450" channels. But, of those, 117 are local broadcasts. My thinking, which could be wrong, is that people generally won't be interested in local news from other areas, making over 100 of those meaningless for most people. However, that is the backbone of Local Now, so I understand why they should be counted.

However, to me, the main attraction to live streaming services are the live streaming channels that go beyond local news and local interest. Local Now has 370 of those. That is on top of the 117 local offerings, bringing the total to 487, which is by far the largest live streaming service.

CCN said as much, and I don't disagree. Even if you omit the 117 local based streams, the remaining 350 make it one of the largest anyway. The increase in these channels means that Local Now deserves to be though of as similar to Pluto TV, Tubi, FreeVee, Xumo Play, and the other major players in the free ad-supported television (FAST) services.

My Streaming Life hasn't included a lot of Local Now in the past. It will going forward.

Monday, May 29, 2023

Memorial Day (2023)

I am oppressed with a sense of the impropriety of uttering works on this occasion. If silence is ever golden, it must be here beside the graves of fifteen thousand men, whose lives were more significant than speech, and whose death was a poem, the music of which can never be sung. With words we make promises, plight faith, praise virtue. Promises may not be kept; plighted faith may be broken; and vaunted virtue be only the cunning mask of vice. We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue. For the noblest man that lives, there still remains a conflict. He must still withstand the assaults of time and fortune, must still be assailed with temptations, before which lofty natures have fallen; but with these the conflict ended, the victory was won, when death stamped on them the great seal of heroic character, and closed a record which years can never blot.

Excerpt from the first Memorial Day proclamation, May 30, 1968, by President James A. Garfield.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Broadcast TV viewership drops

There are reports out that viewership of the traditional TV networks -- ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC -- has continued to drop year over year. In fact, according to the study, CBS has lost nearly half its viewers in ten years.

The conclusion that Cord Cutters News reached is that cord cutting is the reason. The headline is "ABC, CBS, FOX, & NBC Primetime Viewership is Falling Fast as Cord Cutting Speeds Up" which I think is a little off the mark.

The article cites the increase in cord cutting over the last decade, along with lower broadcast network viewership as the result. Only, what about antennae? Isn't putting up an antenna (or using an existing antenna) often a part of cord cutting? You drop cable, put up an antenna (indoor if close enough), and you still get the broadcast networks. I mean, they broadcast their signal over the air, right?

I don't see cord cutting itself as a reason for drop in viewership. I look at it more as a drop in cable. With cable, it's easier for viewership stats to be collected. However, with an antenna, they have to rely more on traditional methods such as the Nelsen dairies to gather the data.

I think the numbers may be down for multiple reasons, and a lot of it is due to content of streaming services.

More or better content via streaming leads to cord cutting. It also leads to drop in broadcast viewership. Cord cutting is not the cause of people watching less broadcast TV, it's the result of it.

My Streaming Life hasn't really seen a drop in broadcast TV viewership. I used to record shows and not watch them live. Now, with Hulu, I'm watching shows on demand, after they air, just as when they were recorded with TiVo. If I'm watching less content from broadcast TV, it's because other sources have more content I want to watch. Broadcast TV is available to cord cutters. They just need to make better content.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Netflix crackdown on password sharing

I got my Netflix email this week.

Yes, I know. I talk about how I don't watch Netflix. And I don't. So, why did I get an email from Netflix? Well, having a Netflix account doesn't mean I watch Netflix. But I am paying for Netflix for someone else. For the time being, anyway. At this writing, the subscription ends in June. I may extend it with the ad-supported plan.

Back on topic: I got my Netflix email this week. You know the one. The one where Netflix is letting people know that you can't share passwords with people who live outside your household:

Your Netflix account is for you and the people you live with — your household.

You can easily watch Netflix on the go and when you travel — either on your personal devices or a TV at a hotel or vacation home.

To control how your account is used, you can:

  • Check who’s using your Netflix. Review which devices are signed in to your account. Sign out of devices that shouldn’t have access and consider changing your password.

If you want to share Netflix with someone outside of your household, you can use these features:

  • Transfer a profile. Anyone on your account can transfer a profile to a new membership that they pay for.
  • Buy an extra member. You can share your Netflix account with someone who doesn’t live with you for $7.99/month more.

We know you might have questions. Our Help Center has detailed information for you.

Thank you for choosing Netflix. We appreciate your membership and we look forward to bringing you more great TV shows and movies.

The Netflix team

I'm logged in to a few devices at home, but I haven't used them in a long long time. My girlfriend is logged into one device at her house, and that's the only one that has been active. The account is in my name, but she's the only one using it. Is that a violation of Netflix rules? Well, maybe. But I'm not using the account at two different households. She doesn't watch Netflix at my house, and I don't watch Netflix at all.

So, I don't know if I got the email because they detected logins at multiple locations, or if they simply sent the email to everyone with a current account.

She already is used to the idea of not having Netflix. One of her children was sharing passwords with her, and she had her own profile set up on that account. But she was told about the crackdown and was disappointed, as she had just started watching some series. So, I restarted my account using the ad-supported plan and logged in on her device. Then upgraded to the regular plan.

So, now I'll either drop to the ad-supported plan in June, or drop it altogether. She hasn't watched anything in the last few weeks, so I'm thinking I'll just drop it.

I understand why Netflix is doing what it's doing. They're bleeding money, and if this increases revenue, then good for them. I don't watch it because it doesn't have enough value for me. I have enough to watch without it. My Streaming Life has survived without Netflix for quite some time, and will continue to do so. I'm hoping my girlfriend feels the same way.

Friday, May 26, 2023

Comcast new streaming service

Comcast is launching a low prices live streaming service. NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast, has the Peacock streaming service already. However, according to reports, they're looking to launch a service that would compete with Frndly TV or Philo.

According to TV Answer Man, the new service will cost $20/month and include Peacock Premium.

The service, which does not include any local or sports channels, will be offered to Xfinity Broadband customers in the coming weeks, the company said. Now TV, which will not require any equipment or contracts, will include a 20-hour DVR and three concurrent streams.

"With content and connectivity at the core of our company, we are uniquely positioned to build and deliver streaming entertainment offerings unlike anything else out there today," Dave Watson, Comcast Cable’s CEO, said in a press release. "NOW TV is a great example of how our company brings together its collective video experiences, innovative technology, and superior broadband service to deliver some of the best entertainment into one affordable streaming bundle."

Now TV will be available on the Xfinity Stream app. Supported devices at launch will include Xfinity Flex, Fire TV, iOS and Android-powered devices, and via casting through Apple AirPlay and Google Chromecast.

The lack of Roku support is surprising. First, Roku is the largest streaming platform. Next, the Xfinity Stream app has been available on Roku for years. However, Roku is noticeably absent from the list of supported devices.

My Streaming Life currently includes Peacock TV, although I will likely drop it soon. I have Frndly TV, so I'm not sure what the new NOW TV service would bring to the table.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Max, formerly HBO Max

Max rolled out a couple of days ago. It was a fairly smooth change from HBO Max to just plain Max, but it wasn't completely seamless.

First, when I fired up the Roku to check it out, I saw the HBO Max app still on the device. "Okay," I said to myself, "the app needs to update."

Roku checks for updates every day (or more likely, every night), and I figured the last check was before the change was official. So, I checked for updates. There were none.

So, I launched the HBO Max app to see what would happen. What happened was the app called itself "Max" when the app launched, although the icon on the Roku menu still said "HBO Max."

I had to log in, as it had forgotten my password. Or, maybe it never had it. This may have been more than a cosmetic change, but a full change of the app itself. Whatever reason, I had to log in. So, I logged in. My profiles were still there once I logged in, but the avatars for the profiles were missing. It was easy enough to add a new one.

All my content was there. Everything was smooth sailing once I logged in. I rebooted the Roku and the login remained, allowing me to simply launch the app (still saying "HBO Max") and watch TV.

When I closed the app a second time, the Max icon was there. The cosmetic portion of the update finally happened.

Now, a month ago, I had subscribed to HBO Max as part of my rotation of apps. I'll subscribe to one app a month, then when that 30-day subscription is done, I'll subscribe to something else. My HBO Max 30-day subscription ends today, so I only had a couple of days to check out the app unless I wanted to extend the subscription. I don't want to do that, so I caught up on Rick & Morty and a couple of other things, and simply used the Max app.

It works as I expected, after the initial hiccup of losing my login and avatars, Max is what I thought it would be. My Streaming Life loses Max today, and it'll be a few months before I subscribe again. For now, though, it's working well.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Android, now featuring pre-installed malware for your convenience

There's a new report out that's gaining traction, and it's not good news for Android users.

Trend Micro has reported that nearly nine million Android devices have been "preinfected" with malware. That is, the devices, mostly smartphones, have the malware on them when you open the box. The malware is installed as part of the operating system:

We identified over 50 different images from a variety of vendors carrying initial loaders. The more recent versions of the loaders use fileless techniques when downloading and injecting other payloads. With this latest development, public repositories for threat intelligence do not list these updated loaders and the forensic analysis of such devices and images have become significantly harder. However, we can still spot the download attempts through telemetry monitoring, and once the main component is identified we would have the decryption keys to decode the payload.

Comparing our analyzed number of devices with Lemon Group’s alleged reach of 8.9 million, it’s highly likely that more devices have been preinfected but have not exchanged communication with the C&C server, have not been used or activated by the threat actor, or have yet to be distributed to the targeted country or market. Shortly after our Black Hat presentation, we noted that the page hosting these numbers of their reach was taken down. But noting our detections for this investigation alone, we were able to identify over 50 brands of mobile devices that have been infected by Guerilla malware, and one brand we’ve identified as a "Copycat" brand of the premiere line of devices from leading mobile device companies. Following our timeline estimates, the threat actor has spread this malware over the last five years. A compromise on any significant critical infrastructure with this infection can likely yield a significant profit for Lemon Group in the long run at the expense of legitimate users.

So far, no list of manufacturers has been released, so we don't know which brands may be safe or which may be compromised. Although I don't know this, I suspect that it is difficult to tell whether a device was infected out of the box or infected later.

That means that, say, the Widget Brand phone may have the infections, but they may have come after the consumer got the device, while the Thingamajig Brand phone may have the malware from an infected installation. In that scenario, Thingamajig phones would be unsafe, while Widget phones would be safe, since the Widget was clean when it was purchased, but a careless user got the infection on his own. It would be unfair to Widget to lump them into the same category as Thingamajig.

Still, I am curious as to which phones have the infection. I'm also curious as to how they got the infected operating system files. There's no evidence that it came from Google, meaning that Pixel phones are probably safe (out of the box). Devices with minimal bloatware, such as Motorola, may be safe, but I don't know that. Heck, it could be that a breach happened at Google and the OS was flawed when Google sent it out. But we don't know that.

What we do know is that a bunch of Android phone users are walking around with malware, and not because of anything they did wrong, but because it came that way.

My Streaming Life has included Android devices, although I don't have any running at the moment. I'm now unsure about running anything with Android OS until I know more.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Paramount+ price increase

It was announced recently that Showtime and Paramount+ apps would be merged into a single app. Now, the price increase -- you knew there would be a price increase, right? -- is known.

There was speculation that prices would go up $1 to $2 per month, and that turns out to be right on target.

Cord Cutters News published the details recently:

Paramount+ will be raising the price of its service by $1 to $2 a month account for the new Showtime content. The ad-supported plan will go up to $5.99 a month, and the ad-free version will go up to $11.99 a month.

When this merger happens, the Showtime app will be shut down later this year, and you will need to access Showtime content through the Paramount+ app.

In the last couple of years, Paramount+ has offered a Showtime add-on for only $1 or $2 more per month. Now that will be the regular price and regular service.

My Streaming Life has the $5 (soon to be $6) per month version because it's included with Walmart+. I don't know if Walmart+ will continue to include the service, but I hope they do.

Monday, May 22, 2023

TVs turning on or off

You ever have your TV just turn on for no identifiable reason? Or has your TV just turned off for no particular reason?

Some people run into this from time to time, and if they don't know why the TV is turning on or off, it can be quite frustrating.

So, why does this happen? There can be lots of reasons. TV Answer Man's Melanie Mayberry has a couple of articles about these topics. One included a common reason for a TV turning on:

One possible explanation for a television turning on by itself is an issue with the remote control. In some cases, the remote control may be malfunctioning and sending signals to the television without the user’s input. This can cause the television to turn on unexpectedly. It is also possible that the remote control has been accidentally pressed, such as when it is misplaced or sat upon, leading to unintentional activation of the television.

The article lists several other things to look at as possible causes. Give it a read. Give the other article a read as well, as it covers things that could cause your TV to suddenly turn off:

One of the primary causes of a television spontaneously turning off is related to power supply problems. These issues can include power fluctuations, loose connections, or an insufficient power source. To address this:

a) Check the power outlet: Ensure that the power outlet is functioning correctly by plugging in another device and checking if it powers on consistently.

b) Secure connections: Verify that all cables and power cords are tightly connected to both the television and the power outlet. Loose connections can disrupt the power supply and lead to unexpected shutdowns.

c) Power strip overload: If you are using a power strip or surge protector, confirm that it is not overloaded with too many devices. Distribute the power load evenly across multiple outlets or consider using a dedicated power outlet for your television.

There are other possible causes to check as well. Again, both articles are worth a read if you've run into any of that kind of behavior.

My Streaming Life has not been plagued by TVs behaving that way, but it's nice to know that if it ever does happen, I have some checklists of things to research.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Amazon’s Fire TV Stick

Although I’m firmly in Team Roku, I have many friends and family who prefer Amazon’s Fire TV, particularly the Fire TV Stick, which is commonly referred to as the Firestick.

Cord Cutters News recently covered the ins and outs of the Fire TV Stick, and it’s an information video.


My Streaming Life doesn’t include a Fire TV Stick, but it is a worthy option for cutting the cord.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Freestream (Sling TV free) has gotten larger

For a long time, when mentioning free ad supported television (FAST) services, the first ones always mentioned were Pluto TV, Xumo, and Tubi. Those were never the only ones, but those were the biggest ones, the ones with the most free streaming channels.

Today, that's not so much the case anymore. There are more services that have hundreds of live channels, including Plex and Sling TV.

Plex is newer to the FAST game, but Sling TV has been doing it for a bit. They were just a smaller player insofar as free streaming was concerned.

Not any more. I read a news article recently that said that Freestream (what Sling TV calls their free tier) offers 370 such channels. That surprised me somewhat, even though I knew that Freestream already had over 300.

It's from an older way of thinking. Sling TV's free offerings were always less than the other, larger players in the FAST market. But when they branded the free tier as Freestream, they had expanded their number to over 300. Today, it's at 366. That's how many I counted. Cord Cutters News says over 370, but I think they're counting some that are simply links to on-demand catalogs rather than actual live streaming channels:

Sling TV's new free advertising-supported streaming television service now offers more than 370 channels after these new channels have been added and 41,000 on-demand titles. This makes it one of the largest free streaming services for cord cutters when looking at the number of free live channels.

Back when Sling TV topped 330 channels, its President released a statement. "This milestone is just the beginning of what we have in store for Sling Freestream," said Gary Schanman, Group President, Sling TV. "We are charging full steam ahead to deliver unparalleled free live sports, news and entertainment for consumers to watch popular games, catch up on the latest headlines or enjoy award-winning TV shows, all for free."

I trust my count. Whether my count or CCN's count is correct, it's still a lot. The only thing I really don't like about Freestream is how it's accessed. They call it "Freestream" but you launch the Sling TV app to access it. I know they're promoting their paid service, but it just seems counter intuitive to me.

Regardless, it's a good service worth checking out. My Streaming Life doesn't include its use, at least not a lot. That is, unless I see an article about it, in which case I'll check it out and watch it for a bit. It's worth a look, and should be considered on par with Pluto TV, Xumo Play, and Tubi.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Is ESPN about to kill cable?

Recent reports are saying that ESPN plans to move from cable TV, and that the move could kill cable TV.

I read the reports, most notable from the Wall Street Journal [subscription, but covered well in Cord Cutters News] that discusses the plans by Disney to move ESPN to a direct-to-consumer streaming service:

ESPN has begun securing flexibility in its deals with cable providers to offer the channel directly to consumers, the people said. The financial terms of those deals couldn’t be learned. The company is having similar discussions with pro sports leagues as those rights deals come up and has secured the same flexibility from at least two major leagues, the people said.

The sports-media giant took its first step into streaming in 2018 with the launch of ESPN+, a monthly streaming service whose live programming includes golf events, certain Major League Baseball and professional hockey games, as well as a variety of scripted and unscripted programming. It has 25.3 million subscribers.

But ESPN+ doesn't offer access to the ESPN channel itself, including high-value programming like National Basketball Association and National Football League telecasts that are only available on TV. Project "Flagship" is about helping ESPN transition the full channel to streaming.

While the headline of the Wall Street Journal article, as well as the Cord Cutters News story, mention the removal of ESPN from cable, the actual WSJ article does not cite any source for ESPN leaving cable. Rather, the implication seems to be that making ESPN available directly to consumers will allow customers to drop cable.

Well, I dropped cable a long time ago, even though ESPN was exclusively on cable at the time.

Today, I can watch ESPN, but need a streaming service such as Sling TV, YouTube TV, Hulu+Live TV, Fubo, Vidgo, or the like to watch the service. In fact, during college football season, the only reason I ever watch ESPN, I'll subscribe to Sling TV, then cancel when the season is done. I actually put a little more effort into it than simply that, and wind up paying for service for only four 30-day subscriptions, and that covers the entire season. I've given those details before, and will again, just not right now.

Back to the article, the idea is that with a streaming option for the full ESPN, more people will drop cable. Well, there already are streaming options. This may indeed make it easier for people to drop cable, but I must wonder how many are actually subscribing to cable simply for ESPN. There is no reason for that. If anyone wants to drop cable and still watch ESPN, they can.

My Streaming Life broke free of cable TV over a dozen years ago. More and more are doing the same. And if Disney does make ESPN available directly as a standalone app, I'd be very happy with that option.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Paramount+ and Showtime merger

It was announced some time back that Showtime and Paramount+ would merge. Now we know the date: June 27.

Here's what I don't know, and wonder about: I have Parmount+ through Walmart+. It's the cheaper plan, with commercials, and no live local CBS. Is that plan going to remain? Or is it impacted as well? And does this mean that Walmart+ users will get a Showtime bonus of some kind? Will it remain as is? Will the perk of getting Paramount+ go away?

I'm curious about this, and so far have not been able to find out.

I like the Paramount+ plan that's included with Walmart+. The commercials aren't too intrusive, and quite honestly, with an antenna, the live local CBS isn't needed. But if this merger means the Walmart+ perk of the service goes away, I'll be disappointed.

Maybe I'm worrying over nothing. Maybe I'm worrying with good reason. My Streaming Life is good right now, so I'd hate to lose a service. But, if I do lose it, I'll add Paramount+ back to my rotation of subscription services.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Goodbye WOW! cable TV

Around 10 years ago or so, I lived in the Columbus area of west Georgia and moved into a neighborhood that was served by a cable & Internet company I had not dealt with previously. The ISP was WOW!

They actually had a different name, but within a few months of my moving to their service area in Columbus, they were bought out by WOW! and I became a customer of theirs.

I was an Internet only customer, as I had dropped cable from another provider a couple of years before, and was only interested in Internet at the time. So I was never a cable TV customer of WOW! but I did like the Internet service and service techs that installed it.

Though I never had WOW! cable, I did read with interest a news article that said that WOW! was dropping cable TV as a service and offering YouTube TV instead.

"We are thrilled to begin offering YouTube TV and give our customers access to this best-in-class pay TV service. We are very pleased to deliver a seamless TV experience to our customers with this new partnership while continuing to execute on our broadband-first strategy," said Teresa Elder, CEO at WOW!. "This furthers our commitment to provide our customers with the highest quality services at the best value."

This news comes as multiple cable TV companies, including Frontier, have stopped offering traditional cable TV and gone streaming online. Frontier has, for some time now, offered YouTube TV instead of its traditional TV service.

I'm not celebrating the loss of cable TV service by WOW! I don't care for cable TV, but the WOW! folks with whom I dealt were always nice and polite, and they provided good service at a reasonable price. My Streaming Life began before my two-year service with WOW!, so while I never used their cable TV service, I'm still a little sad to know that there may be some cable TV technicians for the company losing their jobs. However, overall, I'm glad to see cable going away.

Prime time?

Prime time cable viewing is down. Way down. How far?

According to an analysis on Cord Cutters News, the numbers, while in the millions, are relatively small considering how many people there are in the USA:

So far in May, the top ten networks are showing dwindling primetime viewership reports with only the top four networks reaching audiences in the millions, which is staggeringly low in a country with a population of well over 334 million citizens. TNT totaled 3.2 million viewers, followed by ESPN with 2.4 million, Fox News with 1.4 million, and MSNBC with 1.1 million. 

The remaining six networks didn’t even break 1 million viewers. HGTV reported 773,000 viewers, INSP had 727,000, TBS averaged 722,000, History had 690,000, TLC’s total was 617,000, and USA Network barely got over half a million viewers at 583,000.

I haven't watch prime time TV in years. Well, that's not exactly true, but it is sort of true.

I got a TiVo device back in 2006, and rarely watched anything live from that day forward. TiVo allowed me to watch TV shows when I wanted. It made "on-demand" TV watching easy.

When I started streaming full time in late 2010, I was already watching stuff on-demand (recordings) so using Hulu or purchasing TV seasons wasn't really that different.

It appears that many others aren't watching prime time TV either. It isn't something I have thought about in years, since it's been around 17 years since I stopped watching live prime time TV exclusively. My Streaming Life has continued to keep the entire concept of prime time TV watching out of my mind. I simply watch shows that seem interesting, and when it comes on doesn't enter into my thought process at all. It's liberating.

Monday, May 15, 2023

Junk Fees

One of the most aggravating things about cable TV -- remember having cable? -- is the collection of fees that are tacked on to the end of your bill.

Now, to be sure, cable TV services aren't the only ones to add extra fees to up your bill. Phone services do that. Well, most do. But, to be sure, cable TV services do that as well.

There are local broadcast fees, regional sports fees, and other administrative fees where it looks like they charge you a fee for charging you a fee. Administrative fees are part of the basic service, right? In reality, yes. But many of those services will add that to your bill, simply because they can.

So how much are these fees? Well, if you count all the fees -- not just from cable, but from everything else as well -- it adds up to a lot. According to one study, the average is nearly $600/year:

With the increase in inflation, many households are tracking their expenses more closely and are more aware of the cost of junk fees than ever. According to our survey, junk fees cost the average American an estimated $596 per year, with some consumers paying upwards of $1,000+ per year. On a national level, that would add up to over $190 billion taken out of American wallets annually.

Think about that. Nearly $50/month in junk fees. Being a streamer doesn't eliminate those. In fact, many people will simply replace cable TV with a cable like streaming service, and some services are adding fees just like cable.

I don't subscribe to a cable replacement service. My Streaming Life doesn't need it. But I am aware that I still have some junk fees I need to keep an eye on. You should watch for them as well.

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Mothers Day (2023)

My sisters and I lost our mother in 2020. Mothers Day isn't the same without her. I won't spend a lot of time talking about things, but I will mention this. During the last few years of her life, she enjoyed much of the benefits of cord cutting.

She was a fan of technology up to a point. She loved her iPhone but never used it to its fullest extent. However, she used it to do things she had never done before: texting, video chats, Web surfing, and the like. She was fascinated by that, and enjoyed being able to stay in touch with family with greater ease.

She enjoyed her M*A*S*H videos, her Murder She Wrote videos, and the like. I ripped all of her DVDs, both movies and TV shows, to place on a Plex server for her to watch. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I'll explain it like I did to her. Launch this app called Plex, and there are all your movies and TV shows you can watch on any of your TVs, any time you want. She loved that.

Watching her excitement about the things she could do with technology made me understand that I may have inherited that fascination and interest from her. In more ways than the obvious, she made me who I am today.

It's Mothers Day. Enjoy it with your mother if you're able. If not, we can all miss our respective mothers together.

Saturday, May 13, 2023

Hulu and Disney+ merger?

While there hasn't been an announcement, the news from Disney indicates that may be coming in the future.

A report in Variety said that Disney is adding Hulu content to the Disney+ app, and that prices for Disney+ will happen later this year.

On Disney's earnings call Wednesday, CEO Bob Iger said the company will soon launch a "one-app experience" in the U.S. that incorporates Hulu content into Disney+. The new combined offering will launch by the end of 2023, available to customers who subscribe to both streaming services, he said.

"While we will continue to offer Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ as standalone options, this is a logical progression of our [direct-to-consumer] offerings that will provide greater opportunities for advertisers while giving bundle subscribers access to more robust and streamlined content, resulting in greater audience engagement and ultimately leading to a more unified streaming experience," Iger said.

This doesn't combine the services into one, but it does mean some Hulu content will be available in the Disney+ app, which is a step in that direction.

A price increase is never a good thing for the consumer, but it does happen a lot. However, with the price of everything going up in the past three years, it's certainly not a surprise.

The good news is that the price increase was only announced for the ad-free tier, which is the original service. The ad-supported service will remain the same price for now.

My Streaming Life includes the ad-supported tier, so I won't be impacted by the upcoming price increase. I'm not sure how I feel about the possible combining of the services though. I may like it. But I might now. If it happens, I'll have a decision to make, as I normally just use Hulu alone.

Friday, May 12, 2023

Dropping streaming services

Another report is out indicating that streamers in the USA have not only cut back on cable (no surprise there) but are also cutting back on streaming services. That may be a surprise to some. Not to me, but that's because I already do things a little differently. But it does indicate that more people are seeing streaming as something more than just a replacement for cable.

The study indicates that prior to 2020, the average US streamer averaged about four streaming services. In the next two years, that number went up to over seven services. Now it's back down to a little over six.

Why are people cutting back? Cost is one reason, but I think people are becoming more savvy streamers. Luke Bouma at Cord Cutters News calls it a maturity of streaming:

We are also seeing recent price hikes pushing 56% of cord cutters to cut back on the number of streaming services they are paying for. This is not a sign of cord cutting slowing down but instead of the maturity of cord cutting.

Increasingly cord cutters are learning what they really want and need. This idea you have to have everything for most people is just not accurate.

A lot of new streamers will subscribe to a cable replacement service. I never did it that way, mostly because I cut before there were any services such as Sling TV, YouTube TV, or any of those. It was not even an option. I learned early on that replacing cable with the same thing except streaming wasn't necessary.

I think more people are realizing that. I think that many have simply switched from cable to a streaming version of cable, and with price hikes in everything over the last three years, including streaming services, they've come to realize they're paying nearly as much for streaming as they did for cable. Rather than go back to cable and long term contracts and hidden fees, they are finding ways to cut back. In the process, they realize they don't need all those services. They're also discovering that free ad-supported television (FAST) services are a viable option for a lot of content.

My Streaming Life has never included a lot of subscriptions. It wasn't possible when I cut the cord, so I found out it wasn't necessary. More people are realizing it's not necessary as well, and are saving money as a result.

Thursday, May 11, 2023

YouTube fighting ad blockers

Some YouTube users have been getting notices about ad blockers, according to an online report. This appears to be a big deal. I'm a little out of the loop on this for a couple of reasons.

Let's start with the report, then I'll get to why I wasn't aware of this.

A report on 9to5Google says it picked up word that YouTube had begun checking for ad blockers, and was preventing viewership of its content as a result.

A Redditor first spotted earlier this week that, on trying to use, a pop-up appeared saying that ad blockers are not allowed on YouTube. Videos were blocked from streaming unless the user then allowed YouTube ads or signed up for YouTube Premium, the subscription service that allows users to watch content on YouTube without ads.

It's a surprising message to see, given that YouTube hasn't addressed ad blockers for years and years now. The message adds that "ads allow YouTube to stay free for billions of users worldwide."

A YouTube employee has since confirmed to the r/YouTube moderation team that, for now, this is just an “experiment.” For now, YouTube is only testing blocking ad blockers.

I actually watch YouTube a bit, and I've not seen the message. I don't use ad-blockers. Well, I do and I don't. It's complicated. Let me explain.

On my personal browser, I do not employ an ad-blocker. I am okay with Websites using ads to support their content. However, I am not okay with being tracked. I have an anti-tracking solution employed that could impact ads, although blocking ads is not what I'm trying to do.

While I don't run an ad blocker on my browser, I do have a Pi Hole setup on my home network. And while Pi Hole if known for blocking ads, it actually has other functions, including the function I want. I'm not running the standard ad-blocking lists on Pi Hole. Rather, I'm running tracker blocking lists. If there is tracking code embedded on the Website, it gets filtered out.

If a Website has ads, and they aren't tracking, I get the ads. I'm good with that. I only block trackers.

All of that adds up to one reason I wouldn't see the message on YouTube. There is one other reason: I already subscribe to YouTube Premium.

YouTube Premium by itself isn't something to which I'd normally subscribe. However, it does offer a bonus that makes it worthwhile to me. YouTube Music is included with YouTube Premium. I've been subscribing to YouTube Music as part of YouTube Premium, and have been looking to that as an alternative to SirusXM in the car.

The downside of this is that I've not seen if the message is in place for Pi Hole users. I could log out of YouTube Premium and see if I get the message, and I may. But I probably won't.

My Streaming Life contains ads, unless they are tracking ads. If the content were to detect and block content because of Pi Hole, I'd figure out how to deal with it. I've not had to, and I'm good to go for now.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Another nail in the Roku 4 coffin

Back in March, Roku announced that they were discontinuing support for the Roku 4 (model 4400). That came as no surprise to me. In fact, the surprise -- and there was one -- was that they supported the Roku 4 for as long as they did.

From launch, the Roku 4 had all kinds of problems. The idea of the Roku 4 was, in its day, a good idea. The execution of that idea was a huge misstep by Roku.

The fan (yes, it had a fan) was noisy at times, and all kinds of glitches happened. I was watching reports from owners carefully at the time, since I was thinking of getting one. I had always owned at least one of the top of the line Roku devices. I owned a Roku 3, and when the Roku 4 came out, I considered getting one.

The only draw was 4K, but as I didn't own a 4K TV at the time, I decided to wait and see what else it offered to determine if upgrading was the way for me to go. All the reports of issues with the device convinced me to not get one. It was the first top-of-the-line Roku that I didn't purchase.

Roku discontinued the Roku 4 within a year, replacing it with the Ultra (finally discontinuing the Roku 3 at the same time). I waited on the Ultra as well, after the Roku 4 debacle. After a year, I finally bought an Ultra, but continued to use the Roku 3 until just a couple of years ago.

Back to Roku's announcement from March. The Roku 4 isn't getting the new Roku OS 12 software update, as it's no longer a supported device. And now another blow to Roku 4 owners. Disney+ is dropping Roku 4 support:

According to a message posted on Roku 4 on May 30th, 2023, Disney+ will be ending support for older Roku players, including the Roku 4. This means if you want to keep watching Disney+ and you own a Roku 4, you will need to upgrade to a newer Roku player.

This news comes as Roku has announced that it is ending support for the Roku 4, which was Roku’s first 4K streaming player it ever made. The Roku 4 was later replaced by the Roku Ultra, which is now the top-of-the-line Roku Player.

A lot of people who bought a Roku 4 will be very unhappy. However, I suspect many of them have not been as happy as owners of the Roku Ultra, which was the Roku 4 done right. My Streaming Life never had to endure a Roku 4, but for those that did, this is not good news, and may be the reason they were needing to get a better Roku device.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Local news

I read an article several days ago that mentioned that Fox had launched a new streaming service for local news. The app is Fox Local, and is rolling out nationwide.

"Nationwide" doesn't mean everywhere, at least not just yet:

At launch, only Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St.Paul, Milwaukee, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa, and Washington DC are live on the service, but more locals will reportedly be added soon.

"FOX Local is the crucial next step in our overall streaming strategy, which is focused on providing viewers the easiest and fastest ways to watch their most trusted local news and programming," said Jeff Zellmer, Senior Vice President of Digital Operations for Fox Television Stations.

While this sounds like a good idea, it doesn't help a lot of people. You see, there are a lot of people outside of those listed cities. I'm in southeast Georgia, and a local Atlanta station does nothing for me. It might as well be in another state. In fact, news out of Jacksonville, Florida would be more local than Atlanta.

It's not available for Roku, which is a huge hole in its footprint as well. I get the Fox Local app via one of the other platforms. I've only used it on Google TV, and there are only three cities available there: Atlanta, Detroit, and Washington, DC. The others listed in the article are all marked "Coming Soon."

I get local news via an antenna. It gets me the stations from Savannah, my actual local TV news. Maybe one day, the Fox Local app will expand to Savannah, but I'm not holding my breath. My Streaming Life would be improved with Fox Local carrying my local stations, but my trusty antenna gets me by for now.

Monday, May 8, 2023

Sling TV's Freestream

For a long time, I've used Sling TV's free service. A lot of people didn't know that you could watch free content on Sling TV, but it's been a thing for a while. The number of offerings has grown over the years, from a handful to over 300.

Back in February, Sling TV rebranded their free offering. Actually, they branded it, since it really wasn't promoted or given a proper name. I called it Sling TV free because I didn't know what else to call it.

Freestream is the name, and now the service has over 335 channels, according to a recent news release:

Sling Freestream now offers more than 35 sports, 100 entertainment and 45 news channels with no payment or credit card required. SLING plans to continue its FAST growth by introducing more domestic sports, entertainment and news channels, plus dozens of foreign language international channels and On Demand content throughout 2023.

Adding to its complete entertainment experience, Sling Freestream users have the ability to effortlessly subscribe to more than 50 standalone streaming services (AMC+, discovery+, MGM+, SHOWTIME, etc.) and/or add a SLING Orange and/or SLING Blue base service.

The service is a good free ad-supported television (FAST) service. There are many from which to choose, but the nice thing is that since it and other FAST services are free, you can have all you want and it won't cost you anything. My Streaming Life is better for Freestream, and the other services.

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Google TV app management

It appears Google is taking a lesson from Roku. Not exactly, but they are making an improvement that puts them second to Roku in one regard.

One of the biggest problems with all the streaming devices, except Roku, is storage space. Most of them have small storage on the device, except for Apple TV. Even Roku has small on-board storage. But Roku handles it well.

How? Well, it seems that Roku will manage storage space by removing apps from your device if you run out of space, and get them back when you need it.

Here's an example: Say you have 20 apps on your streaming device. Let's suppose those 20 apps take up all the storage on your streaming device. Now suppose you want to add another app. What happens?

Well, if it's Google TV, Apple TV, or Fire TV, you get a message that you're out of space and need to remove something. And it won't let you add the new app until you do.

Roku does it differently. If your Roku is full, and you try to download a new app, Roku will look at which app has gone the longest without being used and remove it. They'll leave a shortcut or placeholder for it, but remove the bulk of the app. It's still listed as an installed app, but it technically isn't on the Roku device any more. Then the Roku tries to download the new app. If there still isn't enough room, Roku will find the next app that's been the longest since you used it, and repeat the process until it has enough space for the new app.

Just because it removes the app from the device doesn't mean you don't see the app. It still shows on your menu. And when you try to launch it, it downloads it again. And if there isn't enough room, it repeats the process of removing the oldest-used apps until it gets enough space. You never run out of space, and you still keep all your apps, or at least the menu item.

The recent to change to Google TV doesn't do it that way, but it does change the way it does things and makes it less likely to run out of space. What Google TV now will do is remove any app you haven't used in 30 days. Like Roku, it still keeps the app listed on your device, and downloads it again when you launch it.

App Hibernation is a new feature that will automatically force apps to hibernate when not used for over 30 days (on Android S and above devices). We also leveraged Android App Bundles for Google TV reducing the size of the apps by roughly 25%. This frees up space on your device to download even more apps and to watch your preferred programs without worry.

I still like the way Roku does better, but it is an improvement over the old way. My Streaming Life is made better by Roku's method of swapping out apps. And the Google TV portion will be improved by their new process as well,

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Streaming the Kentucky Derby (2023)

The Kentucky Derby is this afternoon. And yeah, it's kind of a big deal. It's been a big deal for a while now.

I do have a passing interest in the race, and if I'm able, there's a better than even chance I'll watch it. And I realize I'm not sounding like I'm drumming up excitement about the race. That's because I'm not. Some people are interested in it a lot, some a little, and some not at all.

If you are interested, and if you are a streamer, you will probably want to know how you can watch it. Or even if you can watch it if  you're a streamer. Well, you can.

NBC is, again, carrying the race. While USA carried the Kentucky Oaks yesterday, the Derby is on NBC and Peacock. Coverage begins at 2:30 pm, with the actual race a few minutes before 7:00 pm.

The fastest time in the Kentucky Derby was set by Secretariat in 1973, at 1:59.4. The second fasted time in the Derby was Sham, at an estimated 1:59.8. Why was Sham's time an estimate? Because they don't normally keep as accurate records on second-place horses. Sham set his time in 1973, when he lost to Secretariat. Had Sham run that time, and Secretariat not run in the race, Sham would be the record holder. That was quite a race.

Will any records be set today? Find out. Watch the Kentucky Derby on NBC or on Peacock TV and see for yourself.

Here's how to watch:

Peacock TV

  • Subscription is $5/month for the Premium service. It's $10/month for ad-free. But ad-free doesn't include not having ads in live TV. The ad-free applies to on-demand only.


  • Antenna (free) over the air.
  • Sling TV ($40 Orange) ($40/Blue) ($55 Orange + Blue)
  • DirecTV Stream ($65/month)
  • Hulu+Live TV ($70/month)
  • YouTube TV ($73/month)
  • Fubo (Pro) ($75/month)

If watching the first jewel of the Triple Crown is on your agenda for the day, you can enjoy streaming it on one of those services. My Streaming Life will include today's Kentucky Derby, probably on Peacock. But there are plenty of options.

Friday, May 5, 2023

Fire TV free channels

More and more streaming platforms have discovered that many would rather watch free content than pay for it. That sounds like a no-brainer, right? Well, it's not. You see, it's not quite as simple as that. Nothing ever is.

TANSTAAFL: There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

If something is free, there's a reason. Sometimes, it's because there are advertisements. Sometimes it's because they want your data, which they'll then sell or use to target advertising. Nothing is really free, it seems.

So back to where I started. More and more streaming platforms have discovered that many would rather watch free content than pay for it. And they've discovered that they can sell advertising within the free content, and if it's not too much or too intrusive, people will stay with it. People get free content and they get advertising dollars. Win-win.

Well, that's the idea, anyway. And it seems to work a lot. In fact, a recent news release from Amazon Fire TV touts their revamp of their free offerings:

... Fire TV customers can enjoy content from the NHL, Xbox, and TMZ, as well as an entirely new Travel category. Built for anyone seeking their next big adventure, the Travel category on Fire TV Channels offers guides and other resources on trending destinations. Content providers include: Tastemade Travel, Rick Steves' Europe, Travel Hacks (Pack Hacker), and coming soon, Condé Nast Traveler.

Fire TV Channels brings together premium free content that spans diverse customer interests from a growing list of household names like ABC News, CBS Sports HQ, FOX Sports, Major League Baseball, NBC News Now, Martha Stewart, and America’s Test Kitchen.

This means more free (ad-supported) content. Sure, some people would rather pay than watch ads, but there are a lot of people that want it for free, and will sit through the ads.

My Streaming Life is made up in part of many free ad-supported television (FAST) services. Amazon's expansion of theirs is a good thing.

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Picking a streaming service

There are multiple of different ways to pick streaming services. My way isn't the way most people do it, because there is some work involved, and many people would rather pay more and work less. And if the money saved by the extra work isn't worth it to them, then my way isn't for them.

First, let's clarify what I'm talking about. I'm referring to streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, Apple TV+, Paramount+, Peacock, Starz, AMC+, and the like. I'm not talking about the cable-like services such as YouTube TV, Fubo, Sling TV, and so forth.

I'm talking about the (mostly) on-demand services, not the (mostly) live/linear services.

So, what I do is pick one, subscribe to it for a month, then at the end of the 30-day subscription cancel the service. During the 30 days of the subscription, I'll binge the service. At the beginning of the next month, I pick a different one and focus on that one. The next month, a different one. And so on and so forth. Over time, I watch them all, but only pay for one a month.

Most people don't do it that way. They subscribe to a service, or to a few services, and just keep them. And that's a perfectly legitimate way of doing it. My way lets me (over time) watch everything from all the services (or all the services I want) without the expense of all the services every month. Rotating around spread the cost out, but delays when I watch some stuff. To me that's worth the extra work and the extra wait.

That might not be worth it to you. You should do it however it works best for you.

Regardless of which way you do it, how do you pick which service or services to use? Well, recently, a question along that line was posed to TV Answer Man, and they gave seven questions you should ask yourself when making the decision. They are reasonable questions, and put together should help you make a good decision. They include:

1. What content do I want to watch? Different video streaming services offer varying types of content. Some specialize in movies, while others focus on TV shows or documentaries. Determine the kind of content you’re interested in and research which streaming services offer it.

2. How much does it cost? Video streaming services come in different price ranges, from free to premium. Determine your budget and compare the subscription fees of the services you’re interested in. Also, consider the cost of any additional features you may want, such as ad-free viewing or access to live sports events.

There are seven in all, and the article is worth a read.

My Streaming Life may be a little more complicated in how I subscribe to services, but I still have to ask those questions from time to time, just to ensure my picklist of services is what I want. Even if you simply subscribe and keep, rather than rotate, you should ask those questions from time to time.

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Buying a streaming device: TV, box, or stick

Generally, I don't suggest buying a TV based on its built in streaming platform. What I mean is that while I'm a fan of Roku, I don't generally suggest buying a Roku TV.

I also think the Fire TV interface is good, but I don't generally suggest buying a TV with built in Fire TV interface.

Same for Google TV. There are TVs with built in Google TV, which is a good interface, but I don't generally suggest buying a TV because it has Google TV interface.

You see, over the years, the updates and new requirements for certain apps and services have crippled the built in streaming platform. For example, I used a family member's Roku TV for a period of time, and found it eventually became a frustrating experience because the device became outdated. I resolved it by adding a Roku Stick to the Roku TV. I simply ignored the Roku interface that was built in, and used the one in the Stick.

That showed me that platforms built in to TVs may not be up to speed over time. And that's a problem. The TV may be good -- the image and sound -- but the interface may be bad.

Also, my main TV is a Google TV device, but I prefer Roku, and run Roku on my TV.

Now, having said that, I did buy a Roku TV recently. Three reason for that: 1) I was curious about the new Roku built TVs;  2) I wanted a second TV in a second bedroom; and 3) it was on sale.

Those three factors all worked together and I bought a TV based on the interface, which is something I don't generally do. Had any one of those factors not come into play, I would not have purchased that TV. But all three led me to think that the Roku TV was the way to go.

However, unless there are multiple reasons for purchasing a TV based on the platform -- I had three -- then I don't generally consider the platform. I'm not yet convinced my Roku TV will work as it should for as long as it should, and I may end up adding a streaming device to update it in a few years.

Just to be clear, don't avoid buying a TV because of its platform, and generally don't based the decision solely on its platform.

If you want or need a new streaming device, and your current TV works just fine, don't replace the TV. Buy a Roku, Fire TV, Google TV, or Apple TV device to add to your TV and use the device instead.

My Streaming Life hasn't depended on the platform of a TV. I've always had the freedom to use whatever platform I want, regardless of the one built in to the TV.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Over half of USA may cut at least one streaming service this year

A recent study shows that over half of streamers in the USA are considering cutting a streaming service as a way to save money. I am not in that group.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not sitting on a pile of money, not needing to save pennies here and there. I do want to save money, and I do. But I won't be cutting off a streaming service to do it.

No, streaming isn't that important to me. Rather, I don't have the problem because I don't subscribe to a bunch of services.

Yesterday, I wrote (again) about how I will rotate streaming services. This month, I'll subscribe to one service, and the next month, I'll drop that one and subscribe to a different one. And still a different one the following month.

HBO Max this month, for example. Disney+ next month. Paramount+ the following month. Peacock one month. And so on.

Coincidentally, a Cord Cutters News published an article highlighting a recent study that said that 56% of US streamers are looking to save money by cutting at least one streaming service:

A new survey shows how many people are considering cutting streaming platforms and which might be the best to keep.

According to the Benzinga and Dig Insights Economic Sentiment tracker, 56% of U.S. consumers said they are considering canceling subscriptions to save money.

The poll was conducted in March 2023 and showed a jump from the 51% of U.S. consumers who answered yes to the same question in November 2022.

This doesn't surprise me. In the last three years, prices have gone up at a tremendous rate. More people are having to cut back on things as a result. And cutting a streaming service is a way many are considering.

Which is yet another opportunity for me to promote the rotation method of streaming. Cancel all your services except one. Watch that one this month. Binge shows if you like. Watch that one service. If you run out of stuff you want to watch, fill in with free ad-supported television (FAST) services.

At the end of the month, cancel that service, and on the first of the next month, subscribe to a different one. Every month, do that. Over time, you've watched everything you.

My Streaming Life has been that way for a while. It works well for me. Let me again suggest that it may work for you as well.

Monday, May 1, 2023

Saving money with streaming services

There are a lot of options when it comes to streaming services. There are a lot of streaming services. Some are free ad-supported television (FAST) services, but some have subscription fees. Everyone is familiar with Netflix of course, but there are many others, and you probably know about all of the major ones:

  • Netflix
  • Hulu
  • Prime Video
  • Disney+
  • HBO Max
  • Apple TV+
  • Paramount+
  • Peacock
  • Starz
  • AMC+

There are more of course. These run from $5/month to $20/month.

Then there are services that are pretty much are replacements for cable. Those include:

  • Frndly TV
  • Philo
  • Sling TV
  • Vidgo
  • DirecTV Stream
  • Fubo
  • Hulu+Live TV
  • YouTube TV

They run from $7/month to over $70/month, depending on what services they include.

You may have noticed that cable companies and their lackeys in the media have promoted the idea that streaming is more expensive than cable. They point to the cost of all these streaming services. And if you turn your brain off, you might fall for their propaganda.

There are a few things wrong with their argument. First of all, you probably don't need a live streaming service. You may be used to a service that offers a bunch of channels that offer continuous programming. You know, cable.

But when I started streaming, there were no live streaming services, so I learned real quick that I didn't need live streaming. I didn't need programming that was simply a replica of cable.

Now, sure, you may want to replicate cable. I'm just saying that you have the option to no do that. It's a different way of thinking to make that change, but it's how I like it.

Even if you do want a cable replacement, look at the lower priced ones. They may have everything you want or need. After all, $7 is a lot cheaper than $73.

Then when you figure in the cost of the on-demand services, such as Netflix, Hulu, and the like, you can spend a lot of money.

For me, I use those more than the live streaming services. And I subscribe to them all. Only, I don't subscribe to them all at the same time. I'll subscribe to one this month, another the next month, and so on. Each month I'll binge the service and watch everything I want to watch. At the end of the month, I cancel, then at the start of the next month, I'll subscribe to a different one. I watch everything I want over time, and save a lot of money doing it.

My Streaming Life has a lot of content. It doesn't have a large cost. Life is good.