Monday, July 31, 2023

Fox Local on Roku

When Fox Local launched back in May, I was not impressed.

For one thing, it wasn't available on Roku. For another, it only offered 17 local channels, with Atlanta being the nearest to me. Over 200 miles is not local, as far as I'm concerned.

Well, they finally fixed one of the problems. It's now available on Roku, as of this week.

The other problem is a little better, sort of.

When the service launched, it listed these cities as available: Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis-St.Paul, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa, and Washington DC.

In reality, only three of those were actually available -- Atlanta, Detroit, and Washington, DC -- with the rest listed as "coming soon." Well, those 14 are no longer "coming soon" but are actually available. Still, over 200 miles does me no good.

My Streaming Life won't benefit from Fox Local still. I'm still liking the idea of Fox Local. I'm not liking the execution.

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Windows updates

If you run Windows on your computer, you should be keeping it up to date.

Okay, you probably have a couple of questions. First may be "What do you mean if I run Windows? Doesn't every computer run Windows?"

Well, no. There are four major operating systems: Windows (the biggest), MacOS (the second biggest), Chrome OS (the new kid on the block), and Linux (the one that runs most servers on the Internet). Most users run Windows.

So, why are updates important? Security. Plain and simple, security. Your operating system is flawed, and updates will keep you safe.


What does this have to do with streaming? If you stream on your Windows computer, then there's your answer. But if you don't stream on your Windows computer, you can still be impacted if your computer is attacked and is taking up bandwidth doing nasty things.

Besides streaming, it's simply a good idea to keep your computer up to date so you don't suffer identiry theft or other nasty things.

My Streaming Life doesn't involve Windows, but I do have a Windows computer, and I keep it safe.

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Netflix anger

A lot of people got angry when Netflix decided to crack down on password sharing. They complained and threatened to leave.

Did they? No. And I recently read an article on The Streaming Advisor about that very topic. It was an interesting read.

In the content business, which every publisher including The Streaming Advisor participates in, you have to put something out there. But it is obvious that the results of surveys do not predict the future well. Because you have to factor in human nature and our comfort level with routine. You also have to factor in what I call the water cooler effect. That when folks sit around the water cooler/break room/coffee machine and complain and make threats about things, they are just performing for their peers. I don’t know why they perform, but they do. I guess it makes them feel good about themselves at the moment. Sort of like the guy who says he would play football with a broken foot in response to a highly-paid NFL star missing action because of an injury. That same slob would not stand up to get the remote or another slice of pizza with a torn ACL, but would try to have you believe that he would make his body do the near impossible if given the chance.

My Streaming Life doesn't normally include Netflix, although I'm running a test right now involving it. But, if it did, I wouldn't have been impacted. I don't share passwords and don't use others' passwords. It's not what I do. And now it's not what others are doing either.

Friday, July 28, 2023


My local library has recently added Kanopy as an option.

"What's Kanopy?" you ask.

No really, go ahead and ask.

Well, since you asked, here's what they say:

Kanopy is the best video streaming service for quality, thoughtful entertainment. Find movies, documentaries, foreign films, classic cinema, independent films and educational videos that inspire, enrich and entertain. We partner with public libraries and universities to bring you an ad-free experience that can be enjoyed on your TV, mobile phone, tablets and online.

Someone sounds a little full of themself. But it is a good video streaming service, and it has some good content.

Here's the thing: not everybody gets the same content. You see, Kanopy offers multiple catalogs of content, and it's up to your local library to select which catalogs they want. And, there can be restrictions.

My local library offers a little over half of the Kanopy catalog, but it's unlimited. That is, I can watch as much as I want as many times as I want. But I only have about 55-60% of the overall catalog.

A family member in another county has a larger catalog of content, but is restricted in how many views she gets. That's because that library pays per view, while mine bought unlimited. Her library saves money by limiting the number of views, and mine saves money by selecting fewer catalogs.

I'm sure some libraries have the full catalog of content, but keep in mind that not all do. Your library has to pay for it, and that can run into some money.

Kanopy is available on Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, Google TV (including Chromecast), and other platforms.

My Streaming Life only recently added Kanopy. I like it. I wish my local library was able to provide more, but for now, I'll enjoy what I have.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Cutting back

I've cut back on streaming services. I've never subscribed to a lot, and I'm subscribing to fewer than ever.

Well, I did subscribe to Netflix recently, but that was to test something, not to watch and keep the service.

I keep Hulu, but pause the service for months at a time, allowing shows to build up. I'll then binge the shows for a month, then pause it again. I pay for it 3 or 4 months out of the year.

Disney Plus will sometimes be included with Netflix, or at least, it used to be. I've not heard of anything I care to watch on the service, so when I pay for Hulu again, it will be just Hulu.

Paramount Plus and Peacock TV are part of other services.

AMC+ and Starz are ending annual subscriptions I did for a family member. I didn't watch the services.

Curiosity Stream is ending an annual subscription as well. I rarely use it and much of the content I like is available via other services.

That's pretty much it. I don't do a live streaming service such as Sling TV, YouTube TV, DirecTV Stream, or any of those services. I do subscribe to Frndly TV, as it has the few channels I would watch if I had the other services. Antenna gets me local channels and I don't care about sports, except when college football kicks off. Then I will subscribe to Sling TV.

I've had services, but have cut back, and am continuing to cut back. And so have many others.

A report from Next TV says that 35% of US streamers are looking to cut back on services. Does that mean 65% are looking to increase? No, not actually. The report says 5% will increase, and the rest will leave things as they are:

New data reported by Aluma Connected Media Insights corroborates that finding, showing that 35% of subscription-based video-on-demand (SVOD) customers believe they are spending too much on services like Netflix and are looking to cut back.

This figure represents a 40% increase in customers looking to cut back vs last year, and nearly three times greater than the amount in 2019.

Furthermore, only 5% of all customers would be interested in spending more on SVOD services, down 38% from 2022.

This downward trend has remained largely steady throughout the past four years, as customers have gradually become dissatisfied with the aggressive market prices set by streaming services in an attempt to generate revenue.

So, seven times as many are looking to cut services than increase services. My Streaming Life has been there for some time. I'm not surprised to see others coming to the same conclusion.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Local Now

Local Now has improved its offerings quite a bit over the last year or so. It has gone from a replay of local news to a service with nearly 500 live streaming channels. It's turned into a pretty good service.

Recently, Cord Cutters News gave a good rundown of the channel:


One thing I want to add. PBS isn't available everywhere. In my area, I don't get the local PBS channel. WVAN channel 9 in Pembroke is the closest PBS station, but it's not part of Local Now. Apart from that, the review is spot on.

By the way, I get PBS from the PBS app. Being a PBS supporter, I also get access to the entire PBS library via PBS Passport. Anyone who gives $5/month, or $60/year, gets PBS Passport. I give more. PBS Passport isn't a subscription service for me. It's a bonus I get for supporting PBS. Anyway, I get the statewide GPB feed, rather than any feed of a particular station. It would be nice if it was part of Local Now. I wouldn't drop my support, of course.

My Streaming Life includes a lot of free ad supported television (FAST) services, and Local Now is one of them. It's a good service.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Warner Bros Discovery putting more into streaming?

There are a couple of reports that indicate that Warner Bros Discovery is moving away from cable TV and putting more effort into streaming.

First, there was a report from The Hollywood Reporter about the WBD head of international TV distribution leaving:

In an internal memo seen by The Hollywood Reporter WBD's president of international Gerhard Zeiler announced that Blair would be exiting and also that his post, which he was promoted to in 2019, would not be replaced.

"Last year, we unveiled a new org structure for international, which we believed best positioned us for success at that time. But we also acknowledged that in an ever-changing industry and market, we would need to continue to evolve in a thoughtful and strategic way, along with the climate around us," he said.

"Seven months into 2023, although we remain confident about our trajectory as a business, we are at another inflection point, and one where the global economy has not rebounded as quickly as we had hoped."

The departure of Blair, he said, came after "much deliberation," but was a "necessary structural change to our team design that both flattens and streamlines the content licensing organization."

Then came the speculation. Cord Cutters News suggests that last sentence, combined with actions by Disney that cut cable channels overseas, may be part of a trend:

In the past, media companies have resold their content internationally to other cable networks to air in Europe and around the world. Now it seems that Warner Bros. Discovery is moving in a new direction, much like other media companies have.

Disney has even gone so far as to shut down many of its cable networks, including the Disney Channel in Europe, as it pushes fans to subscribe to Disney+. It is possible we will see something similar here with Max as Warner Bros. Discovery tries to cut out the middleman.

My Streaming Life hasn't had WBD services in a few months. But I haven't watched any of their content on cable in over a dozen years. If this is a trend, and if WBD is cutting back on cable, then the future of streaming looks even better.

Monday, July 24, 2023

Netflix again

From time to time, I'll review my streaming subscriptions. I don't want to keep any subscriptions for services I don't use, and will rotate them out. Recently though, I've simply cut back.

I say I've cut back, but I actually subscribed to a service recently. I've seen multiple conflicting reports about Netflix and its password crackdown. So, I subscribed to Netflix a few days ago -- I dropped it some time back because I didn't use it -- and have logged in on a family member's account. She'll use the service for a couple of weeks, then I'll try to log in at home.

Since I'm in a different ZIP Code, and have a different ISP, Netflix should detect I'm not at the same location. That way, I'll get to see exactly how Netflix handles password sharing.

Mind you, I'm not looking to violate Netflix Terms of Service. Rather, I want to see how it handles password sharing. What notices does it give? Will it actually block me from logging in? Will it simply scold me? What will it do?

I won't keep Netflix long. I'm only subscribing to test the service. I don't plan to watch anything, just see what happens when I log in after the account was used in a different city for a period of time.

My Steaming Life doesn't normally include Netflix. However, I am curious as to how it could impact others.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Video apps and privacy

Your information is being shared with many companies. This happens not only with Web browsers, but also with video apps.


My Streaming Life never involves watching on my phone. I limit the number of apps on my phone, and I watch TV on ... wait for it ... my TV, not on my phone.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Cheap cell phone service

Not really streaming related, but not not streaming related either.

I'm always on the lookout for saving money on different things. Some things, I don't, but some things I do. And I'm always on the lookout for a cheaper cell phone service.

When I first got cell phone service it was quite expensive. Still is, but it was really expensive then, relatively speaking.

Right now, I'm paying $40/month for AT&T service. It says it's unlimited, but it's not. 20 GB high speed, then throttled. 15 GB hot spot. Not really unlimited, but I'm not singling AT&T out. All the cell phone companies lie about unlimited, hiding the facts in the small print. I'm wondering if I can service cheaper.

Let me clarify. I know that I can. But coverage from other carriers isn't that great. Verizon and AT&T offer good coverage (Verizon marginally better) here, with T-Mobile having spotty coverage. Some places, it's fantastic. Other places, it's impossible. I haven't tried others. Sprint, whose network was broken up when T-Mobile bought it, never had good service here. I'm limited to AT&T and Verizon, with T-Mobile as a possible if they continue upgrading and expanding their network.

Visible, which is Verizon's cheaper service (AT&T's is Cricket) is $10/month cheaper. I'm ready to change to that service, but I'm not sure if that's the way to go, or if I should check out Boost Mobile. That would be $25/month.

Boost Mobile runs on Dish cellular network, which is a lot of the old Sprint network. That's not good. However, it is supplemented by AT&T and T-Mobile networks. I'm not sure if it would be comparable to Verizon or not. It should compare to AT&T, since that is one of the networks it rides.

I don't know of anyone who actually uses Boost Mobile. It's never been a big network here, and most of the people I know are older and don't change a lot. They get AT&T, they stay with AT&T. They get Verizon, they stick with Verizon. So younger people may be the best way to find out. I just need to find one that will talk to me.

If I was looking for a service that had a bunch of bonus features, such as Disney Bundle, Apple One, Walmart+, and the like, then I'd spend a bit more per month. However, since those services are services I would only use occasionally, it would actually cost more to get a plan with those additions. So, while some would utilize the bonus services of a cell phone plan with their streaming, I wouldn't.

My Streaming Life doesn't involve a lot of subscription services, and I don't really want to pay a lot for cell phone service to get streaming services. I want cheap cell phone service. And cheap streaming. Because I'm cheap.

Friday, July 21, 2023

YouTube Premium price increases

YouTube Premium is going up in price.

I'm not talking about YouTube TV. That went up from too much to way too much a few months ago. I'm referring to YouTube Premium, the paid tier of YouTube. It includes ad-free YouTube, which is nice, YouTube Music, which is okay, and the ability to download and watch YouTube videos offline (which I don't care about).

The email was sent out this week:

Thank you for being a YouTube Premium member. We hope you are enjoying your YouTube Premium benefits, including ad-free and downloadable videos, background play, and uninterrupted access to over 100 million songs with the YouTube Music app.

To continue delivering great service and features, we’re increasing your price to $13.99/month. We don’t make these decisions lightly, but this update will allow us to continue to improve Premium and support the creators and artists you watch on YouTube.

You will see the change reflected in your next billing date on September 1, 2023.

While we hope that you continue to be a member, you can cancel your subscription at any time here. To check the status of your account and billing information, go to your Settings > Purchases and Memberships page.

You can find more information on the latest updates in the YouTube Help Center.

Thanks for being a YouTube Premium member.

The YouTube Premium team

I subscribed to test it out, and actually liked it. The lack of ads in YouTube videos is great. YouTube music is okay. It pales compared to Apple Music, but it is okay. It would be great if they had something that resembled radio stations (as found on other services), but they don't, so it's not great, just okay. For $12/month, it seemed worth it. The $2/month increase? I'm not so sure. There comes a point where it's not worth it.

A monthly cost of $10 would have been my thought since YouTube Music was my actual goal to test, but I put up with $12 (20% more) to get rid of ads. But $14 (40% more)? I'm not so sure.

My Streaming Life has enjoyed the lack of YouTube ads while I tested YouTube Premium for YouTube Music. If YouTube Music was better, then I'd keep YouTube Premium. Now? I'm not so sure.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Netflix subscribers increase

Everybody fussed and complained, then went along with it. That's how people are.

Netflix cracked down on password sharing recently, and began actively stopping users at different locations from using the same Netflix account. Reports varied on how aggressive Netflix was, with some getting a simple warning, and others actually denied access. That's according to reports. I've not encountered what people have talked about, so I can't say, but this is what has been reported.

Whatever Netflix was doing, it worked. Subscriptions are up. And up by a large number.

According to a report, 5.9 million new subscribers were added in the second quarter, and that coincides with the password crackdown.

Netflix’s password-sharing crackdown is now in full swing in the 2nd quarter of 2023. This is excellent news for a company that needs to show stockholders some good news.

In the 2nd quarter of 2023, Netflix added 5.9 million subscribers. This is compared to the 1.1 million Netflix added in the 2nd quarter of 2022. Netflix, so its revenue hit $8.2 billion in the 2nd quarter of 2023. In total, Netflix says year over year growth of 8% when looking at subscribers.

I'm going to test this out. I have subscribed to Netflix, and will be providing it to a family member. I won't use it for a bit -- I haven't had a Netflix subscription in a while anyway -- so it should consider her as the primary. In a few weeks, I'll try to log in and see what happens.

My Streaming Life doesn't normally include Netflix -- I have enough to watch for free or provided services -- so this will be a different experience. Heck, I may find that I like Netflix overall. We shall see.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Peacock TV price increase

If you've been using Peacock TV, you probably found out about the price increase.

In the past two years, everything has gone up in price ... except Peacock TV. Now Peacock TV is going up in price.

I've had the service since it launched, mostly. Being an Xfinity Internet customer, I was able to get Peacock TV Premium for free.

When that went away in June, they still allowed Xfinity Rewards members of a certain level to get the Peacock Premium service for free. I'm at a qualifying level, so I got it. Yeah, there were a few glitches, but I have Peacock TV Premium for free.

Now, word is there is a price increase. And the word is from Peacock TV itself. An email came this week telling of the increase:

Thank you for being a Peacock subscriber. We wanted to let you know about upcoming changes to your subscription.

As of today, we are changing the price of Peacock subscription plans as follows:

As a current subscriber, you'll receive one additional month at the current price. The new pricing will be effective on your next billing date on or after August 17, 2023. If you are currently on an offer, your promotional pricing will continue through the end of the promotional period. Note that if you are on an offer and upgraded to Premium Plus for $5/mo., your price for the Premium Plus Add-On will increase to $6/mo. effective on your next billing date on or after August 17.

If you cancelled your subscription within the last 30 days, please disregard this notice; you will not be charged after the end of your current billing cycle.

To manage or cancel your subscription, visit your Account. For more information on how to cancel, visit

Is it worth the price increase? That depends. I'm thinking it probably is. At lease, if you were willing to pay $5/month for Peacock Premium, you'll probably feel that $6/month is worth it.

My Streaming Life includes Peacock Premium as part of a rewards package. I'm not sure about paying the new prices. I think the Xfinity Rewards bonus is good for a year. If that's the case, I won't have to make a decision until a year from now.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Roku or Fire TV?

I'm firmly on Team Roku. However, I can certainly appreciate what Fire TV offers.

Luke Bouma at Cord Cutters News recently compared the two streaming platforms.


I wonder sometimes if I prefer Roku because that's my first interface, and I used it for over three years before Fire TV even existed.

My Streaming Life doesn't involve Fire TV that much, but it certainly is a part of friends and family members experience. I should give it a chance.

Monday, July 17, 2023

ESPN as a stand-alone service.

During the fall, I'll subscribe to Sling TV, or another service that carries ESPN, to watch college football. I don't like doing that, but it's how to watch ESPN. Well, I could get cable, but I won't be doing that. I stream, and ESPN is available through a live streaming service such as Sling TV and the like.

If ESPN was available as a stand-alone service, I would rather watch that way. But it's not. Now right now, anyway.

Word is that ESPN will be available as a stand-alone service in 2025 or 2026. That's a paywall link, by the way, but there is a write-up on Cord Cutters News that might be useful.

ESPN reportedly gets, on average $9.42 from each cable TV subscriber. Now it is being reported that Disney may need to charge subscribers to its standalone service $22 a month according to reports for experts.

Moving to streaming will likely mean ESPN will need to charge more as many people who pay for ESPN don’t watch it. $22 could be a price you may expect depending on if ESPN+ is included etc.

My Streaming Life would love to see a standalone ESPN service. I hope it happens sooner than 2025, but whenever it happens, I'm in come football season.

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Bloatware on your phone

Do you have bloatware on your phone? Android phones have a lot of Google apps you don't want but can't remove. iPhones have a lot of Apple apps you don't want but can't remove. These are what's called bloatware. And it's a problem.


The apps I don't want but can't remove, I'll group in a folder and move it off my home screen. I really don't like bloatware. My Streaming Life doesn't often include using my phone, but I do use my phone along with streaming apps or devices on occasion.

Saturday, July 15, 2023

I don't know how many streaming service subscriptions I have

This may seem odd, but I really don't know to how many streaming services I subscribe.

I subscribe to Frndly TV, and have for some time. It's long been a favorite service. So there's one.

I subscribe to Prime Video, only I don't. I subscribe to Amazon Prime. Same thing, right? Well ... here's the thing. I was an Amazon Prime subscriber when there was no Prime Video. I subscribed to Amazon Prime for the other benefits. It's kinda morphed into Prime Video in many people's minds, but not mine. I subscribe to Prime Video for the benefits apart from Prime Video. I had it when there wasn't a Prime Video, so it's an additional benefit, not involved in my reasons for subscribing to Prime Video. So, the count is still at one. Unless this counts, then it's at two.

I subscribe to Paramount Plus, only I don't. It is included with Walmart Plus, and I had Walmart Plus before they included Paramount Plus. Kinda like the whole Amazon Prime and Prime Video thing. So the count is still at one. Or it's up to three, depending on how you count it.

I subscribe to Peacock, only I don't. I'm an Xfinity Internet customer, and had Peacock Premium since it was a perk. Now that the perk has gone away, I dropped Peacock. Only now it's available as an Xfinity Rewards thing because of how long I've been an Xfinity Internet customer. Like the last couple of services, I get it with another service for which I pay. So, the county is still at one. Or it went up to four.

I subscribe to Curiosity Stream. Or I did. Well, I still do, but it's not renewing. I don't watch it enough to justify keeping it, and a lot of the content is included with other services. So, the count is still at one. Or two, if the fact it's expiring but hasn't yet means it counts. Or five, if the others count as well.

I subscribe to PBS Passport. Except, I don't really. I started supporting PBS back in the 1980s. Maybe the 1970s. I forget which. Either late '70s or early '80s. I send them a little bit each month. They keep asking for more, like PBS does. And I really don't watch it that much. I support PBS. As a way of thanks, I get PBS Passport, which unlocks everything. However, since I would support PBS anyway, it doesn't count, leaving the count at one. Or two. Unless it does count, which makes it six.

I subscribe to Pub-D-Hub. Straight up, this is a subscription to Pub-D-Hub. It's not much, it unlocks some content, and I watch it from time to time. Yes, I know, it's all public domain content, but rather than go ad-supported, this little labor of love that the folks do is supported by subscriptions of less than $10/year. I like the content, I like what they do, and I don't mind throwing a few bucks there way. But this definitely counts. So, I'm at two. Or three. Or seven. It depends on what counts.

I subscribe to Starz. Or I did. As with Curiosity Stream, this is expiring and won't renew. I got it for a family member, and it's no longer needed. It will end when the current subscription is up. So, not counting it leaves the count at two. Or three. Or eight, if it counts.

I subscribe to AMC Plus. Or I did. As with Curiosity Stream and Starz, this is expiring and won't renew. I got it for a family member, and it's no longer needed. It will end when the current subscription is up. So, not counting it leave the total at two. Or three. Or nine, if it does count.

I subscribe to Hulu. Only it is paused now. I still have a subscription, and it will start back in September, but I will subscribe, catch up on everything, then pause it for several months while stuff builds back up. I suppose I should count it. Unlike Starz, Curiosity Stream, and AMC Plus, I do plan to return. I didn't cancel, simply paused it. So, the count is three. Or four. Or ten.

I don't subscribe to Sling TV. Except when I do. When football season starts, I'll subscribe to Sling TV in order to get ESPN to watch college football. I don't pause my subscription. I don't know if that's even possible. I cancel when football season is over. In fact, I cancel it during the season, only to resubscribe days later. It's a 30-day subscription, so subscribing on a Saturday means I cover five weekends. Then I cancel, don't pay for Monday through Friday, then resubscribe the next Saturday. Three subscriptions cover 15 weeks of football, the entire season and championship games. Then, when the bowl games start, a fourth subscription, and I have the entire season of games I want to watch covered. All that means I subscribe to Sling TV for about 1/3 of the year. Yes, that's similar to Hulu, but if Disney ever spins ESPN off into its own standalone service, as is rumored, I won't be using Sling TV at all. So I don't really count Sling TV. The count is at three. Unless it's four. Or five. Or eleven.

Of course, if during football season, some other live streaming service offers a deal that brings the net cost down to less than that of Sling TV, I'll use that service. I've seen YouTube TV offers that make sense to use it for a month rather than Sling TV, but that's a rare thing. And, I am only counting Sling TV, YouTube TV, or any other service that carries ESPN as a single service. I subscribe to whichever is cheapest that month. The totals remain the same: Three, or four, or five, or eleven.

This all came about because of an article I read on Cord Cutters News that listed information from a report about streaming habits:

Its latest report titled State of Media, Entertainment, & Tech: Viewing Behaviors 2023 shows U.S. households pay for an average of 3.8 streaming services each month and subscribe to 2.6 free ad-supported options, such as Amazon Freevee or Pluto TV.

SVOD services total around six in ten streamed hours, compared to one in four hours spent streaming via free ad-supported platforms. The Horowitz Research report shows while Netflix may have seen a decline in subscribers in recent months, the streaming platform still makes up the biggest share of self-reported viewing time. The platform fell from 32 percent in 2019 to 18 percent this year, surpassing Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, and YouTube TV.

The report also shows consumers are more likely to subscribe to bundle packages. Six out of ten respondents said they would consider upgrading to a bundle subscription streaming service if their preferred platforms offered one. Bundle deals are growing in popularity. Disney+ is another streaming service that offers a package deal including Hulu and ESPN+. Hulu also offers a bundle deal alongside Max.

I subscribe to three. Or four. Or five. Or eleven. I say three. My Streaming Life is more complicated than I realized.

Friday, July 14, 2023

No, Tubi isn't going to start charging for the service

Apparently there's a rumor going around that Tubi will start charging for its service.

Tubi says it's not true. What surprises me is that some people apparently though this was for real.

Okay, I have to admit I've seen some companies do some really stupid things -- *cough* *cough* Bud Light *cough* *cough* -- so maybe I shouldn't be surprised. But if Tubi did start charging, it would be Bud Light level stupid.

Tubi nipped it in the bud and got some free publicity in the process. And that's not long after Tubi surpassed Pluto TV to be one of the largest, most watched free ad-supported television (FAST) servcies.

My Streaming Life has included Tubi for some time now. And it's still a good service, getting better all the time.

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Roku Channel on Google TV

When it first launched, I wasn't a huge fan of Roku Channel. I've been a fan of Roku, the streaming platform and device, for years, since I bought my first one in 2010. However, when Roku Channel launched, it wasn't much. As the years have gone by, I've come to really like Roku Channel.

Originally, it was available on the Roku platform only. Later, it was available on the Fire TV platform from Amazon. However, of the four major streaming platforms -- Roku, Fire TV, Google TV, and Apple TV -- Roku Channel was only on two of them. Until now.

Roku announced yesterday that Roku Channel is now available on Google TV:

Starting today, owners of Google TV and other Android TV OS devices can enjoy all kinds of free entertainment from The Roku Channel.

The Roku Channel brings you everything you could want to watch for free. With programming lineup of more than 80,000 free movies and programs, exclusive Roku Originals like “WEIRD: The Al Yankovic Story,” “Die Hart,” and “The Great American Baking Show,” and over 350 free live linear television channels offering everything from news, sports, entertainment, Spanish language programming and more, Roku Channel offers something to fit your every streaming mood.

To download The Roku Channel, simply search and download “The Roku Channel” in the Google Play Store.  The Roku Channel doesn’t require a subscription—you can start streaming right away, no sign-up required.

I'm glad to see Roku Channel available on another of the major platforms. Only Apple TV remains.

I'm actually surprised that it took so long to become available on Google TV. Fire OS is based on Android, and Google TV is the interface for Android TV. So Fire OS and Android TV are related, and the apps for one would be similar to the apps for the other. Apple's TVOS is different, so I understand why that's taking longer. I'm glad to see Roku Channel on Google TV at last.

My Streaming Life began to use Roku Channel more in the past. Now, it's even better with it on three of my four streaming platforms.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Walmart silliness

I need a new modem.

I've known I need a new modem for a few weeks. I just haven't got around to getting one. Until now. Or last night, actually.

Got in from work around 8:00 last night and had no Internet. That's not good. That's never good.

I checked for Comcast (Xfinity Internet) outages, and there were none in my area. Or so they said. I had cellular service on my phone, so I wasn't completely cut off from the world. In the Xfinity app, there was the notice I've seen for a few weeks about needing a new modem.

It's an older modem, and at the time I got it, it was a good one. However, I knew that the upgrades to the Internet service and that older device would mean things would get to where my modem was no longer officially supported. I had planned on replacing it, but just hadn't got around to doing that.

So, I figured this was as good a time as any. I looked at Amazon and found a newer version of my current one on sale with Prime Days. However, delivery was several days away. So, I checked the Walmart app.

Sure enough, the very same modem for the very same price was available.

Not only was it available, it was available for delivery. Not just for shipping, but delivery.

Not sure about the difference? Shipping is when they send it from some warehouse. Delivery is where a shopper on staff at the local store will walk the aisle and pick it up from the shelves, put it in a bag, and drive to my house and give it to me. So, delivery means it is the same item -- not one like it but the very same item -- that I could pick up with my own hands.

Okay, so I drove to the local Walmart store and picked it up from the shelves. Only the price was different.

The price was $46 more than if I bought it through the app. So, the nice little clerk asked if she could help me, and I showed her the app with the model number, and the device with the same model number, and the difference in price. She said it's that price if I order it through the app.

Now, me being me, I said, "So, if I order it through this app, you or someone here will walk over to the shelves, pick up this very item, and drive it to me? But if I get the exact same item now, it's $46 more?" She nodded her head and said "yeah." So I thanked her, added it to the cart in the app, and purchased it.

It will arrive today. The very item I had it my hand last night.

I get why it could be a different price if it's something sold by a third party and shipped from a warehouse. But this is the very same item -- the very same item! -- that I held in my hand in the local store. My Streaming Life sometimes involves some things that don't really make sense. Last night was one of those times.

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Xfinity and Peacock TV problems ... again

When Xfinity decided to drop offering Peacock TV to their Internet customers, I had to decide whether or not to start paying for the service. I chose to not.

Xfinity offered Peacock TV to Xfinity Rewards customers of a certain level, which included me. However, I had trouble getting it. Then, suddenly I had it. All was good. For a while.

Now, it's gone again. I don't have Peacock TV, despite qualifying for it from Xfinity. Why is that?

Well, apparently it's not just me that lost it. A new report from Cord Cutters News says that a "glitch" is causing the issue.

Back in June, Comcast stopped offering free Peacock to its customers. Now unless you qualify for one of a few different plans, you will now need to pay for Peacock going forward. Sadly though, Xfinity Rewards members with Diamond or Platinum level rewards or qualifying internet customers have been unable to claim their free Peacock subscription.

The good news is Comcast has confirmed that they are aware of the issue and are working on adding the free Peacock offer for Diamond and Platinum members in the Xfinity rewards offer. For now, though if you are hoping to get a free Peacock, you need to wait until it has been added to the rewards center.

Of course, it was added to the Rewards Center for me, but apparently they have issues. When Comcast works right, it's great. When it messes up, it's a nightmare to deal with.

I'm not going to do much about it. Honestly, I didn't watch Peacock TV that much, and if I don't get it back, then I don't get it back. Xfinity doesn't really care, because they aren't getting a subscription from me. They can promote that they're giving it to Rewards members of a certain level, but that's not really true. They're offering it, just not following through.

My Streaming Life can get along just fine without Peacock TV. I'm not sure it's worth the $10/month they're asking. Maybe it is, but it kinda ticks me off they offer it for free as a loyalty reward, but then don't follow through. Loyalty? They keep using that word, but I don't think it means what they think it means.

Monday, July 10, 2023

Best Antivirus? No such thing.

I normally will reserve security based posts for the weekend. However, I messed up this weekend. I posted something else and after the fact realized what I had done. I could wait until next weekend to post this, but I'm going to go ahead and post it on a Monday. It's from January, so it's not time critical. However, it is important, and it's worth a look.

What is the best antivirus software for your Windows computer? Turns out there is no such thing. Oh, there are antivirus programs, to be sure. However, anything that says this one is best or that one is best, is pretty much hype. They all do well, if you are smart about how you use them. And they are all worthless if you use them improperly.

No antivirus program can protect someone who insists on doing reckless things.


Which one do I use? I use Windows Defender. It's fine. As mentioned, they all do well, if you are smart about how you use it. I use the extra protection in my process of never using the Administrator account.

Always use a standard user account, not an administrator account, with your Windows computer. If something nasty tries to occur, you'll get a password prompt if you're on a standard user account. And that password prompt is an indicator of bad things. Never provide the password, unless you are explicity installing something from a trusted source.

My Streaming Life does not often involve streaming from Windows. However, I do have a Windows computer in my aresenal (also MacOS, Linux, and ChromeOS). When I'm using Windows, I'm being safe about it.

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Local channel blackouts

One thing that has impacted many cable services over the years was the situation of a local station and a local cable company having a dispute. That's been mostly a thing of the past since most local stations have let the networks do the negotiations. However, it still happens from time to time. More stations might be impacted, but the whole situation comes up a lot less.

I'm not here to say that the network negotiations are a better way than the individual station negotiations. Rather, I'm here to say that I don't run into that.

You see, I dropped cable in early 2011. Over the last dozen years, I've not had cable, and didn't worry about local channels.

A clarification: I did have small locals only cable service from time to time when Comcast would have a special where Internet plus locals was cheaper than Internet alone. It seems that wouldn't be the case, but a couple of times over the last dozen years, that was the case, so I would sign up for a year at a lower price, then go back to Internet only when it was done. I didn't watch the local channels, I simply had the service because it was cheaper to include them to exclude them, as unusual as that sounds.

Anyway, I (generally) haven't had cable over the last 12+ years. I also haven't had satellite service, much less satellite with local channels.

When streaming services such as YouTube TV, DirecTV Now (as it was originally known), and the like began operating, local channels were available via streaming. But, if you've been paying attention, you've come to realize that local stations can have disputes with streaming services, just as they have had with cable and satellite services.

But I've avoided all that. How? An antenna, that's how.

Having a TV antenna has made local channels available. I don't subscribe to streaming services year-round, but I can watch local TV year round.

Carriage dispute? My Streaming Life doesn't care about those. My over the air antenna gets me my local channels. My Streaming Life is good.

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Tablo News

I don't know if you've noticed, but in the sidebar of this Website, there are links for useful Websites for cord cutters. There I list some Websites that offer news about cord cutting, information on streaming devices, as well as links that involve over the air TV watching.

One of the things is that the updates of these sometimes come in cycles. For example, Cord Cutters News was a great resource for years, then Luke Bouma who launched the Website and service, sold it. For a while, it continued as a good reliable resource, with Philip Palermo doing a great job ... for a while.

I don't know what happened, but around the time he changed jobs (moved from the company that bought CCN to another) Cord Cutters News began to really suffer. Nobody else ever put in the time and effort to keep things up. Luke bought the company back, and has really been focused on getting it back to what it was. But for a while there, things were kinda bad, insofar as it being a source for news for cord cutters.

Tablo had a news section that was updated at least once a week for a while. However, for the last couple of months it has not posted anything. I don't know if the purchase by Scripps had an impact. I think not, because the timing is way off. However, sometimes purchases and changes don't come at the same time.

Whatever the cause, and I am leaning away from Scripps, over the last couple of months, there have been few updates to the news section from Tablo. No Q&A gleaned from Facebook or Twitter, no rewrites/refreshes of stories about their DVRs and functionality, no nothing.

I know that it is difficult to keep up a daily or weekly things. Staffing is probably part of the problem, but for any company, all that really means is that it's not a priority. It should be. I would hate for this to be an indicator that Tablo, from the company perspective, just doesn't care.

My Streaming Life has included Tablo DVRs for some time. I hope my fears are groundless.

Friday, July 7, 2023

Never read the comments, but read these comments

There's a long time saying about "never read the comments." That's usually good advice.

However, sometimes there are actually good comments. I'm not talking about entertaining comments, but rather useful information.

A post at Cord Cutters News had an interesting comment thread about Comcast and its policies regarding fees. The initial comment is from a former Comcast customer service representative. Now, let's be clear that I don't know the person, and can't confirm that the person used to actually work for Comcast as a CSR, but it rings true. I'm inclined to believe what I read. It includes both a defense of Comcast and a damning of Comcast. It seems real, and I've accepted it as real in my mind.

The post itself is a rehash of an earlier report about Comcast raising fees. It appears that Luke from CCN thought a new round of fees had hit, when it was simply another report about the same fees that went into effect recently. He corrected it within the post, but left the post, as it is a good reminder about the high fees that Comcast is charging.

That's where the comments, or this one thread, come into play. Someone who identified as "Chris" and claimed to have worked for Comcast talked about the fees:

I worked in a Comcast call center when these fees were introduced. I remember asking, "Comcast simply rebroadcasts, so why are we having people pay twice now for the same programming?" They said we weren't, we were just charging separately now. I said, "Then why didn't package prices go down to reflect that?" I was told to just follow the information in the pamphlet from legal. I inquired what I should say if a customer asked the same questions I'm asking. They said, transfer them to legal.

Those fees are bullshit and have been from the start. I left a year or so after they started because I felt the company wasn't being honest anymore. Not with customers and not with me.

The thread is interesting, and Chris does defend Comcast about a couple of things in response to other comments on his comment thread. Overall, it shows that Comcast, and other cable companies, are hiding price increases inside fees.

Don't get me wrong, I do find Comcast to have reliable Internet service. I've been a Comcast (Xfinity) Internet customer for years. I don't use their TV service however, although I still have some family members that are paying those outrageous costs and fees for it.

My Streaming Life absolutely depends on Comcast's Xfinity Internet service, which is for a reasonable price. But I do not and will not use their TV service. I have enough options with streaming.

Thursday, July 6, 2023

New Walmart Onn Streaming Stick rumored

A couple of years ago, I tested Walmart's Onn streaming devices, both a box and a stick.

They were terrible.

The remote was good, but the device itself was awful. Both the box and the stick, although the box was better than the stick.

However, the newly released box is a pretty good device at a good price.

Now word is that Walmart will upgrade the stick. This makes sense, but was never a certainty, at least publicly.

I'm looking forward to testing it. I said I like the box, but it has one flaw: the weight, arrangement of the ports, and the stiffness of HDMI cables combine to make it sit funny. Most boxes have ports on the same side, but the box has them on opposite sides, meaning you either have cables out the front and back (looks really bad like that) or out either side (also looks bad).

A stick would be completely out of sight, so an unfortunate cable port arrangement wouldn't be seen. However, the testing from 2021 makes me uncertain it'll be a good device. As bad as the box was (and it was bad) the stick was worse. So, I expect the stick to perform not as well as the box. The question is just how much the difference is.

I really want the stick to be a good device, as the rumored $15 price is really low. If the Google TV device works well, it's a good and cheap way to get into streaming. My Streaming Life usually uses Roku devices, but I am impressed with the Google TV interface, and the Onn Streaming Box. I really hope the stick performs well.

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

YouTube ad crackdown

Remember back in May when there were reports that YouTube was popping up messages about ad blockers. What was happening was the user was being nagged about users running ad blockers.

At the time, it was called an "experiment" with no word about what might be next.

Well, here's what's next.

YouTube is now taking a tougher stand, going so far as to block users from watching after three times.

Several screenshots have appeared on Reddit and Twitter displaying the warning which explains the YouTube “video player will be blocked after 3 videos” unless the ad blocker is disabled or the viewer signs up to YouTube Premium.

The notice continues: "It looks like you may be using an ad blocker. Video playback will be blocked unless YouTube is allow listed or the ad blocker is disabled. Ads allow YouTube to stay free for billions of users worldwide. You can go ad-free with YouTube Premium, and creators can still get paid from your subscription."

The Google-owned business confirmed it was carrying out the experiment and reinforced that viewers will be cut off if they “ignore repeated requests to allow ads on YouTube."

As I've been testing YouTube Premium, I've not encountered this. Even then, since I don't use ad blockers, I wouldn't encounter it anyway.

This isn't really as aggressive as it could be. It's not really that uncommon for some Websites to refuse to allow users to see the content until ad blockers are disabled. YouTube isn't doing that, exactly. It's three times until it's blocked. Small favors, huh?

My Streaming Life continues to have YouTube, and no ad blockers, so I'm not impacted. But many do block ads -- and I understand why -- and will be impacted. YouTube's extortion -- that's what it is, really -- will anger some. And it should.

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Independence Day (2023)

One of the most important documents in world history is the United States Declaration of Independence. If you've never read it, it may be worth reading. It gives you a glimpse into history, as well as the Unites States overall.

In Congress, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

  • He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
  • He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
  • He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
  • He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
  • He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
  • He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
  • He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
  • He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
  • He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
  • He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
  • He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
  • He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
  • He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
  • For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
  • For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
  • For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
  • For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
  • For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
  • For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
  • For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
  • For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
  • For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
  • He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
  • He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
  • He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
  • He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
  • He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

As a proud citizen of the United States, I still get chills every time I read it.

Monday, July 3, 2023

YouTube Premium

I've been using YouTube Premium lately. Normally, I won't pay to get rid of ads, but YouTube Premium is something I've played with for a variety of reasons.

One, of course, is the ads. While I don't really mind ads in content, YouTube videos aren't always built to accommodate ads. And by "not always" I mean "never." It's a jarring and unpleasant experience. It's almost as if YouTube is making it unpleasant just so you'll subscribe. Like blackmail.

Another reason is that YouTube Music is included with YouTube Premium. That $10/month service has a lot of music included, and I can use my phone to listen to YouTube Music in the car. I've been using SiriusXM for years (and years and years, before the Sirius and XM merger), but the price keeps going up, and I'd like to do something cheaper. Subscribing to YouTube Premium allowed me to test out YouTube Music.

And, there is downloading of music, but I haven't used that, and am not really interested.

So, the main things are YouTube Music and ad-free YouTube. Which means with my subscription paused, I need to evaluate how it's going to determine if I want to continue it.

The lack of ads is great. I really like being able to play videos and they just start without a three minute ad (yes, some are that long, or even longer) playing about something I really don't care about. Yes, they can be skipped, most of the time, but I would rather not have to bother. I like the ad-free bit.

YouTube Music leaves much to be desired. They seem to think that I like music by these auto-tuned no-talent hacks that rule the airwaves these days. Hint: I don't. 

Okay, that's a little unfair. They do present a lot of music I like, and have given a "thumbs up" like to in the system. But looking at the current offerings, I'm seeing music from John Mayer (of whom I've never bought a single thing), Little Big Town (again, never bought a thing by), and others that I've never given a "thumbs up" or spent money on. You'd think Google would know that, since they capture as much data as they can about everyone.

Of course, they do have a lot that I have purchased or given "thumbs up" to, meaning it's decent. What they don't have that I would like to see is something that is similar to SiriusXM. I want a station I can select that plays the type of music I like. 60s on 6, for example. A classic rock station. My music. YouTube Music doesn't offer that. Or if they do, it's not easy to find. And when I'm driving, I want it right there, not having to scroll through menus to find while I'm traveling 65 MPH on the Interstate.

I can't really compare it to Apple Music, as I've never subscribed to that service. I may do a one month trial and see how it stacks up. It may be a worthwhile service. And since there's a Roku app, I can stream it at home easily as well as in the car on my phone.

What would be ideal is for YouTube Music to offer genre radio stations, such as classic rock, and I could get a lot for the money. I could drop SiriusXM and not deal with any other music service. YouTube Premium would be ideal, if they had that one thing.

My Streaming Life has more music in it then I normally think of it as having, but I haven't worked out the best, most cost effective way of doing it.

Sunday, July 2, 2023

More are using FAST services

A new report indicates that the number of cord cutters using free ad supported television (FAST) services.

About four years ago, 18% of streaming services were FAST services. That's up to 25% now, which is nearly a 40% increase. (While it seems to be a 7% increase, the ratio is 38%, since 25 is 38% bigger than 18.)

Most of the services I use are FAST services, with few subscription services. Most of the subscription services I have are included with other services -- Paramount Plus comes with Walmart Plus, Peacock TV from Xfinity Rewards -- but I do subscribe to Frndly TV. However, I watch more FAST services, including Roku TV, Pluto TV, Plex, Freevee, Tubi, Xumo Play, Local Now, and more.

My Streaming Life costs less than it did, and I'm enjoying being able to watch all the TV I want, and do it cheaply.

Saturday, July 1, 2023

My streaming service subscriptions

I've tried most of the subscription streaming services over the years. I subscribed to Sling TV when it first launched back in 2015. I've also used YouTube TV, Hulu+Live TV, Fubo, Vidgo, DirecTV Stream/ AT&T TV Now, AMC+, Starz, Max/HBO Max, Frndly TV, Paramount+/CBS All Access, Peacock TV, Apple TV+, Discovery+, PlayStation Vue, Disney+, BritBox, Acorn TV, Philo, Netflix, Prime Video, and more.

I've mentioned before that I don't get much value from the cable alternatives, such as Sling TV, DirecTV Stream, YouTube TV, etc. To me, those are simply streaming cable, and offer a bunch of things I don't watch. And they're expensive.

Okay, Philo isn't quite as expensive, with a $25/month price for a lot of content. Frndly TV is cheaper at $7/month (though Frndly's $9/month plan with its HD and multiple streams is a better deal in my mind).

I will subscribe to one of the expensive cable alternatives, usually Sling TV, during college football season, but only for those four months. (If you plan it out, you can cover 15 Saturdays with three 30-day subscriptions, with cancellation periods mixed in, plus a month for the bowl games.) The rest of the year, I don't use the services.

I'm watching more FAST (free ad-supported television) content. Those cable alternatives have commercials, so I'm not losing on any trade off.

But what subscriptions do I actually use?

Well, I mentioned Sling TV is only part time (for ESPN during football season). Regularly? A few, but not many.

  • Frndly TV - This is exactly what it says it is (ignoring vowels): Friendly TV. Content you can watch with your grandparents or grandchildren. And current content. No local channels, no sports, but family friendly content.
  • Paramount Plus - This comes with my Walmart+ subscription. I don't know if I'd subscribe otherwise. Maybe. But with it being included with another service I already have, I'm going to count it.
  • Peacock TV - This comes with my Xfinity Internet service, because I redeemed by Xfinity Rewards offer. It used to come free for all Xfinity Internet subscribers, but now is free only if you redeem a reward. I've been an Xfinity Internet subscriber long enough to have the reward to redeem. Would I pay for it otherwise? Maybe. Maybe not.
  • Apple TV+ - This is actually ending in a couple of weeks. I got it free with a phone, but that free service ends in mid-July. I won't renew. I'll eventually buy a new Apple device that qualifies for it, and will redeem that. Otherwise, even though it's only $7/month, I don't watch enough to make it worthwhile.
  • AMC Plus - This was a subscription for a family member. No longer needed, and will expire soon.
  • Starz - Another subscription for a family member that's no longer needed. It will expire soon as well.
  • Curiosity Stream - This is my kind of content. However, a lot of the content is available with other services, so I'll probably drop it when it comes time to renew.
  • Prime Video - I really don't count this, since I subscribe to Amazon Prime for other reasons. This is a bonus, but with recent cutbacks on the other Prime benefits, I'm considering not renewing in January.
  • Pub-D-Hub - I know, public domain content shouldn't cost anything. But they curate a lot of interesting content, and the really cheap price of less than $10/year makes it worth it. Small operation, with occasional glitches, but overall enjoyment of content you don't always see elsewhere. And no commercials. Unless you specifically want to watch a bunch of classic commercials. Plop plop fizz fizz ...

That's pretty much it. Two subscriptions I keep (Frndly TV, Pub-D-Hub), four that will not be renewed (Apple TV+, AMC+, Starz, Curiosity Stream), two that are included with other services (Paramount+, Peacock TV).

Add to that all the FAST services -- Roku TV, Pluto TV, Tubi, Freevee, Local Now, Plex, etc. -- and I have more TV than I can watch. And for not a lot of money.

My Streaming Life is good. And cheap.