Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Ads on Google TV home screen

I saw something the other day that I didn't like. There was an ad on the home screen of a Google TV device.

I had launched a Chromecast device and there was an ad for Hardee's breakfast. I didn't like that.

Don't get me wrong, I do like Hardee's breakfast. I just didn't like seeing an ad for it on my Google TV device.

Yes, I know that Google is in the business of making money. And yes, I know that the stuff at the top of the Google TV screen are and have always been ads. The difference is that they are advertising Google TV content, not content for your belly.

Promotional ads suggesting content isn't the same thing as paid ads for things that have nothing to do with streaming content from the device you're using.

Now, I only saw it that one day. I didn't see it yesterday, nor early this morning. And this morning I checked three different Google TV devices: a Sony TV, a Chromecast, and an Onn Stick. All are Google TV devices, and none had ads.

There was an article on AFTVNews blog mentioning the inclusion of ads on Google TV.

Google has now crossed a new line of annoying by including full-length video ads for products and physical goods unrelated to streaming TV. As Reddit users thevincentasteroid and MMD3_ discovered, turning on a Google TV Chromecast device now blasts you with autoplaying video ads for fast food.

The saving grace for Google TV devices, which has never been possible on Fire TV devices, is that it is easy to install an alternate home screen launcher to avoid the ads entirely. While Amazon actively blocks methods to bypass its home screen on Fire TVs, Google does not, and changing the home screen is a relatively simple process. That said, as the Google TV home screen becomes more annoying and intrusive, I suspect it won’t be long before Google begins protecting its revenue stream by also blocking alternate home screen launchers.

The ads on my home screen did not automatically play. Maybe that is because I always have any autoplay settings "off" as I despise autoplay. I can't confirm there is a way to stop them from playing, but I saw the Hardees ad, but it didn't play, because I didn't click on it.

I've not bothered to look into installing an alternate home screen launcher, and have no plans to do that. Oh, I might look into how to do it, but I suspect it'll be "can I do that? I can? Huh. Okay, back to how it was then."

My Streaming Life has used Google TV almost exclusively for the past several months. I started just to see what it was like for a full month, then never went back to Roku. If they start autoplaying ads, I see returning to Roku. I'll stick with Google TV for now, just to see what happens.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

More are dropping cable

A recent report shows how much the cable industry is losing customers. And, for Comcast, the news is even worse.

Cord Cutters News had a report recently that said Comcast lost over 2-million cable customers in 2023. But it didn't stop there. Nearly 40-thousand Internet customers were lost by the company last year as well.

In my family, my mother dropped Comcast cable, but kept Comcast as her Internet provider. Internet service by Comcast is pretty good, so it made sense for her. But the industry has changed and more options are now available, giving more people today. And that led to the recent bad news:

Comcast lost 2,036,000 cable TV customers in 2023. The company also lost 38,676 Internet subscribers in 2023. Comcast started the year by adding more than 32,000 new Internet subscribers but lost subscribers the remaining three quarters of 2023.

These numbers are like the over 2 million TV customers Comcast lost in 2022 and up from the 1.66 million Comcast lost in 2021.

This is double bad news for Comcast. For years many had predicted the decline of TV subscribers would also see the rise in Internet customers. Instead, we have now seen Internet subscribers drop for Comcast as 5G Home Internet, fiber, and other options start to hit Comcast.

My Streaming Life still includes Comcast Internet (Xfinity). It's good service, and I can't get that quality of service for a better price. I'm sticking with Comcast for Internet, but I am always looking for options. I don't know that I would change unless the price was a lot lower. I know it's cool to hate on Comcast, and I do have some issues with them, but their Internet service has been reliable for me.

Monday, January 29, 2024

Freestream adds DVR

Freestream, the free ad supported television (FAST) service from Sling TV is getting a feature that isn't common for FAST services. Freestream is adding DVR capability.

Sure, many services will include DVR, but those are pay services. Sling TV itself has DVR functionality, but the free channels didn't. Pluto TV doesn't offer DVR. Neither does Tubi. Or any of the big FAST services. But Freestream does.

Well, not for me, but for some others. The fine print explains why:

... Users now have access to 10 hours of free DVR storage, an industry first for FAST services. All new users who create a free account on Sling Freestream will receive DVR storage immediately. No credit card required, ever. The new feature will be fully rolled out to all existing Freestream users within the next several months.

Sling Freestream has grown to more than 500 channels since its launch in February 2023. It is an industry-leading service for free sports television, featuring customer favorites like ESPN On Demand, Comedy Central, LiveNOW, Architectural Digest, and more news and entertainment options. Users can now DVR top shows like The Walking Dead, Love After Lockup, South Park and more. In addition, Freestream also provides 110 international channels in more than 15 languages — making it the largest and only foreign language FAST service in the United States.

I'm in that "next several months" category. If you sign up for Freestream, you'll get it. If, like me, you already had Freestream, then you might have it, or you might not. I don't.

My Streaming Life doesn't include Freestream a lot, as there isn't much exclusive to Freestream. However, I was looking forward to trying out the DVR. Maybe in "the next several months."

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Watching the NFL Playoffs: Conference Championships

The NFL playoffs continue today with the Conference Championships. Four teams remain, two in each conference, including the top seeds hosting the games.

The Games

Both games are today, with the winners advancing to the NFL championship, AKA the Super Bowl.

AFC Championship

  • Kansas City (3rd seed, AFC West champions) at Baltimore (1st seed, AFC North champions). CBS

NFC Championship

  • Detroit (3rd seed, NFC North champions) at San Francisco (1st seed, NFC West champions). Fox

How to watch

The various networks carrying the games are available to streamers in several different ways.


  • Antenna (free)
  • Paramount Plus (Premium) $12/month
  • Hulu+Live TV ($77/month)
  • YouTube TV ($73/month)
  • Fubo (Pro) ($75/month)
  • DirecTV (Entertainment) ($85/month)


  • Antenna (free)
  • Sling TV (18 markets only) ($45/month)
  • Vidgo (Plus) ($70/month)
  • Hulu+Live TV ($77/month)
  • YouTube TV ($73/month)
  • Fubo (Pro) ($75/month)
  • DirecTV (Entertainment) ($85/month)

My Streaming Life does not often involve professional football, particularly NFL games. But, there is no denying the popularity of the NFL. If you want to watch the games and are a streamer, or if you're thinking about becoming a streamer, maybe this will let you know just what you would need to do to watch the games.

Saturday, January 27, 2024

A really big data breach

There was a report this week about a huge data breach. How huge? Well, there are 8-billion people in the world, and there were 26-billion records compromised.

No, not everyone was a victim three times over. Still, the vast number of compromised records indicates that people you trust with your data are not as careful as they should be or could be.

The breach is called the "mother of all breaches" by news outlets:

According to the team, while the leaked dataset contains mostly information from past data breaches, it almost certainly holds new data, that was not published before. For example, the Cybernews data leak checker, which relies on data from all major data leaks, contains information from over 2,500 data breaches with 15 billion records.

The MOAB contains 26 billion records over 3,800 folders, with each folder corresponding to a separate data breach. While this doesn’t mean that the difference between the two automatically translates to previously unpublished data, billions of new records point to a very high probability, the MOAB contains never seen before information.

Researchers believe that the owner of the MOAB has a vested interest in storing large amounts of data and, therefore, could be a malicious actor, data broker, or some service that works with large amounts of data.

So, what can you do? Well, having a secure password is one thing. Having different passwords for each account is another. And having disposable passwords may even be an option.

My data showed up in ten of the records. These are services and data brokers that didn't keep the data safe. I've changed the passwords on the services (see suggestion 1) and already had different passwords for each service (see suggestion 2). Oh, and I use disposable email address for most services.

My Streaming Life is impacted by this breach, as at least one of my streaming services was breached. Data breaches will happen. They are not okay, I'm just being realistic. The steps I take (listed earlier) will make it difficult for someone to do anything with the data.

Friday, January 26, 2024

Walmart drops the Onn Streaming Stick

Just when they finally get it right, Walmart drops the Onn Streaming Stick from their lineup.

Well, kinda. They never really announced it; rather, the device just showed up and was available for purchase in the store, but never online. At least, I never found it available for online purchase. It was listed as in store, just not for purchase unless you went into the store.

Anyway, it's gone. If you find one in the store, it's worth getting. Well, maybe. It's a good little device. But, it's no longer available. Cord Cutters News notice this earlier this week:

The streaming stick comes with 1.5GB of RAM and only streams in HD. It may not be the most powerful device out there, but for it being only HD that is likely more than enough. This is very similar to the Walmart $19.99 Onn Google TV, but that version was released earlier this year. The main difference is the earlier version is in 4K and this new cheaper model is just in HD.

Recently, Walmart raised the price of this stick by a few dollars but now has completely stopped selling the new device, marking it as out of stock, similar to other discontinued Onn products.

Walmart was unavailable for comment before the time of this posting.

My Streaming Life has used the Onn device and I like it. I hate to see it go away.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Netflix ending long-time plan

People who have subscribed to the Netflix Basic plan for $11.99/month will be having to make a choice sometime this year. That plan is being phased out, and subscribers will have to opt for a different plan.

Netflix stopped offering it to new subscribers last summer. For existing subscribers with that plan, anyone who switched to a different plan couldn't switch back to it. But those that had it and simply kept it were okay. That changes beginning later this year, according to a recent shareholder report from Netflix

In their most recent earnings report, the company said it will phase that plan out and force those subscribers to choose a different plan, either the ad-supported plan, or one of the higher priced ad-free plans.

Scaling our ads business represents an opportunity to tap into significant new revenue and profit pools over the medium to longer term. In Q4‘23, like the quarter before, our ads membership increased by nearly 70% quarter over quarter, supported by improvements in our offering (e.g., downloads) and the phasing out of our Basic plan for new and rejoining members in our ads markets. The ads plan now accounts for 40% of all Netflix sign-ups in our ads markets and we’re looking to retire our Basic plan in some of our ads countries, starting with Canada and the UK in Q2 and taking it from there. On the advertiser side, we continue to improve the targeting and measurement we offer our customers.

There is no firm date mentioned, apart from beginning second quarter in Canada and the UK, but it is happening.

My Streaming Life has only recently retuned Netflix to the service rotation, so I haven't had the $12/month Basic ad-free plan available for a while. It's unfortunate that others are losing it, but this is no surprise.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Comet streaming app

I spoke about this before, but it's been a while and I wanted to do it again. I want to take a few minutes and talk about an app that doesn't get a lot of attention. I think it's one of the most interesting apps, not because of the content necessarily, but because of what the app is.

Comet is the app for the TV network that is carried in several cities. The nearest Comet affiliate to me is WTGS on the sub-channel 28.2. It's possible you have a local channel that carries Comet.

Comet is a science fiction channel. Think SyFy (formerly Sci-Fi Channel) but no new or original programming. It's like TV Land for sci-fi fans.

Comet stands apart form other non-major networks in that it offers a free live stream via their app. If you have a Roku or Apple TV, you can add the Comet app and watch the live stream of their programming. For free. No subscription. You want to watch Comet, just use the Comet app.

If you don't have Apple TV or Roku, you can launch the STIRR app and watch Comet that way. It's easier to watch via the Comet app. Unfortunately, there is not an app for Fire TV or Android/Google TV.

I'd love for other networks to follow this lead. I would enjoy being able to watch MeTV, Antenna TV,  Laff, Grit, Ion, or any of the other minor networks as easy as launching an app.

Now, if you have an antenna (I do), you don't really need the app to watch Comet. You can simply tune you TV to the local station that carries Comet programming and watch. Or, launch Tablo, Air TV, or a similar TV antenna based app and watch it that way.

My Streaming Life is better because of the Comet app. Yes, I have an antenna, but I'll use the app because sometimes that's just easier.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Rethinking Netflix

I stopped watching Netflix years ago. I used the service for years, or paid for the service for years, and realized one day that I rarely watched it. After several years of paying, I stopped. I dropped Netflix.

Over the next several years, I only ever subscribed to Netflix when they brought back Mystery Science Theater 3000, each time for a month when the seasons were released. I also subscribed for a month when they introduced the ad-supported tier. Apart from those times, I didn't subscribe to Netflix.

I did subscribe to other services, however. Only, I rotated the subscriptions. One month, I'd subscribe to HBO Max (now just Max), another month it would be Paramount Plus, another month it would be Disney Plus, and so on. One service for a month, then switch to another service, and over time, I'd watch everything on all the services I wanted for a fraction of the cost. But I didn't include Netflix in the mix. Well, not often, as I mentioned earlier.

Around three weeks ago, Netflix released a new special by Dave Chappelle. Since I enjoy his specials, I decided to subscribe so I could watch it. I did. That was day one of 30. What to do with the other 30? Well, I never did watch Ozark. Now, I've watched some of the episodes, and will try to finish the series before the 30 day subscription ends. And that leads to the change.

I'm not going to keep a subscription to Netflix long term. But I am going to add Netflix to the rotation. Maybe there is content I'll enjoy. I'll look into it over the rest of this month, and again when Netflix's turn comes around.

My Streaming Life contains a lot of content, but only a little at a time. But it adds up, and I'm enjoying it. It'll be weird having Netflix in rotation after all these years.

Monday, January 22, 2024

Picking an antenna

Dropping cable means losing access to all the channels that are included in the cable package. That means not just channels such as Fox News, ESPN, HGTV, Hallmark, and the like, but also local channels. To pick up your local ABC, CBS, Fox, or NBC station, you need to either pay for an expensive ($73/month or more) streaming service, or get a TV antenna. The initial cost of an antenna may be more than $73 -- mine was a lot more -- over time, it's actually cheaper.

The problem with getting an antenna is making sure you go about it the right way. Finding the right TV antenna depends on several things, such as your location, your distance from the broadcast towers, and the specific channels that you want to get. So, with that in mind, here are some you'll need to do, if you want to do it right:

  • Check your Location. Use online tools like or TV Fool to find the direction of the closest towers as well as the distance to them.
  • Choose the Right Type: There are indoor and outdoor antennae. Indoor antennae are only useful if your area has a strong signal. I had to get an outdoor antenna, which is better for areas with weaker signals or greater distances from the towers.
  • Consider the Range: Antennae have different ranges, so you need to choose one with a range that covers the distance between your location and the towers. A higher range is beneficial for areas with weaker signals. Avoid any antenna that makes outrageous claims about distance. There is no such thing as a 200 mile antenna. Anyone that says their antennae will pick up that range is lying.
  • Directional or Multi-Directional: Directional antennae are designed to receive signals from a specific direction. Multi-directional antennae are able to pick up signals from multiple directions. Choose what you need based on the location of the various towers. I was fortunate in that all four towers in my area are all in the same direction.
  • Amplified or Non-Amplified: Amplified antennae come with signal boosters. Those can be helpful in areas with weak signals. I have one because I need one. If you are in an area with strong signals, a non-amplified antenna may be fine.
  • Check Frequency Bands: Be sure that the antenna you choose supports both VHF (Very High Frequency) and UHF (Ultra High Frequency) channels, as different channels operate on different frequency bands. The online tools mentioned earlier have both the virtual channel and the actual RF channel of the stations. The RF channel is what's important.
  • Installation: Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for installation. Outdoor antennae may require mounting on the roof or a mast. I paid someone to install mine.
  • Test and Adjust: After installation, scan for channels on your TV and make adjustments to the antenna position if necessary. This may involve rotating or repositioning the antenna for optimal signal reception. If you pay someone to install your antenna, they should take care of this. You should ensure they do.

Keep in mind that the effectiveness of a TV antenna can vary based on your specific location. It might be helpful to consult with a local electronics retailer or seek recommendations from neighbors with similar setups. What worked for them might just work for you.

My Streaming Life has improved since I got my antenna working again. It was a good investment for me.

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Another Windows update failure, or Why I suggest Linux or Chrome OS for a secure computer

It seems to happen a lot. Microsoft released a new update, and it broke many installations of Windows 10.

This isn't the first time this has happened, and it won't be the last. Britec has a video about it, with some commentary.


It's unfortunate that so many people depend on Microsoft Windows. Every version of Windows has had too mamy problems. Not every version is as bad as Windows ME or Windows Vista, but they have all had their share is issues. Windows 10 continues to have them.

If you have a Windows 10 computer, and will have to replace it to run Windows 11, consider switching to Linux or Chrome OS. For most people, Chrome OS would be a good choice, as it is secure -- something that Windows tries to be and gloriously fails time and time again. The privacy concerns I have about Chrome OS are real, but they are not as bad as Windows in that regard. Linux is much more privacy friendly and is secure, but Chrome OS is a good middle ground, keeping the security part, and better at privacy than Microsot.

Sure, Mac OS is an option, and the operating system is great, the computers are well built, and they are easy to use. But the cost is great. For a cheaper secure alternative, Linux and Chrome OS are good options. And of those two, Chrome OS is easier to use.

My Streaming Life does sometimes involve using a computer. Windows can be nightmare at times. That's why I like the alternatives.

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Watching the NFL Playoffs: Divisional Round

The NFL playoffs continue today with the Divisonal Round. Eight teams are playing, including the six winners from the Wild Card Round, plus the top seeds in each conference.

The Games

Today, there are two games scheduled. Two more are scheduled for tomorrow.


  • Houston (4th seed, AFC South champions) at Baltimore (1st seed, AFC North champions). ABC, ESPN, ESPN+
  • Green Bay (7th seed, wild card) at San Francisco (1st seed, NFC West champions). Fox


  • Tampa Bay (4th seed, NFC South champions) at Detroit (3rd seed, NFC North champions). NBC, Peacock
  • Kansas City (3rd seed, AFC West champions) at Buffalo (2nd seed, AFC East champions). CBS

How to watch

The various networks carrying the games are available to streamers in several different ways.


  • Antenna (free)
  • Sling TV (8 markets only) ($45/month)
  • Vidgo (Plus) ($70/month)
  • Hulu+Live TV ($77/month)
  • YouTube TV ($73/month)
  • Fubo (Pro) ($75/month)
  • DirecTV (Entertainment) ($85/month)


  • Antenna (free)
  • Paramount Plus (Premium) $12/month
  • Hulu+Live TV ($77/month)
  • YouTube TV ($73/month)
  • Fubo (Pro) ($75/month)
  • DirecTV (Entertainment) ($85/month)


  • Sling TV (Orange) ($40/month)
  • Vidgo (Plus) ($70/month)
  • Hulu+Live TV ($77/month)
  • YouTube TV ($73/month)
  • Fubo (Pro) ($75/month)
  • DirecTV (Entertainment) ($85/month)


  • ESPN+ (standalone) ($10/month)
  • Disney Bundle ($15/month)


  • Antenna (free)
  • Sling TV (18 markets only) ($45/month)
  • Vidgo (Plus) ($70/month)
  • Hulu+Live TV ($77/month)
  • YouTube TV ($73/month)
  • Fubo (Pro) ($75/month)
  • DirecTV (Entertainment) ($85/month)


  • Antenna (free)
  • Peacock (Plus) ($12/month)
  • Sling TV (11 markets only) ($45/month)
  • Hulu+Live TV ($77/month)
  • YouTube TV ($73/month)
  • Fubo (Pro) ($75/month)
  • DirecTV (Entertainment) ($85/month)


  • Peacock is its own service, and can be used to watch NBC live programming with the $12/month plan.

My Streaming Life does not often involve professional football, particularly NFL games. But, there is no denying the popularity of the NFL. If you want to watch the games and are a streamer, or if you're thinking about becoming a streamer, maybe this will let you know just what you would need to do to watch the games.

Friday, January 19, 2024

More ads on the Roku home screen

Roku has always had a clean, simple interface. And ads.

The original layout was simple, with a single line of icons for the apps that were installed. There was a space for a banner ad at the bottom. I realize that many of you may not remember that old layout, but from the start, Roku had ads on the interface.

See? Not pretty, is it? But there is the ad at the bottom. Roku has always had ads on the home screen.

A lot of people have complained about the ads on the current home screen. They have sought ways to stop the ads, complaining that Roku has suddenly added them. People have been fussing like that since Roku went to the current home screen layout almost a decade ago. But the fact is, ads have always been on the Roku home screen. And now there are about to be more.

According to Ad Exchanger, Roku wants to have even more ads on the home screen. But "more ads" has a couple of different meanings. It doesn't mean that more space on the home screen will be used to try to sell you something. Rather, it means that Roku will offer more options to advertisers:

The goal of Roku’s budding TV hardware business is, of course, to get its software into more households, [Roku VP of global ad sales and partnerships, Kristina] Shepard said.

And with more reach comes more opportunity for advertising, she said.

Roku began transforming “Roku City” into an advertising hub in June when it allowed all brands to run ads on its home screen. This option was previously only available to media and entertainment marketers. Brands can retarget viewers who click on their ads, including off platform through Roku’s OneView DSP.

Also in June, Roku launched full-screen interactive ads called “showrooms,” which let viewers click around a virtual product catalog. It first tested its showrooms with Subaru, Shepard said, and is opening up this inventory to other verticals this quarter, including QSR and travel.

Is this a good thing? Well, maybe. Maybe not.

If it doesn't take up more screen real estate while you're using the device, then that's okay. If it doesn't delay you getting to your content after selecting it, then it's okay. If there are more ads in the screen saver, then it's okay.

It's not okay if streaming options, such as apps, are removed to make way for more real estate set aside for ads. It's not okay if you have to watch an ad after selecting your content, when previously the app just launched.

My Streaming Life has included Roku since 2010. And Roku has included ads in the home screen since 2010. This may not be a big deal. Or it could be awful. We'll have to see how it plays out.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Panasonic joins Fire TV

Last week, Panasonic announced new TVs using the Fire TV platform, representing a change in platforms.

According to a release, the devices will be available some time this year. No specific date was announced.

In a world of content overload, the Z95A and Z93A stand out with their ability to aggregate content from both broadcast and streaming services. This content-forward approach, made possible by Fire TV built in, offers viewers a streamlined experience in content discovery and consumption.

"With such vast options, the real challenge becomes pinpointing exactly what you want to watch. Therefore, our new mission goes beyond just providing great picture and sound. It’s about simplifying the process of content discovery, ensuring it's not just easy but delightful," says Mr Akira Toyoshima, President, CEO of Panasonic Entertainment & Communication Co., Ltd.

The integration ensures that users will have an elevated, simplified user experience and access to an extensive range of the top streaming apps and services. These OLED TVs are also not just entertainment devices but also hubs for smart home management. Fully compatible with Alexa-enabled devices, they feature a smart home dashboard, enabling users to monitor and control their connected home ecosystem seamlessly. Furthermore, the Z95A and Z93A are compatible with Apple Home and AirPlay, meaning users can control their TV using Siri and effortlessly stream movies, music, games, and photos, right from their iPhone, iPad, or Mac.

Panasonic TVs have used a variety of operating systems to drive their smart TVs over the years. One was called Viera Cast and Viera Connect, another used a Firefox OS fork called My Home Screen, and some used Android TV (but not the Google TV interface).

The Fire TV interface is a much improved interface over the last few years. Perhaps this will stick. The other platforms Panasonic tried just didn't have it. Fire TV may be a good choice.

My Streaming Life prefers the Google TV interface over Fire TV, but either is good. Roku would have been a good choice for a platform as well. If the new TVs are as good as they appear to be, this will be a good thing.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Pub-D-Hub is still a favorite

I wrote nearly three years ago, and what I wrote is still true. After all these years, one of my favorite services that nobody seems to know about is Pub-D-Hub. It's all public domain content, and all stuff you can find elsewhere, but they do put a lot together in easy to find categories. It's available on Roku and on Fire TV devices.

The service is free, which you might expect for public domain content. They also have a Gold and a Gold+ plan. They offer more content with those plans, and the price is really cheap. The Gold plan is $4/year. Not $4/month, but $4/year. That's cheap. I suppose it helps cover their server costs, and I'm fine paying a little to help out. I get a lot of enjoyment from the service, and it's well worth it to me, even if they didn't offer more content. I'd certainly pay $4/year to help keep it going.

The Gold+ add-on, which is about another $2/year, for Gold subscribers lets you add more devices to the account, and includes access to some live streaming content, plus some parental controls.

I love to watch the old commercials they have. Some are things I've never seen before about products I've never heard of before, but some are some that bring back memories. You may be too young to remember any of the commercials, but they are still fascinating to see. And, if you are too young to remember them, perhaps your parents or grandparents will remember them. Play them and watch the smiles.

Pub-D-Hub carries a lot of old moves, too, as you would expect. They add five movies to the lineup every week, occasionally skipping a week or two around holidays. During those times, they add special holiday-themed movies and TV shows.

If you used to watch the classic Mystery Science Theater 3000 TV show, you'll remember the shorts they'd riff. Many of those original uncut versions are available, as well as others that could have fit right in.

If you're a fan of military history, you'll see many old military training and news films from the 20th century.

Early space exploration films are a favorite of mine as well. It's fascinating to see the pioneers of the space program, not only of the U.S., but of the U.S.S.R. as well. During those years, we didn't know much about the Soviet cosmonauts, and the occasional Soviet film is fascinating to those that lived during that time.

There are many things I like about Pub-D-Hub, and not just the free price. As I said, I think the Gold and Gold+ plans are worth it.

Check it out. You may find it a welcome addition to your Streaming Live.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Mesh networks solved our problems

Over the years, I have visted many help forums for different things related to streaming. One of the most common complaints is people having network issues. Only, they don't realize they're having network issues. They usually blame a service or streamign device. But many times, it's actually network issues.

When someone (usually not me) suggest there's a network issue, many of the people don't like that suggestion. They come up with all kinds of reason why it can't be that, but many times, it's obvious to those with experience that it is exactly that.

Why are people like that? I don't know. Maybe many reasons. But it's how many people are.

Let me tell you about a network issues that it took me a while to solve. Actually, I didn't have the issues. My mother had the issue. I don't know how common this siutation is, but the solution to that problem has solved all kinds of network issues for people I've known over the years.

Her house was built in the 1950s. And the 1960s. And the 1970s. You see, they added on to many times over the years, and in none of that time was the thought of its 21st century layout and accounting for wireless networks considered. Nobody dreamed of such back then.

However, the 21st century did roll around and my mother had network issues. There were spots in rooms where one person was able to use a laptop on her wireless network, and in the same room, sitting in the next chair, another person couldn't keep a stable connection. The house, with it's weird wiring and rewiring and former outside walls that are now on the inside, and so on and so on ... well, was a wireless network nightmare.

So, how did I fix it? I tried several solutions before I found something that really worked.

I got a bigger, more powerful wireless router with access point. That helped a little, but only a little. There were still some dead spots.

WiFi extenders were tried, but didn't really work.

We thought about running network cables and connecting additional hotspots, but didn't, becasue of the expense. That would have worked, but it was really expensive

Finally, I replaced her network setup with a mesh etwork configuration. That cost a little bit of money because a set of three devices was around $300 -- on sale. And, as it turned out, three was not enough. There are now seven of those in that house, but there is good network connectivity in every room.

Google WiFi was the one I tried, and it worked. This isn't to say you must get Google WiFi devices to make your network run properly. I used an Amazon Eero setup in another location, and it worked great. What I'm suggesting is that a mesh network, such as Google WiFi, Amazon Eero, Netgear Orbi, or one of any other such may be the way to go if you are having issues.

Here's how well it worked: After I installed it, the only time she ever mentioned the network was when I asked. She always responded that she hadn't thought about it because it simply worked. And, when family came over, there were no more questions or complaints about her wireless network. Before, she asked me about it often, and visiting family always complained.

In my and my family's experience, a mesh network works well. To my mother, she said "It just works." And it made things much simpler and easier.

My Streaming Life does not, and for years has not, had any network issues related to WiFi. Well, I had a lightning strike damage several pieces of equipment, including some WiFi devices. But I replaced them with another mesh network, a much cheaper one, and everything worked well. It's the way that worked for me.

Monday, January 15, 2024

Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.

On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered the following speech in Washington, DC:

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But 100 years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition. In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check.

When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men — yes, Black men as well as white men — would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked insufficient funds.

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt.

We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to his hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.

Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. 1963 is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual.

There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny.

And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, when will you be satisfied? We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities.

We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: for whites only.

We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.

No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our Northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, one day right down in Alabama little Black boys and Black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning: My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims' pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. But not only that, let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, Black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, we are free at last.

Today is the national holiday celebrating his birth.

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Privacy is important, and sometimes fleeting

Naomi Brockwell has a recent video about privacy, which you may know is a favorite topic of mine.


My Streaming Life is for fun, but privacy should not be overlooked, ever.

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Watching the NFL Playoffs: Wild Card Round

The NFL playoffs begin today. It's called the Wild Card Round, even though six division champions are playing this weekend.

AFC North champion Baltimore Ravens and NFC West champion San Francisco 49ers are top seeds in their respective conferences and get a first round bye. The other three division champs in each conference are hosting wild card teams, hence the "Wild Card Round" name.

The Games

Today, there are two games scheduled, three tomorrow, and one Monday.


  • Cleveland (5th seed, wild card) at Houston (4th seed, AFC South champions), NBC
  • Miami (6th seed, wild card) at Kansas City (3rd seed, AFC West champions), Peacock


  • Pittsburgh (7th seed, wild card) at Buffalo (2nd seed, AFC East champions), CBS
  • Green Bay (7th seed, wild card) at Dallas (2nd seed, NFC East champions), Fox
  • Los Angeles (6th seed, wild card) at Detroit (3rd seed, NFC North champions), NBC


  • Philadelphia (5th seed, wild card) at Tampa Bay (4th seed, NFC South champions), ABC, ESPN, ESPN+

How to watch

The various networks carrying the games are available to streamers in several different ways.


  • Antenna (free)
  • Sling TV (8 markets only) ($45/month)
  • Vidgo (Plus) ($70/month)
  • Hulu+Live TV ($77/month)
  • YouTube TV ($73/month)
  • Fubo (Pro) ($75/month)
  • DirecTV (Entertainment) ($85/month)


  • Antenna (free)
  • Paramount Plus (Premium) $12/month
  • Hulu+Live TV ($77/month)
  • YouTube TV ($73/month)
  • Fubo (Pro) ($75/month)
  • DirecTV (Entertainment) ($85/month)


  • Sling TV (Orange) ($40/month)
  • Vidgo (Plus) ($70/month)
  • Hulu+Live TV ($77/month)
  • YouTube TV ($73/month)
  • Fubo (Pro) ($75/month)
  • DirecTV (Entertainment) ($85/month)


  • ESPN+ (standalone) ($10/month)
  • Disney Bundle ($15/month)


  • Antenna (free)
  • Sling TV (18 markets only) ($45/month)
  • Vidgo (Plus) ($70/month)
  • Hulu+Live TV ($77/month)
  • YouTube TV ($73/month)
  • Fubo (Pro) ($75/month)
  • DirecTV (Entertainment) ($85/month)


  • Antenna (free)
  • Peacock (Plus) ($12/month)
  • Sling TV (11 markets only) ($45/month)
  • Hulu+Live TV ($77/month)
  • YouTube TV ($73/month)
  • Fubo (Pro) ($75/month)
  • DirecTV (Entertainment) ($85/month)


  • Peacock is its own service, and can be used to watch NBC live programming with the $12/month plan.

My Streaming Life does not often involve professional football, particularly NFL games. But, there is no denying the popularity of the NFL. If you want to watch the games and are a streamer, or if you're thinking about becoming a streamer, maybe this will let you know just what you would need to do to watch the games.

Friday, January 12, 2024

Xumo Stream Box - for beginners only

Xfinity (Comcast) recently launched its Xumo Stream Box. It replaces the older Flex device that the company nearly three years ago. That was a good box for beginners; people that were just starting out streaming and were used to Xfinity cable.

So, with this new device, the Xumo Stream Box, how is it different?

First, the interface is improved, so that's good.

Setup was actually easy. Well, it was extremely difficult, but that's unrelated to the Xumo Stream Box. Xfinity made an account error, confusing my account with my sister's, in a behind the scenes screw up. That's unrelated to the Xumo Stream Box, and was a totally different Comcast/Xfinity issue. Once that unrelated issue was fixed, setup went smoothly. Assuming Comcast/Xfinity doesn't have an account screw-up already in place, you should have no trouble with setting it up. As I said, once they fixed their screw-up, the setup went really easy.

And so ends the good news. Switching now to the bad news.

Xfinity has apps preinstalled on the device. They pick the apps. You can't remove them, you can't hide them, you can't add new ones, you can't make any customization such as what you can do on the true streaming platforms: Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, Android/Google TV, WebOS (LG), Tizen OS (Samsung), etc.

I will admit that most of the apps are good apps, and apps that most people would find interesting. However, I don't want apps that I don't use there. Ever. If I don't use Netflix, I don't want to see Netflix. If I don't use Discovery+, I don't want to see Discovery+. And so on.

I wrote Comcast/Xfinity about it. They actually wrote back. They were all nice and polite and everything, but at the end of it, the system works as it works, and they hope I stay with them.

What all this means is that this is a platform for beginners. This is not a platform that people who are experienced with streaming will enjoy. They hold your hand and give you a slate of apps, and that's what you get. It's arrogant, because anyone with any programming ability would be able to toggle an Advance User mode. They have that programming ability, they just choose to not use it.

Now, is that the only thing I don't like about it? No. The device isn't as responsive as Roku, Fire TV (well, recent Fire TV devices), Chromecast, or even the cheap Walmart Onn Streaming Stick. It's an inferior device.

Is it that bad? No, not really. If this was your first streaming device, you wouldn't know how sluggish it is, because it's only sluggish compared to other devices. With nothing to compare it to, it's probably just fine. But that's my whole point. It's a device for beginners.

What if you're a beginner? Actually, since it's included with Xfinity Internet service (one is), and they will waive the setup fee if you ask nicely, it's a good way to start streaming. I do like it better than the older Flex box that I returned, but it is the least of the streaming devices I use. Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast, NVIDIA Shield, Onn Streaming Box/Stick, all are superior devices. But for a beginner, it's a good starting streaming device and platform.

My Streaming Life has been going on since I cut cable in 2011, and even existed for a few years before that. I'm not a novice. I'm no beginner. That's why the new Xumo Stream Box is not for me. But if you or someone you know is wanting to start streaming, and they have Xfinity Internet, this could be a good start.

Thursday, January 11, 2024

How to Improve Your Video Streaming In Just One Step

TV Answer Man Philip Swann had an article published recently entitled "How to Improve Your Video Streaming In Just One Step." My first thought was to connect without WiFi, and use a direct Ethernet connection. But here was his suggestion:  connect without WiFi, and use a direct Ethernet connection.

Why is that the answer. He explains it well:

Improving Your Streaming Picture With One Step

Connect your Smart TV (or device such as a Roku or Fire TV) directly to the modem with an Ethernet cable. That will bypass the WiFi network entirely and deliver a stronger signal to your set. The WiFi network itself, while convenient because it allows anyone in the household to connect, can slow down your speed. So if you don’t need to worry about others connecting, give the direct connection a try. Then test it on to see if the speed increased. If it did, you should see a better picture going forward.

He absolutely correct. Many people do not realize how much WiFi can have problems, while your Internet connection is just fine.

Of course, many people don't realize that WiFi and Internet are two different things. They are. Internet connection is exactly that: your Internet connection. WiFi is simply a way to use it. A WiFi connection can exist without Internet, and Internet exists without WiFi.

Think about like this. If there is a cable running from outside to your house that carries Internet, and if you cut that cable, and you lose Internet. Internet access is delivered by way of that cable. It goes to a modem and (likely) a router (could be both), and you connect to that. You can use a cable, or you can use a wireless connection. That wireless connection is WiFi. That's all WiFi is. It is NOT Internet.

The driveway to from your house to the highway is not the Interstate. It's a way to get to the Interstate. WiFi is a way to get to the Internet. If you have multiple driveways, or just drive across the yard, you can get to the highway more than one way. WiFi is simply one way to get to the Internet; it is not the Internet itself.

Anyway, WiFi can have problems, while your Internet connection is just fine. And that's what Mr. Swann is talking about. Using an Ethernet cable to make the connection can be a better way to connect your streaming devices to the Internet.

My Streaming Life involves connecting via Ethernet cable if I can. I only use WiFi if I have to. And I rarely have streaming issues. There's something to what Mr. Swann said.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Watching Tablo

I'm a fan of Tablo. Well, mostly. There's one thing I don't like, but a lot that I do. If you are thinking about adding Tablo to your setup, you'll want to make sure you are able to use it. You see, not every platform supports Tablo.

First, a little about what Tablo is. It is my favorite DVR for recording over-the-air antenna programming. I've used TiVo, Fire TV Recast, Air TV, and Tablo. There are more, and from what I understand, some good ones. But these are the ones I've used. And I mean I purchased the devices and used them. I put money into them. And, of those, Tablo is my favorite.

Not every platfrom supports Tablo, however. Or maybe it's Tablo doesn't support every platform. Either way, it may be that your setup won't let you use Tablo on your streaming television.

If you have Roku, Fire TV, or Android/Google TV, then you're good. However, if you have Apple TV, Tizen OS (Samsung), WebOS (LG), or SmartCast (Vizio) then you can't currently use Tablo. And, if you have something else, not only can you not use Tablo, there are no plans by Tablo to develop other apps. The Tablo Support Website says apps for Apple TV (iOS and iPad are already supported), Tizen OS (Samsung TVs), WebOS (LG TVs), and SmartCast (Vizio) are "coming soon." They've been "coming soon" for a while now.

Until it launches, it doesn't exist. So, unless you have Roku, Fire TV, or Android/Google TV, you can't use Tablo. If you do, you could use Tablo on your system.

My Streaming Life has involved Tablo for a few years now. I like it. I don't use it every day, but that's not Tablo's fault; it's the fault of the people who make content not making something I want to watch. When there is something available via over-the-air antenna, Tablo is the way to go for me.

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Cable subscribers drop to 1980s levels

A recent report says that the number of cable TV subscribers in the USA has dropped to levels not seen since the 1980s.

Last week, Luke Bouma of Cord Cutters News posted that the most recent data shows that only 34 million people subscribe to cable TV in the USA.

According to the study, only 34 million Americans subscribe to cable TV in the third quarter of 2023. That number has not been that low since 1984.

It is a dramatic fall from the peak subscriber numbers of 67 million in 2002 before satellite, TelCos, and streaming started to chip away at the cable TV subscriber base.

Cable TV is not alone in this drop in subscribers. Satellite services, like DIRECTV and DISH, have seen subscriber numbers drop from a peak of 24 million in 2014 to 15 million at the end of the third quarter 2023.

Cable TV has lost 33 million subscribers since its peak. Satellite TV companies have lost 9 million American subscribers. Since the peak of both services, they have lost a combined 42 million subscribers.

That is a huge drop. I'm included, of course, but my dropping of cable was in 2011. More and more have dropped cable in the years since, and cable is now back to levels not seen in nearly 40 years.

If you still subscribe to cable, it may be time to ask yourself why. I've know people that became streamers but would not drop cable. Perhaps the familiarity was a security blanket. I don't really know, but that seem to be the case for those streamers I knew that kept cable.

There's not a lot you can watch on cable that you can't watch by other means. For me, there is nothing that I can't get some other way. I don't need cable TV. I haven't for years.

My Streaming Life has been cable free for 13 years. I dropped cable on January 11, 2011. It's now January 2024. I don't miss it, not one bit.

Monday, January 8, 2024

Watching College Football in the 2023 Season: National Championship Game

Bowl Season of college football for 2023 ends tonight with the national championship game. There is national championship game tonight, featuring two undefeated teams. Also, not featuing an SEC team for the first time since the 2014 season, and the second time since the 2005 season.


The game features top ranked Michigan and second ranked Washington.

Here's how to get the game streaming:


  • Sling TV (Orange) ($40/month)
  • Vidgo (Plus) ($70/month)
  • Hulu+Live TV ($77/month)
  • YouTube TV ($73/month)
  • Fubo (Pro) ($75/month)
  • DirecTV (Entertainment) ($85/month)

This year's Division 1-A/FBS college football is done after tonight. My Streaming Life focuses on college football during this time of year. I'm missing it already.

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Solving the Windows 11 problem

Recently, I shared a video from Britec that covered one of the issues with Windows 11 that doesn't get a lot of attention.

With the increased hardware requirements for Windows 11, many computers, a very large number of computers, will not support Windows 11. Additionally, the unofficial workarounds to make Windows 11 work on those devices leave open the possibility of unforeseen issues. And anyone that has experience with Microsoft knows that specific issues may be unforeseen, but the chance of some kind of issues is 100%. There will be issues. Bank on it.

So, what can you do? Buy a new computer? Sure. But what do you do with the old one?

Let me propose something different: drop Windows for another operating system.

There are two major operating systems that will extend the life of an older computer: Linux and Chrome OS. I'm going to only suggest Linux if you feel you are up to learning something new. It's different enough from Windows that you will have to learn new things, and the Linux support community is populated by enough jerks to make it a problem trying to find a solution. So my suggestion for most users is Chrome OS.

Chrome OS, like Linux, is a secure operating system. Unlike Linux, it isn't as private. Google gets your information, since a Google account is required to use Chrome OS. Google has improved on their privacy practices, and I think it's better than Microsoft in this respect. Linux is best insofar as privacy and security each are concerned. However, for most users, Chrome OS is a good choice.

There is a bit of a learning curve with Chrome OS, however. Not as much as with Linux, but still a slight learning curve. But, it's not a big one. If you can use a Windows computer, you can use a Chrome OS computer.

My Streaming Life is independent of my computer operating system for the most part. My local Plex server runs on Windows, but can run on Linux, or even NVIDIA Shield. But there's more than just streaming. And a computer that just works is nice. Chrome OS is an option that more people should look into.

Saturday, January 6, 2024

Xumo Stream Box is next

I recently returned my Xfinity Flex device and got a new Xumo Stream Box. That's essentially the replacement for it.

Xfinity charges $5/month for the box, but the first one is free is you ask for it. They charge $15 to set it up, but they will waive that if you ask.

I didn't really like the Flex box, so I'm not sure how I'll like the Xumo Stream Box, but I'm willing to give it a try.

I actually picked up the device a couple of weeks ago, but with several things going on, I have not set it up ... until now. I'm starting the setup, and I'll try it out for a bit, then let you know how it goes.

My Streaming Life involves several streaming devices. Many I've tried and abandoned. Some I've tried and liked, but went back to my favorite. And some I've tried and liked, and used it as my primary for a while. We'll see which this turns out to be.

Friday, January 5, 2024

Netflix viewership down

A report on Cord Cutters News this week says that Netflix viewership has dropped over the same time last year by around 17%.

That's a pretty sizable drop, and it reflects 7 billion viewing hours lost, according to the report by Shelby Brown:

The streaming giant’s self-reported data showed time spent watching movies and TV shows on the service declined by more than 7 billion hours in comparison to 2022 – about a 17% decrease in audience engagement year-over-year.

This comes after Netflix spent 2023 trying to drive subscriptions with an eye towards increased profitability . The streamer expanded its initiative to stop password sharing, which despite early backlash, ended up yielding an influx of new customers. It also raised the price of its premium plan in an effort to drive users to its cheaper ad-based tier.

Why the drop? No one knows for sure. I think it's because there is so much available elsewhere that Netflix is not the "must have" service it used to be. I dropped Netflix years ago, and only ever subscribe when there's a new feature I want to test, or if there is something that I really want to watch, such as when they carried MST3K or when a new Dave Chappelle special is released.

My Streaming Life doesn't involve Netflix, for the most part. And it's a smaller part of many people's lives. If you spend a lot of time on Netflix, consider some of the free alternatives. You may find you don't need to put up with the price increases and limited content either.

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Xfinity price increase hits home

Word of upcoming Xfinity price increases have been something I've looked at for a while now. Now it's happened.

I've been paying $52/month for Xfinity Internet for several months now. Word of a $4 price increase came late last year. Now it happened. And something else happened that was unexpected.

My bill went up $9/month. It's now $61/month. Of the $9, $4 is the price increase. The other $5 was a reduction in the autopay credit. It was $10/month, but the new bill, which came this week, shows a $5/month autopay credit.

I'm not happy with this. The $4/month increase was bad enough. But reducing the credit for autopay? That's extremely frustrating. Just one more reason to hate Comcast, right?

My Streaming Life will continue to use Xfinity Internet. For now. As the price increases, I'm continuing to look for alternatives. Right now, there are no cheaper options. But I'm looking.

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Dropping streaming services? You're not alone.

A report from the Wall Street Journal says that a quarter of streaming service subscribers have canceled at least three in the last year.

... consumers nationwide paring their streaming bills and getting more strategic about when they turn services on and off. Customer defections across premium streaming services rose to 6.3% in November, from 5.1% a year earlier.

About one-quarter of U.S. subscribers to major streaming services -- a group that includes Apple TV+, Discovery+, Disney+, Hulu, Max, Netflix, Paramount+, Peacock and Starz -- have canceled at least three of them over the past two years, according to November data from subscription-analytics provider Antenna. Two years ago, that number stood at 15%, a sign that streaming users are becoming increasingly fickle.

If you think about it, the number of those cutting back may be even higher. Those numbers are from last year. What about those that cut back in previous years? If they cut back even more, dropping only one or two services last year, they would be excluded from the survey results. But they still dropped services. And yes, those people exist. I'm one of those.

I cut back before last year. And I'm still cutting. I rotate services, but haven't used a couple of those in a year. My rotation of services, which used to be one every month, has skipped some months. I'm not always subscribing to even one service a month some of the time.

My Streaming Life has always been about saving money. And I'm using more and more free ad-supported television (FAST) services, and fewer paid services. And so are more people, it seems.

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

A new streaming speaker?

The Roku Streambar is a pretty good streaming device, and a decent sound bar. I've had one for a few years, and have been happy with it. It's a good mix of streaming device and sound bar. I wonder why others haven't come up with something similar.

Now someone has. Or at least that's the rumor.

According to AFTVNews, Sonos is reportedly developing a streaming device built into a sound bar, and it's due out this year:

... The new TV box is said to run a custom operating system based on Android, much like Amazon’s Fire OS for Fire TV devices.

The rumored Sonos TV streaming box, codenamed "Pinewood," is said to be a premium device that will cost between $150 to $200. That puts it in league with the Fire TV Cube, Nvidia Shield TV, and Apple TV 4K. Unsurprisingly, the sources say it will support Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision.

In addition to running streaming service apps, the TV box is said to serve as a "central hub for a customer's other Sonos devices." It's probably pretty safe to expect that the TV box will seamlessly integrate with Sonos' home theater surround sound speakers, like the Sonos Arc and Sonos Beam. The TV box will be controllable through both the Sonos app and via voice.

The think that concerns me is the part about it being a custom Android system. Either base Android TV, such as what NVIDIA Shield runs, or Google TV (an interface running on Android TV), such as what Chromecast or Walmart's Onn streamers run, would be a better choice, in my mind. A custom OS, even Android based, could limit the apps available. Standard Android TV or Google TV would open the app store (Google Play Store) and not have the compatibility issues that are sometimes encountered with Fire TV.

My Streaming Life has benefited from the Roku Streambar for some time. Another good option would be welcome. It's just the questions about the operating system that give me pause.

Monday, January 1, 2024

Watching College Football in 2023: Bowl Games, day 12

Bowl Season of college football for 2023 is nearing the end, since it's now 2024. There are five bowl games today, all involving ranked teams.


Three of today's games are on ESPN. Both feature ranked teams facing each other, including both college football playoff games.

Vrbo Fiesta Bowl

(8) University of Oregon vs (23) Liberty University

College Football Playoff Semifinal 110th Rose Bowl Game presented by Prudential

(4) The University of Alabama vs (1) University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Allstate Sugar Bowl

(3) University of Texas at Austin vs (2) University of Washington


One of today's games is on ESPN2.

ReliaQuest Bowl

(13) Louisiana State University vs University of Wisconsin–Madison


One game is on ABC today.

Cheez-It Citrus Bowl

(17) University of Iowa vs (21) University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Later Games

The only remaining bowl game is the national championship, which will air on ESPN next week.

Here's how to get all the networks:


  • Antenna (free)
  • Sling TV (8 markets only) ($45/month)
  • Vidgo (Plus) ($70/month)
  • Hulu+Live TV ($77/month)
  • YouTube TV ($73/month)
  • Fubo (Pro) ($75/month)
  • DirecTV (Entertainment) ($85/month)


  • Sling TV (Orange) ($40/month)
  • Vidgo (Plus) ($70/month)
  • Hulu+Live TV ($77/month)
  • YouTube TV ($73/month)
  • Fubo (Pro) ($75/month)
  • DirecTV (Entertainment) ($85/month)

This year's Division 1-A/FBS college football is winding down. My Streaming Life focuses on college football during this time of year. I'm going to miss it when it's gone.