Thursday, April 18, 2024

Why is Fubo trying to stop the new Disney/Fox/Warner sports service?

It's not been a story that has dominated the news, but there is an important story regarding sports streaming that you may know about.

Disney, Fox, and Warner-Discovery have announced plans to launch a new sports streaming service that will finally give streamers who want sports, well sports, and allow non-sports fans to skip it altogether.

The bad news is that Fubo is suing to stop it.

The question may be on your mind: Why is Fudo doing this?

Well, Luke Bouma of Cord Cutters News took a look at it recently, and says Fubo claims the companies stopped Fubo from doing the very same thing:

In the lawsuit, Fubo, the live streaming service, alleges that the trio of media giants stole from their playbook in a new attempt to thwart Fubo's business. On of the big complaints Fubo has is that they have wanted to launch a similar service but have been unable to because Disney, FOX, and Warner Bros. Discovery forces them to offer a bundle of channels including non-sports channels.

This need to offer the Disney Channel to get ESPN, for example, is according to Fubo unfair if these companies decide to offer a sports-only service, which is something Fubo has been asking to do but has been unable to.

"The underlying motives and implication of this joint venture also command our scrutiny. Every consumer in America should be concerned about the intent behind this joint venture and its impact on fair market competition," Fubo said in an earlier statement.

Disney is arguing in their case to the judge that these new streaming services will bring more options than ever to Americans in terms of how to watch these channels. The fact that they own the content and want to offer a bundle of sports-only channels should be allowed.

Live sports content is in high demand and the competition between streaming platforms to provide it is heating up. Fubo and other streamers would be dwarfed by the powerful union of Disney, FOX, and Warner Bros. Discovery.

This is a story with the potential for a huge impact. My Streaming Life would love a stand-alone sports service. However, if Fubo wins, this could slow that. But, based on what I know, which admittedly isn't much, I think Fubo is in the right. If so, a Fubo win may slow it, but the fault would be Disney's.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Which streaming platform?

If you're looking for a streaming device for the first time, you have four major platforms from which to choose:

  • Roku
  • Fire TV
  • Apple TV
  • Google/Android TV

These are the platforms that drive streaming boxes and sticks. All but Apple TV also drive some smart TVs. The top two of the minor platforms are strong contenders as well:

  • WebOS (LG TVs)
  • Tizen (Samsung TVs)

The functionality and ease of the four major make them better options than the two top minor platforms.

There are other platforms as well, but they really don't make an impact. Vizio, for instance, used a system they called "SmartCast" but it's not a good system. Whether or not they'll change to something else now that Walmart bought Vizio isn't know. If they're smart, they'll convert to a version of Android TV or the full Google TV interface. Yes, that would mean that Google would get the TV usage information as well as Walmart, but most Vizio users would hook up a Roku or Fire TV (or Chromecast) to the TV anyway, at least if they want an easy streaming experience). Dropping development of SmartCast would save money.

So, if you buy a TV with a built-in smart TV system, you don't really need to do anything other than use it. However, unless it's one of the four major platforms, you are missing out on the ease and simplicity of those platforms.

Samsung and LG are okay, but if it's something else, look seriously into one of the Big Four. But which one?

Really, it doesn't matter. It really doesn't matter. All four are good. They're better than WebOS or Tizen, in my opinion, and they give you something the others don't: a consistent system across the house.

Now sure, if all your TVs are LG or all are Samsung, then yes, you have a consistent system. But if any is something else, you have a mixed system. And that can be confusing at times. Even if you have a consistent system, the remotes are sometimes different.

The good news is that if you buy a Roku TV, for example, then add another TV to a guest room, it doesn't have to be a Roku. You can get any TV and put in the guest room, then add a Roku to it. Then you have consistency.

Same applies if you buy a TV with Fire TV built in. You can add a Fire TV device to any other TV, even a Roku TV. Same with Android/Google TV. This is true for any of the major platforms. You can always convert a TV with a different platform to a consistent platform across the household, if you want.

My Streaming Life has used all the major platforms, and the larger minor platforms. They all have their ups and downs, but what is best is a personal decision. The good news is that whichever of the major platforms you choose, you can have that on all TVs in the house.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

New Roku TV remote

This is my fourth Roku post in just over a week, and the third to focus on Roku our of my last four posts overall. Yeah, Roku is making the news.

Today it's good news, well kinda, for Roku TV users that lose their remotes. Roku has finally released a Roku TV remote that you can buy directly from Roku (or from Walmart, Best Buy, or other retailers) and it's $10.

Now, you have been able to buy a remote from Roku that worked with Roku TV devices for some time. The catch was it was a Roku Voice Remote. All Roku TVs support the Roku Voice Remote, but they run $20 or more. Sometimes, only the $30 version is in stock at a local retailer.

Now, Roku has finally released an infrared remote for $10. I still think the Voice Remote is the way to go, but some people would rather spend less and are fine with an IR remote. After all, most Roku TVs, especially the cheaper models, come with IR remotes.

If you are interested, here's a link to the Roku TV Infrared Remote (Amazon affiliate link).

My Streaming Life has used Roku TV devices, but I've always used the Voice Remote, since it's not line of sight IR. However, if line of sight IR is satisfactory, you can save a few bucks going that way. Roku has needed something like this for a long time. It's good to see them finally make this available.

Monday, April 15, 2024

Protecting your Roku account

Recently, Roku announced that 576,000 user accounts were compromised. Roku has taken a public relations hit, but it really wasn't their fault.

What happened was that users had the same password on their Roku account that they used on other accounts. One (or more) of those other (non-Roku) accounts was compromised, and then hackers used the same credentials on Roku accounts, and were successful.

Again, it wasn't Roku's fault, but sloppy security by 576,000 users, but Roku has caught some flak for it. And now Roku has offered suggestions for helping secure accounts, and it's good advice:

We are committed to maintaining the privacy and security of your Roku account. We also believe in empowering our users with information and tools to help safeguard their accounts:

Create a strong, unique password for your Roku account. This makes it harder for someone to gain unauthorized access to your account. Use a mix of at least eight characters, including numbers, symbols, and lowercase and upper-case letters. Find more tips here: How to create a strong and secure password for your Roku account.

Remain vigilant. Please be alert to any suspicious communications appearing to come from Roku, such as requests to update your payment details, share your username or password, or click on suspicious links. When in doubt over the authenticity of a communication, contact Roku Customer Support.

Stay informed. In addition to blog posts and Support pages on Roku, be sure to check your email for communications from Roku and periodically log in to your Roku account to review your account charges.

Additional recommendations can be found here: How to keep your Roku account secure.

These suggestions are good for not just Roku accounts, but for any online account. My Streaming Life uses several online accounts, and each has unique, secure passwords. Yours should too.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Keeping safe with Microsoft Windows 10 will cost you

Windows 10 support ends next year. Only, Microsoft will allow you to pay for extended support if you want to keep Windows 10. And now the price has been announced:

[YouTube]

I think it's terrible that Microsoft will charge for Windows 10 support. The fact they will do it for a fee means they can do it. And people paid for a Windows license, and support, already. It's a bad thing Microsoft is doing.

Rather than pay for Windows 10 support, I would suggest that users move to a more secure operating system, such as Linux or ChromeOS (which is a version of Linux, but with a very friendly interface). That will extend the life of a computer for free.

My Streaming Life doesn't depend on Windows 10, so I'm lucky. Not everyone is. ChromeOS, or another version of Linux, is a great choice for many people.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Another month, another Roku breach

Let me start by saying that I don't really blame Roku for this, but it is a big deal and Roku accounts are impacted. There are two reasons for the breach, and neither is Roku's fault.

The first reason for the breach is truly awful people. Hackers are stealing information and using stolen information to steal more stuff. That's reason one.

Reason two is people making bad decisions. People re-use the same passwords on different services, which is a really bad idea. Yes, it's hard to keep up with different passwords for different things, but suck it up and do the right thing. If I can do it, anyone can do it. Anyway, a lot of people use the same password for everything, and when one of those things gets compromised, the hackers have the passwords to a bunch of other stuff as well. And one of those things is Roku -- for many people that is.

So, what happened is that people got their credentials hacked through some insecure service, and the hackers used the credentials to log into Roku and make purchases through Roku pay, or other credit cards on file.

This happened last month, and now it's happened again, only this time, instead of 15-thousand accounts, over 576-thousand -- over half a million -- accounts were impacted:

Earlier this year, Roku's security monitoring systems detected an increase in unusual account activity. After a thorough investigation, we determined that unauthorized actors had accessed about 15,000 Roku user accounts using login credentials (i.e. usernames and passwords) stolen from another source unrelated to Roku through a method known as "credential stuffing."

Credential stuffing is a type of automated cyberattack where fraudsters use stolen usernames and passwords from one platform and attempt to log in to accounts on other platforms. This method exploits the practice of individuals reusing the same login credentials across multiple services. We concluded at the time that no data security compromise occurred within our systems, and that Roku was not the source of the account credentials used in these attacks.

After concluding our investigation of this first incident, we notified affected customers in early March and continued to monitor account activity closely to protect our customers and their personal information. Through this monitoring we identified a second incident, which impacted approximately 576,000 additional accounts.

There is no indication that Roku was the source of the account credentials used in these attacks or that Roku's systems were compromised in either incident. Rather, it is likely that login credentials used in these attacks were taken from another source, like another online account, where the affected users may have used the same credentials. ...

This is why it's important to have different passwords for different services. Yes, it's hard. So is having stuff stolen. You have a choice as to which pain you want.

My Streaming Life isn't impacted by this, because I use different passwords for everything. I learned the hard way. Take the word of someone who knows: be smarter than the thieves when it comes to your online security.

Friday, April 12, 2024

Frndly TV is adding some local channels, just not the ones you might think

Frndly TV is one of the best bargains when it comes to vMVPD (streaming cable) services. For under $10/month, you get 40 live channels. The price is so low because Frndly TV doesn't carry news, sports, or local channels.

Well, until now, they didn't carry local channels. They're about to carry some. But there's a catch.

The first catch is that only six markets are affected. The next catch is that none of the local channels are the major networks.

A release on the Frndly TV Website says six markets will get limited local channels later this month:

With the debut of a broadcast station in six individual markets (one station per DMA), this will mark the first time in its history that Frndly TV is rolling out local programming. The local broadcast stations are expected to debut on the Frndly TV lineup in each market by April 30.

"As cord cutting continues to accelerate across the country," said Michael McKenna, Frndly TV co-founder and Chief Programming Officer, "we at Frndly TV are proud to be able to help support the local broadcast industry, and in particular, the important public service of delivering local news, by bringing back homes and viewers into the television ecosystem. We hope to continue to add a local station in more markets across the country in the near future."

The six local broadcast stations (five independents and one CW affiliated station) and markets are:

  • KDCO, Channel 3, Denver, CO DMA (Scripps - Independent)
  • WMYD, Channel 20, Detroit, MI DMA (Scripps - CW Affiliate)
  • WACY, Channel 32, Green Bay, WI DMA (Scripps - Independent)
  • KMCI, Channel 38, Kansas City, MO DMA (Scripps - Independent)
  • WFMZ, Channel 69, Philadelphia, PA DMA (Marantha Broadcasting Co. - Independent)
  • WHDT, Channel 9, West Palm Beach, FL DMA (Scripps - Independent)

‍Continued McKenna: "This is a significant milestone for Frndly TV. As we built out Frndly TV and added more national channels, the one thing missing was providing our customers with the local programming they want and care about – especially local news and popular syndicated content. With the addition of these local stations in each market, we are delivering to our customers news and entertainment they want at a price they can afford."

You'll first notice that none of the stations are major network stations. There are no ABC, CBS, Fox, or NBC stations. Only one is a CW affiliate. Next, all are owned by Scripps.

Scripps owns eight independent stations and four CW stations. Five of the independent stations and one CW station are part of the deal. Scripps also owns several stations with major network affiliations, as well as several minor network stations (Bounce, Grit, Ion, etc.). The company owns 62 overall.

There seems to be no fear that prices will rise soon, leaving Frndly TV as a great bargain. The local channels in those six markets is a bonus for those markets.

My Streaming Life has included Frndly TV since the service launched. It's a great bargain, as far as I'm concerned. I'm not impacted by this change, but I'm happy for those that are.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

A new Walmart streaming box ... soon

An online report says that Walmart is releasing a new streaming box "soon."

I'm a fan of the Walmart Onn brand (styles as "onn.") streaming box, and the idea of an upgraded version is exciting to me.

91mobiles reports the device will be an upgrade to last year's device:

There isn't much that we know about Walmart's new 4K Pro Google TV streaming device but we can confirm from the moniker that this will be an upgraded model from last year's model. It could come with better hardware and 4K performance as compared to the regular 4K version. Since the other models are also priced affordably, this one too is expected to come with a pocket-friendly price tag.

The Onn Google TV 4K Streaming Box works mostly like the Google Chromecast. It has a similar UI with content recommendations and popular apps for streaming. You also get Google Chromecast and Google Assistant built-in. The 4K streaming device comes bundled with a white remote that has dedicated buttons for YouTube, Netflix, and Disney+.

The thing that doesn't track for me is that last year's device was actually a stick, not a box, and the new device is rumored to be a box.

My Steaming Life utilizes the Walmart device on a regular basis, although my primary TV has a Chromecast. The interface is the same, and the price savings more than makes up for any slight performance difference.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

A look at Frndly TV

I've been a fan of Frndly TV ever since it launched. Recently, Lon.TV looked at it, and liked it. Well, mostly.

[YouTube]

My Streaming Life has included Frndly TV since the service launched, as I said. It's the only service I've paid for every month since then. I really like it. For under $9/month, it's the best streaming bargain there is.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

New Roku rules for accessibility compatibility

Roku is putting out some new rules regarding apps and accessibility functions. Starting this Fall, Roku will require apps to meet the requirements to be in the Roku Channel Store (their app store).

We're not talking about just new apps; we're talking about existing apps as well.

Yes, that means if an app you like doesn't meet the rules, it gets booted from Roku's Channel Store.

Among the things Roku is requiring is that apps respect the device settings. Today, some apps have their own closed caption settings, for instance, and ignore the settings for the device. I can tell you from first-hand experience that such behavior is frustrating.

I use captions for British programs -- yes, they speak English, but it's not the same -- and for some movies and TV shows that make it hard to hear because of the music or background sounds. If someone needed the captions, I can see that would be very frustrating.

According to Cord Cutters News, this is about to change, and includes Autoplay functionality as well:

Roku will also require channels to honor a new autoplay rule that allows Roku owners to disable auto-play on all apps with a single click. This is something we learned about earlier this year but is now being required of app developers.

Certification Requirement: If autoplay is disabled on a device, channels may not begin video playback until the user navigates to a video or explicitly starts playback. Once playback begins, channels may continue playing the video until the user navigates away from it, pauses it, turns the device off, or a screensaver starts. Channels must adhere to this requirement to pass certification (Effective October 1, 2024).

Developers can use the roDeviceInfo.isAutoPlayEnabled() function to check whether auto-play video is enabled or disabled on a device. This function returns a flag indicating the current state of the auto-play setting. Developers can use this function to ensure that the auto-play device setting is respected when customers browse content in their apps.

Both of these changes are small, but developers need to follow them, or they won’t be able to be on Roku players or Roku TVs going forward.

My Streaming Life doesn't absolutely require captions, but it is great to see that the functionality that is expected will be delivered.

Monday, April 8, 2024

Watching local channels without cable

It's possible to watch local channels without cable. There's more than just one way, in fact.

Michael Timmermann of Michael Saves recently posted a video about that. I found it to be helpful. Perhaps you will too.

[YouTube]

I have an antenna, but I like the idea that CBS and NBC are avaialble on Paramount Plus and Peacock respectively. Picking up ABC and Fox next day (not locals, however) on Hulu helps as well.

My Streaming Life is all about saving money, and the antenna is what works best for me. But for those that can't do that, these ways may offer some good alternatives.

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Dual booting Windows and Linux

If you wanted to try Linux, perhaps because of its increase stability, security, and privacy, then one way is to be able to boot to Linux or Windows on the same computer. You can check out Linux in a real world enviornment while keeping your Windows envioronment intact.

Britec recently has a video on doing just that.

[YouTube]

My Streaming Life doesn't normally use desktop or laptop computers, but security and privacy are a concern for me. If Linux is an interest, I hope this helps.

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Watch the Final Four (2024)

College basketball has reached the end of the playoff. The 68-team tournament is down to four: Connecticut, Perdue, Alabama, North Carolina State.

This evening, North Carolina State faces Perdue and later tonight Alabama plays Connecticut. The two winners will face off Monday night.

A lot of people watch the NCAA Final Four. So, if you're a streamer, how do you watch it?

Todays games are being broadcast on several networks:

  • TBS
  • TNT
  • truTV

Here is how to watch the channels if you are a streamer:

TBS

  • Max (with Ads) ($10/month)
  • Max (Ad free) ($16/month)
  • Sling TV (Blue) ($40/month)
  • Sling TV (Orange) ($40/month)
  • Sling TV (Orange+Blue) ($55/month)
  • YouTube TV ($73/month)
  • Hulu+Live TV ($77/month)
  • DirecTV (Entertainment) ($85/month)

TNT

  • Max (with Ads) ($10/month)
  • Max (Ad free) ($16/month)
  • Sling TV (Blue) ($40/month)
  • Sling TV (Orange) ($40/month)
  • Sling TV (Orange+Blue) ($55/month)
  • YouTube TV ($73/month)
  • Hulu+Live TV ($77/month)
  • DirecTV (Entertainment) ($85/month)

truTV

  • Max (with Ads) ($10/month)
  • Max (Ad free) ($16/month)
  • Sling TV (Blue) ($40/month)
  • Sling TV (Orange) ($40/month)
  • Sling TV (Orange+Blue) ($55/month)
  • YouTube TV ($73/month)
  • Hulu+Live TV ($77/month)
  • DirecTV (Entertainment) ($85/month)

The cheapest way to watch all the games is via Max, which is as low as $10/month.

Oh, there is a March Madness Live app from the NCAA, but it authenticates against one of the services listed above. The app by itself doesn't get you the content, much like the ESPN app doesn't get you college football unless you authenticate against your ESPN provider.

My Streaming Life doesn't involve much basketball at all. But a lot of people enjoy this. If this describes you, then you have ways to watch the games.

Friday, April 5, 2024

Which Sling TV? Orange or Blue?

If you want a live streaming service -- effectively streaming cable -- then one of the best bargains is Sling TV.

Sling TV is $40/month, and has the most popular cable channels. It has entertainment channels, news channels, sports channels, but it's missing one thing: local channels.

Now, in some markets, where ABC, Fox, or NBC owns the local stations, local channels are available. But, in most markets, this isn't the case. Sling.com has a chart that shows where local channels are available.

Because local channels aren't usually available, the price is lower for Sling TV than for other services, such as YouTube TV, Hulu+Live TV, Fubo, DirecTV streaming, and others. However, the sports and news runs up the price, which is why Sling TV is more than Philo, which doesn't have news or sports.

But, if you want a service that has news and sports, then Sling TV is the best bargain.

If you look at their offerings, you'll see they have two plans: Orange and Blue. They are the same cost, but have some differences. And it's those differences that make a lot of difference.

Lets start with the channel offerings. The bulk of the channels are available on both services. There are some channels that are only available with the Orange package, and some channels that are only available with the Blue package.

Orange has these 6 channels:

  • Disney Channel
  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPN3
  • Freeform
  • MotorTrend

Blue has these 14 channels:

  • Bravo
  • Discovery Channel
  • E!
  • FOX Sports 1
  • FX
  • Fox News
  • HLN
  • MSNBC
  • NFL Network
  • National Geographic
  • SYFY
  • TLC
  • USA
  • truTV

The remaining 26 channels are on both Orange and Blue:

  • A&E
  • AMC
  • AXS TV
  • BBC America
  • BET
  • Bloomberg Television
  • CHARGE!
  • CNN
  • Cartoon Network
  • Comedy Central
  • Comet
  • Food Network
  • Fuse
  • HGTV
  • History Channel
  • IFC
  • Investigation Discovery
  • Lifetime
  • Local Now
  • MGM+ Drive-In
  • Nick Jr.
  • QVC
  • TBS
  • TNT
  • Travel Channel
  • Vice

Of course, there are other channels that can be added to packages, but we're only talking the base package, as it give a good idea of the differences.

Oh, there is one other difference. On Orange, you get one stream. On Blue, you get three simultaneous streams.

There is a $55/month package that combines the two packages. It's as if you have two services, meaning you get all the channels in both packages, with one stream for each Orange channel and three streams for each Blue channel. For the 26 common channels, you get four (one for Orange and three for Blue).

So, which is the one for you? I use Sling Orange during football season to get ESPN, but the rest of the year, do without. I have plenty to watch using other paid or free services. My Streaming Life is all about saving money, and I don't pay for stuff I don't watch. But, if the content on Sling is worth it to you, knowing what channels and how many streams you get is helpful.

Thursday, April 4, 2024

When to run a new over the air channel scan

You cut the cord. You stream your channels. You put up an antenna to watch local channels, and you record over the air content using a DVR.

Is that you? If so, you may wonder if you ever should re-scan your channels.

Well, yes, you should. For example, I ran a scan a couple of months ago, and found more channels that I had before. I hadn't run the scan in a couple of years, and new channels were available in that time. I should have run a scan, but when? And when should I run another?

The answer to that question isn't easy. There are different reasons that the available channels could change, and that could mean that I may need to scan more often than you, if our local circumstances are different enough.

But maybe there is a simple answer. And maybe experts in over the air channels would have an answer.

Well, recently, Tablo posted about this very topic:

"Is there a rule of thumb for how often I should run a new channel scan on my Tablo?"

You should always run and save a fresh channel scan with your Tablo if you are experiencing issues with antenna TV reception or have recently changed or moved your TV antenna.

Outside of those situations, we recommend running and saving a new channel scan with your Tablo at least once every three months.

They go on to list various benefits of doing this. It's an interesting read. I still wonder if that's too often, and more work than necessary. But, they are the experts.

My Streaming Life uses over the air antenna to supplement the streaming channels. I'll start scanning more often. Maybe I'll come around to there way of thinking.

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

How much do we really spend on streaming services?

A recent article from Cord Cutters News says that a majority of streamers pay under $40/month for streaming services.

The breakdown isn't simple, because nothing is every simple. The two largest groups in the survey pay over $40/month, even though those two groups together fail to make a majority.

Here is the breakdown:

According to our readers, more than 66% of cord cutters spend $50 or less on services each month. Only 23.5% of our readers pay $51 or more each month.

Here is a full breakdown of how much our readers spend of TV content each month.

  • 5.7% spend $0 to $10 a month.
  • 10.1% spend $11 to $20 a month.
  • 12.5% spend $21 to $30 a month.
  • 19.9% spend $31 to $40 a month.
  • 23.9% spend $41 to $50 a month.
  • 23.5% spend $51 or more a month.

4.5% declined to answer or said they don’t pay anything for video services. (This group was not included in the 66% of cord cutters who pay less than $51 a month.)

That last paragraph explains why the numbers only total to 95.6%. Of course, that makes the total 100.1%, which is impossible, but rounding accounts for that.

So, what do I spend? Well, I decided to run the numbers, and was surprised by just how much I spend, and how much I don't spend, depending on how you count it.

Here's the complication: Prime Video. I pay for Amazon Prime. But, I paid for Amazon Prime before Prime Video even existed. I subscribe for shipping benefits. I rarely watch Prime Video, and when I do, it's because somebody else wants to watch something there, and I go along with it. So, not counting Prime Video, and not counting a large portion of Paramount Plus -- the basic service is included with Walmart Plus, and there is a large discount on the upgrade -- it turns out that I only pay $16.74/month for streaming services.

Only, that's not right either. You see, during the college football season, I pay for Sling TV. I do it in a way that four 30-day subscriptions cover the entire season and bowl games, so I don't pay that every month. But, I do pay $40/month for those 4 months, and $0 the rest of the year. That averages out to $13.33/month over the year, bringing the total to $30.07/month.

But wait, I actually use ESPN Plus during college football season, bringing the average over the year to $33.73/month. Still not bad. And that's my number.

Of course, if I were to count Prime Video (which I pay for but don't use; family members have subscriptions and I watch it with them), the number jumps quite a bit, to $45.32.

My Streaming Life costs more than I expected. I thought I was under $33.73/month, but I'm not. Still, it's not bad, and a lot cheaper than cable.

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Which smart TV should you buy?

So you're looking to purchase a new TV. Which smart TV should you get?

A Roku TV? If so, which one? Hisense? TCL? Roku Plus Series?

A Fire TV set? If so, which one? Insignia? Toshiba?

A Google TV set? If so, which one? Hisense? TCL? Sony?

A Samsung TV?

What is the best one to get?

Here's the answer you may not expect. The platform doesn't matter. Get the one with the best picture and sound. Forget about the platform (Fire TV, Roku, Google TV, Tizen). Well, lower that to tie-breaker status. Look at all the other features instead.

Why doesn't platform matter? I mean, if you're a fan of Roku, shouldn't you get the best Roku TV? No, not necessarily. If you're a fan of Fire TV, shouldn't you get the best Fire TV set you can find? No, not necessarily.

You see, even if you get a Roku TV, you can still put a Fire TV device on it. If you get a Google TV, you can put a Roku on it. The platform of the TV really doesn't matter. What is most important is the value in price compared to picture and sound quality. And if you get a sound system, even a sound bar, then only the picture really matters.

For example, suppose you really like Roku, but you found a great Toshiba TV that has the Fire TV platform. If the Toshiba is the best TV, apart from the platform, get it, and put a Roku device on it.

Likewise, if you really like Google TV, but the best TV you found is a Samsung, get the Samsung. You can put a Chromecast on it, and you have a Google TV devices with a great picture.

The only time that the platform of the TV really matters is if you can't decide between two TVs, and one has your platform of choice, and one doesn't. Get the one that has your platform.

My Streaming Life has mainly used Google TV for the last several months. I even bought a Sony TV, running Google TV, during that time, but still put a Chromecast on it, because I didn't like the Sony remote. I bought the TV because I liked the TV and didn't care about the platform, even though it was my current platform of choice. Focus on the TV features. The streaming platform can always be added.

Monday, April 1, 2024

Best Streaming services for 2024 (according to Tom's Guide)

Recently, Tom's Guide published an article about the best streaming services in 2024. I don't agree with it all, but it is a good write-up on the services. They make good cases for each of the services they list.

So, what is this list?

Here's what Tom's Guide says:

These services are just one-half of the streaming equation, though. As the cable box slowly withers away, it's being replaced by smart TVs and the best streaming devices, which include Rokus and Chromecasts. And by testing the best streaming services and devices side-by-side, we figure out the best way to build the ultimate streaming setup with the best selection of content and live channels.

  1. Max - The best streaming service overall
  2. Hulu - The best for new TV shows
  3. Netflix - The best streaming service for variety
  4. Disney Plus - The best streaming service for families
  5. Sling TV - The best streaming service for live TV
  6. Peacock - The best cheap streaming service

I'm not sure I agree with all these selections, but they are pretty good selections. But I have some different thoughts.

Best cheap streaming service is Frndly TV, followed by Philo. Paramount Plus should be considered. I would put Peacock no higher than 4th place.

Best for live TV would be YouTube TV. It's a lot more expensive than Sling TV, and Sling TV is my go-to in the fall for college football via ESPN, because of the price. But overall? Not just sports? Probably YouTube TV.

Best for families would be either Disney Plus or Frndly TV. For children, Disney Plus, but for the whole family, I think Frndly TV is better.

I agree with Hulu for new TV shows, and Netflix for variety.

For overall, I'm not sure I agree with Max, but I don't strongly disagree. Paramount Plus is a good alternative and one I'd pick instead. Prime Video is an alternative to consider as well. It should be better organized, as it's the streaming version of the bargain bins at Walmart. Not in quality, but in arrangement. Lots of stuff, some really good, but not as easy to find.

My Streaming Life doesn't use all these services all the time, but I do use them on occasion. I like to rotate them, and doing that, then lists such as this don't carry as much weight. These services are all good, and have different benefits. By rotating them, you get to sample them all a month at a time. It works for me. And I'd suggest rotating services to see what works for you.