Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Another look at the Peacock discounts

Following up yesterday's article on Peacock's Military Appreciation sale, Michael Timmermann talks about Peacock offering a special low yearly price to lock in before an upcoming price hike:

[YouTube]

As I've said before, I don't watch Peacock a lot, but it is a good service at a good price. It's not necessarily Peacock that I don't watch, it's most pay streaming services. My Streaming Life uses a lot of free ad supported television (FAST). That will probably be the case for a while. But that is a good deal about Peacock.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Peacock discount for veterans

Yesterday was Memorial Day. Today is one of the last four days of Military Appreciation Month. I make that distinction because a lot of people seem to confuse Memorial Day with Veterans Day. I'm a veteran, and I appreciate that Veterans Day is a thing. I certainly appreciate Memorial Day which is to honor those that did not return from service.

It's quite frustrating to me when I see things that seem to honor veterans in general on Memorial Day. That day is not for me. It's for my fallen comrades.

When Peacock had a special for veterans, I grimaced, thinking they were confusing Memorial Day with Veterans Day. Only, that was an error on my part. You see, May is also Military Appreciation Month. And that's the reason Peacock is offering a special offer for veterans. So good on them.

Normally, I don't look to take advantage of discounts for veterans. I've seen so many over the years that wore one kind of uniform or another -- military, law enforcement, etc. -- that would put on their uniform to get into a football game for free or to go out to eat to get a discount. I don't actively seek military or veteran discounts. If I'm asked or explicitly offered, then yes I'll accept gratefully. But I don't seek it out. That smacks of "I did this, where is my reward?" I don't seek a reward for my service. I wasn't drafted. I volunteered freely. I don't expect a reward.

That's not to criticize the vast majority of those who served who will take advantage of discounts offered. It's just that I've seen enough who wore a uniform that are looking out for themselves, and themselves only. Generally, they don't last long in uniform, because that's not what service is all about. Sure, benefits are great and are appreciated. I've seen enough selfish veterans, or selfish veterans spouses that it puts me off. I don't want, in my mind, to be lumped in with them.

Anyway, Peacock had a special for veterans as part of Military Appreciation Month. I only saw in in conjunction with Memorial Day, but it is a fine thing they're doing offering discounts to veterans. I've criticized Peacock, NBCUniversal, Comcast, and all aspects of that company plenty. This I do thank them for. I have a code and understand that I can use the code later when my current Peacock deal ends. I'll take advantage of it then.

As you can see, I'm not avoiding all discounts. I'm just not one to actively seek them out, or go around letting people know I'm a veteran. I bring it up when it's applicable, but the rest of the time, I don't say anything about it.

My Streaming Life doesn't use Peacock TV a lot. I do a little. The discount is much appreciated, and gives me a better feeling regarding the streaming service. That's the idea, right?

Monday, May 27, 2024

Cutting pay TV, not just cable TV

When I cut the cord back in 2011, there were no services such as Sling TV, YouTube TV, Hulu+Live TV, Fubo, or the like. Once those services came along, and more and more people had streaming alternatives to cable TV -- actually streaming versions of cable TV -- cutting the cord picked up. Now, it looks like more people are doing like I did, even with those options.

What I'm talking about is that more people are dropping cable TV than are subscribing to streaming services. At least, that's the trend.

A survey by Cord Cutters News says that around have of cord cutters are not subscribing to "streaming cable" services.

Increasingly cord cutters are moving primarily to on-demand services like Disney+, Netflix, or Max. According to past surveys of our readers many start with a live TV streaming service only to later move to on-demand only options.

Now with Disney, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery launching a sports-only live TV service it raises real questions about the future of some of these streaming services.

My Streaming Life didn't have those options orginally. I still don't subscribe to the services. More and more are doing it that way. I too wonder if this means some of those servcies won't be around long.

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Microsoft privacy violation

Microsoft has added a new feature that will cause some concern for a lot of people. Windows 11 will take a snapshot of user screens every three seconds. Britec has the details.

[YouTube]

My Steaming Life still uses a Windows computer to run Plex. For now. A Linux server is looking more and more like a good idea.

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Another look at the new Walmart streaming device

 Cord Cutters News also reviewed the new Walmart Onn 4K Streaming Device:

[YouTube]

I'm still undecided on getting one of these devices. There are some postives, for sure. I'm just not sure if it's worth the money, for what extra it brings to the table. My Streaming Life doesn't really need another streaming device.

Friday, May 24, 2024

College Football Playoffs on Max

I'm not a regular user of Max (formerly HBO Max), but I do find it to be a good service. It is in my rotation of services.

Something will be added to Max this fall: college football. Specifically, the first two rounds (including quarterfinals) of the playoffs.

According to news reports, Max and TNT will air games over the next five seasons, starting with this year, when the college football playoffs expand to 12 teams.

The deal will see Warner Bros. Discovery’s TNT Sports and HBO Max show two first-round games over the first two seasons of the contract. In the ensuing three years, it will broadcast and stream two first-round games and two quarterfinals. The sides could add more games.

While TNT’s future partnership with the NBA is in doubt, the move for CFP games is unrelated to those current tenuous negotiations, according to executives briefed on the talks. The CFP agreement would have happened regardless of where the talks with the NBA stood.

ESPN, the home of the national championship, retains the rest of the rights to the newly expanded 12-team CFP with its six-year, $7.8 billion agreement.

I normally subscribe to ESPN during the college football season, and I don't know how this will impact things. It could be that I'll need to subscribe to more services to watch all the games. I don't like that idea. But I do like the idea of streaming services getting access to major sports. I suppose I need to take the bad with the good. My Streaming Life will be impacted, I just don't know how.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Can you completely cancel Comcast (or Spectrum)?

I cut cable years ago. To clarify, I dropped cable TV. I still have cable Internet.

Suppose you want to drop not just cable TV, but also cable Internet. What are your options? Cord Cutters News has some suggestions.

#1 Your Phone Company

When I say “contact your phone company about Internet service” you are likely thinking DSL. The good news is most phone companies won’t even sell DSL any more including AT&T. Instead, they are offering fiber in most areas.

If you have not talked to your phone company in a few years it may be time to give them a call and look at their fiber options.

#2 5G Home Internet

The fastest-growing Internet service in the United States right now is 5G Home Internet especially from T-Mobile and Verizon. Yes, these services are not available in all areas, but you may be surprised how many areas they are available in. Also, look at AT&T for its new 5G Home Internet as it slowly rolls out.

If they are not in your area yet make sure to sign up for notifications as they are quickly rolling out across all their markets.

Fiber and satellite are two other options mentioned. Give the article a look.

My Streaming Life has only satellite of these four options, should I decide to drop cable. So far, it's cheaper for me to stay with Comcast/Xfinity.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Comcast Strikes Back

Lon Seidman had a video recently talking about the bundle that Comcast is offering. It is worth a watch.

[YouTube]

My Streaming Life uses Comcast/Xfinity for Internet, and I don't normally subscribe year-round to services. This is worth considering.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Amazon interface change makes NOT subscribing harder

There was an article last week that I haven't addressed. It talks about a change that Amazon made to the Fire TV interface, and the author wasn't happy about it.

The change is a small one, but it can indeed cause issues. AFTV News reports that Amazon changed the default button to download an app to instead download and subscribe. That is a small, but critical change.

When searching to install select apps, such as Paramount+, Apple TV, Philo, Starz, and others on a Fire TV, the default option is no longer to simply download the free app, as it has been for the last 10 years. Instead, the default option has now changed to both download the app and simultaneously subscribe to the service.

These automatic subscriptions are processed through Amazon, so, even if you’re already subscribed to one of these affected streaming services directly, you may find yourself double-subscribing when all you intended to do was download the free app and log in with an existing subscription. The option to "Download app only," which used to be the default option for all apps, is now the third button in on an app’s download screen.

What’s worse is if the streaming service offers a free trial before the paid subscription automatically payment begins, the icon displayed to both simultaneously subscribe and download the app is the same cloud-download icon used for apps you’ve already downloaded in the past.

It is true that reading the screen would allow the user to know that they were subscribing, but for people that have used the interface for years, changing the functionality the way they did could indeed cause. Think about it. Have you used a streaming device for years? Many times long-time users will automatically go through the motions of performing a series of steps without even looking. They're familiar with it. Then it is changed. Well, that's what happened.

My Streaming Life doesn't usually involve Fire TV devices. Yes, I have Fire TV devices, but I rarely use them. I don't really like the Amazon interface. Now I like it even less.

Monday, May 20, 2024

Traditional pay TV loses more customers

In the first quarter of this year, over nearly 1¼ million customers dropped Comcast, Spectrum, or DISH. According to Cord Cutters News, this translates into nearly 14-thousand per day dropping one of those services.

This amounts to Comcast, Spectrum, and DISH losing over 13,700 TV customers every day in the first quarter of 2024. If this trend continues over 5 million TV customers will cancel TV from DISH, Comcast, and Spectrum. That would be up from the 3.260 million the three companies lost in 2023.

The report goes on to break down the losses for each of those major pay TV services. My Streaming Life doesn't depend on those services for TV. Well, not directly; I have Comcast's Xfinity Internet that I use for streaming. I dropped traditional pay TV over 13 years ago. More and more are finding that's the way to go.

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Linux Chromebox Micro review

I haven't tried the new Lenovo Chromebox Micro. But Lon Seidman has:

[YouTube]

I've used a lot more ChromeOS recently, due to the issues with Windows and security. I've generally been happy with ChromeOS, but I do prefer the Chroembook Plus. The limited specs do give me pause.

My Streaming Life doesn't generally use a computer. But not everythign I do is streaming. ChromeOS is fine for me. Not too sure about this particularly device though.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Streaming the Preakness Stakes (2024)

The Preakness Stakes will be this afternoon. It's the Triple Crown race that doesn't get as much exposure as the others. The Kentucky Derby is always the big one, and the Belmont Stakes gets a big push over the Preakness Stakes for some reason. That never really made sense, as the three jewels of the crown are pretty much all prestigous races.

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

NBC is carrying the race. The race will actually be on NBC and Peacock. Coverage begins at 1:30 pm, with the actual race a few minutes before 7:00 pm.

Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan will be running, and there will of course be interest if the horse can win the 2nd race of the Triple Crown.

The fastest time in the Preakness Stakes was set by Secretariat in 1973, at 1:53. The second fastes time is officially 1:53.28 by Swiss Skydiver in 202. However, Sham's 1973 2nd pace finish may actually be the 2nd fastest. At the time, Sham was 1/5 of a second behind Secretariat. However, there was a later review of Secretariat's run and time showed an error in the official time, and the unanimous adjustment gave Secretariate a faster time that is still the official record. If Sham was actually 1/5 of a second slower, then his time would be 1:53.2, which would be the 2nd fastest of all time, just as in the Kentucky Derby. They don't normally keep such records or make adjustments on second-place horses where the order of finish is not in dispute. Sham lost to Secretariat in 1973, but had Sham run that time, and Secretariat not run in the race, Sham would have won and be the record holder to this day.

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

Here's how to watch:

Peacock TV

Subscription is $6/month for the Premium service. It's $12/month for ad-free. But ad-free doesn't include not having ads in live TV. The ad-free applies to on-demand only.

NBC

  • Antenna (free) over the air.
  • Sling TV ($40 Orange) ($40/Blue) ($55 Orange + Blue)
  • DirecTV Stream ($85/month)
  • Hulu+Live TV ($77/month)
  • YouTube TV ($73/month)
  • Fubo (Pro) ($80/month)

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

Friday, May 17, 2024

Is Walmart removing the premium remote from their new Onn 4K Steaming Device?

It sure looks like Walmart has stopped, at least temporarily, including a fancy new backlit remote with the Onn 4K Pro Streaming Device.

Lon Seidman noticed his new device had the old remote on a video he posted recently on Lon.TV. Now, AFTV News has a report that this wasn't an accident:

When the listing first appeared at the start of the month, the images showed a more premium remote that included backlit buttons. The updated images now show the standard remote without backlit buttons.

The premium remote that comes with backlit buttons is easy to identify because it is also the version that comes with a large blue “Free TV” button. The remotes without a backlight are also missing the blue button. Apart from a few unsubstantiated comments I’ve come across, it does seem as though both versions of the remote do include a remote finder, as is demonstrated in this review video which shows the standard remote beeping after the button on the front of the Onn 4K Pro is pressed.

While the introduction of new images showcasing the standard remote seems to suggest that Walmart is continuing with the non-premium remote, this may not necessarily be the situation. That’s because Onn 4K Pro boxes that include the premium remote actually have a more recent manufacturing date.

So, they may make a comeback, but that's not a guarantee. My Streaming Life is fine with the old remote on the old Onn 4K device. But, if I do get a newer device, I want the better remote.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Roku and baseball

Roku will be carrying some Major League Baseball games for free. And you don't need a Roku device to watch them.

According to a post from late March, Roku will carry Sunday MLB games:

Starting May 19, we will offer Sunday MLB games for free on The Roku Channel, plus an all-new MLB Zone to help you discover live and upcoming games, nightly recaps, highlights, a fully programmed MLB FAST channel in the Live TV Channel Guide, and more across the Roku platform.

That kinda got lost in the shuffle until recently. Now, as we approach May 19, it's getting more attention. Roku made another announcement this past week, and that has gathered a lot of attention, but people are overlooking what Roku said in March, as quoted above.

The new news release give a few more details, but it still means the same thing: Roku Channel will carry games. And that means you don't need a Roku, if you download the Roku Channel app for your Fire TV or Google/Android TV device. Sorry Apple TV users, there isn't a Roku Channel app for your platform.

My Streaming Life has missed having baseball. This helps.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Maybe not the new Walmart Onn Streaming Box

Last week, I expressed a desire to try the new Walmart Onn 4K Pro Streaming Box. Well, Lon.TV actually tried it, and based on my experience with his reviews in the past, I'm now thinking about giving the new Walmart box a pass.

[YouTube]

If the only real feature is the Google Home capability -- essentially meaning it includes the functionality of a Google Nest Mini -- then it's not really worth the extra money to me. It might be to someone though, as the Google Nest Mini is regularly $49, the cost of the Onn 4K Pro Streaming Box. It's kinda like bundling a Chromecast with a Google Nest mini, except the specs are a little lower.

My Streaming Life uses both Chromecast and Onn Streaming Device setups, and I like them both. I still may try one, but since the overall device is the same experience insofar as streaming, and I don't need another Google Assistant device in the Living Room, I may pass on this. Or at least delay trying it out.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Comparing Google/Android TV devices

Recently, AFTV News compared a group of Google TV (or Android TV) devices against the Fire TV Cube and some Fire TV Stick devices.

I found the article interesting. Maybe you will too.

The report indicated the Fire TV was the top device, but NVIDIA Shield was second and third (Pro and Standard versions).

Two Fire TV Sticks took 4th and 5th. Google Chromecast took 6th. The two Walmart boxes took 7th and 8th.

No big surprise, really. The Fire TV Cube is a really good device, but I prefer the NVIDIA Shield to it. I also prefer the Chromecast to the Fire TV Sticks, but that's simply a personal preference. The Walmart devices are still the best value, in my mind.

My Streaming Life doesn't involve gaming, but if yours does, the order of finish from AFTV News is a good guide. If gaming doesn't matter, they're all really good devices, and the interface should be the deciding factor. For me, it's Google TV rather than Fire TV. But that's just a personal preference.

 

Monday, May 13, 2024

Comcast's Now Internet is now available ... or so they say

Reports are out, and the Websites seem to agree, that Comcast's Now Internet service is available nationwide.

According to Cord Cutters News, Now Internet has rolled out nationwide.

Now Internet starts at $30 a month for 100 Mbps, which is enough for three 4K streams and the ability to surf the web. There is also a $40 a month option for 200 Mbps down, which is enough speed for six 4K streams and the ability to surf the web. There is also NOW Mobile with unlimited 5G, talk, and text for $25 a line.

"NOW is a simple, reliable, and low-cost way for people to get Internet and Mobile service on their own terms." said Bill Connors, President of Connectivity and Platforms, Comcast. "Our trials have shown that there is a need for a better prepaid product that provides a more consistent and reliable connection and we’re excited to bring fresh new options to this market."

The service seems clearly targeted at the growth of 5G home Internet services as its marketing even directly compares Comcast Now to 5G home Internet.

Well, here's the thing. I can't subscribe. Well, I can, but they're making it hard. I've looked at it, but am finding it practically impossible.

Also, please note NOW Internet is not available for customers who:

  • Subscribe to other Xfinity services (except Xfinity Mobile).
    • If you want to downgrade from Xfinity Internet to NOW Internet, you’ll need to remove all other Xfinity services (except Xfinity Mobile).
  • Have Bulk Video, Bulk Internet, Managed WiFi or WiFi Ready service.
  • Are located at fiber properties.

If you’re eligible, you can sign up for NOW Internet with no credit check, no annual contract and taxes and fees included in the cost of service. You’ll pre-pay for services and your subscription will auto-renew at the end of your prepaid service period. You can cancel at any time by visiting xfinity.com/now.

Honestly, I'm not wanting to cancel Xfinity Internet just to try to subscribe to Now Internet. I don't have any Xfinity equipment, so I could walk into my designated Comcast center and cancel Xfinity Internet and subscribe to Now Internet. If I try to do it online, I'll be without Internet for a period of time, between my Xfinity service ending and my receiving my Now Internet equipment.

My Streaming Life works great with Xfinity Internet. I'm not planning on messing with that just to save a few bucks. On the other hand, I may decide that I want to save the money bad enough to actually go through the steps. After all, I'll be paying Comcast less money if I do that. And that sounds like something I might do after all.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

What can you do about Windows privacy?

I'm a big believer and supporter of security and privacy. You should be able to be online securely, and your privacy should be respected.

Britec had a take on that, and says it doesn't really matter.

[YouTube]

I will disagree with an assessment that there's nothing you can do. I will agree that you can't stop everything. But think about it like this: there is no way to make your house completely secure. But that doesn't mean that you don't put locks on your door and lock the hosue when you leave. You do what you can do to stop what you can.

My Streaming Life is impacted by my privacy and security practices, but it doesn't stop me from watching what I want when I want. It's more related to non-streaming activity. I will continue to do what I can, but I know that nothing stops everything. But some things stop many things.

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Even more Amazon ads

If you have been worried that you weren't seeing enough commercials on your streaming services, fear not. Amazon will soon offer more commercials for you.

On the heels of Amazon's announcement this past week about new types of ads to be offered to advertisers, word is now that Amazon will start showing ads when you pause Prime Video.

Cord Cutters News reports that Amazon will start playing ads when you hit Pause when using their service.

Amazon is trying to grow ad sales on the Fire TV and Prime Video. Last year Amazon’s Fire TV added full screen video ads when you start your device. In January Amazon added ads to all Prime Video subscribers unless an extra fee is paid.

With these new ads Amazon will show a carousel of products that customers will be able to scroll through to select the ads/products they are interested in.

The pause ads will also be shown during Amazon’s live sporting events as well as movies and TV shows.

The report also includes information that you can avoid the ads if you pay Amazon an additional $2/month for an ad-free version.

My Streaming Life doesn't include a lot of Prime Video. This won't change that.

Friday, May 10, 2024

More Amazon ads?

The Hollywood Reporter says Amazon is adding more ads. Yay?

According to the report, Amazon is going to offer "an expanded suite of new interactive and shoppable ad formats" to Prime Video.

The three formats are:

Shoppable carousel ads, which includes a sliding lineup of products from a sponsor during Prime Video commercial breaks. Users can quickly move between products using their remote, and add items to their Amazon cart.

Interactive pause ads: The pause ad has become a standardbearer format in video streaming ever since Hulu debuted the concept in 2019, letting services insert an ad at a natural moment: When the user has paused a video. Amazon will add a translucent banner that once again lets users instantly ad a product to their Amazon cart.

Interactive brand trivia ads: A format that lets brands share more information about themselves or their products, with users able to add items to their carts, learn more information about brands or products, or even earn Amazon credits with the purchase of selected items.

The implication is that this means more ads. I'm not so sure. It may turn out to be the case if advertisers are attracted to the new options.

My Streaming Life doesn't often involve Prime Video. I subscribe to Prime for shipping benefits, and rarely use Prime Video. But, I do on occasion, so I may encounter this. Once I experience it, I'll know if I like it, hate it, or don't care one way or the other.

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Another increase from Max?

Prices the last three years have gone up a lot. Prices for everything. And now word is Max is about to have another price increase.

About a year ago, HBO Max (now just plain Max) had a price increase. The cheap, ad supported plan didn't go up then, but the bigger tiers did.

Now, another increase is in the works, if Bloomberg is correct:

They include the possibility of more layoffs at the company, which has eliminated more than 2,000 positions over the past year, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are still being worked out. The streaming operation alone could bear hundreds of millions of dollars in budget cuts, mostly in marketing and technology, the people said.

My Streaming Life has Max in rotation. I'll subscribe to one service for a month, but only one. Then I'll pick another service. The thing is, with all the price increases, combined with the amount of free ad supported content there is, my rotation involves breaks where I don't subscribe to anything. This won't help.

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

I gotta try the new Walmart 4K streamer

I've been pleasantly surprised with the Walmart Onn streaming devices. Well, the second generation devices. The first generation devices were awful.

The original Onn Streaming Stick and Streaming Box were terrible devices. However, when they released new devices last year, I gave them a look, and I liked what I saw.

The current Onn Streaming Box is a great device for $20. The Onn Streaming Stick is good as well, but I like the box better.

Recently, word came out of an updated Streaming Box, with some seeing it on shelves, but not officially released -- somebody in stocking at some Walmart store had some explaining to do! -- so I've waited until it's officially released to decide what to do.

Well, now it's been released. And I will get one and try it out. Eventually.

You see, it's not in stock. Oh, it's been released, and showing as an item for sale on the Walmart Website, it's just that they're all sold out.

When they are back in stock I'll get one and try it out. I'm optimistic based on the current devices. My Streaming Life sometimes uses the Walmart box as a Google TV device. I think I'll like the new one. I sure hope I'm not disappointed by the device.

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Just how much is cable?

If you're like me, you're a streamer, not a cable TV customer. But the reality is, some are both. For a long time, my mother kept cable even after she started watching TV via streaming exclusively. She had a hard time dropping cable, although she had no trouble not watching cable. To her, it was her insurance policy.

She had a difficult time realizing that if Comcast Internet went down, Comcast TV would be down as well, but it was her decision, and I helped her with it, so she could watch what she wanted, when she wanted.

She eventually cut back on cable, keeping only local channels -- this was before I put up an antenna at her house -- and saved a lot of money. But until she did that, she was paying a shipload of money for cable TV.

A lot of people pay a lot of money for cable TV, even today. A recent report from U.S. News & World Report says that the average cable TV customer pays over $200/month for the service:

Using data from a variety of public sources, the site found the average monthly cable package is now $217.42 per month. That’s more than the average household’s monthly cost of $205.50 for all other major utilities combined.

However, that cable bill might be for more than simply television. Cable companies may advertise one price for service and then tack on broadcast fees, cable box rentals or other costs that can easily add $50 or more to a monthly bill. Another common strategy is to upsell bundled service packages which make it difficult to understand exactly how much is being spent on cable television itself.

The article goes into a lot of detail about what makes up those numbers, so give it a read if you're curious. But this is a good example of why I cut cable, and why my mother eventually cut way back on cable.

My Streaming Life doesn't involve cable TV. I get local channels form an antenna, and pay very little for the rest. I'm happy, and spending a lot less money than a lot of family members.

Monday, May 6, 2024

Max cracking down on password sharing

Word came out last week about Max cracking down on password sharing. According to a report from Bloomberg, Max has begun a "lot like Netflix" password crackdown:

Their plan starts with increasing the number of people paying for Max. The company plans to start cracking down on password sharing as soon as this fall, timed to one of the strongest programming slates in recent memory. Max will release a new season of House of the Dragon in June and debut The Penguin and Dune: Prophecy later this year.

The playbook looks similar to the one already being employed by Netflix. It will allow account holders to add extra members for less than the $9.99 price of Max with ads, according to people familiar with the company’s plans. Those extra members will have their own credentials and log-ins. They’ll be able to set that up without losing their viewership history.

The reports also says that Netflix has posted strong gains since the crackdown on password sharing, and Max wants the same.

My Streaming Life doesn't use Netflix or Max on any regularity, although they will occasionally make it into my service rotation. I understand their reasons for cracking down on sharing of passwords, but a lot of people aren't going to like it.

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Securing your iPhone and iCloud data

Apple has made their iCloud service more secure and private. Well, potentially. Naomi Brockwell explains:

[YouTube]

My Streaming Life doesn't depend on any iCloud content. Online security and privacy is very important anyway. If you use iPhone, make sure you're doing what you can to keep things secure and private.

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Streaming the Kentucky Derby (2024)

The Kentucky Derby is this afternoon. It's kind of a big deal, and has been for a while.

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

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

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

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

Here's how to watch:

Peacock TV

Subscription is $6/month for the Premium service. It's $12/month for ad-free. But ad-free doesn't include not having ads in live TV. The ad-free applies to on-demand only.

NBC

  • Antenna (free) over the air.
  • Sling TV ($40 Orange) ($40/Blue) ($55 Orange + Blue)
  • DirecTV Stream ($85/month)
  • Hulu+Live TV ($77/month)
  • YouTube TV ($73/month)
  • Fubo (Pro) ($80/month)

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

Friday, May 3, 2024

Are you spending more than $50/month on streaming?

A recent article in Cord Cutters News says that most streamers spend less than $50/month on streaming services.

Earlier this week, the Website published results from a recent survey regarding the amount of money streamers spend for TV.

According to survey, 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 on 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.)

The article also mentions the top streaming services, and it might surprise you.

... what would four streaming services cost every month for the average cord cutter? (Why with ads? Because cable TV has ads.)

  • Disney+ $7.99 with ads.
  • Paramount+ $5.99 with ads.
  • Discovery+ $4.99 with ads.
  • Netflix $6.99 with ads.

Total Cost: $25.96 a month.

...

Why no live TV streaming services like FuboTV or Hulu with Live TV? In short, our survey shows most cord cutters don’t pay for live TV streaming services. If you are not a sports fan, you do not need a live TV streaming service. There is also an argument to be made that the on-demand services listed above offer more content compared to traditional cable TV.

I don't normally use a service such as YouTube TV, Sling TV, or Fubo, although for part of the year (college football season) I do. My Streaming Life averages around $33-$34 each month, as I wrote about about a month ago. I hope you aren't paying too much for TV. If your average is over $50/month, maybe it's time to ask yourself why, and see if you can save some money.

Thursday, May 2, 2024

"Net neutrality:" so what (for now)?

New "net neutrality" rules are back. Well, that's not right. It's the old rules that were challenged in court before the Trump administration canceled the effort. And there will be challenges. But what does this so-called "net neutrality" mean to you?

Well, nothing. Not for now, because of the legal challenges, according to Luke Bouma of Cord Cutters News:

The rules, first introduced in 2015, designated Internet service providers as Title II companies, which are akin to gas and electric companies, with heavier oversight. They made it through a legal challenge in court before the following administration ordered their dismantling (read the full history of net neutrality here).

The new take on the rules is like the 2015 version and will probably be challenged in court again.

So, what’s next? In short, legal challenges long before this will ever take effect. Already a growing number of Internet providers have stated they will fight net neutrality.

“The FCC’s proposal to reinstate Title II regulation of broadband is not only misguided—it is a missed opportunity,” said Grant Spellmeyer, CEO of ACA Connects, a trade group made up of smaller cable and Internet providers. “We should be working together to improve broadband access and adoption for all Americans, not relitigating the regulatory battles of the past.” 

What does this mean for cord cutting? In short, you likely won’t see any changes anytime soon even if the FCC wins the court cases and these rules take effect. The real change is the FCC will now take a larger role in regulating Internet providers.

I'm more of a 10th Amendment kinda guy:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

I don't feel the federal government should be involved. Federal involvement is overreach in my mind. My Streaming Life doesn't need more federal government involvement.


Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Comcast and TV fees

Comcast recently updated its TV fee rate card for some areas. Mine was updated on April 1, and I just this week got around to looking at it.

The total I would pay for local channels is: per month. Here's the breakdown:

  • Limited Basic: $24.00 (Requires TV Box, TV Adapter, or compatible customer owned device with Xfinity Internet service. Limited Basic does not qualify for Multi Product discount or Autopay and Paperless Billing discount. Cannot be combined with Xfinity TV multichannel services.)
  • Broadcast TV Fee: $25.70 (Applies to Limited Basic, Choice TV and Seasonal Xfinity TV service.)
  • HD Technology Fee: $9.95 (Required for HD programming if HD programming not included with service.)

Yikes! That adds up to $59.65 per month. And that's just for local channels. If I want DVR or other functionaltiy, that's more, and requires a bigger (more expensive) TV package. Regional sports networks? More, and a bigger (more expensive) TV package is required.

My Streaming Life has included an antenna for some time. I wondered if it was worth the expense. It is.