Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Frndly TV is a Great Deal for Family-Friendly Streaming

Looking for family-friendly entertainment without breaking the bank? Frndly TV might be the hidden gem you've been searching for! Here's a breakdown to help you decide if it's the right fit:

Family-First Focus:

Frndly TV shines with a focus on wholesome content. Boasting three Hallmark channels, UPtv, MeTV, and more, it's a haven for families. Starting at just $7 per month, it's a budget-friendly option compared to other live streaming services.

Local Channel Caveat:

Important note: Frndly TV doesn't include local channels in any plan. If local news and sports are important to you, you'll need an antenna or another service. However, if you already have an antenna, Frndly TV can be a great complement.

Content for Every Taste (Sort Of):

While Frndly TV excels in family-friendly content, it has a smaller channel lineup (currently 38 channels) compared to other services. If you prioritize variety, it might not be your best choice. But, as a secondary service alongside another streaming platform, it could be a good fit.

Channel Highlights:

  • A&E
  • Hallmark Channels (3)
  • The HISTORY Channel
  • INSP
  • Lifetime
  • Educational Channels
  • Weather Channel

72 Hour Look Back

Frndly TV offers a featured called "72 Hour Look Back, which allows you to navigate backward in time in the program guide and watch any show or movie that aired in the past 72 hours. This feature is available with all of packages.

Plan It Out - Consider the Features You Need:

Frndly TV offers three tiers with the same channel lineup but different features:

  • Basic ($8/month): 480p resolution, 1 stream, no DVR (ideal for smaller TVs)
  • Classic ($10/month): HD (1080p) quality, 2 streams, 3-month DVR
  • Premium ($12/month): 4 streams, 9-month DVR

Interface:

The interface is user-friendly, similar to Hulu+ Live TV. However, you can't rearrange channels, which might be a drawback for some.

The Verdict:

Frndly TV offers exceptional value for family-friendly entertainment. It's a budget-conscious option with a great channel selection for its niche. However, the lack of local channels, limited channel selection overall, and lack of customization options are important considerations.

My Streaming Life has included Frndly TV since the service launched. If family-friendly content is your priority, Frndly TV is definitely worth exploring!

Monday, June 17, 2024

Philo: Value Depends on Your Tastes

I recently revisited a Philo review I wrote and decided to give the service another try. They offered a free week trial, even though I'd subscribed before. Figured I'd check it out and cancel, but life got busy! Between a hectic first weekend and travel, I barely used the free trial.

Since I wasn't using another service that month, I decided to keep Philo and see how it went. Here's the thing: most of the shows I'd watch are already on Frndly TV, and other offerings like "My 600-Lb. Life" aren't really my style.

Don't get me wrong, Philo's a great service at a good price, especially for those who skip news and sports. But for me, it doesn't offer much beyond what I already have with Frndly TV, especially considering the price difference.

That said, Philo has a lot to offer for its price point, with a variety of channels many viewers will enjoy. It just wasn't the right fit for my streaming needs. My Streaming Life won't include Philo after the month is up, but it might be perfect for you!

Sunday, June 16, 2024

More Microsoft bashing

As some of you know, I'm passionate about online safety. While no platform is perfect, I prioritize security and privacy whenever possible in my streaming recommendations.

Today, security expert Rob Braxman ("The Internet Privacy Guy") shared valuable insights in a recent YouTube video. It's a reminder that staying informed is crucial.

[YouTube]

My Streaming Life is built on the foundation of responsible online practice. While I may not always have every security flaw covered, I do make an honest effort.

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Cable Fees: Are You Paying More Than You Think?

A recent Cord Cutters News article caught my eye. It claimed Comcast/Xfinity charges San Francisco customers over $300 a year in hidden fees on top of their TV package. Yikes! But is this just a local issue, or are cable fees outrageous everywhere?

Intrigued, I dug deeper. Turns out, the article was based on San Francisco's rate card. I wondered if it was just an excuse to criticize Comcast, or if similar fees were lurking in other areas. Living on the opposite coast from San Francisco, I decided to investigate my own cable rates. Guess what? They weren't much better.

For instance, San Francisco customers pay a whopping $26.70 a month in broadcast fees, just for local channels! Here in southeast Georgia, it's not much lower at $25.70. That adds up to over $300 in fees annually, on top of the base channel package price! Speaking of which, the local channels package itself costs $20 a month, bringing the total cost to a staggering $45.70 a month.

Want more than local channels? The standard cable package jumps to $60 monthly. Then add the $25.70 broadcast fee and the $11.40 regional sports fee, and you're looking at a monthly bill of $97.10 for basic cable! My Streaming Life left cable behind years ago. It's no wonder why: The savings were significant then, and they seem even more appealing today.

Friday, June 14, 2024

Flag Day, U.S. Army Birthday (2004)

June 14th holds double the honor! We celebrate both Flag Day and the birthday of the U.S. Army. Now, let's hear the Star-Spangled Banner performed by the U.S. Army Field Band.

[YouTube]

My Streaming Life is important to me. But my admiration and respect for the Flag and the Army are greater. I'm proud of my military service. I'm proud to be a citizen of the United States of America.

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Streaming the College World Series (2024)

The wait is over, the College World Series kicks off tomorrow! This year's a conference showdown: the ACC and SEC each send four teams to battle it out for the championship.

ACC: Keep an eye on North Carolina, Virginia, Florida State, and North Carolina State.

SEC: Don't miss Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas A&M, and Florida.

Ready to Stream? Here's Your Game Plan:

Catch all the action with a variety of streaming options, some more budget-friendly than others:

ESPN

  • Sling TV (Orange) ($40/month)
  • YouTube TV ($73/month)
  • Hulu+Live TV ($77/month)
  • DirecTV (Entertainment) ($80/month)
  • Fubo (Pro) ($80/month)

ESPN+

  • ESPN+ (standalone) ($11/month)
  • Disney Bundle ($15/month)
The excitement continues all week with games most days, except for a possible break on Thursday (depending on how the double-elimination tournament unfolds). The College World Series wraps up next week:
  • Saturday, June 22nd: Best-of-three championship series kicks off (Game 1)
  • Sunday, June 23rd: Championship series (Game 2), with a potential Game 3 on Monday, June 24th.
My Streaming Life says "Play ball!" College baseball at its finest - sounds like a perfect way to unwind this summer. So grab your snacks, settle in, and enjoy the games!

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

An antenna gets you a lot

A surprising fact was overlooked in a Variety's year end TV viewership report: 6 out of the 10 most popular networks are free over-the-air channels (like the ones you get with an antenna). This means you don't necessarily need cable, satellite, or even streaming services to watch these top networks.

So, can you ditch cable and watch for free? It depends on your location and reception. Websites like Antenna Web can help you check if an antenna will work for you.

Need help setting up an antenna? There are two options:

  • Do it yourself: Use Antenna Web to find out what kind of antenna you need for your area.
  • Get help from an expert: A professional like Tyler the Antenna Man can assess your situation and recommend the right antenna.

Beware of exaggerated claims: Some antenna sellers make unrealistic promises about their products. Tyler can help you sort through the hype and find a quality antenna.

The bottom line: With an antenna, you might be able to watch your favorite channels for free, especially the most popular ones.

My Streaming Life uses an antenna on occasion. I don't watch free over the air TV every day, but I watch it enough that it was worth the time and expense.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Too many services?

I was talking with someone the other day about the number of apps I have on my streaming devices. That's when it really hit me that I have over 50 on my Roku, but less than half that on my Chromecast device.

Why is that?

Well, I started my streaming with Roku back in 2010. I was excited by the apps that were available, and added apps to find content to watch. Keep in mind that there were not nearly as many apps available then as there are now. Everything was new. Everything was different. I added a lot of apps, which is something that many new streamers did, and do.

Anyway, I added a lot of apps, and when I upgraded Roku devices, the apps on the account were added to the devices. I would go through my Roku apps from time to time in order to cull those I never watched. I always left more than I should have. I still have over 50 on my Roku devices.

Lately, I've used Google TV devices -- Chromecast, Walmart Onn, and so forth -- more than Roku. They were bare to begin, and only included apps as I added them. On my oldest Google TV devices, I have less than half as many as on my Roku.

I should remove most of the apps from my Roku device, and maybe I will. Maybe.

My Streaming Life doesn't utilize that many apps, when I actually sit down and think about it. My devices should more accurately reflect that.

Monday, June 10, 2024

Best free streaming services?

Last week, we linked to an article on Tom's Guide about the best pay streaming services. I said we'd get to the free services later. That's today.

Similar to the pay services list, these aren't really a top ten, but rather the top in certain categoriestop in certain categories.

  1. Freevee: The best free streaming service overall. I disagree with this. Freevee is good, sure, but the best? I don't know about that.
  2. Roku Channel: The best free streaming service originals. No real disagreement here. A good choice.
  3. Pluto TV: The best free streaming service for live channels. This is my choice for best overall.
  4. Tubi: The best free streaming service for discovery. I'm not sure what "for discovery" means. Finding things you didn't expect? That's all of them. Tubi doesn't stand out to me. Good service though.
  5. Crackle: A free streaming service packed with originals. So the same category as Roku Channel, but not Roku Channel. I have used Crackle for years, and find it okay. It was one of the first FAST services, but it's not the best today. Good though, but not great.
  6. Sling Freestream: The best free streaming service for watching classic shows. I'd still say Pluto TV takes this category.
  7. Vudu: The best free streaming service for watching popular movies. No, that would be Freevee. Vudo is okay.
  8. Xumo: The best free streaming service for live news and sports. I agree more on the sports than the news.

I'm not mentioning one other service they list, because it's no longer available to new users. Read the article if you are that curious.

My Streaming Life uses more FAST services than pay services. Any of these are good. Pluto TV, Roku Channel, and Freevee are the best, in my opinion, regardless of category.


Sunday, June 9, 2024

Photos and privacy

Your photos can reveal a lot about you. Okay, "duh" you say. But there's more to it than that. Naomi Brockwell has some thoughts on how much your photos actually reveal.

[YouTube]

My Streaming Life is private. Or at least that's my goal. My regular life should be too.

Saturday, June 8, 2024

Streaming the Stanley Cup (2024)

The Stanley Cup finals begin this weekend. Game one is tonight.

The best-of-seven series opens tonight in Miami with the Florida Panthers, last year's runner up seeking their first title, hosting the Edmonton Oilers, who are seeking their first title since 1990.

If you are a fan of the NHL, you can watch the Stanley Cup without cable.

TNT is broadcasting the series, and you can watch TNT streaming by a few methods.

ABC

  • Antenna (free)
  • Sling TV (8 markets only) ($45/month)
  • YouTube TV ($73/month)
  • Hulu+Live TV ($77/month)
  • Fubo (Pro) ($80/month)
  • DirecTV (Entertainment) ($85/month)

ESPN+

  • ESPN+ (standalone) ($11/month)
  • Disney Bundle ($15/month)

The cheapest way is to use an antenna. That's free, if you have one. Next is ESPN Plus at $11/month, then the Disney Bundle at $15/month. Sling TV, either the Orange or the Blue package, has it if you live in one of 8 markets that carry ABC. Otherwise, YouTube TV at $73/month is the cheapest service that carries ABC. The overall content of the package may be a reason to pick one of the more expensive packages.

My Streaming Life doesn't normally include ice hockey. But if yours does, you have options. Lots of options.

Friday, June 7, 2024

The best pay streaming services?

Tom's Guide has a list called "The best streaming services in 2024The best streaming services in 2024." They are all pay services. Also, there is a separate list for free streaming services that I'll cover later, so I'm calling this their list of the best pay streaming services.

It's a reasonable list. And, if you've not seen their lists before, it's not a top ten or similar type of list. It's a list of what it calls the best in certain categories. This means that of the top ten services, it could be that 2-9 aren't on the list, because they aren't the best of any particular category, just good overall, and better than some on this list.

Or, maybe these are the best overall. I don't think so, and I'll go into that shortly.

For now, there are the categories:

  • Best overall
  • Best value
  • Best for live TV
  • Best new TV
  • Best variety
  • Best for families
  • Highest quality originals
  • Best for sports
  • Best add-on

Here are some of the services they list.

  • Max (Best overall). I think that Paramount Plus is actually better than Max, but Max is a good choice.
  • Peacock (Best value). Again, I'd go with Paramount Plus, as the prices are the same, and I like Paramount Plus content better. Other good choices would be Philo or Frndly TV.
  • Sling TV (Best for live TV). I would suggest that YouTube TV is a better service. However, it costs nearly twice as much. Since Sling TV doesn't have local channels (at least, not in most markets), and missing locals doesn't matter, then Philo is a great option as well.
  • Hulu (Best for new TV, or best streaming service for cord-cutters). No argument here. $7/month is a great price for what you get.

There is a lot more, and they give good reasons for the choices they made. I simply disagree with most of them, but don't suggest the services they pick aren't good. Just not the best in each category, in my opinion.

My Streaming Life doesn't utilize pay services very much. I prefer free services, but will add one of these services a month as part of a rotation. Any of them are actually good options.

Thursday, June 6, 2024

D-Day +80

80 years ago, June 6, 1944, was the day of the Normandy Invasion, where the Allied Forces carried out Operation Overlord. The commander of the invasion force, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, issued the order for the invasion:

Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!

You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hope and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!

I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!

Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

We should never forget those that fought to secure the freedom of Europe from the German forces.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Max price increase


Good news everyone! Max is raising the price again!

Word came out last month that Max might raise pricesMax might raise prices.

Turns out the rumors were right. Max has upped the monthly cost by $1 to $17/month.

The ad supported tier didn't change. That is still $10/month. Does that mean the ad revenue is good, and to keep pace, they charge more to make up the shortfall from ads? I dunno. I'm jyst glad the ad supported tier didn't go up. It remains t $10/month for three years now.

My Streaming Life uses the ad supported as part of a rotation. I won't be switching to the ad free version any time soon.

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Tablo and streaming

I've used Tablo for a while. It's how I watch over the air television at home.

Recently, Tablo rolled out a new generation of devices that offer a lot of new features, but omit one of my favorites: Tablo Connect, where you can watch your TV channels at another location. If you have the older devices, you still have the functionality. I have that. But, the new devices don't support that. I don't have a new device.

Having only older devices means I'm not getting the newer features. One of the features is streaming channels. Recently, Tablo posted an article outlining the streaming channels you get with Tablo.

No matter your preferences — be it cooking, current events, travel or outdoor adventure — Tablo provides over 70 free live-streaming channels for you, offering the added benefit of recording your favorite shows to watch at your convenience! Here is the full list (in alphabetical order) of all the FAST Channels you gain access to for free with a Tablo device.

That is followed by a list of the free ad supported television (FAST) services:

  • Alien Nation
  • Estrella Games
  • Gusto EspaƱol
  • iFood
  • ALL REALITY | WE
  • ALL WEDDINGS | WE
  • allblk
  • Almost Friday
  • AMC En Espanol
  • AMC Thrillers
  • Anime HIDIVE
  • BIKE Mag
  • Bloomberg Originals
  • Bloomberg TV+
  • Bounce XL
  • Bounce
  • Buzfeed Unsolved
  • Circle
  • Comedy Dynamics
  • COURTTV Legendary Trials
  • COURTTV
  • Craftsy
  • Dove Channel
  • DraftKings
  • Entrepreneur TV
  • Estrella News
  • EstrellaTV
  • Fawsome
  • Forbes
  • Free Movies+
  • FUBO Sports Network
  • Grit XTRA
  • Gusto TV
  • History Time
  • Homeful
  • HSN
  • iFC Film Picks
  • Insider
  • ion Mystery
  • ion Plus
  • ion Television
  • JUDGE nosey
  • LAFF more!
  • Love Nature
  • Maximum Effort Channel
  • MSG Sports Zone
  • MyTime Movie Network
  • Nosey
  • Outside
  • Overtime
  • Portlandia IFC
  • Powder
  • QVC
  • Retro Crush
  • Scripps News
  • Skateboarding
  • Slightly Off IFC
  • Snow Boarder
  • So…Real
  • Sportsnews Highlights
  • Stories By AMC
  • Surfer
  • Tastemade Home
  • Tastemade Travel
  • Tastemade
  • The big dish Channel
  • The Country Network
  • The Design Network
  • The Walking Dead Universe
  • The Washington Post
  • Time
  • Total Crime
  • World Poker Tour

All in all a good list. My Streaming Life still users the older Tablo devices, but I may get a new device in the next couple of months. This looks interesting.

Monday, June 3, 2024

Plex for the beginner

I saw an article on the Plex Website recently that was called "A Beginner’s Guide to Plex." When I got Plex it was for my media server. I never really thought about other features of Plex. One reason is that it didn't have a lot of other features when I got Plex. Now, it is more than a media server. You can use the app for more than that.

I still don't use the Plex app for much more than watching from my media server. But, if I wanted to know more, Plex has it covered:

Once you set up your free account with Plex, you’re ready to experience what is truly the go-to entertainment platform for fans (like yourself) to discover movies, shows, fellow fans, and the joy of streaming, daily.

First, like anyone arriving at a new destination for the first time, you’ll want to take a look around. Let us give you a tour.

Welcome Home

Home is where your next favorite thing to watch is (or could be). Here is where you’ll see what’s on Live TV now, what’s most popular now, plus a ton of free curated collections available on demand. And once you customize your Plex further, you’ll see even more—like what’s trending across your favorite services.

The article goes on and covers all the major features of the app. My Streaming Life uses mainly the media server, which I've been running for a while to play my local media. But it has a lot more.

Sunday, June 2, 2024

Time to look seriously at Linux?

Over the years, Microsoft has been collecting and monetizing more and more of your data. With recent changes, such as Recall, more people are getting fed up with Microsoft. But what can you do about it?

One option is to switch to Linux. Britec looked at that possibility recently:

[YouTube]

My Streaming Life still uses Windows for my local Plex server, but I'll be moving to Linux soon. I'm so tired of Microsoft's nonsense.

Saturday, June 1, 2024

Is Fubo still a thing?

Fubo has had its share of issues lately. Growth has been slower than expected, but in the last few weeks, some analysts are looking more favorably at Fubo.

Still, some are worried. For the average consumer who is a streamer that just wants to watch TV, that doesn't really enter into the day to day thinking. They're wanting to know if they can watch what they want as a reasonable price.

The answer is, of course, what is reasonable? Well, it's whatever you're willing to pay. My son, for instance, recently switched to Fubo. It's $7/month more than YouTube TV, but to him, it was worth it. Fubo has more content he wants.

Along that line, Cord Cutters News had an article this week comparing Fubo and YouTube TV. At the time I write this, the article has some errors. Maybe they're now fixed, but as I link to the article, the errors are there. However, the errors don't impact the conclusionimpact the conclusion:

No one but you can decide what is the right service for you. Fubo, Sling TV, YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, Philo, and DIRECTV STREAM are all great options. If you re still unsure, take advantage of their free trials to test them out and pick the one you like.

My Streaming Life doesn't often include a service such as Fubo. For my son, though, it does. We all have our different requirements from a streaming service. Find yours.