Saturday, January 7, 2023

Xumo TVs announced

Comcast and Charter -- meaning Xfinity and Spectrum -- are going big into they Xumo partnership with a recent announcement. The two companies recently said that Element Electronics would build the new Xumo TVs, which will run on Comcast's global technology platform.

That means that the operating system that powers the Xfinity cable boxes, and the Flex TV streaming boxes, will be the operating system for the new lineup of TVs.

Walmart is involved in the mix, but the recent announcement did not mention the retail giant. Some may be under the impression that Element makes Walmart's ONN brand of TVs, but that's not the case, although Element does handle warranty repair for ONN brand TVs.

The announcement said that the TVs would hit the market before end of the year.

Element Xumo TVs will be built on and powered by Comcast’s flexible and scalable global technology platform, which currently powers tens of millions of entertainment devices. The smart TVs will join a growing portfolio of products soon to be made available under the new Xumo brand, including XClass TV and Flex, a 4K streaming device Xfinity offers to its broadband customers.

Element Xumo TVs will launch in select U.S. retail locations in a range of sizes and price points later in 2023.

I expect Walmart will be one of the "select U.S. retail locations" because of the earlier announcement that Walmart was a part of all this, but the way the press release was worded indicates other places than just Walmart would be selling them. My guess is that Best Buy, and any other place that sells Element TVs would be included in that.

My biggest -- well not exactly point of contention, but you'll get what I mean -- is that the "global technology platform" is the basis for this. I've used it. At least, I've used Comcast cable boxes at family residences, and the Flex TV streaming boxes, since I have one.

How did I like it? Well, my Flex TV device is in its box in a drawer. I don't like it. And I don't think I'll like it as a smart TV platform. But, I'm willing to be wrong.

To me, anything that offers more options to people is generally good. And maybe Comcast is going to improve the interface. But I won't be running out and buying one, at least nor before I get a good look at it. It's unlikely to be a part of my Streaming Life, though it may be just familiar enough to some people to make this successful.

Friday, January 6, 2023

Rotating services

Glancing around some Websites in the streaming world, I have seen a few articles that mention canceling certain services this month. There are a couple of reasons for this, and these are reasons that many don't think is all that important.

More and more Websites that promote or support streaming will mention what's coming to certain services or leaving certain services during a particular month. This may bear some explanation to those that aren't as familiar with what's going on.

Services such as Netflix or Disney+ (and most all others) don't always create their own content. They'll reach licensing agreements with content creators who actually own the rights to the show. The agreements will allow the services to carry certain content for a particular period of time. Sometimes, it's an exclusive agreement, meaning that only one service has the content, and the other services are out of luck. Sometimes, the content is shared across multiple platforms.

After the license agreement is up, the content will either be renewed or an agreement with a different service will be reached. Or, if the content turns out to be not very popular, then it simply won't be available anywhere.

What some viewers don't understand is that just because that particular viewer may enjoy a show, often not enough enjoy the show to justify the expense of continuing to carry it, at least not enough justification for a particular service.

So, content moves around. And many Websites will post articles about whats new to this service or leaving that service. And for the streamer that's looking to save money, that's important information to have.

The most cost-effective way of streaming is to only subscribe to a few services. Well, that's the second most cost effective way. The most is to subscribe to nothing. There is plenty of free content out there, and for some, that's enough. They are willing to wait until a free ad-supported television (FAST) service picks up certain content to wait. That usually takes longer, but if the wait is worth the savings, then that's a good decision for them.

For others, they don't want to wait, so they subscribe to services. This is me, to a degree. I subscribe to one service. Which one? All of them. Just one at a time.

I rotate around services. This month, it might be Paramount+. Next month, it might be Disney+. The following it might be HBO Max. The next, Netflix. And so on.

That seems like a lot of work, but it isn't. I subscribe when I want to watch something, then set a calendar reminder to cancel at a later date. During that 30 day period of time, I watch all I want on that service. Then, during the next cycle, based on what the services are carrying or what I want to catch up on, I'll subscribe to something else.

I get to watch all I want, and only pay for one service at a time. It's really easy, and not a lot of work. It is a lot of savings.

How much savings? Well, add up all the subscription services you use, and see what the total is. Now, compare that to any one of those services. See the difference. Now, spread that out over a year. If you have six services, for example, and you subscribed to only one a month, you'd be able to watch the same content over a year for 1/6 of the amount of money in a year. That's a chunk of change.

These Websites that tell what is coming and going to the various services are useful. And they can help you save money in your Streaming Life, if you take just a little bit of time and rotate your subscriptions.

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Roku TV, for real

Over the years, there have been different iterations of Roku TVs.

Ten years ago, there were Roku Ready TVs, which were TVs with an MHL port. If you don't know about MHL ports, they are variations of HDMI that include more power, and worked with Roku Sticks model 3400. You could buy the TVs that essentially had sticks installed. Some had the sticks visible, and some had the sticks behind the rear panel, hidden from view.

Roku later licensed their software to TV manufacturers to build TVs branded as Roku TVs. That's the current situation. But it's not the future situation.

Roku recently announced a new line of Roku TVs, that Roku itself will make.

A smart TV made by Roku just makes sense. When we combine our streaming leadership with our hardware expertise, it progresses the overarching ambition to innovate across the TV experience, benefiting all streamers with a Roku TV.

Available in 11 models ranging from 24” to 75”, the new Roku Select and Plus Series TVs will focus on the features that streamers have come to love, including access to free live TV, news, and sports, plus fan-favorite features like Find My Remote and Private Listening. All Select Series TVs include the Roku Voice Remote with push-to-talk controls, and all Plus Series TVs include the Roku Voice Remote Pro featuring hands-free voice commands. Additionally, the all-new Roku TV Wireless Soundbar offers simple and wire-free home theater setup.

I don't know if the third-party Roku TVs will remain. I've not been particularly fond of the Roku TVs I've used. I've never purchased one, but I've used one -- or more than one -- and they're okay, but just okay.

I also don't know if I'll purchase a Roku TV Select or Plus series TV (the ones Roku will make), since I don't need a TV. But I am looking forward to getting my hands on one. It's won't be a part of my Streaming Life any time soon. But I'm not opposed to it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Revisitng Netflix ad-supported service

Back in November, I tried Netflix with Ads. It went well.

I was very happy with the service, as I everything I watched played without issue, and the ads were inserted in a odd, thoughtful way. That is to say, at breaks in the action, and not in the middle of a scene or sentence as some services have done.

Netflix did ads right.

I recommended it as a cheaper alternative to regular Netflix Basic. However, I didn't realize that my testing was incomplete.

Some Netflix content, including some original content, is not available on the ad-supported version. I didn't run across this in my testing, but it came to my attention recently.

So, I subscribed for another month, and sure enough, some content was not available. Once I knew what content specifically to look for, I found that to be the case.

That means I take back my recommendation. Well, kinda. I still suggest Netflix with Ads as a cheaper alternative, because, like me, you may not have any unsupported content that you want to watch. But, if you do, it's easy enough to switch to the Basic plan, then switch back. Yes, there will be a little bit of a cost involved, or at least, a delay in switching back, but that strategy can save you some money.

When I do Netflix, I'll do the ad supported version, then upgrade to the Basic plan if there is content I want to watch that requires it. I'm no aware of what I need to do.

That may be too much work for some people, but it's really not too much for me. I don't mind doing a few extra steps once a month in order to save some money in my Streaming Life.

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Fubo to add Bally Sports networks

Somehow, during Christmas, New Year's, and bowl season, I missed a pretty big announcement. Fubo TV is adding Bally Sports networks to its lineup.

You may recall that many live streaming services carries Fox Sport networks. Fox and some carriers didn't renew agreement, and Fox eventually sold off their regional sports networks (RSNs), which were rebranded as Bally Sports networks.

For a while, DirecTV Stream -- and all its earlier names, such as AT&T TV Now, DirecTV Now, and others -- has been the only way to get Bally Sports. Bally did launch a direct to consumer service, but only five of the RSNs go so far as to carry major league baseball, though others expected to join.

During the latter part of December, Bally and Fubo TV announced that they had an agreement to carry Bally Sports RSNs on the streaming service. This is a big deal, as Fubo hasn't carried Bally Sports, or actually its predecessor Fox Sports, in three years. But that will change soon:

While a firm date is not yet known, Bally Sports Networks will be available in the coming weeks. We will update this page when a confirmed date is available.

If you are in a region eligible to receive Bally Sports Network programming, you will not need to make changes to your subscription. The channel will automatically be added to your Fubo TV Pro, Elite, or Ultimate English channel package.

Note that the $70 Pro plan is part of the deal. Unlike DirecTV Stream, Fubo will carry the Balls RSNs on all plans. With DirecTV Stream, you have to get the $90 or higher plan for the RSNs.

Fubo has promoted itself as THE place for sports, but missing the RSNs has been a huge gap in programming. The deal with Bally Sports makes Fubo more of what they claim to be, and possibly an important part of your Streaming Life.

Monday, January 2, 2023

Watching the bowl games, Day 15

There are 42 college bowl games and playoff games this year. The bowl season kicked off December 16 and concludes with the national championship game on January 9. In all, 82 schools will be playing games this post-season.

Streamers college football is a lot easier than it used to be -- legally that is -- and today you have many options options when it comes to watching the bowl games.

January 2, 2023

Four games are scheduled today. Two are between two ranked teams, and two games involve one ranked team.

ReliaQuest Bowl
12:00 PM on ESPN 2

Mississippi State University for Agriculture and Applied Science (22) (8-4)
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (8-4)

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
1:00 PM on ESPN

Tulane University of Louisiana (16) (11-2)
University of Southern California (10) (11-2)

Cheez-It Citrus Bowl
1:00 PM on ABC

Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College (17) (9-4)
Purdue University (8-5)

Rose Bowl Game Presented by Prudential
5:00 PM on ESPN

Pennsylvania State University (11) (19-2)
University of Utah (8) (10-3)

How to watch

To stream the gameS, you need one of the following service.


  • Antenna, over the air, free.
  • Vidgo Plus, $60/month.
  • YouTube TV, $65/month.
  • Fubo TV, $70/month.
  • Hulu+Live TV, $70/month.
  • DirecTV Stream Entertainment, $70/month.


  • Sling Orange, $40/month.
  • Sling Orange+Blue, $55/month.
  • Vidgo Plus, $60/month.
  • YouTube TV, $65/month.
  • Fubo TV, $70/month.
  • Hulu+Live TV, $70/month.
  • DirecTV Stream Entertainment, $70/month.

If watching college football bowl games is something you want in your Streaming Life, you have plenty of options.

Sunday, January 1, 2023

It's 2023

Are you a streamer?

I don't know the answer to that question, but it's either yes or no. Even then, it's not quite that simple.

If you aren't a streamer, then you aren't taking full advantage of the technology available to you. But, that may not be a bad thing. Using technology simply for the sake of using it shouldn't be a thing. You should use the technology only if it makes it a better situation overall.

If you still have cable, and if that works for you, then you're happy. You'll have to deal with people like me suggesting you switch to streaming, but we're really telling you what works for us. Some of us -- not me -- insist that you change because they can't imagine that any way other than the way they do it can be right.

Me? No, I'm not going to insist you change. I will tell you that I'm happy with my change. It was 12 years ago this month that I dropped cable, and I've never regretted it. But, that may not be the way for you to do.

However, if you've wondered about it, considered it, but weren't sure how to start, or check it out to see if it's what you might want, today is as good a day as any to try it.

On the other hand, any other day is just as good. There's nothing special about January 1. Yes, it's a new year, and that represents a new beginning, a starting over, and all kinds of things. But all those things can be done any time.

If you choose to pick today, or this week, or just 2023 in general, as a beginning of a Streaming Life, then you may find it to be quite satisfying. I have.