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.