The moocher's guide to cutting the cord, 2018 edition

A lot’s changed since the last time I wrote about sharing passwords for streaming video services a few years ago.

Many more companies now offer live TV streaming bundles, allowing you to watch dozens of cable channels from a single app. TV networks have also released more of their own apps on more devices, and several streaming platforms (including Apple TV, Roku, and Fire TV) now support “single sign-on,” so you can access all these apps without needing to log into each one individually. All this makes password sharing a more tantalizing prospect.

At the same time, some TV providers and network executives have become more skittish about the practice as cord-cutting ramps up. Spectrum, for instance, has been using its contract negotiations to urge networks such as Viacom to force more frequent logins in their apps, and ESPN now limits simultaneous streams in its apps to five, down from the previous 10.

Read more »

0

How AT&T's Time Warner acquisition will impact cord-cutters

On Tuesday, a federal judge granted AT&T’s longstanding wish to acquire Time Warner.

The purchase will combine a major provider of internet and TV service with a major media conglomerate that owns television networks, studios, and entertainment properties. (Time Warner is not to be confused with Time Warner Cable, which was spun off from the media business in 2009, and then merged with Charter in 2016 to become Spectrum.)

While the U.S. Department of Justice argued that the mega-merger will create unfair competition for other TV providers, who might need to pay more for access to AT&T’s content, Judge Richard Leon disagreed, accepting AT&T’s argument that owning its own media company is necessary to take on new video entrants like Netflix, Facebook, and Google.

Read more »

0

Will Apple TV kill the cable box? Not so fast

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Cable companies are finally abandoning their stodgy old set-top boxes, and are finally ready to deliver television service through modern media streamers such as Apple TV.

That’s the argument Apple put forth this week during its Worldwide Developers Conference, where the company announced that Charter Spectrum will deliver an Apple TV app later this year, complete with Siri integration and TV app support. Spectrum will also support a new “zero sign-on” feature for customers who have both internet and TV service, allowing them to login into TV Everywhere apps on Apple TV without entering a username or password.

“[The] typical cable box is becoming a thing of the past as these companies embrace internet-based delivery,” Jen Folse, Apple TV’s lead designer, said. “And many of them share our vision of Apple TV as the one device for live, on-demand, and cloud DVR content.”

Read more »

0

The tragedy of PlayStation Vue

Last week was a rollercoaster for PlayStation Vue, Sony’s streaming TV bundle.

On Tuesday, the American Consumer Satisfaction Index released the results of its first-ever survey on streaming video services, in which Vue tied for first place with Netflix and Twitch. No other streaming bundle came close.

At the same time, Sony was casting doubt on Vue’s fate, telling investors that the “market and future business model [for Vue] remains uncertain.” CEO Kenichiro Yoshida tried to downplay the implications a day a later, saying that Sony gathers useful data from Vue and has no plans to shut it down, but it’s no secret that Vue isn’t doing well. Analysts estimate that the service has fewer than one million subscribers, well behind Sling TV (2.2 million subscribers as of February) and DirecTV Now (nearly 1.5 million subscribers as of April). And when Sony dropped local stations owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group earlier this month, the nation’s largest TV broadcaster said it would have “no material impact” on the company due to Vue’s “very small subscriber base.”

Read more »

0

Streaming TV on vacation: What you need to know

In theory, cutting the cable cord should give you lots more freedom to watch TV on the road. Because you're no longer bound to a cable box, you should be able to stream live TV from anywhere.

But with streaming TV bundles such as Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, and Hulu with Live TV, that's not always the case. Depending on where you are, what you want to watch, and which streaming bundle you're using, viewing restrictions can apply. As the summer approaches, here's what you need to know about how each streaming TV bundle works when you're on vacation:

Read more »

0

Details on AT&T's newly revamped streaming TV service

DirecTV Now has been around since late 2016, but AT&T’s streaming TV bundle got a major upgrade this week with a new interface and cloud DVR service.

Now seems like a fine time to revisit what DirecTV Now is all about. Here’s everything you need to know:

Editors’ note: This guide, originally published on December 1, 2016, was updated in its entirety on May 16, 2018 to reflect the service’s newly introduced features. 

Read more »

0

How to stream YouTube to your TV: 6 tips for enjoying videos in your living room

You might think of YouTube as merely a place for snack-sized videos, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

If you know where to look, and how to watch, YouTube can be a serious and substantial entertainment resource—that costs nothing. In this article you will learn how to find YouTube’s quality longform content, from concerts and stand-up specials to full-length movies and documentaries. You’ll also learn how, with the right tools, you can even string shorter YouTube videos—such as comedy skits, educational videos and late-night TV bits—into marathon viewing sessions. Plus, we offer tips on how to enjoy YouTube content in a manner befitting your living room.

Read more »

5