Happy Friday Cord Cutters!
This week we're talking about breaking news on the net neutrality front.
We've also got an update on Amazon Fire TV-powered Smart TVs, rumors of a new Android TV box, Streaming Day deals and giveaways, this week's must-see TV and more!
OK... now let's get to it!
NEWS: FCC Votes to Proceed with Gutting of Net Neutrality Rules
Things are not looking good for net neutrality. Today the FCC voted 2-1 to begin dismantling the previous administration's ban on internet providers favoring or disfavoring content based on the way they deliver content traffic to their subscribers. Next up is a public comment period before an anticipated final vote in the fall.
The sole Democrat on the commission indicated the proposal as written suggests that broadband providers will improve service and pass along discounts out of the goodness of their own hearts. Because major corporations with terrible customer service records always do that. Right?
Are you concerned about how these proposed rule changes? Tell us your thoughts on Twitter or Facebook.
GEAR: Amazon Opens Pre-Orders for Fire TV Edition Smart TVs
Amazon Fire TV-powered Smart TVs are now available for pre-order and start at $449 US. Amazon seems to see cord cutters as the main market for these Element-manufactured sets, bundling their Amazon-brand Over-the-Air antennas with every pre-ordered TV. Time will tell if Amazon's push to compete against Roku's strength in the Smart TV market will pay off.
Are you interested in getting one of Amazon's new Smart TVs? Tell us on Twitter or Facebook.
RUMOR: Google Working on New Streaming Player?
According to Cord Cutters News, there are rumors that Google is planning to get back into the streaming set-top-box game. There was no announcement at this week's Google I/O event (although they did reveal some home screen improvements), which points to a potential announcement at the next event in October. This would coincide with more recent Google hardware announcements and rumored plans from Amazon and Apple.
Google has been without a set-top-box since it discontinued the much loved Nexus Player. Xiaomi's MiBox would be the only widely-distributed, low cost, Android TV-certified competition. We'll of course keep you posted on any official news.
NEWS: Netflix Update Blocks Grey-Market Android TV Devices
Over the past few months we've been keeping you posted on the increasing crackdown on grey-market Android TV 'KODI boxes'. This week Netflix released an update blocking users of 'rooted' and even unlocked devices from accessing the popular streaming service. If you're planning to purchase an Android TV device to run KODI and other apps, it's best to pick one that's officially supported like an Nvidia Shield or a Xiaomi MiBox.
Do you have a rooted Android TV device? Did you run into this Netflix block? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook.
STREAMING: Netflix Plans TV Series Based on The Witcher Saga
Fans of role-playing computer games (and Polish fantasy novels) will be excited to hear that Netflix plans a live-action TV series based on The Witcher Saga. The games (loosely based on novels by Andrzej Sapkowski) are known for their gritty action, violence, and sexuality, so perhaps Netflix envisions this as their answer to Game of Thrones.
Although casting has not yet started, one of the executive producers is Jason Brown who is behind the exceptional sci-fi drama The Expanse.
Are you excited for this new show? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook.
DEALS: Streaming Day Savings on Roku
Tomorrow is National Streaming Day! To celebrate the good folks at Roku have taken $10 off their most popular streaming media players. Don't miss out on this deal!
Even better, you can enter to win an awesome cord cutting prize which includes a Tablo OTA DVR, a Mohu antenna, a 40-inch Roku TCL TV and a 75$ Sling TV gift certificate via the folks at Cut Cable Today. The contest ends tomorrow at 12 noon ET, so get your entries in ASAP!
WHAT'S ON: Must-See OTA TV
As usual, there's lots of great FREE TV on this week including:
Don't forget to set your Tablo to record all these great shows!
- Catch performances from Bruno Mars, John Legend, Ed Sheeran and Cher(!) on The 2017 Billboard Music Awards - May 21 @ 8:00 p.m. on ABC/CTV
- Downton Abbey's Joanne Froggatt stars as Britain's first female serial killer, Mary Ann Cotton in Dark Angel premiering - May 21 @ 9:00 p.m. on PBS
- The Bachelorette is back and Rachel is hoping for her chance at love - May 22 @ 9:00 p.m. on ABC/CityTV
- Catch Katy Perry and Jennifer Lopez on a new The Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special - May 22 @ 10:00 p.m. on CBS/CTV
- A new 3-hour musical adaptation of the classic Dirty Dancing premieres - May 24 @ 8:00 p.m. on ABC/CTV
- Two new game shows Beat Shazam (with Jamie Foxx) and a reboot of Love Connection (with Andy Cohen) premiere - May 25 starting @ 8:00 p.m. on FOX/CityTV
- The NHL playoffs continue on NBC and CBC (Go Sens Go!)
CANADIAN CORNER: Bell Launches Alt TV to Eyerolls from Experts, Cord Cutters
A few weeks ago we told you about Bell's plan to roll out a new streaming TV service called Alt TV. Specific details emerged this week confirming that the service will only be available via a limited number of apps and will not include any bells and whistles like DVR. It will also only be sold to unlimited internet customers, which an industry insider called, "almost prohibitively restrictive."
The cherry on top? Bell's marketing material seems to point to Alt TV being offered as a 'zero rating' service, which runs contrary to a recent CRTC decision banning this practice.
What do you think of Bell's attempt to court cord cutters? Tell us on Twitter or Facebook.
P.S. Happy May 2-4!
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