Happy Friday Cord Cutters!
Today we've got details on the newest cord-cutting friendly Smart TVs on display at this week's Consumer Electronics Show.
We're also talking about new gear from NVIDIA, ridiculous pay TV fees, and this week's must-see shows!
As always, if someone you know is interested in cutting the cord on cable or satellite, please forward our newsletter, or use the handy share buttons at the top of this email.
OK... now let's get to it!
NEWS: New Cord Cutting-Friendly Smart TVs Announced at CES
This week the world's biggest electronics gear trade show - The Consumer Electronics Show (aka CES) - descended on Las Vegas. While there were plenty of wild and wacky 'concept' televisions - like Samsung's 146" 'The Wall' - more attainable options were launched as well.
Thanks to their partnership with Roku, TCL has gone from virtually unknown to the 4th largest TV manufacturer in the US. Their latest sets dubbed '6 series' and '5 series' have improved picture quality, but retain the Roku OS and price points that made them a favorite with price-conscious consumers and reviewers alike in 2017.
Both Westinghouse and Haier announced new Smart TVs leveraging a different platform - Android TV - which is finally getting some love from device manufacturers. This is an especially interesting development as Haier had previously partnered with Roku, and Westinghouse with Amazon Fire TV.
And speaking of Amazon, the Fire TV OS was a notable no-show at this week's event. While there are rumors of 2nd generation Amazon-powered televisions, it looks like we'll have to wait a bit longer for them to materialize.
Either way, it's clear that Roku's market dominance seems to be extending beyond the streaming set-top-box and stick market and onto the big screen which bodes well for their partners, and their investors.
Looking for a way to add 'smarts' to your old 'dumb' TV, or pondering purchasing a new Smart TV? Check out our list of considerations and recommendations before hitting the store.
GEAR: Is the Best Smart TV at CES NOT a TV?
Question - When is a TV, not a TV? Answer - When it doesn't have a built-in tuner.
We first saw 'tunerless displays' a few years ago when Vizio launched their P-Series. Without a built-in tuner to let you watch Over-the-Air TV, these screens can't legally be marketed as televisions.
This week at CES, the crew from NVIDIA launched a different spin on this theme with their new Big Format Gaming Display (or BFGD). The BFGD is a 65" HDR screen with a super fast refresh rate aimed at gamers. The cool thing for cord cutters though is the built-in NVIDIA SHIELD streaming box, which is why TechHive declared it 'the best Smart TV at CES'.
Having an NVIDIA SHIELD running Android TV as an operating system baked right in means that theoretically you could turn NVIDIA’s BFGD into an OTA DVR simply by connecting a Tablo TUNER and downloading the Tablo ENGINE DVR app. Tablo customers could also download the Tablo Android TV app to watch and record antenna TV from their Tablo hardware DVR.
Still no pricing or shipping dates yet, but we're eager to get our mitts on this for 'testing purposes'.
NEWS: Comcast TV 'Fees' Spike 241% Since 2015
Comcast first added 'broadcast TV' and 'regional sports' fees in 2015 in an effort to pass rising retransmission costs onto their customers, without hiking the advertised price of TV packages.
Since then, the fees Comcast charged to watch freely available local TV and local sports teams have gone up by over 200%.
While the average consumer may have been able to ignore a $1.50 charge, now that the fees are approaching $10 they're taking notice and spending that cash on Over-the-Air TV antennas and other cord cutting gear.
Bye bye Comcast!
Were skyrocketing fees the last straw for you when you cut cable? Tell us about it on Twitter or Facebook.
WHAT'S ON: Must-See OTA TV
Along with a slate of mid-season premieres, this week there's lots more great TV coming to you FREE with an antenna including:
- Drama Taken is back for season 2 with an all-new supporting cast - January 12 @ 9:00 p.m. ET on NBC
- Season 2 of the period drama Victoria premieres - January 14 @ 9:00 p.m. on PBS
- Canadians can tune into the premiere of weekly news magazine The Weekly with Wendy Mesley - January 14 @ 11:00 a.m. on CBC
- Don't miss the premiere Black Lightning which promises to be one of the most unique and 'woke' superhero shows on TV - January 16 @ 9:00 p.m. ET on CW
Don't forget to set your Tablo to record all these great shows!
CANADIAN CORNER: Group Calls for Inquiry into Telco Sales Tactics
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) has requested that the CRTC look into reports of Canadian telecom companies using high-pressure sales tactics.
Last fall, several Bell employees claimed they faced incredible pressure to meet or exceed sales targets and would force unneeded and unwanted services on Canadian consumers in order to keep their jobs.
PIAC believes the allegations are so serious that an open and formal inquiry is required, and that the practices are likely 'widespread'.
Were you, or do you know someone who was pressured to purchase TV, phone, or internet services? Tell us what happened via Twitter or Facebook.
We hope you enjoyed this edition of Cord Cutting This Week!
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