Happy Friday Cord Cutters!
This week we've got all the details on the new Amazon 4K Fire TV stick, including a review and speed benchmarks.
Also: Answers to your cord cutting questions, the true cost of a cable box, must-see OTA TV, and more!
As always, if your mom, dad, brother, sister, wife, husband, friend, colleague, or casual acquaintance 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!
GEAR: Amazon Fire TV 4K Reviews & Details
Reviews on the new Amazon Fire TV 4K streaming stick are positive. While still not as powerful as the 2nd generation Fire TV box, benchmarks show it's the next fastest device available from Amazon.
It is, however, larger than previous sticks, so you may need to use the included extender to get it to fit in your TV's HDMI slots like Phil from Cordcutters.com.
If you're planning to pick one up though, you should wait until Amazon's Black Friday pricing kicks in.
(And speaking of Black Friday, we'll have a LOT more deal news for you next week! Stay tuned!)
NEWS: How Much Does a Cable Box Really Cost?
This week David Lazarus at the LA Times tried to find out what a cable TV box actually costs. And unsurprisingly, nobody in the business - from cable providers to the manufacturers - were willing to tell him directly.
When the FCC was considering mandating standards for cable set-top-boxes, they determined the average consumer was paying $231 every year to lease a box.
Although unconfirmed by the powers that be, consensus says these devices cost between $150-$250 to produce, meaning the fees collected after the first year of the contract are all gravy.
And that's exactly why fees like this will continue to rise for cable subscribers, and why purchasing your own hardware and cutting the cord makes more sense every day...
Q&A: Can I Use Tablo to Record Cable TV?
In our newest feature, we're asking you to send us your most pressing cord cutting questions via email so we can answer them in an upcoming issue.
Speaking of cable boxes, this week's question comes from Bruce who says, "I've been watching TV by connecting the coax cord from the wall directly to my television. Spectrum just switched to digital signals and they say I need a box now. Can I use Tablo to watch and record digital cable TV?"
Thanks for your question, Bruce!
It sounds like you've been receiving unencrypted analog cable signals via that coaxial cable from the wall. This is sometimes called Clear QAM.
The tuners in most televisions can receive these types of signals, but now that Spectrum has switched to all-digital signal delivery, they'll require you to get a digital cable box capable of decrypting the signals.
The tuners inside Tablo DVRs are designed specifically to receive signals from Over-the-Air TV antennas. While those signals are also digital, they are in a different format than cable signals so you won't be able to use Tablo as a replacement for a Spectrum digital cable box.
However, given the rising cost of cable TV set-top-box rentals and content, it might be time to cut the cord on cable altogether.
Have a question about cord cutting that you'd like answered? Send us a note and you may see your question in an upcoming issue of Cord Cutting This Week!
SHORT CUTS: Quick Cord Cutting News Tidbits
Some weeks there's more news than we can cram into this email. Thankfully 'short cuts' delivers the cord cutting news and deals we didn't have room for, including:
WHAT'S ON: Must-See OTA TV
There's lots great TV coming to you FREE with an antenna this week including:
- Jonah Hill hosts with musical guest Maggie Rogers on Saturday Night Live - November 3 @ 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC/Global
- Don't miss the special Mickey's 90th Spectacular - November 4 @ 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC
- Canadians can catch the season 8 premiere of comedy Mr. D - November 7 @ 9:00 p.m. ET on CBC
Don't forget to regularly check the TV SHOWS > PREMIERING filter on your Tablo app to find and set new and old favorites to record!
CANADIAN CORNER: Current HBO Programs Available on Crave
Canadian fans of the HBO drama Game of Thrones have complained FOR YEARS about their inability to stream the latest episodes as they air. Thankfully when the show returns next year, cord cutters will be able to tune in live via a newly announced tier of Bell's streaming service.
Rebranded as Crave, cord cutters will soon be able to access current HBO programming and movies for $19.98/month. Crave's existing programming lineup will continue to be available for $9.99/month.
Both options are pre-paid and can be canceled at any time, which means you can upgrade to the 'live' tier only when needed.
Will you subscribe? Tell us on Twitter or Facebook.
We hope you enjoyed this edition of Cord Cutting This Week!
If you know someone who may be interested in cutting the cord on cable or satellite, please feel free to forward this newsletter to them or use the handy share buttons at the top of this email. Make sure to ask them to sign up as well!