Happy Friday Cord Cutters!
First, a quick heads-up that there won't be a Cord Cutting This Week newsletter next Friday as the team is taking a well-deserved break. We'll be back August 30th.
Now... This week we're talking about the planned and potential impacts of the Viacom-CBS merger on cord cutters.
Also: Q&A on the FCC's Channel Repack, short cuts, must-see OTA TV, and more.
As always, if you know of someone who might need some insight or help with 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: Viacom & CBS Get Hitched (Again)
After divorcing in 2005, CBS and Viacom agreed to merge again this week, becoming ViacomCBS. (They must have the same super-edgy and creative branding team as AT&T.)
The merger — which is expected to close later this year — has the potential to shake up the cord-cutting world as the new megacorp owns 8 different streaming services.
So far, the new ViacomCBS has confirmed it is planning to:
Here's what other folks are speculating could happen:
We'll be sure to keep you all posted on the fallout from this deal moving forward...
Q&A: When Is the OTA Channel Repack Ending?
Send us your most pressing cord cutting questions via email so we can answer them in an upcoming issue.
Today's question comes from Bruce who says, "I live in the Dallas area. Seems like every time I turn around stations are changing their digital frequencies, raising hell with my tuners. How long are they going to keep doing this?"
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!
For Over-the-Air TV fans, the FCC's channel repack can indeed cause some frustration as channels switch frequencies, requiring cord cutters to rescan their TV and/or DVR tuners to continue receiving signals with an OTA antenna.
The bad news is that the final phase of the repack isn't slated to happen until July of next year. The good news is that for Bruce, the need to rescan is now over as Dallas-area changes are complete.
Channel repack phase 5 is up next and will impact cord cutters in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, eastern Tennessee, and Virginia before it ends September 6th.
Folks in central Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin will need to plan to rescan during phase 6 which ends October 18th.
If you have questions about the channel repack, or want a reminder to run a new channel scan when required, check out the TVanswers.org website.
SHORT CUTS: College Football for Cord Cutters & More
Most 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:
- College football fans can catch 31 regular-season games this year thanks to Over-the-Air channel/free streaming service Stadium.
- You can watch even more free stuff (including sports, news, and comedy) on the ROKU Channel which now has 30+ live streaming networks.
- More of a cartoon person? Catch the Flintstones on MeTV starting in late September.
- Amazon & Roku might have a new competitor in the low-cost Smart TV market: Chinese smartphone manufacturer OnePlus. The company is expected to launch its first television next month which will likely run on a forked version of Android TV.
- Since Roku has started cracking down on scammers targeting their customers by creating fake tech support pages, these jerks have set their sights on Amazon Fire TV owners. So please consider this your regular reminder to go to the official site of the gadget vendor when you need help.
- Speaking of scams that could cost you money, make sure the cable company doesn't keep the TV-related fees applied to your bill when you cut the cord but keep internet services.
- Tablo's summer sale is ending soon! Don't miss your chance to save $60 off the retail price when you buy a refurbished Tablo DUAL LITE, plus enjoy free shipping with the code SHIPFREE on all DVR purchases!
WHAT'S ON: Must-See OTA TV
As always, there's lots great TV coming to you FREE with an antenna this week including:
- Don't miss the special Downton Abbey Live - August 18th @ 9:00 p.m. ET on PBS
- Originally a web-series on CWSeed, musical comedy I Ship It comes to broadcast TV for season 2 - August 19th @ 9:30 p.m. ET on CW
- Home improvement fans won't want to miss the This Old House - 40th Anniversary Special - August 22nd @ 8:00 p.m. ET on PBS
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: CBC Turning Podcasts into TV Shows
CBC is turning five of its hit podcasts into television shows.
The broadcaster has agreed to bring Someone Knows Something, Uncover: The Village, Personal Best, Tai Asks Why, and Alone: A Love Story to the small screen, and likely also its streaming service CBC Gem.
No premiere dates have been announced yet.
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!