Merry Friday the 13th Cord Cutters!
This week we're talking about the continuing rise of cable and satellite bills.
Also: Q&A on reprogramming your Roku remote, 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: Cable Price Increases Continue Into 2020
Even though this has been a HUGE growth year for cord cutting, there are still some people out there with traditional pay TV subscriptions. And the bills they'll be paying in 2020 will be even higher.
Both AT&T and Comcast have announced increases to plans and associated fees between $1-$10 per month.
Comcast customers will also soon be paying $14.95/month just in fees to access to live, local TV stations most folks can get for free with an antenna.
The only bright spot for those still clinging to cable and satellite is the new Television Viewer Protection Act of 2019 which was passed by the US House of Representatives, but still needs Senate and presidential approval.
The bill requires the full cost of TV service to be disclosed up front (including those pesky fees) and that all promotional discount expiry dates are clearly stated. It also gives consumers 24 hours to cancel a new contract without penalty and bans charging for equipment that providers don’t actually lease to customers.
This could be a great start to protecting consumers from some of the worst parts of the pay TV industry, but the only way to steer clear of all of the downsides is to opt out and cut the cord.
Q&A: Can I Re-Program the Buttons on my Roku Remote?
Send us your most pressing cord cutting questions via email so we can answer them in an upcoming issue.
Today's question comes from Kennedy who says, "My Roku remote has buttons for services I don't subscribe to. Can I reprogram them?"
Every Roku remote has a set of four quick-launch buttons at the bottom. The services tied to these buttons depend on when and where you purchased your Roku streaming device. Some of them may no longer even be in service! (RIP Rdio!)
Since these buttons are quite prominent, and are sometimes pushed accidentally by users, folks like Kennedy have often asked us if they can be reprogrammed to launch different apps like Tablo.
Unfortunately the answer is no... And the reason is that the featured companies pay Roku $1 per device sold for 'advertising' space on the remote.
Since this is a major source of income for Roku, they obviously need to keep those buttons locked down to the services that paid to be there.
However, the new 2019 Roku Ultra has two new personal shortcut buttons (shown above). These ARE programmable by the user via any voice command, so if you have a Tablo or use a more niche streaming service like Philo, you can jump right to it at the click of a button!
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: Holiday Tablo DVR Deal, Best WiFi Routers, & 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:
WHAT'S ON: Must-See OTA TV
As always, there's lots great TV coming to you FREE with an antenna this week including:
- Catch the season 2 premiere of the food show No Passport Required - December 13th @ 9:00 p.m. ET on PBS
- Scarlett Johansson hosts and Niall Horan performs on Saturday Night Live - December 14th @ 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC/Global
- Enjoy The 42nd Annual Kennedy Center Honors recognizing Earth, Wind, & Fire, Sally Field, Linda Ronstadt, and Sesame Street - December 15th @ 8:00 p.m. ET on CBS
- Catch the premiere of the reality competition The Christmas Caroler Challenge - December 15th @ 8:00 p.m. ET on CW
- See hilarious holiday clips on Nick Cannon's Hit Viral Videos - Holidays 2019 - December 16th @ 8:00 p.m. ET on FOX (or 10:00 p.m. ET on CTV)
- Canadians can catch Family Feud Canada weekdays starting - December 16th @ 8:00 p.m. ET on CBC
- Enjoy the new holiday variety special Holidays with the Houghs - December 16th @ 10:00 p.m. ET on NBC
- See celebrities recreate classic sitcom episodes in Live in Front of a Studio Audience: 'All in the Family' and 'Good Times' - December 18th @ 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC
- Get dazzled by the special Masters of Illusion: Christmas Magic - December 18th @ 9:00 p.m. ET on CW
- Watch The 2020 Miss America Competition live - December 19th @ 8:00 p.m. ET on NBC
Don't forget to regularly check the TV SHOWS > PREMIERING and TV SHOWS > GENRE > HOLIDAY filters on your Tablo app to find and set new and old favorites to record!
CANADIAN CORNER: Increase Access, Reduce Costs: PM Directs
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has given his government ministers their marching orders and many of them could have significant impacts on Canadian cord cutters.
Over the next four years, Industry Minister Navdeep Bains has been tasked with modernizing The Broadcasting Act and Telecommunications Act to ensure that content in English and French is affordable and readily available to all consumers.
He is also to work with Canadian Heritage to ensure all content providers, including multinational internet giants, “offer meaningful levels of Canadian content in their catalogs, contribute to the creation of Canadian Content in both Official Languages, promote this content and make it easily accessible on their platforms.”
The ministry is also supposed to work towards reducing cell phone bills and ensuring 100% of Canadians have access to high speed internet by 2030.
We'll be sure keep you posted on exactly how these mandates will impact streaming services and your overall cord cutting plans over the coming months and years.
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!
If you have any feedback about the newsletter, hit reply and let us know or send us a message on social media.
The Tablo Team
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