Happy Friday Cord Cutters!
This week we're talking about Viacom's plans for Pluto TV.
Also: Short cuts, Q&A on buffering, 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: Post Acquisition, Viacom Plans Global Rollout for Pluto TV
Earlier this year, media giant Viacom acquired the ad-supported streaming video platform Pluto TV.
Now Viacom says it plans to roll the platform out globally believing that focusing on scaling up ad-supported video is a better bet than competing in the crowded paid video-on-demand market.
For those unfamiliar with Pluto TV, it's 100% free and offers a mix of 'live' linear channels including news, sports, movies, and classic TV, and on-demand access to a catalog of TV and movies. (Content for Canadian cord cutters is limited at the moment, but hopefully, this will change soon.)
Pluto TV is currently available on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, as well as mobile and PC. It's also built into select Smart TVs from Vizio, Samsung, and Sony.
Is Pluto TV part of your go-to cord cutting apps? If so, tell us what channels you enjoy most via Twitter or Facebook.
Q&A: I Have Fast Internet... Why Am I Seeing Buffering?
This week's question comes from Danielle who says, "We have a good internet package from our ISP but I still see frequent pauses when I'm streaming video. Sometimes it's so bad it's unwatchable. Do I need to buy faster internet?"
There's nothing more frustrating than seeing a 'loading' message when you just want to watch your favorite show. For most cord cutters, a consistent download speed of 10-20 Mbps should be sufficient to keep a single HD stream from buffering during playback.
But the key word there is consistent.
Next time you see buffering, try using speedtest.net to see if your internet is slower than expected. (Roku and Amazon Fire TV also both have built-in connection test features.)
There are several reasons why you might see slower speeds than you're paying your provider for including:
- An Ancient Router - Pairing super fast internet with a router that's more than 5 years old is like paying to put premium gas in a go-kart. If you don't own your router, call your ISP and ask for a replacement.
- Bad WiFi Coverage - If your streaming device is connected wirelessly, distance from the router can make it difficult for the video files to be delivered fast enough. A newer router or moving it to a more central location can help.
- Older/Slower Streaming Device - Stick-style streaming devices don't always have the fastest or best WiFi connectivity. Look for those with 802.11 ac WiFi vs. 802.11 n.
- Crowded WiFi - If you see a huge list of your neighbor's WiFi networks when you connect a device, their networks and gadgets could be causing interference. Switching your router's WiFi channel to a less popular one can help.
- Interference - Beyond crowding, things like microwaves and baby monitors can interfere with other gadgets using the most popular 2.4 GHz WiFi band. Try switching to the 5 GHz band.
- Overloaded Network - These days, everything from lightbulbs to washing machines has internet connectivity. Add a few teenagers streaming video or online gaming at the same time you're trying to watch Netflix, and you could quickly max out your bandwidth.
If you've addressed all of these potential pitfalls and you're still not seeing the speeds you think you should be getting, it's time to give your internet service provider a call.
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: Disney Closes Deal for FOX, Deals, & More
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:
- Disney has finalized its acquisition of 21st Century FOX. It's still not clear what changes will be made across the various properties affected, including Hulu. We'll be sure to keep you posted.
- Apple's spring event is Monday, and Recode has a good overview of what to expect from their big 'streaming TV' announcement.
- Grab a Mohu Air 60 antenna for just $40 (regular $120).
- Are you a T-Mobile customer and a baseball fan? Don't miss out on the free MLB.TV offer.
- Thinking of sticking with DirecTV NOW despite the price hike? The $60 in credit they're offering for your loyalty should ease some of the pain.
- Comcast's latest attempt to woo cord cutters? A rental set-top-box that lets you stream some of the stuff you can enjoy via any Roku, Fire TV, or Apple TV. (Insert eye roll here.)
- And oh hey, look what new Over-the-Air DVR got the thumbs up from the FCC! (Stay tuned for more news on Tablo QUAD next week!)
WHAT'S ON: Must-See OTA TV
Along with NCAA Basketball action, there's lots great TV coming to you FREE with an antenna this week including:
- Enjoy season 2 premiere of the documentary series Women, War & Peace - March 25 @ 9:00 p.m. ET on PBS
- Canadians can enjoy the premiere of the K-9 crime drama Hudson & Rex, followed by the new police procedural The Murders - March 25 @ 8:00 p.m. ET on CityTV
- Catch the premiere of the 5th and final season of Jane the Virgin - March 27 @ 9:00 p.m. ET on CW
- Watch former NFL star Tim Tebow host the new competition show Million Dollar Mile - March 27 @ 9:00 p.m. ET on CBS
- From the team behind Parks & Recreation and The Good Place, check out the premiere of the Cheers-style sitcom Abby's - March 28 @ 9:30 p.m. ET on NBC/Global
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: Netflix Canada Ends Free Trials
Perhaps as a nod to their sheer dominance in the market, Netflix has chosen Canada to test ceasing free trials of their streaming service. The company didn't say how long the change would be in effect.
Cord cutters in most countries including the US can enjoy Netflix for a full month before having to pony up any cash.
Netflix competitors Crave and Amazon Prime Video also both still offer a free month, so we'll have to see if they eventually reverse course.
P.S. A heads-up from our friends @MontrealOTA on Twitter for cord cutters in Quebec:
We hope you enjoyed this edition of Cord Cutting This Week!
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