Happy Friday Cord Cutters!
The Amazon Fire TV Cube has arrived! (For pre-order at least.) Get the details below.
We've also got a roundup of hot deals on cord cutting gear (including Tablo's summer sale!), Apple TV's newest feature, this week's must-see OTA TV and more!
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!
GEAR: Behold, The Amazon Fire TV Cube
If you're a regular reader of Cord Cutting This Week, you may remember that hints of a new Amazon Fire TV Cube started to pop up in late April. So it's not a total surprise that Amazon started taking pre-orders on the new streamer yesterday.
Amazon's Fire TV Cube is being touted as a voice-controlled speaker, streaming box, and universal remote in one. In practice, it's an Amazon Fire TV box smashed together with an Echo Dot and will retail for $119.99 US. (Amazon Prime customers can pre-order for $89.99 US until midnight tonight.) Sorry Canadians, you're out of luck unless you want to import one from the USA.
As anticipated, there is NO Ethernet connection on the rear of the device, but Amazon has thrown in their universal Ethernet Adapter (which normally retails for $15) for those who prefer a hard-wired connection.
The other downside mentioned is the lack of physical volume buttons on the device's remote. Yes, you can use voice commands to accomplish the same thing, but if you've just put the kids to bed, shouting at the TV box to turn down the volume is kind of counterproductive.
There are no hands-on reviews yet (Amazon hosted its own controlled demo for journalists), so time will tell if resistance to the Cube will be futile for cord cutters seeking a new streaming set-top-box, or if Roku will continue to rule the quadrant.
NEWS: Apple TV's Newest Feature Not Cord-Cutter Friendly
Earlier this week Apple held its annual developer conference where they unveil new features (and sometimes new hardware). Sadly, the big update announced for the Apple TV - zero sign in - will be of little use for cord cutters as it only works if you have a cable subscription and internet from the same company.
TechHive's cord cutting expert Jared Newman has long lamented Apple's lackluster attempts at turning an excellent quality streaming device into a useful cord cutting tool. In his column this week he outlined two things the company could do to stop "pandering to cable TV providers", namely integrate streaming TV services and OTA TV apps like Tablo into it's overarching 'TV App'.
We'll see if Tim Cook takes his advice.
DEALS: Lowest Price EVER for Tablo OTA DVRs, $10 Off Roku & More
WHAT'S ON: Must-See OTA TV
There's lots great TV coming to you FREE with an antenna this week including:
- Catch continuing coverage of the French Open Tennis tournament - through June 10 on NBC
- Theater fans won't want to miss The 72nd Annual Tony Awards - June 10 @ 8:00 p.m. ET on CBS/CTV
- Or tune into the season premieres of a trio of game shows: Celebrity Family Feud, followed by The $100,000 Pyramid and To Tell the Truth - June 10 @ 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC/CTV/CityTV
- True crime documentary series The Last Defense examines death row cases - June 12 @ 10:00 p.m. ET on ABC
- New series Gordon Ramsay's 24 Hours to Hell and Back premieres - June 13 @ 9:00 p.m. ET on FOX
- Sitcom Marlon returns for its 2nd season - June 14 @ 9:00 p.m. ET on NBC
- Canadians can check out the new cooking show Back in Time for Dinner followed by the new sitcom Crawford - June 14 @ 8:00 p.m. ET on CBC
CANADIAN CORNER: Bell Debuts TSN/RDS Direct Streaming
Following on Rogers' Sportsnet Now launch last year, Bell has followed suit offering TSN (or the french equivalent RDS) as a cable-alternative streaming service called TSN Direct.
Pricing will be exactly the same as Rogers' offering at $24.99 CAD/month with apps available for web, Apple TV, iOS, Samsung SmartTV and Xbox One. Full access to all five TSN feeds is included along with bonus streams for major sporting events.
The service should be particularly appealing to CFL and international soccer fans which had few options for watching their favorite teams outside of traditional cable or satellite subscriptions.
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!