Happy Friday Cord Cutters!
This week we're talking about the price hike coming to Netflix and what this means for the economics of cord cutting.
Also: TV antennas are cool again, cord cutting Q&A on Smart TV privacy, 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: What Netflix Price Hikes Mean for Cord Cutting
Phil at Cordcutters.com agrees and says that he's happy to pay more because he's watching more Netflix content lately. Plus, in the 'no contracts' world of streaming TV, "If you're not getting your money's worth, then it's time to cut bait and use something else."
Are you ditching or downgrading Netflix because of the price hike? Have you already bailed for a different service? Or are you leaning more on free, ad-supported content? Tell us on Twitter or Facebook.
NEWS: Antenna TV Use Up 50%
New data from the TV measurement folks at Nielsen shows an almost 50% increase in Over-the-Air TV viewership over the past 8 years. Today 16 million homes use an antenna to watch live, local TV.
The same study showed these cord-cutting households fall into one of two categories: those who supplement antenna TV content with streaming services, and those who do not.
Those who do combine Netflix or Sling TV with OTA TV tend to be younger folks with kids, more affluent, and tech-savvy. Those who don't tend to be older empty nesters who may not have the high-speed internet access or devices needed to access streaming content.
That being said, we're seeing a lot more seniors jumping on the cord cutting bandwagon!
Have you purchased an Over-the-Air antenna in the past few years? If so, tell us on Twitter or Facebook what make and model you use and why you like it!
Q&A: How Can I Keep My TV from Spying on Me?
This week's question comes from Joe who says, "Smart TVs have been collecting information consumers weren’t aware of. How can any consumer feel safe with so many companies caught with their hand in the cookie jar?"
Short of moving to an off-grid cabin in the wilderness, it's hard to avoid internet-connected gadgets that are silently collecting your data.
As you mentioned, Smart TV manufacturers like Vizio have been sued for it. Which is probably why their CTO Bill Baxter is being so upfront about the reason they're going to continue to collect info from users who opt-in: namely "...post-purchase monetization of the TV."
He argues thin profit margins require manufacturers to sell things like ads and video-on-demand content based on what you watch in order to stay afloat and to fund software upgrades and new features.
How do Smart TVs do that? Something called Automatic Content Recognition (ACR).
TechHive argues ACR can be used to provide value to the consumer but admits it's mostly used, "... to profit from users' viewing habits, either through ad targeting or selling anonymized viewing data to marketers."
The good news is that if you're willing to give up the benefits, you can easily turn ACR off with this handy guide from The New York Times. While you're in your TV or streaming device's settings, check out what other privacy options are offered.
And if something isn't clear, ask the manufacturer about it.
For example, Joe specifically asked us what we do with data from Tablo DVRs, especially with the upcoming cloud-based commercial skip feature.
Tablo does not sell any data to any third party for any purpose.
Instead, we've chosen to fund software and firmware updates via our optional Guide Data Subscription. Tablo collects only the data we need to make the product work, to provide adequate customer support, and to make higher-level business decisions.
For example, the commercial skip cloud server knows your Tablo's device ID, but not its IP address or your name. Any data created in the cloud is erased every few days.
Basic logs generated by your Tablo - including the total number of recordings, uptime, and firmware version - are overwritten every few days. Deeper level diagnostic logs - like the signal strength of your recording of last Tuesday's episode of Judge Judy - can only be accessed by our support team, and only when the Tablo's owner enables access on their end.
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!
WHAT'S ON: Must-See OTA TV
As usual, there's lots great TV coming to you FREE with an antenna this week including:
- Rachel Brosnahan hosts with musical guests Greta Van Fleet on Saturday Night Live - January 19 @ 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC/Global
- Celebrity Big Brother returns for season 2 - January 21 @ 8:00 p.m. ET on CBS
- Canadians can enjoy the return of crime drama Cardinal for season 3 - January 24 @ 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: Broadcast Regulation Panel Review Underway
Written submissions have closed on the Canadian Government's review of the country's broadcast regulations.
The panel convened has heard from several parties that digital content creators like Netflix should be forced to pay into the Canada Media Fund.
Traditional broadcasters make significant contributions to the fund today, which is used to create and distribute new shows that fit the definition of Canadian content. But as more Canadians abandon pay TV, the fund has dwindled.
The panel has also heard requests to ensure Canadians have access to 'trusted news' sources via social platforms like Facebook and websites like Google, and that content discovery algorithms should suggest Canadian content.
The panel is expected to review submissions and provide an initial report by June. The final report isn't due until 2020.
We hope you enjoyed this edition of Cord Cutting This Week!
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