Happy Friday Cord Cutters!
This week we're sharing details about the brand-new Amazon Fire TV stick!
Also... What cord cutters need to know about the latest WiFi standards, why it's impossible to recommend 'the best' antenna, hot deals, must-see OTA TV, and more!
As always, if your mom, dad, brother, sister, wife, husband, friend, colleague, or casual acquaintance 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!
NEWS: Amazon Ditches 4K 'Dongle' in Favor of New 4K Stick
On the heels of last week's Roku announcement, Amazon just announced their latest streaming device - a new 4K streaming stick.
The new stick costs $50, includes TV power and volume buttons (a missing feature vs. many Roku models), and is purportedly 80% faster than the last Amazon stick. It starts shipping on October 31st.
To make way for this new model, Amazon is discontinuing the 4K 'dongle'-style streamer it introduced just last year. The Fire TV Cube will remain in the lineup and will also start shipping with the new-style remote on Halloween.
If you're in the market for a new Amazon streaming device, which should you buy? Since nobody has had a chance to try the new 3rd generation Fire TV stick, it's a bit early to tell. However, based on sheer specs the folks at Cordcutters.com say a new Fire TV stick/Echo Dot bundle is a better value than the Cube.
NEWS: New WiFi Standard Means New Naming Convention
A newer WiFi standard which will be 4 to 10-times faster, more efficient, and work better in crowded environments will start popping up on gadgets next year.
In preparation for this new version, the folks behind WiFi standards - The WiFi Alliance - are also changing the naming convention to make it easier for consumers to make educated purchasing decisions when comparing WiFi-enabled products.
The newest WiFi standard is 802.11ax and will be known as WiFi 6. The current generation is 802.11ac which will be known as WiFi 5. The slightly older and most prevalent WiFi standard 802.11n is now WiFi 4.
Since WiFi 6 will be backward-compatible with older WiFi gear, you won't need to get a new router to use new cord cutting gadgets that support it. However, you won't be able to enjoy the full speed capabilities - for things like data-intensive 4/8K streaming - until everything in your home is WiFi 6-enabled.
In the meantime, check out these 10 tips to make sure your home WiFi network is tuned for buffer-free streaming.
Q&A: What Over-the-Air TV Antenna Do You Recommend?
In last week's newsletter, we asked you to send us your most pressing cord cutting questions via email so we could answer them in an upcoming issue.
Several readers including Julie H. asked, "What TV antenna do you recommend?"
Our answer for Julie (and everyone else) is that we don't actually recommend any specific Over-the-Air TV antennas.
It's not that we think all antennas are created equal. They most definitely are not. There just isn't a 'best' antenna for every cord cutting setup.
You can certainly check out antenna reviews done by quality publications like The Wirecutter, online product reviews, and even ask friends and family about which antenna they use. But the antenna that worked best for them may be a bust for you.
In order to pick the right Over-the-Air antenna for your needs, you'll need to start with some research about the TV signals available in your area:
Once you know those details, you should be able to narrow your options down to 2 or 3 antenna candidates to try in your home. Remember that installing your antenna in the right location is just as critical as selecting the right model.
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!
DEALS: Roku Ultra on Clearance, Refurbished Tablo DVRs, & More
- Target has put the Roku Ultra on clearance for $63 to make way for the newer model that is virtually identical but comes with fancier headphones and is in pre-order for $99.99. If you can find one in your area, the 2017 model is definitely worth it! (Hat tip to Jared Newman on this one!)
- Rather get an Android streamer? Pick up the NVIDIA SHIELD at Best Buy and get a free Google Home Mini!
- Need a whole new TV? Save $220 on a 55" TCL Roku-powered 4K Smart TV.
- And if you're looking for a deal on a Tablo OTA DVR, we're ALMOST fully stocked up with refurbished models on the Tablo web store - including some variants that have never before been offered as refurbs! Note that all of these models remain eligible for a 1 year warranty and work with the latest Tablo firmware and apps.
Right now we have:
WHAT'S ON: Must-See OTA TV
In the thick of premiere season, there's lots great TV coming to you FREE with an antenna this week including:
- Crazy Rich Asians star Constance Wu's sitcom Fresh Off the Boat returns for season 5 - October 5 @ 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC
- Followed by the season 3 premiere of Speechless - October 5 @ 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC
- And game show Child Support as it returns for season 2 - October 5 @ 9:00 p.m. ET on ABC
- Speaking of the hit movie Crazy Rich Asians, its star Awkwafina hosts Saturday Night Live with musical guest Travis Scott - October 6 @ 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC/Global
- The kids take over on the premiere of Dancing With the Stars: Juniors - October 7 @ 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC/Global
- Season 5 of Madam Secretary premieres - October 7 @ 10:00 p.m. ET on CBS/Global
- Tracee Ellis Ross hosts the 2018 American Music Awards featuring performances by Carrie Underwood, Mariah Carey and Taylor Swift - October 9 @ 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC/CTV
- The Flash returns for season 5 followed by the season 2 premiere of Black Lightning - October 9 starting @ 8:00 p.m. ET on CW
- Then Riverdale returns for season 3 followed by the premiere of the football drama All American - October 10 starting @ 8:00 p.m. ET on CW
- And Sam and Dean start their 14th year of saving people and hunting things on Supernatural - October 11 @ 8:00 p.m. ET on CW
With fall premiere season in full swing, 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: CRTC Denies 'Fair Play' Website Blocking Plan
This week the CRTC shot down a plan that Fair Play Canada, a Bell-led coalition, hoped would institute a website-blocking regime aimed at preventing piracy. But don't get too excited yet...
Consumer advocates argued that such a concept could have far-reaching and problematic consequences for Canadians, but that's not why the CRTC denied the application.
Instead, the regulator stated that it does not have copyright jurisdiction, pointing at "other avenues are more suitable to address this issue" which are the ongoing review of the Copyright Act, Telecommunications Act, and the Broadcasting Act.
So don't count Fair Play Canada out yet... It could come back from the dead to seek revenge.
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!