Happy Friday Cord Cutters!
This week we're talking about why streaming player manufacturers have shifted their focus back to higher performance designs.
Also: Q&A on optimal antenna positioning, short cuts, 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!
IN-DEPTH: Streamers Finally Prioritizing Performance Again
In his column this week, Jared Newman at TechHive pointed out a welcomed shift in the streaming device market... the return of the $100 streaming player.
In an effort to lure the hordes of new cord cutters on to their platforms, both Roku and Amazon have spent the last few years creating bare-bones streaming sticks priced so low that they must be selling them at or below cost.
But with no Ethernet port, older/slower processors and WiFi chips, and smaller memory, these devices often don't provide the best cord cutting experience. That left some wishing for a solid middle ground between entry-level and breaking the bank on an Apple TV or NVIDIA SHIELD TV.
The newest Roku Ultra ($99.99 US) and Fire TV Cube ($119.99 US) fill that need thanks to recent performance boosts. Both should be well worth the modest investment for your primary television, even if that TV doesn't support fancier features like 4K and HDR.
Can't afford to shell out quite that much? Even though Amazon's product event this week featured an Alexa-enabled twerking bear, and no sign of a new Fire TV stick, that doesn't mean one isn't on the way.
Last year, the latest Fire TV 4K stick wasn't announced until two weeks after Amazon's media shindig so keep your eyes peeled for a upgraded stick in early October.
If you're leaning towards Roku instead, the Streaming Stick+ is now your best lower-cost bet.
Q&A: What Is the Best Place to Position an Antenna for Reception?
- Height — The higher up you can get the TV antenna, the less likely that signals will be blocked
- Line-of-Sight — It should should face the direction of your local broadcast towers
- No Obstructions — Place it in a window if indoors, and if outdoors avoid trees or large buildings
Once you know these key tips, don't be afraid to try a few different locations in and around your home that fit the bill. Moving an antenna even a few feet can sometimes result in drastically improved reception.
If you're still having trouble getting reception after optimizing your TV antenna placement, look for potential sources of interference, test out some accessories, or consider upgrading to a better quality TV antenna.
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: FOX Gone Dark on SlingTV, Tablo In Stock, & 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:
- FOX stations have gone dark on Dish and Sling TV because of a carriage dispute.
- The average cable customer is now paying $180 per month. Yikes.
- In the market for a new outdoor TV antenna before winter arrives? Cordcuttersnews.com has some recommendations.
- Local channel streaming service Locast has counter sued major broadcasters, accusing them of colluding with each other to deny consumers access to TV content they can get Over-the-Air.
- As new versions and firmware start to roll out, Roku is ending support for some VERY old models. If you still have one of these in regular use, it's time to upgrade.
- Tablo DUAL LITE and Tablo QUAD OTA DVRs have been restocked in our US store! Don't forget to use the code SHIPFREE when you order! (More stock is coming for Canadian customers next week!)
STREAMING: What's New on Netflix
Alongside all of the free TV you can watch with an antenna, check out our picks for great shows and movies on Netflix for you to enjoy in October:
- Loved Breaking Bad? Don't miss the feature length follow-up El Camino
- Comedy fans can enjoy new stand-up specials from Nikki Glaser, Jenny Slate, and Arsenio Hall
- Or binge watch action flick franchises Oceans 11 & 12, Bad Boys 1 & 2, and Men in Black 1 & 2
- Netflix originals worth checking out are season 3 of Big Mouth and Living With Yourself starring Paul Rudd
- For the kids there's season 2 of Carmen Sandiego, The Spooky Tale of Captain Underpants Hack-a-ween, and Karate Kid
- Canadians can also enjoy Batteries Not Included, Fried Green Tomatoes, Citizen Kane, and season 4 of Outlander
See the full list of new Netflix shows in the US and in Canada.
WHAT'S ON: Must-See OTA TV
- As always at this time of year, there are too many new and returning prime-time shows this week to mention, so make sure to check the TV SHOWS > PREMIERING filter on your Tablo app to make sure your new and old favorites are set to record!
- Canadians can also catch the pre-election special The National Presents: Face to Face with Federal Leaders - September 30th @ 11:30 p.m. ET on CBC
CANADIAN CORNER: More Streaming Choices Coming to Canada
It's taken a while, but Canadians are finally getting to experience a similar level of streaming TV choice as consumers in the United States.
While we still lack good 'cable light' packages like Sling TV or Philo, with Netflix, Crave, Amazon Prime, and soon Disney+ among others, we'll have to start making some cord cutting budgeting decisions.
That being said, the best way to keep your costs low is to cycle through your subscriptions as content arrives that you want to watch. For example, now that the Handmaid's Tale is over, maybe it's time to axe Crave and pick up Netflix to watch the Breaking Bad movie El Camino.
How many streaming services do you subscribe to? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter.
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!