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Cordcutter News Brief - PBS working on 'skinny bundle' OTT agreement, hackers hijack Chromecasts, reasons to buy a TV antenna, new Roku products on the way, and more

January 4, 2019 - 15:40 -- RokuGuide

Cordcutter News BriefsIn this week's collection of recent cord-cutting news items from around the web: PBS working on 'skinny bundle' OTT agreement, Netflix will release 38 new original movies and series in January, hackers hijack thousands of Chromecasts, six reasons why you should buy a TV antenna, Sling TV revamps Apple TV user interface, new Roku audio products and expanded voice control on the way, and more!

PBS and stations working on first 'skinny bundle' OTT agreement

"PBS is strategizing with stations on how to package national and local content into an over-the-top 'skinny bundle,'" reports Current, "potentially creating an entirely new channel for the younger viewers who are willing to pay for live streaming services." Ira Rubenstein, PBS' chief digital officer, "wants a bundle deal that includes local station streams. PBS has been talking with several OTT platforms — a few even before they launched, he said. 'Some don't want to have to carry local station feeds,' he said. 'All they want is the national PBS feed. Obviously, that doesn't work for us.'"

Streaming video will continue to dominate screens as cord cutting accelerates into 2019

USA Today reports that "[s]treaming video blasted beyond any tipping point in 2018 and will command even more attention in the coming year," but warns that "challenges lie ahead in the fight for viewers' eyeballs and pocketbooks." The publication predicts that "the coming year will bring more streaming options and continued disruption across the media and entertainment landscape."

What's Coming to Amazon Prime Video in January 2019

"Ushering in the New Year, Amazon Prime Video is bringing in a slate of original content," according to Variety, "with new movies and television shows including 'Beautiful Boy,' the second season of 'Informer,' and the new season of animated show 'The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle' coming to the streaming service this month. Accompanying these are classics like 'Jane Eyre'” and the Gene Wilder version of 'Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.'" The full list of titles coming to Amazon Prime Video in January can be found here.

Netflix will release 38 new original movies and series in January

Amazon isn't the only streaming service to release original content in January. As reported by BGR, Netflix will release 38 new original movies and series this month. "Highlights from the Netflix original content set to be added to the company's catalog this month include the third and final season of A Series of Unfortunate Events... The second half of the final season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt will be released later this month as well... [and] a new season of Grace and Frankie and a new season of the surprise hit Friends From College are both debuting in January." A list of all new videos arriving on Netflix this month, including movies and shows from other producers, can be found here.

Hackers hijack thousands of Chromecasts to warn of latest security bug

If you recently had an unexpected pop-up notice on your TV while streaming from your Chromecast device, you weren't alone. According to TechCrunch, "[h]ackers have hijacked thousands of exposed Chromecast streaming devices to warn users of the latest security flaw to affect the device... the hackers hijacked forced the affected Chromecasts to display a pop-up notice that's viewable on the connected TV, warning the user that their misconfigured router is exposing their Chromecast and smart TV to hackers like themselves."

6 Reasons Why You Should Buy a TV Antenna

If you haven't installed a TV antenna yet, US News & World Report provides several good reasons why you should:

  • Antennas equal free TV
  • The variety of free programming is astounding
  • Cable is cheating you
  • Better visual quality
  • You'll be weather-ready
  • Antennas are crucial to your entertainment package

US News says, "If you're like many cord cutters, once you have a digital antenna and sign up to a streaming service or two, you won't even know why you stayed with cable as long as you did. If you do cut the cord, one of your best friends will be your antenna."

Sling TV Revamps UI on Apple TV

"Apple TV users will get to enjoy new features that simplify how you stream on Sling TV, according to a Sling TV announcement. "The updated features provide a more content-centric experience, allowing you to manage your favorites and see more information about shows before you click to watch." Enhancements include a grid guide with more images and information about a show; filters are now on the left-hand side of the screen; the orange icon at the front of the row lets you edit your favorite channels, view all recordings, and edit the content in the continue watching ribbon; when you browse through rows, it will loop back to the beginning of the list once you reach the end so you don't have to scroll back to the beginning; and while streaming a tap of the remote touch pad lets you view more information about what you're watching.

New Roku Audio Products & Expanded Voice Control On The Way

"While Roku freely admits their primary business is advertising, given several significant job openings around the world, the company continues to see audio as viable hardware category with a continued emphasis on platform voice control," says Dave Zatz of Zatz Not Funny! Zatz reports that "they intend to build out a line of audio products with enhanced voice capabilities. And I wonder if they'd even move beyond television and into the world of Amazon Echo or Sonos connected-speakers for voice-powered, whole-home audio." may receive a referral fee for any purchases or subscriptions made through links on this page. See our full FTC Disclosure Statement for more information.