In this week's collection of recent cord-cutting news items from around the web: Major broadcasters sue Locast streaming TV service, AT&T kills DirecTV Now brand name, Everything coming to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and HBO in August, Sling TV adds free shows and movies for all Roku users, Americans want to pay $21 for all streaming services combined, Facebook developing OTT player and wants to stream Netflix and Disney+ on it, what's new on The Roku Channel this month, and more!
"The four major broadcast networks have filed a lawsuit against Locast, a New York-based nonprofit that streams local broadcast programming over the internet," Variety reports. "In their lawsuit, ABC, CBS, NBC Universal and Fox allege that Locast violates their copyrights by retransmitting their programming without permission and compensation, likening it to Aereo, the TV retransmission startup that shut down in 2014 as the result of a similar lawsuit." (Information about Locast on Roku can be found on our locast.org Roku channel page.)
"DirecTV Now becomes 'AT&T TV Now' as AT&T plans confusing array of TV services," says Ars Technica. "AT&T's 2015 purchase of DirecTV, the nation's largest satellite TV network, doesn't seem to be paying off as AT&T hoped. AT&T launched DirecTV Now—a stripped-down, online-only version of DirecTV—in 2016, and it was immediately plagued by multiple outages, unexpected blackouts of live local sports games, and missing channels... While the technical problems got sorted out, AT&T's subscriber gains were short-lived... AT&T lost 946,000 TV subscribers in Q2 2019 after announcing a series of price increases."
If you're a DirecTV Now subscriber watching the service on Roku, you won't need to install a new app. According to AT&T's announcement of the rebranding, "DirecTV Now subscribers will simply need to re-accept the terms of service and their streaming will continue as usual without interruption. Both the AT&T TV and AT&T TV NOW experiences will be accessed through the same AT&T TV app either on mobile or the big screen. Customer login credentials will determine what content appears."
"August is an exceedingly exciting month with a whole bunch of massive shows headed to our screens," says Nerdist. "So grab a cold drink, lower that thermostat, and enjoy our picks from this month’s offerings." Recommendations include She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Season 3 (Netflix), The Righteous Gemstones (HBO), Mission Impossible – Fallout (Amazon/Hulu), The Favorite (HBO), and The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (Netflix). The full streaming listings for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and HBO can be found at the link above.
"A whole host of Fox Regional Networks are no longer available through Sling TV," reports Android Headlines. "This not only affects subscribers to the live TV streaming service, but also Dish satellite customer in equal measure." According to Sling, "We're constantly negotiating with programmers to keep your cost low and provide you with the best value. Unfortunately, the owners of FOX Regional Sports Networks... (have) made the deliberate decision to block your access to their channels. They have made unreasonable demands, and we refuse to impose those demands on you, our customer."
What's more, AdAge reports that the Fox Sports-branded channels may be permanently cut from the Sling and Dish lineup. "Speaking on the satellite company's second-quarter earnings call, Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen suggested that the blackout of the 21 RSNs and YES Network... could extend indefinitely. 'It doesn't look good that the regional sports will ever be on Dish again,' Ergen said, noting that the high cost of carrying the channels may justify dropping them altogether."
While Sling was dropping the regional sports network, however, it was also adding content from FilmRise that is free to everyone, including Roku users who don't subscribe to Sling TV. According to Sling's announcement, "The launch of FilmRise brings hit television shows and popular movies to the service so Sling Orange subscribers and Sling Blue subscribers now have access to hundreds of new titles. Even better, FilmRise content is now available in Sling TV's free experience on Roku devices, so anyone can watch action-packed thrillers, comedies, romances, documentaries and more – even without a base subscription to Sling." More than 300 movies and shows will be available, including a variety of classic TV series like "3rd Rock from the Sun" and "Kitchen Nightmares." Also available are movies like "The Illusionist" starring Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti and Jessica Biel, and "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans," featuring Nicholas Cage and Eva Mendes.
"Many Americans who stream media pay for three services at a collective $37 per month, though the optimum price for wooing far more households to multiple streamers is a combined $21 a month," according to a new poll from Hollywood Reporter. "The acceptable range consumers would like to pay for all their streaming offerings is $17 to $27." Hollywood Reporter also opines that "[t]he results of the poll may be unwelcome news for WarnerMedia, since its coming product, dubbed HBO Max, is expected to cost consumers as much as $17 monthly, whereas Disney's service, called Disney+, will run only $7 monthly when it kicks off in November." However, Streaming Media notes that the poll results do "bode well for ad-supported services, both on-demand and live, like Pluto, Philo, and Tubi, as well as hybrid services like Hulu's base offering and (oh God, they've got another one) AT&T Watch."
"Facebook has approached Disney, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon and other media companies about developing apps for their respective streaming services that would play on a new OTT device," says Multichannel News, reporting on information from subscription news site The Information. "Facebook's new streaming player (codenamed 'Catalina') would provide access to major SVOD, AVOD and live-streaming services, just like Roku or Amazon Fire TV. However, the device would incorporate the same camera and videoconferencing technology found in Facebook’s Portal device."
The Roku Channel has added a slew of free movies this month. Our favorites are listed below, but this is just a small selection of what's available. Find the full list of new movies on this Roku Blog post.
- Sahara (2005) – Master explorer Dirk Pitt goes on the adventure of a lifetime of seeking out a lost Civil War battleship known as the “Ship of Death” in the deserts of West Africa while helping a WHO doctor being hounded by a ruthless dictator.
- Bad News Bears (2005) – A grizzled little league coach tries to turn his team of misfits into champs.
- Fatal Attraction (1987) – A married man’s one-night stand comes back to haunt him when that lover begins to stalk him and his family.
- Dances with Wolves (1990) – Lieutenant John Dunbar, assigned to a remote western Civil War outpost, befriends wolves and Indians, making him an intolerable aberration in the military.
- Platoon (1986) – A young soldier in Vietnam faces a moral crisis when confronted with the horrors of war and the duality of man.
- The Exorcist (1973) – An actress calls upon Jesuit priests to try to end the demonic possession of her 12-year-old daughter.
- The Terminator (1984) – A cyborg from the future arrives in 20th-century Los Angeles to kill the woman who will give birth to mankind’s post-apocalyptic savior.