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Cordcutter News Brief - Smart TVs are data-collecting machines, NBA TV available as a standalone subscription, Sling TV expands free experience to Android and Amazon devices, and more!

October 18, 2019 - 21:17 -- RokuGuide

Cordcutter News BriefsIn this week's collection of recent cord-cutting news items from around the web: Smart TVs are data-collecting machines, NBA TV is now available as a standalone subscription, Sling TV expands free experience to Android and Amazon devices, TiVo+ ad-supported streaming service launches, Netflix says competition pricing could slow subscriber growth, Locast adds Atlanta, Phoenix, Hulu adds 'like' and 'dislike' buttons to personalize suggestions, and more!

Smart TVs are data-collecting machines

"A new study from Princeton University shows internet-connected TVs... are loaded with data-hungry trackers," reports TheVerge. "'If you use a device such as Roku and Amazon Fire TV, there are numerous companies that can build up a fairly comprehensive picture of what you’re watching,' Arvind Narayanan, associate professor of computer science at Princeton, wrote in an email to The Verge. 'There’s very little oversight or awareness of their practices, including where that data is being sold.'"

NBA TV is Now Available to Stream As $7 a Month Standalone Subscription

"With the NBA kicking off the season next week, the league is making a major change in how they distribute NBA TV," says The Streamable. "The channel, which offers original programming, highlights, and ~90 live regular season telecasts is now available without a cable or satellite subscription. The NBA is now selling an online subscription to NBA TV for $59.99 a year (or $7 a month). The subscription includes a live feed of NBA TV across devices including Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, iOS, and Android — including all out-of-market NBA games televised on the network. Included in the package is video-on-demand access to every NBA Finals game from 2000-2019 and exclusive NBA TV shows."

Sling TV Launches Free Experience on Android and Amazon Devices

Sling TV announced the ability to experience Sling without a subscription on Android and Amazon devices. "As with Sling's free experience on Roku, if you have an Android mobile, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV or Amazon Fire tablet, you will be able to experience Sling TV and watch free shows without entering credit card information. You will also have the option to create a Sling account and sign up for service, purchase pay-per-view events movies (Android and Roku only) and subscribe to standalone channels like Showtime, STARZ and more from the app."

TiVo’s ad-supported streaming service TiVo+ officially launches

FierceVideo reports that "TiVo+, the ad-supported streaming platform the company built with help from Xumo, officially launched (Tuesday) for TiVo subscribers. The service will be rolling out to TiVo customers over the next few weeks. TiVo+ will offer free, ad-supported channels like channels like TMZ, Outside TV+, PowerNation, FailArmy, Unsolved Mysteries, Hell's Kitchen | Kitchen Nightmares, Food52 and Ameba. The service will also integrate live television, DVR recordings and third-party streaming apps like Netflix."

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Netflix says competition pricing could slow subscriber growth

CNBC reports that "Netflix warned Wednesday that increased competition from the launch of new streaming services could harm its subscriber growth. The company also said price increases have hurt growth in the U.S. To combat these trends, Netflix said it will continue to invest billions in new content to keep subscribers hooked."

Locast Adds Atlanta, Phoenix

Broadcasting & Cable says that "Locast, the free TV station streaming service, has added two more markets, Atlanta and Phoenix, bringing its total to 15 markets where broadband users can watch local TV station signals over-the-top for free, though Locast asks for a donation." As previously reported, "Broadcasters have sued Locast over the service, which relies on an exception for nonprofits in copyright law to stream the stations without asking their permission or negotiating a fee for carriage."

New NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro Shows Up at Amazon

DroidLife says that they "heard rumors about a new NVIDIA SHIELD TV on the horizon, but weren't exactly expecting one to show up on Amazon today, unannounced... The new SHIELD TV Pro, according to this listing, has 25% faster performance through a new NVIDIA Tegra X1+ chip. It has 3GB RAM, two USB 3.0 ports, 16GB internal storage (external storage supported), Dolby Vision-Atmos, 4K HDR, Chromecast 4K built-in, HD-to-4K AI upscaling, Bluetooth 5.0, 802.11ac WiFi, Gigabit ethernet, and a brand new remote." The listing was pulled after the DroidLife article was published, but had been listed as being available on October 28th.

Gizmodo reports that Disney+ has streaming partnerships in place with Roku and PlayStation 4, "but a wider release on smart TVs and game consoles is in the works."

Hulu revamp uses 'like' and 'dislike' buttons to personalize suggestions

Hulu is " adding Netflix-style "like" and "dislike" buttons to indicate that you'd either like to see similar titles or never to see a show again," according to Engadget. "The feature is available now both through the web as well as Amazon Fire TV devices, Chromecast, the Switch, the Xbox One as well as "select" LG, Samsung, Vizio and Android-powered smart TVs. More platforms are 'coming soon.'"

Other plans to refine the overall recommendation and search experiences are also in the works: "It's working on a more personalized home screen that at once shows more relevant yet diverse collections. It'll do more to build collections of suggested shows based on what you've seen. And when you have to search for a show, Hulu is promising faster, simpler results that will be more forgiving and allow shortcuts (such as HIMYM instead of How I Met Your Mother)." 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.