In this week's rundown of recent news items for cord cutters: Major upgrades coming to DirecTV Now, a guide to upgrading your media streamer, Olympic Channel comes to Sling, a cord-cutter's guide to watching college basketball, hints about the new ESPN streaming service, Hulu available on Nintendo Switch, and more.
"AT&T is planning a major upgrade to its DirecTV Now streaming TV service," reports FierceCable. Expected improvements include "a streamlined user interface, support for pay-per-view events, cloud DVR service and the ability for customers to conduct multiple, simultaneous video streams." Those improvements, though, may come with added costs to subscribers. According to a Seeking Alpha transcript of a quarterly conference call with analysts, CFO John Stephens said that "with all those opportunities go additional opportunities to raise revenues, and revenues that customers would be willing to pay for and improve the quality of the service."
Should you upgrade your current media streamer? Jared Newman offers a media streamer upgrade guide in his latest Cord-Cutter Confidential column for TechHive. The guide tells you "how to decide if you should replace your Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, or Roku—or stick with what you have."
Sling TV is adding Olympic Channel to its 'Sports Extra' add-on package on Sling Blue, which is available for an extra $10 per month. And, according to Multichannel News, "Sling TV is also adding Mexicanal, a Spanish-language news, sports and entertainment channel, to its Mexico pack for $10 per month as a standalone or $5 per month as an add-on." In another Sling-related announcement, "Sling TV became the first live and on-demand OTT service to launch on 2016 Samsung Smart TVs," and will roll out to additional models in the future.
Trying to figure out how to watch college football after cutting your cable? The (Raleigh, NC) News & Observer has published a cord-cutter's guide to watching college basketball. In addition to getting an antenna, options include several streaming services, including Sling TV, DirecTV Now, Playstation Vue, YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV, FuboTV, and watching on your computer... "Or you could just find a sports bar that's playing the game and make it a party."
"Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, MLB.TV lead top 10 list in OTT subscribers," according to a Parks Associates ranking reported by FierceCable. "Finishing the third quarter with 52.77 million subscribers in the U.S., Netflix is the biggest OTT service in the country," followed by Amazon Video and Hulu. "MLB.TV, HBO Now, Starz, YouTube Red, Showtime, CBS All Access and Sling TV round out the rest of the top 10."
But how many of those Netflix subscribers are actually watching the videos that they're streaming? According to a recent survey by exstreamist, "10.2% of the general population responded that they use Netflix to help them get to sleep," double the number in a survey two years ago.
"The man who gave us the DVR says Roku is the future of TV," says a new MarketWatch story. Of course, that man is the CEO of Roku, Inc., Anthony Wood. The MarketWatch story details how Wood's "DVR startup ReplayTV won 'Best in Show' at the Consumer Electronics Show over a rival named TiVo," but sold it to DirecTV before eventually starting Roku, "the company he incubated at Netflix Inc. when streaming-media was still more theory than practice."
Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger gave some hints about the new ESPN streaming service in a Thursday earnings call. Mashable reports that "ESPN+, or ESPN Plus, is the name of the sport channel's standalone streaming platform" and "the platform will be coming in the spring, possibly in late March, and we'll have more details like pricing and what it'll look like in the new year... the platform will offer ESPN content (like live regional, national, and international sporting events) even if you don't have an ESPN package or a cable provider. And it will have ads, so brace for commercials during sports coverage."
Information about the new ESPN streaming service comes while Sports Illustrated reports that "ESPN will lay off more than 100 staffers after the Thanksgiving holidays." Cuts will reportedly include "positions across ESPN including front-facing talent on the television side, producers, executives, and digital and technology staffers."
"Hulu is the first US streaming entertainment service to debut on Nintendo Switch" states a new Hulu press release. Marketed primarily as a video game console, the Nintendo Switch also has built-in streaming abilities. According to Hulu's announcement, "You'll be able to enjoy both our traditional on-demand subscription as well as our Hulu with Live TV plan and watch live and on-demand programming from more than 50 of the top news, sports and entertainment channels including all five of the major U.S. broadcast networks, ESPN, Fox Sports, CNN, FX, Bravo, TNT, A&E and more."RokuGuide.com 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.