In this week's collection of recent cord-cutting news items from around the web: Pluto TV adds three free CBS Interactive channels, Hulu Live TV tops Sling TV, Nickelodeon and Netflix enter into agreement for films and TV series, Roku app turns Apple Watch into a remote control, NASCAR and NBC Sports to launch ‘Trackpass on NBC Sports Gold,’ why Netflix is leaving some Roku and samsung Devices, and more!
Viacom and CBS are about to merge, and Variety reports that "Viacom’s Pluto TV is getting additional live programming from CBS Interactive to plug into its free, ad-supported streaming service." In addition to the existing CBSN and CNET channels, "Pluto TV now offers three additional channels: ET Live, the digital offshoot of “Entertainment Tonight,” and live local news streams from CBSN New York and CBSN Los Angeles." Pluto TV is a free, ad-supported service with over 200 free linear channels and several thousand free movies on-demand.
Variety reports that Hulu With Live TV has taken a slight lead over Sling TV to become the biggest virtual pay-television service in the U.S. "As of the end of the third quarter of 2019, Hulu With Live TV notched 2.7 million paying subscribers, after adding about 400,000 in the period, according to a report from Wall Street research firm MoffettNathanson this week. That put the Disney-controlled streamer just a touch ahead of Sling TV, heretofore the perennial leader in the sector with 2.69 million for its relatively low-cost packages (netting 214,000 subs in Q3)."
According to Deadline, Viacom has entered into a multi-year licensing deal with Netflix for Nickelodeon kids programming. "The output arrangement will yield original animated feature films and TV series based on existing Nickelodeon library characters as well as newly created ones. Forthcoming specials under the agreement will be based on The Loud House and Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."
"Roku developed an app for the Apple Watch which allows it to work as a remote control," says TechLife, "and the good news it that it's already available for download." The app can launch channels by tapping the screen of the watch, and TechLife says "there’s even the possibility to adjust the volume level of the TV with the circular crown of the Apple Watch... Perhaps the most interesting detail about the app is that it accepts voice commands for specific requests, like launching a certain app ('Launch Netflix') or to search for shows ('search for sitcoms'). However, for now that feature is only available on some Roku TVs and devices."
An NBC Sports press release announces that "NASCAR® and NBC Sports have teamed up to launch TrackPassTM on NBC Sports Gold, a new streaming product representing NASCAR's most significant undertaking in the direct-to-consumer space." Set to launch in early December, "TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold will bring fans more exclusive live motorsports events and an extensive library of archived documentaries and films. The platform will offer exclusive live viewing of a multitude of motorsports, including American Flat Track, select ARCA Menards Series™ events (including ARCA Menards Series East and West races), NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour™, and tentpole grassroots racing events, as well as NASCAR Cup Series™ and NASCAR Xfinity Series™ practice and qualifying sessions (NBC Sports’ half of the schedule only)."
Netflix recently announced that it would stop supporting older Samsung, Roku, and Vizio devices after December 1st, but didn't explain why. However, Gizmodo got some answers from the company. "[A] Netflix spokesperson told Gizmodo the company is constantly improving upon its product, but with respect to Roku devices in particular, the issue boils down to older devices running Windows Media DRM. Since 2010, Netflix has been using Microsoft PlayReady. The spokesperson said that, starting December 2, older devices that aren’t able to upgrade to PlayReady won’t be able to use the service." Gizmodo also talked to Roku and was told that "many of the affected devices are eight- to ten-years-old and noted that old hardware can't keep up with new software forever. According to the company, Roku devices that will no longer support Netflix include: Roku SD (N1050), Roku HD-XR (N1101), Roku HD (N1100, 2000C), and Roku XD (2050X, 2050N, 2100X, 2100N)."
According to Deadline, "What launched in 2017 as a platform showcasing the best of British content in the U.S. and Canada, is now Britain's new weapon in the streaming wars with Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney and the rest. BritBox debuted in the UK last Thursday, boasting more than 1,000 hours of content from the BBC, ITV and Channel 5, with Channel 4 joining the party next year." However, Deadline says that streaming experts have some major concerns about BritBox. "They acknowledge that the service remains in its infancy, but said three big questions loom over its prospects of success: Will people pay for content they already have access to elsewhere? What is the originals strategy? And where are all of BritBox’s distribution deals?"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.