In this week's collection of recent cord-cutting news items from around the web: 25 of the best films on Amazon Prime, the 34 best movies to watch on Netflix, how PlayWorks helps YouTube creators earn during the pandemic, how Roku won its HBO Max negotiations, 10 years in prison for illegal streaming in the Covid-19 relief bill, and more!
Richard Brody, writing for The New Yorker, said that when he pulled together a list of movies streaming on Amazon earlier this year, he heard from some readers that he didn't approach it in the spirit of the site's habitual users: "I didn’t distinguish between movies that required a fee (or an additional membership) for viewing and those that were on Prime, available for free to subscribers. Though most of the fees in question are small, they pose a psychological hurdle—they demand a commitment, or a leap of faith in the list-maker's acumen, that a no-extra-charge viewing wards off." As a result, Brody offers a new list "as an enthusiastic alternative to the good-enough—a batch of films (and there are many more to be found there) that are available to [Prime Video] subscribers for free and that merit a place among the best of any year." Brody's 25 of the best films on Amazon Prime can be viewed on the Prime Video Roku channel.
For Netflix subscribers, Cnet's Jennifer Bisset offers a list of 34 movies that she considers some of the best movies Netflix has to offer. "If you're stuck in the endless Netflix scroll, hopefully this list will help you decide what to watch. Occasionally Netflix brings in big directors to serve up originals that make it all the way to the Oscars. But it's also got an abundance of smaller stories perfect for a modestly sized screen."
Regular readers of our Roku channel reviews may recognize PlayWorks as the developer of many high-quality channels and games on Roku. Writing for Variety, Matt Donnelly tells us how PlayWorks has helped YouTube creators bring in revenue despite restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic. "Play.Works, a 10-year old company designed to bring social content back to the family living room, launched a linear channel two months ago that programs continuous streams of digital content and helps diversify revenue for creators... Founded by 25-year TV industry vet Jonathan Boltax, Play.Works has linear channel deals with the Plex streaming network and TV manufacturer Vizio. The connected app is also available through mainstream digital interfaces like Comcast, Amazon Fire, and Roku. The platform estimates a reach of 200 million viewers outside the YouTube interface."
After a long standoff between WarnerMedia and Roku, HBO Max finally arrived on Roku this month. The Motley Fool's Adam Levy claims that "[h]olding out seems to have benefited Roku, even if indirectly, by forcing AT&T to add lots of high-quality content with broad appeal to HBO Max... Roku might not have gotten everything on its wishlist in its negotiations with AT&T. While neither party disclosed the exact details of the deal, Roku will be losing the right to sell HBO through The Roku Channel. New subscribers will have to install and sign up directly through the HBO Max app, giving AT&T full control over its own viewer data. Roku did, however, receive concessions from AT&T on its ad inventory for the forthcoming ad-supported version of HBO Max. That may be more valuable to Roku as it's seen ad-supported streaming outpace subscription-only streaming in 2020, and that trend ought to continue in the future."
Jared Newman, author of TechHive's Cord-Cutter Confidential column, presents TechHive's fifth-annual cord-cutter awards that include best new streaming hardware (Chromecast with Google TV), most overdue device upgrade (Amazon Fire TV Stick), best new streaming TV feature (AirPlay for Roku), and several other 2020 developments in cord-cutting.
"Tucked away in the more than 5,000-page long Covid-19 stimulus bill is a new law that severely punishes streamers that pirate large amounts of copyrighted content," says Jordan Valinsky, writing for CNN Business. However, "[y]ou probably have nothing to worry about: The 'Protecting Lawful Streaming Act,' which was introduced earlier this month by Senator Thom Tillis, a Republican from North Carolina, doesn't target casual internet users. The law specifies that it doesn't apply to people who use illegal streaming services or 'individuals who access pirated streams or unwittingly stream unauthorized copies of copyrighted works.' Rather, it's focused on 'commercial, for-profit streaming piracy services' that make money from illegally streaming copyrighted material."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.