This week on TechHive: How the Apple TV could be better

In a keynote that lasted for nearly two hours, Apple couldn’t even spare a minute for its Apple TV streaming box.

Apple TV was a mere afterthought during the company’s WWDC developer conference, at which it announced major updates coming to iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and Macs later this year. The biggest changes coming in tvOS 16 this fall are some modest user profile improvements, richer on-screen exercise data for fitness apps, and a way for iPhone apps to show information based on what’s playing on the TV.

That’s too bad. While I enjoy the Apple TV 4K and have one in my living room, Apple’s streaming box clearly has room for improvement. Read the full column on TechHive.

Weekly rewind

More free Friday Night Baseball: Apple is continuing its free Friday Night Baseball streams on Apple TV+ through at least the end of July. That means you won’t need a $5 per month Apple TV+ subscription to watch the games just yet. Apple has not yet specified when it will start charging for the games, having previously committed to making them free “for a limited time.”

The initial launch has drawn a fair amount of criticism, with baseball fans complaining about the quality of the announcing, the inability to pause or rewind, and the need for yet another streaming app to get complete baseball coverage. (Video quality has been great, though.) Perhaps it’s a bit too early to start throwing a paywall on top.

A wild Netflix rumor: Citing “internal chatter” among Roku employees, a report by Business Insider this week floated the idea that Netflix may want to buy Roku.

So far, the evidence for this rumor is pretty thin. The original story doesn’t claim that any actual negotiations are happening, and I haven’t seen any follow-on reporting to corroborate what Business Insider is reporting.

But it’s still fun to think about, isn’t it? My snap reaction was that the move makes sense as a way for Netflix to jump-start its ad-supported streaming plans, given that targeted ads are a core part of Roku’s business, and that it’s been investing heavily in ad tech lately. But Brian Sozzi of Yahoo Finance presents a strong counterargument, noting that Netflix is in cost-cutting mode right now, and that Roku CEO Anthony Wood has always been a fiercely independent sort.

In any case, don’t view this as anything other than an amusing thought exercise on a slow news week.

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Save more money

Yet again, Paramount+ has put out a new code for a free month of service, valid for both new and returning subscribers. Just sign up through the Paramount+ website (you can even choose the “Premium” tier), click the “Have a coupon code?” link on the final checkout page, then use the code SOUTHPARK. As always, you can cancel the service shortly after signing up, then redeem a new code when your current month expires.

Meanwhile, the Roku Ultra is on sale for $80, which is $20 off the regular price. This is the latest model, which has the same internal hardware as the 2020 version but includes the superior Voice Remote Pro, with a rechargeable battery and hands-free voice control.

For a more basic option, the Roku Streaming Stick 4K is on sale for $37 in refurbished condition. And if you need help deciding between models, I have a flowchart that might help.

Thanks for reading!

As I mentioned last week, we are clearly entering the slow summer months, in which major cord cutting news developments get scarcer, and new story ideas require a bit more creativity than usual.

All of which means that it’s the perfect time to send me your streaming and over-the-air TV questions, which often have a way of becoming fodder for future columns. Just reply to this email to get in touch.

Until next week,

Previously: Sling TV revisited

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