This week on TechHive: Free streaming obscurities

Plus: Prime Day deals and a big list of free TV services

Roku home screen with obscure streaming apps

This week’s newsletter is largely about saving you as much money as possible.

First up, I’ve got a new TechHive column out on the best free streaming TV apps you probably haven’t heard of. These sources offer classic movies, cult films, weird sports, and other content that isn’t easily found in the most popular apps. Want to watch some competitive cornhole or an art-house cinema from Greece? I’ve got you covered.

For folks who’d rather stay on the beaten path, I’ve assembled a list of 26 free streaming services over at my own Cord Cutter Weekly website. It’s based on a story I wrote in Fast Company last year, but refreshed with the latest information, and with zero ads to get in the way. Check it out here, and please share it with others if it’s useful.

Prime Day deals

Meanwhile, Amazon seems to have jumped the gun on Prime Day, with some major discounts on streaming devices and services ahead of next week’s actual sale.

Most notably, Prime subscribers can get up to two months of certain Prime Video Channels for $1 per month, including Starz, Discovery+, Showtime, AMC+, Epix, BET+, and AcornTV. Check the full list here.

Several streaming devices are on sale as well:

I generally prefer Roku over Fire TV, but the latter is a fine option if you enjoy watching Prime Video content, using Alexa voice controls, or controlling Alexa-enabled smart home devices from your TV. If you’re overwhelmed by all the Roku options, my buying guide and flowchart should help.

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Weekly rewind

25 Android TV tips: Also over at TechHive this week, I put together a big list of tips for Android TV devices, such as the Nvidia Shield TV, TiVo Stream 4K, and smart TVs from the likes of Sony, TCL, and Hisense. This joins my existing guides for Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, and Google TV.

Note that Android TV is somewhat separate from devices that run Google TV (such as the latest Chromecast), though they both have the same underlying operating system, support the same apps, and share many of the same features. (If you’re not sure which system you have, Google TV has a “Live” tab at the top and a “Top picks for you” row above the app list.)

Netflix’s virtual surround sound: Netflix has launched a “spatial audio” feature that aims to mimic the effects of surround sound even with stereo speakers. The feature will be enabled automatically on all devices for supported titles, which you can find by searching for “spatial audio” in the Netflix app.

Note that if you have actual surround sound speakers, they’ll take precedent over spatial audio. Also, Apple has its own spatial audio feature for certain AirPods models, which is unrelated to the version Netflix is now launching (though Netflix supports Apple’s implementation as well).

In my limited experience with other types of virtual surround sound, the effect has been pretty subtle, as it ultimately relies on tricking your ears into hearing sound from different directions. Perhaps Netflix, which is licensing the tech from Sennheiser, can fare better. Let me know if you try it and are blown away by the results.

More catch-up

  • NBC will reportedly shut down the Olympic Channel on September 30, and seems likely to bring more Olympics content to Peacock.
  • I’d normally have more here but it’s been a pretty slow news week.

Thanks for reading!

In case you didn’t notice, I’ve altered the usual newsletter format this week to accommodate all the extra deal coverage and my story on free streaming services. And naturally, it’s gone out a bit later than usual as I spent a chunk of the morning futzing with it.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this somewhat special edition of Cord Cutter Weekly. If you have any questions or comments for me, just reply to this email to get in touch.

Until next week,

Previously: Replacing a Roku remote

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