If you’re getting tired of dealing with disparate subscription services, Verizon wants to help.
To that end, the carrier is touting a new service called +play for managing lots of subscriptions from one place. While the service technically launched in December as an open beta, Verizon has now removed the beta tag and has a splashy promo to get people on board: Sign up for an eligible subscription, and you’ll get a year of Netflix Premium for free.
Verizon’s Netflix deal is worth taking if you’re already a Verizon customer, as any subscription you add will cost less than Netflix alone. Still, there some caveats to keep in mind before you go all-in on +play for your other subscriptions as well.
Read the full column on TechHive →
YouTube TV’s price hike: After two years and eight months without a price hike, YouTube TV has announced a big one. The live TV service is jumping from $65 to $73 per month, effective immediately for new subscribers, and on or after April 18 for existing ones. At the same time, YouTube TV’s 4K add-on—which only offers a small amount of 4K content—is dropping in price from $20 to $10 per month.
Like every other pay TV bundler, YouTube primarily blames the price on the rising cost of traditional TV channels—the same that have led to annual price hikes for cable and satellite service—though I’m guessing the $2 billion price tag for NFL Sunday Ticket was also a factor.
If you can get by without live sports and cable news, the best thing to do is drop these bloated bundles entirely, as a growing proportion cord cutters are now doing. Many of the best shows have moved over to standalone streaming services anyway, and you can even coble together local network content for a lot less than any bundle with local channels.
Otherwise, Hulu + Live TV now looks like the best value in big TV bundles—$70 per month including Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu’s on-demand catalog—even if the YouTube TV experience is a bit better.
RSN death watch: As expected, Diamond Sports Group filed for bankruptcy this week, calling into question whether it can continue broadcasting regional sports networks. While the company claims it will do so, MLB and other leagues have drawn up contingency plans if it has to take over the broadcasts.
Most intriguingly, sources told the New York Post that MLB could temporarily stream local games for free in affected markets if need be, and may offer a $15 per month package directly consumers in the future. As before, all this remains up in the air, but it’s certainly intriguing to watch as baseball’s opening day draws closer.
Mega-broadcaster E.W. Scripps has quietly bought Nuvyyo, makers of the Tablo over-the-air DVR. This scoop comes courtesy of Janko Roettgers in a great story on the future of antenna TV. While Scripps plans to do something with Tablo’s DVR product in the future, it’s not ready to say exactly what, and Tablo’s existing DVRs remain available in the meantime. Don’t touch that dial.
March Madness is back, with games scattered across CBS, TNT, TBS, and TruTV. But did you know there’s a little-discussed way to watch the tournament for free? My TechHive story has the details.
- I re-reviewed FuboTV, which has solid regional sports coverage (for now) but lacks a clearly-defined audience.
- YouTube TV starts testing four-game split screen, but users may have to wait for months to get it.
- The March Madness website now lets you watch four games at once.
- “Max” remains the frontrunner for HBO Max’s impending name change.
Save more money
With the return of Ted Lasso on Apple TV+, remember that you can get three months of the service for free through either Target or Best Buy. These freebies work for both new and returning subscribers, and if you’ve previously signed up through one retailer, you can still get deal with the other. (With Apple Family Sharing, you can also have people in your family group redeem their own free subscriptions.)
Other notable deals:
- Today only, lifetime Plex Passes are on sale $96 with code LUCKYDAY23.
- The Roku Streaming Stick 4K returns to its typical $40 sale price this week.
- Check the big list of streaming deals on the Cord Cutter Weekly website even more ways to save.
Thanks for reading!
Shout-out to the many of you who sent me the YouTube TV price hike announcement this week. While I’m not a fan of bad news, I do appreciate the heads up!
Got cord cutting questions for me? Just reply to this email to get in touch.
Until next week,