Free Paramount+ trickery, Google TV’s live guide

This week on TechHive: You can still get Paramount+ for free

Hey folks, thanks for bearing with me during some much-needed time off over the past couple weeks.

While the vacation was great, I was slightly unnerved in the meantime to hear from some folks who were no longer able to get Paramount+ for free. One of my first orders of business after getting back was to see if Paramount had closed the free subscription loophole.

Good news: In my tests, I was still able to redeem a free month of the service, even on an account that I’d used before. On the downside, Paramount continues to futz with its sign-up flow, such that returning subscribers might think they’ll be charged immediately even with a valid code. I’ve got more details (plus the latest codes) in this newly-updated TechHive column.

Also on TechHive: I wrote about how to use the “Live” tab on Google TV devices, which can aggregate live channels from a bunch of streaming services into one unified grid guide. Check it out.

Weekly rewind

A brick in the Bally Sports wall: At the end of May, the San Diego Padres became the first MLB team to take its broadcast rights back from Bally Sports owner Diamond Sports Group, which is currently going through bankruptcy. MLB is now taking over the Padres broadcasts and making them available through local cable and satellite providers. More interestingly, it’s offering local coverage through MLB.TV, priced at $75 for the remaining season or $20 per month. (That’s a single-team plan, separate from MLB.TV’s out-of-market offerings.)

For now, Diamond continues to scrape by with payments to other teams, including a last-minute payment to the Texas Rangers on Thursday. As The Streamable notes, Diamond still owes payments to the Diamondbacks, Guardians, and Twins on July 1. Anyone rooting for more unbundling of local baseball have to hope the company misses them.

The Big Ten sports mess: As expected, watching Big Ten sports will get more annoying this fall thanks to the conference’s three-way rights deal with Fox, Paramount, and NBC. The latter network has just confirmed that will carry three games exclusively on Peacock in September, while simulcasting the rest on NBC.

That means a big pay TV package alone won’t be enough to get full coverage, and it’s reminiscent of NBC’s plans to stream one NFL wild card game exclusively on Peacock next winter. Such moves may temporarily boost Peacock’s subscriber numbers, but like other moves to carve up sports streaming rights, they may also alienate fans in the process.

Apple TV updates: Apple TV devices will get a bunch of useful new features this fall, including a much-needed remote finder function through the Find My mobile app and the ability to use an iPhone as the camera for big-screen Facetime calls. Also on the way: VPN support, which Apple is pitching as an enterprise or education feature, but could theoretically help users access geo-restricted content. Those features will arrive with tvOS 17, likely out in September.

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Save more money

MLB TV sale: Keeping with annual tradition, MLB TV is cutting its regular price in half for Father’s Day, so you can pay $60 to get out-of-market baseball for the rest of the season. This does not apply to the aforementioned local Padres coverage, but it’s still a great deal if you don’t live where your favorite team plays. (T-Mobile subscribers: Skip this offer, and get MLB TV for free instead.)

Hallmark at the library: Does your library loan digital content through Hoopla? If so, you can now access Hallmark Movies Now in one-week increments with just a library card.

This is part of Hoopla’s “BingePass” program, which launched last year as a way to borrow access to subscription services, but hasn’t expanded much since. Alongside Hallmark Movies Now, the other streaming services it offers are CuriosityStream and The Great Courses. Each one-week pass counts toward the monthly loan limit set by your library.

Other notable deals:

Thanks for reading!

Well, that was certainly a lot of catching up we just did. It’s nice to be back, and to know that the streaming world didn’t turn upside down in my absence. We’re back to the usual Friday schedule from here on out. Got questions? Just reply to this email.

Until next time,

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