Tablo’s new DVR, Spectrum’s ESPN blackout


This week on TechHive: Tablo’s new over-the-air DVR

While some other companies are leaving over-the-air DVR for dead, Tablo is doubling down.

The fourth-generation Tablo has a fresh hardware design, a total software overhaul, and a lower starting price of $100–with no subscription fees. It also includes more than 40 free streaming channels, which users can record alongside over-the-air broadcasts. (Existing Tablo users will get the same software as an optional upgrade this fall.)

This is the first new Tablo DVR since the company behind it, Nuvyyo, was acquired last year by The E.W. Scripps Company, a major broadcaster. While Tablo has always been a niche product, Scripps’ backing could finally lead to mainstream over-the-air DVR awareness.

Read the full column on TechHive →



Weekly rewind

Spectrum’s ESPN blackout: As of Thursday evening, all Disney-owned channels have gone dark for Charter’s Spectrum customers due to a garden-variety carriage dispute. The blackout affects ESPN, ABC’s owned-and-operated local stations, FX, Freeform, National Geographic, and Disney channels. And it’s happening right in the middle of ESPN’s U.S Open coverage and the start of college football season.

Disney, of course, is demanding more money for its channels and wants them all packaged together, regardless of who watches them. Charter does not want to pass huge rate hikes onto cable customers, who are already bailing in record numbers. I’m guessing this will work itself out before too long, but it’s a bummer for customers in the near-term and not a sustainable strategy in the long run.

(Meanwhile, I’m hearing from readers that Spectrum is offering customers two months of FuboTV at $56 per month, not counting regional sports fees. That seems like adding insult to injury without a discount on Spectrum itself.)

Starz price cut: Earlier this month, Starz raised its monthly price from $9 to $10 per month. Now, the service is lowering its annual price from $75 to $70 per year.

Maybe it’s the start of a trend. For streaming services, price hikes are predictably leading to more cancellations, so widening the gap between monthly and annual pricing might be one way to counteract that. Warner already kept Max’s yearly plan at $150 without ads when it raised its monthly price from $15 to $16 per month in January. Perhaps others will follow. (Starz’s $3 per month for three months offer is still the better deal either way.)

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Jared

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