Max sports streaming, new Fire TV Sticks

This week on TechHive: Max’s sports plans change everything

There’s a hint of irony in this week’s news that Warner Bros. Discovery is bringing live sports to Max as an optional add-on.

With B/R Sports, subscribers will get the same live sports coverage that airs on Warner’s cable channels, such as TNT and TBS. That includes playoff baseball, basketball, and hockey, plus every March Madness game that doesn’t air on CBS. Max itself starts at $10 per month, and live sports will be included from October 5 through February 29, 2024, at which point it’ll cost $10 per month extra.

This is the inverse of how pay TV bundling has always worked. In most cable packages, everyone bears the cost of live sports, and premium entertainment channels such as HBO are optional. With Max, Warner has flipped things around so HBO is at the core and live sports coverage is the luxury. Maybe that’s the way it should be.

Read the full column on TechHive →

Weekly rewind

New Fire TV Sticks: Amazon is refreshing its two higher-end streaming dongles, the $50 Fire TV Stick 4K and the $60 Fire TV Stick 4K Max.

The regular 4K Stick has faster performance, more RAM to help with switching between recent apps, and support for Wi-Fi 6. The new Max is even faster than its predecessor, supports Wi-Fi 6E, and has double the storage, at 16 GB. Space constraints are a common annoyance on other Fire TV devices, so this should help if you’re often running out of room for apps.

Both Sticks are shipping on September 27, but I’d hold off on buying either one until the inevitable sale prices arrive, likely around Black Friday at the latest. (Waiting for reviews is probably wise as well.)

Fire TV software updates: Amazon’s also making some long-overdue improvements to the Fire TV interface. Most notably, it’s adding a “Continue Watching” row, which lets you resume the movies or shows you’ve been watching across a bunch of different apps. Apple TV, Google TV, and Roku all offer a similar feature already, but the big question is how many streaming apps Amazon’s version will ultimately support. As AFTVNews reports, it’s a small list right now: Disney+, Hulu, Max, MGM+, Peacock, STARZ, Tubi, Amazon Prime and Freevee.

Search is getting an upgrade as well, with support for more natural-sounding queries such as “action movies with car chases” or “comedies for a rainy day inside.” These updates should arrive later this year.

Apple TV’s update: Speaking of software updates, tvOS 17 is here and has a few really helpful features:

  • A remote-finder function, found through the virtual Apple TV remote on an iPhone (if it’s running iOS 17).
  • A sleep timer, accessible from the home screen by long-pressing the home button.
  • Six apps per column on the home screen instead of five.
  • On the home screen’s top carousel, an easy way to manage “Up Next” items from the TV app: Just long-press.

Check out this roundup from Macrumors for a more thorough rundown.

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Save more money

Verizon’s Netflix deals are back. If you’re a Verizon wireless or home internet customer, you can sign up for a year of either AMC+ ($84 per year) or Starz ($75 per year) and get a year of Netflix Premium for free. That’s a hefty discount given that Netflix’s 4K tier alone usually costs $20 per month.

The deal is valid for both new and existing Netflix customers, but only if you haven’t redeemed Verizon’s other Netflix offers in the past. Head to Verizon’s +play website for more details.

Other notable deals:

Thanks for reading!

Oh yes, we are thoroughly into fall gadget season now. I got the new Tablo over-the-air DVR in for review, so let me know if you have questions about it as I give it a workout. Reply to this email to get in touch.

Until next week,

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