Sling’s free DVR, Netflix Basic begone

This week on TechHive: Sling’s free streaming DVR

Of all the questions I get about cord-cutting, the most common is about DVR and whether you can record from streaming services. Generally there are two answers:

  • Cable replacement services such as YouTube TV do include cloud-based DVRs, so you can record programs and skip commercials.
  • Other streaming services such as Netflix don’t allow for DVR, at least not without elaborate workarounds such as Channels DVR or PlayOn.

Sling TV has just introduced a third outcome: Its Freestream service is getting a 10-hour DVR that that works with hundreds of free streaming channels. That makes Freestream the first free, ad-supported service to let you skip through the ads. With so many free streaming options and so little to distinguish them, being able to record like a breakthrough.

Read the full column on TechHive →

Weekly rewind

Netflix Basic begone: After discontinuing its ad-free Basic plan for new subscribers last year, then raising the price for existing customers, Netflix is getting rid of it altogether. Customers in the Canada and the United Kingdom will lose ad-free Basic in Q2, though it’s unclear when Netflix will drop the plan in the United States, where it costs $12 per month. The next-cheapest ad-free option is Netflix’s Standard plan at $15.49 per month, while its ad-supported plan costs $7 per month, both with two simultaneous 1080p streams.

Basic’s impending demise is disappointing but not surprising, as Netflix has previously marveled at how much more money it can make from viewers who watch ads. Like other streamers, it is gradually widening the price gap between ad-supported and commercial-free viewing, apparently with success as both subscriber count and revenues grew last quarter.

There’s some positive Netflix news, at least if you’re into pro wrestling: It’s taking over WWE Monday Night Raw from cable, starting in January 2025. It’s another foray into sports-adjacent programming for Netflix, and its biggest live TV deal yet. Expect more as Netflix realizes that live events are great for the ad business also.

T-Mobile’s dubious Hulu offer: As announced last month, T-Mobile’s “Hulu on Us” perk is now available. And as I noted at the time, it’s a bad deal for the vast majority of T-Mobile customers.

To get free Hulu, you’ll need T-Mobile’s Go5G Next plan, which for a single line costs $10 per month more than the nearly identical Go5G Plus plan. The only notable difference is that you can upgrade your phone every year instead of every two years. You’re better off putting that $10 per month toward Disney’s various other Hulu bundles, or just laying off Hulu until you actually plan to watch something on it.

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More catch-up

Save more money

Peacock deals are back after a brief absence. Use the promo code PEAIHWO4KTP at checkout to get one year for $30 (with ads) or $90 (without)—a $30 discount in both cases. I believe, but am not certain, that returning customers who don’t have an active subscription can get this offer as well.

Other notable deals:

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