A note from Jared

Hey folks, in case you missed yesterday’s extra email, I’ve just published the Complete Guide to Cord Cutting, a multi-part article series with all the essential info you need to cut cable or satellite TV—all with no ads, sponsors, or sales commissions.

The guide is available under a pay what you can honor system. The default price is $10, but you’re welcome to adjust that up or down to a minimum $1 as you deem appropriate for my work here. (If you can’t pay right now, just get in touch and I’ll take care of you.)

This week on TechHive: “Exclusive” shows on smart TVs

Last month, celebrity chef Tom Colicchio debuted a new show with a decidedly more relaxed vibe than Top Chef. While Bravo’s hit cooking series casts Colicchio as an imposing head judge, Tom Colicchio’s The Pantry has him palling around with fellow chefs (and Liev Schreiber, for some reason), mixing drinks while they prepare their favorite recipes.

The most notable thing about The Pantry, though, is that you can’t watch the latest episodes without a Vizio TV. This week, Vizio announced that the second season will be exclusive to its WatchFree+ streaming service, which is only available on its own televisions. (The first five episodes streamed on a site called Spirits Network.)

Should you buy a Vizio TV just to watch this show? Of course not. Vizio may dress up Tom Colicchio’s The Pantry as exclusive content, but it’s really just part of a trend in which TV makers partner with marketers on low-effort reality chum, whose primary purpose is to peddle products or advertise a partnering brand. The hope is not so much that you’d seek out these shows on purpose, but that maybe you’ll stumble into them while aimlessly clicking through your TV’s labyrinthine menu system.

Read the full column on TechHive →

Weekly rewind

Peacock price hike: Peacock is raising prices for the second time in a year, from $6 to $8 per month with ads, and $12 per month to $14 per month without, but the higher prices won’t apply until July 18 for new customers, or August 17 for existing ones.

The timing’s noteworthy for a couple of reasons: Peacock will stream the summer Olympics in their entirety starting July 26, so the price hike will squeeze a couple extra dollars from folks who only join for the games. But if you time it just right, you can sign up before the price hike and still watch the Olympics in their entirety, up until the closing ceremony on August 11. (If you’re not currently a subscriber, you can also just lock in a year for $30 right now by using the code PF50 on Peacock’s website.)

Fubo fights Warner: Fubo just lost 19 channels, including Discovery, HGTV, and Food Network, after failing to reach a new carriage agreement with Warner Bros. Discovery. In a statement, Fubo says Warner demanded “above-market” rates for its channels and refused to offer a package of just the channels with sports, such as TNT and TBS, as part of a proposed “skinny sports bundle.”

This is something of a gambit for Fubo, which is currently suing Warner, Fox, and Disney over their plan to offer a joint bundle of broadcast and sports channels this fall. Fubo says it would love to offer a similar package, and accuses the programmers of colluding to undercut other pay TV providers (and, eventually, raise their own prices after forcing competitors out).

So, it’s not a huge surprise that regular carriage negotiations are falling apart in the meantime. Still, you’d at least think Fubo would trim a few bucks off customers’ bills to make up for the new hole in its lineup. Nothing doing on that front.

Comcast boots Bally: Meanwhile in the cable world, Bally Sports channels have gone dark for Xfinity TV subscribers, as Comcast and Diamond Sports Group have failed to reach a new carriage agreement. The sticking point, per numerous reports, is that Comcast wants to move Bally’s channels to a pricier tier, just as it’s done with many other regional sports networks (except for its own). Diamond, of course, wants most Comcast TV customers to pay for its channels whether they watch local sports or not.

In the meantime, Bally’s channels remain available on DirecTV Stream and Fubo. Bally also offers a, a standalone streaming service, albeit without baseball in many markets. My local baseball and regional sports streaming guides have more details.

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More catch-up

Save more money

If you’ve been holding out on an MLS Season Pass subscription, the price just dropped to $69 for the remaining season. Apple TV+ subscribers can save an extra $10, and you can still get two free months of that service on Apple’s website, or three free months via Best Buy, Target, or Xbox consoles (new and returning subscribers only). Those trials should get you the extra discount on MLS Season Pass even if you don’t keep them.

Other notable deals:

Thanks for reading!

Thanks so much to everyone who picked up my Complete Guide to Cord Cutting already. The response has been super encouraging, and has already gotten me thinking about other guides that might be worth writing. (Manuals for Roku and other streaming devices? More advanced guides for over-the-air DVR and home media servers? Let me know what might be of interest!)

As always, reply to this email with your questions and comments.

Until next week,

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