TV bundles are back, Netflix gets NFL games

This week on TechHive: TV bundles are back, but savings may not last

After years of false starts, TV’s great re-bundling is happening in earnest; but instead of the savings streaming services are promising, it might just lead to higher prices.

Starting this summer, Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery will sell a bundle of Disney+, Hulu, and Max, presumably for less than the cost of getting each service a la carte. While we’ve seen some modest attempts at bundling streaming services before—most notably from wireless carriers—this is the first time rival programmers will cooperate directly to offer their services at a discount. In a press release, one Warner executive called the Disney collaboration “a powerful new roadmap for the future of the industry.”

Other players are already showing their hands in response. At an industry conference this week, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said the company will bundle Netflix, Apple TV+, and Peacock at a “vastly reduced price” for its internet and TV customers. That package, whose exact pricing was not announced, will arrive later this month.

While I want to believe that these bundles will help cord-cutters save money, I’m skeptical about the long-term impact. History suggests the savings will be fleeting, and that the great re-bundling will only provide cover for more price hikes.

Read the full column on TechHive →

If you’re still struggling to ditch cable or satellite TV, check out my Complete Guide to Cord Cutting. This collection of articles will help you compare streaming options, evaluate your antenna needs, and even find cheaper internet service. It’s available under a pay-what-you-can honor system and includes both online and downloadable PDF versions.

Weekly rewind

NFL on NFLX: Netflix is making a splashy entrance into live professional sports with two exclusive NFL games this coming Christmas: Chiefs vs. Steelers, and Ravens vs. Texans. The streamer will also carry “at least” one NFL game in 2025 and 2026.

Netflix has dabbled in live sports before with a golf tournament that mashed up pro players and Formula 1 racers, and it’ll become the exclusive home of WWE Raw starting next January. Still, this will be the first major sporting event that Netflix is poaching away from cable and broadcast networks. (Since 2020, Christmas NFL games have aired on CBS or Fox.) While Netflix has historically balked at carrying expensive sports coverage, its new focus on whatever brings in the most ad revenue has likely changed its calculations.

MLB on Roku: In related news, Roku has secured the rights to an exclusive MLB game on Sunday mornings, and it’ll be available for free through the Roku Channel app or website. Coverage starts this Sunday with the Red Sox vs. the Cardinals.

Just one snag: While Roku’s app is available on most major streaming platforms, you can’t get it on Apple TV, LG TVs, or Vizio TVs. The best you can do is use AirPlay to send video from an iOS device to Apple TV, or to your smart TV if it’s AirPlay-compatible.

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    Save more money

    MLB.TV is half-off for the remaining season, bringing the price to $70. The single-team plan is also on sale for $60. While you can only watch out-of-market games with MLB.TV, it’s a godsend for folks who live far away from where their favorite team plays. The folks at Slickdeals say this offer ends May 21.

    Lifetime Plex Pass subscriptions are also on sale again, bringing the price to $96 with the promo code GETGEEKY. While a Plex Pass doesn’t include any actual content, it’s required to use Plex’s over-the-air DVR service (which itself requires a media server device and compatible tuner). It also pairs well with PlayOn, a separate service for recording shows from streaming sources. While it’s a fairly geeky cord cutting tool—just as the promo code suggests—it can pay off if you have the technical wherewithal.

    Other notable deals:

    In the market for a new iPad and can’t make sense of all the latest options? Consult the iPad Decision Flowchart, courtesy of my Advisorator newsletter. And consider signing up to get more tech advice from me on Tuesdays.

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    Until next week,
    Jared

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