Philo’s free version, Fire TV’s search upgrade

This week on TechHive: Philo gets free streaming with DVR, too

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Don’t call it a trend yet, but Philo is now the second live TV streaming service to offer a free tier with DVR.

Philo’s free version follows that of Sling TV, whose FreeStream service added a cloud-based DVR in January. Both services let you record from their free, ad-supported streaming channels, then use the DVR to skip through commercials. The paid version of Philo, which includes a much larger collection of cable channels without sports, costs $25 per month.

(In related news, Philo’s price will jump to $28 per month on June 12, but existing subscribers can keep their old pricing if they don’t want AMC+ as a newly-added benefit. Philo’s price hikes have always been the fairest in the business.)

These free offerings are nice for anyone fed up with ad overload on streaming services, and they may help Philo and Sling attract or retain customers that don’t want to pay for expensive TV packages. Just be aware that some recording restrictions apply.

Read the full column on TechHive →

Weekly rewind

Fire TV’s new voice search: Amazon has overhauled the voice search on Fire TV devices, using AI and large language models to better-understand requests. For instance, you can say things like “Show me comforting comedy movies from the 80s,” or “What’s the name of that new detective noir show on Apple TV?”

Google TV and Apple TV have been able to handle detailed genre searches for years now, but they’re not using large language models and aren’t quite as adept at handling natural language. Amazon’s system is still a work-in-progress, though. As The Verge notes, it flubbed a few basic queries such as “Oscar-winning movies from the 1970s,” and its response to “Show me something good to watch” apparently included some softcore porn.

Fubo’s unlimited DVR: Fubo is switching up its cloud-based DVR, so it now offers unlimited storage instead of a 1,000 hour limit. It comes with a trade-off, though: Fubo will only keep those recordings for nine months from the original air date instead of storing them indefinitely.

The change brings Fubo’s DVR in line with YouTube TV and and Hulu + Live TV, which also store unlimited recordings for up to nine months. While the time limit is a departure from traditional cable DVRs, it is nice being able to record pretty much anything without having to worry about storage space.

Tablo updates: Tablo’s fourth-gen over-the-air DVR now has an app for Samsung smart TVs, and it’s added a handful of new free streaming channels as well. Apple TV support is also “nearing completion,” and an app for LG WebOS TVs has been submitted to LG for review, so it should be arriving soon.

Like previous Tablo DVRs, the fourth-gen model records local channels from an antenna, then streams them to your phone, tablet, or TV using Tablo’s apps. But the latest model comes with a total software overhaul, and limited app supports was one of my knocks against it. (I also ran into numerous bugs and stability issues.) If you’re using the new Tablo and feel like it’s getting into better shape lately, let me know.

More catch-up

Save more money

Peacock has a new deal that takes $40 off the regular price for a year, both for new and returning subscribers. Just use the code STREAMTHEDEAL at checkout, and you’ll get one year for $20 with ads or $80 without.

NBCU has already announced that it’s raising the cost of Peacock to $8 per month with ads or $14 without on July 18, so now’s a good to lock in a much lower price. The deal will be available through June 30.

Other notable deals:

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Thanks for reading!

For folks in the U.S., I hope you had an enjoyable long weekend. This was shaping up to be a slow news week, but we had some interesting developments pop up in the latter half.

Still, summer slowness can happen in the cord cutting realm, so tell me what to write about next by replying to this email.

Until next week,

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