Roku home screen tweaks, Max price hike

Hey folks! I’m sending this week’s newsletter one day early for two entirely coincidental reasons:

  1. I’m taking a family vacation that starts tomorrow.
  2. I have a new Paramount+ code (see the “Save more money” section) and I’m not sure how long it’ll last.

Per the first point above, Cord Cutter Weekly will also be off next week, back on June 21.

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This week on TechHive: Four ways to fix up your Roku home screen

Navigating the Roku home screen isn’t as straightforward as it used to be.

While Roku still has the simplest streaming interface overall, it’s gradually becoming more complicated with extra menu cruft and new banner ads. Even Roku’s app grid, once a beacon of user-friendly design, is becoming filled with redundant shortcuts and content tiles.

Fortunately, you can still take a handful of steps to restore some of Roku’s hallmark simplicity. With just a couple minutes of setup, you can have a calmer, less-cluttered Roku home screen.

Read the full column on TechHive →

Weekly rewind

Max price hike: Last month’s rumor of a price hike for Max has officially panned out, but only for the ad-free tiers. Here’s the new pricing, effective immediately:

  • With ads: $10 per month or $100 per year (unchanged)
  • No ads, HD video, two simultaneous streams: $17 per month or $170 per year (was $16 per month or $150 per year)
  • No ads, 4K video, four simultaneous streams: $21 per month or $210 per year (was $20 per month or $200 per year)

It’s another example of the widening price gap between ad-supported and ad-free viewing, which we’ve also seen from Disney, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Peacock, and Paramount+. Too bad DVR for ad-supported streaming is only attainable through elaborate workarounds.

Walmart’s “Pro” streaming box: Over at TechHive, I’ve reviewed the new Walmart Onn Google TV 4K Pro. Strictly as a streaming box, it’s an excellent value, with speedy performance, a feature-rich remote control, and ample storage for streaming apps. I also like the Google TV software, which is miles ahead of Fire TV and Roku at helping you discover new things to watch (though it’s not as simple as the latter).

Just don’t buy it for the advertised smart speaker functionality. In my testing, the box did a terrible job interpreting TV-related “Hey Google” voice commands , and you can’t even adjust the volume of the built-in speaker. Just use the regular remote for voice control instead. Read the full review.

More catch-up

Save more money

After a weeks-long drought, a new Paramount+ code has emerged: New and returning subscribers can use V5Z82W750Z to get a free month through the Paramount+ website, even on the ad-free tier with Showtime. You can also try signing up through this link, which should apply the code automatically.

Fair warning: Previous Paramount+ codes have neither lasted long nor been immediately replaced with new codes. Jump on this one as soon as you can, and don’t forget to immediately cancel to avoid being auto-billed after your free month is up.

Other notable deals:

  • Want MLB.TV? It’s usually 50% off on Father’s Day, so mark your calendar for June 16. (I won’t be here to remind you next week.)
  • In case you missed it, save $40 on a year of Peacock with promo code STREAMTHEDEAL. (New and returning subscribers only.)
  • Great deal on my favorite streaming box: Apple TV 4K for $90 at Verizon. (Non-Verizon customers can buy it, too.)
  • See more up-to-date deals on the Cord Cutter Weekly website.

Get my Complete Guide to Cord Cutting

I’ve got all the resources you need to finally ditch cable or satellite TV. Compare streaming services, figure out your streaming device needs, and get answers to common cord cutting questions, all in an easy-to-read online format or downloadable PDF:

Thanks for reading!

As I mentioned earlier, Cord Cutter Weekly will be off next week and back on June 21.

Catch you in a couple weeks,

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