YouTube Now Provides Live TV

Cable cutters just got another option for ditching their old service providers in the form of YouTube TV. It’s a service from the video sharing site that allows you to watch live programming on more than 50 channels, though currently only for customers in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Limiting it to those cities must be some kind of a beta, and to make sure this is something people even want. And honestly, we’re not sure people would. It provides pretty much the same service as cable at a price point that isn’t particularly competitive, especially when you factor in bundle-cancelling price hikes on the service provider’s part. Watching DVRed programming on any of your devices is nice, but it’s also not revolutionary, considering the (what feels like) hundreds of streaming options. Don’t get us wrong, it’s great to have options, we’re just not exactly chomping at the bit to switch to YouTube for our TV binges. It’s important to remember that change does not beget innovation, and everyone should be skeptical of any product that’s swearing anything resembling “Finally, live TV made for us.”

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Netflix Projected to Become Officially Bigger Than Cable by Year’s End

RIP cable. Your anti-internet vibes will surely be mourned for many years minutes to come. Though the final nail in the cable coffin hasn’t quite been hammered in just yet, a recent comparison of cable’s growth versus the booming Netflix platform again proves the traditional television format’s days are indeed numbered.

Samuel Bennett, a data visualizer whose recent Reddit-shared comparison chart was spotted by Uproxx, has managed to show just how dire the cable sickness is going to get in the months ahead. As of 2016, Netflix (47.5 million) is roughly a million subscribers behind cable (i.e. not satellite and other alternative TV methods). Given the streaming platform’s current estimated growth rate, Netflix could easily surpass that threshold by the end of this year, or the top of 2017 at the latest.

A recent study from the firm cg42 projected that cable providers could lose as much as a billion bucks in revenue over the next 12 months. The study, excerpted by the Wall Street Journal in September, estimated that pay-TV companies lose approximately $1,248 per cord-cutting rebel each year. The average savings for switching to a streaming-only lifestyle? About $100, the study found.

As part of a September study on when exactly subscribers get hooked on a particular series, Netflix discovered that the viewing habits of its cable-battling subscriber base are surprisingly uniform. “The hooked findings give us confidence that there is an appetite for original and unique content all over the world, which is why we’re excited to deliver variety in stories to our members, whether they’re political dramas from France or musical dramas from the Bronx,” Cindy Holland, Netflix’s VP of Original Content, said at the time.

Amazon Launches New Streaming Service Amazon Music Unlimited

“Aren’t there already enough music streaming services?” you ask. Apparently, Amazon doesn’t think so. Following several months of rumors, the company announced Wednesday morning that it would be launching its own streaming service called Amazon Music Unlimited, as reported by the Associated Press.

Anyone can sign up for $10 per month, much like Spotify or Apple Music. The main difference comes through its integration into Amazon’s pre-existing business model. Amazon Prime members, who pay $99 for free shipping and other perks, can add an Amazon Music Unlimited subscription for only $8 per month. Prime membership already comes with a limited version of the streaming service, but the upgrade will expand the database to “tens of millions of songs.”

If you own Amazon’s newfangled smart speaker system Echo, it will only cost you $4, although it limits you to one device. The speaker’s Siri-like voice assistant Alexa can assist you with playing and searching for music as well.

Amazon is just the latest entrant into the already-crowded field of music streaming services. It will compete against services like Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, and SoundCloud Go. This follows a rapid shift in consumer habits related to music, with digital downloads quickly falling as streaming picks up steam. Still, the business model behind streaming has come under fire from a number of artists, who have complained that it leads to unfairly low compensation for their work. Despite this, most of these companies, including Spotify and Tidal, continue to lose money every year.

Regardless, consumer habits seem to indicate that streaming is the future, and Amazon is clearly trying to fight for its own share of the market. Amazon Music Unlimited is available now.

NFL Laterals to Yahoo for the First Free Internet Live-Stream of Regular-Season Game

The National Football League inked a deal with Yahoo to be the league’s exclusive partner to deliver the first-ever live stream of a regular-season NFL game — for free over the Internet — to users worldwide.

Under the pact, Yahoo will provide live streaming video of the NFL’s International Series game in London on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015, between the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars. The Internet-media company will offer the game on multiple properties and devices, including Yahoo, Yahoo Sports, Yahoo Screen and Tumblr, which collectively reach about 1 billion users per month.

The London matchup has lower value for TV networks, given that it will air starting at 9:30 a.m. ET. Still, the move marks a new step for the NFL in finding digital distribution partners for its most-valuable content — live games.

The NFL has, through broadcasting partners including NBC and Fox, offered the Super Bowl free to Internet users in the U.S. But the Yahoo pact is the first regular-season game to be available to a national audience on a digital platform.

“Through this partnership with Yahoo — one of the world’s most recognizable digital brands — we are taking another important step in that direction as we continue to closely monitor the rapidly evolving digital media landscape,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer added, “We’re thrilled that the NFL has chosen Yahoo for this historic opportunity. It marks a significant change in the way users can access this amazing content.”

Meanwhile, the NFL will make the Bills-Jaguars game available in the teams’ local markets via CBS affiliates, televising it in Buffalo on WIVB-TV and in Jacksonville, Fla., on WTEV-TV.

The Reason You Should Stop Paying For Cable

Like a lot of consumers tired of paying a hundred dollar monthly bill, I cancelled my cable subscription several years ago. Instead I rely on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, all streamed directly to my TV via a tiny Roku. Is it perfect? No, I don’t have any sports access. And I can’t watch live broadcasts.

But nothing’s perfect in life, and my TV setup now is in many ways far superior to the ancient cable box technology still imposed on paying customers by the big service providers. The obvious draw is the price. I’m paying a lot less money for basically the same service. Another advantage is the fact that I decide when to start and stop my programs. I don’t know how everyone else watches TV, but when I still had cable, I felt like the TV was always just on in the background. It was like the default way I lived my life.

What was worse was that there was never really anything on. I’d flip channels aimlessly before landing somewhere that spoon-fed me reruns I would have never actually made a deliberate choice to watch. Either that or I’d let the remote fall on one of the twenty-four hour cable news channels, while talking heads foamed at the mouth, constantly reminding me what a bunch of idiots the other half of the country is.

As a result of cutting the cord, I find that I watch a lot less TV, but that the TV that I do watch is something that I’m meaningfully engaged with. Instead of just settling for watching the second half of Spider-Man 2 because it happened to be playing on TBS, I can sit down and make it a point to watch a movie or a show from start to finish. Or I won’t watch anything, because it’s nice to not have the TV constantly yapping at the periphery of my consciousness.

Which is all to say, cable sucks. But that’s not really saying anything new. And again, I don’t have sports. Which, seriously, sports broadcasters, figure out a way to give me my local teams at a reasonable monthly price. I’d absolutely pay.

But while I’m largely satisfied with my current setup, there are few nagging problems that drive me crazy every time I settle in to watch some TV. And I guess I’m largely looking at you here, Hulu.

My biggest complaint with Hulu is, as a paid service, why do I still have to sit through the same amount of commercials as if I’m watching regular TV? I thought the whole point of the monthly subscription was that I’d get to skip the same old advertisements that do not influence at all how I’m going to spend my money.

And when I say the same old advertisements, I’m talking literally. Hulu has this annoying habit of showing the same two or three commercials on loop. Worse, they’re not even real commercials. It’s a bunch of low-budget clips, stuff you’d never see on a TV channel, obviously geared toward this idea of streaming TV as a low-budget form of entertainment.

At least, that’s what it seems like. There’s no other explanation as to why, during a twenty-minute sitcom, I’m forced to watch, four or five times, those cheesy commercials for some Internet exercise video service. I can’t even remember what it’s called. See, I’m watching these commercials on repeat and I can’t even remember the name. That’s not effective advertising.

Hulu, just stop it. I know, I know, I’m paying less money, I’m getting the same programming as if I had cable, but I’m still paying something. Should the price for convenience really be to see how many times you can annoy me during a half-hour period?

And I guess to a larger extent, I’m just so sick of being forced to view advertisements in every direction I turn my eyes. I know that advertising has to exist at least a little bit, but it’s becoming this plague, seeping into every corner of everything that I do. All of my web sites, all of my TV, it’s all ads, everywhere. Shea Stadium was replaced by Citi Field, and now the major sports leagues are trying to figure out how we can start advertising on jerseys. And who’s buying up all the ad space? Citibank? Coca-Cola? Does Coca-Cola really need to put its logo on sports jerseys to sell soda? Can’t we have just a little bit of personal space in our lives free from advertising? Because I’d pay a little extra to not have to have my senses constantly invaded by ads.

Also, Hulu, I’m getting really tired of how, every time I finish watching a show, you start automatically playing some other show that I have no interest in. I get it, you’re thinking, well, I have him sitting down and watching TV, maybe he’ll be too lazy sitting there on his couch to stop this next program from playing. Yes, I’m lazy, but no, I’m not going to start watching Hart of Dixie just because you say so. At least give me the option to turn this feature off.

Anyway, my current setup is still a lot better than the cable box. If you’re on the fence about cutting the cord, I say just go for it. You can always go back to overpriced cable bills if you really miss having a menu of hundreds of channels you’ll never actually watch.

Netflix’s Market Value Just Surpassed CBS’

CBS has boasted ratings giants like The Big Bang Theory and Two And a Half Men over the years, but recently, Netflix topped CBS in its market value.

Only a few years ago, Netflix was nowhere near competing with CBS’s market value, but in 2014, the streaming and DVD/Blu-ray mail rental service closely trailed CBS and just recently surpassed it:

CBS’s rivals in broadcast TV are all housed within bigger media conglomerates (although the company also owns cable channel Showtime and various other publishing, radio, and internet assets).  For example, NBC is owned by Comcast, the gigantic cable company; ABC is part of the Disney empire and Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox, Rupert Murdoch’s film, TV, and cable colossus.

Netflix remains far smaller than all of them.

CBS might have seen this coming. Last year, they launched their own paid streaming service for $5.99 a month, compared to Netflix plans starting at $7.99 a month.

With all the love for Daredevil, a new season of Orange is the New Black only a few months away, and a fourth season of House of Cards guaranteed, Netflix is feeling pretty good about 2015.

The 10 New Netflix Movies And TV Shows To Watch In December

With the weather getting colder and some people already seeing too much snow, December is the perfect month for binge-watching movies and television shows on Netflix. While the streaming service has removed some movies as part of its monthly purge — goodbye, “Dirty Dancing” — the new movies added in December will make up for any loss.

“American Beauty” (Dec. 1)

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1999 was a pretty great year for movies. “Fight Club,” “The Matrix,” “The Green Mile,” “Toy Story 2” and “Magnolia” are just a few movies that were released alongside “American Beauty.” Winning Oscars for best picture, best actor, best director and best writing, “American Beauty” is a dark satire about a man who has a midlife crisis and falls in love with his daughter’s best friend.

“Almost Famous” (Dec. 1)

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“Almost Famous” is based loosely on Cameron Crowe’s teen years when he wrote for Rolling Stone. You don’t need to be a fan of rock music or the 1970s to enjoy the story of a young kid who grows up and falls in love while covering a band on tour.

“Oculus” (Dec. 3)

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A bit underrated but “Oculus” is a solid horror film. Starring Karen Gillan as Kaylie Russell, “Oculus” works well by developing atmosphere and creating tension in each scene. If you’re tired of relentless jump scares, this may be the horror movie for you.

“American Horror Story: Coven” (Dec. 6)

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“American Horror Story” can either be amazing, a mess or somewhere in between. “American Horror Story: Asylum” managed that balance but “Coven” is a bit more uneven. The first few episodes are promising but the central mystery becomes a bit predictable toward the end of season. On the plus side, Stevie Nicks is a guest star in two episodes.

“Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (Super-Sized Version)” (Dec. 6)

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Fans waited nine years for a sequel to the unexpected hit “Anchorman” and now it’s coming to Netflix as the Super-Sized Version. “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (Super-Sized Version)” includes more jokes and profanity, pushing the movie’s rating from PG-13 to R.

“The Wolf of Wall Street” (Dec. 11)

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Martin Scorsese is a legend, and it looks like there is zero chance of him slowing down anytime soon. Each scene of “The Wolf of Wall Street” is vibrant and features great performances by Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie and Matthew McConaughey.

“Nick Offerman: American Ham” (Dec. 12)

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Who doesn’t love Ron Swanson from “Parks & Recreation”? “American Ham” captures Nick Offerman’s stand-up performance and includes singing and woodworking tips.

“Broadchurch” (Dec. 12)

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Fox recently adapted “Broadchurch” as “Gracepoint,” both of which star David Tennant. Tennant stars as a detective investigating the murder of a boy in a small town. “Broadchurch” had a controversial ending that was changed in “Gracepoint.”

“Marco Polo” (Dec. 12)

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Netflix has a lot riding on its big-budget original series tracking the early years of Marco Polo and Mongolian emperor Kublai Khan. “Marco Polo” cost a reported $90 million to make — only HBO’s “Game of Thrones” bests that budget — and Netflix hopes the gamble pays off as it enters international markets, the New York Times reported. Expect huge battles, political backstabbing and sex.

“The Honourable Woman” (Dec. 18)

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You may have missed “The Honourable Woman,” a political spy thriller starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, when it first aired over the summer on SundanceTV, but the critically acclaimed series will be available on Netflix in December.