Cord Cutting News & Rumors – OMG Apple TV Edition

It’s been a few weeks since my last round-up, and Apple has successfully sucked all the oxygen out of the room with discussion about the Sept 9th Apple TV update that’s rumored to be coming down the pipe. A few non-Apple tidbits churned up in the back corners of the internet.

Offline Amazon Video Prime Viewing… Mind The Small Print

a.com_logo_RGBIn a move that will surely set the news blog replicators afire, Amazon announced that they are allowing Amazon Prime Video viewers download Prime videos to their iOS and Android devices for offline viewing.

This is, quite frankly, an awesome move and a game changer for the cord cutting set. Portable devices are a big part of our lives now and being able to take video with us provides real value. Kudos to Amazon for the change.

Ah, Yes, The Fine Print

48-hr-noticeNow that all the great applause for Amazon’s bold step forward in streaming video is handled, there’s a few details to discuss. Some fine print, if you will. Only some videos will be available for download because of contracts, agreements, and lawyerly business stuff.

And, wait. What is this? Is this a caution that you can only wander away from the internet for 48 hrs after starting a show before the video becomes unavailable? It could be… Best watch it in a timely way if you plan to wander away from the precious, precious internet for an extended period of time.

Additionally, only 25 videos may be downloaded at a time and downloaded videos need to be watched within 30 days of downloading.

      

The Test Drive

Finally, to take this downloading trick for a test drive. After grabbing the updated Amazon Instant Video app to my iPad, I fire it up and get treated with the new feature disclaimer.

 

 

Intro Screen

Amazon provides easy access to indicate which shows you want to download via buttons added to their show selection. For TV shows, they use the cute download icon following each episode.

TV-Show-Download

Downloading An Amazon Instant Video TV Show – Just Click The Button

For movies, the Download button is very clear. That said, I ding Amazon for inconsistent GUI queues. The same icon or button should be used in both cases.

Amazon Instant Video - Downloading A Movie

Downloading An Amazon Instant Video Movie – Just Click The Other Button

Now the rub comes in finding your downloaded content. That wasn’t so easy. Select your library using the bottom menu clicks. Use the Refine button in the upper-right hand corner to select “On Device” instead of “Cloud.” You’ll now be able to see (and delete) downloaded content.

Finding Download Shows So Very Complicated

Finding Downloaded Amazon Instant Video Shows Is So Very Complicated For A Humble Cloud Watcher

For the curious, the 1 hr and 14 minute episode of Band Of Brothers took about 1.2 GB to store. This should help drive storage demand on tablets. Video quality shows compression artifacts on the HBO introduction white noise but was otherwise solid and crisp looking.

Well Done Amazon

As I mentioned before, I got to hand it to Amazon for the game changer. I think the app GUI could use some polish, but that does not in any way diminish the added value they’ve just brought to Amazon Prime. Netflix, your move.

For Online Streaming Sports Success, Keep an Eye On the NFL

For a good portion of the TV viewing world, sports are a barrier to cord cutting. And I don’t blame them. All the major sports are just now dipping their toes into the market. Let’s take a look at what’s out there and what’s holding back folks from cord cutting.

Options Today

A number of sports franchises have dipped their toes into the online viewing world.

  • MLB.tv: subscribe monthly or for the season to see live or on demand baseball in HD
  • NBA League Pass: subscribe for the season to see live (but not blacked out) or on demand basketball games. Reviews of the quality aren’t all positive, so be careful.
  • NHL Game Center: subscribe monthly to see up to 40 live games a week.
  • WWE Network: subscribe monthly to see the latest slams and bams
  • International Curling Network: Ok, I made that one up. But you were interested…

And the list goes on.

The Elephant In The Room: The NFL

Despite a lot of players in the cord cutting field, something is missing from the live sports lineup. That would be the single most popular TV sport in the US: football. I find it difficult to wrap my brain around how staggeringly popular NFL football is in the US. Like, blowing everyone else away popular. The average football game has as many viewers as the NBA finals games.

Graph from The Atlantic showing LOTS of NFL viewers. Crazy lots.

And, the NFL knows it and drives hugely expensive long term contracts. The present nine year deal rakes in about $7 billion (with a B) a year and expires in 2022. If ever there was a golden goose, this would be it, and the NFL seems very hesitant to endanger their very large contracts.

Watch The NFL

Football ties viewers to their expensive ESPN cable subscriptions which drive a lot of revenue. Being an incumbent and having little financial incentive to innovate, I expect the NFL to lag the other, more nimble, sports into the streaming video age. They are experimenting with their Direct TV deal, but it’s dabbling more than a serious investment. When we see the NFL move, however, that’s the sign of the apocalypse for the cable TV industry

But I Wanna Watch Football Now

But take heart, dear football fan, because there are options available to you. A goodly number of shows are broadcast over the air on FOX, NBC, and CBS. A solid over-the-air DVR setup and a local sports bar will bridge you through the rough times ahead.

Looking to get your sports fix. A few other hearty cord cutters have taken their swag at a solution:

Cord Cutting News & Rumors – 8/12/2015

A bit of time off and I’m back on the keyboard. Let’s see what’s wandered through the internets while I relaxed my brain.

Linkfest for 7/16/2015

Let’s see what’s been happening in the news and rumor mill. I’ve gotten in my Daily Show bender now that Comedy Central has a native Roku channel.

Linkfest for 7/2/2015

Mmmm… Tasty, tasty news and links. Biggest note are the major content deals – Hulu bundling showtime and the Yahoo-NFL tie-up.