Choose your Sunday Ticket wisely
Plus: HBO Max's rebrand and YouTube's Premium push
This week on TechHive: YouTube’s Sunday Ticket details
YouTube has finally announced pricing for NFL Sunday Ticket, but it doesn’t want you to wait until the fall to sign up.
Until June 6, the company is offering $100 off the first season of Sunday Ticket. That brings the first-year price to a still-steep $249 when bundled with YouTube TV, or an even-steeper $349 on a standalone basis through regular YouTube. Adding NFL RedZone to either plan costs an extra $40 for the season.
Because Sunday Ticket only covers out-of-market games, YouTube’s bifurcated packages are likely to cause some confusion and frustration once football season starts. Before you jump in with the presale, pay close attention to what you’re paying for.
HBO Max changes: On May 23, HBO Max will relaunch with a new app that includes the full Discovery+ catalog, and under a previously-rumored new name: “Max.”
This will also come with an unfortunate change in pricing: Base prices remain at $10 per month with ads and $16 per month without, but those plans will only provide two simultaneous streams instead of the current three, and the latter won’t include 4K HDR anymore. For that, you’ll need a new $20 per month “Ultimate” plan that also provides four simultaneous streams. (Existing subscribers will get six months of Ultimate for free.)
The rebrand makes sense on some level, as Warner doesn’t want to keep burdening the HBO name with a deluge of non-HBO content, and the new app will even have a dedicated HBO tab to further draw that distinction. But with HBO providing the most sought-after content, I suspect the new name will also create more confusion about where to find it for those who aren’t subscribers already.
Meanwhile, Warner reconfirmed that Discovery+ will remain available for $5 per month with ads or $7 per month without. That service is already profitable and Warner doesn’t want to mess with it.
YouTube’s Premium push: YouTube really wants people to start paying for $12 per month Premium subscriptions, and is throwing in a bunch of new features that—in my view, at least—really ought to be free.
Most notably, it’ll offer 1080p videos at higher bitrates than usual, claiming that the difference will be most noticeable in high-motion, high-detail videos. Premium subscribers will also be able to set up play queues on phones and tablets, resume playback where they left off across all devices, and use Apple’s SharePlay feature to watch videos together during Facetime calls. A “Smart Downloads” feature will automatically save recommended videos for offline playback alongside users’ manual downloads. (As before, Premium’s real benefit is that it removes ads from YouTube.)
Downloads aside, most of these seem like basic quality-of-life features that don’t belong behind a paywall. But as big tech companies fret about the macroeconomic environment, added stinginess is the new norm.
Google TV’s freebies: If you have a Google TV streaming device or smart TV, you’ll soon see many more free channels in the “Live” tab on the home screen. Google’s adding 800 live channels to this section from Tubi, Plex, and Haystack News, alongside its existing integrations with YouTube TV, Sling TV, and Pluto TV.
Mind you, most of this content is available on Google TV devices already through individual apps from each provider. Google’s just aggregating it all into one place on the home screen, similar to what Amazon already does on Fire TV devices. (Thankfully, it will also offer some genre-based filters to help you sift through them all.)
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YouTube TV adds Tennis Channel, Charge!, and TBD.
Haystack News adds clips from CNN.
Vidgo’s also-ran streaming bundle gets a price hike.
Save more money
Peacock is currently running the best deal I’ve seen on the service since Black Friday. New subscribers can sign though this link and use the code N2TEWDZZ to get a year of Peacock Premium for $20, down from the usual $50.
Oddly, the landing page says you must be a Macy’s Star Rewards member to get the deal, but there’s no need for proof during any part of the sign-up process. In any case, the deal is valid through July 8.
Other notable deals:
Costco members: Get the third-gen Apple TV 4K (128 GB, with ethernet and Thread) for $120.
Discover more ways to save on the Cord Cutter Weekly website.
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Until next week,