Apparently, Comcast’s threat to pull 45+ channels from Roku was enough ammunition to get Roku back to the bargaining table. Roku customers were already setting the community section ablaze with complaints about missing streaming channels.
…that advantage breaks down when its demands are too steep to get high-profile services like HBO Max and Peacock to sign up. The company may be overplaying its hand here, and a number of its customers are frustrated at not having access to the apps, especially Peacock, which is free.
Good news, in the final moments a deal was reached and there’s already a Peacock app, albeit a private channel as of this writing, available on Roku. The app will switch to public soon, but you can access it by following the instructions linked below.
To add the channel, start by signing up for a Peacock subscription. Then, login to your Roku account andclick here to navigate to the Peacock Roku channel. If you’re prompted to enter a code, enter PEACOCK. The channel will be installed on your Roku device and you’ll be able to sign into your Peacock account to start streaming.
In 2020, we can’t ask Nostradamus when we’re going to die, but we can ask an app called My Longevity (https://mylongevity.org/calculator) how much sand is left in your hour glass.
The major reason life expectancy calculators spit out such different figures is because there are a wide range of factors influencing the results. Being married increases your life expectancy compared to being single, as does being happy. In addition to smoking, levels of fruit and vegetable intake influence life expectancy. Perhaps unsurprisingly, levels of alcohol consumption and exercise make a profound difference to life expectancy. These are concrete lifestyle changes people can make which can add years to their lives.
People are living longer, which is one nice thing to take away from this life expectancy calculator.
How many more movies left to watch?
Doing the math, calculating at least watching/rewatching one movie every day, means I’ll be able to watch at least …
35 years x 365 days = 12,775 movies
I’ll have to quicken the watching pace if I want to watch more than 15k or 20k more movies. Still, that’s a lot of movie watching mileage left in the tank. This doesn’t factor in TV shows either, so I’m sure the overall numbers will exceed 20,000 for both, assuming I do, in fact, survive 35+ more years.
Am somewhat concerned about external factors like gigantic asteroids hitting the earth, contracting some — cough — disease and being hit by a car (hey, it’s a realistic fear). I’ve got other fears, who doesn’t … snakes are one of them. Snakes freak me out.
Yes, the following snake dick scene from the HBO series Lovecraft Country freaked me out.
Lots of time left. I don’t smoke, drink very little alcohol, have a healthy height & weight, a relatively stree-free job which provides some very good physical exercise (no, not talking about activity at this website, my regular job is physical, lol) and no major health concerns (known, at least). Counting my blessings, not boasting, believe me.
Yeah, as the legendary poet Robert Frost would say, “and miles to go before I sleep.”
I hope all of you reading score well in the my longevity calculator and have tens of thousands of movies left to watch in your life as well. Feel free to share your score below in the comments, if you like.
Something I used to do from time to time on my tech blog: ask people how they use their home screens on their desktop and laptop computers.
It was illuminating learning what other apps were being used and how they were organized. Sometimes I’d learn about useful apps and programs I didn’t even realize existed.
In the streaming channels world we live in today, July 2020, especially under the You Know What times, maybe your setup is better than ours? Always curious to look at how others are watching streaming channels, how much they are using a particular service, app, interface, etc. It could be personal preference, it could also provide unseen or little known benefits to others. Sharing, in this regard, is helpful and good.
Here’s how our setup at home currently works. I’m not saying it’s the best for others or even us, but it’s what we’re doing in July 2020.
We currently have three ways to access streaming channels through the TV: Roku (both attached device Roku 3 and a Roku-powered TV), Xfinity Flex and Chromecast.
We also have game systems hooked up to the TV: Playstation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. The Playstation and Xbox both have ways to watch streaming channels, but we don’t use those devices as portals very often or not at all.
The majority of streaming we do is through the Roku 3 box attached to the TV. I’d put the number at 80%. The other 20% would be mostly Chromecast for HBO Max and a small amount for Flex and Peacock. Less than 5% would be Peacock. If HBO Max was on ROKU, we’d probably be 90-95%+ Roku for watching streaming on TV.
A year from now? Who knows. Maybe some killer new way to watch streaming channels will be available that overtakes Roku in convenience and usability. Right now? They are king of the hill in our home.
We have paid subscriptions as of this writing to: Netflix (monthly), Amazon Prime Video (annual), Disney+ (annual), DC Universe (monthly), HBO Max (monthly), hulu (monthly, just restarted a couple days ago), CBS All Access (monthly), Shudder (monthly, but canceled and access ends soon). We used a free trial (my son, actually) for AppletTV+ to watch Greyhound, but that week ends soon and we’re not renewing. Quibi we did the free 90 day trial but didn’t renew.
I think that covers the major streaming services. We don’t have TV, not Sling TV, Hulu TV, YouTubeTV, etc. None of them. The only live TV programming we can access are local channels through locast (a Roku channel) and if any of the premium channels provide live TV channels (some do, like CBS All Access). We do watch some live horse racing through TVG (Roku channel), have an account, but don’t pay for a subscription.
Really the only live TV I miss are occasional news programs, some special live programming and some sporting events. I used to love the NFL Sunday Ticket on DirectTV when we could access that, but that’s been many years ago. I probably will be more interested in live TV when the presidential race begins in the fall. Might consider adding on TV coverage for a couple months during this time if we can’t get through locast.
We rotate around paid subscriptions, including to premium add-on channels like Starz, Showtime and Cinemax, but are subscribed to none of these at the moment. HBO used to be in that mix, but right now we’re with HBO Max and have quite a bit we want to watch there, so we’ll be keeping that awhile. Since we are Xfinity internet customers, we have a free Flex box and get the $4.99/month Peacock streaming service available at no additional monthly charge.
Roku 3 attached to HDMI
Amazon Prime Video
HBO Now (for portion of HBO content)
CBS All Access
Google Play Movies & TV
Classic Movies & TV
The order is how often we watch the various channels, with perhaps the exception of Spotify for music. Don’t really “watch” that, but when listening to music through the TV that’s used more than some of the others above it.
Xfinity Flex – Peacock
There are applications for the Xfinity Flex box to stream other channels, but currently we only use Flex to watch Peacock. We could use this as an alternative box to Roku, and I’m sure that’s what Xfinity/Comcast is hoping we’ll do, but that’s not what’s happening.
It’s just easier and force of habit to switch the input and go back to Roku. It would probably take less than 15 minutes to hook up all our accounts through Flex, and probably someday we’ll be inspired to do that, but the reality is once you have all your logins setup with one service, do you really want to take the time and input them through another service?
This is a fairly new service we picked up in May as a means to be able to access HBO Max. I like the service, but honestly, it still feels a bit unwieldy using this over Roku. I prefer having one menu and a remote over using my phone as a remote. Am not saying using the phone isn’t a good idea, but definitely not my wife has any interest in using the phone to cast to TV — she wants to use the remote — and I’m in the same boat.
Also, I realize there are ways to use Chromecast with third party services to have a menu and user interface on the TV. We haven’t explored any of those, but I know they exist.
In our case, it wouldn’t make much sense to have three different services with menus with most/all the same underlying streaming services.
Anyway, let’s look at how the apps on my Samsung Note 10+ phone are arranged. They aren’t 100% in the order of most watched (HBO Max is the most watched streaming app for us through Chromecast, not Netflix), but the order of the icons is what is being used as of this writing.
Amazon Prime Video
CBS All Access
Shudder (subscription expires end of July 2020)
Quibi (not currently subscribed)
Peacock (not being used)
Regal’s app doesn’t have any streaming, it’s used for our unlimited monthly pass, currently in hiatus since the theaters are closed. They are still saying on their website that they will reopen on July 31, but I think chances are at best a coin flip this will actually happen. If they do reopen, we plan to visit the theaters again.
Even though I have apps installed for Chromecasting, HBO Max is the only app I use. When I made a video about using Chromecast last month, someone commented that it was bad timing buying a Chromecast when there was a new version coming out soon. The point was I wanted to watch HBO Max on launch day, May 15, not in the future. NVidia Shield Pro was another device the commenter recommended.
Since buying the Chromecast Ultra, I did more investigation and found another device of interest that included a Roku-like menu option, 4K support (although reviews say it is very sluggish for the price), games, remote and cost about the same as the Chromecast Ultra. I don’t know how good or bad it is, but I like the feature set, it’s called: Xiaomi Mi Box S.
I might pick one of those up and give it a try in place of Chromecast since it seems to give me everything I’m looking for: a remote (with voice control), a Roku-like menu, Chromecast. It does have some sound limitations though (no Dolby Atmos).
I also haven’t mentioned the Amazon Fire Stick. Because HBO Max isn’t on that, it doesn’t check all of our boxes.
As for Nvidia Shield Pro? That badboy retails for $200 and seems more gaming-focused than streaming service oriented, but since it was recommended by somebody watching our video, I might research that more as well.
One Technical Solution To Fit All
Bottom line is we’d like one device that has all the features we use (remote, menu, voice search is bonus, though we don’t use that often) and most importantly all the streaming services we subscribe to. Peacock is available as an app, but haven’t set it up yet. Is the experience as good as going through the Flex box? Don’t know. HBO Max is available for Chromecast, but it’s not as friendly as clicking an icon on the TV and watching, which is what we want.
What are you using to watch streaming channels on your TV?
Your turn. I’m very curious how others are watching streaming channels on their TV.
This post will be repeated in the future because our subscriptions do change as well as the hardware used. Admittedly we’ve been using the Roku 3 pretty much since it came out and been very happy with it. What are you using? A Roku-powered TV? Chromecast? A gaming system(s)? Amazon Fire Stick? AppleTV? Cast from your computer to TV? Two cups and some string?
So many different ways to watch streaming channels on our television sets. What do you use most, why and what are your most watched streaming services?
I’m working on compiling reviews for the above movies, so as good a time as any to break out this post. If you have seen one or more of the movies pictured above and reviewed them on your blog, then I’m out searching for review pull quotes as of this posting.
This post is on the longer side and if you’re not a movie review blogger, it probably isn’t worth reading. But, bonus, there is a little history lesson on me as a blogger, maybe that might interest some. Readers are never wrong about what they like, so your call.
A little history on blogging for the record, and please forgive the meta nature of this post — I actually dislike writing meta posts on a blog that isn’t meant to have those type posts (some blogs sole purpose are blogging about blogging, so relevant there), even though I know they’re often very popular to read. This blog is fairly new (started August 12, 2019), but I’m not a brand new blogger.
I used to run a very busy, active tech blog. It was popular and became one of CNET Top 100 blogs. That was 2003-2009. I walked away from it for one simple reason: got tired of writing about tech.
Seriously, I’d written many thousands of posts and over a million words on new and old technology. Burnt out is probably a better description. The website had become a profitable business long before I quit, but the business, the money, the accolades were never primary reasons for blogging.
If my heart was no longer excited about the material, I felt continuing was no longer warranted.
So, I let it go.
A blogger who cares about the content and his readers, is it possible? Yes, it is. I was one, at least. Didn’t feel that I should just create posts because it was profitable doing so. That wasn’t why I started the blog or why it kept going. It was a personal site that grew into a business site, which was OK until I no longer had the passion for creating the source material. While this might seem implausible, it seemed fraudulent for me to continue under those circumstances.
So, I bailed.
Honestly, thought I’d never blog again. It would be something saved in the internet archive, a footnote in a six plus year adventure that faded away over time. Was OK with that, too.
Now, here we are 10+ years later and I’m blogging again. The fire, if you will, has returned.
The circumstances are similar, but very different. I want new readers here to know blogging history isn’t likely to repeat itself.
For one, I have always watched movies. I mean, since a very young age. Have always enjoyed watching movies and have never done any sort of significant movie reviewing until this past year. Yes, I did write and share a few movie reviews on my old tech blog and it might be interesting someday here to resurrect those posts and compare to rewatches 10-20+ years later. Compare the texts side by side and laugh if I contradict myself (I probably have!).
Being older now and having some detailed record of what movies I’ve enjoyed to pass down to other family, friends and others might be fun and useful from a historical perspective. Not that I am some great movie scholar or anything — I’m admittedly a new pupil to the craft of film critique and reviewing — but do believe experience means something. 45+ years of movie watching experience absolutely must make me at least an expert of my own tastes.
Also, becoming a film critic is something I’m curious to learn more about. Am not sure if I’ll ever become a professional critic, but am interested in researching and exploring the craft and profession. I don’t believe education and research should be bound by any age group.
So, why this blog?
Have told this part of the story a couple other times, so forgive me regular readers if this looks familiar.
I wanted to keep track of all the movies I’m watching. Quickly, I realized the site that I was using didn’t allow for any sort of blogging. It was just about the movies themselves, but no other anecdotal information or news surrounding the movie was available. The site I’m talking about is Letterboxd. It is awesome for just logging what you watch and optionally leaving a rating and/or review (totally optional).
But what if you want to talk more about multiple movies coming in the future (you can make a list and add commentary there), maybe record thoughts or collect news articles on movies and movie-related topics? Keep track of TV shows you’ve watched? What do you do then?
Start your own blog.
That’s how I got back into blogging after leaving it behind. I didn’t come here to start a movie reviewing business site, I came here out of necessity to record and share this adventure known as the world of movie reviews. There are some TV series reviews here too, as there are too many crossovers from TV to movie that to exclude TV seems like a disservice. The primary focus here is sharing and talking about movies, however.
Whenever anybody asks me why I started this blog, I’m going to link them here. Can cross that off the list. Whew.
Blogs without readers are likes boats without any propulsion
Face it, if you have a blog, you need readers or what’s the point? You can post reviews all day long, but why not just make it a private blog and only invite your family and friends? Why even make your blog accessible to the public if you don’t want to have readers.
I want to have readers for this blog. Lots and lots of readers! The more, very much the merrier.
Now that I’m here, sharing these reviews, I thought to myself: wow, there are so many good — some freaking outstanding — movie bloggers sharing reviews out there, and too many have fewer readers than they deserve.
That’s a shame. A moviegoer sees a movie and then writes this great review and then … what? Just leaves it buried in the constipated bowels of the internet?
I want to help.
My thinking: let’s do something a little different than others are doing. Let me pull together and highlight quotes from other movie reviews. I pull quote from those blogs reviewing movies. I have collected so far 1,500+ movie review sites as of this writing and keep adding new sites.
No, I have not sought permission to pull quotes from any of these 1,500+ movie review sites. That would be far too time-consuming a practice for something I don’t do as a business and the reading and gathering of these quotes isn’t done by any machine, it’s done by one human being — me.
It can take over an hour or more to manually select and link these quotes for a single movie review post. These are hand selected quotes that I’m hoping will encourage readers here to click through and go to the movie site and continue reading.
BTW, I’m also a programmer and could write a script to scrape quotes from these sites in a fraction of time that it takes to manually pull them. If it’s automated it’s not human-curated, which misses the point and value.
Scaling any sort of manual system like this is problematic, however. So, eventually, I’ll need to either hire or acquire volunteers to help assemble these or automate at least some of the process. Only so many hours in the day, you know?
As for which movies make it to this process? Usually only new releases, since those are the ones that most everybody tries to get out in a timely manner so that movie fans can decide by reading them if it’s something s/he wants to see.
Also, my goal is that if the pull quote is interesting enough readers will travel to these other great movie review blogs and read more of their (your) reviews. Bingo! I’ve added a helpful service.
It sounds great in theory, but in practice there will always be one in the crowd who cries foul. Some very tiny movie blog (less than 20 followers) complained that he didn’t want me using any quotes and questioned my practice of using pull quotes from review sites without permission.
It only took like five months for some movie review blogger to complain about not wanting to be pull quoted or linked. I removed his link, blocked his site and will never, ever, per his request, quote or link to him again. It’s a bummer too, because I enjoy reading his reviews and would like to share with others, but will respect the request. I don’t mean this as a slight, but if you don’t want readers at your blog, then private publish the site. Put it all behind a paywall or something and by default you’ll severely limit your audience. Don’t leave it out there for anybody to sign up to, read and — gasp — help promote.
It’s that simple. If you don’t want your movie review ever quoted and linked here: just say so. Done.
I’d rather do this and then if someone complains, remove them from the list so it doesn’t ever happen again.
Is this a blogger-friendly practice? Good question. I think any related traffic one can receive is usually a positive thing. More readers for your blog is helpful. If one were to take me to court and cry copyright infringement over a small related pull quote, I’m not sure it would be successful, based on the benefit it provides and Fair Use, but am claiming no legal standing on the practice.
What am I gaining from pulling your quote and linking to it? I’m aggregating movie review quotes as part of my original commentary to support and help other moviegoers decide whether or not they should want to see a movie based on multiple, often differing opinion, reviews. This means people can come here to read these compiled and human-curated selection of reviews.
Some reviews agree with me, some disagree. I think it’s a worthwhile service for potential moviegoers.
This leads to my newest idea which does seek to have permission for this process: a Preferred Pull Quote List.
What I’m planning to do is first go to this list of blogs for pull quotes and links before linking from my growing reading list. I’ll see if these movie review blogs have posted reviews to the movie or TV show I’ve reviewed and include pull quotes from that list as a priority. If the blog has a site search it will make it easier to manually find related reviews, but I’m finding some sites don’t have site searches (TIP: get them and make them prominent!)
Would you like your movie review blog included?
How to get your movie review blog on this Preferred Pull Quote List
It’s easy and FREE. Wow, does anybody ever do anything for FREE on the web any more without some gimmick or catch? Not very often. It’s usually some kind of spam or scam.
Not the case here.
You can see what we’re doing. Look at our domain name: moviereviewsbyUS.com. If you are a movie blogger then you are part of “us” simply because your blog exists.
If you don’t want to be quoted or linked to by this site, that’s cool, you don’t have to be. I’ll happily exclude any blog that doesn’t want to be included, but by default every blog that shares reviews is included with a small few exceptions (IE. we try not to link to sites that list torrent sites for downloading movies illegally).
How is that for being anti-discriminatory?
More to the little bit of fine print. It’s not really every movie review blog, because not every blog is creating original material. I’m not interested in spam blogs or other mostly aggregated blogs. Those are crap quality and ripoffs, not real websites. Those won’t be included in the list either.
Also, your blog cannot be an adult XXX movie review blog. Only blogs that primarily review movies up to NC-17 rating. If you are mostly a porn movie blogger, that’s cool and all, but we don’t plan on reviewing those movies on this site so this wouldn’t be useful to your site, anyway. If you only post a few reviews of a few historically noteworthy porn movies like say Deep Throat and the bulk of your reviews are Rated R and below, sure, you’re welcome and encouraged to be on the list. I’m not saying there aren’t any porn movies that crossover to mainstream, but I think it’s pretty clear that this site is about mainstream movies and TV shows, not porn. It’s not an adult site or intended to be, even if the content here sometimes is adult-oriented.
Again, I’m not trying to exclude, I’m trying to include. But the movie review sites included need to fit the list or it won’t be useful for either of us.
So, to clarify, I’m providing this free service to any legitimate movie blogger that wants to be involved, whether you are brand new (0 followers) or have 10,000+ followers. Note: that if a blog is primarily an x-rated or spam site that only aggregates other blogger’s work and doesn’t provide any original reviews or content, I reserve full right to reject and/or remove from this list at any time without notice.
It’s our compiled list, after all. And I’m the one doing the virtual legwork visiting these sites, reading reviews, selecting the quote and linking back. Sometimes I leave comments and interact with these blogs, as several linked up will attest to, so there is an additional activity benefit on your site to being on this list. More traffic in here, leads to more traffic back out to other sites.
So here’s how to become involved, if you want to, anyway:
Just leave a comment below or mention me on Twitter (@Todd_Russell) or DM me if you want to stay stealth about the interest.
We might proactively contact some blogs to include on this list and ask permission. I won’t contact everybody on my reading list because again that would be way too time consuming, but there are certain movie review bloggers that are very good at what they do and I would like to include them in this list, if s/he/they are interested and willing.
Really only need about 100-200 very active movie review sources for this list, but they need to come from movie review sites that post their reviews in a timely manner in/around the date of release of the movie. If it’s a site that only reviews older movies, I will add to my reading list, but likely will rarely pull any quotes from those. As a general practice I don’t compile reviews involving older movies, only newer ones released in theaters and/or on streaming services, including VOD.
Don’t Want To Be Pull Quoted or Linked? Here’s How To Be Removed
The converse is true: if anybody is reading this does not want me ever to pull quotes from your blog, then you use one of the same methods above: leave a comment here, mention or DM me on Twitter. Easy peasy. You’ll be removed and no future pull quotes will ever be used and linked to your site again.
It’s simple, I’m a good blogger netizen and seek to follow the personal and professional requests of others. I do have to be notified, however, in order to comply. Otherwise I’ll keep pull quoting and linking because good bloggers share. Benefit to your site? You’ll get more readers that like reading movie reviews. Quid pro quo.
I think this is a pretty good deal, what do you think?
Ideally, HBO Max subscribers will soon receive a native app on Roku to use, but this is another workaround if you want to use your Windows laptop or PC.
To limit the geek speak: you want to watch HBO Max on your TV through Roku, how do you do it? The above method works if you have a Windows laptop. The below technique works on our Android phone. There are various cast to TV apps and all of them should follow a similar process.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ Cast To TV with SmartThings
We are using my Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ phone and cast to TV through the SmartThings app (FREE). The process involves mirroring the phone to TV which overtakes whatever is playing on the TV and shows the phone. Then whatever you do on the phone ends up on the TV. Then I just launch the HBO Max app on the phone and play whatever movie or TV show we want to watch and it plays on the TV. The whole process takes 30 seconds or less to execute. No, it’s not as easy or convenient as simply choosing the HBO channel with the Roku remote, launching, finding what to watch.
Poor Quibi. Their 90 day free trial is almost gone and they still don’t let me watch their quick bites content on TV. That feature is “coming” but when that will be? Who knows. By the time they do get this obvious and easy to implement feature enabled, maybe some/most(?) interested subscribers will have moved on. Sigh.
We still have the HBO Now app on Roku and use that to watch the base HBO content that is mirrored on HBO Max, but whenever we want to get the rest of the HBO Max content, we use the method explained in the paragraph above.
Yeah, I know it seems (and kinda is) a bit cumbersome, but we can all thank Roku and HBO Max for not cutting the deal at launch to simply have an HBO Max channel. Again, I think it will eventually happen and have seen several people online and in social media saying they are waiting to join HBO Max until there is either a Roku channel or Amazon Fire support.
When exactly that will be remains the ongoing question. If I had to guess, I’d say within the next couple months, maybe even the next 30 days. It comes down to who blinks first. Right now, neither side seems to be blinking. Roku is entrenched, thinking they are holding all the cards and on the other side WarnerMedia with HBO, a site that has been running for over 40 years and has built enormous street cred and loyal subscribers.
Who blinks first? My guess, and it’s only that, is it will be WarnerMedia. They will agree to Roku’s demands, whatever those happen to be. We’ll probably never find out the specifics of said deal, but likely it will involve some percentage of the subscriber revenue. As a customer, I don’t blame them for some hold out, but will use the HBO Max service more if it becomes a Roku channel.