How do you access streaming channels on your TV in July 2020?

The Roku home menu (not pictured: Shudder, YouTube, Locast, AppleTV+ other free channels)

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.

Obviously on the phone, tablet and computer there are additional ways to watch (see: Where Do You MOST Watch Movies? (Theater, TV, Computer, Tablet, Phone)), but primarily we turn on the TV, tune into the correct HDMI port (Roku, Chromecast or Xfinity Flex) and off to the streaming service of choice.

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.

You can see the dozens of channels we have in the Roku menu below but the top 10 are really our primary interest and focus. Also, HBO Now is used to more conveniently watch some of the HBO content that is available at both HBO Now and HBO Max. Our only total access option for HBO Max is through Chromecast or directly on the phone or computer (see: Tired of Waiting For Roku, 7+ Year Customer Buys Chromecast Ultra to Stream HBO Max to TV).

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
    • Netflix
    • Amazon Prime Video
    • Vudu
    • Disney+
    • DC Universe
    • HBO Now (for portion of HBO content)
    • hulu
    • CBS All Access
    • Roku Channel
    • Google Play Movies & TV
    • Shudder
    • YouTube
    • locast
    • TVG
    • AppleTV+
    • tubi
    • pluto TV
    • Xumo
    • Crackle
    • Sling
    • CW Seed
    • popcorn flix
    • Spotify
    • Classic Movies & TV
    • Comet

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?

Chromecast Ultra

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.

  • Chromecast Ultra
    • Vudu
    • Netflix
    • Amazon Prime Video
    • HBO Max
    • CBS All Access
    • DC Universe
    • Shudder (subscription expires end of July 2020)
    • Quibi (not currently subscribed)
    • Regal
    • 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?

Why not put the deal terms with Roku and Amazon Fire out there for everybody to see, HBO Max and Peacock?

Think about it. Maybe the “fire” in this Amazon and Roku deal can be put out by customers?

This is 2020, not 1960. Technology exists to share info with the masses quickly, easily and gain feedback: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, a company blog post, etc.

We live in a social time where just about everything seems to find its way online. Why not release the deal terms being discussed “behind the scenes” that are impacting us — customers — so we can see who is being “reasonable” and who is being “greedy.”

I think given the amount of time behind the scenes that a deal between HBO Max, Peacock and Amazon (Fire) and Roku hasn’t been made suggests a more radical solution.

Transparency.

The standoffs, of course, revolve around money. More than that, the distribution disputes are about long-term strategic access to rapidly growing streaming-first audiences, as well as advertising inventory. One media company exec says Roku and Amazon are asking for “egregious” terms. On the other side, an insider at one of the over-the-top platform providers says they’re simply looking for “a reasonable share” of the value they create for partners — and adds that companies like WarnerMedia and NBCU are coming to the table with an “old TV mindset.”

HBO Max, Peacock Are in Standoff With Roku and Amazon Fire TV – Variety

Is it too much to ask for transparency in this day and age from the companies we do business with? So many times we’re like pawns on the chessboard while the real chess masters play their game behind some gigantic curtain.

I’ve written several posts about how this is stupid and hurting us, customers, at a time when neither side should want that:

(Site navigation tip: just use the search for “Roku” is how to quickly pull up these past posts)

If Roku and Amazon are asking for a reasonable deal and it’s HBO Max and/or Peacock that’s being greedy don’t subscribers have a right to decide if they want to support that?

I’m tired of companies claiming something without showing us any facts. Put up or shut up. Put the deal out there so we can see who’s being reasonable and who’s not.

You never know, maybe some of your customers can help you get over this impasse? Both sides digging in and not budging isn’t going to reach some compromise.

What do you think? Would you like to see the deal terms so that you can judge for yourself who’s responsible for not making this go through? How long should we all wait in the dark while they “work this deal out in private”? Sorry to be impatient, but sometimes you get things done when you try something different. Whatever both sides are doing doesn’t seem to be working.

Could Be No Roku and Amazon Fire support for Peacock at Launch – Here You Come Again

Cue the Dolly Parton.

Ok, so it’s not exactly the same reference — Dolly is singing about a lover entering her life and leaving with some arrogance — but it’s the song that jumped immediately into my head when I saw Peacock is a week away from their big launch and doesn’t yet have Roku or Amazon Fire support — just like HBO Max launched in May and still doesn’t.

It’s the latest example of brinkmanship between new streaming video services and the devices you use to watch them. Roku and Amazon Fire TV streaming devices and smart TVs are incredibly popular, with a combined 70% of the streaming player market and roughly 80 million active users between them. But rather than act as neutral platforms offering up channels, companies like Roku and Amazon have grown more aggressive in their negotiations with new streaming services, leading to impasses that have kept high-profile services from launching on their devices.

Peacock without Roku and Amazon Fire TV? Top exec is OK with that

What’s worse is the Peacock “top exec” doesn’t seem to be that concerned. This is 80+ million households, 80+ million potential customers (those you don’t already have with your Flex box) that you have to hope will reach you another way. Sigh.

One has to ask, is Peacock is following HBO Max’s lead and telling Roku and Amazon Fire they won’t play ball and cut them into their margins?

So HBO Max and Peacock are playing chicken with Amazon and Roku. Who will blink first? (I asked this question in a separate post here: Does HBO Max or Quibi Get To Amazon Fire and Roku first?)

While these people can’t get in the same room and work this out, the rest of us suffer out here through convoluted usability. Those who love using the Roku UI or Apple Fire TV are denied access to HBO Max, Quibi and, if they don’t work this out in the next week, Peacock.

Amazon I can see playing hard ball. They have always done things pretty much their own way — and quite successfully the vast majority of time in their core market. They focus on selling “stuff” and they do that extremely well. It’s often their sandbox and if you want to get in there with them, well, their rules. It’s their DNA. I fully expect we’ll see Amazon as a major studio force someday, just like we look at NBC and to a lesser extent HBO today. They are doing it their own way. Quibi? I don’t see them making it more than a couple years with their current direction. If they change, who knows, but you can’t just throw a bunch of money at a bad idea and make it a good business.

Roku? They aren’t a studio. They don’t produce anything except their Roku channel and their devices, which play other people’s “stuff.” Without other people’s creativity, their work, Roku has nothing to play. Amazon has done quite a bit for the creation of content, through their various book publishing models and through screenplays, movie and TV. Roku, at least to this writer’s knowledge, hasn’t done any of that.

So, I’m feeling less generous toward Roku. They are more leech-like in this scenario.

Again, when Roku first launched and nobody knew who the heck they were they would have done deals with both of these established companies in a heartbeat, even if it meant they got almost nothing in return. They forgot the people who got them where they are today — us. I get jaded by tech companies who forget their customers, except to use us against the content creators. “Look at the greedy studio, not wanting to get their movies and TV content on our platform for you.” That’s pretty rich.

Fast forward to some period of leadership in the streaming marketplace and the song has changed. Sing it, Dolly. At least you have it right. I shouldn’t end on a cliche, but it just fits too well.

What comes around goes around.

WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEKEND #25 of 2020 Movie and TV Streaming Picks – Netflix, Amazon, Roku, Tubi, HBO Max, Shudder, DC Universe

Available on HBO Max starting June 19

Weekend #25 of 53 (6/19 – 6/21/2020) for 2020 Picks By Streaming Service

  • HBO Max – a top five 2019 movie for us: Ford v Ferrari ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (see list: 2019 Favorite Movies) and reboot of Perry Mason kicks off with the pilot TV episode.
  • Netflix offers original movies on Friday 6/19: Lost Bullet and Feel The Beat, plus a wacky looking competitive game show called Floor Is Lava.
  • Amazon – already streaming 7500 (was supposed to debut on June 19, but available at least one day early). This airplane in terrorist stress thriller looks promising.
  • Tubi (FREE) has a bunch of Rudy Ray Moore movies, a comedy special and documentary available to binge-watch
  • Shudder – the season finale of Joe Bob Briggs The Last Drive-In double-feature on Friday night
  • DC Universe – Superman: Red Son available on streaming service for the first time

KEY
*Title with asterisk – newly released
Title is linked and has star rating – already watched, rated and reviewed
Title bolded – on our schedule to watch/rewatch, rate and review (or in progress)

NOTE: If you’re coming to these posts weeks or months later, some and/or all of the picks listed below may no longer be on the streaming services indicated. Anything marked as “Original” typically doesn’t expire on the streaming service.

NETFLIX Movies

  1. *Lost Bullet (2020)
  2. *Feel The Beat (2020)
  3. Woodshock (2017)
  4. Dolemite Is My Name ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

NETFLIX TV

  1. *Floor Is Lava – Season 1
    Competitive Game Show — Original
  2. *Rhyme Time Town (Dreamworks) – Season 1
    Animation, Children’s

AMAZON PRIME Movies

  1. *7500
  2. Crawl (2019)

ROKU Movies (FREE)

  1. Purple Rain
  2. Dirty Harry
  3. Gremlins

TUBI Movies (FREE)

  1. Dolemite ⭐️⭐️½ 
  2. The Human Tornado
  3. Shaolin Dolemite
  4. Petey Wheatstraw
  5. Disco Godfather

Tubi is all in on hard-working, dedicated comic Rudy Ray Moore’s low budget 70s movies.

Known for being so bad they are good, this is your chance to binge-watch Rudy’s signature movies on one service, also includes a documentary (The Legend of Dolemite: Bigger & Badder) and a live comedy performance (Live at the Wetlands). If you have a subscription to Netflix, catch Eddie Murphy’s take on Dolemite.

HBO Max Movies

  1. Ford v Ferrari (June 20) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

HBO Max TV

  1. *Perry Mason – Season 1 – Episode 1: “Chapter One” (June 21)
    reboot of classic series – Original
  2. *Karma – Season 1 –
    Children’s reality TV game show – Original
  3. South Park – Seasons 1-23 (June 24)

Robert ‘Iron Man’ Downey Jr. is executive producer of the reboot of Earl Stanley Gardner’s Perry Mason. Downey was originally hired to star as Perry Mason, but due to scheduling conflicts had to bow out. Matthew Rhys was cast to replace Downey. Also, all 23 seasons of South Park will be available on Wednesday, June 24.

SHUDDER Movies
https://www.shudder.com/

  1. *The Last Drive-in with Joe Bob Briggs
    Season 2 Episode 9 – Season Finale!
    Horror films double-feature with host commentary
    Friday June 19, 2020 @ 6pm PST (GMT-8), 9pm EST (GMT-5)
    Discord chat via reddit/shudder group
  2. Bone Box
  3. Mausoleum

DC Universe Movies

  1. Superman: Red Son

DC Universe TV

  1. *Harley Quinn TV Series – Season 2, Episode 12: “Lovers’ Quarrel”
  2. *Stargirl – Season 1, Episode 6: “The Justice Society”

Does HBO Max or Quibi Get To Amazon Fire and Roku first?

Yes, Quibi screen mirroring is STILL disabled (6/16/2020) … why they haven’t unlocked this sooner is a mystery even Sherlock Holmes couldn’t solve

Mea culpa.

I wasn’t planning on writing about Quibi again (see: Quibi is the Cats of streaming services) until they allow cast to TV option, and reportedly they are still working on it, which sounds like they are trying to do by lock up a similar agreement as HBO Max.

Quibi’s negotiations with Amazon have “recently picked back up,” according to a source familiar with the discussions. With Roku, talks about bringing Quibi to the platform are said to be in very early stages; a source cautioned that Roku may walk away from a deal based on the revenue-sharing agreement proposed by Quibi. (A Quibi rep did not provide comment on its talks with Roku and Amazon by press time.)

Quibi in Talks to Bring Service to Roku, Amazon Fire TV – Variety

This got me thinking about who gets on Amazon Fire and Roku first? Just guessing, but I’m going with Quibi. WarnerMedia can last a lot longer on AT&T’s big dime than Quibi that seems to be heading toward the two minute mark holding their breath underwater.

Because who is first doesn’t matter, here’s some advice for both companies that does: get to both these platforms ASAP. While holding out, you’re just being stupid to your customers, both existing and potential new ones.

Hey, remember us, we keep the lights on.

WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEKEND #24 of 2020 Movie and TV Streaming Picks – Netflix, Disney+, Amazon, Roku, Tubi, Shudder, DC Universe

Weekend #24 of 53 (6/12 – 6/14/2020) for 2020 Picks By Streaming Service

Disney+ subscribers can watch Artemis Fowl [FIRST LOOK] available on Friday June 12. HBO Max sees the final 4 episodes of Love Life starring Anna Kendrick. For those partial to zombies, comes Reality Z Season 1 to binge all 10 episodes on Netflix, also The Woods first season. Amazon Prime Video has the most excellent Knives Out this weekend.

KEY
*Title with asterisk – newly released
Title is linked and has star rating – already watched, rated and reviewed
Title bolded – on our schedule to watch/rewatch, rate and review (or in progress)

NOTE: If you’re coming to these posts weeks or months later, some and/or all of the picks listed below may no longer be on the streaming services indicated. Anything marked as “Original” typically doesn’t expire on the streaming service.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is netflix_logo.jpg

NETFLIX Movies

  1. *Da 5 Bloods

NETFLIX TV

  1. *Reality Z [FIRST LOOK] – Season 1 (10 episodes)
    Zombies – Original
  2. *The Woods – Season 1
    Thriller – Original
  3. *Lennox Hill – Season 1 (8 episodes)
    Documentary, Medical – Original
  4. *F is for Family – Season 4
    Adult, Animated
  5. *KIPO And The Age Of Wonderbeasts – Season 2
    Animated
Based on the novel by Harlen Coben, The Woods TV series season 1 available Friday June 12, 2020 on Netflix

Disney+ Movies

  1. *Artemis Fowl (June 12)

The movie originally planned to be released in theaters and headed straight to Disney+ instead.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is amazonprime_logo.jpg

AMAZON PRIME Movies

  1. Knives Out (June 12) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  2. Heaven Can Wait ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  3. Child’s Play (2019)
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is roku_logo.jpg

ROKU Movies (FREE)

  1. The Waterboy
  2. Fruitvale Station
  3. Trouble With The Curve

TUBI Movies (FREE)

  1. Ender’s Game
  2. Look Who’s Talking
  3. RiffTrax Live: Sharkanado

HBO Max Movies

  1. The Good Liar (June 13) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  2. Fantastic Planet
  3. Water For Elephants
  4. The Wizard of Oz

HBO Max TV

  1. *Love Life – Season 1 – Episodes 7-10
    Anna Kendrick, romance comedy – Original

The final four episodes of the first season of Love Life. HBO announced they have renewed Love Life for a second season, making it the first new series on HBO Max to get a second season greenlight (source: Deadline).

SHUDDER Movies
https://www.shudder.com/

  1. *The Last Drive-in with Joe Bob Briggs
    Season 2 Episode 8
    Horror films double-feature with host commentary
    Friday June 12, 2020 @ 6pm PST (GMT-8), 9pm EST (GMT-5)
    Discord chat via reddit/shudder group
  2. Warning: Do Not Play
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is dcuniverse_logo.jpg

DC Universe TV

  1. *Harley Quinn TV Series – Season 2, Episode 11: “A Fight Worth Fighting For”
  2. *Stargirl – Season 1, Episode 5: “Hourman and Doctor Mid-Nite”

HBO Max to Roku Cast To TV Microsoft Windows Workaround

DC Universe Community user BD1 has shared another way to cast to TV with HBO Max through Roku in the post pictured above.

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.

I just checked out of curiosity if this same technique could be used yet for Quibi, since they were blocking that at launch (see: Quibi “accelerating” engineering roadmap for cast to TV feature, was “always” planned, says Whitman) and, the result was … nope.

Here we are 60+ days since the Quibi launch and screen mirroring from phones is STILL disabled

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.

Still No Announcement for HBO Max on Roku, But Multiple Alternate Ways to Cast To TV at Launch

They are taking this down to the wire, indeed.

It would definitely be more convenient if Roku makes a deal and has an HBO Max channel, but even if they don’t this won’t be a Quibi launch without cast to TV situation: there will be multiple ways to cast HBO Max to your TV.

WarnerMedia is racing to hammer out a deal with Roku to get the super-size streamer on Roku’s popular over-the-top TV platform. But sorry, Amazon Fire TV owners: It appears that HBO Max will not be there for you on May 27.

Will HBO Max Be on Roku at Launch? Companies Are in Talks on Deal – Variety

Android and IOS users with the HBO Max app will be able to cast to TV just like any other application (except Quibi, that blocks it). Another way would be to use Chromecast. Sounds like Fire TV is out.

My guess is, drama aside, there will be a deal cut with Roku and a channel will be available. Probably the announcement comes within the next 24 hours, but if not, it will just make it a little more inconvenient for Roku users. I don’t think Roku wants their customers to go outside of the Roku UI, so my guess is if Warner doesn’t budge, Roku will.

This same drama played itself out over Fox Sports not too long ago, and Fox blinked. I’m not sure Warner has to do so here.

Who reading has their HBO Max subscription already? The $11.99/month deal is still available as of this posting, but it won’t last much longer.

This whole post could be outdated shortly after it’s posted. We’ll see what happens tomorrow. Only 1 more day until HBO Max launch!

May 20 is Roku #NationalStreamingDay + List of 2020 National Days

Roku celebrating May 20 – National Streaming Day

There’s a critical “r” there, it’s not National Steaming day.

Getting challenging to keep up with all the National Days, but my personal favorite entertainment-related one — at least that I know about — is May 11 – National Twilight Zone Day (see: FIRST LOOK: The Twilight Zone (2020) Season 2 – CBS All Access June 25)

So, today – May 20 – I learned it was National Streaming Day thanks to the Roku background image (pictured top). Should I feel out of touch for not realizing this day has existed for the last 6 years?

Saratoga Mayor Emily Lo will today bestow the proclamation of “Streaming Day” at the Roku headquarters. As part of the commencement Roku invites TV industry and consumers to forever celebrate May 20 as National Streaming Day #nationalstreamingday.

Roku Establishes National Streaming Day | Business Wire

As the press release linked above indicates, Roku originally launched on May 20, 2008 in Saratoga, California. Here we are some 12+ years later and despite having a city name this a National Day in the company’s honor, they don’t even have an established page on the Roku website celebrating this day.

But they do change our background image to raise our awareness, I guess.

We likely won’t see Amazon, Netflix, Google, etc celebrating a day that focuses on promoting Roku’s business birthdate. This is just another example of how competitive and insular is the streaming marketplace. They all want our attention, viewing time, interest, engagement and, too bad, we can only interact with one at a time.

Hats off to Saratoga for declaring an official National Streaming Day, but since every year only has 365 days, one can’t help but wonder when we’ll all grow fatigued of too many national days?

(or is it just a very creative way of spending the year?)

May 20 is shared by other National Days like … National Quiche Lorraine Day, National Be A Millionaire Day and, every dog lover’s favorite: National Rescue Dog Day.

NationalDayCalendar.com tracks 1,500+ National Days

2020 Entertainment-related National Days

I went through month by month, just so you don’t have to, and picked out all National Days that were entertainment-related. I threw in a few well-known holidays and some quirky, unusual and/or creative days:

  • January
    • January 1
      • New Year’s Day
      • Hangover Day
    • January 2 – Science Fiction Day
    • January 5 – Screenwriters Day
    • January 6 – Technology Day
    • January 19 – Popcorn Day
    • January 20 – Martin Luther King’s Day – third Monday in January
    • January 21 – National Hugging Day
    • January 26 – Spouses Day
    • January 31 – Inspire Your Heart With Art
  • February
    • February 7 – Send A Card To A Friend Day
    • February 8 – Global Movie Daysecond Saturday in February
    • February 14 – Valentine’s Day
    • February 16 – Do A Grouch A Favor Day
    • February 17 – Random Acts of Kindness Day
    • February 26 – Tell A Fairy Tale Day
    • February 28 – Tooth Fairy Day
  • March
    • March 2 – Read Across America Day (Dr. Seuss Day)
    • March 3 – I want You To Be Happy Day
    • March 13 – Blame Someone Else Day – first Friday the 13th of the year
    • March 14 – Write Down Your Story Day
    • March 15 – Everything You Think Is Wrong Day
    • March 16 – Everything You Do Is Right Day
    • March 17
      • St. Patrick’s Day
      • 3-D Day – third day of the third full week
    • March 18 – Awkward Moments
    • March 28 – Weed Appreciation Day
    • March 30 – I Am In Control Day
  • April
    • April 1 – April Fools Day
    • April 2 – Reconciliation Day
    • April 3 – Film Score Day
    • April 6 – Caramel Popcorn Day
    • April 9 – Name Yourself Day
    • April 10 – Encourage A Young Writer Day
    • April 14 – Reach As High As You Can Day
    • April 15 – Titanic Remembrance Day
    • April 22 – Bookmobile Day
    • April 27 – Tell A Story Day
  • May
    • May 2 – Free Comic Book Day – first Saturday in May
    • May 4 – Star Wars Day
    • May 11 – Twilight Zone Day
    • May 20 – Streaming Day (Roku birthday May 20, 2008)
    • May 24 – Scavenger Hunt Day
    • May 30 – Creativity Day
  • June
    • June 1 – Say Something Nice Day
    • June 8 – Name Your Poison Day
    • June 9 – Donald Duck Day
    • June 11 – Make Life Beautiful Day
    • June 12 – Loving Day
    • June 19 – Garfield The Cat Day
    • June 21
      • Selfie Day
      • Father’s Day – third Sunday in June
    • June 28 – Paul Bunyon Day
    • June 30 – Social Media Day
  • July
    • July 4 – Independence Day (USA)
    • July 14 – Nude Day
    • July 15 – Give Something Away Day
    • July 16 – Get To Know Your Customers Day
    • July 23 – Gorgeous Grandma Day
    • July 27 – Love Is Kind Day
  • August
    • August 4 – Night Out Day – first Tuesday in August
    • August 8 – Dollar Day
    • August 9 – Book Lovers Day
    • August 12 – Vinyl Record Day
    • August 16 – Tell A Joke Day
    • August 17 – Nonprofit Day
    • August 20 – Radio Day
    • August 22 – Tooth Fairy’s Day
    • August 25 – Kiss and Make Up Day
    • August 26 – Webmistress Day
    • August 27 – Just Because Day
    • August 28 – Power Rangers Day
  • September
    • September 5 – Be Late For Something Day
    • September 6 – Read A book Day
    • September 7 – Labor Day – first Monday in September
    • September 8 – Ampersand Day
    • September 9 – Care Bears Share Your Care Day
    • September 10
      • Swap Ideas Day
      • TV Dinner Day
    • September 11 – Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance
    • September 12
      • Videogames Day
      • Programmers Day – 256th day of the year
    • September 19 – Talk Like A Pirate Day (ar!)
    • September 24 – Punctuation Day
    • September 25 – Comic Book Day
    • September 26 – Ghost Hunting Day
  • October
    • October 6 – Mad Hatter Day
    • October 13
      • Train Your Brain Day
      • No Bra Day
    • October 15 – I Love Lucy Day
    • October 23 – TV Show Talk Host Day (Johnny Carson’s birthday)
    • October 24 – Make A Difference Day – fourth Saturday in October
    • October 25 – Chucky The Notorious Killer Doll Day
    • October 26 – Financial Crime Fighter Day
    • October 30 – Frankenstein Fridaylast Friday in October
    • October 31
      • Halloween
      • Trick or Treat Day – last Saturday in October
  • November
    • November 1 – Authors Day
    • November 4 – Stress Awareness Day
    • November 10 – Forget Me Not Day
    • November 11 – Veteran’s Day
    • November 20 – Absurdity Day
    • November 25 – Jukebox Day
    • November 26 – Thanksgiving
    • November 27
      • Black Friday
      • Buy Nothing Day
      • Day Of Listening
      • You’re WelcomeGiving Day
    • November 29 – Electronic Greetings Day
    • November 30 – Cyber Monday – Monday after Thanksgiving
  • December
    • December 1 – Day Of Giving #GivingTuesday – Tuesday following Cyber Monday
    • December 5 – International Ninja Day
    • December 7 – Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
    • December 8 – Pretend To Be A Time Traveler Day
    • December 11 – App Day
    • December 17 – National Re-Gifting Day
    • December 18 – Answer The Phone Like Buddy The Elf Day
    • December 21 – Homeless Persons’ Remembrance Day
    • December 25 – Christmas
    • December 26 – Whiner’s Day
    • December 28 – Short Film Day
    • December 31
      • New Year’s Eve
      • Make Up Your Mind Day

What National Days do you celebrate?

I know, I know, when keeping track of days beyond the obvious: family and friends birthdays, holidays (businesses aside of course) who has the time or energy to remember or care about (insert day), right?

How To Use Your Phone as a Roku Remote with Clickable Movie and TV links in Reelgood App

For those using Roku-enabled TV or a Roku device and multiple streaming services, you might want to check this out. The price is right — FREE.

The Reelgood app has been updated with a new feature that allows users to two- or three- click movies and TV shows on streaming services you have through Roku to play on the TV. Using your phone as a remote isn’t an entirely new idea and at first I thought it might be kind of lame. I mean, why not just pick up the remote and use that?

However, after using the function for a few days, it is real world useful functionality. It makes your phone an interactive remote + streaming guide, something I’ve been hoping somebody would develop for some time. I wrote about the need for a Master Streaming Guide, see: November 2019 – 14 Movies Coming To Shudder and Is There A Master Streaming Guide?

The Reelgood app — FREE — available at Google Play store includes a useful Roku remote

Reelgood the website needs this feature. It would be cool to find something on my laptop and then click and it just plays on the TV, but for some reason (?) the feature on the Reelgood app is not available on the website. Maybe the Reelgood team will add this in the future.

Here is how the Roku remote looks in the phone. If you pick up the remote — or tend to misplace the remote (don’t laugh, it happens when you get older especially! lol). This saves a practical step of putting down the phone and picking up the remote when you already have a virtual remote in your phone courtesy of this app.

Now, the process is described as “one click” but there is a bit more to that, particularly if the same movie or TV show appears on multiple channels. Here’s how it works:

  1. Find movie or TV you want to watch
  2. Click on the service it’s on
  3. Click on the Roku connection
  4. Your TV will autoplay the selected title

So, yeah, it’s essentially two additional clicks than just using your remote and navigating around the Roku menu with your existing remote. I like the Reelgood app for how it blends all the services you already subscribe to into one endless scroll screen. Just keep scrolling down, find the movie or TV show you want to watch and click. The Reelgood app also displays the IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes scores for each title.

All in all, I’m keeping and using this app as a way to help find what to watch next.

You can download the free Reelgood app in the Google Play store.