This week, Peacock officially landed on Roku following a weekend’s worth of developments and Sling TV unveiled a Watch Party feature. We’re also rapidly approaching the holiday season, and more companies are starting to share their plans for what could be a busy shopping season. Case in point: Amazon hosted an online showcase this week where we learned about its brand-new Fire TV Stick models. Elsewhere, updated images on Sony’s website gave us our first glimpse at four of the streaming services that will be available on the upcoming PlayStation 5 game console.
Here are some of the top streaming stories from the past week.
Peacock Officially Lands on Roku
As you might have heard by now, NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service is finally available on Roku’s platform. This story actually started developing late on Friday of last week and our very own Jess followed the developments closely as NBCUniversal and Roku seemed to be on the verge of a deal.
Last week, we reported that an agreement had been reached, and that Peacock would be part of that new deal. After that, we got word that indeed, Peacock would be coming to the platform at some point in the future. First, we heard it was going to arrive “in the coming weeks.”
But as the weekend rolled on, we started hearing that the app was already available on Roku if you knew where to look. And then by Monday, Roku officially confirmed that the app was indeed officially available.
Amazon’s Got Some New Fire TV Gear
Amazon hosted a virtual event on Thursday to showcase its upcoming lineup of devices across a number of product lines. Chief among those products are its Fire TV devices and the company shared two new updates to the line.
The latest Fire TV updates include a new Fire TV Stick, that’s the non-4K model — to be clear. Amazon says this new model is 50 percent faster than its predecessor and features a new low-power mode to reduce energy consumption. That one retails for $39.99 and will start shipping around September 30th.
Amazon also confirmed a rumored new entry in the lineup, the Fire TV Stick Lite, and it slots in under the new Fire TV Stick. This one also sports better performance than the last Fire TV Stick, but misses out on a couple features, including some key remote control options like a dedicated power button or volume controls. That new Fire TV Stick Lite will retail for $29.99 and will also start shipping starting on the 30th.
Amazon’s Also Updating its Fire TV Menus
Amazon also announced some updates to the Fire TV menus and interface at this week’s online showcase. The new look should offer up more customization and personalization options for Fire TV users. On the main menu, you’ll be able to scroll through different apps and see previews of content. You can also customize things by pinning your favorite apps to make accessing them easier and faster.
These new menus support up to six individual profiles, each with their own personalization options, watch lists, and more. And kids profiles will have access to family-friendly, age-appropriate content as well. On top of all that, Amazon’s making Alexa a little more helpful as well, enabling new voice controls, including the ability to switch to your profile by asking Alexa.
The new Fire TV devices should come equipped with the new interface and it’ll be coming to other devices in the Fire TV lineup in the coming weeks and months.
Sling Wants You to Throw a Watch Party
Sling announced it’s trying out a new feature that will allow users in different locations to enjoy the same movie or show together. We’ve seen variations on this virtual group watch feature pop up at other services over the past few months, as companies look to capitalize on the stay-at-home and social distancing behaviors. In Sling’s case, the company is calling its take on the feature Sling Watch Party and it allows subscribers to share their viewing experience with up to three other users.
The feature works with both live and on demand content on the company’s Sling Orange, Sling Blue, Sling Latino, and Sling International plans and each participant can control their own video camera, volume and more. You’ll be able to chat with both text and video.
We Now Know of Four Streaming Services Definitely Coming to PlayStation 5
We got our first hint of streaming service support on next-gen consoles thanks to some updated info on Sony’s product pages. Specifically the PlayStation 5’s media remote was shown off weeks ago with four unlabeled buttons that we assumed at the time would be dedicated launch buttons for specific streaming services. And this week, Sony updated its product pages to showcase exactly which services those would be.
The $29.99 media remote will offer direct access to Disney+, Netflix, Spotfiy, and YouTube. Of course, it’s highly likely the PS5 will support a bit more than four streaming and entertainment services, but it is interesting to see who gets top billing on a first-party accessory.
What’s the latest on the industry?
Showtime’s Staying Separate from the Upcoming Paramount+ Service
We’re still learning more about the upcoming revamp of CBS All Access, soon to be known as Paramount+. And in addition to what’s coming to the service, we’re hearing more about what’s probably not coming and that includes Showtime.
Apparently, Showtime has seen enough strong growth in recent months, especially during the pandemic, that parent company ViacomCBS is opting to keep the streaming service separate from the upcoming Paramount+. In fact, ViacomCBS’ Bob Bakish describes Showtime’s streaming offering as “strong enough to stand on its own.”
Quibi Might Be Looking at Merging or Maybe Even Selling
By now, we’ve all heard about Quibi’s struggles, including a rough start that was made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic and its difficulties in growing a subscriber base.
And this week, we’ve started hearing reports that the company is exploring some strategic options. Some of those options, according to the Wall Street Journal, include raising more funding and possibly exploring some sort of merger deal with a special-purpose acquisition company.
Save some cash with this week’s latest deals.
Get Discounts on Philo Service Through Best Buy
Live TV streaming service Philo announced a new partnership with Best Buy that could net new subscribers some solid discounts on service. You can either score a free first month with a qualifying purchase, or get half off your first bill if you sign up through the retailer.