Saturday, July 16, 2016

Streaming Video Power Rankings: Week 16

I know, I know. If I get any later with these, my week 17 is gonna come out after my week 18. Let's get to it:

1) Netflix: All the buzz is with Netflix this week: "Stranger Things" debuts to some good reviews. "Word Party," a Jim Henson Company production for the preschool set, is also new. Netflix launched some kind of weird mixtape emulator thingy called Flixtape (Jury is out on the execution, but the concept of enabling users to share lists of titles is promising). Perhaps best of all, Netflix calmed anyone who was worried by the somewhat breathless coverage of a recent court ruling ("Sharing Netflix passwords can be a federal crime!") by saying we could (Netflix and) chill as long as we don't sell it.

Say what you will about how the company is spending its development money--and I will say the new Chuck Lorre pot comedy sounds like an atrocious waste of my subscription fees (I ain't a free rider)--but this is not an outfit taking it easy. It's a good week for Netflix.

2) Warner Archive Instant: I'm basically using WAI to rotate between 3 different TV shows, but they are all so entertaining, I am getting my money's worth, though I will likely not renew next week. WAI did something sneaky this week. The number of recently added titles changed, and I got excited thinking they really added something, but they just cleaned up the list by deleting a bunch of movies they added last month.

3) Pub-D-Hub: Last week's update included an episode of one of my all-time favorite obscure shows, "It's a Great Life"--an episode with Sheldon Leonard, no less. That's enough to earn a high spot in a slow week.

4) Hulu: All the buzz is elsewhere lately. What did Hulu add this week? "Difficult People"? "East Los High"? "Billy on the Street"?

5) Amazon Prime: Prime Day was a big deal, but it didn't have much impact on Prime Video.

6) YouTube: When I see news of big-shot musicians "going after" YouTube, it makes me want to support YouTube.

7) Shout Factory TV: "Black Omnibus" kicks ass, and it's a real treat to see it on here. I wonder how many people are even aware it's streaming for free.

8) SeeSo: My trial period ended, and I did not renew, but I will miss having it. One of my dozens of posts I want to get around to writing is a review of the service.

9) Pluto TV: Aggregator of live streams with a selection that is much lower on Roku. It still offers the chance to flip between various news feeds, and while many of them are as worthless as much of what I get on cable TV, it is nice to have some kind of live news presence on Roku. That's one thing lacking for cord cutters.

10) Soulscreen: A new Roku channel offering a bunch of old public domain movies with "African-American" themes. Yeah, you can get all of it elsewhere, and it's no frills, but it's free, and I haven't seen a free service with this kind of focus before.

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