Friday, August 26, 2016

Streaming Video Power Rankings: Week 22

Welcome back to the weekly power rankings. As a reminder, the list is based on a combination of buzz, news, my own personal watching, my own personal whims, and the position of Mars in the nighttime sky. I tend to judge most streaming video channels by how they perform on Roku.

Slow week, and next week will be more exciting when many channels get their September adds, but I'm sure I'll find something to say:

1) MLB TV: Folks, if I am being honest, the Pirates had games all week, and I watched very little else. A word of praise for this excellent service: I rarely have buffering issues, there are plenty of useful options, and it's just great to be able to watch all the games on the Roku (other than the ones blocked by inane MLB blackout rules). Contrast this with the NFL, which once again took down its Roku channel and is promising something by the beginning of the season...when we will not be able to watch live games. Right now, though, there is nothing--no highlights, no season previews, no NFL Network clips...nothing.

2) Netflix: I could make a wise-ass remark about the new Jeff Foxworthy/Larry the Cable Guy special, but instead I will cite it as another example of the broad array of entertainment Netflix is offering. I'll make my wise-ass remarks offline.

Actually, Netflix made a ton of announcements this week. Some of it sounds kind of intriguing, some doesn't appeal to me at all, but the company does a good job of creating the perception that there is always something going on and always something coming.

3) Hulu: Added a "bonus poop" portion to last week's successful Triumph Election Special, and I'm man enough to admit I can giggle like a kid when I see that.  I'm finally finishing 11/22/63, and it's amazing how--what's the word--likeable James Franco is in it. Hulu is making some announcements, too, but it seems to be focusing on its cable alternative package than on catalog acquisitions. Next week is gonna be rough as more people start realizing all the CW shows are leaving in September.

4) YouTube: The Roku version made yet another change in its interface--a minor one, but still.  Stop fussing with yourself, YouTube. You look fine. We're already 15 minutes late, so can you just finish getting ready so we can go?

5) Crackle: Slides down two spots, despite the continued presence of "Grady," because even though the service continues to not crash my Roku, the constant commercials are starting to wear on me.

6) Pub-D-Hub: I enjoyed a solid episode of the old Kate Smith show featuring a Grand Ole Opry segment. Yep, I love this channel.

7) Shout! Factory TV: I love how on the second appearance of Ray Charles, he is only the second guest, following Mayor John Lindsey. Shout! is really cranking out these Cavett episodes, adding a "Directors" category. I hope it has a little bit more in store for September, but I love the continued rollout of this series.

8) My Retro Flix: Unusual Roku channel of unknown origin with a fantastic selection of public domain and (a surprising number of) studio classics. Is it licensed? Who knows, but I suggest you check it out while you can.

9) Dumont Days: I didn't get much chance to enjoy Dumont Days this week, but I promise to do better soon.

10) Watch TCM: I'm tempted to stop ranking this since, being unavailable on Roku, it often slips from my radar. Plus, as great as the selection is, the movies all disappear after a week. Yet, man, so many great things to watch right now if you're lucky enough to be authenticated and can tolerate watching them on your laptop or whatever.

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