September News 2023 | Streaming subscriptions

As cable TV is so expensive and I object to paying for the privilege of watching 20 minutes of adverts an hour. Back in 2018, streaming subscriptions seemed like a winning way to watch advert free content while simultaneously saving money.

So over the years I have built up a substantial collection of streaming subscriptions that include; iPlayer, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney + Apple TV and Paramount Plus. However once the initial novelty of a new streaming service wore off. I have been left with this nagging feeling that most of the services I subscribed to, are going unwatched.

This suspicion was confirmed when I decided to check the internet traffic on my router. As I own a Unify Dream Machine Pro. It is possible to monitor the amount of data being used by each streaming service. So I discovered that while Netflix and Prime Video were being used the most. Disney +, Paramount Plus and Apple TV were only being watched sporadically or not at all.

Is the Stream service landscape changing?

Originally when streaming services started in the UK, we only had Netflix or Prime Video. So with little competition, these streaming services were able to offer a wealth of old and new content to binge watch. However realising that money can be made from streaming videos. The major Hollywood movie studios decided to enter the streaming market. Which lead to both Netflix and Prime Video losing content, and forced them to start making their own.

While in theory more choice should be better for us as consumers. Instead the same content has just been spread out over multiple services. So rather than being able to find something to watch on just a few streaming services. Now if you want to see Reacher you have to use Prime. If you fancy seeing Bridgerton you have to use Netflix, and if you want to watch Marvel you have to own Disney Plus. So it was interesting to read in an article for CNBC, that the streaming wars are over.

While this statement was based on declining subscription numbers for Disney +. The article goes on to mention that while smaller streaming services have benefited from Disneys losses. Most streaming services are not profitable, and many including Disney have begun the process of cutting costs. So if this is true and streaming services are in decline, what can we do about it.

So what do we do?

Let’s be honest, money is tight for everyone at the moment. So it makes sense to review which streaming services we have, and cancel any that are not good value for money. So in my household we currently subscribe to Netflix, Apple TV, Disney +, Prime Video, iPlayer and Paramount Plus. However what’s interesting, is that of all these streaming services, it is YouTube that is most watched.

So we have decided to cancel Apple TV, Disney and Paramount Plus. However, we will be keeping BBC iPlayer and Prime Video as they are streaming services included in the price of other services (iPlayer is included as part of a UK television license and Prime Video is included with Amazon Prime’s delivery services). Then going forward we will only use one streaming subscription service, which based on hours watched, will be Netflix.

An alternative option we considered, was to swap subscriptions on a monthly basis between streaming services. While this would in theory create a situation, where we could binge watch all of our favourite content. Then at the end of the month jump to a different subscription service. It was felt that this model would be too complicated to implement, and cause too many arguments. So as a compromise for the shows we liked but would no longer had access to. We are going to return to physical media.

A return to physical media

It has not escaped our notice that both Amazon and Paramount have been releasing their exclusive streaming content on DVD and Blu-Ray. So while we will have to wait in order to catch up with Strange New Worlds, or The Boys. We can still watch them. So having also just heard that Disney + will be releasing its content to DVD and Blu-ray. We can either start buying physical media again, or revert to a DVD rental service. Yes they still exist, with CafeDVD in the US, or Cinema Paradiso in the UK.

Due to the advent of catchup TV, society no longer watches TV together. This means there is no imperative to watch something as soon as it is released. So by returning to physical media, not only do we get to see our favourite shows. After watching the content, we also have the option to sell the disc and recoup some money. Something you can’t do with a streaming service.

Finally, in regards to the space that physical media takes up. If you own some sort of network attached storage, like a Synology NAS. Then you can create your own media server and store your discs in your loft. However as it is illegal to rip discs in the UK, you need to check if its legal to rip media from discs in your country.

Posting to the Website and YouTube

Continuing our series on using an Apple iPad with a Synology NAS. We will be taking a look at how you find a website’s IP address on a iPad. While this is a terminal command, so we will be using a-Shell. This tip can be useful when configuring a Synology NAS running DNS server.

As we all now use tabs when browsing the internet. More than likely you will have accidentally deleted a tab you are using. Luckily in macOS, Windows and Chrome OS there is a way to quickly restore a recently closed tab. So for the rest of this month, we will be releasing videos that demonstrate how you can restore a closed tab in each of these operating systems.

Finally at the end of the month we will be releasing the next video in our Beginners Guide to setting up a Synology NAS. For this video we will look specifically at creating Groups and permissions on our NAS. This is in preparation for the next video in this series, were we create user accounts that can access our network shares.

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