Cynthia cut the cord for a Roku about eight months ago. Now everything has stopped working and she has to pay to turn it back on. Rich says that Cynthia may have been bit by a phishing scam. He suggests having the credit card company charge it back. She shouldn't have to pay to reauthorize the box. She'll pay for the subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, HBO, etc. But not for the box itself since she already bought it. Then she should do a factory reset on the Roku. That will make it work like the first day she bought it. She should try to watch out for scams in the future.
Rich says that the most popular question he gets these days is on how to cut the cord and get rid of your cable or satellite connection. That shows a serious trend — 22 million cord cutters and 34 million "cord nevers." But it's also far more complicated and you really don't save any money by doing it. Live and local channels is also still a challenge, and there are multiple services:
John has cut the cord and he's having trouble streaming live sports with an over-the-air antenna. He says that the antenna plugged into the TV is ideal, but the HDHomeRun and Tablo have issues. That points to the culprit, then. Leo says LCDs have issues with live movement and a higher refresh rate will smooth that out. John should look for a higher frame rate in his TV's settings.
Wally recently bought a Tesla Model X. It's a great car, but he can't get AM radio. Leo says that electric motors in the car generate too much interference, according to Tesla. But Leo doesn't buy that since the Model S has an AM radio. It also has streaming radio through the car's LTE connection and he can listen to TWiT's live stream before the radio station even gets it. It's on TuneIn. He could also connect his iPhone via Bluetooth and stream iHeartRadio.
Steve can't seem to get his Amazon Fire Stick to work on his TV, but it works fine in his other TV. Leo says that the older TV may not have the latest HDMI standard and so the Fire Stick can't "handshake" with the TV. There could be a firmware update to his TV, so he should look into that. He could also try unplugging his TV, let it set for a minute, then plug in his Fire Stick and turn it back on. That way it could handshake from scratch. The other issue may be copy protection. If his TV is old enough that it isn't HDCP compliant, it could be that the Fire Stick won't support it.
Jennifer is retired and doesn't want to pay for cable, so she has an antenna. She wants a few cable channels, though. Leo says she may be able to stream those channels online through her internet access. Leo recommends streaming from the cable channel website, or use a streaming box like the Roku Express. It's cheap. She should also check out tvfool.com for how to point her antenna to get the most channels.
Scott joins us with news that Apple is going to invest a billion dollars into original programming, having hired away several executives from Sony and WGN Cable. Facebook is also getting into their own original programming, and of course YouTube has YouTube Red and is offering their own live TV streaming service. Netflix is also going to spend upwards of seven billion, making it larger than HBO. Disney is also leaving Netflix to start their own streaming service(s) as well. So the streaming industry has blown up in the last few months.
Dem has cable and he's been having a lot of digital artifacting and distortion. Could that be due to living too close to a cell tower? Leo says maybe, but then again, it could just be a software issue. He should try rebooting his box, check his connections, all of the things he can do himself. If he's still having that issue, then he can look to his cable company.
Dan can't get her Apple TV to wake up. Leo says she'll have to use the remote to wake up. If that doesn't work, there is a reset button that she can enable in the settings that will wipe the memory and then reboot it. That could help.
Tamar has an Amazon Echo Dot. She'll be listening to streaming radio and then it will just stop working. Leo says that he's had the same problem and it could be that it hears the word stop and stops. But it could also be that the stream stalls and the Echo gives up. Leo discovered that when he used the Echo Show and could see the error message. When a stream stops, it could be a random stop of the stream to force it to restart. This is largely due to having to pay royalties for music that they play. But if it's stopping suddenly and after just a few minutes, then that's not normal.