Streaming Service News: Odds and Ends

The streaming news this week is filled with odds and ends. For example, did you know that some PBS stations are dropping TV to become streaming service providers? It’s true, and this is just one of the many interesting things to note about this week in streaming. Do you want to know more about the latest developments among these streaming service providers? Then you need to keep reading!

Some PBS Stations Going Streaming-Only

After being a staple of local TV for decades, it’s odd to think of PBS stations no longer being available on the airwaves. Despite my nostalgia, it looks like some PBS stations are leaving traditional TV behind to offer their programming exclusively through video streaming.

At least two PBS stations are choosing to switch their formats to a streaming-only service. These decisions came after each station sold its bandwidth to cellphone providers. After looking at the costs involved with moving to a new channel number, these PBS stations opted to become streaming service providers instead. These station will become Passport streaming services, which loses local shows, but gives subscribers access to PBS programming.

Here are at least two PBS stations that are transitioning into a Passport streaming service:

  1. KNCT, formerly Channel 46, in Waco-Killeen-Temple, Texas TV market.
  2. WCMZ, formerly Channel 28, in the Flint-Saginaw-Bay City, Michigan media market.

In both cases, the costs of moving to another channel number was the deciding factor for both PBS station executives to transition into streaming-only channels. Only time will tell if more PBS stations go the same route.

Survey: Amazon Catching Up to Netflix

Netflix is still the top dog, but Amazon is nipping at the streaming service provider’s big red heels. Our friends over at Cord Cutters News conducted their Spring 2018 survey of more than 2,500 readers. The online magazine asked its readers what streaming services they used. It was no surprise that Netflix was the gold medal winner. Amazon was the silver, and standard YouTube, of all players, took the bronze.

Here a closer look at the actual percentages of streaming services used by Cord Cutters News readers. (Note: It’s not uncommon for viewers to subscribe to more than one streaming service provider.)

  • Netflix: 78.8 percent
  • Amazon: 73.8
  • YouTube (standard): 41.8 percent
  • Hulu: 40.6 percent
  • CBS All Access: 15.4 percent
  • Google Play: 11.2 percent
  • iTunes: 10.5 percent
  • HBO NOW: 8.2 percent
  • Showtime: 7.5 percent
  • Vudu: 0.5 percent

How do this spring’s numbers for the “top four” compare to the results of last spring’s survey? Take a look:

  • Netflix: 77.4 percent
  • Amazon: 72.9 percent
  • YouTube (standard): 47.4 percent
  • Hulu: 40.2 percent

While last spring’s top four were the same as this year’s, increases in viewership numbers were pretty much across the board. YouTube was the only streaming service provider that showed a slight dip (6.4 percent) this year over last. Many things can be reason for this, including a possible influx of viewers switching over to YouTube TV. Based on information from all surveys, it’s not unreasonable to believe that this fluctuation is the result of a number of factors.

YouTube Testing Picture-in-Picture for Desktops, Laptops

Desktop and laptop YouTube viewers might be getting picture-in-picture technology soon. We just don’t know exactly which YouTube users will get this technology nor when it’s expected to be made available. There’s no way of knowing if this new function, once it’s completed, will be restricted to YouTube Red accounts or note. All we’ve heard is that YouTube is testing these picture-in-picture capabilities.

YouTube’s picture-in-picture technology is already available for mobile devices. It allows users to watch a video on their phones or tablets while browsing YouTube. (Facebook has a similar function that allows users to watch a video while scrolling through their newsfeeds.) Google also recently introduced a new dark blue background theme for mobile devices. This lets users exchange the white background for the new blue one.

In an ideal world, Google will make its picture-in-picture technology available to all YouTube accounts. And the company would do this as soon as possible. These wishes are based in an ideal world, though. Needless to say, I’m probably one of many YouTube users who’s hoping Google will make this technology available to everyone, much like Facebook has.

The Best Streaming News Source!

When it comes to new from the streaming service providers, you never know what you’re going to get. While this concludes this particular installment, it is not the end of our streaming services coverage. Solid Signal continues to keep its eyes on changes, improvements, and advancements among all the streaming service providers. When there’s something to report, we’ll be happy to do so right here. Until then, keep streaming, streamers!