Next TV appreciates Black Friday for its brutal, black-hearted honesty — it’s not trying to sell itself as a holiday themed around tradition, family, giving, good food, compassion and spirituality.
It is what it is — all id, consumerism and late-stage capitalism.
And this year, we're in. Not all in. But in enough to find five great deals on streaming gadgets and services, befitting the busy, modern media consumer.
How about a little more digital storage for all those streaming apps? How about a little more processing power for all that 4K you've been streaming? How about a little break on that monthly subscriptions bill, that now exceeds what you were shelling out for pay TV in the first place?
Just close your eyes. Give them your credit card number. The expiration date. The three-digit code on the back of the card. And your address. They'll ship it out to you nice in an oversized cardboard box, full of packing materials that will be around long after you're gone. Hopefully, your big shopping prize doesn't get swiped at your front door before you can claim it.
Happy Black Friday!
Apple TV 4K (2nd Generation, 2021 Edition, 32GB Model) - $80
In May 2021, Apple released the first major refresh in four years for its pricey Apple TV 4K device, capturing rave reviews from tech pubs.
The second-generation Apple TV 4K included a Siri remote lauded for its elegance and ease-of-use, a powerful A12 Bionic semiconductor and digital storage allotments (32 gigabyte and 64GB models) that are four times more spacious than the average streaming device.
The problem with the Cadillac of Streaming Gadgets has always been the price, with the MSRP for the base 32GB model coming in at $180.
Apple reduced that hurdle quite a bit in October, with the introduction of the third-generation Apple TV 4K -- priced at $129, it delivers 50% faster processing speed than the Gen-2 model, using 30% less electrical power, via an A15 Bionic chip. It supports HDR10+, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital 7.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, and it includes the more popular USB-C charging interface. Notably, the base model includes 64GB of storage.
Still, the second-gen 32GB Apple TV 4K device remains more robust than 99% of the streaming devices on the market today.
Roku Ultra 2022 - $70
Back in May, Roku started bundling its high-end Ultra streaming box with its rechargeable Roku Voice Remote Pro for $99.99.
Introduced as a standalone accessory two years, Next TV has enjoyed the Voice Remote Pro simply because of the USB-C charging capability. Previously, the device would get stuck in the couch cushions, or our untrainable, lazy but sweet lab/pitbull Bohdi would lie on top of it. The buttons would get inadvertently activated. And we'd have to keep replacing AAA batteries.
As for Roku's latest Ultra device, it's equipped with a quad-core processor, 4GB of SSD storage (spacious by Roku standards), Dolby Vision, 4K, HDR10+ and Dolby Atmos support, as well as the most primo Wi-Fi reception tech you can get from Roku.
This Black Friday, you can find this bundle on Amazon for $70 (opens in new tab) with free Prime shipping, a 30% savings.
Samsung 85-Inch Class 4K Crystal UHD Smart TV - $997
When it comes to Black Friday, let's just say the ol' North America-based B2B division of Future PLC, home of Next TV, merely dabbles in the business. It's our sister pubs in the U.K., including Tom's Guide, that have the real search authority here, laying out dozens of great purchase options for, just for the smart TV category alone.
Visiting Tom's Guide this morning, one item caught our eye — the Samsung 85-inch Class 4K Crystal UHD smart TV, powered by the Tizen TVOS, available on Walmart.com today (opens in new tab) for $998.
Samsung is a prestige manufacturer — even its lower-priced sets have outstanding picture quality. And you'll be hard-pressed to find a better deal on such a large 4K display.
Hulu (Basic with Ads) - $1.99 a Month for a Year
Just departed Disney CEO Bob Chapek has certainly taken his lumps this week, but we here at Next TV have had fine respect for his overall streaming strategy, unsustainably high as it might have ultimately been for shareholders and the Disney board.
This included the difficult-to-get-right tonal differentiation between Hulu and Disney Plus. This year in particular, we've enjoyed a steady diet of adult-targeted, limited-series biographical dramas on Hulu — Dopesick, Under the Banner of Heaven, Pam & Tommy, Pistol, The Dropout, Mike.
The acting in dark miniseries including The Old Man and The Patient was best-in-class, as were the comedic performances in the second season of Only Murders in the Building. (And we haven't yet watched The Handmaid's Tale, which says nothing good about us.)
We also tuned into Legacy: The True Story of the L.A. Lakers just to see how many times Jeanie Buss started sentences with, "My dad always..."
Suffice it to say, we've gotten just about as much value out of our Hulu subscription as we have those more expensive Netflix or HBO Max monthly bills.
For Black Friday, Hulu is offering (opens in new tab) its $7.99 base service, for $1.99 a month for 12 months. You have to watch some advertising. And it doesn't look like the deal carries into the Disney Bundle.
But this is a heck of a price for a streaming service that always seems to have the goods. Hopefully, Bob Iger does nothing to change that.
HBO Max (with Ads) - $1.99 a Month for Three Months
As Next TV feels the bite of global inflation and bad career choices, we're finding fewer and fewer reasons to pay $14.99 a month for HBO Max in the David Zaslav era.
Zaslav has told us what he's ditching from the HBO Max for tax write-offs and arms dealership are shows we won't miss. But we do seem to notice that endless well of new series hits that debuted all throughout 2021 — Hacks, Mare of Easttown, The White Lotus — has suddenly run a little dry. (Although, we're currently enjoying season 2 of The White Lotus.)
Sure, we could try to economize with the advertising-subsidized $9.99 HBO Max tier ... and risk the wrath of the commercial-loathing Mrs. Next TV, and her brutal, profanity fueled tirades that often wake the neighbors and might even provide Susie Essman with character notes. (What can we say? We married strong.)
But with HBO Max offering its ad tier at $1.99 a month for three months (opens in new tab)? Shoooot. We might have to consider living in the doghouse for a while.
Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!
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