Ads on HBO! Nix to shared Netflix.

And Apple kills the HomePod

Happy Daylight Savings and welcome to a quick bite weekend tech news update.

Ads on HBO

That one got me this week. HBO Max, the relatively new streaming subscription service from AT&T hasn’t gotten much traction, despite the heavy push from the company and the unprecedented decision to debut first-run films like Wonder Woman 1984 and the upcoming Godzilla Vs. Kong day and date with theaters.

But at $15 monthly, “it turns out that most people on this planet are not wealthy,” Jason Killar, the CEO of AT&T’s Warner Media told an interviewer.

So in June, there will be a cheaper, ad-supported version of HBO Max, I’m guessing at $5-$10 monthly. You won’t get to see the first-run films, and HBO classics like “Sex and the City,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and “Succession,” won’t have ads in them, only shows designed to have commercial breaks.

No word from AT&T about what exactly will be available for viewing, and how ad-supported HBO will be different from the HBO cable channel so many people already subscribe to.

What AT&T is doing is bringing pricing similar to Hulu, Paramount Plus and other streamers, which offer ad-free and ad-supported versions.

I’m all for lower subscriptions costs, but somehow with all the caveats this idea seems half-baked.

Apple kills the HomePod

Stop me if I’m wrong, but I’m guessing you don’t even know what the HomePod is. It’s the talking speaker Apple introduced in 2019 to take on Amazon and Google popular priced speakers. Sales were a dud, you barely saw the speaker at Apple Stores, and now Apple announced this weekend the product is now discontinued.

Originally priced at $349, then discounted to $299, the HomePod didn’t offer much Siri functionality, and the sound was good, but not incredible. At the end of 2020, Apple introduced the consumer priced $99 HomePod Mini, which offers decent sound and better Siri functionality.

No one will miss the bigger HomePod, and if you want improved sound from a talking speaker, the latest Amazon Echo (4th generation) is a better bet.

Netflix down on shared passwords

The top subscription service, with over 200 million subscribers, revealed that it is testing technology to crack down on people who share passwords to save on the monthly charge.

You know what this means: if it works, competitors will join in. The shared subscription gravy train could be over.

Original Programming coming to Tubi and the Roku Channel

Yes, this gives me another opportunity to gently beg you all to tune in to Photowalks, my travel photography series, on Tubi, the free TV streaming app. Bloomberg reports that Tubi and Roku plan to start funding original productions to stream on their free services.

Because despite all the hype about the paid services, Jason Killar is onto something: not everybody is wealthy, and will pay to subscribe. They grew up with free TV, and they like it. They’ll spend hours watching stuff with ads on Tubi, Pluto, Xumo, Roku Channel and Amazon’s IMDB.

A great photo backup question

Yesterday we wrote about various methods I use to back up photos to the cloud and hard drives. I pointed out that I back up everything to a certain type of hard drive: solid state drives. They are considered the most reliable these days, because they don’t have moving parts.

So reader Wayne Powell posed a really interesting questions: “So how do you move photos from/to a solid state drive and an iPhone or iPad?”

Answer: not easily. First you need to transfer your media into the computer. For that, I would recommend the SanDisk iXpand flash drive, which connects to the Lightning charging port on your iPhone or iPad. A 64 GB model is $33 on Amazon.

It will suck up all your photos after you connect it to your device. Then plug it into the USB port on your computer, create a new folder on your desktop, say, “iPhone Photos,” and transfer the images there. Plug in the external SSD drive, and copy the new folder there.

That’s one way to do it. You can also have the photos backed up on Amazon Photos (free for Prime members with unlimited storage) or Google Photos (free until June) download the keepers from there, put them in that new folder on your computer and copy it to the SSD drive.

I love answering questions, so please keep them coming. And if you get a chance today (it’s cloudy in SoCal!), please check out one of the 6 Photowalks episodes on Tubi and let me know what you think.

Thanks to Jill of Milwaukee (who happens to be a cousin!) and Robert of Simi Valley (who isn’t related) for letting me know that you caught the Catalina episode!

Remember that all views expressed here haven’t been paid for. There are no affiliate links in this newsletter, and all opinions are unbiased and un-purchased.

Jeff