The Game of Thrones ended this week and with it potentially tons of HBO Now subscriptions as well.
That was clearly the morning-after chatter on Twitter. Why continue paying now that the show is history?
To pay or not to pay and why do I have to subscribe to so many services I rarely watch are also huge questions in households that are being deluged with offers for more and more subscription services. This year alone, we’ll see new ones from Apple and Disney, with others down the pike from WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal.
Jared Newman has a great solution to keep better track of our services: Sign up and then cancel the next day.
“Not everybody realizes that you don’t have to sign up for a service and remind yourself 30 days later to cancel, you can cancel immediately,” says Newman, who runs the Cord Cutter Weekly newsletter. You can still enjoy your programming and not have to worry about remembering to cancel. “You’ll be billed for a 30-day billing cycle.”
The streamers are even upfront about it. From HBO’s terms of service: “You pay for your subscription in advance of the covered month. To avoid being charged for the next month, cancel your subscription before the start of your next billing cycle.”
Netflix admits that once you sign up for paid service, your credit card is authorized for one month of service “as soon as you register.”
For those who prefer doing the free trial, HBO says customers can avoid being charged for the next month by canceling their subscription at least 24 hours before the trial ends.
As streaming customers know, the companies make it really easy to sign up, but you have to be a really good private investigator to figure out how to get out. Now, it’s even easier to get in, with services like Apple’s revamped Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV. where you can join in with the click of a remote. The companies have your credit card on file, so you don’t even have to put in payment or choose a screen name to sign up.
One strategy Newman has when there’s a hot show he wants to watch is to wait for the series to run a few weeks (if it’s not binge-able, like on Netflix), subscribe and then cancel, watching the episodes right away, while he still has 29 days left from his purchase.
This TV watcher did just that with the Good Fight, which began its third season on CBS All-Access on March 14th. We signed up this week, with ten episodes awaiting, and three more that will launch over the next weeks. With one episode down, we have 12 more to get through in the next 30 days.
Thank you, Memorial Day! It’s binge time.
In other tech news this week
Audio giant Dolby said it would bring its high-end Atmos audio system to music streaming. The technology breaks a song up into several different bits and goes beyond listening in left and right, to having sound in front, behind and to the side of you. it’s a different way of listening. Dolby offered us a demo this week at the historic Capitol Records studios in Hollywood.
Google Glass is back. The odd looking augmented reality spectacles never took off when initially introduced in 2014, but this week, Google announced a new $999 version, called the “Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2.” Aimed at those in the business world, Google says the new specs come with an improved processor, a new artificial intelligence engine, an improved camera, faster charging and longer battery life.
Amazon said it will continue selling the company’s facial recognition technology “Rekognition” to governments and law enforcement agencies after its shareholders voted down proposals to stop the practice.
Music streamer Spotify will begin testing a voice-activated music device for autos called “Car Thing.” The device plugs into your vehicle’s 12-volt outlet, which is also known as a cigarette lighter, for power and the automotive gadget connects to your car and phone via Bluetooth. This is similar to other units like Roav Viva and Bolt, for bringing Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant into the car.
ICYMI, Memorial Day. Speaking of the Viva, it made our list of ten travel gadgets you’ll want to bring with you on the road this weekend for Memorial Day. We especially liked Anker’s Roav Jump Starter, a portable battery with two USB ports and jumper cables. The battery fits in the glove box.
This week’s Talking Tech podcasts
Five ways to keep Facebook from snooping on you
Using the iPhone as a TV remote
Postal service goes robot in Phoenix
Dolby looks to change the way you listen to music
Memorial Day travel gadgets
Finally, another entry from our recent Europe exploration: this week, Seville, Spain, where’s there’s dancing in the streets and music playing seemingly everywhere. Hurra!
And that’s a wrap for this week’s Talking Tech news wrap. Subscribe: http://technewsletter.usatoday.com, listen to daily Talking Tech podcast on Apple Podcasts and follow me (@jeffersongraham) on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.