When we reported on cable outlet Epix‘s new alliance with streaming service Hulu, I mentioned the service was getting closer to the diversity and quality Netflix was known for in years past. Well, once you try to excuse the presence of commercial interruptions during forty-year-old episodes of The Brady Bunch. But the service has just announced a new ad-free tier … with a few catches.
Going ad-free will cost $12 a month versus the standard $8 fee and certain series — including ABC’s Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, Grey’s Anatomy, Once Upon a Time, Agents of Shield, the NBC series Grimm and Fox’s The New Girl — will contain what Variety calls “a 15-second preroll ad and followed by a 30-second post-roll ad.” Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins says these exceptions were unavoidable as those seven programs “have other commitments that they couldn’t free them up for a complete commercial-free offering.”
Though a little pricier, I suppose I could finally discontinue my disc-by-mail Netflix subscription so I can enjoy The Flash and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit in commercial-free peace. Provided I choose to pay the premium for a feature Netflix already offers at the lower price point.
In other streaming news, Variety also reports Roku devices made between May 2008 and May 2011 will no longer be supported by the company. If you happen to own, say, a Roku XD, you will no longer be able find new channels, receive firmware updates or hope for an update to the antiquated Netflix menu system on that particular device.
According to a statement, the company said, “Over time, our channel partners have also chosen to focus their development efforts on the latest generation of Roku streaming players.” They also cite hardware limitations of the older models as part of the move.
The devices will presumably still connect to existing channels, which means users are not necessarily compelled to upgrade. The company is offering a 20% discount on its current models to owners of the old devices. So, if you gave your mother a Roku seven years ago, it might be something to consider come the holiday shopping season.