Tech, streaming, and the beautiful game
As I'm writing this, it's a few minutes into the World Cup final between France and Croatia, a match that, if the bookies are right, will easily edge in France's favor. Even as a casual soccer fan — I grew up obsessed with the Manchester United of the early 1990s, featuring an impenetrable Peter Schmeichel and poetry-in-motion Ryan Giggs, among many others — this tournament had me hooked from the beginning. There have been so many upsets, so many great penalty shoot-outs, and innumerable goals that just test the very foundations of physics; it's just hard not to be emotionally invested in the outcome.
While I'm a little disappointed that Brazil isn't in the finals — the team is just so much fun to watch — I like the David and Goliath nature of this scrappy, young Croatian squad and the mature, confident French side. It's sure to be a great match.
But what really struck me about this World Cup was the availability of it; I watched it everywhere I had a screen thanks to the ubiquity of streaming. The bulk of it was viewed through the TSN app on my Apple TV 4K (which was a long time coming) and on my phone. I listened to games with headphones while walking down the street. I watched games at the dog park, or sitting in the backyard. I projected games onto the side of my house. I watched in the corner of my screen while working (sorry). Unlike four years ago, I didn't have to fight with my technology to get the same experience as a cable subscriber, and that completely changed the way I experienced this tournament.
That's why I think our new site, CordCutters, is so important. Millions of people around the world are realizing that cable is too expensive and too bundled to be useful, and the proliferation of streaming TV services is, ultimately, the better way.
Here's what else is keeping me interested this week.
- I like Microsoft's Surface lineup, and I'm curious to see whether the company can find success with its cheaper-but-still-overpriced Surface Go.
- The product is squarely aimed at the education market, but Chromebooks (and iPads) still hold the advantage.
- That said, it took Chromebooks a long time to get to where they are today, and Microsoft can learn a thing or two from Google's partners.
- Google is facing yet another multi-billion dollar fine from the EU for anti-competitive practices, this time for forcing manufacturers to bundle Google services in exchange for shipping phones with the Play Store. This is an absurd assertion in a free market, especially one where the iPhone is sold without even the ability to set default applications, but hey, sure, scapegoat it up.
- The red OnePlus 6 is stunning, and I really want one. I just wish the company cared as much about haptics (I know, world's tiniest violin) as it did about aesthetics.
- My review is coming next week, but I really like the Moto Z3 Play. It's not an easy phone to love mainly because, on paper, it's difficult to understand its $499 price (and its apples-to-apples comparison to the $529 OnePlus 6, but there's more to the phone than the spec sheet.
That's it from me. Hope you enjoyed the weekend, and I'll see you in a few weeks!