Netflix Bumping Up Prices; NBCUniversal to Stream; Tesla Portable EV Charger; FAA to Allow Drones at Night and Over Crowds

Brace for the howls of anger and anguish…Netflix is raising fees. According to marketwatch.com, even the entry level plan, which Netflix held at $8 a month last time around, will get a bump of a buck to $9. The most popular plan…that gives you high def streams on up to two internet connected devices simultaneously, will jump from $11 to $13 per month. The premium ultra high def plan will increase from $14 to $16 a month. Last time Netflix raised fees, they lost 600,000 subscribers. It’s worth noting that they now have 58 million subscribers in the US and another 79 million outside the US, so they probably figure they can afford to lose a half million or million disgruntled customers. Grrr. (Yeah, I’ll grouse and pay the difference.)

NBC Universal will launch a streaming service in 2020. Unlike a lot of streamers, variety.com reports that this one will be primarily ad supported…although they plan to offer it for a fee to non-subscribers. It will be free to NBCU pay-cable subscribers in the US, like Comcast. It will also be available to Sky subscribers in the EU…together that’s about 52 million subscribers. It’s expected to feature original content and of course their own programming, as well as that of outside partners. NBCU has said it’s pulling its offerings from Netflix in 2021…this is a big reason why. NBCU feels that by offering it as a free add on to their cable and sat customers, it will give them a fighting chance against the likes of Netflix, which has a giant head start on NBC as well as Amazon, Hulu, Fox Nation and the upcoming Apple and Disney services.

Tesla has rolled out their first non-hardwired wall connector with a NEMA 14-50 plug to charge your EV (presumably a Tesla.) In English, a NEMA 14-50 plug is one that will plug into a 240 volt outlet like for your stove or electric dryer. The big feature of this one is that it can be taken with you if you move. It can charge the cars 25% faster than the Tesla Gen 2 Mobile connector (which comes standard with Model S, Model X, and Model 3 cars.) Engadget.com says it runs $500, but since you don’t need an electrician to install it, it is a cheaper alternative to the hardwired home charger….and you can easily take it if you move.

OK, what could possibly go wrong? The FAA has proposed relaxing drone rules, and allowing those under 55 lbs to fly at night and over crowds of people. Up to now, night flights have only been allowed on a case-by-case basis. Arstechnica.com reports that the drone makers will have to certify that if the vehicles fall, it will be with a Federal Aviation Agency maximum amount of kinetic energy of either 11 or 25 foot-pounds, depending on the situation. Oh, I’m so relieved to hear that! A final rule could be in place in 12-18 months.

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