Cordkillers 166 – Fire is Hot! (w/ C. Robert Cargill)

Netflix misses targets for subscribers and kills it with Sandler fans. Roku TVs ask nicely to spy on you for your own good. With special guest C. Robert Cargill.

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CordKillers: Ep. 166 – Fire is Hot!
Recorded: April 17 2017
Guest: C. Robert Cargill

Intro Video

Primary Target

  • Roku TVs now know what you’re watching, will suggest related shows
    – Roku rolled out updates to its Television software (May 2011 models and newer). Viewing suggestions calle d”more Ways to Watch” can pop up on the screen based on what you’re currently viewing. Handy if you want to start from the beginning of a show or find a version without commercials. It can also suggest related shows. If you opt-in to the service Roku uses Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) to recognize what’s coming in over the air or from cable.
    – Other updates
    – Favorite list for over the air channels
    – Thumbnail images for live TV ff and rewind
    – Closed caption support on “replay” feature
    – faster resume from standby
    – Custom input names
    – Both TV and Set-top box
    – Expanded search to 300 streaming channels

How to Watch

  • Netflix misses its growth targets but expects to hit 102M subscribers next quarter
    – Netflix added 1.42 million domestic subscribers and 3.53 million international subscribers missing its own and Wall Street’s expectations of 1.5 million and 3.7 million. It beat expectations of 37 cents a share with 40 cents a share and met expectations of $2.64 billion in revenue. Netflix expects 600,000 domestic subscribers and 2.6 million international subscribers in the second quarter. In its letter to shareholders Netflix argues its members fund its films so they should be the first to see them but that its “open to supporting “ theater chains like AMC and Regal in showing Netflix films like Will Smith’s Bright. Also its members have cumulatively spent 500 million hours watching Adam Sandler movies.
  • Netflix is willing to put its films in theaters — but not before online release
  • Hulu’s Live TV service to cost $39.99 per month with ads, sources say
    – Sources say Hulu’s streaming TV service will be $39.99 a month (CEO Mike Hopkins previously said it would be “under $40”)
    – Would included live TV broadcasts, on demand library and Hulu library
    – Supposedly Cloud DVR would not support fast forward.
    – Premium tier might have DVR WITh fast forward and no limit on simultaneous streams for an extra $20 a month or less
    – Presumably you could also pay extra to get Hulu library commercial-free
    – Planned for a Spring launch
    -Hulu on demand $8
    – Hulu on demand commercial free $12
    – Hulu Live and on demand $40
    – Hulu live and on demand commerical free $44?
    – Hulu live, on demand, unlimited DVR $60
    – Hulu, live, on demand, unlimited DVR, commerical free $64?

What to Watch

What We’re Watching

Front Lines

  • NBC Reaches Deal With TV Affiliates for Opting in to Internet Video Distribution Agreements
    – NBC announced an agreement with its affiliate station board that would allow affiliates who are not owned by NBC to opt-in to any Internet TV agreements that NBC negotiates on behalf of its owned and operated stations. This would make it easier for local stations to get on to Internet TV services like PS Vue and Sling without having to negotiate their own deals. NBC owns 11 stations and has more than 200 affiliates.
  • Sling TV’s $5 Cloud DVR arrives on Android and Roku
    – Sling TV’s Cloud DVR feature is available for users on Android and Roku to buy for $5 a month. Subscribers get 50 hours of video storage for channels that allow it.
  • CBS’s streaming service CBS All Access gains movies
    – Cord Cutter News spotted that CBS had begun to add movies to the CBS All Access app. CBS says it has about 18 movies right now, including some of the original Star Trek films, Up in The Air, and Funny Face, all licensed from Paramount. CBS plans to keep adding movies to the service.
  • Boomerang now offers unlimited classic cartoons for $5 a month
    – Boomerang’s streaming service is now available for $5 a month offering more than 5,000 cartoons. The selection includes Looney Tunes, Scooby-Doo, Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry, and more. You can pay for a year at a time at $40 which ends up being $3.33 a month. Boomerang is available to US customers on desktop, Android, and iOS — support for streaming devices like the Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku, and Chromecast are upcoming.

Dispatches from the Front

 In episode 165 of spoiler time Brian had a hard time accepting that the OJ documentary should be considered a miniseries and not a movie. His defense was if it was a TV series it should be broken up into half hour or 1 hour shows. But then Brian turns around and fully accept that BBC’s Sherlock is totally a TV show Even though they are long format. I don’t understand this inconsistency. Awesome show I’ve listened to you guys ever since you guys were on twit keep up the awesome work I only listen to you guys and not twit anymore

– Tom




Just finished listening to episode 165 where you were talking about the thumbs-up thumbs-down star rating system. I’m an Uber driver and every time I finish a ride Uber forces me to rate the customer. what do you think about a version similar to this for streaming services?

– Tim



 Is it possible to listen to either of your shows on either Google Home or Amazon Echo. If it is possible please tell me how. This is my main way of listening to podcasts now but the selection of podcasts on each service is very limited.


– Mark




Hey Guys,

Reuben here from meteorologically schizophrenic North Carolina.

I have just had an interesting call with Spectrum, formerly Time Warner Cable. At the moment, I have 50Mbps internet from Earthlink, which is owned by Time Warner, now Spectrum. I was shopping at a a local mall and saw a booth advertising an offer for Spectrum 100Mbps internet for $44.95/month. I called to see if I could get the offer and was told that was a promotional price for new users and the regular rate was around $65/month (cue eye roll). As I was speaking to the sales rep, she was giving me the standard line about their triple play package which has 100Mbps internet, home phone, and cable TV for 29.99/mo each. When I told her I only wanted internet, she told me that within 30 days of signing up, I could call and “make changes” to the account if I wanted and the promotional rate would still apply! I asked if that really meant that I could call and cancel the cable tv and phone and keep the promotional rate of $29.99/mo for the 100Mbps internet for 12 months to which she replied, “Yes”. Fingers crossed that they follow through as I will be cancelling ASAP after I pick up my self-install kit at the local Spectrum store.

I am positively gobsmacked. I hope this helps anyone out there who’s looking for cheaper internet with Spectrum!


– Reuben



I recently purchased the new 2017 LG 55″ C7 OLED via B&H Photo Video. So happy they honored the Pre Order price as I got it for $2500 instead of the $3500 it is currently going for. As to 4K content Im having to use Netflix on the TV vs my Apple TV. Hope Apple releases a 4K AppleTV soon.

Question: With the latest season of Better Call Saul out where can I get it in 4K? Netflix has old seasons. I’ll pay, I bought the last two on ITunes. I cannot find 4K digital version. Amazon offers some 4K streaming, but BCS s3 only is in HD? AMC’s site doesn’t say if the stram is 4K.

Thanks for any response, and thanks Tom for answering my question on a past Sword & Laser podcast.

– Adam



2017 Summer Movie Draft


Cordkillers 165 – Asgardians of the Galaxy

Why YouTube TV is the best and worst of the new streaming TV options. Amazon gets Thursday Night Football, and why Twitter might not care. Plus, NBC may bring out its own CBS All Access-like service.

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CordKillers: Ep. 165 – Asgardians of the Galaxy
Recorded: April 10 2017
Guest: None

Intro Video

Primary Target

  • YouTube’s live TV streaming service goes live in five US cities for $35 per month
    – YouTube TV launched in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Philadelphia. The service packages in more than 40 channels including all major broadcast networks including the CW plus SyFy, Disney, ESPN, a YouTube Red channel and more, though availability varies by market. You can also add on Showtime and Fox Soccer Plus for $11 and $15 respectively.The app has three tabs. Live, Home for recommendations, and Library for things you’ve bookmakred or recorded to your unlimited DVR. The first month is free and then costs $35 a month afterwards with a free Chromecast to boot. You can watch at or get the app on iOS and Android.
  • YouTube TV Will Force You to Watch Ads on Many DVR’d Shows
    – Big caveat: YouTube will force users to watch the “on demand” version of shows when available, not the DVR version. Ads cannot be skipped in on-demand versions.

How to Watch

  • Amazon outbids Twitter for rights to livestream Thursday Night Football games
    – Amazon purchased the rights to livestream 10 Thursday night football games for the forthcoming NFL season. The rights cost Amazon $50 million. Last year, Twitter paid $10 million for largely the same deal. Amazon will stream the games exclusively for Prime subscribers. The livestream will be the same content as broadcast over the air by CBS and NBC, including ads. Amazon will have a small groups of ads slots to sell for the stream as well.
  • Twitter targets tie-ups with pay-TV broadcasters in live video push
    – Twitter wants deals with pay-TV companies that let subscribers watch live channels on Twitter with authentication.
    – Basically link your subcription to a channel to a Twitter account.
    – Twitter COO Anthony Noto told the Telegraph “Bringing the video forward [onto Twitter itself] allows us to give the consumer on one screen the things they’re talking about and [a] timeline of the best tweets on Twitter at that moment in time. We would love to have the Premier League… we would love to have live games and we’ll continue to try to find creative ways to get there.”

What to Watch

What We’re Watching

Front Lines

  • Comcast Is Planning a Netflix Rival Using NBC Shows
    – Bloomberg says its sources say Comcast plans to launch a streaming service for NBC Universal TV shows within the next 12-18 months. Details like whether live channels would be offered and for how much have not been decided. The service would focus on NBC but could also included shows from other networks like Bravo, USA and SyFy.
  • Netflix reaches 75% of US streaming service viewers, but YouTube is catching up
    – Comscore’s latest numbers show 53% of WiFi households in the US use a streaming video service. Netflix is still the leader in 75% of those households but YouTube is catching up at 53%, Amazon’s at 33% and Hulu is at 17%. On average people watch streaming content 19 days a month for 2.2 hours per day. Sling leads that measurement with its users watching 47 hours a month. Netflix came in second at 28 hours.
  • Showtime makes its entire library available for offline viewing on mobile devices
    – Showtime now lets subscribers download any of its programs for offline viewing on iOS, Android and Amazon Fire tablets. Users can choose between 540p and 720p versions.
  • Sling TV adds Showtime, expands its add-on lineup
    – Sling TV added the ability to subscribe to Showtime for $10 a month. It already offered HBO, Cinemax and Starz, so it’s the first to offer all four big movie channels. Sling also added the $5 “Heartland Extra” package with PixL (movies), Family Net (classic TV), Sportsman Channel, Outdoor Channel, RFD-TV (a rural lifestyle channel that focuses on agriculture, equine and more), and World Fishing Network. Sling also added Estrella TV, Vme Kids, and El Financiero to its best of spanish TV package.
  • MGM spends $1 billion to take full control of the Epix channel
    – MGM bought out Lionsgate and Paramount’s shares of movie service Epix for just more than $1 billion. All three studios will continue to supply movies to Epix. Lionsgate just purchased Starz and Paramount’s owner, Viacom has been moving away from streaming services.
  • Netflix adds a screensaver to its TV apps to promote its original content
    – Netflix has added a screen saver to its TV apps that promote Netflix originals, and Netflix rolled out its thumbs up and down system and percentage match ratings to replace the star ratings.

Dispatches from the Front

I was listening to show 163 and you guys were discussing Netflix’s new rating system going from 1-5 stars to just thumbs up or down. Like you, Tom, when I was having to manage my disk queue on their website I was very diligent about rating all of the movies I got from them along with any I saw in the theater. Since we stopped getting disks a few years ago, I’ve not been to the Netflx website once, nor have I rated a single show. Too lazy I guess.

But after further reflection, I submit that Netflix doesn’t need us to interact with their website or app one little iota to figure out if we like a show or not. They know exactly what we watch, how long we watch it, the exact spot where we stop watching and/or rewind it, and if we continue a series after one or two episodes or if I binge watch all 5 seasons of a show in a weekend. In my opinion, that gives them 1000X more data about my feelings on a show than does 1-5 stars along with very specific details that they can pass back to producers. Thoughts???
Love the show! =-)




Your boss Rick from outside Orlando here. just today Netflix switched (at least on streaming titles) to thumbs up-thumbs down from the old 5 star system. I really hate this for two reasons. Mainly, the old system turned the star yellow which reminded me years later if I saw that title. And secondly, it is far too general a rating vs a 5 star system. I hope they don’t do it to blu ray titles but I’m not confident they won’t soon

– Rick



Just to add-on to the Vudu Disc-to-Digital conversation:

In January, my wife and I used the service to convert about 60 standard def DVDs into high def digital copies. Watching standard def DVDs was almost painful and this has given us access to a bunch of our older movie collection in a format that’s enjoyable to watch and easy to access for $2.50/movie. (We took advantage of that 50% off 10+ movies discount mentioned in Episode 164).

Then, we used to sell our physical copies and get some of the money back. While the payout per movie is low (between 25 cents and a dollar, on average), it’s more than we were getting by having them buried in the back of a closet!
Happy Cordcutter for 3-years
Love the show,




Hi Tom and Brian,

Until last year I was a not so proud employee of one of those cable monoliths you skewer so well. When I was involuntarily retired (laid off) after 36 years I decided to stick it to the man by cord cutting. I signed up for Netflix and Amazon. I bought and installed a rooftop antenna, Tablo DVR, Roku streamer, new AV system, Plex server and a Logitech Harmony remote to control it all. I hardwired my network to maximize throughput. Tested and tweaked until everything was working great. On the day my severance ended I called the monolith to cut back to internet only or disconnect entirely. Take your box back you stinkin monolith! They informed me that since they show me as a retired former employee I can continue a robust cable/internet package at the same discount rate (about $40/month) I had while employed. I said thank you and hung up as quick as I could. I guess I’m just a cordcutting fanboy now, I’m so ashamed!

The alt-cordcutter




We’ve been following the skinny-and-not-so-skinny bundles for a while and might get Sling Blue pretty soon, but I’ve found it strange that in some cases the big three news channels aren’t included in the packages. For instance, Sling Blue has only CNN in its basic package and you have to get News Extra to get MSNBC. Fox News isn’t included either, for some reason, despite a bunch of other Fox channels being included. TheBlaze is featured in News Extra….Why is this the case? I have not noted such glaring exclusions when it comes to other kinds of cable channels when other channels the parent company owns are included.




Hiyo, it’s your boss Roy here. I’ve just signed up for my free month of YouTube TV and right off the bat I see problems. Problem #1 is that the app needs to be installed on a phone or tablet and not my Roku stick. These handhelds are my second and third screens. I realize that Chromecast has been a success so clearly people are okay using their handhelds as TV remotes but committing one to be my TV remote isn’t going to fly in my house. Problem #2 is that my Nexus 7 from 2013 is too old to install the app. Now my phone clearly needs to be my remote and that’s a double problem. Problem #3 is that they don’t have entire back catalogs – I’m specifically looking at CBS. I haven’t seen any of the current season of Big Bang Theory because I’ve postponed buying the season. YouTube TV has only some episodes from the current season. No Bueno. There are pros, too, like live TV in my pocket. It’s really fast and easy to jump into live content. The DVR looks pretty intuitive, although I haven’t yet watched any recorded content to comment. Hopefully in a future update they’ll bring my content from Google Play Movies and TV into the app, sort of like how I can access it on the standard YouTube app. Keep up the good work guys. You all are rad.

– Roy


2017 Summer Movie Draft


Cordkillers 164 – Eyes Wide Shut Streaming (w/ Mike Range)

Verizon may launch an internet-only TV service, Comcast will launch one but only to its Comcast internet customers, and Apple may be contemplating the skinniest of bundles. With special guest Mike Range.

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CordKillers: Ep. 164 – Eyes Wide Shut Streaming
Recorded: April 3 2017
Guest: Mike Range

Intro Video

Primary Target

  • Verizon Said to Plan Online TV Package for Summer Launch
    – Sources tell Bloomberg Verizon has been buying streaming rights to TV networks in advance of a US launch of an online TV service. The package will supposedly have a few dozen channels and go on sale this summer. CBS previously said its contract extension for Verizon’s FiOS TV service included “future digital platforms.”

How to Watch

  • Comcast could chase cord-cutters with ‘Xfinity Instant TV’
    – Reuter sources tell it Comcast will roll out a streaming only TV service called Xfinity Instant TV for $15-$40 a month and included major broadcast channels, sports channels like ESPN and spanish-language channels. The service would launch in Q3 to any customer of Comcast broadband Internet. This would be a revamp of Comcast’s Stream service trialed in Boston and Chicago.
  • Amazon is making Twitch a destination for original shows
    – Starting April 5 at 4 PM Eastern Amazon will start running three of its spring pilots, Oasis, dramedy The Legend of Master Legend and comedy Budding Prospects, on repeat for 24 hours at Also the first Twitch Studio original comes out April 7th at 5 PM Eastern. Ironsights tells the story of Big Buck Hunter champ Sara Erlandson.

What to Watch

What We’re Watching

Front Lines

  • Apple wants to sell HBO, Showtime and Starz in a single bundle
    – Sources tell ReCode that Apple is pitching a deal to bundle premium services HBO, Showtime and Starz for one discounted price, potentially accessible in a standalone product. The three services are currently sold separately by Apple for a combined $35 a month.
  • Netflix is rolling out offline playback for its Windows 10 Store PC app
    – Windows Central notes Netflix’s option for offline viewing of select content is now available in the Windows 10 Netflix app. The update has begun rolling out to Windows 10 users through the Windows Store, though updates to the Windows 10 Mobile and Xbox versions of the app have yet to appear.
  • Smart TV hack embeds attack code into broadcast signal—no access required
    – Security consultant Rafael Scheel demonstrated a proof-of-concept exploit that would allow someone to take control of a smart TV using a low-cost transmitter to send a malicious TV broadcast. The attack worked against two fully updated Samsung TVs by exploiting known security flaws in the Web browsers. The attack gave full control of the TV.
  • Netflix nabs ‘Archer’ team for its first animated feature
    – Netflix’s first animated feature film, America: The Motion Picture, will be an R-rated comedic take on the founding of the United States. Archer’s Adam Reed and Matt Thompson will lead the production team and Thompson will direct. The Expendables’ Dave Callaham will write the scrip. And Phil Lord, Chris Miller and Will Allegra from the LEGO Movie will contribute. Channing Tatum will produce and voice George Washington.
  • NBC will broadcast its entire 2018 Olympics programming live across the world
    – NBC announced it will broadcast events live regardless of timezone for the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. NBC previously streamed all coverage live, but tape delayed large portions of the TV broadcast for prime time viewing.
  • ESPN’s new Apple TV app behaves like your cable box
    – ESPN’s WatchESPN app which lets subscribers to SlingTV, PSVue and such watch all the ESPN content in one place has a couple feature updates on Apple TV. IT will start playing one of its channels immediately upon logging in, it also has a curated selection of on-demand video and some nice interface tweaks. The app also gives users a look at the miniseries We the Fans on April 9, two days before broadcast.

Dispatches from the Front

Add me to the fellowship of cord killers! I signed up for Playstation Vue last week for a trial run and just worked up the nerve to call Charter Spectrum to cut off my tv service. They offered me a couple different discounts, but it wasn’t near the savings I would have needed to stay. Not all is perfect as I’m losing access to local channels (OTA signal is hit or miss where I live), plus I lament having to give up the wonderful interface of my TiVo Roamio. Yet, the extra $50/month in my pocket will help to ease the pain.

Speaking of interfaces, for the Playstation Vue app on Apple TV, does anyone know how to keep the on-screen menu from disappearing after only a few seconds? It’s incredibly annoying, especially when you’re not sure what you want to select.

Thanks guys, I wouldn’t have had the courage to make the change without your show.





Im excited about the vudu upc code add feature. I have over 800 movies on vudu 500 of them cane from the disc to digital at home feature. When doing it at home with a blu ray drive you get 50% off when you do 10 or more. Also when going from a blu ray to hd digital its only $2 before the discount. I love having them on vudu because i dont have to worry about wear and tear of disc or keepinh them in alphabetical order. It also makes it easier to share with my parents. I bet the upc code way is alot more accurate. I love the show.

– Kevin



My curious mind wanted to see if a Barcode from a picture of the blu ray cover online would also work, and it did. The barcode had to be a quality scan. A person could easily get 100 movies for $200 of they wanted to game the system here.

Keep up the good work.




I do have a question I wanted to ask regarding authenticating broadcast channels. I’m able to use my SlingTV credentials to authenticate certain apps like WatchESPN, etc. However, I haven’t seen a way to authenticate any of the broadcast channels for antenna users. Occasionally, I’ll miss a show and will try to watch it on that channel’s ATV app or website. Many of them are now wanting you to authenticate provider credentials which seems rather stupid since it’s free, broadcast tv. Seems like they should at least provide antenna usage as an option. Do you know of anyway to do that?

Thanks in advance!

– Sonny



I recommends the Inteset INT-422 Universal Learning Remote on Amazon. This is a basic 4-in-1 remote, and comes pre-programmed to control a Roku, Apple TV, X-Box 360 and Media Center. Any of the device buttons that you don’t want to use can be reprogrammed to control another device, and each individual button can be reprogrammed or even moved. This is nice because a few of the buttons to control the Roku were in weird spots so I moved them to a different button.

It also has some nice features like quick launch buttons for Netflix and Amazon Video, and volume and mute punch-through so they work in any mode.

I’ve had this set up for about a month and it has fully passed the wife test to the point that last night out of the blue she said “I really like this remote. Thank you for buying it.”

And one of the best features is that it was only $26.

The one downside is it is an IR only remote, so the Roku needs to be line of site to work, but it’s a small price to pay for the convenience of one remote.

If you need to get your remotes under control or just win points with your wife I highly recommend this remote.

Love the show!




Hey guys, thanks for all the good info but I have 1 request for the show. Most of the time when you talk about “what we’re watching”, the viewers get a all male perspective on the shows to watch. I was wondering if at least once a month that you could throw in a few things that your wives are watching. Since I was the one the one who initiated this whole cord cutting thing at our house, I feel it is my responsibly to bring my wife some content that may not be my cup of tea which is all Scifi, science and tech oriented. I am not saying that women don’t like that stuff too but they sometimes cast a wider net than I do

Thanks for everything
Mikey C



Hello gang! Paul from Dayton again. Thanks for reading my email last episode about my subtitle difficulties. Just wanted to follow up on a couple of things. I apologize for not mentioning which programs I use, sent the message a bit late at night lol. I use NextPVR to record video signals and Plex to play the video files back.

I believe you guys are right about the subtitles being embedded in the video signal. When I used Windows Media Center as my recording/playback software, I could enable subtitles easily by either pressing the subtitle button on the WMC remote, or by opening the menu with my mouse. In the new setup with Plex and Kodi, there are subtitle enabling buttons on the menu interface, but toggling these options do not bring up the subtitles. I’m guessing that something in NextPVR is either not enabled or not working, lol. Haven’t found anything there which works either.

– Paul



2017 Summer Movie Draft