Cordkillers 88 – Involuntary “Dammit!”

Why the new Fire TV beats Apple TV and BBC streaming is a bad thing.

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CordKillers: 88 – Involuntary “Dammit!”
Recorded: September 20, 2015
Guest: None

Intro Video

Primary Target

  • Latest Amazon Fire TV Features 4k Video, Alexa Voice Assistant
    – Amazon Fire TV $100 ships Oct. 5
    – supports 4K HEVC (High efficiency video codec)
    – Alexa integrated into voice search (discover content queue up media; it cannot set timers or alarms just yet.full feature set coming next year)
    – New 64-bit quad-core processor and a dedicated GPU.
    – $50 Fire TV Stick with voice search ships Oct. 22 ($40 w/o voice still available)
    – A bundle called the Amazon TV Gaming edition packs a Fire TV with a game controller a 32GB microSD card and two free games for $140. Ships Oct. 5
  • Amazon boasts Fire TV is better at turning you into a couch potato
    – Amazon says Fire TV ranks among the top for customer loyalty for Internet-television app Sling TV. 16 hours per week on Fire TV
    – Amazon says it has more channels apps and games than any other
    – Roku claims 2500 channels

Signal Intelligence

  • BBC to offer streaming in US
    – BBC will offer a streaming service in US
    – Programs that aren’t already screened on TV channels or available on existing streaming services
    – No price announced
    – Coming sometime in 2016

Gear Up

Front Lines

Under Surveillance

Dispatches from the Front

 On your last show you guys talked about how it would be nice to easily be able to download Netflix shows for off- line viewing. I’ve been able to download shows from all the major online sites ( Netflix, Hulum amazon, YouTube, the networks, and many more using a companion program to playon called Playlater. HD quality, easy to use and then to transfer to my Tivo using Tivo desktop or my ipad using itunes. one time cost right now for both programs of $49 and no monthly fees





 Do you know of a way to translate DVDs into digital format? I know DRM makes this hard, but I was hoping the production studios would get behind this as we transition from DVD to digital as a society.

Secondly, what options do you know of for renting movie content? iTunes and Amazon are great for this, but subject to delays in the studio’s distribution plans (movie is available to buy only for a few months before rental is an option). 





I was listening to episode 87, where the listener wanted to use an antenna and split it off to multiple TVs. Let me tell you what I did. I bought four “flattenas” from Each cost me $10. I went to Alltex computers in Austin Texas and bought some coaxial cable, some end thingies, and a crimper thingy. Oh, I also bought four switches that could switch from cable to antenna. I did not want to run the cable from my attic to the TVs. I just split the existing cable from Time Warner (that was already in the attic) and added the splitter. I then added a piece of new coax that went to each of the flattennas and connected it to the splitter (that was mounted where I cut the Time Warner coax). I mounted the antennas with a pushpin toward the bottom of my roof (as high as I could get them). I then put the switch to the antenna side and now each of my cable connections in the house go to the antenna instead of to the outside cable box. Now I can always switch it back to the cable side in case I ever want to subscribe to cable again. I learned how to create those correct cables by watching YouTube videos. It was simple. And cheap. I get about 23 English-speaking channels here in Cedar Park Texas. Works great!

Thank you for all you do,

Cedar Park, Texas





Dear Tom and Brian,

I want to keep you updated on the new revolution in cord cutting in the Middle East and North Africa: icflix.

The Netflix clone just surfaced in the area with a huge selection of movies and TV shows and it costs just 8 US$ a month. It comes pre-installed in all new LG and Samsung smart TVs and has apps on consoles, smartphones, and tablets.

The price includes simultaneous streaming for 5 devices of libraries of movies of Hollywood, Bollywood and Jazwood (the latter two are Indian and Arabic movies.)

The Walking Dead is the first thing I searched for and surely, it was there.

And since all major Football (soccer) are already available for paid streaming on Bein Sports, and NFL Game Pass available for the middle east, everyone in the Middle East and North Africa can finally cut the cord and never go back.





I can already stream Cordkillers on my Apple TV, through the Podcast channel.

Sara in Sunny Seattle




Brian and Tom,

On the most recent show, you were talking about scenarios where offline streaming would be useful outside of planning trips. I watch a ton of video on my tablet in my tractor. I’ve got an unlimited data plan, so the 70 gb or more per month of mobile data doesn’t cost anything, but there is a lot of my farm where Verizon doesn’t work well enough for streaming video. I usually fill up my tablet at night using Plex, which isn’t always as legal as I’d like, so having an offline option with Netflix would be huge. Imagine burning through a 12 episode season of TV every day for a month, and you can see just how nice it would be to have to work a little less hard at sourcing content.

Aaron @Traffas from smoggy Sharon, Kansas


2015 Winter Movie Draft

It’s Spoilerin’ Time 87

Movie Draft Wrap Up, Triage (Mr. Robot), Mr. Robot Finale, Rick and Morty (207), The Shield (705)

00:47 – Movie Draft Update – Summer 2015 Wrap Up

03:47 – Triage (Mr. Robot)

09:07 – Mr. Robot 110 (season finale)

16:06 – Rick and Morty (207)

20:28 – The Shield (705)

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Cordkillers 87 – Show Us What You Got

Hulu goes commercial free-ish, Voice search comes to Apple TV, why Netflix won’t let you watch offline. 

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CordKillers: Show Us What You Got
Recorded: September 14, 2015
Guests: Kristi KatesMulango Akpo-Esambe 

Intro Video

Primary Target

  • Hulu Starts a Commercial-Free Option to Rival Netflix and Amazon
    Hulu launched a commercial free tier for $12 a month
    – Exceptions are shows that Hulu hasn’t got the license to show commercial free
    – Those shows will have a commercial before and after each episode.
    – Grey’s Anatomy, Once Upon A Time, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Scandal, Grimm, New Girl, and How To Get Away With Murder.
    – Shows only available because you authenticated through a cable service will still have commercials

Signal Intelligence

  • Netflix Exec: No Offline Downloads Because Too Much Choice Is Bad
  • Rakuten’s Beats Netflix To Offline Downloads, Starting First With Mobile Devices
    Amazon and Wuaki now offer the ability to download certain shows fro offline viewing.
    – Netflix Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt told Gizmodo that offering offline video options is too much choice
    – “One of the things I’ve learned is that every time you offer a choice, you paralyze some people who can’t decide if that’s what they want to do or not. Now, that sounds really stupid and self-serving, but it is in fact true.”
    – He said tests have shown adding an addition step in the decision-making process can stop people from watching anything at all
    – Netflix would rather make the existing service work in more places like planes, trains and hotels

Gear Up

  • Apple Unveils A More Powerful Apple TV, Shipping In October
  • It’s hard to build Apple TV apps and that’s good for users
  • Plex will bring its media streaming to Apple TV
    – 4th gen Apple TV (Eddy Cue senior vice president of Internet Software and Services)
    – “The future of TV is apps”
    – “Over 60% of pay TV streaming video is consumed on an Apple device.”
    – Remote – touchpad, airplay button, voice control “siri” button,
    – Searches across multiple apps: iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Showtime
    – Plays screen savers that are daypart appropriate
    – movies/tv shows/app store/photos/music
    – FF, rewind, with thumb on touchpad “what did she say?” skip back
    – Can use phone or tablet as a controller
    – Can ask Siri for weather and sports scores
    – Runs TVOS
    – App store including games and shopping and even Zillow?
    – 64-bit A8 chip, Bluetooth 4, 802.11ac MIMO, IR
    – 32GB for $149, $199 for 64GB, late October
    – SDK Available for devs today, no webkit, so no browser

Front Lines

Under Surveillance

Dispatches from the Front

With Hulu going commercial free (Hey Tom, take $4 of my dollars I send you and get a month commercial free and then go back to the commercial version and then tell me if you don’t really notice the commercials on Hulu 😉
Also Sling TV giving me access to Rugby (and my dad is waiting for Apple TV to have sling on it so he can start watching Tennis. He worked in TV for years and only does OTA for his tv viewing)
I am so close to being totally Cord Free but I have horrible reception here in West Hollywood so I still have a TiVo with local cable channel service. We use the Tivo for recording live events like award shows. Is there a service out there that allows me to record / view these shows for later or live viewing? Or is it just a matter of time to wait for it to happen. (AKA Apple TV live streaming coming early 2016/2017/2018….)
Thanks in advance and keep up the good work.

Blair in West HollyWeird



I’m ready to kill my cord. I love my Fios, but I’m done giving that much money to Verizon every month.

I love with 2 teenagers who are mostly cord-free anyway, but I do have 3 TVs I need to drive OTA signals to. I know about the Channelmaster for OTA DVR action but I really need the potential to run all 3 TVs simultaneously live for local sportball. Is there a solution for this that only involves 1 antenna shared somehow? I’m in a remote suburb and need to get my antenna in the attic or on the roof and don’t want to have to do it x3.

Rob Damascus, MD




Hey Tom and Brian,

Today marked week one of NCAA Football. Over the last few years conferences have created their own networks; SEC network, Big 10 network, ect. These can usually be found in cable sports packages. While a lot of the networks are aligned with ESPN, they require their own authentication. SLING to the rescue. I added the sports package to my Sling subscription today and was off to the gridiron. The authentication on the ESPN website is pretty flawless. To activate the app on my Amazon Fire TV stick I had to enter a code on another connected device.

I have noticed some streaming issues, I have Optimum 100MBPS (down) internet, but the picture goes form 480 up to HD and back regularly. The audio also drops out sometimes while the video continues in the ESPN app. On the sling app, I would get total black screens with no audio then everything would come back.

While it is not as nice as cable was to watch sports, it was so much easier to add the sports pack and will be easier to remove it. I am just starting my post cord cutting experience. Moving 1/3rd of the way across the country was a great motivator. I am still getting all my devices unpacked and hooked up, but it feels nice to be saving effectively $80/month and getting more content I am interested in.

Your boss,





Amazon has acquired video technology company Elemental – Full disclosure, I was employee #12 at elemental six years ago. …

Companies like these three are very much infrastructure companies – they’re features are the guts of the video workflow….

Think about one of Amazon’s other big recent purchases – twitch. Twitch is the eyeballs, Elemental is the efficiency of delivery on that service (and improved quality i imagine). Between just Amazon Instant Video and Twitch, there should be a pretty big value in having elemental onboard.

Here’s one last piece and then i’ll shut up. Elemental has a lot of big broadcast customers – the Olympics, BBC, ESPN, Disney, and even google and Microsoft. Imagine how interesting license rights negations get when your talking to the platform that delivers the content AND the company encoding your content.

Andy Beach




2015 Winter Movie Draft

It’s Spoilerin’ Time 86

Movie Draft Update, Mr. Robot Speculation, 500 Days of Summer, Rick and Morty (206), The Shield (703), Feedback (Rick & Morty)

01:07 – Movie Draft Update

03:31 – Mr. Robot Speculation

9:29 – 500 Days of Summer

14:01 – Rick and Morty (206)

17:36 – The Shield (704)

24:23 – Feedback (Rick & Morty)

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It’s Spoilerin’ Time 85

Movie Draft Update, Fear the Walking Dead (101), Mr. Robot (109), Rick and Morty (205), The Shield (703)

02:14 – Movie Draft Update

04:21 – Triage/Feedback

06:21 – Fear the Walking Dead (101)

10:06 – Mr. Robot (109)

23:57 – Rick and Morty (205)

30:22 – The Shield (703)

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Cordkillers 84 – Adequate TV

The FCC hands cable companies a weapon, Comcast wants to unseat YouTube, why you shouldn’t buy that Android box.

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CordKillers: 84 – Adequate TV
Recorded: August 17, 2015
Guest: Hammond Chamberlain

Intro Video


Primary Target

  • The FCC could soon give more power to cable companies. Here’s how. 
  • Upgrading media rules
    – The FCC is considering two rule changes governing how cable and broadcast networks can behave when negotiating retransmission fees in the US
    – 1. Lift a ban on rebroadcasting blacked out shows from another city’s TV station.
    “In this item, the Commission takes its thumb off the scales and leaves the scope of such exclusivity to be decided by the parties.”
    – 2. Undertake a “robust examination” of what it means to negotiate in good faith. This could make broadcasters less likely to risk blackouts.
    “The goal of the proposed rulemaking is to ensure that these negotiations are conducted fairly and in a way that protects consumers.”
    In layman’s terms:
    – 1. Let cable companies have another option when fighting a blackout if they can convince a neighboring market’s station to let them have their content instead of the more local station. So in Austin if CBS in Austin is blacking out it’s channel a cable company coul try to convince a Houtson or San Antonio station to let it have that programming instead.”
    – 2. Basically the FCC currently has a hands off approach to interfering with negotiations unless something extreme happens, which has benefited the broadcasters who have the content. Hard to say what they mean here for sure but they definitely are trying to scare broadcasters into being more favorable in negoations with cable companies

Signal Intelligence

  • Comcast to partner with buzzfeed
    – Business Inisder has a source that is telling it more about Comcast’s new video platform we’ve heard rumored
    – Called “Watchable” but that name could change
    – Allegedly partnering with Vox (which it owns a stake in), Buzzfeed (which it is purchasing a stake in) AwesomenessTV, Refinery29, and The Onion, news sites like Mic and Vice, as well as legacy brands like NBC Sports —Full list still being determined.
    – Deals are non-exclusive
    – Positioned as a rival to Verizon’s forthcoming service
    – Come first to X1 cable boxes then to iOS and Android
    – Wants to be digital video advertising leader
    – While Comcast still has the predominance of video viewing in the home it wants to become the tastemaker for digital video

Gear Up

  • Let’s clear up this whole Android TV box mess
  • You see a lot of this crap
    – We constantly get emails from people asking “Have you seen this XXX box that prmisies loads of free video for the price of a cheap piece of hardware?”
    – Many companies are throwing open source Android on a cheap processor with HDMI and preinstalling something like Kodi on it and maybe a few other apps and promising “access to free TV and movies.”
    – Most use older ARM processors (Often Cortex A9) and GPUs that are affordable but still handle 1080p
    – Generally include 1GB or 2 of RAM and 8 GB of storage., mostly just for buffering and apps
    – They try to differentiate themselves with different remotes and cables. Remotes often don’t work well
    – You’re just as well off buying an Ouya, Nexus Player or even FireTV and rooting them. Or you can connect your phone with a cable.
    – Really you should just buy a Roku or Apple TV. 

Front Lines

Under Surveillance

Dispatches from the Front

Hi Tom, Brian, and Bryce,

I am preparing to leave the parents house finally!! I will not be getting cable so i was wondering which over-the-air antennas y’all think is the best and which OTA DVR that does not have a monthly fee is the best?

Thanks so much for the show!

Lauren from Dallas

– Wineguard Flatwave supposedly has better range than the Mohu Leaf, Channelmaster





Hi Brian,

Just listened to this week’s Spoilering Time and was hoping for some clarification.

I always assumed that the red star ratings on Netflix were part of their “magical” algorithms and represent what they think you would rate something.

So in the case of “Hot girls wanted,” Netflix thinks that Brian will give it a 2 star rating after watching it. This of course being based on your viewing habits and what you have rated in the past that might be similar.
Therefore, critical reviews have no effect.

My confusion came when you stated the rating there was based on other Netflix users. Is this the actual case? Have I been giving Netflix too much credit with their ability to make recommendations based on my tastes? Am I gonna have change my discovery habits? Does Tom know? Is this really diet Dr. Pepper? Please help.

Your boss,





I had a thought about a consequence of cord killing that maybe you haven’t talked about. Made y’all a little video:

If .mov doesn’t work for you let me know,




Tom & Brian,
Do you think this is the last time US presidential election campaigns that will operate in a traditional way? In 2020, with the assumption of massive cord cutting, campaign ads can’t run like they do now given limited ad space on hulu, netflix or How do you think that it will change if at all?





I will never be able to convince my wife to cut the cord if I can’t reassure her that it actually works. I only have a couple digital movies, but two out of the last three times I tried to watch one I was unsuccessful because of DRM authentication.
One was on a wifi tablet while on a car trip, and Disney Movies Anywhere decided it needed to authenticate. No movie for you!!
Today, I wanted to listen to the Lego Movie while driving, but Flixter decided that it didn’t agree with my phone about what time of day it is. No movie for you!
These were both locally downloaded copies of movies I “own”.

Thanks for the show.



2015 Winter Movie Draft