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

It’s Spoilerin’ Time 83

Movie Draft Update, Star Wars Rebels, Sneaky Pete (Pilot) Rick & Morty (203), True Detective (208), The Shield (701), Hot Girls Wanted

00:33 – Movie Draft Update

07:10 – Feedback

10:30 – Star Wars Rebels

14:54 – Sneaky Pete (Pilot)

19:33 – Rick & Morty (203)

24:34 – True Detective (208)

29:05 – The Shield (701)

33:34 – Hot Girls Wanted

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Cordkillers 83 – The Last Stage of Denial

Is the pay TV mountain about to crumble, why MLB paying NHL is revolutionary for cord-cutters, and Xbox One gets a DVR.

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CordKillers: 83 – The Last Stage of Denial
Recorded: August 10, 2015
Guest: None

Intro Video

Primary Target

  • Chart Shows Pay TV Subscribers Shrinking
  • Cord-Cutting Weighs on Pay TV
  • Sanford C. Bernstein report confirms TV networks are increasing ad stuffing
  • Cablevision stems subscriber loss at a cost
  • No cord-cutting landslide yet according to Cablevision CEO
    1. If you want more Interent choices Pay TV has to see you as worth pursuing
    – 2. To see you as worth pursuing the traditional Pay TV subscriber business has to be seen as no longer 100% secure
    – Last week investors sold off big media companies erasing $50 billion in value
    – A chart from MoffettNathanson shows the decline of subscriber growth in pay TV dramatically. No positive growth since Q3 2012
    – PAY TV companies can no longer count on steadily rising subscriber fees
    – For June through mid-July, the top 30 cable networks were down more than 10% in viewers in prime time and 20% among adults 18-49 compared with the same period a year ago (although ad loads have risen as much as 10% yoy)
    – Networks (Disney, Turner, Discovery) all denying this will affect them and projecting no problems in subscriber fee growth. Sound familiar?
    – Content producers (CBS, Warner Bros. Disney) have MORE outlets paying them to make shows with the rise of Netflix, Amazon, Hulu so they’re prefeectly happy

Signal Intelligence

  • MLBAM gets NHL deal
    -MLBAM will PAY the NHL $100 million for a six-year deal with rights to digital subscription products and cable TV property
    – First time MLBAM pays to run a service. Will sell ads against games.
    – Pending board approval this week, will engage bankers at Evercore and Goldman Sachs to market MLBAM to investors with the intention of spinning out by end of year under name BAM Tech 

Gear Up

Front Lines

  • Netflix’s newest original series is a dystopian thriller in Brazil
    -Netflix ordered a new series called 3% Produced by Brazilian studio Boutique Filmes and directed by Cesar Charlone (City of God). Everyone has one chance to jump from poverty to decadence but only 3% of applicants succeed. It’s Netflix’s first entirely Brazilian series.
  • Ultra HD Blu-ray will have 4K discs here in time for the holidays
    The Blu-ray Disc Association announced it will start licensing Ultra HD Blu-ray technology in time for the 2015 holiday season. The standard is 4K with support for 3840 x 2160 video as well as HDR and HFR and a ‘digital bridge’ feature to allow digital copies to be stored on authorized drives. 
  • HBO NOW Adds Support For Google’s Chromecast
    -HBO Now added support for Chromecast to its Android and iOS devices. The Travel Channel, Food Newtwork and Pokemon TV apps also added Chromecast support. 
  • Sky News livestream of Republican debate shut down by Fox News copyright claim
    Fox News held and broadcast debates among selected Republican US Presidential candidates last week. Fox News streamed the debate online but only if you logged in with your cable credentials. Sky News which is a UK network owned by the same company that owns Fox News, was streaming the debate worldwide without requiring a login. At least they were until a content ID claim appeared against Sky News’s stream originating from Fox News blocking it. Sky News started a new stream at a new URL and that one stayed up.
  • Samsung kills Boxee’s secret tablet remote project, lays off staff
    -RIP Boxee. Samsung, which bought Boxee two years ago, canceled the group’s next generation remote control project and has laid off much of the team. The project called PX, for perfect experience, would have been a guide to all programming available on a tablet-like device.
  • PlayStation’s streaming TV service rolls out to Dallas and Miami
    And two quick notes. The PlayStation Vue TV service is now available in the Dallas and Miami areas and Netflix will launch in Japan September 2nd.

Under Surveillance

Dispatches from the Front

Hey Tom and Bryan! My 7 year old daughter is obsessed with YouTube. I trust her well enough to watch videos on my YouTube account because the YouTube kids seems to be geared for too young of an audience for her. … My question is, why does my 7 year old see Budwiser and other adult themed ads in front of these videos? Is it because YouTube assumes I am watching the video because I am logged in? This seems like of short cited of YouTube with all their data they should be able to recognize that those videos are geared for kids and should only show kid appropriate ads. I wish Google would supply more customization for letting children use YouTube other than “kids” which seems for very young children, or all out using your adult account with adult ads.

Kyle from Jacksonville




Hello Tom, Brian and Bryce –

Its been great to listen to the talk about whether or not to buy physical media or invest in digital media and some of the comments from other cordkillers.

Last year my brother made some terrible, stupid life choices and had to tighten his budget. One of the first bills to go was his internet and TV. Since he had heavily invested in digital content like Steam games and TV/Movies from Amazon, all of that was now of no use to him. …Yes, he could have downloaded the Amazon files and saved them or put Steam in offline mode, but that would only work for so long.

Watching this happen has made me stick with physical media in all aspects. You never know what’s going to happen in your life and I want to be sure that if I make some dumb choices I’m not stuck watching the only a single channel that comes in on my antenna.

Thanks for the great show!




Quick money saving tip if you pay for Showtime and/or HBO through Apple. We buy $100 gift cards at Costco or Sam’s Club for $80 on sale. Load those up into iTunes Store and save 20%. Over a year if you subscribe to both you’d save about $60. Enough to buy some other shows or support Cordkillers on Patreon!

– Rob



2015 Winter Movie Draft