Cordkillers 138 – Can’t Beat That With a Roku Stick w/ Hammond Chamberlain

Why cord-cutting will save you money, CW aims at cord-cutters, and the new 4K Rokus are here! With special guest Hammond Chamberlain.

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CordKillers: Ep. 138 – Can’t Beat That With a Roku Stick
Recorded:  September 27 2016
Guest: Hammond Chamberlain

Intro Video


Primary Target

Signal Intelligence

Gear Up

  • Roku’s new players start at $30, and they make 4K and HDR cheaper
    – Roku announced a new line of players. The Roku Express costs $30 with a faster processer than the previous streaming stick or Roku 1. The Roku Express+ is $40 and includes composite cable inputs. Both have the stick form factor. The Roku Premiere is $80 with 4K support at 60fps, faster quad-core processors and dual-band 802.11ac WiFi. The Premiere+ is $100 and supports HDR, ethernet and microSD. It also has the headphone jack on its remote. The Roku Ultra is $130 with 4K HDR plus optical audio, USB, voice search and a lost remote button on the box. Roku’s universal search works across 100 services now. The models are available for preorder and ship October 9th.

Under Surveillance

Front Lines

  • This is the 4K Google Chromecast Ultra
    – VentureBeat has images they say are of a new Chromecast to be announced at a Google hardware event on October 4th. The Chromecast Ultra would be capable of 4K and cost an alleged $69. It would run the 1.21 firmware which is now in beta. 
  • Plex partners with Amazon to launch a hardware-free media server, Plex Cloud
    – If running your own PC server has kept you from discovering the joys of Plex, we have good news. Plex Cloud in partnership with Amazon Cloud Drive will let you host your files remotely. You can add files to your Amazon Cloud Drive from any device then stream using the Plex app. You’ll have to pay for the Plex Pass to take advantage of the service which is $60 a year, but that gives you unlimited storage. You can sign up for the beta at
  • AT&T to launch DirecTV Now streaming video service before 2017
    – AT&T’s Randall Stephenson announced the company’s DirecTV Now service will launch before the end of the year. DirecTV Now will provide more than 100 premium cable TV channels over the Internet in the US. The service will allow two streams per household with more streams possibly available for purchase. AT&T may also bundle wit with wireless or broadband Internet service. No other details were given. Stephensnon says the company is 90% done with deals for content. Bloomberg reports on sources saying AT&T plans for its upcoming streaming TV service, DirecTV Now, to be its primary video platform within 5 years. 
  • AT&T to launch DirecTV Now streaming video service before 2017
    – ReCode reports its sources say Verizon is in advanced talks to acquire video startup Vessel. Vessel is run by former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar. Vessel has been allegedly working on a new product described as “Snapchat-like,” with image filters and other features. Recode’s Peter Kafka points out Verizon has listed video among the main reasons for acquiring AOL and soon Yahoo.
  • Netflix Targeting 50% of Content to Be Original Programming, CFO Says
    – Netflix CFO David Wells told an audience at the Goldman Sachs conference Tuesday that Netflix is on track for half its content offering to be made up of Netflix originals within the next few years. Wells said not every show needs to be a home run either saying they can live with singles and doubles. This is a baseball metaphor which means not every show has to be a huge hit. Wells also said of customers who cancel Netflix, between 33% and 50% eventually return to subscribe to the service.

Dispatches from the Front

The Canadian streaming service Shomi which was launched officially in 2015 by cable giants Rogers and Shaw will close down on November 30th and Rogers estimated a $100-140 million investment loss on their 3rd quarter earnings.

According to Toronto’s Solutions Research Group (SRG) the services of Shomi and Crave (Bell Media) had one seventh the subscribers of Netflix. As a Rogers Cable Internet customer it was added as part of my tier with no apparent price increases, so I’m sure many of the subscribers they had may not be actively contributing to revenue.

This was the service where I watched shows like Mr. Robot, Last Man on Earth, Always Sunny in Philadelphia and the original seasons of Black Mirror. Not sure if another provider will then pickup the streaming rights to these shows or I will have to look to iTunes for purchasing them.



Hi Tom and Brian,

A few months ago, I sent in my review about Playstation Vue service. I wasn’t thrilled with it at the time, especially the DVR functionality, so I cancelled it after the free trial.

A few weeks ago I decided to give it another shot. In Chicago we now have access to CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox and the DVR functionality has greatly improved and I am thrilled by the progress made in just a few months. Last week I unplugged all my cable boxes in preparation of the conversion and my family was on board.

Today, when cancelling my Comcast service I thought I would do a little research for your show and cancelled using their online chat service. It was easy, I didn’t have to deal with the retention department and it was actually a pleasant experience.

If listeners are looking for a non-stressful Comcast cancellation experience, the chat service is the way to go.

Love the show.

John from Chicago



Hey guys, it’s your boss.

I got bored tonight and decided to do the chicken challenge with Directv. My bill had crept over $125/mo (TV only) and I had the family convinced that sling or PlayStation vue were viable. I managed to get $50 off my bill, so I stayed. However, in looking for negotiation leverage I peeked at the intro prices for the various packages and found that they were darn close to the full rates for ongoing customers.

Select $50 new —> $51.99 existing
Entertainment $55 new —> $61.99 existing
Choice $60 new —> $74.99 existing
Xtra $70 new —> $81.99 existing
Utlimate $75 new —> $91.99 existing
Premier $125 new —> $144.99 existing

I find it interesting that the bottom has such a small gap in the new subscriber’s and existing. I have two wild speculations about this: first, cord cutting has made the customers at that price point need ongoing low prices, so the difference has reduced – not the top tier is $20/mo more. Second, I believe that they make up a lot of the price difference in hardware. Part of my agreement was $30/mo off for hardware. So in 2 years, that bill jumps up because of the devices and not the service. This artificially makes all the plans look cheaper, because none of them are possible without the box.

Speaking of boxes, Directv isn’t offering the GenieGo anymore, and my rep said that it was because they were preparing a streaming-only service. He said a lot of things, though, so I would only use random service rep’s word as the basis for wild speculation.

Keep up the good work.




For this fall seasons there are all of the CW shows that I love and I want to show support. I am a cord killer and let’s say I have a system to get TV. However for these shows I want to do the most that I can to show my support. Bryan since you have had a network TV show what things make a difference for TV execs?