Cordkillers 91 – 4 Kurious

Cable companies want control of their boxes, do you care? Hulu’s going VR and Roku dominates many things including 4K.

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CordKillers: 91 – 4 Kurious
Recorded: October 12, 2015
Guest: Roberto Villegas

Intro Video

Primary Target

  • Does the Future of Television Belong to the Device or the App?
    – Congress directed the FCC to evaluate new standards for downloadable security on set-top boxes.
    – Last protocols established in the mid-1990s allowing for TiVo and the like to offer competing cable box devices
    Cable industry and Hollywood proposal
    – Allow content operators (cablecos) to provide own apps and interfaces
    – Third-party devices could only display software designed and controlled by MVPDs.
    Tech companies “virtual head-end” proposal
    – Programming forced into simple format
    – Device-makers create user interfaces and implement features
    – Could disrupt contracts dictating channel placement
    – Could allow app services like HBO to unbundle

Signal Intelligence

  • Hulu’s virtual reality app is set for its close-up next month
  • Hulu poised to see bigger growth than Amazon and Netflix over the next four years.
    – Hulu VR experience ready for November when Gear VR goes on sale
    – Hulu head of distribution Tom Connolly said Friday its considering original VR series.
    – Freddie Wong making VR short film “The Big One” alongside Hulu original series
    – Typical virtual environment for watching normal content. Sit in Jerry’s apartment to watch Seinfeld.
    – 70% of Hulu viewing on a TV. Roku the most popular.
    – Live programming in ‘if’ mode. As in not sure if they’ll do it.
    – Emarketer forecasts Hulu will have bigger growth than Amazon and Netflix over next 4 years
    – Next year, Hulu will see 11.8 percent growth in subscribers, compared to 11.1 percent for Netflix and 12.3 percent for Amazon.
    – Later this year: miniseries “11/22/63” will debut, starring James Franco.
    – This year 63 percent of OTT users subscribe to Netflix, compared to 36 percent for Amazon and 33. 1 percent for Hulu.
    – By 2019, that will rise to 71.7 percent for Netflix, 44.4 percent for Amazon, and 41.2 percent for Hulu.

Gear Up

  • Roku finally gets into 4K with new streaming box, updated software
    – Roku 4 streaming player
    – Supports 4K content playback 60fps (better framerate than Apple or Amazon, same as TiVo Bolt)
    – Auto-adapt to quality of streaming video
    – 802.11ac
    – Button on box makes remote make sounds (buzz or ring)
    – New 4K row in channel store, as well as 4K spotlight app
    – Send photos from phone to 4K screen
    – Pre-order now shipping Oct. 21 $129.99
  • HBO Now comes to Roku
    – HBO Now available in Roku Channel store now. Sign up through Roku and get a 30-day free trial.
    – Roku 7.0 os
    – Will come to Roku 3, 4 and streamign stick
    – cleaner UI
    – universal search displays results in descending order by price
    – search for actors, dorectors as well as specific ttitle
    – Track all that using Feed. Can alert when new content available
    – App can now browse content, add things to feed, add channels
    – Later this year will allow app to work w/o being on same network as device.

Front Lines

Under Surveillance

Dispatches from the Front

I found it interesting that Tom suggests that TiVo look to Roku for inspiration on how to proceed going forward. Given that Roku was started by ReplayTV founder Anthony Wood, there’s probably some institutional bias against adopting Roku’s model for, well, anything.

Keep up the good work,




Hey Brian and Tom!

A few episodes ago, you had on the guy who runs, and after checking it out, I’ve fallen in love. It’s great to be able to “flip through the channels” again. They also have a lot of great programming.

Thanks for bringing this great site to our attention!

Love the show




Hey guys. You’ve had several people say why they want the ability to download streaming video for later playback, but my situation hasn’t been mentioned yet. I have satellite internet service that has a low monthly bandwidth cap – except for a few hours in the middle of the night when I can download anything without a cap. If a service allows downloads, I can grab shows I’d like to watch during the “free” times, and watch them later without worrying about quickly blowing through my cap. In fact, because Amazon just added the download feature, I finally got Amazon Prime. If Netflix ever adds this feature, I would order Netflix, too.”




“How many people have speakers with headphone-sized jacks on them.  My home speakers are all wired up with speaker wire.
Am I missing something with this Chromecast speaker thing?




“I did it! I cut the cable cord, but i did go Dish with there 2 year price lock (50/mo), and I have to tell you.. Dish doesn’t get enough credit. Great tech, great price, and a free year of Netflix, that works on the Hopper Sling box.. all included in that 50/mo price tag. And I have been traveling a lot in the past 2 months, the Sling capabilities have made it nice and easy to get my Dr. Who/Mr. Robot fix without the torrents. 

If it wasn’t for my pesky kids (it’s really their technophobe grandmother) ;), I would have completely cut the cord long ago, but this option is the best deal i found if you have to keep some ‘normal tv’ around. Thought i would chime in. Keep it up!

Joe from LA 



2015 Winter Movie Draft