Cordkillers 140 – HomeCast

Netflix declares war on theaters, why you need a new Roku and Chromecast, and Dark Tower leaks!

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CordKillers: Ep. 140 – HomeCast
Recorded: October 10 2016
Guest: None

Intro Video

Primary Target

How to Watch

  • Roku makes it easy to launch a streaming TV channel
    – Roku has introduced the Roku Direct Publisher tool which lets anyone create a Roku channel without having to code. Users must host the videos themselves. Rolling Stone, Us Weekly and Cracked have used the tool to make apps. Channels built in the tool cannot charge subscriptions or video on demand fees yet. — And a 50-inch Roku TV from Hitachi is now available from Sam’s Club in the US for $499. 55 and 65-inch models are coming soon.
  • Apple Discontinues Third-Generation Apple TV
    – MacRumors notes the Apple TV third generation is no longer listed in Apple’s stores. The older Apple TV sold for $69 but did not support the app store or Siri. The 4th gen Apple TV sells for $149 at the cheapest.
  • Chromecast Ultra gives you 4K content for just $69
    – Chromecast Ultra
    – 4k, HDR and Dolby Vision
    – Google Play Movies adding 4K in November
    – Ethernet port in the power adapter
    – $69 in November
  • The Google Cast app is getting a new name and purpose
    – The Google Cast app is being renamed again to Google Home and adds in features for Google’s new connected speaker.  

What to Watch

What We’re Watching

Front Lines

  • HBO releases Westworld’s second episode two days early
    – HBO released Westworld’s second episode two days early on HBO Go, HBO Now, and on demand in order to avoid people skipping the episode to watch the US Presidential Debate. 
  • Why Cord Cutting Is Spreading to Broadband Internet Subscribers
    – Pew Research issued a report on a different kind of cord-cutting, dropping a home Internet connection in favor of a smartphone. In 2015 13% of US adults used a smartphone as their only Net connection up from 8% in 2013. And adults with home broadband connections dropped from 70% in 2013 to 67% in 2015. 
  • BitTorrent Fires CEOs, Closes Los Angeles Studio, Shutters BitTorrent Now
    – BitTorrent fired its Co-CEOs and is closing its LA-based production studio and closing its BuiTorrent Now streaming efforts. BitTorrent Now, an ad-supported music and video streaming platform that launched in June. 
  • AT&T Turns to Media Acquisitions as Its Video Ambitions Grow
    – Sources tell Bloomberg that AT&T plans to acquire content producers and shift its model toward owning some of the content it distributes. AT&T owns DirecTV and has partnered with the Chernin Group on Otter Media which intends to bring content targeting a young audience to the cord-cutting service DirecTV Now.
  • This fall, more new milestones for the DVR
    – DVRs are starting to materially affect ratings. During fall premiere week, five programs grew at least 100 percent from Live+Same Day to live-plus-seven-day-DVR playback, more than ever before. In total, 37 broadcast shows grew by at least 50 percent in 18-49s. This means the network will push to charge ad buyers on the 7 day rating, currently they generally charge on 3-day playback.
  • Toca TV is a new streaming service just for kids
    – Popular kids app maker Toca Boca has launched Toca TV a $5 a month subscription service of kid-friendly videos for iOS. Minecraft gameplay, DIY crafts, recipes, songs and more are made by partners including Broadband TV (BBTV), DreamworksTV, AwesomenessTV, Studio71, and Freedom!

Dispatches from the Front

There was a question about travel router on #cordkillers. Here’s my pick

– @ecardwell1

If you’re like me, you’ve been listening/watching since this was FrameRate. I’m always looking for more info on streaming services, and has a newsletter just for that ( They put out a bunch of topics, people vote, & when a topic has enough subscribers, they create a newsletter.





Hey guys!

First off, thanks for the show. We’ve come to the most wonderful time of the year, hockey season. It’s also the time where it’s toughest for me to be a cord cutter.

I’m a Flyers fan, living in a flyers market. My ISP showed me across state in a Pittsburgh location. Last season I signed up for NHL Gamecenter, but missed out on games against Pens, This season, my ISP has relocated (yay faster speeds), so now I’m thinking of signing up for Playstation Vue. Vue has CSN so I’d get the majority of games, along with NBC Sports.

Quick questions about Vue, how does it work for viewing outside the home? If I end up traveling for work outside my home market, can I still watch the games? I know when Eklund was on, he mentioned some problems, all of that get cleared up? At home, am I better off using a dedicated device like a Fire Stick or casting it from an Android phone?

Thanks for the help!





So I was doing some volunteering the other day. Including me it was 8 people. I’m 51, and six of the people were in their early 20’s. so I asked how many of them were “Cord-cutters”. I received six puzzled expressions. So I started saying Roku and Apple TV and they all went ‘Oh, yeah. Why would you pay for cable when you just want to watch a couple things. Cable is so expensive.’ So all the young people don’t know the term Cord-cutter.

Also, when a younger person starts talking about how they just started lifting… they probably mean Lyft. Because all the kids seemed to know what that person was talking about, because their responses confused me and I had to ask. I thought they were talking about working out. But it was about the driving service.

Have a better than good day!





Hi guys. Dave82 from the chat room letting you know Charter called my Ooma land line last Friday.They wanted me to sign up to cable again.Like always,they wanted me to sign up for a triple bundle.

I declined the triple bundle.She then offered me a double bundle.The original offer was Charter Cable Select 125 channels + 60mbps internet for $96.98.I declined.At the last second,she offered the bundle for $86.98 for 12,months.

I took the offer.I agreed to a Wednesday installation for the cable box with DVR that’s free.The install will be $34.00.Having seen the first 2 episodes of West World,I’ve decided to bump the cable package to Silver.They said that will be an additional $20.00 a month.But I’ll have access to Cinemax,HBO,and Showtime.

I cancelled my Slingtv Orange package this morning.Halt and Catch Fire on AMC was really the only reason I kept my subscription.As I’m all caught up.I figured I’ll watch the rest with Charter.Really recommend episode 8 if you have not seen it yet.

I liked Sling TV.But reliability and adds with AMC On Demand were very frustrating.Also,no cable authentication with Cable channel web sights as well.I could of went with PlayStation Vue.If I would,I would choose Core package with HBO add on having did some research.

I’ll email next week how my re- connection to Charter Cable went.

David  in Fond Du Lac,Wisconsin




It breaks my heart that you guys seem to have given up on The Get Down after only two episodes. Yes, the early episodes had some cheesy moments (although much of that seems deliberate), but it is a very fun, and in some ways surprisingly accurate, almost-fairy tale/children’s book retelling of the origins of hip hop — and does an especially good job of showing the four elements of hip hop culture, deejaying, bboying (breaking), emceeing, and graffiti “writing”.




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?





Cordkillers 136 – Netflerks w/ Dan Benjamin

Netflix asks FCC to crack down on data caps, CBS All Access adds a commercial free tier, and do you still care about a new TiVo model? With special guest Dan Benjamin.

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CordKillers: Ep. 136 – Netflerks
Recorded: September 12 2016
Guest: Dan Benjamin

Intro Video

Primary Target

  • Netflix asks FCC to review data caps
    –  Netflix has filed a request with the FCC to add data caps to its annual review of telecommunications deployment (usually focuses on availability and speed)
    – Netflix: “the Commission should hold that data caps on fixed-­line networks ­­and low data caps on mobile networks­­ may unreasonably limit Internet television viewing and are inconsistent with Section 706.”
  • FCC changes cable box rules to please industry, gets blowback anyway
  • Comcast to FCC: Your set-top box plan is illegal
    – FCC modified cable set-top box rules adopting most of the suggestions from Cable industry
    – original plan allowed third-party software
    – Industry proposed provider-made software for linear and on-demand content only in HTML5
    – FCC changed to provider software but requires recording functionality and support of non-HTML5 if used by a “widely deployed platforms, such as Roku, Apple iOS, Windows and Android.”
    – operators with more than 1 million subs must comply within two years. 400K- 1 million 4 years. below 400K exempt.
    – Standard license for software to be used by all operators
    – Comcast to Ars: “empowers the Commission to hand over to a third party [pay-TV companies’] rights to the proprietary technologies and service that make up their apps,”
    – Wheeler also wrote that all copyright and licensing agreements will remain intact, since “the delivery of pay-TV programming will continue to be overseen by pay-TV providers from end-to-end.”
    – NCTA: ” “Programmers today do not pool and offer uniform rights across all platforms and uses.”
    – Final vote scheduled for September 29
    – SUMMARY UPSHOT: FCC will let cable companies write the software apps but require DVR functions and a single license for the software. Cablecos. are upset most about the license because they think it will threaten licensing deals for shows.”

Signal Intelligence

  • CBS All Access commercial-free option costs $4 more a month
    – CBS All Access – exclusive future home of Star Trek: Discovery in the US — will offer a commercial free version of the service for $10 a month
    – Current offer is $6 a month
    – Also coming to Xbox One
    – SUMMARY UPSHOT: CBS first big service after Hulu to offer a commercial-free tier.

Gear Up

  • New TiVo Bolt+
  • TiVo’s new interface will cut down on channel surfing
  • TiVo is working on a network DVR that’ll broadcast to your non-TVs
    – Rovi completed takeover of TiVo
    – New TiVo interface
    – Centered around surfacing what you want to watch rather than just showing everything that’s on.
    – FCC filing from TiVo describes a networked OTA DVR similar to Tablo or (codenamed Mantis)
    – HOWEVER – Today TiVo announced an update to the Bolt, called the Bolt+ for $499 (+$200 over orig)
    – Can record up to 6 channels at once (2 more than orig)
    – 3TB hard drive (vs. 1 TB orig)
    – Glossy black
    – No HDR yet could come in update. (does do 4K just like original Bolt)
    – On sale Thursday Sept. 15

Under Surveillance

Front Lines

Dispatches from the Front
Hey guys,

Just listened to this past week’s show and wanted to add some points about your experiences with NBCs coverage of the Olympics.

Admittingly, I tend to live in the NBCSN app for most of the year because they have exclusive rights to English Premier League soccer, but I found that the NBCSN app did most of the things you were saying they should for the Olympics.

The app on my phone updated and added the Olympic rings in the icon. When I opened it, it gave me the chance to select Olympic events, athletes and/or countries I wanted to track.

Then I would receive live notifications each day telling me when an important event was about to start and give me the option to just click on it to go to the live stream and watch.

I would get what seemed like at least a dozen notifications a day that included my preferences and other random events it considered note worthy (so for example “Watch the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt run in the 200m semi.” And so on)

One complaint though is that most events tended to be a raw feed. If it made the primetime broadcast, that would be when you would get the actual commentary or special athlete profile segments. During the day, if it was not something broadcast on live TV it was just the event with sounds from the venue.

Aside from the Olympic stuff…wanted to offer a tip for Premier League fans. All games are broadcast on TV, but depending on the cable company some games are in SD. However in the app, all games are HD. There is also a RedZone like, app only channel called Goal Rush. This shows the game of the day live and cuts to big plays and goals in all of the games. Definitely great if you have a fantasy team.

Byron NYC



Hey Tom and Brian,

Wanted to throw a quick comment (non-advertising related) regarding your discussion on The Departed. The movie, despite being often as “original” or a “masterpiece”, is not original. The movie itself is a remake of the 2002 award-winning film “Infernal Affairs” from Hong Kong (the true “original” has a prequel and sequel as well, of which portions were incorporated in the American remake). I don’t believe it’s on Netflix though it’s available for rent and purchase on Amazon.




Hey Cord Killers,

What would be the best way to watch The CW without cable? I’ve used the Xbox app but it’s not that great, & the app has adds. Would you recommend buying an HD antenna, or buying season passes for the DC TV shows on Amazon?

If antenna is the better route, what brand would you recommend?





Hey guys,
You keep saying that Netflix has the new star trek discovery show for everywhere but the US…well you forgot about Canada. Bell Media outbid Netflix, will air the premiere on CTV and then the rest on the SPACE channel. Which you need cable for!!
They say it may be available “later” for streaming. Space also got the entire star trek back catalogue that will just air…on cable…not streaming

Man…Bell sucks.





Hey Brian and Tom,

On your recent discussion of how to retain your in country Netflix experience while traveling, my solution has been to use a VPN tied to my home router. I run Tomato on my Asus router (because I’m a geek) but I’m wondering if the router vendors are starting to include VPN software as well. I had no issues traveling to Europe or South America and keeping my home version of Netflix.

Granted, roll your own VPN is probably more complicated than most are interested messing with, but the router vendors might have an opportunity to differentiate their product for the globetrotting public.