Cord-cutting is dead! So why do Hulu’s owners want to make an OTT service? Also FullScreen launches another service and TiVo finally courts cordcutters. But it’s dead you guys! With special guest Brian Ibbott.

CordKillers: Ep. 119 - Cord-Cutting is Over!
Recorded:  May 2 2016
Guest: Brian Ibbott

Intro Video

Primary Target

Signal Intelligence

Gear Up

Front Lines

Under Surveillance

Dispatches from the Front

FYI Margo Martingdale was NOT in THE Leftovers. The actress you are thinking of was Ann Dowd.

- Lehman


Because of studio paranoia, PC users haven't been able to take advantage of their hardware for video content. Steam is offering full 1080p movies at a user-selectable, locked bitrate -- unlike the Netflix "we'll decide to downgrade when we feel like it" system. Also, Netflix only streams in 1080p with the Windows 8/10 Metro app -- Win7 or Linux are left behind. The killer app for Steam will be if it offers UHD. I have a 4k monitor with Displayport and full HDCP support, but there's absolutely no legal way to watch any 4k movie content on it. None. I hope Steam plans to fill that void.

Sure, the HTPC crowd is tiny, but so are the new generation of HTPCs. Steam is thinking ahead about the PC being the one box to rule them all.

- BD


Dear Tom and Scott,

I can speak to technology as I experienced it in 1970, having been 8 years old at the time. Here are some details you may find interesting:

We had 3 channels on TV. 4, if you counted PBS. PBS was on UHF, the rest of them were on VHF. There was a switch on the TV to switch between the two.
In the attic above our family room, there was an antenna. Every once in a while, my father would go up there and adjust it, when we were getting a particularly poor picture.
One thing that was very annoying was when the vertical hold went off kilter and the picture would roll in a strange way that is like nothing we experience now. There was a dial on the TV you had to turn to try and adjust this.
The TV we had in 1970 was encased in a nice wooden cabinet that sat directly on the floor. When it died, my father removed the electronics and made it into a cabinet that held the VCR and the a/b switch we used to switch between cable and VCR, and the TV sat on top of that.

We had 2 extensions, which allowed for some interesting things. Like, I would be up in my parents' bedroom talking on the phone to a friend and my mother would pick up the phone downstairs to tell me dinner was ready.
You could dial your own number followed by the first digit of your number again and hang up quick, and then your phone would ring. A neat trick to play from the upstairs phone to get mom to pick up the one downstairs.
There was a number that you could call that would tell you the time and temperature.
If you didn't want calls, you could take the phone off the hook. The early equivalent of ignoring calls. This was before answering machines, so the phone would just ring and ring until the caller hung up if you didn't answer. Hardly anyone ever just let it ring, though.

We had two special electric switch mini-console thingies in our house, one on each floor. They allowed you to turn on outdoor lights and one light in each room of the house. My mother would "blink the lights" in the family room to alert whoever was in there that she needed them upstairs.

I have to share one other thing, that's probably from later in the 70s, just because it's so hilarious. Our first cable TV came with a box that literally looked like the bottom part of a blender -- you know the ones with rows of buttons, and if you push one down the one that's pushed down pops up. Ours had 2 rows and a switch to switch between them, and a dial to adjust the picture. And a really long cord (yes, a cord) that reached from the TV to the couch or easy chair, so you could sit and change the channels without getting up. Our first remote control.

Love the show!

- Beelissa


2016 Summer Movie Draft

AuthorTom Merritt

How the FCC helped cablecos explain why they resist innovation, Apple might make its own original TV shows, HBO NOW FINALLY gets popular.

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CordKillers: Ep. 118 - Steam's Stream Dream
Recorded: April 25 2016
Guest: Jaime Ruiz-Avila

Intro Video

Primary Target

  • Comcast will bring its Xfinity app to Roku and Samsung Smart TVs this year
    - Comcast announced its HTML5 Xfinity app is coming to Samsung Smart TVs
    - A custom app is coming to Roku.
    - Subscribers to Comcast’s Xfinity cable service can access the channel guide, cloud DVR, and live and on -demand TV.
    Comcast believes this shows the FCC does not need to mandate set-top box compatibility.
    - The FCC told the Verge the new app does not "integrate or search across Comcast content as well as other content consumers subscribe to." 
  • Disney, CBS, Viacom worry FCC cable box proposal would do to TV what iTunes did to music
    - Several companies inl. Disney, CBS, Fox, A&E, Time Warner, Scripps and Viacom filed feedback to the FCC’s proposed rules to require MVNOs to support third-party cable boxes
    - Companies object that they would lose revenue if they can no longer control the order in which channels appear
    - particularly concerned that these new set-top boxes will offer up shows individually, instead of presenting entire channels as cable boxes
    - Worry about “commitments to secure and protect content”
    - Comcast made a separate filing
    - Added arguments are technical burdens to support the new boxes, might require more bandwidth
    - "In any event, at a minimum, the [FCC's proposal] vastly understates the level of work, and associated costs, that would be necessary to implement its Set-Top Box Mandate," it writes.

Signal Intelligence

  • Apple talking original content
    - Feature by Nicole Laporte on Fast Company
    - Apple held a private dinner at Sundance and heard pitches in LA in the weeks that followed.
    - Fast Company says it would be for an “exclusives” app on Apple TV
    - Two “lanes”
    - 1. Beats-driven programming meant to promote music
    - 2. Multiple original series.
    - Alibaba Pictures set up in Pasadena.
    - Run by Zhang Wei, former talk show host and Harvard MBA

Gear Up

Front Lines

Under Surveillance

Dispatches from the Front

Hey guys,

Just listened to last week's show and was wondering if either of you have tried the Xbox One for its media options.

I am not sure how common this set up is for everybody but an Xbox with kinect, HDMI pass through for a cable box and a harmony remote let's me easily access anything I want using the Xbox - One Guide.

The One Guide lays out suggestions for movies to rent or purchase, what is popular in most video apps like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube or if you chose to look at your cable provider's channel guide will list categories such as live TV shows trending on Twitter.

What has really surprised me is that I recently realized how easy it is to be able to say """"Xbox on"""" which will wake it up and turn on the TV and follow it with """"watch ESPN"""" and it just finds the channel for me.  (No need to memorize #s) Or I can use a remote, a game pad or cell phone to control everything.

I know one of the features (that admittedly might bother some) is that the kinect will recognize when I'm sitting in front of the TV and have favorites/suggestions loaded based on my profile and the same based on my wife's profile if she is watching TV.

If you guys have tried it out would love to hear your thoughts.

- Byron



Hi Brian, Tom, Bryce and guest,

I know they are several months away but I was thinking about how I was going to be able to watch this summer's Olympics. Since I cut the cord I have found ways to get some of the live TV I was missing but sports has been the hardest to find. This will be the first Olympics since ditching cable TV so I was wondering if you know if NBC makes the Olympics available to those of us without a cable box.

Thank you for making my commute enjoyable and educational. I'm happy to say I am one of your bosses.

- Jennifer, Stuck in traffic on the Mass Pike




Hey gentlemen got to say something....... YOU JJEERRRRKKKKKSSSSS. You guys just had to say Animaniacs was on Netflix didn't ya. I was dumb enough to watch the first episode AND NOW I CANT GET THE DAM ANIMANIACS THEME OUT OF MY HEAD AND WANT TO BINGE ON EVERY EPISODE phffft :P Jerks ;) . Even after all these years I remembered the theme word for word, I missed that show. Keep up the awesome work

- Robert E from Oklahoma  

The love affair is over. The sling streaming beta blacked out the blues Blackhawks game. I had to prove where I lived to get the channel. Sling is saying they are subject to the same blackout rules as everyone else. This is a lie since local dish and cable subscribers can watch. I got to watch the game earlier this week on Fox sports Midwest without issue. Maybe Playstation view is right for me. 

- Sean


Bryce asked about netflix country availability:

That will do more than what you want, but it will do what you were talking about.

- Kurt


2016 Summer Movie Draft

Hatting The System

Tootz the Unicorn

AuthorTom Merritt