Why HBO needn't worry about piracy, why Netflix wants to kill TV, and new news about the Star Wars. 

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CordKillers: Ep. 67 - You’re Excited for a Prequel
Recorded: April 20, 2015
Guest: Ron Richards

Intro Video 

Primary Target

Signal Intelligence

Gear Up

Front Lines

  • Verizon's 'customizable' FiOS TV packages violate contract, says ESPN
    -Verizon announced plans to offer new FIOS TV packages that gave users basic channels and two channel bundles of their choice for $55 a month or $65 with Internet. Additional bundles can be added for $10 a month extra. Late Friday Disney released a statement that the bundles were not authorized under existing agreements that don’t allow ESPN or ESPN2 to be distributed in separate sports packages. 
  • HBO renews Silicon Valley for third season
    -HBO will not only bring Silicon Valley back for a third season but announced it has acquired the rights to Vimeo show High Maintenance. HBO will air 6 new episodes of the series and make previous episodes available as well. Thanks to sporknpork on Twitter for the tipoff on High Maintenance.
  • Netflix creating 4K successor to Planet Earth
    -Here’s a roundup of Netflix show announcements. Silverback Films, the creators of Planet Earth are doing an 8-episode 4K series called Our Planet set to arrive in 2019. Orange is the New Black got the green light for a fourth season in 2016. Season 3 is coming June 12. And Dragons: Race to the Edge from Dreamworks will appear on Netflix June 26. 
  • Sony’s Crackle To Introduce Scheduled Programs In Addition To VOD Offerings
    -Sony’s Crackle is adding an “Always On” channel; that will start playing as soon as you launch the app, starting on Roku in May. Also coming to the channel Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser, with David Spade and Christopher Walken, on July 16 a new season of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee on June 4 and a stop-motion animated series called Supermansion featuring the voice of Bryan Cranston coming in autumn.

Under Surveillance

Dispatches from the Front

 Hey Tom & Brian,

I've given up writing this review of CBS All Access a few times now because there were just so many problems with the service. But I'm happy to report that with a few recent updates, they've moved from "terrible" to "more than tolerable"!

Previously, you could only watch in a browser, on iOS, or on Android. And with iOS, AirPlay isn't natively supported in the app. This meant no easy big screen viewing. Additionally, your position in an episode wasn't saved. Want to switch devices, or just come back and finish later? Be prepared to watch a bunch of ads while searching for the spot you left off.

Thankfully, a brand new CBS All Access channel just launched on Roku! And coupled with the recently added per device remembering of playback position in episodes, I'm happy to say this $6 a month service is finally tolerable enough to use for all the cord killing Elementary fans out there.

Now, if they can just get some more diversity in their ads, they can be upgraded from "more than tolerable" to "not actually that bad at all".

Love the show!


Hey guys,
Just listened to the spoiler n time ep when you talked about the season finally of Better Call Saul. Funny thing that I picked up because I have been watching along with my wife as she works her way through Breaking Bad. I just watch an episode with my wife in BB where Saul says "I once convinced a girl that I was Kevin Kostner" and then thought, wow, I just saw him do that on BCS.. It was a cool moment that had I not been watching BB at the time I'm sure I would have never picked up. I will say that as my wife has been exposed to Saul in BB she is a bit how she was when she met Tyrion Lanester for the first time. "Why do you like him, he's kind of a dick, and why did they make a show about Saul" I just told her, Saul grows on you like the imp did, and hang in there. so maybe my email will get read because I provided a great transition from last week's show to next week's spoils of gold for the season premere of Game of Throwns. Love the show. Love you guys, listen so much you feel like friends. Keep it up, as my summer picks up in real estate, I will become a BOSS..




Just watched episode 64 where you talk about the Amazon Fire TV Stick and how it now has the convenience of logging in through pesky hotel login pages. I travel two weeks a month just for work (three with personal travel included), so a Chromecast is always in my bag. Streaming content (e.g. Netflix, Youtube) over crappy hotel internet has never been an issue for me. A few of the hotels that I stay at don't require you to use to web browser login page, so Chromecast works great for those trips, but I have yet to find a work around for the places that do have that ridiculousness. Knowing that the Fire TV Stick has a simple solution to this makes it very appealing just for travel purposes alone, which means that I could leave the Chromecast plugged into one of the Home TV's 24/7.

Hope this gives a small insight to us traveling plenty and how we try to consume our content on the road. Love the show. Keep delivering the goodness.





Just wanted to bring up a quick point about the YouTube subscriptions that are paid by time spent viewing. I understand details are few, but I would like to know how they handle playlist and gaming the 'time spent viewing'. What prevents me from starting a playlist of cordkillers and leaving for work? Do they implement the Pandora style 'are you still listening/watching ?'

Again details are vague and let wild speculation rule the land. Just interested in your thoughts as creators.




A couple of things:

First, CNet has an article about how those of us outside of the Apple eco-system can get HBO Now via the PlayOn service. Here's the article -- http://www.cnet.com/how-to/watch-hbo-now-on-android-and-roku-right-now/

Second, I'm sure you've been corrected a thousand times about this, but the pronunciation of Hauppauge is not "how-pudge", it's "hop-ogg" or "hop-pog".

Third, I took a few months off from Cordkillers so I could read all 5 of the Game of Thrones books, but I'm back and have resumed my patronage.



2015 Winter Movie Draft

  1. GFQ: $318,273,110
  2. Cordkillers: $23,681,298
  3. Frogpants: $15,845,115
  4. Night Attack: $0
  5. DTNS: $0
  6. Amtrekker: $0


Dog House Systems Cordkiller box

AuthorTom Merritt

HBO launches on Apple, Cablevision and Sling TV, and YouTube to sell subscriptions.

CordKillers: Ep. HBO Now or Later?
Recorded: April 11, 2015
Guest: None

Intro Video 

Primary Target

Signal Intelligence

  • YouTube planning subscription service for ad-free videos
    YouTube sent creators an email about subscription service
    - YouTube subscription service becomes available in the next few months
    - Ad-free videos and offline storage around $10 a month (could be lower for specific categories)
    - Ability to put some videos behind paywall
    - Same % split as ads. 55% to creator
    - Sub money apportioned based on TSV
    - Partners must participate or have videos set to private

Gear Up

Front Lines

Under Surveillance

Dispatches from the Front

You guys were talking about how the Tivo Romio was the ultimate cord cutters box because it combined OTA DVR with apps. Well sirs! I submit to you that now that Microsoft is finally getting around to supporting an OTA tuner for the Xbox One here in the US, I saw they just went and beat Tivo and Channel Master to the punch! Just hold on and let me explain my case:

Before you say the price difference to too much it would take you about two years to pay the same amount of money you gave Tivo for the subscription that you spend to get the Xbox. Yes, the initial cost would be higher, but the Tivo option just spreads that out over two years. And over that two years, the Xbox One will continue to get more updates and capabilities, the Tivo will be just as slow and frustrating as it was on day one and you just keep giving them more money!



  • Tivo Romio - $49.99
    -OTA Recording
    -Slow outdated apps
    -Subscription Fee Required - $14.99/month
  • Xbox One - $349.99 + $79.99 Tuner from Hauppauge or $59.99 Official Adapter in a few months
    -All the apps you need up-to-date and fast
    -No Subscription -- Xbox Gold is NOT required for media apps or recording 
    Xbox tuner is not a DVR 


Hey Employees. Quick question here.

I’d like to get into the Breaking Bad universe and I’m wondering as someone thats only ever seen the pilot of Breaking Bad should I watch Breaking Bad first or since Better Call Saul is a prequel should I watch that first?

-From your boss, Nik.



Given the recent news regarding Sling TVs hiccups during the final four basketball games, I'm curious as to what expectations for downtime for live internet-delivered TV are?

No downtime is certainly best, however I know personally I have held higher expectations for traditional broadcast methods compared to internet-streamed video. Although always annoying when streams fail / buffer / etc., I always expected it at times as it was new technology and/or rarely time sensitive material to watch. Sling TV is new tech itself and still maturing, but will viewers (from tech savvy to my grandparents) be expecting 'traditional broadcast stability' or 'internet broadcast stability'?

Of course there have always been technical issues with the 'old' methods as well. However I cannot remember the last time a major live TV event went down for more than a few seconds over traditional broadcast methods (perhaps I've been lucky). At the moment, these major live TV events, and high viewer counts, must be massive quality concerns for IP-delivered TV streams. Quality and stability are even more vital given the events themselves are a major reason for purchasing services like Sling TV in the first place.

This will hopefully become a non issue as tech improves of course.

Keep up the fine work!

Your boss down under,



I thought I was the only one! After paying and seeing a terrible movie in 2007 (REDACTED) sitting through an hour and half to find out that he still dies (ohh yeah spoiler alert, but it doesn't even matter it's so terrible Do Not Watch It!) I seek out every movie and TV show plot before I invest my time watching it. I have sympathy for the spoiler-phobic and try not to spoil things for my friends and family but personally I'm not paying for something if I know I won't like the end.

You guys are great, I love your show, and I'm thrilled to be a patron! :-)


Steve B.


Hey guys,

Just thought I would chime in on the spoiler discussion.

I would have to admit I am definitely closer to the Andrew Zarian spectrum when it come to spoilers (maybe its a Queens thing).

I tend to enjoy spoilers and never try to avoid them unless I know I am about to see something soon anyway, and would of course not seek out a show called spoilerin time if I was afraid of possible spoilers.

I will admit, if it wasn't for you guys spoiling Breaking Bad every week on Frame Rate, I probably would not have taken the plunge to binge watch it all. And I still greatly enjoyed it, despite knowing *blank* is blown up using *blank*

By the way Brian, if you do read this on the show it might need to be in spoilerin time. Despite the blanks people will still get upset.




Employees, fellow owners, stop complaining about spoilers if you don't like them don't listen! I get tired of hearing about should we have spoilers, shouldn't we have spoilers, oh my God we need to do this about spoilers no no we need to do this. I don't listen to here 5-10 minutes of debating spoiler protocol weekly!




I am a long time supporter of cordkillers and shaved the cord down to only my local channels.

My question is about Yahoo! Screen and their recent original programing. I am a big fan of community and love that they are giving it a second life. Since I was in the app I also decided to check out Sin City Saints, which appears to be another solid show. I now see that they are bringing in some show called Other Space. The thing is that Yahoo! has been providing these shows without any visible commercials on the roku or apple TV apps. Is the plan a future subscription service or is there something else going on? With some of this quality programming, I would hate to see it all vanish because they are not getting a return on their investment. Just wondering what Tom Brain and guest might think about what is strategy.

Love the who bro.





Do you know of a way to get an alert when your favorite team is the free game of the day on MLB.tv? Maybe by using iftt.com? In this case I know what I want to watch. I just don't know when it is available to watch.

In case you don't know what I'm talking about, as part of the MLB.tv streaming service they offer one game a day for free. I don't pay for the service, but when my favorite team, the Chicago Cubs, is the free game of the day I would like to seize the opportunity. I have WGN America on cable and unfortunately this year the Cubs games that are on WGN are only on the broadcast version of the channel available in the Chicago area, but not WGN America the cable channel available via cable throughout the country.

This is similar to what TBS did a few years ago when it separated TBS the cable channel from TBS the broadcast channel available only in the Atlanta area. However, in that case the broadcast version became known as Peachtree TV with separate branding and programing, while the cable version stayed TBS (very funny). The Braves games that were available on TBS are essentially now on Peachtree TV.

In WGN's case both the broadcast version and WGN America have the same programing as far as I can tell except for the lack of Chicago Cubs games. And the subtle difference in branding between WGN and WGN America confuses most consumers.

-Bill near Athens, Georgia


2015 Winter Movie Draft

  1. GFQ: $252,522,000
  2. Cordkillers: $13,500,000
  3. Night Attack: $0
  4. DTNS: $0
  5. Frogpants: $0
  6. Amtrekker: $0


Dog House Systems Cordkiller box

AuthorTom Merritt

Netflix sort of brings back Mr. Show, Sling TV beefs up and apologizes, and Roku gets a big upgrade.

CordKillers: Ep. 65 - Spoiler Alert: Susie Dies in this Episode
Recorded: April 6, 2015
Guest: Andrew Zarian

Intro Video

Primary Target

Signal Intelligence

Gear Up

Front Lines

  • George R.R. Martin is working on a new HBO series
    -George R. R. Martin is developing a second HBO series called Captain Cosmos, which will tell the story of a visionary sci-fi writer in 1949. Given that George R.R. Martin is not your bitch, how excited are you for this?
  • HBO is tweeting at all the people who wanted HBO Now years ago
    -HBO’s Twitter account began replying to tweets from people who said they would pay for an Internet-only HBO subscription and often used the hashtag HBoTakeMyMoney. Some of the tweets are as old as 2012. Is this an effective use of the HBO social media manager’s time?
  • Apple Asks TV Programmers to Supply Their Own Streams for Apple’s TV Service
    -Some industry executive are telling ReCode that Apple is asking TV networks to handle the streaming responsibilities to become part of a rumored Apple TV streaming service. Is this Apple letting the experts do the streaming, a way to stop ISPs from blocking services both or neither?
  • YouTube star Michelle Phan has officially outgrown YouTube
    -YouTube fashion celeb Michelle Phan has launched her own network called ICON which means in addition to YouTube, videos will appear on DailyMotion and Roku as well as social media, apps and the Web. Is THIS the future of video networks?
  • The Twin Peaks Revival Is Happening Without David Lynch
    -Well Twin Peaks may still come back to Showtime but it looks like it will be without David Lynch. He tweeted Sunday, “After 1 year and 4 months of negotiations, I left because not enough money was offered to do the script the way I felt it needed to be done.” Is anyone here besides Tom sad?

Under Surveillance

Dispatches from the Front

Hey guys, love the show and I'm really looking forward to tonight's episode but I do have a request;

When talking about The Walking Dead or other shows based on comics or books, can you please not talk about the original source material. For instance I have purposely been lagging behind on The Walking Dead comics so that the story in the TV show doesn't get spoiled for me (it's fun not knowing what's coming). But when talking about things that happened in the comics that haven't happened in the show yet it gets dicey because the show will probably use the story or character, just in a slightly different way.

Anyway, keep up the great work!

David from hot then cold then hot then cold then hot then cold St. Paul
Just one of the Bosses (we are legion).



Nathan wrote in how he used his phone in 3G mode in a hotel hoping it would limit bandwidth usage but still be watchable for Game of Thrones. Here's what he says: "For the first two episodes we used 800 Megabytes of data. The next night we watched two more episodes and I left my phone on LTE, for the 3rd and 4th episodes, we used over 2 Gigabytes of data! I have only done this once so I don't know if this will continue to work or not. While the hotspot was on "3G only" it did buffer a couple of times, but it was still watchable. I did not observe a difference in picture quality either. So this worked great, it does require two devices, but if you travel with a tablet or a spouse you would have that anyway.

Thanks from Salt Lake City!



Scott in London uses his Chromecast mostly for music and says "For me, the biggest problem I've found with using the Chromecast in hotels is the lack of a HDMI port on the TV. Maybe it's different in America or maybe it's saying something about the hotels I usually stay in, but I'd say about 60 - 70% of the hotel TVs I've come across in the last few years didn't have a HDMI port. "


Message: Hey, Tom, when you said, "Hey, Alexa, add oil to my shopping list", my Echo added it! But I don't mind because I've been meaning to get sewing machine oil for my electric razor. Can you repeat that, but for Diet Coke this time? :)




You guys are sure hard on SmartTVs. I love my 50 inch Vizio SmartTV. Having 1 remote rules. It has Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Instant, and Huluplus and the Cast button on the apps on my phone launch the apps on my TV just like on a Chromecast. It will also play any MP4 and AVI files off a flash drive if I plug in to the USB port. One remote, and only one thing to have plugged in FTW!
Kevin from Cali



I never expected to tune in for Walking Dead spoilage and hear from a trio of people who find the subject of Scientology as fascinating as I do. Alex Gibney and HBO did a fantastic job. I've also been working on a documentary that I plan to have finished later this year. It's called Knowledge Report: Scientology's Spies, Lies and the Eternity Prize.

My film's going to take a closer look at how people get into Scientology and the control issues that keep them in what I consider to be a skillfully designed mind-control factory. There's a bunch of clips on the movie website:


I cut the cord about 5 years ago and have never looked back. And thank you for mentioning Movie Pass again several months ago in passing. You guys weren't sure it was worth it but I checked it out and love it. I routinely see more than ten movies a months and AMC gives me full ticket price credit on my loyalty card which gives me back $10 so I am essentially paying $20 a month for all the movies I can see. I wouldn't have done it without you guys.

All my best,
Wise Beard Man



My cousin's wife, Astra, had to escape in the dead of night, a harrowing ordeal. She helped set up the website Ex-Scientology Kids ( http://exscientologykids.com/) to help others transition out of the organization. 



2015 Winter Movie Draft

  1. GFQ: $147,187,040
  2. Night Attack: $0
  3. DTNS: $0
  4. Frogpants: $0
  5. Amtrekker: $0
  6. Cordkillers: $0

Dog House Systems Cordkiller box

AuthorTom Merritt