Our thoughts on Season of HtS, Why Birdman disappoined us all differently and yet we all loved it, ’Sall Good Man, How smart is Frank, really? and the perfect ending to The Shield Season 4.

02:20 - Hacking The System

05:40 - Birdman

20:55 - Better Call Saul

27:50 - House of Cards

38:13 - The Shield

AuthorTom Merritt

How the housing market is bad news for cable and Hungary shows why cable could boost YouTube viewership.

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CordKillers: Ep. 60 - Crying Over Buffering
Recorded: March 2, 2015
Alex Hanna

Intro Video

Primary Target

Signal Intelligence

Gear Up

  • Surprise: Cable viewers really like YouTube on their set-tops
    Cloud Virtualization provider ActiveVideo used UPC Hungary as a case study for adding YouTube to a cable TV set-top box
    - 200K of 910K subs got it forst. 320K got it in following months
    - 68% tried it.
    - 83% of tryers became repeat users
    - 1 million minutes a day avg. session 45 minutes
    -(UPC boxes stream video only. Cloud handles all YouTube video through ActiveVideo)

Front Lines

Under Surveillance

Dispatches from the Front

Dear Brian & Tom

Just thought I'd share how much I pay here in the UK & talk a bit more about the TV license;

TV License is £145 annually ($223) - but it's quite nice that all of the BBC channels (TV and Radio) are advert-free. The iPlayer is superb. It's almost worth it for the kids TV channels alone.. the quality of those programs is really high, and you know the kids are actually learning something most of the time (and aren't getting bombarded with ads).

BT for fibre broadband; £23 a month (38 Mbps down, 10 up, unlimited data), with an additional £17 a month line rental that includes the phone line.

Freeview HD OTA.. no monthly fee. I use a Humax Freeview HD DVR box I bought years ago.

Total = £52 a month ($80) for TV and unlimited fibre broadband.

Keep up the good work on the show,

Leeds, UK.


I know Brian uses At&t for his internet connection, but I wonder if he was aware of all the "free" stuff bundled in to the Standard (we'll spy on you) package that make the difference between the plans $66 if you have both TV and Internet or $44 if you only have Internet.


Hey Tom and Brian!

Listening to Spoilerin' Time 59 while Brain's talking about how hard it is to see The Walking Dead.

I have a Quick Tip: I don't have a cable package JUST Time Warner Cable for Internet. I can still use my TWC account to log into AMC.com to watch the live stream of their channel, even though I don't pay for the channel. It appears their authorization system doesn't differentiate between cable packages. So I can watch Better Call Saul and Walking Dead live with no trouble at all.





I think that Better Call Saul is set later than what you thought (late 80's -early 90's). In the first episode when he is ordering flowers for his potential clients (right before he runs into the kid on the skateboard), he is reading off his credit card and he says that the expiration is 11/04. So, I would estimate that the show is set sometime between 2000-2004.

Your boss,



Hi, Tom and Brian. In the last few episodes you've been asking people how much they pay for internet, and I thought I'd chime in. I've been a cord-cutter for 2 years UNTIL about two weeks ago!

Previously: 50mbps for $67 including taxes and fees.
Now: $70 for 105Mbps PLUS cable

I originally contacted Comcast (via support chat) to see how I can get my bill lowered. I have NO other broadband options for my apartment. You know the game. They told me they couldn't give me a better price unless I was a new customer, so I went to the fabled customer retention. THEY said if I bundle, they could save me money. Great! "What are your bundles?" "Oh, we don't have one for 50mbps anymore. But for $3 extra we can give you 105Mbps but only if you bundle cable." What?! While I'm ideologically opposed to that crappy practice, why would I not double my internet speed for $3? I asked them to not bother sending me the cable box and they waived the setup and shipping fees, and tried to send me the box anyway. I told them, "Seriously, I don't want it. Count me as a metric if you want but I don't care about cable at all." They offered to waive the monthly box rental fee if I just took box anyway. Fine. I guess it shows how desperate they are to retain/add cable subscribers in certain markets. Of course, I kept the transcript of the whole thing so there's no funny business. ON THE BRIGHT SIDE, now it's much easier to watch National Geographic's Hacking the System. You should watch it sometime...

Your very pleased boss <>,



Hey guys, love the show. I was pondering on the nature of youtube and convenience. As in introduction: I am a 25 year old, second generation cord-neverer. My parents cut the cord before I was born and I grew up on broadcast and P2P file sharing. I use (in descending order) Netflix, Pluto.TV, Amazon Prime, and Hulu(free).

The fact is, I never really mastered YouTube when I was younger. As such, I do not use at as a media consumption platform. I use it pretty much only for tutorials or archived videos. Now that I am so stuck in the routine of hands off viewing YouTube, frankly, seems as antiquated to me as DVR, brodcast, DVD, or torrents.

So, Brian, Tom, riddle me this, am I crazy in thinking we are a few years away from a world where pirated media, ripped and uploaded to youtube, would be so inconvenient to seek out and watch that you would be as likely to choose to watch it as you would daytime broadcast TV? That content available on YouTube might as well be sitting in a Blockbuster? I promise you this, if SnapChat made a TV and I missed it, I sure as heck wouldn't go try to find it on YouTube.

Thanks guys,
Anthony in San Antonio



Hey Tom and Brian just wanted to pass along another assignment as one of your bosses and let you know you should give the BBC show Broadchurch a chance. While I say you should do it before the Fox version comes out, they BOTH have David Tennent as lead so makes it interesting enough to watch both. My opinion is it has been a great murder mystery show with perfect character development.

Keep up the great work,
Nick from Austin and cord free for almost 15 years.




Dog House Systems Cordkiller box

AuthorTom Merritt

Amazon green lights all our favorite pilots, why we don’t need a universal remote, and how cable can actually be for Cordkillers.

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CordKillers: Ep. 59 - Critically Acclaimed
Recorded: February, 23 2015
Guest: None

Intro Video 

Primary Target

  • Amazon green-lights The Man in the High Castle TV series, also Mad Dogs
    Amazon Green Lights 5 out of 13 pilots
    - Later this year and in 2016
    -Man in the High Castle (Most watched so far)
    -Mad Dogs
    -The New Yorker Presents
    -Young adult shows
    -Just Add Magic (based on book by Cindy Callaghan)
    -The Stinky & Dirty Show (Based on I Stink series by Jate & Jim McMullan)
    -Woody Allen produced show not in pilot slate
    -Alpha House and Trasnparent returning for new series.

Signal Intelligence

  • Google launches YouTube Kids on Android and iOS
    - Family-friendly version of YouTube for iOS and Android 9coming soon to Kurio and nabi)
    - Simpler bigger brighter interface
    - Curated to select videos “appropriate for the whole family”
    - 4 categories: Shows, Music, Learning and Explore
    - Supports voice search

    Parental Controls:
    - A Timer
    - Sound settings (turn off bg music and sfx)
    - Turn off search
    -Feedback section for parental opinions

Gear Up

  • Touchscreen Remote Control Ray Aims to Change Your TV Experience
    Ray Enterprises - new universal remote called “Ray Super Remote”
    - Showed at Code/Media summit last week
    - Controlled via apps. Not every devices has an app. Deal with Dish but not all cablecos. (Can still work standalone)
    - $199
    - 4.8-inch touchscreen
    - Mute, volume, sleep physical buttons. All else touchscreen
    - Works w/ Bluetooth, WiFi, ZigBee
    - Switches inputs when app for device is tapped
    - Get to know what shows you like and suggest them
    - 10 hours on a charge w/cradle

Front Lines

  • Hulu Replaces Its Queue With “Watchlist,” A Smarter, More Personalized View Of Your Favorite Shows
    -Hulu has a couple notes to tell you about. A new feature called Watchlist replaces the Queue, favorites, and shows you watch sections. Now when you click the plus button on a show (or add to watchlist) it gets added to the watchlist. Shows are ordered based on viewing behavior. Also Hulu got exclusive streaming rights to all 15 seasons of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. If you’re into that.
  • DirecTV Subscribers Edge Up in 2014, but Growth Rate Slows
    -For 2014 DirecTV ended with 20.35 million subscribers up 5% from 2013. That’s an addition of 99,000 subscribers which is smaller than the 169,000 the company added in 2013. However Q4 saw an increase of 149,000 subs up from 93,000 in Q4 2013. And just in time to take an advantage away from SlingTV. DirecTV announced its customers now have access to Disney streaming apps, including Watch ESPN, WatchDisney and Watch ABC. 
  • Comcast's live TV app has doubled its channel count in a year
    -Comcast also announced it has doubled the number of channels available on the Xfinity Go app since it launched last year. It now has 70 channels. Some of those channels allow for on demand viewing of shows and even downloading for offline viewing.
  • Nearly A Third Of Canadian Netflix Users Pretend To Be American
    -A study from Media Technology Monitor found that 29% of respondents admitted to using a US IP address to access Netflix. 40 percent said they were spoofing their IP to access other, non-Netflix U.S. media content online. 

Under Surveillance

Dispatches from the Front

Hey Brian and Tom,
Thanks for splitting up the show into two feeds. I picked the Cordkillers only Audio Feed. as you guys spoil shows I haven't seen yet.


Thanks for doing that.

Tim, Minneapolis, MN Patreon member.



As a Cordkillers fan from day zero (Frame Rate days), I always find it interesting that Brian sometimes feels guilty for having cable, even for the duration of his Hacking the System show. I have no intention of getting rid of my cable at this time or in the near future. In fact, I've just upgraded my FiOS bundle with a 2 year contract. I've gotten so used to the combination of having so many channels at my fingertips to adapt to my variable viewing tastes throughout the year and the time-shifting convenience of the DVR service. Then there's not having to worry about what service has the show I want. There's no shame in paying for what you want, albeit on only some of the devices you want (no Amazon Fire TV FiOS app just yet).

Here are the details of my service:
I have FiOS TV Quantum service, which has a new cable box with 1TB of storage and records 6 shows at once (no more DVR conflicts on those heavy primetime evenings). The service includes the highest tier of TV packages (Ultimate HD). It's particularly useful because it includes the sports channels like (beIN, Universal Sports, etc.). They've also given me a 3 year price guarantee (no price hikes) and 2 years of all premium channels free.
The bundle includes the FiOS 75/75 Internet service, which almost always gives me the total bandwidth whenever I need it. I can even downgrade that back to the 50/50, if needed, to save another $5/mo without breaking the bundle.

My bill comes out to about $158 after taxes and government fees, which is about as much as I was paying before the upgrade, and that price is guaranteed (minus the free programming expiring) for 3 years, even after my contract expires.

Hope that wasn't too long-winded for you, but I thought I'd share my service info in response to the email you guys read on episode 58.

One of your many bosses,
Curtis from MD



Man guys,
It sounds to me like you guys spend a ton of dough on TV/Entertainment. This is my set up, I'm using a knockoff leaf antenna I got on Amazon for $39. That gets me all the broadcast networks. I have TWC internet access 50mps down that I get for $29.99 plus tax (I recently got them to get me another 12 months promotional rate by calling them up and telling them I wanted to cancel my service. I told them Earthlink was gonna get me 30mps for $29.99 then the TWC rep was all like well we can get you 50mps for $29.99.) Anyways then I pay $7.99 a month for Hulu, I basically use Hulu as my catch up service. Instead of paying the cable company $10 to record a bunch of stuff, I can watch whatever I want and don't have to worry about setting up a recording. I watch The Walking Dead for $1.99 an episode on Vudu though that expense is going to be getting wrapped into one of my new favorite services. Finally I now pay $20 a month for Sling TV and every few months I sub to Netflix when House of Cards comes back and now Marco Polo. So anyways all in all I spend about $60 a month to watch exactly want I wanna watch when I wanna watch it. I feel like I'm doing pretty good after hearing you guys are spending hundreds of bucks a month.
One of your 2000 bosses,



First: thank you for making a Cordkillers only feed.

Secondly: we don't pay anything for TV, apart from the mandatory £12.12 per month ($18.61 aprox.) for the TV License as I watch live TV *

For Internet/Phone calls, our bills come to about £30 ($46.06 aprox.) but I did a little chicken challenge a couple of times with Virgin Media, and have managed to get a £10 discount and a secondary £5 discount, so we are actually only paying about £15 per month ($23.03 aprox.) at the moment for UP TO 50Mpbs down** and a standard landline with free weekend calls.

So in total, we pay about £27.12 / $41.65 per month for decent quality internet and the chance to watch live TV.




Thought I would share what I pay for Internet and TV.

I live in Northwest Indiana 20 miles away from Chicago. I pay 29.99 a month for 25mbps down 5mbps up from Comcast. Have an OTA antenna with a channel master + dvr. I also have Prime and Netflix. If there is a cable show that I want, I get a season pass on Amazon.

Basically less than $50 a month for TV and Internet.



Dog House Systems Cordkiller box

AuthorTom Merritt