How did the DirecTV Now launch go? Netflix allows downloads and Amazon adds HBO.

CordKillers: Ep.  Fly Me To the Moonves
Recorded: December 5 2016
Guest: None

Intro Video

Primary Target

  • DirecTV Now plagued by launch week errors
  • Tweets with replies by DIRECTV NOW Help (@DIRECTVNowHelp) 
  • Can I use my DIRECTV NOW account to sign in to network sites and apps?
  • DirecTV Now: everything you want to know
  • CBS should make it to DirecTV Now
    - So one week in how is that DirecTV Now service?
    - certainly the cheapest if you can get in on the 100 channels for $35 Deal and a free fire TV stick or Apple TV
    - Definitely the best guide interface
    - Searching brings up on demand options which you can add to watchlist’s in a pale simulation of a DVR
    - Can only sign in to ABC, Disney, Disney Jr. Disney XD, ESPN Freeform HBO Go and Max Go more to be added
    - Login issues
    - incorrect reporting of simultaneous streams
    - Incorrect channel blackouts
    - On demand playback stopping mid-show and skipping to next episodes
    - Some blacked out channel notifications but then channel still worked
    - Stream crashed a couple times
    - Freezes regularly during streaming needing to restart the channel
    - CBS CEO Les Moonves speaking at the UBS Global Media and Communications conference remarked on CBS not being available on DirecTV Now. “I’m assuming we’ll be able to make a deal with them. As they said in The Godfather, ‘We are not unreasonable people here.” He also said CBS is talking with YouTube about its upcoming TV service.

How to Watch

What to Watch

What We're Watching

Front Lines

  • You can now subscribe to stream HBO and Cinemax shows on Amazon
    - Amazon has added HBO and Cinemax as options to add-on to an Amazon Prime Video subscription. HBO would cost $15 a month and Cinemax $10. It appears that the service would only work inside Amazon video apps not HBO or Cinemax’s own apps.
  • Hulu now streams 4K, starting with its originals and 20 Bond films
    - Hulu started streaming 4K content on Xbox One S and PS4 Pro. The offering includes Hulu originals like The Path and 11.22.63 as well as 20 James Bond movies. 
  • CBS All Access will start streaming NFL games this Sunday
    - CBS All Access started allowing viewers to see NFL Games this Sunday in the 150 markets where a live stream of CBS programming is available in their market. Thursday Night Football will also be available. However the games will not be viewable on phones since Verizon and Twitter have exclusives on mobile NFL streams.
  • Plex can pull media from Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive
    - Plex has added support for Google Drive, OneDrive and Dropbox to Plex Cloud. Plex Cloud has been having problems with Amazon integration which launched in September. The idea is to give people a Plex option without needing to set up a local server. You’ll need an invitation to try Plex Cloud, and pay for PLexPass for $5 a month or $40 a year. Plex also has added support for a Kodi plugin for Plex Pass subscribers, though coming for all soon.
  • Starz is adding music, courtesy of Spotify, to its video app
    - Starz is integrating Spotify into its mobile app to allow users to do things like listen to a movie soundtrack ore related playlist after watching the movie. Spotify subscribers can link their accounts to hear whole tracks, non-subscribers can hear 30-second previews. Starz will also recommend movies and shows based on your Spotify listening habits.

Dispatches from the Front
I got sucked into DirecTV Now mostly because of the free Apple TV when you prepay for three months of service. Which basically gets you an Apple TV for a $45 discount plus free DirecTV NOw. He also has AT&T so while traveling to “wifi challenged” family it might come in handy.

He says,

“Initially, I was disappointed. The list of devices this doesn’t work on is huge. Windows 10, not unless you install Internet Explorer 11 - it doesn’t work on the Edge browser. Chrome OS - nope … Safari - maybe, but they recommend installing Chrome browser. Linux - forgetaboutit. Directv Now does work on iOS and Android and casts pretty well to Chromecast. …

So, leaving negatives and yet to be fulfilled promises behind, I logged on Sunday evening and cast, (using a newly purchased Chromecast - don’t ask, its a long story) HBO’s Westworld season finale to my biggest screen. I didn’t have buffering, stuttering and any of the other complaints early adopters of Sony PlayStation Vue / SlingTV seemed to have during their early launches. I was, dare I say, surprisingly pleased, and enjoyed the viewing experience.

Provided AT&T expands broadcast network selections, the browser and streamer options, adds a cloud DVR and keeps the ‘locked-in’ pricing, they may have landed me as a CordKilling customer. I’ll keep you posted.

- Howard



Hello new employees! Yes, this is a message from YOUR NEW BOSS! I killed the cord! After 17+ years as a cable subscriber I finally set myself free. Everything I watch is time-shifted in some manner. …

Three weeks ago Comcast changed the MPEG encoding on the video stream from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4 and that essentially rendered my older HD TiVo obsolete. …

I had been thinking about killing the cord for about a year now so I started researching options.

I could get a new TiVo for free thanks to a special deal TiVo is offering those of us affected by the Comcast change and pay $350 for a new subscription to the service. That would leave me still paying $150 a month for just cable TV; no Internet, no phone, just cable. Add to that the money I already pay for Netflix and Hulu commercial-free and it adds up.

I decided to check out the new Playstation Vue offering.

While it's interface is a bit wonky, their basic offering at $30 gave me the channels I watch - USA, TNT, SyFy, and NBC Sports Network for Formula 1. It also gave my wife the news channels she wanted. The killer feature of Playstation Vue is the on-demand viewing ability. As I said before, I don't watch anything live. It works on my Playstation 3 and my Apple TV.

I installed the app on my wife's Amazon Fire Stick … After 3 days I got the thumbs up from her.

I picked up a new indoor TV antenna to hook up to my TiVo for local major network channels and my local PBS station. There are 46 broadcast channels in my area! Who knew?

I called Comcast and was directed to a loyalty retention agent who helped me disconnect the service in about 5 minutes.

Cord Killed!

I decided to take some of that 100 plus dollars saved each month and give some of it to you guys! Meet the new boss! Same as the old boss? No, not really.

Your insights, opinions and information about the various options for TV viewing have helped me and my wife and I always look forward to the Spoilerin' Time discussions. We often will ask "I wonder what they'll say about that on Spolierin' Time."

We started watching Justified shortly after you guys started and ended up plowing through all 6 seasons in less than a month. It's pretty good. I won't spoil it for you but the series ending worked for me, unlike the series ending of most shows.

Now, get back to work you, you, employees!

You may use this email and my name on the show if you so desire.

- Todd




Hey guys. What options are out there for watching broadcast channels when you can't pick them up with an antenna? Where I live I can't pick up ABC and I want to watch their sports. Sling and Vue do not have locals in my area. The local station does not stream and network site is hostile to cordcutters. Any other ideas? Thanks guys. 

- Brian




Hello Brian and Tom...

The problem with DirecTV Now, and similar upcoming services, is that the service has to be good enough to entice cord cutters, but not so good it gets more people to ditch cable for the skinny bundle. AT&T completed their purchase of DirecTV just 1 year ago, AT&T isn't going to release an OTT service that gets DTV customers to cancel their satellite subscriptions 1 year after the purchase, a purchase they spent $48.5 billion dollars on.

Also worth noting, all of these OTT services are made by media/cable companies. Dish owns Sling, AT&T/DirecTV owns DirecTV Now, and Sony (which owns a movie studio and other media assets) owns PlayStation Vue. They don't want to start the switch from cable to OTT right away, they have a few more dollars to squeeze out of cable. 

- Anthony





Regarding how Sling wound up on the X1 DVR from Comcast -...let me walk you down a path of what might have happened at comcast:

At any big company there are many different small fiefdoms that go into moving the overall business forward. ... In the business of the home cable box at comcast, the X1 is their primary product though not the only one, and QAM based delivery of video is the biggest business, though not the only one. In fact, one of the areas that has been growing is the 3rd party application ecosystem for the X1 box. See when they built this box, they built a framework so hat 3rd party devs could build services for the it. Somewhere at comcast, there is a team to support that business - they got engineers to build and support APIs and frameworks, they got marketing folks to go out and evangelize it, and they got biz dev folks assigned to go ink some deals. Netflix was their big announcement here earlier in the year, but thats is of course not enough. So now that team is out there attempting to get other services to build apps for their ecosystem. Dish has a legacy of World TV packages with Sling ... so an app for X1 that will pull in those channels is not out of the realm of possibility. In the behind the scenes conversations I can see an argument for each company where they agreed to do this (sling gets yet another platform they can promote being on, comcast gets to tout that they have yet another service signing up for its app platform). They both realistically know this will be a small market for now, Sling probably hpes they will cannibalize a small slice of comcast customers and comcast hopes its a small enough number it doesnt really impact their numbers anymore than current attrition is impacting them).

I, of course, wasn't in the room when these deals were made - but I've been in enough rooms where similar discussions were had that I have to believe something similar happened here.

just my 2 cents - keep up the good work!


- Andy


Hi Tom and Brian,

I've been getting emails from VidAngel about the impending court battle with the big studios on December 19th, and I was wondering if you guys had any thoughts about VidAngel's chances for success.

They've created a humorous video explaining their position, and I was wondering what your thoughts were. Namely: 1) does it accurately explain the situation? And 2) do you think there is any hope for those wanting filtering options to be available if this fails?

Link to the video:

Thanks for all the great information!
- James




2016 Winter Movie Draft

AuthorTom Merritt

DirecTV Now coming now with no DVR but lots of channels, Sling TV adds a cloud DVR, and some Mythbusters come to Netflix. With special guest Scott Johnson.

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CordKillers: Ep. 147 - This Sounds Like Cable
Recorded: November 28 2016
Guest: Scott Johnson

Intro Video

Primary Target

  • AT&T’s DirecTV Now launches November 30th with over 100 channels of streaming TV
  • Good graphic of channel lineups
  • Press release
    - DirecTV Now launches November 30 in US
    - iOS, Android, FireTV, Chromecast, Browser. Roku coming in 2017
    - one year included in LeEco TVs
    - All major content outlets except CBS
    - Two streams simultaneous
    - Cloud DVR and pause coming in 2017
    - Broadcast networks only live in some markets
    - NFL not available on mobile
    - HBO and Cinemax $5 each
    - Zero-rated on AT&T wireeless
    - Tiers
    - $35 - 60+ channels
    - $50 - 80+ channels
    - $60 - 100+ Channels ($35 for a limited time)
    - $70 - 120+ Channels
    - Also DirecTV Mobile is now called Fullscreen and is $5.99 a month or free for a year to ATT Wireless customers. Has a lot of stuff from Vine stars
    - DirecTVPreview is now called FreeVIEW and will be available for free int eh DirecTV Now app. (Content from Otter and DirecTV's Audience channel)

How to Watch

  • Sling TV takes on rivals with launch of a cloud DVR
    - Sling TV announced a beta of a cloud DVR feature for it’s online TV service. Unlike the PlayStation Vue service the DVR will not have a 28 day limit per show. Shows can be stored as along as a user wants with a limit of 100 hours of storage. Though not all channels may be available to record. Participation is invite only but users can sign up to be invited at
  • Sling TV is joining Comcast's X1 cable platfom
    - Sling TV is joiningNetflix on Comcast’s Xfinity X1 settop box.
    - In case this is too weird for you to believe you heard write. Yes, people who already subscribe to Comcast cable can now access Sling TV’s similar service using the Comcast X1 cable box
    - Sling positioned it as a way to get “multicultural” programming.
    - Dish merged its International OTT service with Sling TV awhile back so there are loads of International and non-English language channels available.
    - But it said ALL Sling TV packages will be available. 

What to Watch

What We're Watching

Front Lines

  • The Grand Tour breaks Amazon Prime video audience record, says Amazon
    - Amazon says The Grand Tour had more streams in its premiere than its previous best show, The Man in the High Castle. Additionally on Grand Tour premier day, new Prime membership sign-ups exceeded all previous days, with the exception of their promotional Prime Day.
  • Google flip flops on Google Cast/Chromecast branding again
    - Earlier this year Google started using Google Cast to refer to the technology that lets you send video from one device to another. So your phone used Google Cast to send video to your Chromecast or your TV which had Google Cast built in. Well that lasted eight months. Hot on the heels of changing the Cast app to be called Home, Google is now using Chromecast to refer to both the technology and the device. So your TV has Chromecast built-in now. HOWEVER the developer API is still called Google Cast. Got it?
  • "Netflix tax" may be coming soon to your bill
    - Pasadena, California is among 40 California cities trying to impose a tax on streaming services like Netflix. The cities are losing money they used to collect from taxes on cable TV service and telephones. Federal law does not allow Internet service to be taxed as a utility. Chicago is being sued over its 9% tax on video streaming.
  • Legendary Acquires Frank Herbert’s Classic Sci-Fi Novel ‘Dune’ For Film And TV
    - Legendary has acquired the rights to Frank Herbert’s Dune. Alejandro Jodorowsky spent years developing a film starring Salvador Dali and Orsaon Welles with art by HR Giger that was never. Of Course David Lynch famously finished a movie that he then removed his name from. And a TV mini series was created in 2000 directed by John Harrison and starring William Hurt. So each time we get a little closer to something really good?

Dispatches from the Front

I wanted to give you a suggestion on an app that I use and it's called TVshow time. I'm not sure if it's available on iOS but it has an extremely good rating of 4.7 on Android with over a million downloads I believe. Here is a link to it in the play store. 

- Tim


Hey guys, love the show and I am a proud patreon supporter. But wanted to throw this out and maybe something other people from the audience may have an answer for. For this Thanksgiving weekend I was planning on watching some movies with my dad and figured that I would do it legally :) The problem came that I wanted these in spanish. Well it turns out that that I could not find either Amazon or the Google play Store to have titles like suicide squad, Deadpool in anything other than English.

Any help in this would be appreciated.

P. S. I am a bit of an apple hater and don't have any apple device so iTunes was not even something that I looked at.

- Martin




I just noticed that HBO Now ($15) was cheaper than HBO ($19) added on to my mother's Dish account, so I went to cancel HBO through Dish with the intent of subscribing to HBO Now...when I went to the Dish website and tried to drop HBO, I was immediately presented with a dialog box asking if I'd like to keep HBO for $7.50 per month for 6 months.

Now the chicken challenge just takes a few clicks and doesn't require human interaction...should be a no-brainer for anyone paying full price for HBO on Dish.

- Aaron



2016 Winter Movie Draft

AuthorTom Merritt