Does Netflix have too much influence? Is Twitter’s NFL gambit working? And guest Dan Trachtenberg talks about his upcoming episode of Dark Mirror and why TV may come to theaters.

CordKillers: Ep. 137 - The Darker Reflection of Ourselves
Recorded: September 19 2016
Guest: Dan Trachtenberg

Intro Video

Primary Target

Signal Intelligence

  • Twitter launches on Apple TV, Fire TV and Xbox One
    - Twitter announced the launch of apps for Apple TV, Xbox One and FireTV Wednesday, letting users watch live video content like NFL games. On Apple TV live tweets and the video stream are viewable side by side. Users do not need to be logged in to view content. 
  • Twitter's first NFL livestream scores a touchdown with fans
    - Twitter streamed its first NFL game Thursday and CNET's Terry Collins had a representative summary of the response from viewers which was largely positive. The stream was accessible from the top of the moments section as well as on new Apple TV, Fire TV and Xbox One apps. Streaming quality was largely smooth with a few buffering glitches here and there. The delay relative to the OTA CBS broadcast was the biggest complaint followed by request to be able to choose different kinds of tweet streams.
  • Twitter’s First NFL ‘Thursday Night Football’ Stream Pulls In 243,000 Average Per-Minute Viewers
    - The game had 2.1 million unique viewers who watched an average of 22 minutes worldwide and an average audience of 243,000. The CBS/NFL Network combined TV audience was 15.4 million with a total of 48.1 million. 

Gear Up

  • Chromecast Preview Program lets you try new features before everyone else
    - If you want to test out new Chromecast features before they're released to everyone, you can sign up for the Chromecast preview program. Open up the Cast app tap the menu icon next to the name of your Chromecast device, choose settings, select preview program and press Join Program. 
  • Apple just released tvOS 10 and here's what's new
    - Apple TV got its tvOS 10 update this past week.
    - Combine multiple queries for Siri (Gangster movies from the 1980s)
    - Third-party apps support Siri "Search YouTube for Brian Brushwood")
    - Use Apple TV as a HomeKit hub (and use Siri with it)
    - A dark mode especially meant for projectors
    - Photos app has Memories, albums
    - Apple Music has discovery and Favorites mixes
    - NOT INCLUDED, Single Sign-on.
    - Sign into cable subscription once, applied to all apps. Coming later in the autumn.


Under Surveillance

Front Lines

  • Emmys 2016: All the winners from TV's big night
    - The Emmy Awards were announced Sunday evening. Netflix took home 3 for Master of None, Bloodline, and 'Patton Oswalt: Talking For Clapping'. Amazon took two for Transparent. HBO and FX topped the medal count with 6 apiece though HBO took home best comedy series for Veep and best drama series for Game of Thrones. A sentimental win for Spoilerin' Time fans, as Rami Malek who plays Eliot on Mr. Robot won Best lead Actor in a Drama Series.
  • HBO and Cinemax Coming to PS Vue, HBO NOW Launching Soon on PS4, PS3
    - In a blog post, Sony announced that HBO and Cinemax will soon be available on the Playstation Vue TV service. Each channel will be available for $15/month unbundled. The company also announced HBO Now will come to the PS4 and PS3. Sony committed to launching both offerings before the October 2nd premiere of Westworld.
  • Pay-TV Startup Targets High-End Video Customers
    - Layer3's so-called "concierge cable" promises high-end video from a robust selection of channels delivered over the Internet but by renting privately managed networks for better streaming quality. Its set-top box has search and discovery capability similar to Netflix and even bundles in apps for Netflix, Amazon and others. Layer 3 plans a national rollout over the next year and a half.
  • Netflix Is Being Sued for Poaching Execs From This Hollywood Studio
    - 21st Century Fox is suing Netflix for interfering with employee contracts after hiring away two Fox programming executives. Tar Flynn was hired fro drama programming development last week and Marcos Waltenberg has worked in a similar role since January. AND Apple has hired Time Warner cable executive Peter Stern as vice president of cloud services, reporting to Eddy Cue. Stern was involved in negotiations between Apple and Time Warner regarding a potential television service. 
  • Vimeo Opening Television Store with Lionsgate Content, Launching Business Plan
    - Vimeo announced Lionsgate will be the exclusive partner for a new Vimeo-operated television store launching in 150 countries October 18. Lionsgate's entire catalog of TV series including Orange is the New Black, Mad Men, Nurse Jackie and more will be available for purchase. Movies are expected to be added to the store as well. Vimeo hopes to attract more studio partners in the months to come. 
  • Cable lobby tries to make you forget that it represents cable companies
    - The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) will change its name to NCTA-The Internet & Television Association. NCTA will stay in the name as a nod to the group's past, even though the initials won’t stand for anything. Last year, the NCTA changed the name of its annual conference from "The Cable Show" to "INTX: The Internet & Television Expo."

Dispatches from the Front
Hey there, fellows and maybe guest(s).

I’ve been having an internal struggle between Sling TV and Playstation Vue. I love Playstation Vue because every channel and every show has the cloud DVR feature, which means I can show up 5 minutes late and watch something from the beginning or rewind when the connection craps out. Sling, though, has the ability for me to watch when I visit my girlfriend’s house, which is about half of the nights in a week. If either of these got the missing thing from the other, I would jump on immediately. For the moment, though, I have Vue, because I simply don’t trust Sling or Vue without the ability to rewind.

Unrelated, I recently finished watching Game of Thrones via HBO Now. Before every single episode, an ad would play for some HBO show. I vowed to never watch 'The Night Of’ out of spite because I got so annoyed with the same ad playing over and over. I’ve always heard people complain about hulu’s ads, but I’ve never heard anyone complain about the ones on HBO Now. The variety of ads is better on hulu (which is saying a lot), and I’ve already been informed of HBO’s shows while trying to navigate to the show I’m watching. Why do you think there hasn’t been more complaining about HBO?

Game of Thrones was great, by the way. I look forward to hearing your spoilin’s in real time next year.

Keep up the good work.

- Greg




Is there a summary of all your recommendations? Something like a CordKillers Bible?

- Kirk





Jim had problems activating a Tivo OTA Roamio so returned it and...]] I ended Up getting the Channelmaster 1T unit and am loving it. Very easy set up and was up and running in less than 10 min. Also worth noting is the tuner in the unit is very good As I am getting channels in the opposite direction of my antenna that I couldn't get before. My 81 yr. old mother and 73 yr. old neighbor now have CM DVR's also. Love Your show, thanks for all the information and helping me with my cord cutting. I have officially been a true cord cutter with OTA antenna and Netflix and Amazon Prime for 9 mos. now, and have saved 900.00 this year so far.

Thanks again,
- Jim






Wanted to note that the HDHomeRun antenna system now works with Plex as a DVR.

Just wanted to mention it as an option that you might want to take a look at.

Seth was also wondering how PS4 was going to do HDR when it's HDMI 1.4 port is incapable of it. The fact of the matter is the HDMI port on PS4 is actually HDMI 2.0 capable but only came with the 1.4 firmware. So an update to the PS4 will supposedly enable HDMI 2.0 on the existing port. 


- Seth B.




AuthorTom Merritt

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.

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.

- Derrick



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?

- Zach




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.

- Joel




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.

- Bryan


AuthorTom Merritt