More evidence cord-cutting is not imaginary, AMC’s commercial-free service, Vudu’s disc-to-digital for phones, and the essential Expanse.

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CordKillers: Ep. 163 - Anthology Suicide
Recorded: March 27 2017
Guest: None

Intro Video

Primary Target

  • Whoa: Almost a third of Millennials have cut the cable cord
  • Surprise: There's one area where TV viewing is actually soaring
    - Pivotal Research analyzed Nielsen numbers and note
    - February english-language broadcast and ad-supported cable down 10.3% 18-49 and ad impressions down 7.2%
    - TV usage 18-49 for connected devices is 9.9% up
    from 6.2% last year and 3.6% two years ago
    - This does not count non-TV devices like laptops/tablets
    - Morning Consult survey
    - 29% adults 18-29 have no Pay TV
    - 33% cited cost, 20% cited quality of content on SVOD
    - More than half of Millennials, 54 percent, say they stream more than they watch regular TV. That’s compared to 40 percent of adults 30-44.

How to Watch

  • AMC Plans Ad-Free Streaming Service
    - AMC Plans to launch a commercial-free online video streaming service (sources told Reuters)
    - Require cable authentication
    - Feature digital-only spinoff shows
    - Cost $4.99 - $6.99 a month
  • Vudu can turn your old DVDs into HD digital copies, and all you need is a smartphone
    - Walmart's Vudu video service now allows users to "convert" movies on disc to UltraViolet digital copy. Users scan a movies barcode on their smartphone, and have the ability to buy a similar quality digital copy for $2, while upgrading from standard to high definition costs $5. Over 8,000 movies are supported, with support from Lionsgate, Paramount, Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal, and Warner Bros.

What to Watch

What We're Watching

Front Lines

Dispatches from the Front

Hey Tom, Brian and Bryce
I was listening to your discussion of the new ATSC 3.0 standard and Tom's concern that the spec included DRM. I wanted to let Tom know that the original ATSC spec (1.0 I guess) actually includes copy protection as well. A TV station can enable what's called a "Broadcast Flag" or rather a flag in the signal that limits how and where that video can be viewed.

I used to use Windows Media Center as my DVR and one of the local stations in Boston had that flag enabled. So I could record their content on my computer, but I could only watch it on that machine. If I tried to copy it to another computer or stream it, it would not play. Most stations, particularly local broadcasters, do not enable this flag.

So hopefully the inclusion of DRM in the new spec Won't cause any issues.

Here is an article about the "Broadcast Flag"

Love the show, keep the the great work.
- Chip from Boston



A sign of things to come? Canada has a sports duopoly, with almost all english sports broadcasts done by Bell or Rogers. This week they invormed bars and restotaunts that they can no longer subscribe to regular packages to show games(at largely similar costs to home users) They must pay $120 on top of regular packages to get the 2 sports channels.
As subscription revenue drops, how long till US sports channels do the same? As ESPN goes through layoffs and crisis as it loses revenue, how long till they realize bars are a captive market that is able to be gouged much more than it currently is?

- Faiz



Hello Tom and Brian,

I wanted to mention a couple of developments with Plex that I heard about recently and am looking forward to testing out. Plex is currently in the process of rolling out a DVR feature that eliminates the need for a separate recording program, and one which will hopefully solve another issue that I discuss below. The other is Plex cloud, which allows the use of a user's cloud storage program such as Dropbox or Google Drive as a media folder in the device and make it much easier to watch videos anywhere one can connect to the cloud.

If I could, I'd like to pose a question to the Cordkillers community concerning DVR functionality. The setup I have now works reasonably well, with one exception.I have never been able to find a method for enabling subtitles and/or closed captioning within any of the programs I use. While not an absolute need, having some type of on-screen text can occasionally be helpful & I wondered if anyone else has a method for enabling this feature.

Thanks again and keep putting out these great shows!

- Paul



I'm not sure if this has been mentioned before, but I just found The Expanse's "Interactive Story Guide" at
I'm finding this pretty late into the second season, but it fun to see where everything was relative to each other. You're presented with a diagram of the solar system, and you can highlight different areas, seeing where different ships are, who's on them, and what they've been doing. Best of all, you select what episode you're currently on, so you only see information up to that point in time and avoid any unwanted spoilers. I've not read the books, but this would have helped me keep track of things in the first part of season 1.

Love the show!
- Tom



2017 Summer Movie Draft

AuthorTom Merritt

Netflix switches to thumbs and might edit shows for screen size. Plus, Tom actually watched Iron Fist.

CordKillers: Ep. 162 - Rusted Fist
Recorded: March 20 2017
Guest: none

Intro Video

Primary Target

How to Watch

What to Watch

What We're Watching

Front Lines

  • ABC News’ Apple TV app will now let you have up to four of its dozen news feeds on screen at once.
  • Unfinished Orson Wells gets a Netflix Commitment
    - The New York Times reports that Netflix has agreed to finance a restoration project for the unfinished Orson Wells film The Other Side of the Wind. Producers Frank Marshall, Filip Jan Rymsza and Peter Bogdanovich, had previously secured the rights to the unfinished film in 2014, but raised only $406,605 out of a needed $2 million in crowdfunding to complete the project. Netflix's agreement will require a renegotiation with the films rightsholders.
  • The truth about cord cutting? More talk than snips.
    - Crimson Hexagon, a social media analytics company, found that discussion of cord cutting is more common than the actual practice. Mentions of cord cutting have risen from roughly 20,000 posts at the end of 2013 to 120,000 last autumn, a 600% rise. But the number of actual number of cable households has not declined by that much of course.
  • The Matrix is reportedly getting a reboot
    - The Hollywood Reporter has sources who say Warner Bros. is in the early stages of developing a Matrix reboot with Zak Penn being sought to write the Treatment and Creed’s Michael B. Jordan as a headliner.

Dispatches from the Front

Hey Cordkillers,

Just wanted to throw my 2 cents (or rather yen) in here. In the last episode, you were talking about flipping through channels on analogue cable TV before digital. A streaming service with a similar feature launched in Japan last year.

It’s called Ameba TV and the interface is designed to allow swiping through channels of content quickly and easily, There’s almost zero lag between channels & you can even see the edges of other channels as you browse. It does have a programme guide (which mostly seems to be for their paid premium DVR service) but the app & channels are totally free! 20+ channels of content, available on streaming devices & mobile. (Only in Japan… :P)

- Kaylee



Hey I absolutely LOVE the podcast and I did subscribe. Quick thought on Viacom and CBS. I couldn't care less about anything on their channels. I don't think they have anything like walking dead or game of thrones to give them much leverage so they're probably hurting themselves. Also I was really let down by CBS all access. I tried it out but all the classic shows like star trek, cheers, and others have their entire back catalogue available on both Hulu and Netflix and I think some on prime. What I really wanted was Big Bang theory but didn't even get the current season. Just the most recent 4 or so episodes and in my area I can't even get live cbs stream so this is hot garbage as far as I'm concerned.

Thanks guys, love the show!

- Bill



Hey guys,

In response to Jon's question a few weeks ago about pre-ordering a physical disc and getting the digital copy early there are a few options. The first is Vudu's awesome Disc + Digital service where you can pre-order the Blu-ray on or even the mobile apps and you get instant access to the digital copy:

Shipping is sometimes free, sometimes not (it has been for me but I often order within their promotional periods on new movies) and comes from usually very close to if not before the physical release date. The only major downsides to the service is they currently don't work with UHD Blu-ray's (sometimes you can pre-order the UHD Blu-ray from and get the digital copy, what they refer to as Instawatch, when it comes out but it's a crapshoot at best) and neither Warner Brothers or Disney titles are available through the Disc + Digital program. Also the program has been riddled with some technical glitches as of late which never affected me by the way.

The other option is through which I am not as familiar with but if you pre-order select titles like Sing they will email you a digital copy code soon after then ship you the disc when it comes out.

Hope this information is helpful.





Hi Tom and Brian,

In your discussion of Britbox, I started thinking "How DO you create a successful back-catalog streaming service?" You mentioned Netflix's lackluster initial offerings when it was called "Netflix Streaming". But that was OK for them because they were a successful DVD-by-mail company. Amazon's initial offerings did nothing to pique my interest, but I didn't care because all I wanted was the 2-day shipping. Any other successful service that focuses on back-catalog falls into the category of being the owners of the content they're making available: Hulu, CBS All-access, HBO Go/Now.

Can you think of any path to success for a streaming service that primarily offers back-catalog without either having some OTHER successful moneymaking venture or by being the content owners themselves?

Love the show,
- Tom 




As a British ex-pat in US (there are 3/4 million of us). This was a huge promise and a total failure in execution. My biggest hate is no news except "the papers". Question time, newsnight, panorama all missing. The classic comedy is just PBS left overs. No classic BBC shows like "Two Ronnies" & "Dave Allen". So I'm going to be sticking with YouTube since it has a better selection of classic BBC TV than this services which should be called BritSoapBox.

- Mark



2016 Winter Movie Draft


AuthorTom Merritt