Ask-it Basket

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Ask-it Basket
Number 98
Broadcast Date November 30, 2015
Episode Length 1:03:13
Hosts Brian Brushwood, Tom Merritt

The top shipping streaming boxes may surprise you as will how well TiVo is doing. And Amazon wants all your streaming money in one place.


  • None

Intro Video

Primary Target

Stratgey Analytics report
1/4 smart TVs in use worldwide is Samsung
Chromecast top streaming device sales 9.2 million 35%
Apple TV 20%, Fire TV 16%, Roku 16% (Q3 shipments BEFORE new Rokus Fire and Apple TVs)
All connected devices (Smart TVs, Blu-Ray game consoles, streamers) reached 53 million in Q3, on pace for 17% rise 221 million units full year.

Signals Intelligence

“People with knowledge of the plans” say Amazon will let Prime members bundle on-demand networks
Add “major, well-known movie and TV channels”
“Amazon will also sell prepackaged bundles of its own creation”
May go live as soon as next month
“Amazon will manage customer relationships for major media companies“
Landing pages for each service would exist within prime
Also working on technology that would permit users to directly log into other streaming services using Amazon credentials.
Prime estimated to have 44 million members (Consumer Intelligence Research Partners)
Netflix reports 43. 2 million US

Gear Up

TiVo reported 12% increase Q3 revenue of 12$ (profits down)
Added 429,000 subscribers to 6.5 million up 26%. (4 million outside US)
Churn rate fell from 1.6% to 1.4%
Increased distribution agreements - services and software rose 22%
Costs rising
Projecting loss of 5-8 million in Q4 because of 11-12 million payout to departing CEO Tom Rogers
QuickMode, the TiVo feature that lets you speed up video playback with pitch-corrected audio, has arrived for all TiVo Roamio models. The feature came to the new TiVo Bolt last week. Romeo users will also see a new look on the Guide and faster OTA channel scanning.

Front Lines

Facebook has an SDK for Apple’s tvOS that lets app developers use Facebook to log in to their services. Users would see a code on screen and enter it at
Dan Bostonweeks says on Twitter that he sent feedback to Amazon asking for an Amazon Video app for the new Apple TV. Amazon wrote back and said “hopefully in a few weeks span, you will be able to see the Amazon Instant video app feature on your Apple TV.”
For real this time. The BBC Trust has confirmed that a gradual switch off of BBC Three broadcasts will begin in January to be completed by end of February. Instead of broadcasting 7PM to 4AM, BBC Three’s shows will be made available on BBC’s iPlayer.
YouTube is now ranked one of iOS's top grossing apps, implying that people are paying to go commercial free with YouTube Red, which you can buy from within the YouTube app. YouTube is not one of the highest grossing apps on Google's own Play store.
Amazon’s first original UK drama will come to Prime in 2016. It’s called The Collection and tells the story of two brother working in a prominent Paris fashion house after World War II.
Ridley Scott has said that instead of a sequel to Prometheus, Alien: Covenant will be the beginning of its own trilogy, albeit still set between Prometheus and Alien. Noomi Rapace will make a brief appearance and Michael Fassbender will have a lead role. shooting begins in Australia in May.

Under Surveillance

The first episode of season 2 of Transparent is out on Amazon as of 8 PM Eastern Monday. It apparently involves a wedding for Sarah and Tammy.
The whole season arrives December 11 in the US, UK, Germany and Austria.
The first HBO season of Sesame Street, season 46, will premiere January 16th at 9 AM with two 30 minute episodes. Sesame Street used to be an hour. It will also apparently have a new theme song. These episodes come to PBS at the end of 2016. HBO Now and HBO Go will have five years of library episodes

Dispatches From The Front

Amazon video vs Netflix interface. Yes, there's a lot wrong w/Amazon's interface, BUT, its X-ray feature, which I dismissed at first, makes it feel like Netflix is missing out on a huge feature. X-ray, you click a button and it tells you the name of the characters on screen and the actors. Very useful for keeping track of who's who in shows with huge casts. Click up and you can drill down into each actor and it lists the movies and shows they're most famous for. Click down and you're back in the content. It's like those popup bubbles on I forget what cable channel it was, but when you want it and what you want. You may already have talked about it and know about it but I've ignored the feature for so long, I didn't know what I missed. Maybe others have as well."

- Steve

Android TV as a platform has a lot of the big native apps. It adds even more with Cast support built-in. But the only standout Android TV hardware, the NVidia Shield, is focused on gaming first. TiVo is stuck trying to convince developers to support yet another platform. TiVo misses enough of the big apps that it can't be a cord cutters Only box. TiVo would easily stand out IF they could make a combined OTA DVR & Android TV box. The combined feature would be unmatched by the other big players. Google should have incentive to help in order to drive further adoption of their platform. Partnership is cheaper and easier than building or buying a platform. It is a big IF on how they could develop such a box, or even IF the new CEO would want one. But looking at the lessons of Blackberry & Nokia in phones, if this is the move, better to make it sooner than later."

- Roy

Hi Tom & Brian,

Just a brief review of my experience on the PlayStation Vue service that I tried over the holiday weekend.

I don't own a PlayStation, but used the service with my Fire TV Stick. I like the interface and the picture quality is more than good enough. While watching live TV you can almost forget you are watching streamed content.

However, the DVR functionality was lacking. After advancing or rewinding, the video would repeat itself multiple times. It would often freeze as well, causing me to close the app and restart it. Of course, this happened while I was trying to sell my wife using this to cut the cord.

I wondering if these problems are due to me using the Fire TV stick, a problem with the service or just bad luck."

- John

"In episode 97, the talk of people now being more loyal to individual shows instead of broadcast networks really struck a chord (no pun intended) with me. I rarely even think about what network a show is on anymore. I don't think, ""Oh yeah, FOX is the channel with Gotham."" I just know I need to watch it on Hulu. The network is mostly irrelevant to me. ... I think a la carte becomes far more interesting when we're talking about picking and choosing individual shows instead. ...I would love a streaming service that charged perhaps a nominal base fee per month, and then allowed you to pick and choose shows to add to your monthly account at a reasonable monthly rate. Want to subscribe to Agents of SHIELD for an additional $2.99 per month? Just click the check box. Decided you really didn't care for Heroes Reborn after a few episodes? Uncheck it for next month.

You can kind of do program a la carte now by buying seasons on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, etc., but at ~$20 a season, it's a much bigger up-front investment, and locks you in to a show that you might not want to continue watching a few episodes in.

Love the show,

- Justin

As a long-time timeshifter (Three Beta machines at one time, then TiVo, now MythTV and RoKu), I'm still in search of something that fully replaces the TiVo season pass. Sure RoKu and other streaming devices allow searching across multiple services to find a program, but I want something to manage the shows that I already do watch.. So, when the new Daredevil episodes come out, they should pop onto the list of available un-seen episodes automatically. I shouldn't have to constantly check Man in the High Castle to see if the newest episodes are out yet. So, I want the device to keep track of what series I watch and keep tabs for new episodes, then once I have watched them.. The Netflix ""My List"" can sort of do that, but just for Netflix content, so long as I manually add/remove shows when new content is available and when I finish the current episodes.. With all of the steaming services coming around, I want to manage all of them consistently and not have to constantly be manually polling each service and show to find if new episodes are available. That tedium is what computers are good at."

- Marcus



Preceded by:
"It's Official: Broadcast is in Decline"
Ask-it Basket
Followed by:
"Kings of Streaming"