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Number 136
Broadcast Date September 12, 2016
Episode Length 1:04:44
Hosts Brian Brushwood, Tom Merritt
Guests Dan Benjamin

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.


Intro Video

Primary Target

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 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."

Signals Intelligence

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

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

A trailer is out for a NatGeo series called Mars from Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. The six-part series weaves a scripted drama about the first Mars mission in 2033 with doc-style interviews about the reality of such a mission. Mars premieres in 171 countries in November. (Thx Kristi Kates!)
And a Trailer out for Netflix SciFi movie ARQ about a man who gets shot and wakes up remembering the future. Very Edge of Tomorrow.Coming September 16.
HBO's Westworld halted production last fall because they wanted the writers to lay out at least five seasons worth of episodes. Westworld Premiers October 2
Justin Timberlake's concert film debuts on Netflix October 12th. Justin Timberlake and The Tennessee Kids, the title is the performance from the Las Vegas stop of the singer's 20/20 Experience Tour.
Netflix has ordered White Rabbit Project from former Mythbusters Kari Byron, Grant Imahara and Tory Belleci who will investigate strange topics using science. Coming December 9th.
Hulu has a 13-episode comedy series called Future Man starring Josh Hutcherson (Peeta in Hunger Games) as janitor/dejected gamer recruited by mysterious visitors to save humanity. Includes Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg as producers. Coming in 2017
Netflix will launch a talk show called Bill Nye Saves the World next year. “Each episode will tackle a topic from a scientific point of view, dispelling myths, and refuting anti-scientific claims." Tonight Show's Mike Drucker is head writer and Phil Plait is head science writer.

Front Lines

Bloomberg's sources tell it Amazon is looking into buying the rights to live sporting events. Tennis, rugby, golf, soccer and auto racing are among the sports named. They might also look to add sports networks as add-ons. Amazon hired a former Sports Illustrated exec James DeLorenzo and former YouTube exec Charlie Neiman to build partnerships with sports companies.
Time Inc. will launch its first streaming network Tuesday called People/Entertainment Weekly Network or PEN. The free ad-supported network will launch on Roku, Amazon, Fire TV, Apple TV and Chromecast with 50 hours of existing programming and 15 original series coming in the year.
Sony announced new PlayStation models last week. The new PS Pro will be able to play 4K videos from Netflix and all PS4 models will get an update to allow HDR videos from the services.
After September 30, Sony Bravia TVs from before 2012 will no longer be able to play YouTube. According to Sony, YouTube is exceeding the capability of the older hardware, likely a reference to encrypted connections.
Sling TV added the Pac-12 network to its sports package and Starz as a $9 a month add-on. Sling TV also launched a Windows 10 app.
The latest Fire TV update integrates search across 75 apps. Roku claims 25 and Apple says 30. So the race for cross-app search continues.

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



Preceded by:
"Gideon's HDMI"
Followed by:
"The Darker Reflection of Ourselves"