Oh the Humanity!

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Oh the Humanity!
Number 110
Broadcast Date February 29, 2016
Episode Length 1:08:47
Hosts Brian Brushwood, Tom Merritt

Is HBO really falling behind Netflix? Do we want Chromecast built into our TVs? Does YouTube need humans?


  • None

Intro Video

Primary Target

Netflix to spend $5 billion on content in 2016
10 new feature films, 30 shows, 12 documentaries, and 10 stand-up comedy specials.
More HDR programming including Marco Polo season 1 and Daredevil season 2
iOS app will get option to limit quality in order to save data
Second-screen experience coming to Chromecast
More VPN blocking complaints rolling in from Spain, Germany, Czech republic, UK.
More autoplay trailers being tested, when hovering over a title, as you navigate, when you first launch app or open browser tab
Matthew Ingram of Fortune wrote “As Netflix Soars, HBO Comes Under Increasing Pressure”
Asserts HBO “lives and dies by its ratings”
New show Vinyl off to slow start, Westworld put on hold, Pitt/Hanks miniseries shut down
HBO hasn’t had a big hit since Game of Thrones in 2011 (John Oliver? Silicon Valley? True Detective?)
HBO total 130mm subs Netflix 74mm

Signals Intelligence

Spencer from YouTube’s policy team wrote a blog post Wednesday about criticism over video takedowns and demonetization.
No big change in overall removals
BUT “It's led us to create a team dedicated to minimizing mistakes and improving the quality of our actions. And it's encouraged us to roll out some initiatives in the coming months that will help strengthen communications between creators and YouTube support.”
Also promise to increase transparency over monetization claims

Gear Up

Variety reports some Vizio TVs will have Chromecast built-in.
The TVs will ship with an Android-powered tablet as a remote, featuring apps and a program guide.
As early as this spring
Variety says Google has approached at least one other TV maker

Front Lines

Netflix has cast Finn Jones (Ser Loras Tyrell on GoT) as Danny Rand in the upcoming Marvel series Iron Fist. Rand is a New York kid trained in supernatural martial arts. It’s expected to hit Netflix in late 2016 or early 2017.
Netflix is releasing its first original anime series in 190 countries at once. Perfect Bones is directed by Kazuto Nakazawa for Production I.G., the studio behind Attack on Titan and Ghost in the Shell. In perfect Bones, geneticists are trying to create the perfect human to maintain peace, but some are kidnapped by an evil organization. No released date was announced.
PBS is launching a new 24-7 channel called PBS Kids. PBS says, “Provided by local stations, the free services include a new TV channel and live stream on digital platforms.” It will be on air, at pbskids.org and the PBS Kids video app, available on Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire TV, Android, TV Xbox One and Chromecast.
An upcoming Amazon pilot will star Jean-Claude Van Damme as Jean-Claude Van Johnson, a famous actor who comes out of retirement to play the lead in an action movie version of Huckleberry Finn. However the actor is also a black ops operative. EPs include Dave Callaham, Ridley Scott and David Zucker.
Oculus, makers of the Rift VR headset, has hired former Hulu SVP Eugene Wei as head of video. He’ll be in charge of the platform that hosts VR and 360-degree content from other creators.

Under Surveillance

Dispatches from the Front

Trying to decide between Tivo vs Tablo over the air DVR as I am canceling cable and the end of February. What are your thoughts and experiences with both of them and do you have one you tend to recommend over the other? I like that Tablo has a smaller monthly fee compared to Tivo. Thanks for any help you can send my way.

- Ryan

Re: ""Better Call Saul,"" I just noticed the aftershow called ""Talking Show"" aired after S2 premier and will after finale. What do you think about the principals discussing their own show . Can you review a review? Still waiting for the transformation of Jimmy into Saul Goodman.

- Mark

Wanted to provide a little update on the NHL's streaming service. As you mentioned several months ago, it was announced that MLB's streaming arm (MLB Advanced Media) was going to be taking over the running of the NHL's ""GameCenter Live"" streaming service, spurring hopes that the more experienced MLB crew would greatly improve GameCenter Live's rather average experience.

As of February 1st, that transition has now been completed and the reviews have been... almost entirely negative. The NHL inexplicably decided to make this change right in the middle of the season, and the first day was a complete disaster. If you could even successfully launch a stream, you would experience constant buffering or, more common, the stream dropping altogether after just a few minutes. These issues continued for the better part of a week before they finally at least got the service to a point where you could (mostly) watch an entire game without having to restart the stream.

The highly-touted feature that was supposed to come with the MLB's takeover was 60fps streams, and they strongly implied this would be available on devices like the PS4 and Roku. However, it seems that no one really knows how to get those 60fps feeds. I've seen sporadic reports of people occasionally achieving 60fps with an AppleTV or an Xbox One, but never consistently. Personally, I've yet to see a single minute of a game in 60fps on my PS4, PS3, Roku, Nexus 5 or browser a month into the service.

In addition, the NHL actually removed features that people who had purchased the entire season had paid for, including NHL Vault, which provided a fairly impressive back-catalog of games from previous seasons to watch on demand. That service disappeared entirely after the transition, with no warning or explanation from the league.

To be fair, it's not entirely bad. In my experience, the PS3 and PS4 apps are improved over the GameCenter Live versions and are no longer plagued with the buffering issues they had under GCL.

However, all things considered and as a long-time GameCenter Live subscriber, the MLBAM takeover has been a pretty big disappointment, and I'm reevaluating my subscription for next season.

Take care,

- Justin



Preceded by:
"Free the Box!"
Oh the Humanity!
Followed by:
"Technology Make Things Fast"