They Form Voltron!

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They Form Voltron!
Number 117
Broadcast Date April 18, 2016
Episode Length 49:26
Hosts Brian Brushwood, Tom Merritt
Guests Roberto Villegas

Sling TV’s crazy gamble, Amazon undercuts Netflix, and the movie business keeps booming. With special guest Roberto Villegas.


Intro Video

Primary Target

Sling TV adds Fox channels (FX, FSN, FS1, NatGeo)
A new $20 a month package has Fox alongside turner nets, AMC, HGTV Food etc.
You can subscribe to that AND the one that gets ESPN/ABC. but it’ll cost you $40 for both and you get double listing of the non Fox/ABC channels
ZatzNotFunny found some documentation of a new device from Sling TV called AirTV.
It would take the existing M1 Slingbox hardware and add a TV tuner, THEN replace the Slingbox client with Sling TV.
The idea is over the air channels somehow integrate into Sling TV’s Internet streaming service.
Side note: EchoStar (owners of Slingbox) and Dish Network (Owners of Sling TV) are two separate companies both chaired by Charlie Ergen.

Signals Intelligence

Amazon is making Amazon Prime available at $10.99 a month
Amazon Prime Video is available on its own now at $8.99 a month.
You can still get Prime for $99 a year (=$8.25/mo.)

Gear Up

Apple TV began promoting Live Tune-in
Ask Siri to jump into the live stream on an app
Example: Say “Watch CBS” and it launches CBS app and takes you to the live stream instead of the main menu (works with ESPN and Disney XD too)

Front Lines

Netflix added a record 6.74 million new subscribes in Q1, 5.59 million from outside the US making 42% of its customer base now international. Netflix forecasts 2 million new International subs in Q2 alongside 500,000 in the US.
2.23 million US subs added Q1
The MPAA's Theatrical Market Statistics report says theatres had a record year, with $38.3b taken at the box office, up 5% over 2014. United States and Canada generated $11.1 billion with international box office revenues hitting $27.2 billion. Almost 70% of the U.S./Canada population (235.3 million people) went to the movies at least once in 2015, a 2% increase over 2014.
Amazon Studios marketing and distribution chief Bob Berney said all of Amazon’s films will be released theatrically. Amazon promises to market aggressively to bring people to the theatres. Amazon says it plans to release 16 movies a year. Amazon is screening five movies at the Cannes Film Festival including Woody Allen’s Cafe Society.
Vimeo is partnering with Spotlight Cinema Networks to run short films during the preshow at several independent theaters starting last Friday. The shorts will be pulled from Vimeo’s staff picks and Brand Studio sections.
Variety says Verizon will launch its OnCue based TV service in one of its FiOS markets later this year. Verizon bought OnCue from Intel 2 years ago. Verizon filed documents with the FCC about a set-top box code-named Mallard, that mentions OnCue. The service would use the Internet Protocol and offer access to non-Verizon services, possibly Netflix or Hulu. The service is separate from Verizon’s mobile Go90 video service
Last year Hulu created the watchlist that combined your queue, favorites and watched content in one place. Now it’s making the watchlist default.
Netflix made season 1 of Marco Polo available in 4K and HDR. More content is coming in HDR including season 2 of Marco Polo in June, but Netflix won’t say what else. You have to pay $12 a month for the 4-screen Ultra HD plan too.

Under Surveillance

Regarding Game of Thrones, David Benioff told Variety: “I think we’re down to our final 13 episodes after this season. We’re heading into the final lap. That’s the guess, though nothing is yet set in stone, but that’s what we’re looking at.” That would be split into two seasons with 6 or 7 episodes each. HBO quickly told everyone who would listen that nothing is decided yet.

Dispatches From The Front

Not speaking for every Canadian, but the bit about us being less serious about the timeliness of watching shows and availability is at least partially true....

I am a slightly more rural Canadian ...I was forced to either go with satellite or antenna. One of the issues I had before cutting, and so did my parents, is the feeling of lack of value with our provider.

In Canada much of the content access is controlled via a couple of companies, which are also the cable and satellite providers. ...

What probably was the biggest issue for myself was that most of the content we were watching, maybe 80%, was available OTA for us. While the number of channels kept increasing, along with the price the aggregate value provided to us was decreasing, causing me to look for other options. The money saved can then be redistributed into better internet and other streaming services.

I use an OTA with recording functionality, along with streaming services and iTunes to actually allow me to watch what I want when I want.

- Robert

Typically I will find that Amazon will have a new release movie in a Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital combo pack for $20. Most new release movies on services like iTunes or VUDU seem to be around $20. So to me, it makes more sense to get the physical media and register the digital copy from the box than to only have the digital version. I end up with the exact same digital version in whatever service I choose, but I also get the Blu-Ray and DVDs copies basically included for free.

My main concern is the possibility of a service going away at some point. While iTunes, VUDU, Google Play, etc are all probably going to be around - I feel more secure having the physical copy too just incase.

Love the show, - Josh

On a recent episode, you were talking about not being able to download shows from your subscription services (amazon in particular), checkout PlayOn Plus.

I use PlayOn Plus to record to my PC anything that I can view on my PC, you will need to subscribe, authenticate or whatever it takes to get it running in the browser. ... The big advantage is you can subscribe to a particular show, so that every week PlayOn Plus will check for the latest show and automatically record it to your PC. I have recorded the entire series of Man in the high castle from Amazon, House of cards from Netflix, Game of thrones from HBO Now, Interstellar and Ex machina from Amazon Prime (when they were free),etc. I can now view them on any damn device I want, any time I want. There is no DRM on the recordings. I can queue up the recording to happen off-hours (I use 12:30a to 9:00a).

It costs $29.99/year or 49.99/lifetime per recording PC, playback device apps are free, each recording is about 1.2 GB/hour. You can use Windows movie Maker to reduce the size. I think Handbrake would work, just haven’t tried.

It is basically a DVR for your browser. You can also use PlayOn for your media libray server, record the kids favorite Netflix shows to the PlayOn media libary, you can stop paying for the Netflix subscription, and have the kids access the playon media library.

Love the show, - Bob Your boss From Buffalo, where DVDs are rumored to be coming to the local Blockbusters next month



Preceded by:
"The Moose in the Room"
They Form Voltron!
Followed by:
"Steam's Stream Dream"