Fly Me To the Moonves

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Fly Me To the Moonves
Number 148
Broadcast Date December 5, 2016
Episode Length 1:00:37
Hosts Brian Brushwood, Tom Merritt

How did the DirecTV Now launch go? Netflix allows downloads and Amazon adds HBO.


  • None

Intro Video

Primary Target

So one week in how is that DirecTV Now service?
Certainly the cheapest if you can get in on the 100 channels for $35 Deal and a free fire TV stick or Apple TV
Definitely the best guide interface
Searching brings up on demand options which you can add to watchlist’s in a pale simulation of a DVR
Can only sign in to ABC, Disney, Disney Jr. Disney XD, ESPN Freeform HBO Go and Max Go more to be added
Login issues
Incorrect reporting of simultaneous streams
Incorrect channel blackouts
On demand playback stopping mid-show and skipping to next episodes
Some blacked out channel notifications but then channel still worked
Stream crashed a couple times
Freezes regularly during streaming needing to restart the channel
CBS CEO Les Moonves speaking at the UBS Global Media and Communications conference remarked on CBS not being available on DirecTV Now. “I’m assuming we’ll be able to make a deal with them. As they said in The Godfather, ‘We are not unreasonable people here.” He also said CBS is talking with YouTube about its upcoming TV service.

How to Watch

Netflix updated its Android and iOS apps Wednesday to allow downloading of some movies and shows for offline viewing. If a show is available for download it will have a down arrow next to its episode listing. A Netflix rep told Recode’s Peter Kafka that Disney-owned video will not be available including movies like Zootopia but also Netflix originals like Jessica Jones and Daredevil.
Android users will receive the videos in VP9, the codec developed by Google that saves storage space. For iOS it uses H.264/AVC High which also saves a few bits. Netflix also uses chunk encoding to tailor compression to specific scenes to improve video quality.
Ted Sarandos says Netflix will release 20 unscripted series in 2017 (speaking Monday at the UBS Global Media & Communications Conference in New York)
Planning to spend $6 billion on original content in 2017 up from $5 billion in 2016
As for sports “don’t look for us to be bidding for league rights,” but said that league creation may be something the company could be interested in.

What to Watch

What We're Watching

Front Lines

Amazon has added HBO and Cinemax as options to add-on to an Amazon Prime Video subscription. HBO would cost $15 a month and Cinemax $10. It appears that the service would only work inside Amazon video apps not HBO or Cinemax’s own apps.
Hulu started streaming 4K content on Xbox One S and PS4 Pro. The offering includes Hulu originals like The Path and 11.22.63 as well as 20 James Bond movies.
CBS All Access started allowing viewers to see NFL Games this Sunday in the 150 markets where a live stream of CBS programming is available in their market. Thursday Night Football will also be available. However the games will not be viewable on phones since Verizon and Twitter have exclusives on mobile NFL streams.
Plex has added support for Google Drive, OneDrive and Dropbox to Plex Cloud. Plex Cloud has been having problems with Amazon integration which launched in September. The idea is to give people a Plex option without needing to set up a local server. You’ll need an invitation to try Plex Cloud, and pay for PLexPass for $5 a month or $40 a year. Plex also has added support for a Kodi plugin for Plex Pass subscribers, though coming for all soon.
Starz is integrating Spotify into its mobile app to allow users to do things like listen to a movie soundtrack ore related playlist after watching the movie. Spotify subscribers can link their accounts to hear whole tracks, non-subscribers can hear 30-second previews. Starz will also recommend movies and shows based on your Spotify listening habits.

Dispatches From The Front

I got sucked into DirecTV Now mostly because of the free Apple TV when you prepay for three months of service. Which basically gets you an Apple TV for a $45 discount plus free DirecTV Now. He also has AT&T so while traveling to “wifi challenged” family it might come in handy.

He says,

“Initially, I was disappointed. The list of devices this doesn’t work on is huge. Windows 10, not unless you install Internet Explorer 11 - it doesn’t work on the Edge browser. Chrome OS - nope … Safari - maybe, but they recommend installing Chrome browser. Linux - forgetaboutit. Directv Now does work on iOS and Android and casts pretty well to Chromecast. …

So, leaving negatives and yet to be fulfilled promises behind, I logged on Sunday evening and cast, (using a newly purchased Chromecast - don’t ask, its a long story) HBO’s Westworld season finale to my biggest screen. I didn’t have buffering, stuttering and any of the other complaints early adopters of Sony PlayStation Vue / SlingTV seemed to have during their early launches. I was, dare I say, surprisingly pleased, and enjoyed the viewing experience.

Provided AT&T expands broadcast network selections, the browser and streamer options, adds a cloud DVR and keeps the ‘locked-in’ pricing, they may have landed me as a CordKilling customer. I’ll keep you posted.

- Howard

Hello new employees! Yes, this is a message from YOUR NEW BOSS! I killed the cord! After 17+ years as a cable subscriber I finally set myself free. Everything I watch is time-shifted in some manner. …

Three weeks ago Comcast changed the MPEG encoding on the video stream from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4 and that essentially rendered my older HD TiVo obsolete. …

I had been thinking about killing the cord for about a year now so I started researching options.

I could get a new TiVo for free thanks to a special deal TiVo is offering those of us affected by the Comcast change and pay $350 for a new subscription to the service. That would leave me still paying $150 a month for just cable TV; no Internet, no phone, just cable. Add to that the money I already pay for Netflix and Hulu commercial-free and it adds up.

I decided to check out the new Playstation Vue offering.

While it's interface is a bit wonky, their basic offering at $30 gave me the channels I watch - USA, TNT, SyFy, and NBC Sports Network for Formula 1. It also gave my wife the news channels she wanted. The killer feature of Playstation Vue is the on-demand viewing ability. As I said before, I don't watch anything live. It works on my Playstation 3 and my Apple TV.

I installed the app on my wife's Amazon Fire Stick … After 3 days I got the thumbs up from her.

I picked up a new indoor TV antenna to hook up to my TiVo for local major network channels and my local PBS station. There are 46 broadcast channels in my area! Who knew?

I called Comcast and was directed to a loyalty retention agent who helped me disconnect the service in about 5 minutes.

Cord Killed!

I decided to take some of that 100 plus dollars saved each month and give some of it to you guys! Meet the new boss! Same as the old boss? No, not really.

Your insights, opinions and information about the various options for TV viewing have helped me and my wife and I always look forward to the Spoilerin' Time discussions. We often will ask "I wonder what they'll say about that on Spolierin' Time."

We started watching Justified shortly after you guys started and ended up plowing through all 6 seasons in less than a month. It's pretty good. I won't spoil it for you but the series ending worked for me, unlike the series ending of most shows.

Now, get back to work you, you, employees!

You may use this email and my name on the show if you so desire.

- Todd

Hey guys. What options are out there for watching broadcast channels when you can't pick them up with an antenna? Where I live I can't pick up ABC and I want to watch their sports. Sling and Vue do not have locals in my area. The local station does not stream and network site is hostile to cordcutters. Any other ideas? Thanks guys.

- Brian

Hello Brian and Tom...

The problem with DirecTV Now, and similar upcoming services, is that the service has to be good enough to entice cord cutters, but not so good it gets more people to ditch cable for the skinny bundle. AT&T completed their purchase of DirecTV just 1 year ago, AT&T isn't going to release an OTT service that gets DTV customers to cancel their satellite subscriptions 1 year after the purchase, a purchase they spent $48.5 billion dollars on.

Also worth noting, all of these OTT services are made by media/cable companies. Dish owns Sling, AT&T/DirecTV owns DirecTV Now, and Sony (which owns a movie studio and other media assets) owns PlayStation Vue. They don't want to start the switch from cable to OTT right away, they have a few more dollars to squeeze out of cable.

- Anthony

Regarding how Sling wound up on the X1 DVR from Comcast -...let me walk you down a path of what might have happened at comcast:

At any big company there are many different small fiefdoms that go into moving the overall business forward. ... In the business of the home cable box at comcast, the X1 is their primary product though not the only one, and QAM based delivery of video is the biggest business, though not the only one. In fact, one of the areas that has been growing is the 3rd party application ecosystem for the X1 box. See when they built this box, they built a framework so hat 3rd party devs could build services for the it. Somewhere at comcast, there is a team to support that business - they got engineers to build and support APIs and frameworks, they got marketing folks to go out and evangelize it, and they got biz dev folks assigned to go ink some deals. Netflix was their big announcement here earlier in the year, but thats is of course not enough. So now that team is out there attempting to get other services to build apps for their ecosystem. Dish has a legacy of World TV packages with Sling ... so an app for X1 that will pull in those channels is not out of the realm of possibility. In the behind the scenes conversations I can see an argument for each company where they agreed to do this (sling gets yet another platform they can promote being on, comcast gets to tout that they have yet another service signing up for its app platform). They both realistically know this will be a small market for now, Sling probably hpes they will cannibalize a small slice of comcast customers and comcast hopes its a small enough number it doesnt really impact their numbers anymore than current attrition is impacting them).

I, of course, wasn't in the room when these deals were made - but I've been in enough rooms where similar discussions were had that I have to believe something similar happened here.

just my 2 cents - keep up the good work!

- Andy

Hi Tom and Brian,

I've been getting emails from VidAngel about the impending court battle with the big studios on December 19th, and I was wondering if you guys had any thoughts about VidAngel's chances for success.

They've created a humorous video explaining their position, and I was wondering what your thoughts were. Namely: 1) does it accurately explain the situation? And 2) do you think there is any hope for those wanting filtering options to be available if this fails?

Link to the video:

Thanks for all the great information!
- James



Preceded by:
"This Sounds Like Cable"
Fly Me To the Moonves
Followed by:
"Planes, Trains & Downloadables"