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Number 82
Broadcast Date August 3, 2015
Episode Length 53:37
Hosts Brian Brushwood, Tom Merritt
Guests Iyaz Akhtar

HBO gets smart about Game of Thrones, Comcast com-blocks Sling TV, and why the Xbox won’t be your cable box.


Intro Video

Primary Target

Season 5 of GoT available for download before DVD/Blu-ray, August 31 (preorder AMZN, Vudu, Itunes, Google Play for $39)
Includes extras
Discs don’t come until March 15
Been on sale in Australia since it finished airing
HBO programming president Michael Lombardo told Television Critics Association “Seven-seasons-and-out has never been the [internal] conversation. The question is: How much beyond seven are we going to do? Obviously we’re shooting six now, hopefully discussing seven. They [Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss are] feel like there’s two more years after six. I would always love for them to change their minds, but that’s what we’re looking at right now.”

Signals Intelligence

Sling bought ads on all major network sin 8 cities.
Comcast-owned NBC affiliates rejected the ads (including in New York and LA)
Sling CEO Roger Lynch wrote: "Comcast has a demonstrated history of shutting down ideas it doesn’t like or understand, predictably to its benefit and at the expense of consumers.”
Is seeing ads for Sling really a consumer benefit?
Should Comcast be required to run the ads? Would it be different if it was DirecTV?
What’s the real reason? Don’t forget Comcast licenses some of its networks to Sling TV

Gear Up

Phil Spencer speaking with the Verge about Xbox
"We've been thinking a lot about over-the-top and over-the-air conent and the aggregation of all your content in this un-bundled world"
On cable box: “I’m not sure we have as much value to add there…”
"I think there are natural features that you could see where an Xbox could do a good job helping, especially in a world where you have video sources from all over the place.”
"We see what people do on the box and we know making advances in the entertainment space is important. You'll hear more from us soon actually about that."
Microsoft has a Gamescom announcement at 10 AM Eastern Tuesday.

Front Lines

CBS will live stream every national Super Bowl commercial online at the same time as on air. Sponsors will pay an estimated to $4.7 million for a 30-second spot.
Verizon will sell HBO Now to its wireless customers. And HBO Content will come to Verizon’s forthcoming video service, although not the whole HBO Now service.
AT&T has introduced its first bundle since purchasing DirecTV. Starting August 10 you can get HD on up to 4 TVs, unlimited talk and text on four smartphones and 10 GB of shared data for $200 a month. That’s a discount of about $50 a month.
Roku has built a Dropbox app using the Dropbox API that will let youview photos and videos stored in dropbox folders. Although it appears to limit playback to 14-15 minutes.
Comcast is testing a feature of its X1 DVR that would automatically extend a recording in half hour increments if a live broadcast runs long. Another test feature would skip to the highlights of recorded games.
Thanks to Doug on Twitter for tipping us off to this story. 20th Century Fox recently sent a letter questioning whether Showtime was within its rights to make available “Homeland,” a series produced by Fox 21 Television Studios, on the streaming service. About 20% of Showtime’s content comes from external studios

Under Surveillance

Netflix is bringing BoJack Horseman back for a third season in 2016. We also got premiere dates for the fourth season of the former A&E murder drama Longmire (September 10th) and the new Aziz Ansari show Master of None (November 6th).
Sky, Canal+ and HBO will co-produce “The Young Pope” a series with Diane Keaton and Jude Law. It's about a fictional American Pope and an American Nun in Vatican City

Dispatches From The Front

Hey Tom and Brian,

I was just having a quick look on eBay to see if anyone was selling an Amazon Fire Stick for cheap, but found a load of sellers listing a modified Fire Stick loaded with Kodi and plugins like iVue that enable people to stream premium channels for free. They're selling them at around £25 profit.. some have sold over 500 units (a tidy £12,500 profit!).

Isn't this illegal - i.e. selling it like that, not using it when you've bought one?

I'm all for killing the cord, and don't mind if people want to side load this stuff themselves, but blatantly selling them like this for that price & in such quantities feels wrong to me.

What do you guys think?


Hey crew I just setup my Xbox One to do remote play from outside my home network using https://www.reddit.com/r/xboxone/comments/3a1rwv/instructions_for_streaming_xbox_one_from_anywhere/

This got me to thinking this just made Xbox one a great sling box replacement if you run your TV through Xbox one like you Tom. Only thing a bit annoying is having an Xbox controller around to navigate the Xbox one interface remotely.

- Jack

Hello Tom and Brian

I just wanted to add my two cents into the discussion you had about JT question -"Is there room for the movie collector in the cordcutting world?"

Not all movies are available digitally yet

Two, Not all services have a full catalog.

Three, access to quality. Not everything is available in true HD (Stefano from Italy wrote in with the same concern about image abnd audio quality)

Four, there is a sense of control. The sense that you have easy access to your media when the internet is down or that pay streaming service that may or may not be there for the next 5 to 10 years. The sense of security that you don't have your credit card number on services that got hacked.

- David form Riverside, CA

Hey guys, I love the show. I just want to let you know about a really good documentary that I found on Netflix called "Lost Soul: the Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau". The documentary explores how the director had been fired and replaced in the middle of production, the script was rewritten on the set and it's two leads didn't get along with each other. Did you know that Brando didn't even bother reading the script at all? His lines were fed to him through an earpiece. Val Kilmer didn't get along with anybody on the set. There were even long periods where the extras and staff were coked up and having sex with each other because there was nothing else to do, seeing as how both leads refused to leave their trailers.

I was gobsmacked when I watched this, thinking that these were all professional people being well paid to make a movie, where the two lead actors and the director apparently didn't give a damn.

Best regards, - Isaac in Madison

I did it I cut the cord with Dish Network, they at first offered me $30 off a month, then in a last ditch my current services (which are pretty low) for $33 a month for a year. But I could not be swayed I think Cable and Sat are aging technologies, I use Hulu and Netflix and Plex for everything else and am perfectly happy. Thanks guys for keeping up the good work

- Dave



Preceded by:
"Bleep, Click, Bought"
Followed by:
"The Last Stage of Denial"