Tag Archives: streaming

Episode 138: Where streaming video needs to go (and why Game of Thrones was made for this era)


Streaming has come a long way in the last few years. We look back on those changes and predict where the future will go. And where streaming needs to go. This is our look ahead issue for where tech should go.

Game of Thrones, House of Cards and other shows are made for this era. They have deep story arcs. They are the kinds of shows you need to be able to catch up on. In the pre-streaming era, catching up on a show was really hard to do.

Imagine someone telling you that Game of Thrones is awesome, but it’s six episodes into the season. In 1995, how would you have caught up? You wouldn’t. And Game of Thrones’s popularity would have suffered greatly.

How come I can’t watch more things on my tablet around my house? I only own one TV but my wife and I own two TVs and two laptops. So even if I can watch a football game on my TV, I probably can’t watch it on my TV. That’s very 1990 thinking.

We also talk about making a modern, responsive website. I recently relaunched washingtonian.com.

And a long-term Apple Watch review.

P.S. Google Cardboard is awful VR.

Listen to this week’s episode:


Download the MP3

Episode 121: HBO Go without a cable subscription (above board this time)


HBO Go will finally be available without a cable subscription.

This is huge news for cord cutters.  HBO is one of the big reasons that many people keep cable. But how much will it cost? I don’t think it will be cheap.

We also discuss the merits of CBS also offering a streaming service now as well. CBS is free, after all. So will people pay to be able to stream it as well on different devices?

We also discuss how streaming a la carte could work. We then discuss if this could be the catalyst for sports leagues getting rid of blackout restrictions?

Listen to this week’s show:


Download the MP3

Show notes:




Episode 46: Two factor authentication

We  further discuss Hulu+ in this show, hitting on some of the things that we don’t like about the service. It’s just a little off.

We also delve into two-factor authentication, and why you should sign up for it ASAP.

We also discuss fake screws and journalism.

Listen to this week’s show:


Download the MP3

Show notes:

Escaping the Internet is easier said than done

Paul Miller is trying to avoid the Internet for a year; that’s easier said than done:

The other day, while searching out the Knicks / Heat game with a casual internet user, we happened across a dingy bar he’d never visited before. The so-dive-it’s-cool scene is still active in NY, but this wasn’t that sort of place. There was one retired patron at the bar, some video slots in a corner, a few ancient flat-screens along the ceiling, and a smell of death. We asked if they were planning on showing the game.

“Yeah, are you showing the game?” said the patron, happy for some action.

“Oh, I forgot that was tonight,” said the middle-aged bartender. “Let me see if I can get it to work.” He tossed his towel over his shoulder and disappeared into a back room.

I tried to figure out what he meant by “get it to work,” until I realized what was on two of the TV screens. A Windows desktop. I pointed this out to my companion.

“If he moves that cursor, we’re going to have to leave,” I said.

“Why’s that?”

“I think he’s going to stream it.”

Avoiding the Internet is really difficult to do. It’s how I watch most of my TV shows, movies and sports games. Miller is going without the Internet to find a better place of mindfulness. He has found, however, that escaping the Internet is easier said than done.

The UltraViolet digital download mess that no one wants

GigaOm says that users are already frustrated by Hollywood’s new attempt to give people digital downloads to own but on Hollywood’s non-user centric terms:

Talk about a bad first impression: The first two Blu-ray discs featuring Hollywood’s new UltraViolet cloud locker have been met with a lot of criticism from consumers, who have been calling the technology an “awful move,” “bogus,” a “joke” and a bunch of other things we can’t reprint here in numerous reviews on Amazon.com. Many consumers took issue with the fact that they couldn’t download the digital version onto their iPad, and one wrote: “All I can say is that their digital cloud is a bunch of hot air that smells REALLY bad.”

I’ve already laid out how I think digital movie ownership should work. My plan is orders of magnitude better because its centered on giving users a great experience. If you give users a great experience, they will buy more. Fact.

UltraViolet is a shallow attempt to get users to buy more physical discs by claiming that, “if you buy the physical disc you also get a great digital copy!” The problem is that you need codes to unlock the movies and you need to sign up for another website and these movies don’t work on many of the devices that you want them too. It’s what we like to call a bad user experience.

The problem facing digital movie downloads is not technological, as the UltraViolet consortium claims. It’s all about usability.

Owning and watching digital movies should be far easier than owning and storing physical copies. Right now the opposite is true.

GigaOm’s other recent piece about UltraViolet caused me to leave a fired-up comment. Here it is:

I disagree. The issue is that Hollywood studios have not allowed for there to be great ways to own digital movies. Downloading a movie to my computer’s hard drive is not ideal. Downloading it to a set top box isn’t ideal either.

What is ideal is the ability to purchase a movie and have it stored in the cloud. Then users would be able to stream it to any device they would like. I would purchase a lot more movies on iTunes if I could store them on Apple’s servers and stream whenever I like. The movie studios haven’t agreed to this idea yet, but it works well for songs and TV shows.

The problem with digital downloads added onto physical discs is that the digital is always an afterthought. These downloads are SD. They require codes to activate. They expire. It’s really a terrible experience that only an old, out-of-touch executive could possibly think is a good idea (I no longer download digital versions of movies that come with Blu-rays).

Instead, imagine you could purchase and store movies in the cloud. You would have a great UI for managing and finding movies in your collection and you could share and watch movies with friends. The movies would work on your TV, computers, tablets and phones. And it would just work. No need to manage codes or anything like that.

It should be much, much easier to buy and store digital movies than it is with physical discs. Right now, it’s the opposite. Storing digital movies is a huge pain. The buying process isn’t that good either, especially with all the restrictions on the movies and how movies come and go in online store do to various licensing deals.

Studios should be selling more movies than ever. I would buy a lot more movies if buying digital movies were easy. Instead, I have to store the movies on my hard drive and then I have to stream that to my TV. I also have to worry about backups.

And how honestly wants to watch movies through UltraViolet? Codes? Streaming on only certain devices? Using a terrible UI made by a non-technology company? This is embarrassing.

Streaming and movie rentals are catching on because they are so easy. The studios have made it harder to buy their content than they have to rent it. How stupid is that?