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  1. #1

    Arrow Are US cable providers overestimating their position in home-viewing entertainment?

    I think American cable providers' refusal to offer a la carte television instead of their standard "bundles" is making them irrelevant in the at-home-entertainment discussion and they don't realize it. I know some networks are offering streaming options on their sites, but it's limited and doesn't compete with the internet-only based options effectively. (I can't comment on television options in other countries because I don't know.)

    I know netstreaming content doesn't match major cable channels... but they're gaining. I haven't paid for cable personally in a long while because I can't justify the expense and there are options out there with a little patience. There's a lot I can get online for free or much cheaper. It just requires some searching and tech. savvy. While my parents' generation largely lacks the know-how to navigate online entertainment efficiently, our generation and younger do not. I doubt I'm the only consumer with the same budget restrictions.

    I get the feeling that the old-school major cable providers are making the same mistakes as the American auto industry via failing to adapt to the modern market/consumer.

    What do you think? Are they a long way off from major changes in pricing and offerings, or is their uppance coming soon?
    "The views of absolutists and purists everywhere should be noted in fierce detail, then meticulously and thoroughly printed onto my toilet paper ply."

  2. #2
    No moss growing on me Giggly's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    2 sx/so


    They're putting up the good fight but they will be assimilated.

  3. #3
    Senior Member TenebrousReflection's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
    4w5 sx/sp


    I'd like to be able to get just the channels I want, but as it is now, I subscribe to the minimum package to get CBS, NBC, discovery, comedy central and HBO. If they let you choose the channels you want at a reasonable rate (or sold you like a 10 channel bundle but let you choose which channels were in it), then I would add a few more, but as it is now, I have to pay more than $10/month to add just one or two more channels I'd actually want to watch.

    Being able to watch stuff on-line is nice, but I want to be able to actually watch in on my TV, not my computer (I know I could hook up my PC to my TV if I wanted to re-arange and re-wire everything, but thats a hassle thats not worht it at this time since not everything I want is available on-line anyway. HBO Go is nice, but sadly, it requires being linked to a cable subscription to use so I'm still locked into cable to watch Bill Mahr and Game of Thrones. If Hulu+(which my Tivo supports) included my favorite channels and shows (whcih it does not), then that would be an appealing alternative to cable, but at the moment, cable seems to still be the best option for what I want. iTunes also offers some of what i want, but again, not all, so thats not a viable solution either.

    For now, it feels like cable is still in a position of power over its customers, but I do think/hope its just a matter of time (it could be within the next few years, or it could be much longer) before an alternative capitalizes on the untapped potnetial of digital distribution for television.
    (keys2cognition) Fi (47.6), Ne (36.8), Fe (36.8), Si (31.6), Ti (29.7), Ni (27.4), Te (17.2) Se (12.5) - subject to change - last updated 11JAN2012
    * Making consicious effort to improve my Fe...
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  4. #4


    Hah! This is on the online frontpage of the Wall St. Journal:

    Cutting the Cord on Cable

    Dear Cable:

    Before I say anything else: It's not you. It's me.
    I mean, come on. How many shows about housewives are there? I like chefs, but I don't need to see them on television 24/7. Ghost hunters? Dancing celebrities? Talent shows? "Shark Week"? Celebrity ghost-hunting talent shows during "Shark Week"? It's too much of too little. You're full of a lot of inescapable crap.

    Don't even bring up the "What about live sports?" argument. It's not all pixelated highlight reels on the Internet. Local matches are available over the air with a $20 antenna. I can stream games on my PlayStation 3 through my DirecTV Sunday Ticket subscription. Even the Super Bowl—you know, one of the world's most gigantic sporting events? It's going to be streamed over the Internet this year.
    “Don't think you can frame the Internet as this unreliable source for premium content and dangle professional sports in front of my nose to reel me in again. I can get everything that counts over the Internet and on my TV.”

    And, yes, I know there will be a new set of issues by relying on the Internet as my pipeline to television. Staring at spinning wheels and download bars as I wait for my content to load and buffer. Pixelated pictures on days when my bandwidth isn't as robust as it should be. More typing and searching rather than leisurely channel surfing. Yeah, yeah, I get all of that. And it doesn't bother me.

    So don't think you can frame the Internet as this unreliable, unpolished source for premium content and dangle professional sports and Emmy fodder in front of my nose to reel me in again. I can get everything that counts over the Internet and on my living-room TV.

    I'll admit it. The solution isn't as elegant as your one-box, one-remote setup. To be able to watch the most complete array of noncable entertainment requires several services like Netflix and iTunes, an antenna and, for the nerdiest content completists, a full-fledged computer attached to your television. But it's not as crazy and intimidating as it sounds.
    This will be good for everyone. You'll grow. I'll grow. The Internet will grow.

    I've never been good at byes, so I'll just say this: Be well.

    Your pal,


    P.S. Can you cut me a deal on my Internet bill?
    The article is followed up with a how-to titled "3 Ways to Go Cable-Free"

    "The views of absolutists and purists everywhere should be noted in fierce detail, then meticulously and thoroughly printed onto my toilet paper ply."

  5. #5
    Senior Member Beargryllz's Avatar
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    Jun 2010


    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post

    The article is followed up with a how-to titled "3 Ways to Go Cable-Free"
    I already have thepiratebay bookmarked, but what would the second and third steps be?

  6. #6
    Emerging Tallulah's Avatar
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    Feb 2008


    Cable is going to have to face the music soon. I've been complaining about not having ala carte options for probably 10 years or more, but I know the packages are kind of necessary in order to keep so many networks afloat. Most people aren't going to choose the little nichey ones if they only want to pay for 15 channels. Where cable/dish has made their mistake is in being greedy. I cut the cord this year because I was tired of paying $72 every month just to watch tv. Anything cheaper than that, package-wise, and you basically get nothing. More and more people are realizing they don't need cable, and more importantly, they can't afford it. I honestly haven't missed it one bit. All the "filler-tv" I used to watch is now on netflix (Discovery ID shows, YEAH!), and I've even been catching up on lots of other shows I might not have bothered with if I had cable to flip around on.

    I think cable/Dish is probably heading towards more pay-per-ep stuff. I think they're in the same position now as record companies were in the 80s and 90s. They were milking their audiences and thinking they were on top of the hill with no one to knock them off--they're in charge of content, so no one has a choice! That's all changing, and people are turning to piracy in addition to other options like netflix and hulu. I doubt tv show piracy would be as big as it is if cable and dvd marketers hadn't gotten so greedy. They push people into finding other options.

    I get most of my tv from netflix, but I do download American Horror Story and The Walking Dead.
    Something Witty

  7. #7
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    Jul 2010
    4w5 sp/sx


    I don't have a lot of insight on this because I've been cable free for pretty much ever. When I was moving up in the world and decided TV was a worthwhile expense, I had just bought a house with one of those BUDs (Big Ugly Dishes). All of the cable channels were to be had al-a-carte through that, and for all I know, still are. Then I transitioned to internet and Netflix. I seriously hope there's a wakeup call coming for all of those companies abusing their customers with unreasonable pay structures.

  8. #8
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
    594 sx/sp
    LII Ne


    I do agree with how outrageous the cable costs are.

    Right now my roomie has everything connected -- internet to playstation to tv/cable. So everything (movies, cable, netflix, hulu, etc.) can be watched on the large flatscreen in the living room. It might be a little complicated if one is not used to setting such things up, but it's only going to get easier as the products are more and more designed for integration, just like USB was confusing right at first for some but now everything is plug-and-play....

    When I move out this spring, I don't plan to buy cable. I'll just have internet and grab any shows I want off that, etc. I really don't even watch TV much anymore, although this season there's a few shows I enjoy.

    yeah, i think it's going to be obselete... like we're just watching another version of the death of Blockbuster, which was an industry monolith for so long and then failed to adjust to changing market conditions and newer technological delivery methods. (Or AOL, which dominated for a few years and then failed to capitalize and disappeared.)
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  9. #9
    Senior Member Snoopy22's Avatar
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    Dec 2008
    9w1 so/sp


    Direct TV was the same with their need to bundle, we offered them one dollar for each channel we actually wanted. They said they could not do that so we dropped them. As long as the consumer is willing to accept only what a company wants to give it little changes. Perhaps if the public becomes more astute about their personal finances they will be more willing to pressure TV providers so they arrange better options from their suppliers for their customers.

  10. #10


    Verizon, Redbox to Launch Online Video Service
    Telecommunications company Verizon Communications Inc. and Redbox video-kiosk owner Coinstar Inc. said Monday they will launch an online service in the second half of the year that features streaming videos and downloads.

    The companies offered few details of the venture, in which Verizon will own a 65% stake and Redbox will hold the other 35%.
    More competition arriving on the streaming video scene. Also, I did not know that Redbox is owned by Coinstar.
    "The views of absolutists and purists everywhere should be noted in fierce detail, then meticulously and thoroughly printed onto my toilet paper ply."

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