Originally Posted by bicker1
In the end, you'll pay over $100 per month either way. Any change to the pricing of cable television will necessarily need to be revenue neutral. Figure you watch three of fifteen channel on a tier, which costs (say) $20 -- count on a la carte costing you $8 per channel per month. So you're better off paying for all fifteen channels than paying for each of the three a la carte.
That's one thing people don't realize: the cable company can offer the discount on a package because they can make money by offering channels that way.
People forget that all those shopping channels pay to be on multi-channel systems. In addition, cable companies sell advertising on various cable nets based on the number of eyeballs that are subscribed to that particular channel. Cable companies get discounts on popular channels from content providers based on adding smaller, less popular channels from those companies.
All those things add up to a savings that can only be achieved with a package deal. Sure, the cable company could bite the bullet and take less profit from an Ala Carte package, but don't expect the kind of infrastructure upgrades that you see going on right now. Expect your box rental to go up, since profits from subscription fees subsidize the cost of that propriatary equipment. For that matter, kiss your current analog service on that older TV in the den goodbye since this can't be done without a box - for that matter, I don't think even cable card TVs could even work with ala carte. If they can't get PPV or other similar service items to work with it, Ala Carte certainly isn't going to be any easier.
I think what will happen is the number of packages will eventually increase to allow for family friendly, sports geared and perhaps basic lifeline packages to fit the needs of more customers, including those that only want their local stations but can't get them OTA.
That technique should keep the feds happy while providing a realistic way for cable companies to pull it off.