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Can I Reduce my Cable Bill or Am I Stuck?

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
I'm sick of a $180 monthly cable bill. This is just HD cable and Internet. The only thing I've been able to do to reduce it is try to remember to all every 6 months and ask for the Internet promo rate of $20/month or say I'm going elsewhere for Internet.

I went through my plan and tried to restructure it to reduce my rate. All we need is all the 'normal' range of channels (local, CNN, Food Network, Disney Channel, etc.) and one 'premium' channel: Showtime (wife needs her Showtime shows.) The plans we are on now (bronze I think) actually no longer exist and if were were to sign up today, the Comcast people said for the same channels it would cost MORE than we are paying now. Huh?

We have 3 must-use TV's. Family Room, Kitchen, Bedroom. All are HD. We use DVR quite a bit on the bedroom TV and very seldom on the family room. We are on Comcast Cable in Washington State.

We are up against a mountain with large trees blocking our South to SE exposure although years ago when a Direct TV guy came out he said he could probably shoot the dish from the top of the roof through the trees. But between wind and rain and the fact I hate the Direct TV slow menu (this is what we have at our vacation home), I'm not sure Satellite is an option at all.

We can't get Verizon FIOS either.

$180/month is just ridiculous though. At this point the only thing I can see to save money is to eliminate charges for the three HD cable boxes, two of them being HD DVRs which cost $16 each a month, the non DVR HD box is $8 a month.

Is the only solution to get a third party HD tuner and/or DVR and then get get a cable card but won't then then charge for the cable card on a monthly basis? Plus if these third party devices run into the hundreds of dollars ($200-$400) then we don't see any saving for quite some time, by then we could be living somewhere else and using FIOS or something.

Seems like there's no way out of the high bill, except of course to stop watching TV. Ahh, the American Lifestyle.
post #2 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Consultant View Post

I'm sick of a $180 monthly cable bill. This is just HD cable and Internet. The only thing I've been able to do to reduce it is try to remember to all every 6 months and ask for the Internet promo rate of $20/month or say I'm going elsewhere for Internet.

I went through my plan and tried to restructure it to reduce my rate. All we need is all the 'normal' range of channels (local, CNN, Food Network, Disney Channel, etc.) and one 'premium' channel: Showtime (wife needs her Showtime shows.) The plans we are on now (bronze I think) actually no longer exist and if were were to sign up today, the Comcast people said for the same channels it would cost MORE than we are paying now. Huh?

We have 3 must-use TV's. Family Room, Kitchen, Bedroom. All are HD. We use DVR quite a bit on the bedroom TV and very seldom on the family room. We are on Comcast Cable in Washington State.

We are up against a mountain with large trees blocking our South to SE exposure although years ago when a Direct TV guy came out he said he could probably shoot the dish from the top of the roof through the trees. But between wind and rain and the fact I hate the Direct TV slow menu (this is what we have at our vacation home), I'm not sure Satellite is an option at all.

We can't get Verizon FIOS either.

$180/month is just ridiculous though. At this point the only thing I can see to save money is to eliminate charges for the three HD cable boxes, two of them being HD DVRs which cost $16 each a month, the non DVR HD box is $8 a month.

Is the only solution to get a third party HD tuner and/or DVR and then get get a cable card but won't then then charge for the cable card on a monthly basis? Plus if these third party devices run into the hundreds of dollars ($200-$400) then we don't see any saving for quite some time, by then we could be living somewhere else and using FIOS or something.

Seems like there's no way out of the high bill, except of course to stop watching TV. Ahh, the American Lifestyle.

If you are a sports fan you are stuck. Most other channels can be had streaming over the internet. Either Roku box or Netflix streaming for movies and tv. I was in the same boat. I reup my cable subscription during football season realy just for MNF. Otherwise I can stream everything else in high def for the most part. Eventually everything will be streaming, especially when the sports networks go this way. I imagine the cable companies will start charging more for the Internet then with all of the increased bandwidth.
post #3 of 35
Comcast has deals all the time for all their offerings and if you call or go on live chat and complain that you think you are over paying and might switch to dish or something they'll usually offer you a promo discount of some sort.
They are getting hammered by dish and others so they are a bit more flexible then they used to be I think.
I called once and just said I was a long time customer and felt I was paying too much for my extended basic package. They ended up dropping my internet charge to 20 a month and knocked some more off my TV bill for like 6 months. I was saving about 60 a month for that time and just when I was ready to call again they stopped by at the door and offered me free HD upgrade and phone, plus my net for about 50 less or more then I was paying for everything and just getting basic non HD cable, plus I get Stars free for a year and my HD box has no monthly rental charge.
So now I get much better TV service, free long distance in USA and Canada, and I'm paying 50-60 less then I was before for more goodies and better phone service. They are charging me 5 bucks a month for the phone/modem but it's still way cheaper then I was paying before and if I can find a legit modem to buy I will and save that 5 bucks.
post #4 of 35
Thread Starter 
Roku, Apple TV, etc, are intriguing being a techy/gadget buy but I can already tell that my wife would kill me. She wants to kill me each day she gets a dropped call or echo on our Vonage line that I switched from hard-line Qwest to save $50/month on our two phone lines. Now we have 90% reliable phone service instead of 100% reliable and no phone service (except cell) when power goes out all to save $50 a month.

I think solutions really boil down to your viewing habits. We actually don't watch a lot of TV. Looking at total hours watched for all people in the family it probably boils down to:

20% National News (CNN, NBC, etc.)
20% Major Network Drama/Game Show (Borthers & Sisters, Dancing with the Starts, etc.)
20% Kids stuff (90% Nick & Disney)
20% Showtime
20% Sports

It seems the Roku or Apple TV type solution isn't going to cover live news and sports very well.

I think I'm still at the mercy of Comcast but I realize it will all be streaming at some point. First movie (physical disc) rentals will go the way of the VCR in 2-3 years (sooner for early adopters), then I would imagine all programming will follow. At some point their will be no distinction between Internet and "TV" it will all be your data connection and then you can customize to the hilt your own personal programming or everything will be pay-per-view, or something.

Media companies (Recording Industry, TV stations) are so SLOW to adopt new technology.
post #5 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Consultant View Post

Media companies (Recording Industry, TV stations) are so SLOW to adopt new technology.

I was all for what you were saying...until that last part .
Ask anyone who works in the recording or TV broadcast industry, and most will admit that they spend far more on new technology than it is worth, just keeping up with the demand to have "the latest"...even when it's not doing them any good. Look at what stations have spent just going "Digital" in the last few years.

Have you tried a decent outdoor antenna, and OTA broadcasts? In many markets, there are the standard networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CW, My, PBS), plus weather and kids programming (Qubo, PBS Sprout), plus sports (NBC Universal Sports), International programming (PBS World, MHZ Worldview), Spanish and religious stations, etc.
Your outdoor antenna would also bring you better FM Radio reception, and, if your area stations are carrying "HD Radio", you can often get numerous sub-channels of new programming....everything from different versions of their primary format (Album rock on a "Classic Rock" station, classic country on a modern country station) to new niche formats and International news and features (World Radio Network, BBC World Service).

You won't get all of the common TV fare that pay TV brings (or, the bill either ), but Free-to-Air ("FTA") satellite has quite a bit of interesting and unusual programming from all over, for about the price of two months' Cable TV. It's more of a "hobby", but certainly can fill your time, with some of the most unusual TV shows you'll ever see (as well as some of the most boring, at times). Once you get the hang of it, you can even search out live news feeds and sports, with the proper equipment.

http://www.rabbitears.info/

http://www.hdradio.com/

http://www.lyngsat.com/
post #6 of 35
FWIW, I just turned in my HD comcast box and ordered a CableCard. I've been on Tivo for a long time, so upgrading to a HD (Premiere) box makes sense for me - It will replace an SD box so my net monthly there will say the same (or less, since I'll probably do Lifetime on this one). Comcast said that the first Cablecard (I only need one "M" card) is free, so right there I get back $10/mo that their box (non-DVR) was costing me.

Yeah, the 3rd party solutions are a cost, but if they do what you want, it might be worth it. There's other functionality there as well if that's of interest - Netflix, Amazon, Lackluster,er, Blockbuster streaming. How many of those Showtime shows eventually end up on DVD and Netflix streaming? A cheap Netflix subscription is probably about what Showtime is costing you, and you get that plus all the other content. The tradeoff is having to wait...
post #7 of 35
Things to consider:

TiVo Premeire (w/lifetime), DTVPal/Channel Master Pal ATSC DVR, Roku, Slingbox, Hulu, ESPN 3, Netflix, OTA, AT&T DSL, Dish Network.

Some combination thereof.
post #8 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Consultant View Post

I'm sick of a $180 monthly cable bill. This is just HD cable and Internet. The only thing I've been able to do to reduce it is try to remember to all every 6 months and ask for the Internet promo rate of $20/month or say I'm going elsewhere for Internet.

I went through my plan and tried to restructure it to reduce my rate. All we need is all the 'normal' range of channels (local, CNN, Food Network, Disney Channel, etc.) and one 'premium' channel: Showtime (wife needs her Showtime shows.) The plans we are on now (bronze I think) actually no longer exist and if were were to sign up today, the Comcast people said for the same channels it would cost MORE than we are paying now. Huh?

We have 3 must-use TV's. Family Room, Kitchen, Bedroom. All are HD. We use DVR quite a bit on the bedroom TV and very seldom on the family room. We are on Comcast Cable in Washington State.

We are up against a mountain with large trees blocking our South to SE exposure although years ago when a Direct TV guy came out he said he could probably shoot the dish from the top of the roof through the trees. But between wind and rain and the fact I hate the Direct TV slow menu (this is what we have at our vacation home), I'm not sure Satellite is an option at all.

We can't get Verizon FIOS either.

$180/month is just ridiculous though. At this point the only thing I can see to save money is to eliminate charges for the three HD cable boxes, two of them being HD DVRs which cost $16 each a month, the non DVR HD box is $8 a month.

Is the only solution to get a third party HD tuner and/or DVR and then get get a cable card but won't then then charge for the cable card on a monthly basis? Plus if these third party devices run into the hundreds of dollars ($200-$400) then we don't see any saving for quite some time, by then we could be living somewhere else and using FIOS or something.

Seems like there's no way out of the high bill, except of course to stop watching TV. Ahh, the American Lifestyle.

You in a situation that alot of people are in, and it is only going to get worst for consumers with regards to cable/satellite.

Anyway, it sounds like being the Dad, you "have to take a stand here" on where your(and hers/wife's I am guessing as well) hard earned money is going, and your kids/wife/you will live. I guarantee it.

1. Put up an outdoor antenna if feasible, and DO IT RIGHT. In other words, get an antenna suitable for your area(go to www.antennaweb.org type in your address, and find out what you will need as far as size, and whether or not it si UHF, VHF, or a combo of both), and hire someone to set it up correctly. This shoud cost between $200-$400 depending on the antenna, and if you need things such as a PreAmp for distant stations, and a rotor for stations in oppostie directions so you would need to turn the antenna.

2. Drop Showtime, and possibly cable altogether. For the love of G*d, you got to get rid of a $13/month channel. Save the money on this, but keep the high speed internet.

3. Get Netflix. For 8.99/month you will get 1-DVD out a time, and unlimited streaming($2.00 more/month for Blu-Ray rental).

4. Think about getting this from Best Buy(this is why you keep the High Speed Internet): http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Logitech...7136&st=Google TV&cp=1&lp=1#BVRRWidgetID

You wife will have an opportunity to get her shows STREAMED for like $.99 to $1.99/per episode, or she can get the whole series for a certain amount.

Also consider Blu-Ray players that have streaming built-in(Netflix/Amazon/VuDu/Hulu Plus/etc...)

In the end, YOU are going to have to be the one to put his foot down. If not, then just continue to feed the pig.
post #9 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

Things to consider:

TiVo Premeire (w/lifetime), DTVPal/Channel Master Pal ATSC DVR, Roku, Slingbox, Hulu, ESPN 3, Netflix, OTA, AT&T DSL, Dish Network.

Some combination thereof.

All good options. As someone who has just "cut the cord", let me recommend changing one of the 3 TVs before fully committing. My wife in anti-tech, but I convinced her to go "computer only" in one room and it made it a lot easier when we made the switch throughout the house.

My current combination includes TiVo Premeire, XBox 360 w/Zune and Netflix. Will save me about $80/month and I won't be losing anything I watch, just changing how I watch them.
post #10 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Consultant View Post

Seems like there's no way out of the high bill, except of course to stop watching TV. Ahh, the American Lifestyle.

Pretty much. The reason your cable bill is that high is that your fellow Americans ARE willing to pay that bill every month. They may bitch and moan, but as long as the cableco continues to get their monthly check, there's no way the price is dropping right now. If enough cancel, the price will drop like a stone, but good luck with that happening anytime soon.

Internet delivery in a few years might drop it some, but with all the rights tied into content and the fact that cable has latched onto a "tier" pricing structure, I can't imagine they don't have SOMETHING planned to keep the revenue coming (like tying in Internet channels into bundles somehow.)
post #11 of 35
if you reduce your internet to "economy internet" , it's possible that you will notice zero difference in performance. And you'll save $20/month. Get your own cable modem, and save another $5/month.

You can turn in the HD settop box and use a MOXI instead, with cablecard if you must have scrambled channels channels. This will reduce monthly cost but moxis are $500+ up front!

(fwiw, my comcast bill is $47/month including taxes, thanks to "limited basic cable" and "economy internet", and no monthly cablemodem charge.)
post #12 of 35
I use an antenna for OTA HD, I have AT&T's 1.5 MBps DSL for $20 a month, and Netflix for $8.99 a month. I have plenty to watch. Cut the cord and stop wasting all that money. If you still want to spend $100 a month you can buy the TV Shows and Movies you want on DVD and still come out ahead.
post #13 of 35
Yeah, the big advantage to cable (and satellite and OTA for network shows) is you get to see TV shows when they first air, but if you have no pressing need to see them, just about everything becomes available through other sources if you wait long enough.
post #14 of 35
How about a trade .. I'll pay your CATV tab for a predetermined stay at your vacation home .. ??

Many things in life are a trade-off .. I know it is possible thru electronic means to cut the CATV .. with the sacrifice of convienience and timeliness, and a marked increase in hassle. It sounds to me that your family may not be quite ready.

I tried it, spent a lot of time and money doing it, and we're back on the CATV umbilical cord .. why ..?? Because convienience and timeliness trumped savings ..

It's sad ..
post #15 of 35
Yeah, it's tough to participate in the water cooler discussion of Dexter when you are waiting for the DVD.

Cable companies (and satellite) set the rates they do because they can, because people pay for it. It's that simple. I see arguments all the time about how the rates are going to spur a mass exodus, but I never see it. If the economy going into the toilet in 2008 didn't do it, it's going to take a global disaster or something to get people to cut the cord. Or something that can match cable's utter convenience. The Internet ain't ready for that right now, kids.
post #16 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgkdragn View Post

I know it is possible thru electronic means to cut the CATV....

Not always, and that's another thing. There is stuff on a couple of channels that I watch regularly that you really can't get elsewhere (not sports - mostly "non-scripted" stuff - and by that I sure as hell don't mean reality. Besides, that stuff's more scripted than a lot of people even realize ).

As long as you (and your family) are satisfied with the programming available on cable/satellite, it's better and easier just to pay the piper (I'm not myself, with at least 95% of it, but I still would have to have those couple of channels).

You can get still a basic, SD package (to two TV's), with just about all of the major cable networks, for under $40.00/mo. from Dish Network ($5.00 extra for the local RSN). Just add free OTA for HD, and that ain't a bad little setup to keep you and your family occupied (Dish also has that "free HD for life" deal for new subscribers with a commitment, if you want expanded HD offerings).

It doesn't have to cost one "$100.00 a month" for a pay TV provider (even if you can't have satellite, cable doesn't usually cost that much. Maybe if you start adding stuff like an extra tier required to get HD, a bunch of extra tuners, a provider DVR, multiple premium channels and internet - but you can get that lower-level DSL tier mentioned above cheap if you've got AT&T - I have that myself. I only pay $20.00 for it, also, and it's plenty fast for me, because I keep my internet-browsing PC basically clutter free and clean. I also use the fastest browser I could find. An older, beta version of Opera and Google Chrome both seem to be doing pretty well for me).

I have the above-mentioned Dish package, and that and the DSL total $60.00 a month for me with zero taxes added. I also have OTA HD (we have enough sports on in this market for a fan like myself - but I'm not a fanatic). The only real "inconvenience" I have using the TV setup is having to occasionally change inputs (and you can get a Harmony remote to make that easier for others. I don't consider that an "added expense", because I generally use universal remotes anyway, with all the gear I've got, both audio and video.

I also have standalone DVR's setup with each TV source, which includes TiVo w/lifetime fee, that I have the ability to stream Netflix and free, internet radio with. So for cable, there's TiVo w/lifetime and Moxi you can throw into the mix. There are other, SD and HD ATSC/QAM/line-in hard drive recorders available, too.

And you don't necessarily need an HD cable box to get HD through cable, if your TV has a clear-QAM tuner. The only "hassle" to deal with would be changing inputs, like I said.

You can also use something like a wireless video sender to a bedroom, office or garage TV, if you mainly watch it when no one's watching one other TV with a provider's external tuner on it. Those can be found pretty cheap on the internet these days. Yeah, it's SD, but on a small enough TV, who cares.

Once those kinds of things are set up, they're usually not much hassle to use.

All in all, there are still ways available to either cheap it, or at least keep "paying the man" to a minimum, without the inconveniences of having to use a computer to watch TV or bother with physical media. There's always gonna be some kind of compromise involved, but you should be able to come out a bit ahead if you're smart (and can live without every live sporting event imaginable, or having everything in HD all the time. At least for someone like me, who was always concerned with the content of the programming more than anything else - in other words, I couldn't care less about "keeping up with the Joneses". I also bought an HD display that I researched thoroughly and knew would handle SD exceptionally well a few years ago - Rule #1 - stay away from LCD's. I just didn't buy the first cheap thing I saw from Costco).
post #17 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

I don't know where this "$100.00 a month" figure that certain people around here keep spewing out is coming from, but it doesn't have to be anywhere near that high (even if you can't have satellite, cable doesn't usually cost that much).

The only thing I can figure is that they're subscribing to every premium channel, have multiple DVRs (I have seen some say they have upwards of six), or they're including the internet and cable phone bills in that figure.

My cable/internet bill is about $80 a month. That includes digital cable with expanded basic and TWC's "movie" tier with TCM HD, Sundance, and most of the Encores. TWC includes one tier in a digital cable subscription. Additional tiers are an extra $5 or so a month. It also includes the cable box rental (about $8 or so a month.)
post #18 of 35
That's not bad at all for what you've got, with those movie channels. The actual cable part must be on the cheaper end, I would presume?

For satellite/internet/landline phone I probably pay about $100 bucks a month. I've only got one, dual-tunered satellite receiver, though.

No "one-provider bundles" for me, though. I actually find those more expensive than separates in my case, once the introductory deals are over.
post #19 of 35
I don't think TWC lets you divorce a lot of the costs for certain packages, but I think cable TV alone is $40-$50, including a box. Their lowest basic cable is $15 a month or so, no cable box. They still have an analog tier and have made no mention of removing it yet, although they have chipped a few channels from there into their digital tier (ABC Family, History, and one or two others.)

It's not a bad package, although I've found the Encores to be kind of useless, especially without HDs. Most of the other movie channels I get are in HD or at least have some decent content. The "Variety" tier has the most channels, including Chiller which I used to watch, but I figured I'd get more mileage out of TCM, IFC and Sundance. But for $80-$100 a month, you can get quite a few channels depending on which route you take.
post #20 of 35
My "package deal" includes the HD feed, a single DVR, the HD box, all the regular channels .. History, Food, locals etc etc .. unlimited long distance phone within the USA and Internet that honestly averages 15mbps .. at $195.00 a month ..

The way the CATV cartels have it set up, the so called "tier system" .. it's really rigged in their favor ..

Am I complaining .. ? No .. someday, in my wildest dreams, if the FCC ever gets off their tale and demands A La Carte .. we'll all be able to pick and choose .. not gonna happen ..

Cutting the cord, as I once did, was a nice try, but the Web is just not ready for prime time ..

On the antenna issue .. I'm 70 miles from the nearest metro area .. so it was not a very fulfilling experience as well ..
post #21 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgkdragn View Post

The way the CATV cartels have it set up, the so called "tier system" .. it's really rigged in their favor ..

Am I complaining .. ? No .. someday, in my wildest dreams, if the FCC ever gets off their tale and demands A La Carte .. we'll all be able to pick and choose .. not gonna happen ..

I used to think that, but then I realized A la carte would be just as expensive if not more. Cablecos have to pay the channels for the rights to distribute content. If they suddenly went from a 50 channel tier at, say, $50, to 50 individual channels, they're not going to charge $1 per channel. They'd go out of business in short order. It would probably be closer to $15-$20 per channel, like with the premiums, and I doubt any of us would watch only one channel.
post #22 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulpa View Post

I used to think that, but then I realized A la carte would be just as expensive if not more. Cablecos have to pay the channels for the rights to distribute content. If they suddenly went from a 50 channel tier at, say, $50, to 50 individual channels, they're not going to charge $1 per channel. They'd go out of business in short order. It would probably be closer to $15-$20 per channel, like with the premiums, and I doubt any of us would watch only one channel.

That's correct. The links in this post provide more information:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...3#post17389993
post #23 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulpa View Post

I used to think that, but then I realized A la carte would be just as expensive if not more. Cablecos have to pay the channels for the rights to distribute content. If they suddenly went from a 50 channel tier at, say, $50, to 50 individual channels, they're not going to charge $1 per channel. They'd go out of business in short order. It would probably be closer to $15-$20 per channel, like with the premiums, and I doubt any of us would watch only one channel.

true dat. most people who "demand that they get a la carte" might want to think it through a bit better. because for most of them, the channels they "want" are the ones that cost the providers the most amount of money.

realistically, if you are a sports fan, it's pretty difficult to cut the cord still... and that's coming from someone who is a huge advocate of streaming... the various espn offerings, nfl network, mlb network, etc., plus my local rsn alone is worth quite a bit of coin to me...

another realistically... i pay about 120 a month for tv/internet/phone from verizon... is that REALLY that expensive, when you stop and think about it?
post #24 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

I also bought an HD display that I researched thoroughly and knew would handle SD exceptionally well a few years ago - Rule #1 - stay away from LCD's. I just didn't buy the first cheap thing I saw from Costco).

What brand and model is your new tv?
post #25 of 35
Well, I continue to optimistically believe that a la carte will translate into streaming, and has in some cases ..

Although the networks are blocking Google TV, which I still don't understand .. when you can get a feed on any PC in the country, practically, what's the big bru ha ha over Google TV getting it instead of a PC .. ??

Yes, a la carte is a pipe dream .. I've looked at the numbers .. the CATV cartels are not paying that much on average for network single channels ..

I say put it all on the Web, give us 50mbps and throw the already antiquated CATV model out the window .. it's gonna happen at some point anyway .. Netflix is my hero .. industries have to move with the times ..
post #26 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgkdragn View Post

Yes, a la carte is a pipe dream .. I've looked at the numbers .. the CATV cartels are not paying that much on average for network single channels ..

That's why they have to use tiers. It allows it to average out.

If they went a la carte, the more popular channels (Comedy Central, History, Fox News, AMC, TCM, etc.) would balloon our bills up to $15 per channel, way more than what the tiers would cost. The cablecos pay way more for those channels than the Basket Weaving channel or whatever. Unless you only watch The Basket Whisperer, you're not going to see $1 or so per channel in the a la carte model.
post #27 of 35
FWIW... my Comcast cable bill is $115 per month (tax/fees/etc.) for expanded basic and internet. No phone, no boxes/DVR's. Just a cable feed. At least 50% of the channels... I never watch.
post #28 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulpa View Post

That's why they have to use tiers. It allows it to average out.

If they went a la carte, the more popular channels (Comedy Central, History, Fox News, AMC, TCM, etc.) would balloon our bills up to $15 per channel, way more than what the tiers would cost. The cablecos pay way more for those channels than the Basket Weaving channel or whatever. Unless you only watch The Basket Whisperer, you're not going to see $1 or so per channel.

And here I thought the tier system was just a way to get folks to take channels they wanted and be forced to pay for those they really did not want ..

I'm going to play Devils Advocate here and ask .. how could Fox, AMC, etc on your list even come close to costing $15 bucks a channel .. ??

As I said, I know a la carte is a pipe dream, however, ESPN I believe gets $4.08 per subscriber .. the highest cost of a channel .. if that is the high basis, $15 per for History et al seems a stretch ..

As well, during the debate over the FCC forced legislation "Family and Consumer Choice Act of 2007" .. it was shown that revenue projections from new customers would likely make up for lost revenue on the current subscriber side by allowing a less expensive entry point for the new customer ..
post #29 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgkdragn View Post

I'm going to play Devils Advocate here and ask .. how could Fox, AMC, etc on your list even come close to costing $15 bucks a channel .. ??

That's about what each premium channel costs, and those are a la carte. It wouldn't be a big stretch for a cableco to adopt a similar pricing structure. Even at $5-$10 per channel, that could add up quick if you want more than just the Basket Weaving channel. It definitely isn't going to be $1 a channel.

Quote:


As I said, I know a la carte is a pipe dream, however, ESPN I believe gets $4.08 per subscriber .. the highest cost of a channel .. if that is the high basis, $15 per for History et al seems a stretch ..

From DigaDo's link, in the NYTimes article:

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The reason is that unmoored from the cable bundle, individual networks would have to charge vastly more money per subscriber. Under the current system, in which cable companies like Comcast pay the networks for carriage — and then pass on the cost to their customers — networks get to charge on the basis of everyone who subscribes to cable television, whether they watch the network or not. The system has the effect of generating more money than a network “deserves” based purely on viewership. Networks also get to charge more for advertising than they would if they were not part of the bundle.

Take, for instance, ESPN, which charges the highest amount of any cable network: $3 per subscriber per month. (I’m borrowing this example from a recent research note by Craig Moffett, the Sanford C. Bernstein cable analyst.) Suppose in an Ã* la carte world, 25 percent of the nation’s cable subscribers take ESPN. If that were the case, the network would have to charge each subscriber not $3, but $12 a month to keep its revenue the same. (And don’t forget: with its $1.1 billion annual bill to the National Football League alone, ESPN is hardly in a position to tolerate declining revenues.)

And that’s one of the most popular channels on cable. What percentage of cable subscribers would take Discovery, or the Food Network, or Oxygen, or Hallmark — or the many, many more obscure networks that you can now find up and down your cable box? Five percent? Ten percent? According to Mr. Moffett’s analysis, if every African- American family in the country subscribed to the Black Entertainment Network, it would still have to raise its fees by 588 percent. He adds, “If just half opted in — still a wildly optimistic scenario — the price would rise by 1,200 percent.”

And that’s just the effect on fees. Networks would have to charge less for advertising because they would lose the casual viewer — a k a the channel flipper. Marketing budgets, on the other hand, would skyrocket, because the channels would have to pay huge sums to persuade people to subscribe. “Identifying everybody who likes the Food Network and getting them to pay for it is hard to do,” says Christopher Yoo, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania who has studied cable bundling. One of the nice things about the current system is that once a station gets on extended basic, it can be discovered by viewers — and that wouldn’t happen in an Ã* la carte world.

Indeed, it is quite likely that many of the smaller channels would simply vanish because they wouldn’t have enough subscribers — or couldn’t charge enough to stay in business with the subscribers they did have. It is undoubtedly true, as Mr. Kemp wrote to me, that he never watches most of the cable channels that come into his house. That’s true for most people. But there are also probably one or two small networks he does watch from time to time.

If you thought the cable companies were gouging you now, you ain't seen nothing yet if we go a la carte.

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As well, during the debate over the FCC forced legislation "Family and Consumer Choice Act of 2007" .. it was shown that revenue projections from new customers would likely make up for lost revenue on the current subscriber side by allowing a less expensive entry point for the new customer ..

Except how many new customers would there be? The market is already pretty saturated by cable, satellite, and Fios. Most who use OTA aren't likely to join up. Most of them are happy getting free TV.
post #30 of 35
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Originally Posted by mgkdragn View Post

As well, during the debate over the FCC forced legislation "Family and Consumer Choice Act of 2007" .. it was shown that revenue projections from new customers would likely make up for lost revenue on the current subscriber side by allowing a less expensive entry point for the new customer ..

and we all know how well "revenue projections" work out....

the entry point is already DIRT cheap... it could very easily be argued that in "real dollars", people are paying less than they ever have for data acquisition (television and internet) and telecom...

heck, i GUARANTEE you that if everyone's cable bill was halved starting tomorrow, we'd have just as many people griping that "it's too expensive"... and if it was free, then they'd complain that they don't get enough for free...
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