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If it's really 1 in 5, then they are losing serious money. As I've tried to argue in so many DRM/IP threads, people just don't even think about stealing IP based products as even stealing. There is a widespread lack of respect for IP rights by a significant percentage of users. I understand, and often agree, that the big media companies step over the line too often, but the people who scream about this all the time never want to face up to the fact that there is just as much stepping on the other side of the road (which provides the justifications for the IP owners to try to tighten the screws.)
 

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Looks like DirecTV's same ol' stuff.


DirecTV is rolling out its new P4 access cards that are stopping hackers dead in their tracks, yet DirecTV continues to ***** about pirates.


imo, directv is practically stealing from us anyhow. i have to pay $15 extra bucks just because i have 4 tvs :/ what a load. $38 for total choice and locals. $12 for hbo. yeesh. it adds up quick.
 

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I have a hard time feeling sorry for DirecTV. First, it seems that DirecTV simply is passing the lost revenue to us -- the honest customers. I pay $5 for an additional receiver in my house. Total Choice + Fox Sports sets me back like $40. Buying the HBO and Showtime packages for the respective HD channels is another significant cost. When all is said and done, I have a monthly satellite bill that exceeds $60.


Honest people don't hack satellite systems. However, those who DO hack the systems would be less inclined if the benefit were not so large. It is easy to hit $100/month without even watching one PPV movie. I can't help but think if the prices were somewhat more reasonable, the ratio of customers to hackers would improve tremendously for DirecTV.
 

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If they gave it away, I'm sure no one would steal it. But I don't remember that one of the pillars of capitalism is that you have to keep cranking the price down until people stop stealing it, otherwise you are evil. I think it works more like, you provide a service and if people want it, they buy it, else they don't. Taking it without paying for it doesn't really fit into the equation, and the price of the product doesn't ever justify stealing it. In this scenario, the only wrong being done is by the people taking the product without paying for it. I'm not particular friend of DTV or it's owners, but they are not the ones breaking the law here.
 

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XFactor, you nailed it pretty good.


One in five DBS viewers are unauthorized thieves? That's an astonishing claim. Given the techno-savvy of the AVS crowd, I wonder what that claim would be for AVS members -- every other one?


A hundred bucks a month for TV is out of line. At some point the programmers have to admit that there is only SO much TV you can watch. If it was a flat $50 a month, piracy would be a non-issue and they would easily recoup their one-in-five losses (if that's really what it is).
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Dean Roddey
If they gave it away, I'm sure no one would steal it. But I don't remember that one of the pillars of capitalism is that you have to keep cranking the price down until people stop stealing it, otherwise you are evil.
Although you may not believe it, I was an Economics major as an undergraduate and graduate with honors. I think I am properly trained to discuss capitalism.


Obviously, the goal of any company is to maximize its profits. With satellite service, there is very little marginal cost to DirecTV for an additional customer. The satellites are already in the air, they are already beaming down the signal, etc. The additional costs lie mainly in billing (postage, paper, computers, labor, etc.) and customer service. DirecTV's customer service is abysmal, so I don't think they are spending a tremendous amount on this and likely would not improve it with add'l subscribers.


That having been said, it is critical for DirecTV to look at ways to maximize its revenue. I, for one, believe their pricing model is inefficient. If lowering the price by 5% resulted in a 10% increase in subscribers, they should do it. As you minimize the incentive to cheat, people will subscribe over receiving the signal illegally. There is so much technical b.s. a hacker has to go through to cheat the satellite company (stuff that has to be repeated every week sometimes) that a somewhat lower bill may entice a good number of them to jump to DirecTV. I don't think DirecTV is well served by reacting to programming theft by increasing prices, as it only drives more people to jump ship (both honest and dishonest customers). I think DirecTV would be wise to lower prices to discourage this hobby. These programmers who hack DirecTV won't be making $1,000,000/year (as reported in the article) if people don't need to pay them $20 for having the codes to hack DirecTV. How many people want to waste all that time dealing with all the B.S. over a few bucks a month?


I am not saying they are evil for adopting their current pricing structure. But it seems painfully obvious that the honest people are paying a high price to subsidize the hackers, and I think that's b.s. We shouldn't be punished because DirecTV cannot keep hackers off the system. Paying more than $60/month for television programming is outrageous, but unfortunately consumers have little option.
 

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Directv's prices are scandalous. Their paltry 3 HD channels aren't worth the $75 bucks I pay. But the key words are "I pay". Nobody forced me. Mercedes are way over priced too, I'm not stealing one. You want dozens of PPV's, free concerts, a gazillion channels, a direct line to all the NFL games and hookups to PVR's, then ya gotta pay for it!


You guys all have a choice. I left TWC 3 years ago because of the terrible signal and service. When they introduced HD a few months ago, I checked them out. What a change. Top shelf CSR's, great PQ on HD and SD all for half the price and lots more channels. And OTA is free!!


If revenues were better maybe we would have seen more HD channels already on D* and elsewhere. Plus we have the best entertainment products and mediums in this country. But if this trend continues, we will all suffer.


You think it's just words:


1. The music business has slashed artist rosters by 30% in the last 12 months. Signings are down by more than that....4000 people have lost their jobs.


2. CBS has threatened to pull HDTV if the copyright schemes aren't figured out soon (Mel Karmazan to FCC in May).


3. D* pulled all "A" HD movies from their PPV lineup due to pressure from MPAA and studios over copyright concerns.


Live within your means and pay for your IP!
 

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I think that article is rapidly approaching "out of date" status. Hacking on DirecTV is terminal. No one has come close to beating the P4 and the HU stream is coming to a close within a few months.
 

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Name one company or business that doesn't have theft or fraud. From the beginning this is built into the cost of operation and passed to the customer. This I don't have a problem with, what I do have a problem with are these arbitrary figures that are thrown around to justify cost increases. Forget about lowering the bills, that ain't going to happen. New technology, more channels, more satellites and more features will justify, "better service and a better product for you, the valued consumer, our only concern." At a steeper price of course. That's reality!
 

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"I think that article is rapidly approaching "out of date" status. Hacking on DirecTV is terminal. No one has come close to beating the P4 and the HU stream is coming to a close within a few months."



Not according to an article I read last week. They have stopped the P4 rollout as of now, they say for technical reasons, but from what I have read it is because they know it has already been hacked. They initially wanted to have this rollout completed by the end of this year. I would be very surprised if the HU cards are not still in use this time next year.
 

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There is so much litigation and politics behind this issue....


If you look on the back of a HU it says property of NDS .....


Guess who owns NDS?


D* is suing NDS

E* is suing NDS


NDS is counter suing D*


The source code for the HU was leaked from a insider at NDS.



The complete soapbox..

http://www.247dsstestcardnews.com/news.shtml


The issue is..... it does not matter how much encryption you have on a device you can always get the key with social engineering.


Cable has more of a problem with this issue than DBS.


Some people claim it fueled DBS's growth....;)
 

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And this is why I went back to regular cable. Get ALL digital channels and cable modem for $20 a month. Gotta love roommate who works for them. :D
 

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Both E* and DTV could stop piracy cold if they so desired. It's very simple, all they have to do is eliminate the smart card as part of the decoding stream. There are costs with this, but obviously they do not believe the billion dollars a year claim, or they would have done this years ago. As a simple proof, consider C band systems. GI stopped priracy in its tracks. They also killed it as a market, but the signal theft remedy was not the thing that did it.


Mike
 

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I think every economics curriculum should include the subject of ownership. In some countries this might not be the case, but in the U.S., DirecTV has the right to market and price their product however they want. Nobody's holding a gun to our heads - we don't have to do business with them.


Last I heard, price gouging was not illegal. Besides, if they were making that much money off of it, that would certainly invite competition from others who want a slice of the pie.


Tim
 

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There is a lot to be said for the position that "if it comes on my property its mine", and "if you don't want me to see your signal, encode it so that I can't". As to the "law" saying its illegal, ignoring laws bought and paid for by PACs (or historical equivalents) is an American tradition. If everybody in 1774 had "obeyed" we wouldn't be here would we?


Mike
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by tlcfargo
A hundred bucks a month for TV is out of line. At some point the programmers have to admit that there is only SO much TV you can watch
Unfortunately, a lot of the source of the price we pay for DirecTV (or Dish, or cable) is the content providers...that is, the channels themselves.


When Disney demands $3/month per subscriber for ESPN and justfies it by saying "hey, we'll also give you ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNews, ABC Family, etc. for that same $3", you get $60/month end-user bills.


If a few content providers "blackmail" DirecTV by raising the price of much-desired channels, or forcing them into a "package" deal, it doesn't take long for the actual raw cost to DirecTV of the Total Choice programming to be $15/month. At $30/month to us, this isn't a bad deal.


HBO and other premium services do pretty much the same thing. It's no coincidence that the full HBO package you get from DirecTV or digital cable is $10-$15/month from every provider in the country.


About the only "price gouging" that DirecTV might be doing is the $5/month for each extra receiver, especially if the receiver purchase price wasn't subsidized much—if at all—as most high-end (HD) units are not.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by tluxon
I think every economics curriculum should include the subject of ownership. In some countries this might not be the case, but in the U.S., DirecTV has the right to market and price their product however they want. Nobody's holding a gun to our heads - we don't have to do business with them.


Last I heard, price gouging was not illegal. Besides, if they were making that much money off of it, that would certainly invite competition from others who want a slice of the pie.


Tim
Tim,


Apparently you missed the entire point of my post. If DirecTV wants to price out a good percentage of their market, all the power to them. But in the end, it is costing them money and it is costing their customers money. The only winner in this situation is the hackers.


And as far as price gouging not being illegal, let's remember this isn't a perfectly competitive market. There are SIGNIFICANT barriers to entry -- most people can't just throw up satellites in the air and begin to offer a similar service. Right now, D*'s only direct competitor is E*, and if the companies had it their way they would be one.
 

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What bothers me is the "$1 billion per year" figure. There may be one million thieves, which sounds about right to me, but if they couldn't steal, how many would actually pay DirecTV $1000/year for service? Fewer than half, I think. Many would just do without, and others would get cable, and some would pay $40/mo for Total Choice.


DirecTV is owned by Hughes, which is owned by General Motors, which is the biggest company in the world. I'm not going to cry for them.


Every brick-and-mortar retail store has theft and breakage built into their pricing structure, and DirecTV does the same. That's the way it is. They can try to stop pirates, but they will never be 100% successful.


The bottom line is that most people are honest and will pay for television service, and also buy legal CDs and DVDs. The fact that a few pirates are out there does not change the basic reality that DirecTV, the movie studios, and the record labels all make tons of money despite a little theft.
 
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