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Thread: Cable TV Blues

  1. #1
    carpe damn diem billy007's Avatar
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    Default Cable TV Blues

    I don't watch a lot of tv and I don't want to watch a lot of tv, so I've been trying to find a way to cut my cable bill down. I was looking at the website and they had a combo (including internet) with just the "standard" lineup for $89. I thought great, I have the premium lineup, and out of the channels that adds, there are only two that I would possibly miss - MLB Network and NFL Network - and I don't really watch them very much anyway. But my cable company wouldn't let me get that package - they say it's only for new subscribers and also, if I went down to the standard lineup, I couldn't have an HD DVR (even though the standard lineup has HD channels). Drives me nuts. What does one have to do with the other? It's like going to the store to buy a loaf of bread and being told I have to buy tofu, too. I don't want tofu. I don't want my MTV, either. All I want is CBS, Fox for NFL and Nascar, ABC and NBC in case they ever decide to show something I want to watch, the ESPNs, Fox Sports Florida, Sunshine (a FS-FL offshoot that shows Rays games), the Lifetimes in case the wife comes to visit, and maybe a couple others I'm not thinking of. I don't want any channels that broadcast in 4:3. I don't want any channels where English isn't spoken. I don't want most of the other garbage that permeates the airwaves, either. I know some people have gotten away from cable - but what options are there. AT&T Uverse and Comcast (not sure they'd be any better) are not available in my location. Hulu seems like it might be a possibility for watching shows (do they have all the network shows, or is it up to the shows themselves to offer themselves?), but that would leave out the sports component. It's just sickening trying to cut costs and not being able to hack away at the one bill that I probably pay more for less than anything.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy007 View Post
    I don't watch a lot of tv and I don't want to watch a lot of tv, so I've been trying to find a way to cut my cable bill down.

    I was looking at the website and they had a combo (including internet) with just the "standard" lineup for $89.

    I thought great, I have the premium lineup, and out of the channels that adds, there are only two that I would possibly miss - MLB Network and NFL Network - and I don't really watch them very much anyway.

    But my cable company wouldn't let me get that package - they say it's only for new subscribers and also, if I went down to the standard lineup, I couldn't have an HD DVR (even though the standard lineup has HD channels). Drives me nuts.

    What does one have to do with the other?

    It's like going to the store to buy a loaf of bread and being told I have to buy tofu, too. I don't want tofu. I don't want my MTV, either. All I want is CBS, Fox for NFL and Nascar, ABC and NBC in case they ever decide to show something I want to watch, the ESPNs, Fox Sports Florida, Sunshine (a FS-FL offshoot that shows Rays games), the Lifetimes in case the wife comes to visit, and maybe a couple others I'm not thinking of.

    I don't want any channels that broadcast in 4:3. I don't want any channels where English isn't spoken. I don't want most of the other garbage that permeates the airwaves, either.

    I know some people have gotten away from cable - but what options are there. AT&T Uverse and Comcast (not sure they'd be any better) are not available in my location.

    Hulu seems like it might be a possibility for watching shows (do they have all the network shows, or is it up to the shows themselves to offer themselves?), but that would leave out the sports component.

    It's just sickening trying to cut costs and not being able to hack away at the one bill that I probably pay more for less than anything.

  3. #3
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    12.16.17 @ 09:03 AM
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    Personal rant... and I know this is a pipe dream. I'd always hoped that by now we'd be afforded the opportunity to get whatever cable channels we want "ala carte"-style - just pay for what you want and let the unpopular networks die off.

    Funny you brought this up, Billy. A friend of mine just posted his idea on facebook earlier today that sounds a little like what you might be considering. Here it is....

    "Thinking about making a MAJOR change and want some advice from my tech friends. All both of you. So, I hate cable anymore because there is nothing on 285 of the 300 channels we have. Therefore, I am thinking of making a drastic change and dropping cable. The plan: Buy Google Chromecast ($35.00) so that I can stream Hulu Plus ($7.99/month) and Netflix ($7.99/month). For local TV, I'll purchase two HDTV tuner ($150/each). For sports, I'll buy the respective league packages (MLB TV, NBA TV, etc. and stream through Chromecast). All totaled, the initial investment appears to be about $500, with my monthly cable bill going down from $90 (TV) to $30. It just sounds like such a HASSLE. But I hate paying so much for cable."

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    Atomic Punk lovemachine97(Version 2)'s Avatar
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    Everyone's dream is a la carte for cable TV. The excuse from the content side (the studios and networks) is that by spreading the costs to everyone, you get each channel cheaper. In other words, if a channel is available to all 20 million DirecTV subscribers at a rate of $1 per month per subscriber, that's $20 million a month. But if a la carte were an option and only 1 million DirecTV viewers wanted the channel, they argue they'd have to charge $20 per month to each of those 1 million subscribers.

    ESPN charges something crazy like $5 per month per subscriber. If only, say, half of DirecTV's subscribers want the channel, they'd have to charge $10 per month per subscriber.

    Of course, what this ignores is that people are not going to pay outrageous prices for these channels, so the market will force channels to figure out a way to keep the price down based upon a new paradigm of household access.

    Further complicating the process is the Cable Act of 1992. Before this, providers did not have to pay broadcasters (network affiliates) for the right to retransmit their signal. They only had to pay the copyright holders of the content they transmitted. Remember, these broadcasters are given the right by the government to use spectrum for free as long as they make the content freely available, hence why you can get them free with an antenna.

    The Cable Act of 1992 gave broadcasters "must carry" power, meaning that if a provider didn't want to carry them, the broadcaster could force the provider to carry them. They're also guaranteed their low channel spot (2, 4, 7, etc.). If the provider doesn't want to carry the signal, they're forced to negotiate a price to carry it. Well, what if it is LA and KCBS is playing hardball? Can DirecTV just choose to rebroadcast KFMB, the San Diego affiliate? Nope. The FCC doesn't allow that.

    So even if you watch nothing on CBS and don't want it, your provider is forced to pay to retransmit the signal, so the odds are you're going to be forced to buy all the local affiliates if you have cable, which means it's not truly "a la carte."

    What will change the minds of those providing the content, the studios, the channels, and the providers is our wallets. The generation after me is already having an impact. Nielsen measures no-TV homes--those who do not pay for traditional cable or satellite. These people are either using Netflix, Hulu, someone else's HBOGo account, or bootlegging content. The more people turn to alternative means of digesting content, the more likely it is that we will get content in the way we want it--a la carte.

  5. #5
    carpe damn diem billy007's Avatar
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    I mean, how is something like HuLu? I think of streaming video, I think of poor resolution and constant buffering and rebuffering. I can get it via my BluRay player - I suppose I should do the free trial sometime (though, knowing my luck - that wouldn't be available via my BluRay player and I'd have to do it on the computer, and as I've mentioned before, I don't really like watching much video, especially 22 minute or longer tv shows, on a computer or tablet.)

  6. #6
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    I hated hulu and cancelled it. The commercials, the slow start up time, the (what I consider) limited selection... not for me.

    Had Netflix streaming for a while and cancelled it also... again, limited selection.

    Both were through my $89 blu-ray player, which doesn't get Amazon Prime which would be "free" for me.

    Been thinking about saving up and getting either a compatible blu-ray or the fire box ($99) to get A-Prime.

    ATT U-Verse for me here is $98 a month for internet and basic local stations, so I DVR just about everything PBS has to offer.

    I've really gotten into the habit of watching a lot of series on Netflix DVD more than anything lately.

    I've got an HD antenna and signal booster in my Amazon wish list and have plans to drop ATT cable all together, but I would lose the DVR... which is another "one time" cost to look into and get one of those.

    It all just sucks hairy dog balls. I can't even get Indians games with the plan I have without spending $50+ a month to up the package.

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    Gird your loins Daisy Hill's Avatar
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    I'm stuck with Crime Warner cable. it's ridiculous. outages, freeze ups and "tiled" video frequently

    a while ago I added some movie channels because I wanted to watch Boardwalk Empire, True Detective, Veep, Penny Dreadful, HOmeland, Ray Donovan, Shameless, Nurse Jackie and movies like Liberace and Normal Heart...but I'm not sure I'm watching those enough to make it worthwhile..might as well wait until they are available on Netflix or Hulu as past seasons

    Cable is getting more expensive than it's worth and now Crime Warner has shut off some channels like CBC making it necessary for me to have a digital box at every set if I want to receive them

    I'm thinking I'm just going to read more

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    I'm very happy with DirecTV, but it's not cheap and if you want a "good deal," you sign a 2-year contract. Fios is alright, but I find their guide to be confusing. Also, sometimes channels just decide not to show up on Fios. You pay for Comedy Central and one day it's just not coming in. It seems to happen a lot on Fios--a channel here, a channel there.

    DirecTV I have had forever and I have never had that problem, the signal is good, and the guide is intuitive. The only complaint I have is the response of the box, but I have the oldest HD/DVR box they offered. The newer boxes respond much better. But I live in the desert where weather isn't an issue. If you live where there is heavy rain or lots of snow, then DirecTV won't be for you, as it will interfere with the satellite dish too often.

    The problem with streaming is that no one entity is enough. I use Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime and it's still not everything I want. Plus, I am a Lakers fan and if I got rid of cable/satellite, I'd lose their games.

    Hulu, to me, is great if A) you want to watch something old or B) you missed an episode. Iw rewatched Journeyman not too long ago on Hulu. That was nice. Also, when my DVR missed Community, I was able to watch that. But now the networks seem to be getting better with On Demand, so using Hulu to catch up on current episodes hasn't been as vital.

    Netflix and Amazon Prime both have limited selections. With Amazon, however, you can pay by the episode for anything you want that's not on Prime. So if you want the latest season of something, you can pay extra to get it. For example: All seasons of 24 are on Prime and Live Another Day will be an Amazon exclusive (for pay) because they signed an exclusive deal with Amazon.

    We're still sort of at the genesis of all this. Things will start to sort themselves out. But I think ultimately the "subscription" model will have to end unless commercials are part of it. Otherwise I think eventually content will be more specifically priced.

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    For ESPN watching, if you know someone, like a relative, who uses --only-- their cable TV to watch ESPN, then you could ask them to allow you to use their cable subscription for you to link up to watch ESPN on the internet, or on a device like ROKU.

    Cable companies have you by the balls when it comes to HD delivery. Th0se Fuckers !!!

    That's why I dumped cable altogether. But, I upgraded my cable internet to High Speed (15MB) for $35/month. (Time Warner just announced for Austin, that their speeds would increasing at no extra cost, so they will get 50MB for the Standard Internet price.)

    I have ROKU, and a laptop connected to my Big Screen to stream by Wi-Fi things directly from the internet. I also have a $50 antenna mounted in the attic to watch most of the free over-the-air digital stations and their sub-channels.

    I'm too cheap to pay for Hulu, but some find it worthwhile depending on what they watch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Rover View Post
    I also have a $50 antenna mounted in the attic to watch most of the free over-the-air digital stations and their sub-channels.
    How's that working? I've seen the commercials for antenna that sound good since I guess it's all HD over the air now. Do you get tons of channels?

    I have cable. I'm very happy with the package. I get everything I want or need, pretty much. They've got great customer service too. It's not cheap tho, I'm paying over $100 a month. Looked into Direct TV but can't get it due to the position of my condo.
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    Antennas are good if you're in an area that has broadcasters. My antenna picks up the 3 local stations and that's it.

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    antennas around here we call them "farmer vision"

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    Reminds me of the burly days when we had bootleg sat tv. It fuckin' ruled. Take the card, type in the codes sent to you , and plug the shit in. Fucking nine million channels. Porn, sports, news, and stupid shit nobody cares about. Back haul feeds from everything thing you could want. And then it got real iffy as to who you were talking to. Touch n' go type shit. And of course it was a fuckin' federal problem. Good times while it lasted. Out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdnangel View Post
    Antennas are good if you're in an area that has broadcasters. My antenna picks up the 3 local stations and that's it.
    http://transition.fcc.gov/mb/engineering/dtvmaps/
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