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(Wired)   This week, Congress tackles one of the most perplexing questions of our time: Why can't we buy only the cable channels we want to watch?   ( divider line
    More: Cool  
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17421 clicks; posted to Main » on 14 Jul 2004 at 11:44 PM (13 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

208 Comments     (+0 »)

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2004-07-14 06:14:15 PM  
That is the best idea I have heard all day. They are saying it would be a bad idea because the sucky stations would go away. Isn't that business ? Comcast's OnDemand is such a cool feature, but you have to get the digital package with like 400 bullshiat channels just to get it. Totally lame.
2004-07-14 06:51:32 PM  
Agreed. Honestly if I only had to pay for the channels I watch they would be:

All 4 Local affiliates
Weather Channel
BBC News
Comedy Central
Food Network
Discovery Channel
National Geographic Channel
The Learning Channel
History Channel
Cartoon Network
Noggin (only for Daria)
Disney Channel
& a movie on Demand service
2004-07-14 06:54:27 PM  
Darn it I forgot the Sci-Fi Channel & Court TV
2004-07-14 06:55:17 PM  
ooh! so long, Outdoor Life, HGTV, oxygen, HSN, Fit TV, BET, Univision (adios), Shop NBC, QVC, CMT, Learning Channel, Food Network, Fox News, Soap Net, The Golf Channel! Bye-bye History Channel, Women's Entertainment, "Style.", Discovery Health, Great American Country, Fine Living, Lifetime Real Women, America's Store and about thirty other channels i've NEVER LAID EYES ON....
2004-07-14 07:19:41 PM  
Um... Can you discount your phone service by only support certain area codes? Can you your monthly ISP bill reduced by only visiting certain sites?Only waching certain animals at the zoo?

Some people just aren't going to be happy until capitalism is dead.
2004-07-14 07:20:44 PM  
My lineup's almost like eivomlive, cept I'll throw in USA, TNT, ESPN and ESPN2 and take out Nick, Noggin, and Disney.

Wait a minute, there's more than 4 local affiliates here.... we have CBS, WB, FOX, UPN, ABC, and NBC stations.
2004-07-14 08:13:17 PM  
as long as they throw in the PUPPY CHANNEL!
All puppies, all the time.
2004-07-14 08:19:55 PM  
Um... Can you discount your phone service by only support certain area codes? Can you your monthly ISP bill reduced by only visiting certain sites?Only waching certain animals at the zoo?

Some people just aren't going to be happy until capitalism is dead.

Please explain how giving the customer choices and letting the good channels survive is bad for capitalism. I know you'll be saddened by the loss of the Oxygen channel, but still...
2004-07-14 08:28:25 PM  
I forgot USA, TNT, & Spike (or whatever they are calling it now....I Love MXC)

Noggin is for me (I love Daria)
The other 2 are for my niece who I babysit during the day. I don't watch UPN or WB so they are not on my local affiliate list :)

2004-07-14 08:55:02 PM  
I don't have cable because I refuse to pay to be advertised to by a bunch of crappy channels.
2004-07-14 08:59:14 PM  
"ala carte" programing would be cost prohibitive.
2004-07-14 09:39:52 PM  
This better not affect my ability to watch Morgan Webb or I'm gonna be pissed.
2004-07-14 11:10:54 PM  
I don't think it is by coincidence that the channels I want are only available in the second and mostly third tiers. It might be cost prohibitive at first but the market will adjust.
2004-07-14 11:47:41 PM  
If the cable companies are so afraid people will only pick a few channels and not enough to support thier business, they could always price accordingly. For example, on a restaraunt menu, ala cart is more expensive than a entree/sides meal.

Also, they could simply specify:
# of channels (minimum) $--.00 price
## of channels $--.00 price

That way they could still get what they need, subscribers would get something closer to what they want, and the terrorists would want to live here instead of blowing us up.

Also, I agree with o2sk8, unpopular stations failing? That's business.
2004-07-14 11:48:19 PM  
They should at least survey their customers before they pull one of their "hey, we're raising the price, but you're getting more channels.

I had a $5 increase, only to receive The YES channel, (which is nothing but Yankees and NJ nets programming, all of which I can see on commercial TV) and 3 more home shopping channels.

38% of my bill goes to sports programming, that I don't even watch. I have 9 sports channels mostly showing crap, such as what your favorite golfer had for lunch today, and no actual sporting events.

I have 8 channels that show either infomercials, or home shopping, 24/7.

Encore, used to be free. They took that away to give us Disney, which I could also give a damn about. Kill Nick while you're at it.

I don't get Tech TV, but I sure as hell have no problem seeing a show that is thinly disguised as educational, but in fact, is promoting Las Vegas, 24/7, (not including the 3 channels simultaneously telecasting poker games) or the 700 Club, Which is on ABCFAM, another channel I could care less about.
2004-07-14 11:49:53 PM  
Gotta agree with Dancin. The tech isn't there yet to allow for this in a cheap manner. I'd rather pay the $30 or whatever for my "basic cable" package and have 20 channels I don't watch than pay $45 for the 20 that I do watch. And it's not like I have to surf past all the ones I don't want...there's this thing on my TV called "delete channel" that takes it out of the search pattern. Look into it.
2004-07-14 11:50:19 PM  
The cable companies will probably just charge enough so that in the end you are paying the same, but getting only the good chanels. I get that already by going into my TV setup and deleting the crappy chanels from the memory.
2004-07-14 11:50:47 PM  
Give me:
-My local channels
-The "superstations"...TBS and WGN
-Comedy Central
-Fox Sports Net

That's all I need. Oh...bring back MTV-X from the grave and I want that too...
2004-07-14 11:51:37 PM  
Screw all of it. I have a modded dish and I get all and pay none.

The I don't pay-per view is the best.
2004-07-14 11:52:03 PM  
Man, neocons have a weird definition of capitalism and democracy.

At least Congress is doing something useful... and not simply ignoring the issue because their rich friends stand to lose business to smaller, independent cable operators.

Airlines are deregulated, telephone service is deregulated, why is cable TV not deregulated? Maybe because letting their grip off of the mass media will keep them from shoving their propaganda down our throats?

The Neocons won't be happy until all mass media outlets are under the control of a couple of companies which they are directly in control of.

flame on.
2004-07-14 11:52:34 PM  
The tech isn't there, only because the cable companies don't want it to be there. Lots of big-money back room deals go into packaging a bunch of crapola channels with the ones you actually want to see.
2004-07-14 11:52:56 PM  
Gotta have my Fox Sports World. Unfortunately, most providers -- satellite or cable -- only provide the channel in their premium packages. I don't even watch most of the other stations...
2004-07-14 11:54:28 PM  
Someone's seriously gotta bust up this cable racket. I have basic and a cable modem, costs me $92 a month, highway-motherphuckin'-robbery I tells ya.
2004-07-14 11:54:51 PM  
Actually, the tech is already in place. That's how pay-per-view works.
2004-07-14 11:55:22 PM  

-Cartoon Network
-History Channel
-Discovery Channel
2004-07-14 11:56:11 PM  
We haven't had a UPN station in Ithaca since "Buffy" left the WB! and moved to UPN. The local cable company (Time Warner) said that they were looking for an economically feasible solution. That was so many years ago that all the shows I had any interest have either been cancelled or are no longer on.

I guess that's one way to save money: Refuse to carry the station until all the good shows are gone.
2004-07-14 11:57:03 PM  
Comedy Central
Noggin (if they brought back Pete & Pete)
History Channel
History International
National Geographic
Outdoor Life (Surfer's Journal rocks)
PPV (Summer only, MLB Extra innings and I gotta see the Padres)
Discovery Channel
NBC (Conan)

I think that about sums it up.
2004-07-14 11:57:21 PM  
As much as I like this, I HATE the GOVERNMENT telling a business how to choose to run. If a cable company thinks this is a good idea, they can do it without being FORCED to do so.
2004-07-14 11:59:05 PM  
Almost forgot - The Discovery Wings channel. You can't go wrong with Wings of the Luftwaffe.
2004-07-14 11:59:10 PM  
McCain for President...damnit!
2004-07-14 11:59:12 PM  
Cartoon Network
Headline News
Comedy Central
and USA, cause I can't miss my Dead Zone!
2004-07-15 12:00:31 AM  
I'd get:

- ESPN/2
- Speed Channel
- Fox Sports World
- Comedy Central
- Food Network
- Cartoon Network
- Spike TV
- History Channel
- BBC America

Probably a bunch of other stuff too (I only have cable, so the channels I don't have I've only seen at my aunt's house), but these would be my priorities.
2004-07-15 12:01:03 AM  
Some people just aren't going to be happy until capitalism is dead.

Huh? I'm not buying cable until they give me such options. At least in my case, capitalism would thrive on me by letting my buy exactly what I want.

Here's what I would pay for, taking from eivomlive's list:

All 4 Local affiliates
Weather Channel
BBC News
Comedy Central
Food Network
Discovery Channel
National Geographic Channel
The Learning Channel
History Channel
Cartoon Network
& a movie on Demand service
2004-07-15 12:01:39 AM  
History Channel
Turner Classic Movies
The Sundance Channel
Comedy Central
Spike TV
Cartoon Network
TechTV (I'm addicted to Robot Wars)
2004-07-15 12:02:02 AM  
It's about time they addressed this. Good for them.
2004-07-15 12:05:01 AM  
This would be great. Or better yet, how about paying for the shows I watch?
2004-07-15 12:05:05 AM  
"Some people just aren't going to be happy until capitalism is dead."

This IS capitalism. Supply and demand. We would just rather spend our money on stuff that we actually want.
2004-07-15 12:05:20 AM  
since most of the networks are owned by a few media conglomerates, I would imagine those companies will only agree to sell their channels in blocks. There are a lot of forces at play to maintain the status quo.

However, why on earth would anybody want the federal government to intervene? Look at all the great programming on cable! Once you start letting the government regulate it, they'll just bland the crap out of everything like on the networks. Remember the bullshiat hysterics Congress went into over a single boob (with a covered nipple, goddammit). Pretty please don't let those assholes get their noses into Cable. I need my HBO, CC and CN.
2004-07-15 12:05:54 AM  
for christ sakes people,..proof read headlines before you submit them.

and god damn it mods,..proof read headlines before greenlighting them.

2004-07-15 12:06:11 AM  

Dang, wish I'd said that...
2004-07-15 12:06:18 AM  
TV = teh suk
2004-07-15 12:06:51 AM  
I'm not gonna list the ones I want cause, frankly, you don't care. What they need to do is make it so that if you want, say only 20 channels, it costs as much to get them as it does basic cable. Better yet, if you want a secetion of channels, you have to rent a selection box (well you would HAVE to since each home would have to be programmed for your selection anyway). While you get suck channels, It will (or they will make it) cost more to get fewer. Personally, I could give to shiates about ANY sports channels. But hey, it comes with the package.

by the way, I get digital cable in three rooms, 4Mbit/384kbit up internet, and unlimited long distance for $125 a month after taxes.
2004-07-15 12:07:15 AM  
All I need right now is

History Channel
Comedy Central
Local Affiliates
ESPN 1&2
sometimes MTV and BET, for laughs

I don't have cool channels like BBC and TechTV here :(
2004-07-15 12:07:44 AM  
Do yourself a favor and save $50+ bucks every month by disconnecting your cable. You can take the money you're saving and buy some MSFT stock while it's still under $30. Just for the record, the reason it's regulated is because in your area, there is likely only one cable provider (satellite service notwithstanding). Here in New Orleans, we have the terminally terrible Cox Cable, who has the nerve to charge a $5.00 service fee if you go to a service center to pay your bill instead of mailing it or paying online. I got tired of these monopolistic practices, and I cancelled my cable. Like you, I thought I would die without it, but trust me, you won't miss it that much plus you'll have the opportunity to read more books or get outside more. Everything worthwhile will be out on DVD at season's end anyway, so just take the money you've saved and buy it then.
2004-07-15 12:09:01 AM  
This IS capitalism. Supply and demand. We would just rather spend our money on stuff that we actually want.

Getting the government to force a company to give you what you want is NOT capitalism. Canceling your cable subscription until at least one company actually offered what you wanted would be.
2004-07-15 12:09:05 AM  
I'm not interested in a la carte cable, even though my remote is worn from flipping between these channels:

Comedy Central
Tech TV

I occasionally watch TLC for "Overhaulin'", or "Trading Spaces" if nothing else is on, and I hit the local or basic cable/network stations for the movies they sometimes play, but those four are the only stations I ever regularly watch. Trio farking RULES.
2004-07-15 12:09:31 AM  
Get DirecTV and subscribe to the Total Choice Plus with locals, throw in HBO and you pay roughly 60 to 65 a month, not bad.

/ditch cable and quit your biatching
2004-07-15 12:11:05 AM  
They raise the cable bill for every new channel they add, and most of them are crap like Disney and Oxygen.

Oh, and G4TechTV sucks.
2004-07-15 12:11:29 AM  
My dream list:

Spike (Joe Schmo and all the DS9 I can take)
Sci Fi
Comedy Central
Maybe a handful of others. Showcase/Showtime whatever it's called in the States.

But really, I just want one. Bittorrent. These days it's not like I want to watch more than one or two shows that are actually on tv. And I get my news online. Any show that I actually get into/want to check out, I'll probably end renting or owning the DVDs so I don't need to have the tv for repeats.
2004-07-15 12:11:37 AM  

No company will cater to what the people truly want; they all have monopolies on their customers.
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