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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?   (wired.com ) divider line
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17417 clicks; posted to Main » on 14 Jul 2004 at 11:44 PM (11 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2004-07-15 12:11:43 AM  
There is a little part left out about some of those channels that most of us don't want. Some of them pay the cable companies per subscriber to air them, like the fine shop at home channels.
 
2004-07-15 12:12:30 AM  
60 to 65 a MONTH?
I turned in my dish and Comcast offered me to pay $25 a month for a year and a half for Basic plus local channels.
I'm pretty happy.
 
2004-07-15 12:12:39 AM  
i would want:
-local network affiliates
-PBS
-Discovery Channel
-TLC (barely, since it turned into all trading spaces)
-History Channel
-Biography
-Food Network
-Turner Classic Movies
-Bravo
-Cartoon Network
-Sci-Fi
-CNN
-A&E
-HBO On Demand
 
2004-07-15 12:12:41 AM  
Oh, and throw in my Tivo service and that knocks the price up to $68 a month, well worth it. If you don't subscribe to any premium channels (HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, etc.) you can knock off $12 a month.
 
2004-07-15 12:15:59 AM  
Alacart would cost $5+ per channel. Channels like history, foodTV, spike, animal planet, national geographic, TBS, WGN would all go bankrupt.

I would prefer that things would be tiered-only, not ala-carte. That would keep prices down a bit. (Like the sports tier, comedy tier, cartoon/kids, learning... you get the idea)
 
Ant
2004-07-15 12:16:24 AM  
the first person to post a "kill your TV" comment will die a horrible death
 
2004-07-15 12:16:36 AM  
I just closed on my new flat the first of this month, so I'm back to rabbit ears.
 
2004-07-15 12:16:43 AM  
Fireman1365,

Are all of your channels digital? How often does your cable go out? Do you have Tivo with dual tuners? Comcast couldn't pay me 25 a month for their crap.
 
2004-07-15 12:17:51 AM  
and with this, most of americas problems will be solved.
 
Ant
2004-07-15 12:18:13 AM  
A few of the channels I like to watch are ones that I stumbled across by accident. That'd be impossible with ala-carte pricing
 
2004-07-15 12:21:12 AM  
I don't know about $5/channel, but I would gladly pay $20 for the connection then $1/channel.
 
2004-07-15 12:21:28 AM  
Ant:
Cable companies could offer free trial weeks of new channels so you could have a preview of what they typically show, and if you like it you can order the channel.
 
2004-07-15 12:23:55 AM  
if it wasnt for ESPN and Fox Sports, i wouldnt buy cable. Gotta have those. Just wish Fox Sports World didnt cost me my other arm......
 
2004-07-15 12:25:07 AM  
luxdsg

You suck.

I just want the network that plays SLAMBALL!
 
2004-07-15 12:25:13 AM  
I have this awesome idea! Lets all post our favorite cable TV channels to this thread! Wouldn't that be interesting?!
 
2004-07-15 12:26:07 AM  
If the president ran on and got a bill where you could pick and choose the cable lineup individually, not only would he be elected, but people would line up to suck his dick.
 
2004-07-15 12:26:17 AM  
***off topic

eivomlive:

You have a kitty named Doople!!! That is so cute!

Okay, back to cable.
 
2004-07-15 12:27:48 AM  
How about we post our least favorite TV channels instead! That would be even more interesting!!!!!

/sarcasm
 
2004-07-15 12:28:21 AM  
I read this back a few months ago in tv guide and all the cable companies were griping that it would force rates up.
something about channels like BBC that only a certain few (like myself) enjoy wouldn't get picked up and the company would drop them.
I personally like comedy central even if south park is getting a little on the old side. that damn oxygen channel can go for all I care
 
2004-07-15 12:29:56 AM  
obladi6703

Are all of your channels digital? How often does your cable go out? Do you have Tivo with dual tuners? Comcast couldn't pay me 25 a month for their crap.

No farkin' shiat! Comcast sucks ass and is gone as of this month. Poor picture, crappy, inconsistent sound, frequent data transmission issues on digital channels, unexplained service interruptions and a farkin' program guide that is almost always incorrect. Plus, it's over $40mo for expanded basic which is basic for anyone who gives a shiat about having cable anyway.
 
2004-07-15 12:30:15 AM  
Am I the only one who would want IFC?
 
2004-07-15 12:30:51 AM  
I happen to agree that I like things the way they are, with some of the lesser-known channels included, being that I wouldn't have discovered some of my favorites without it.
 
2004-07-15 12:31:17 AM  
Bison:
"Gotta agree with Dancin. The tech isn't there yet to allow for this in a cheap manner."

Bullshiat. Cable boxes are perfectly capable, TODAY, of allowing access to, or blocking access to, any channel. They are not limited to just blocking certain premium channels. And the amount of time it would take the cable company to specify which channels you want enabled or disabled would not be much more than it is now for them to enable pay channels.


Toneskin:
"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."


Cable companies are a MONOPOLY. You don't have a choice of cable company. And for sattelite, you have, what, TWO choices?

When you only have three companies to choose from only one of which can also offer you decent internet service (which costs more if you don't also use them for your TV), you don't really have any choice.

Now, if you want to allow any company to throw wires up on the poles outside your house and have an ugly tangle of wires, THAT would be a free market, and you can bet your ass you'd be paying half what you pay now for TV.

Once everyone gets broadband on par with what Japan and Singapore have, we might finally get that free TV market, with people producing and distributing TV shows over the net. But until that day, the government SHOULD force these companies to allow you to purchase only the channels you want. Then we'll finally have the ability to vote for the TV we want to watch. Because as it is right now, you wathcing or not watching a program has no effect on whether it stays on TV if you never buy anything you see in the commercials.
 
2004-07-15 12:31:52 AM  
Why can't we buy only the cable channels we want to watch?

Because not enough people call managers and biatch, not enough people (in the extreme) don't buy cable if they can't pick-n-choose. If the therapy bills for managers and profit losses begin to hurt the bottom line, when the employee turnover rate rises due to stress, things change.

But that's alright, sigh and pay your bill when you're pigeonholed by a company interested in making all the money they can. Pay your taxes and rabble rabble a little bit once every handful of years on election day and your elected government will hopefully do it for you.

Seriously folks... if you took the political activism you had and turned your fervor onto other human beings and got the same outrage we see in politics, companies would be scrambling like mad to get in shape. Both democracy and capitalism fail when the people neglect putting pressure on the movers and shakers with their votes or dollars.

/I'm done, everyone return to auto-pilot mode :)
 
2004-07-15 12:32:24 AM  
Just give me TSN. That is all.
 
Ant
2004-07-15 12:32:42 AM  
2004-07-15 12:21:28 AM zmbabwe


Ant:
Cable companies could offer free trial weeks of new channels so you could have a preview of what they typically show, and if you like it you can order the channel.


That's not an accurate sample. The channels that use that gimic usually save all their really good stuff for the free week and show crap the rest of the time
 
2004-07-15 12:32:45 AM  
i agree with mr beetle, because it makes me mad having like 20 or 30 sports channels and news channels i never watch and paying for them just to get other channels like noggin (my little girls favorite channel) which they put at 148 to blackmail parents to subscibe to a bunch of worthless channels.
 
2004-07-15 12:33:32 AM  
John McCain proposed this not just to have a more capitalist market with television but also to nip the censorship debate in the nub before it snowballs any further. If a family were allowed to pick which stations it wanted then cable stations (still not network TV) will have a lot more leeway in what they can air. It really takes the air out of the pro-censorship crowd. And, really, it should be all they want to do. I think this is a great idea though cabel companies will be able to pass on the cost of doing this onto the consumer.
 
2004-07-15 12:34:30 AM  
Daria? That explains _alot_
 
2004-07-15 12:34:34 AM  
bpmtv.com

dance videos all day long = girls dancing = yum :P
 
2004-07-15 12:40:24 AM  
Thats a damn good list, eivomlive. i'm only interested in watching how they are doing it on the discovery channel.

"DeGraff pointed out that the gay-themed channel PrideVision TV has seen much success on Canadian cable systems since the channel's launch in 2000."

.
 
2004-07-15 12:41:28 AM  
First of all this all comes from crabby old man math, where the crabby old man deduces (incorrectly) that if coffee and a donut is $1, he should be able to get a donut for about 50 cents and skip the coffee. The reality is that the coffee costs no where near as much as the donut.

Second of all, aside from whatever increase in cost there would be for "a la carte" customers due to the economics of packages versus seperate channels, every cable customer would have to pay more due to the system/equipment upgrades needed to provide a la carte programming.
 
2004-07-15 12:42:53 AM  
Bye-bye:

Lifetime
QVC
Home Shopping
BET
Arts (local?)
ABC Family
Style
Golf
Speed
CNBC
GAC (Country)
CMT (Country)


Stations I can't live without:

Foxnews
History
Discovery
ESPN
MTV2
Weather
 
2004-07-15 12:44:10 AM  
Article III Sec. 8

That is all. Literally.

And, please, no general welfare of N&P, no one needs cable.
 
2004-07-15 12:48:50 AM  
If we only got the channels we requested, we would all miss out on the "so bad it's good" category, which includes, in part:

* The religious show where Dyann Cannon has pink hair in front of a replica White House - who has not stayed up drinking with friends watching this?

* What Not to Wear - funny in both the UK and the US. The woman who has to wear elastic waist pants because she eats 2 lbs of vegetables for lunch and her body expands with gas - a comedy classic.

* The 100 lb tumor lady on Discovery Health

* The Trading Spaces where Hildy glued hay onto the walls and ceiling of the lesbian couple

* The E! show where Jules Asner interviewed Anne Heche about her alien meltdown with a straight face


...and all of the other stuff we find surfing. The problem with the "vast Wasteland" is that the ratio of entertainment to crap is farked. Yet sometimes the hunt is worth it.
 
2004-07-15 12:52:17 AM  
Or they could run things like the phone system. Force your cable company to allow other companies to rent boxes using their cables and pay them a lease. i.e. BellSouth owns all the phone lines here but you can get phone service from other companies. Of course when you have problems it is a BellSouth tech who works on the wires and you all know what they do with a service order from ABC Communications.
 
2004-07-15 12:52:29 AM  
Prediction; Either way, the prices are guaranteed to rise.

/cynic
 
2004-07-15 12:53:09 AM  
Hannahman,

This is the reason I love reading Fark. You make a really good point. I hadn't thought of the censorship thing.
 
2004-07-15 12:59:22 AM  
liederhosen:
Some people just aren't going to be happy until capitalism is dead.


Cable companies have been regulated by the government since the beginning. The government guarantees one company per cable district.

just like ...
one phone company per phone district
one electrical company per electrical district

... that's why the government has the obligation to manage how cable companies do business.

/wonders why government regulates the farking cable business at all
 
2004-07-15 01:02:29 AM  
A la Carte sounds wonderful, but assumes facts not in evidence: namely, that you know, ahead of time, what you want to watch. This is like manipulating your genes to be a "perfect" person NOW, and imagining that what you think is perfect NOW will be perfect ALWAYS. Some of the best shows on teevee, and best books in the library, are happened upon by accident, or serendipity, or coincidence, or synchronicity. Some of the most interesting entries in encyclopedias and dictionaries just happen to be on the same page as something you meant to look up: efficiency gives you what you want; happenstance gives you what you need.

/Some of the best stuff on ebay is not in the descriptions.
 
2004-07-15 01:07:04 AM  
it isnt 'killing capitolism' to force a monopoly (Comcast in my case) to do something.
 
2004-07-15 01:08:39 AM  
and im a retard who cant spell.
 
2004-07-15 01:08:46 AM  
oldebayer-
I understand your line of thinking. I don't see any reason why the cable companies would go totally a-la-carte, however. If bundles are an easier way for them to do business, my guess is that they'd offer them still, kind of like how Wendy's has a combo menu.
Therefore you could keep your serendipity and those of us who don't think the way you do can get what they want.
 
2004-07-15 01:12:39 AM  
Now, if you want to allow any company to throw wires up on the poles outside your house and have an ugly tangle of wires, THAT would be a free market, and you can bet your ass you'd be paying half what you pay now for TV.

Um, any company can throw wires up on the poles outside my house and start a cable service. There's no law preventing them from doing so. The existing cable company isn't directly preventing them from doing so.

The only thing stopping them is the fact that hanging all those wires is really farking expensive since they have to be able to provide equal service for everyone in their coverage area (yes, legally bound to run cables out to the boonies). And they may not get anybody to switch over to their service, so they could end up losing all of the money they just spent layin new cables.

a la carte cable is never gonna happen, and you probably don't want it to. Because more people watch CMT than the History channel (and Trio and Noggin and Sci-Fi) so guess which one will fold when not enough people choose it for their a la carte service.
 
2004-07-15 01:15:28 AM  
oldebayer

Some of the best shows on teevee, and best books in the library, are happened upon by accident, or serendipity, or coincidence, or synchronicity.

This is very true. I came across a life-changing movie one night on the International Channel. It was a Russian movie called "Silver Heads". It's quite something.
 
2004-07-15 01:21:09 AM  
Papereclipse
The state has to give you permission before you can lay wires; you have to do so on their property after all. The state has an interest in making sure their right of way isn't cluttered, so only one delivery system is installed per given area (this is true of water/sewer/power/phone too). Any competitor would have to lease off whoever the first cable company in your area is.
 
2004-07-15 01:21:20 AM  
Or they could run things like the phone system. Force your cable company to allow other companies to rent boxes using their cables and pay them a lease. i.e. BellSouth owns all the phone lines here but you can get phone service from other companies. Of course when you have problems it is a BellSouth tech who works on the wires and you all know what they do with a service order from ABC Communications.

Cable does not work like this. Instead of direct 2-way communication like phone, it uses a broadcast. You cannot have multiple providers, they will eat up the overall bandwith and then you are left with 15 companies of 20 channels each.
 
2004-07-15 01:27:07 AM  
Yet another pointless "bare bones" channel list:

Bizbo
IJP
Indoor Living
Coolzap 2
A Zone
CD5 America
ToonTunes

(But if I only could have one... RollovaTV all the way- I can't live without my daily dose of Bangroo Castle Blues!)
 
2004-07-15 01:27:40 AM  
Paperclipse
Um, any company can throw wires up on the poles outside my house and start a cable service. There's no law preventing them from doing so.

Um, yes, there is. Cable companies typically sign excusive contacts with cities, municipalities, etc..., so that only they can provide service to that community. I can give several examples of this farked up system, like my friend who just moved less than a mile from his house and now has a new cable company because he lives in the City of Oshkosh instead of the Town of Algoma. I also experience a similar problem, as I live on the edge of the City of Milwaukee, and due to some retarded contract, I can't get TBS, while anyone living in Shorewood, which starts a few blocks from my house, can.

In markets which do allow two cable companies to provide service, the rates are typically 15-20% lower than a monopolistic market.
 
2004-07-15 01:30:24 AM  
I've got a bad feeling about this. You know that in practice, it's just giving cable companies an excuse to raise rates. "It's not OUR fault, it's the government's!"
 
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