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Pliers cutting cord/cable.
At first blush, this bit of legislation coming out of Sen. John McCain's office is full of awesome:
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is working on legislation that would pressure cable and satellite TV providers to allow their customers to pick and choose the channels they pay for, his office confirmed on Wednesday [...]

In addition to pressuring cable providers to offer channels a la carte, McCain's new bill would bar TV networks from bundling their broadcast stations with cable channels they own during negotiations with the cable companies, according to industry sources. So for example, the Disney Company, which owns both ABC and ESPN, could not force a cable provider to pay for ESPN in order to carry ABC.

The industry officials said the bill would also end the sports blackout rule, which prohibits cable companies from carrying a sports event if the game is blacked out on local broadcast television stations.

A la carte: As anyone trying to sign up for cable or satellite knows, you get stuck paying a bill for dozens (if not hundreds) of channels, when the vast majority of us really only watch a handful. In my perfect world, I'd pay for the four broadcast networks, Syfy, Comedy Central, ESPN, Bein Sports, NBC sports and BBC America. Heck, if it wasn't for sports, I'd ditch the broadcast networks and catch the best shows on Netflix, Amazon and/or iTunes.

Instead, I have to subscribe to a billion godawful and irrelevant (to me) networks. And what's worse, I have to subscribe at a higher tier to get the handful of channels I do like. It's gotten to the point that if sports leagues offered their product direct to consumers (via online), I'd ditch satellite in a heartbeat. Let me pick a la carte, and I have less impetus to do so.

Bundling: This is the practice of studios forcing cable and satellite operators to carry their shitty networks or they pull the stuff people actually want to see. So, for example, Disney may force a cable company to carry ABC Family, and if they don't, they threaten to pull ESPN. It's a shitty way to do business. Any legislation banning this practice would be fantastic.

Sports blackouts: Being a Chicago fan living in the SF Bay Area, I don't have to deal with this scourge of sports broadcast rules. Get rid of it.

The legislation would also bar broadcast networks from pulling their over-the-air broadcasts and moving them over to cable in response to Aereo—a company that provides over-the-air TV via the internet by employing thousands of tiny antennas. Cable and satellite operators pay big bucks to carry the broadcast networks, and this small but clever company is upending that business model.

The broadcast lobby is gearing up, of course, and they'll claim this legislation will "stifle innovation" and other such bullshit. But with over 1 million Americans "cutting the cord" last year, and the trend accelerating, this legislation could very well rescue these broadcasters from their own myopic stupidity.

Originally posted to kos on Thu May 09, 2013 at 09:14 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The Old Boat Anchor? (15+ / 0-)

    Who woulda thunk it?

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Thu May 09, 2013 at 09:16:58 AM PDT

  •  so much for choice in a "free" market (13+ / 0-)

    that is in reality so many fictive versions of broadcast/narrowcast monopolies

    The legislation would also bar broadcast networks from pulling their over-the-air broadcasts and moving them over to cable in response to Aereo -- a company that provides over-the-air TV via the internet by employing thousands of tiny antennas. Cable and satellite operators pay big bucks to carry the broadcast networks, and this small but clever company is upending that business model.

    The broadcast lobby is gearing up, of course, and they'll claim this legislation will "stifle innovation" and other such bullshit. But with over 1 million Americans "cutting the cord" last year, and the trend accelerating, this legislation could very well rescue these broadcasters from their own myopic stupidity.

    Warning - some snark above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Thu May 09, 2013 at 09:19:00 AM PDT

  •  The first cable company to offer ala carte (23+ / 0-)

    over the internet will win.

    When you can stream Netflix on nearly every entertainment device going, ala carte channel subscription via internet connectivity becomes extremely attractive, and that will make the cable companies internet content delivery companies and locally, internet providers.

    •  That's basically Netflix (21+ / 0-)

      but without substantial upgrades to broadband infrastructure, #1 I'm not sure there's enough capacity in the network, and #2 a lot of people don't have enough bandwidth to stream video at sufficient resolution.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Thu May 09, 2013 at 09:51:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You said it first... (12+ / 0-)

        but I hope not last. I know we don't have bandwidth for video on the computer, much less trying to send it through the wireless on the Blu-Ray to the TV set.

        And #3, a lot of people don't have internet access at all. We have to increase access as well as upgrade the infrastructure.

        "Maybe life's meaning is not so much found, as it is made." Opus, by Berke Breathed

        by Lisa in Bama on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:04:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Unfortunately, that's true (5+ / 0-)

        and Comcast home customers share bandwidth, so streaming quality goes up and down. But Netflix and Hulu are the only way we watch anything anymore - and the occasional dvd from the library.

        •  Why can't they reroute the cable bandwidth? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Aspe4, defluxion10

          Obviously aside from the fact that right now cable is their main money maker?

          •  There's only so much bandwidth (10+ / 0-)

            Just like Interstate 5 may be adequate most of the time, if even twice as many people as normal decide to drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco, it will clog. Never mind if EVERYONE decides to do it.

            I live in a rural area. In my small valley, we have three options - a cell provider, a local wireless provider, and satellite. I have the wireless, and I have the advantage of a pretty substantial connection. This is in part because I am the only major daytime user in my half of the valley. In the other half of the valley, there are several high needs users, and more density, and they have to keep users more tightly throttled so that no one person can overwhelm the network.

            So, if say the USDA is evaluating bandwidth, they see my connection, and they say, "See, this valley has broadband." What they don't see is that this valley has enough broadband for about 4 connections like that in a community of maybe 800 households.

            The cell provider, again, says, "Hey, we got it covered, see, a user on our network has plenty of access. But again, once you go from 30 occasional users to 800 full time users, the capacity is going to be sorely tested.

            The difference between cable TV and internet on demand is that cable TV is basically only working with 50 or 100 files (or even 1000 on the most modern systems) that any users can request on the network, lending itself to sharing, caching, etc. If every user can request any video ever created at any time, those advantages go away; you need far far more data capacity.

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:39:54 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Comcast has a monopoly where I live (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cybersaur, ceebee7, defluxion10

            for internet and cable. We pay through the nose for internet because we don't buy their cable package, which doesn't cost much more than just internet. Other providers are all around us because of developments that have sprung up (we live out in the county), but no one else has come up the two roads that meet at the corner we live on (there's a phone company box right there, so it seems like they could easily offer their service, which is much cheaper, but what do I know?)

            I don't really feel deprived as far as what to watch because TV is such a time drain (but also welcome opiate at the end of long day), and we have access to more than enough even with glitchy streaming -- just feeling screwed because of what we have to pay to be on line.

            •  Comcast and Verizon and satellite are in our area (0+ / 0-)

              and we have Verizon for phone/internet and Comcast for TV. I like it that way, even though it costs me more.

              I don't like the channels available on FIOS, and I don't want my internet impacted by the streaming users who I know are in the apartment building near me and most likely on cable.

              I say that because our cable quality can vary greatly, from great to kinda sucky, but my internet is always good.

              I get about 800 channels on Comcast, but in essence it's 100 channels 3 times, a bunch of premium channels (HBO, Showtime, etc) that I don't get, a bunch of music channels that I don't listen to, a bunch of international channels that I don't subscribe to, adult channels I don't want, and a ton of pay sports stuff that I don't get.

              So in actuality I've got about 150 unique stations, including multiple ESPNs, religious channels, shopping channels, and the broadcast channels for our area and Philly.

              If I could pay for just what I want, I'd happily pay for a selection of 150 HD channels, pick the ones that we actually might want to watch, and forget the other 300+ that  are either duplicates or stuff I don't want and/or don't want to pay for.

              Hell, if I could get those 150 for a decent amount, I might even spring for HBO and Showtime.

        •  I cut the cord 6 months ago (11+ / 0-)

          Watch everything streaming.

          Doesn't stream? Then fuck it.

          Never been happier, and I was a TV junkie.

          Begged my cable company (Time Warner) for the most basic , cheapest rate, only local channels.

          Claimed they didn't have anything like that there.

          Same thing with a neighbor. But when he told them he was cutting the cord they suddenly came up with this basic rate far below anything they'd pushed to either of us.

          At that point he said no thanks, and watches movies on YouTube (lottsa free ones.)

          •  We use YouTube, too (0+ / 0-)

            It's really easy to find quality viewing these days without paying much if anything at all. Unlike kos, I don't give a fig about sports, so don't have that hang up.

          •  Yup. (0+ / 0-)

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:30:18 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  This brain of mine can only watch one channel (0+ / 0-)

            at a time.  And when our cable bills became unreasonable, we looking at cutting the cord, and now Roku is our tv life. We pay for Netflix and Hulu, and some of the private Roku channels keep the mainstream news available, on a slight delay.  Add the wifi, and cable has no future in our home. They overplayed their hand.
            Streaming is practically a la carte now, with improvements almost monthly.
            Get Congress involved and we're more likely to see slowdowns and roadblocks than real improvements...

            "Gun violence places a tremendous burden on America's health care system. Direct medical costs for gunshot wounds total more than six million dollars a day." - The Violence Policy Center

            by Beastly Fool on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:46:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Why not just put up an antenna? (0+ / 0-)

            Want to time shift programming from your  antenna?  Set up a PC with a tuner card, or buy one of the handful of DVRs available for use with broadcast television.

            An antenna combined with what you can get via the Internet really does provide a lot of choice for not much money.

            Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

            by TexasTom on Thu May 09, 2013 at 12:25:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Note there is no TV available via antenna (0+ / 0-)

              where I live (and of course I've already discussed bandwidth). Not that that is a complaint. I just point that out to remind you that the options you have are not nationwide, and that policy needs to be informed by that.

              Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

              by elfling on Thu May 09, 2013 at 01:06:16 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  The network is being pumped up all the time. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Angie in WA State, Beastly Fool

        Right now, Google is rolling out some superfast fiber networks in selected cities.

        And....
        all those shows you watch on the internet are shows you aren't watching on cable.  Enough folks get their internet over cable that there is bound to be some balancing out.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:27:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's not really how the cable bandwidth works (0+ / 0-)

          there's no extra capacity for data if people aren't watching TV unless the cable operator cuts channels.

          There's a long way to go for bandwidth. We don't even have broadband to every American school campus yet.

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Thu May 09, 2013 at 03:25:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Field of Dreams: Build it and they will come. (0+ / 0-)

            If it all goes down the same cable, it can be made available.
            It may not be worth doing at present --ie, cheaper better ways to get there, but...if the need becomes urgent, you never know.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Thu May 09, 2013 at 03:28:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  We in America's schools are waiting... (0+ / 0-)

              You know they are planning to administer all the exams online in 2015, but as far as I can tell, there's no special initiative to ensure that all schools have enough internet to do so, let alone all the other logistical details.

              It's not that the need isn't urgent. It's that it's expensive and people with money don't care or are ignorant of the fact that there are places in America without internet.

              Ironically, one of them is Point Arena, CA... which is where the main trunk line between the US mainland and Hawaii goes. They've cobbled together something since I wrote this, but they still don't have access to the mighty network that goes right beneath their feet:

              http://www.dailykos.com/...

              Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

              by elfling on Thu May 09, 2013 at 04:01:33 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  National Fiber Project (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Beastly Fool, Mr Robert, gmats, mariva, elfling

        We need a national fiber project to build out fiber to every home.
        The U.S. lags way behind too many other countries in bandwidth available to residences and businesses.
        A national project would put tens of thousands to work!
        Once completed, with all the high-speed Internet connections, we could expect much innovation and economic activity.

        +++ The law is a weapon used to bludgeon us peasants into submission. It is not to be applied to the monied elite.

        by cybersaur on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:38:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  That cable company won't offer ESPN (9+ / 0-)

      ESPN insists that any PayTv distributor that offers it must make it available to at least 85% of its subscriber base.

      Basically, ESPN says, all of your customers get ESPN, or none do.

      How valuable is ESPN to Disney?

      Disney market value is 120B.

      And about 50% of that is ESPN.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

      by PatriciaVa on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:05:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  ESPN dies without bundled (6+ / 0-)

        There was a report which stated that the fees for the NFL and the like are so high, that everyone who pays a cable bill are subsidizing sports whether they watch or not.  In that respect Ala carte would be good because subscribers would have to pay for the channels they want, and there would be no bleeding.

        OTOH, it is my impression that many cable subscribers only are interested in a particular channel, either ESPN or Fox.  These offer the live shows that people want to live and are not going to just look on the internet the next day, either because they don't know how or the content is not valuable enough.

        What no law is going to prevent is deals in which going a la cart for particular channels is much more expensive than just buying the channels in a package.  For instance, HBO with a package might be half as much as HBO a la carte.

        •  This is one of my minor hot-buttons.. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TexasTom, mariva

          I am not really a sports fan at all.  And yet I have to pay for ESPN whether I want it or not, and from the accounts that I have read, it costs everyone about 10$ or so a month whether you watch it or not.  And why should I have to pay when I never watch it?

          It probably wouldn't matter to me much now - my wife is a sports nut, and she would never agree to cutting the ESPN cord.

          •  Same argument, really, that (0+ / 0-)

            single people use to complain about their taxes going to pay for schools. I do not think the government/schools = Time Warner et al, but the argument itself is the same . . .

            "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

            by bryduck on Thu May 09, 2013 at 12:46:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's not actually the same argument. (0+ / 0-)

              Schools make for a better society. Children absolutely need good schools -- and what children need is what society needs.

              No one needs sports channels, and those who pay for other entertainment channels shouldn't be forced into paying for sports channels that they don't want.

              •  Conservatives disagree with (0+ / 0-)

                all of your first paragraph, obviously; and sports enthusiasts would disagree with all of your second, or at least they would claim that they don't want to watch your channels, either, so why should they pay for yours? Structurally, the argument is the same, which is what I'm pointing out. Nobody needs entertainment (although psychologists and sociologists might argue vehemently against that statement, too) at all, but that's an irrelevance to my point.
                Why shouldn't we have the same type of fee structure for our entertainment as we do for our other societal goods and common services? Why can't we all be in that together, too?
                1) If the costs are too high, there's a market problem, but who's to say the costs are too high (microeconomic theoretically speaking) in the first place? 2) As Adam B and others point out throughout the diary, there is no evidence whatsoever that "a la carting" tv will actually lower the price of anything to the consumer . . .

                "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

                by bryduck on Thu May 09, 2013 at 04:47:36 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  A perfect match for a la carte. (0+ / 0-)

        With a la carte, it's available to EVERYBODY!

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:31:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  given how crappy our services are (13+ / 0-)

      here in Northern New Mexico, even 10 miles from the RoundHouse, I can't depend on the internets to deliver me anything at a decent speed, no matter how much we are willing to spend on service. My friends in rural Ireland have better service at a lower cost than I do here in the land of innovation.

      "We have two parties in this country right now. One party is a center-right party that believes that it is unseemly to let old people die in the streets. And the other party is insane." Charles P Pierce

      by NMRed on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:07:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That is exactly what we want. (0+ / 0-)

      And we'd be willing to pay for it.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:26:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Amen To This (24+ / 0-)

    I pay $267/month for cable TV, my Internet connection, and VOIP phone. I get every cable channel possible. I watch like 10 of them. But I have to buy them all so I can get things like the History Channel 2. The Science Channel. All the ESPN channels.

    I'd give just about anything to pick and choose what I get.

  •  Supporting a McCain bill ... (4+ / 0-)

    Who wodda thunk it.

    "The Internet is the Public Square of the 21st Century"- Sen. Al Franken

    by Kdoug on Thu May 09, 2013 at 09:23:00 AM PDT

  •  Wow... now I have just one more cable (24+ / 0-)

    and satellite wish: Providers! Please stop offering much better deals to your NEW customers than I can possibly get as a faithful, early adopter! I've been paying for NFL Sunday Ticket on DirecTV since 1999, but you're willing to throw it in free or cheap for new subscribers?! WTF!

    Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... in summer school.

    by cassandracarolina on Thu May 09, 2013 at 09:25:34 AM PDT

  •  A tiny editorial recommendation. (8+ / 0-)

    Reading the first part of the first sentence, "At first blush...", I thought I would read later on how there was some kind of negative agenda hidden in the bill; kind of a "on second thought", thing.  Except there isn't.
    Just sayin'.

    •  Yep; I read it the same way- n/t (0+ / 0-)

      Evidence that contradicts the ruling belief system is held to extraordinary standards, while evidence that entrenches it is uncritically accepted. -Carl Sagan

      by RF on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:17:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I Thought the Exact Same Thing (0+ / 0-)

      I thought Kos was going to tell us how much McCain's bill sucked. McCain has been advocating for a la carte cable for years.

      "The problem with posting quotes off the Internet is you never know if they're genuine."--Gen. George Washington at the Battle of Gettysburg, February 30, 1908

      by Aspe4 on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:27:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I would still get FoxNews (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GoGoGoEverton

    just for the satisfaction of passing it by every single time.

    •  You'd pay money to Murdoch just so you could (7+ / 0-)

      skip his channel?  Well, to each, their own.  Freedom and all that.

      Myself - I'd much rather not pay him a thin dime which is different from what I do now - I'm sure he gets a slice of the bundle I pay to Dish for myriad channels, of which he owns some.  Not one more farthing/dime/red cent to that evil man.

      •  What's Fox's Highest Rated Show? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ColoTim

        is it the O'Reilly Factor? If so I wonder if his ratings would mirror how many people will subscribe to Fox News if we had a la carte cable?

        "The problem with posting quotes off the Internet is you never know if they're genuine."--Gen. George Washington at the Battle of Gettysburg, February 30, 1908

        by Aspe4 on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:29:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's a bad bill, boss. (28+ / 0-)

    Surowiecki:

    The simple argument for unbundling is: “If I pay sixty dollars for a hundred channels, I’d pay a fraction of that for sixteen channels.” But that’s not how à-la-carte pricing would work. Instead, the prices for individual channels would soar, and the providers, who wouldn’t be facing any more competition than before, would tweak prices, perhaps on a customer-by-customer basis, to maintain their revenue. That doesn’t necessarily mean that Bravo would suddenly cost fifteen dollars a month, but there’s little evidence to suggest that à-la-carte packages would be generally cheaper than the current bundles. One recent paper on the subject, in fact, estimated the best-case gain to consumers at thirty-five cents a month. But even if it wasn’t a boon to consumers an à-la-carte system would inject huge uncertainty into the cable business, and many cable networks wouldn’t get enough subscribers to survive. That’s a future that the industry would like to avoid.

    So far, the task hasn’t been too difficult, in part because consumers haven’t shown much unbundling fervor. If there were sizable demand for à la carte, you’d expect at least one of cable’s competitors, like DirecTV, Dish Network, or Verizon’s FiOS, to offer it, but none do. You’d also think that, as bundles have grown more expensive, and as building your own TV experience has become easier—by watching online, downloading from iTunes, and getting high-definition network broadcasts via antenna—cable and satellite would have got less popular. But subscriptions continue to grow.

    Some of this, presumably, is just inertia. But it’s also true that consumers often find bundles appealing. Many popular consumer products, like the iPhone, are bundles, as are newspapers and magazines: you buy the whole thing, not only the articles you want to read. TV networks themselves are bundles: if you subscribe to HBO (a channel that cable systems do offer à la carte), you pay for all its shows. Consumers also seem to like another form of bundling; namely, flat-rate pricing. At Disneyland, people used to pay an admission fee and then buy tickets for individual rides. But in 1982 Disney introduced all-in-one pricing, and attendance rose. Likewise, people buy gym memberships instead of paying by the visit, prefer all-in-one calling plans, and vehemently oppose the idea of metered Internet access.

    The appeal of bundling is partly that it reduces transaction costs: instead of having to figure out how much each part of a package is worth to you, you can make a blanket judgment. Bundling eliminates the problem of fretting about small expenditures, which may be one reason that flat-rate pricing is very common in the vacation industry (cruise ships, all-inclusive travel packages, and so on). It also offers what economists call option value: you may never watch those sixty other channels, but the fact that you could if you wanted to is worth something.

    •  More, from Yglesias (29+ / 0-)

      1-26-2013:

      Say you pay $60 a month for your cable package. Lots of channels come with the package, but you really only watch MSNBC, the Food Network, SyFy, Bravo, and USA. Sure, every once in a while you flip to Fox to see hilarious conservative coverage of Obama speaking, and every couple of years you watch a few Olympic events on other cable networks. And perhaps from time to time scrolling the channels you find yourself watching a Law & Order rerun on TNT. And, okay, you've seen a few reality shows here and there on other channels. But if you could keep getting the broadcast networks without needing to futz with an antenna and watch MSNBC, the Food Network, SyFy, Bravo, and USA you'd be happy. So why can't you ditch the sports networks and get a discount?

      Well, because the hypothesis here is that you're already paying $60 a month for a cable package that really only offers five channels you watch. You would rather have access to those five channels than have $60. So since those channels are worth $60 to you, even if unbundling happens your cable provider is going to find a way to charge you approximately $60 for them. Because at the end of the day, you're paying your cable provider for access to the channels you do watch—not for access to the channels you don't watch. The channels you don't watch are just there. If the channels you do watch are worth $60 to you, then $60 is what you'll pay for them.

      What would change the game here isn't unbundling, it's competition. If a typical neighborhood was served by a dozen different cable providers, then consumers could get a much better deal. But that's the problem with the telecom market—there's very little competition, so you end up getting screwed. But the bundling isn't what's screwing you.

      •  I concur (12+ / 0-)

        Sadly, all the evidence I've seen suggests that the end result would be that each channel would be more expensive, and that we'd end up narrowing our choices without actually getting any price break. It would also make it much harder to get new channels off the ground, if they had to immediately get people to sign up for them.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Thu May 09, 2013 at 09:54:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe but (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nellgwen, Miggles, bryduck

          if it were to go a la carte - there is only so much the market could / would pay - at such point there are diminishing returns.  Advertisers pay for viewers - if you don't have the numbers - you can't charge big $$$ for ad time.

          When Monday Night Football was moved from ABC to sister ESPN on cable was that ESPN had two revenue streams (ad and subscriber) where ABC only had ad.

          I could turn ALL TV to pay TV - who knows.

          I think small networks would still do OK - a la carte would kill of a bunch of channels - but ones that aren't sustainable.  

          The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

          by ctexrep on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:23:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Again, this is nonsense (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mariva
          It would also make it much harder to get new channels off the ground, if they had to immediately get people to sign up for them.
          When I had a c-band satellite system (big dish), I was able to subscribe to individual channels on an a la carte basis.  When new channels became available, they would be offered free of cost for a limited period (six months to a year, typically) to allow me to sample that channel.  At the end of the free period, the channel would start charging and I would decide whether to pay for it or let that channel go blank.

          No reason why the same system couldn't work today.

          Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

          by TexasTom on Thu May 09, 2013 at 12:34:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  But wouldn't they open themselves up to new (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        webranding, nellgwen

        customers?  I noted elsewhere that my husband and I don't have any TV service at all, just the cable modem (which we pay more for because we don't have cable).  We will never buy a cable package, but we would probably buy access to a channel or two (SciFi comes to mind) if it was $10 a month or something and we didn't have to deal with all the other stuff.

        The Girl Who Loved Stories
        I’m a feminist because the message is still "don’t get raped" not "don’t rape"

        by Avilyn on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:03:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, this. (6+ / 0-)

        We've already shown we're willing to pay the all-in rate for the channels we want.  If we de-bundle, operators will find a way to get that same rate for the handful we do want.  And the bundling allows networks like BET, Lifetime, and History to grow and get off the ground.

        You couldn't load a pistol with dormitive virtue and shoot it into a breakfast-roll - CS Peirce

        by Mr Raymond Luxury Yacht on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:05:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Competition! Yes, please. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nellgwen, mathGuyNTulsa

        This is so true... one cable company to choose from. Well or you can go satellite. Either one costs a ridiculous amount per month to get a decent selection. I really don't miss it much. Paying for commercial-free content via iTunes and truly paying only for what you watch and nothing else really is best for people who don't consume a lot of TV.

      •  I appreciate the analysis, but I foresee the day (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mariva

        when, for example, you have just the networks you want a la carte, and then you go to the Internet for anything like what you just described - the Faux Noise lies, the occasional other channel, and your provider may just bill you on a per-episode basis, like after 5 minutes you're charged a buck like an iTunes selection that you purchase after you test a song for a few seconds.

        Commercials will probably be an option as well - pay something to have the content without commercials or pay nothing or a slight amount if you have the commercials transmitted.

        TV and watching patterns won't stay the same way they are now, but I'd be happy to have the option of unbundling.  I'd probably also watch less because currently I do channel surf and if I have less chance of finding an old episode, I'm more likely to turn off the box or come here to DKos for entertainment.

        •  What you're (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ColoTim, nellgwen, mariva

          describing is the internet and it's because it's a natural fit.  Most cable technology recently has been to make it more internet like with on demand and various bandwidth saving techs becoming commonplace.  That's where the focus should be, getting more content available there through subscriptions on websites rather than through a cable provider.

      •  People don't realize price is set by value. (4+ / 0-)

        If you value 5 channels for $60 you'll pay for it whether it is in a bundle or not.

        The first rule of government should be "Do no harm." The urge to act can frustrate the desire to help.

        by Common Cents on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:30:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The Inernet (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lady Libertine, nellgwen, Miggles, mariva

        What this will do is speed the inevitable transition from the 24-day programming paradigm of TV to the truly a la carte situation of the Internet.

        Once you start people getting used to picking individual stations, they begin to see the value of picking individual shows.

        •  No - there is always going to be a market (0+ / 0-)

          for packaged programming delivered to the consumer.  Not everyone wants to think that much about or try that hard to get their entertainment.  Some people do, but a whole lot of people don't.  

          As to the notion that live streaming over the internet is going to be some sort of almost universal mode of content consumption, there is not enough bandwidth even in the good markets to support that option at this point.

          •  I bet you there won't be (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mariva

            give people a start screen with a search bar, let them find what exactly they want to watch.

            It's why Netflix is exploding, and with original content being created by Amazon and Netflix, the relevance of broadcasters is diminishing by the day.

            Their trump card is sports. If the leagues go direct to consumer, it's over for the broadcasters and cable. It won't happen overnight, but the current slow-bleed will become a torrent.

            •  Back in the early 90s when I tried to (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mariva, schnecke21

              start a cable channel and on demand, pay-per-view and video stores were all hot commodities, there was much talk in the cable industry that cable would be dead within 10 years.

              Here we all are 20 years later having the same conversation.  While there are certain times where self programming is definitely the model for consumption and certain people don't want or need programmed channels - the reality is that the majority of people aren't willing to do that much work.

              Here's an example:  I don't read 20 political blogs a day, for instance.  I come here where there are a variety of topics and a fair amount of content and sometimes I go to a few others - but that's usually when I'm looking for something that hasn't been covered here.  It is your "programming" that makes this blog attractive to me.

              Some days I listen to music that I've selected and programmed and other times I want someone else to entertain me.

              I argued that cable was not dead 20 years ago and stand by the same assertion today.  It isn't that things haven't changed, but they actually haven't changed that much.  

              Finally, for the real switch over to the internet a la carte model to happen if people want to watch anything other than reruns, there has to be a way for producers of content to make money - and that's still a shaky model at best.

              ...AND we have to get really high-speed and robust bandwidth that could handle the live streaming traffic that switch would represent into far more households in this country than is currently available.  We don't have that now.

              Even then, you'd end up with more successful outlets on the internet offering a programming line ups - because people don't want to have to think all the time.  It is just human nature.

      •  Almost everyone has 2 or 3 options already (0+ / 0-)

        ... at least.  Even if they don't cut the cord, almost everyone has the option of one cable company and DirecTV and/or Dish.  

        Not everyone has the additional options of U-Verse or FiOS, but some do and more will within a few years.

        In my neighborhood, FiOS isn't an option yet, but the choices are TWC, DirecTV, Dish, and U-Verse.  

        Why not have a system where all of those providers offer the alternative of subscribing to channels either unbundled or bundled with other channels, and then let the marketplace sort it out.  It won't be perfect, but it will be better.

        Please help to fight hunger with a donation to Feeding America.

        by MJB on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:52:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Right. (8+ / 0-)

      As much as we all hate having to pay for the whole package when we only watch a handful of channels, the likelihood is high that one or more of your favorite channels wouldn't survive if it had to work in an a la carte format due to low viewership.

      File under "Be careful what you ask for..."

      •  Yeahbut (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nellgwen, mariva

        Tech TV was great. It got bought and dumbed down into G4 TV. Now G4 is pretty much going away.

        But I can get all the content (if not the exact shows) that I want from TWIT, Revision3, and other podcast/YouTube networks.

        Being forced to find other distribution and funding might help some of these channels keep their focus. That way things like the Learning Channel won't have to air Honey Boo Boo and Sarah Palin's Alaska and SyFy won't hafve to resort to pro wrestling.

        While we're wishing, I'd love to be able to pay the BBC license fee as an American and stream all their content from the web.

        "Don't be defeatist, dear. It's very middle class." - Violet Crawley

        by nightsweat on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:26:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Not any more. The barriers to broadcast (0+ / 0-)

        these days are hardly more than having a youtube acount and creating a channel.

    •  Just when I was ready to praise Sen. McCain. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Angie in WA State, Aspe4, mariva

      Thanks a lot, Buzz Killington.

      How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

      by BenderRodriguez on Thu May 09, 2013 at 09:53:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Kudos for posting this. (6+ / 0-)

      There is a reason bundling has survived so long.

      The first rule of government should be "Do no harm." The urge to act can frustrate the desire to help.

      by Common Cents on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:28:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not convinced of this analysis. Prices on (0+ / 0-)

      iTunes for shows airing right now (this season) run a buck or two.  A person could probably pay for and download a month's worth of entertainment for less than their cable bill.  So the question is if itunes or hulu can do this, why can't the cable companies?  

    •  Nothing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mariva

      would prevent cable operators from continuing to offer bundles. But if the a la carte pricing gets too expensive, then people can continue cutting.

      Right now, we have no choice because the cable operators have no choice -- if they want to offer ESPN, they have to offer ABC Family. Shit like that. Give people a choice, then everyone benefits.

      The stuff about subscriptions growing is wrong. Follow the link I offered -- cord cutters are far outpacing new subscribers.

      •  Or ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mariva

        ... they'll just charge you $60/month for ESPN, and Disney will use that to subsidize ABC Family.  Since you're already paying $120/month even though you may only watch 6-10 channels, they will charge you $120/month for just those channels.

        Yes, cord-cutting is increasing, but as long as you need live sports, you're not cutting.

        •  Let them try... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mariva

          If Disney can get people to pay $60/month for ESPN, I have no problem with that.  

          But, realistically, they would end up with so few subscribers that they would have to relent and drop the price to a level that people would be willing to pay.  

          A la carte gives transparency to the market that is missing right now -- knowing how much each individual channel is costing is valuable information for the viewer who would like to take control of his viewing...and his cable/satellite bill.

          Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

          by TexasTom on Thu May 09, 2013 at 12:39:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Sorry, but this is nonsense (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mariva

      Right now, the contracts that providers sign with the networks prevent them from unbundling and offering a la carte service.  So if, say, DISH, wished to compete by offering a la carte service, they are precluded from doing so by the handful of companies that own all of the major cable networks.

      The other weakness with this anti-a la carte argument is that it assumes that costs are static, which is just not the case.  While some costs are fixed, many are not -- notably, the rights fees that are paid for sporting events can go up or down.  If an a la carte world reduces revenue for sports networks substantially, one might reasonably expect that the rights fees paid to the sporting leagues would eventually drop.  Somehow, a la carte opponents always want to act like this won't happen, and that the same fixed costs would be spread amongst fewer viewers.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Thu May 09, 2013 at 12:31:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Let me pay for ESPN (4+ / 0-)

    and the assorted sports neworks (NFL, NBA), AMC (Madmen) and the news networks and leave me be.  

    I don't care about over half the networks I am being forced to purchase.

  •  It is highly unlikely that this kind of (15+ / 0-)

    bill - especially in this corporate-friendly Congress - will reduce what people pay for cable service.  It is much more likely that it will only reduce what people get in terms of channel selection for about the same cost.

    So... If you want to pay about the same amount for five or ten channels instead of 100, then have at it.  OR if you want to pay per view everything you watch, then there's that possibility, too.

    •  True, but, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ColoTim, nellgwen, Miggles

      I like the idea of the ability to play musical chairs and possibly get HBO included without paying a lot more by cutting back on a lot of junk I don't use.

      I guess whether that will even be possible remains to be seen.

      •  Not possible. (4+ / 0-)

        The one and only reason that I could argue in favor of the a la carte model would be that I could remove the religious and shopping networks in my package - but even that is just because I'd want to take a political stand - it would not end up being economically beneficial to consumers.

        Also consider the source - John McCain is never operating in the best interest of the consumer.

        •  You can remove them from the menu (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          inclusiveheart

          even now. At least you won't see them as you scroll through.

          I never liked you and I always will.

          by Ray Blake on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:35:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not on my older cable boxes. (0+ / 0-)

            But I don't look through the entire list of channels very often.  It takes way too long and like everyone else around her says, I too find little to watch even when I do.

            •  Your cable co. won't swap you new ones? (0+ / 0-)

              I've cut my viewable menu down to only the channels I would consider watching, which is about a dozen. Of course, you can also just do a favorites list.

              I never liked you and I always will.

              by Ray Blake on Thu May 09, 2013 at 12:35:12 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I have a favorites list. (0+ / 0-)

                My desire to rid my channel list of the religious channels and the shopping networks is about actively rejecting those channels in a way that is recorded by the industry; not about whether or not I have to surf through them or see them on the general listings.

                In the old days before there were favorites lists, I would set them up to be blocked with the function meant to allow parents to shield their kids from programming they didn't want them to see.  I don't bother to do that now because I don't have to and because it isn't being tracked by the cable company - if they were recording that data, I'd totally be blocking all of those channels just to send my personal political message.

    •  Agree 1000%. Nothing good will come of this, (2+ / 0-)

      even though it makes perfect sense that we should see a dramatic decrease in charges.

      Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. -Martin Luther

      by the fan man on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:21:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It makes sense if all channels were (7+ / 0-)

        equally weighted and valued, but they aren't.

        Channels like ESPN would cost a lot more than people would ever imagine while other channels just wouldn't be able to set prices in such a way that they would make enough money to survive.  It would ultimately lead to a contraction of choices in cable offerings overall and likely result in pretty extreme consolidation by category - and push a lot of content exclusively into the on demand category.

        •  Agreed and those on demand prices will not be (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          inclusiveheart

          cheap. Some channels however, may emerge from the internet to find a low rent home on cable. I've been following some very creative people on Youtube, might make sense to move them to cable, might.

          Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. -Martin Luther

          by the fan man on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:06:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not enough bandwidth in the (0+ / 0-)

            country even in good markets to support that kind of potential internet traffic.

            I was watching the Oscars pre show at my parent's house last year and between the local internet service being poor in that area and the Oscars IT production not being robust enough to handle the hits they were getting, we completely gave up.

      •  Yeah, right. Like the corporations are going to (0+ / 0-)

        roll over and surrender their herds of cash cows. The ones where they've had a functioning cartel for years...

        "Gun violence places a tremendous burden on America's health care system. Direct medical costs for gunshot wounds total more than six million dollars a day." - The Violence Policy Center

        by Beastly Fool on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:58:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I like going to the store (6+ / 0-)

    and having things put into my cart by the grocer that I never wanted .
    I like going to restaurants
    and having dishes I never wanted or ordered put on the table .
    I like getting my bank statement
    and finding all sorts of fees from the bank for things I don't want or understand .
    I miss the good old days when I would get 8 tracks
    from the music club ...

    Drop the name-calling MB 2/4/11 + Please try to use ratings properly! Kos 9/9/11 + Trusted Users have a responsibility to police the general tenor... Hunter 5/26/06

    by indycam on Thu May 09, 2013 at 09:32:15 AM PDT

    •  You utterly miss the point. (10+ / 0-)

      When you go to a supermarket, part of what you're paying for is for everything to be available, regardless of whether you need it that day.

      •  Then why is it that the thing I want (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nellgwen

        is no longer available ?
        If I'm paying for  

        everything to be available
        why is it that the thing I bought many times in the past
        is no longer available ?

        So I as a veggie , part of what I am paying for is meat "to be available, regardless of whether you need it that day" ?

        When the supermarket puts meat in my shopping cart ...
        Or charges me to support the meat department when I buy veggie ?

        Drop the name-calling MB 2/4/11 + Please try to use ratings properly! Kos 9/9/11 + Trusted Users have a responsibility to police the general tenor... Hunter 5/26/06

        by indycam on Thu May 09, 2013 at 09:54:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Overhead costs. (12+ / 0-)

          You really think that, having proven you're willing to spend $150 when you only watch five channels, that the cable companies won't offer you those five channels only and still charge you $150?

          The issue is local cable monopolies, not bundling.

          •  Did you accidentally post your comment (0+ / 0-)

            in the wrong place ?

            If a store has ten different items for sale ,
            do they all cover the overhead of each other ?

            If each item costs $1
            how much is the support of the other items in that dollar price ?

            My understanding is ,
            if an item does not pay for the self space it takes up ,
            it has to go .

             

            Drop the name-calling MB 2/4/11 + Please try to use ratings properly! Kos 9/9/11 + Trusted Users have a responsibility to police the general tenor... Hunter 5/26/06

            by indycam on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:05:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  If I go into a store to buy an orange (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nellgwen, Miggles

            I don't care if I bought $100.00 worth of food last time ,
            I expect that I will be charged just for the one orange this time .
            If the grocer says I need to spend $100 this time because that's what I spent last time and fills up my basket with items I don't want ...

            Drop the name-calling MB 2/4/11 + Please try to use ratings properly! Kos 9/9/11 + Trusted Users have a responsibility to police the general tenor... Hunter 5/26/06

            by indycam on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:20:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You're missing (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              nellgwen, Adam B, Wednesday Bizzare, Aspe4

              his analogy.  He's saying you're buying $100 worth of groceries that you won't use and will discard in the trash because all you want is the orange.

              •  That's not what he is saying . (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Miggles
                that the cable companies won't offer you those five channels only and still charge you $150?
                He is saying that if I buy only an orange the store is going to charge me for everything else that I bought in the past because I payed for everything before .

                The store might want to play it that way ,
                and that is the problem .

                If I walk into a store to buy an orange ,
                I should only be charged for the orange .
                The store should not be allowed to put into my cart
                anything .
                They should not be allowed to toss into my cart
                everything they want me to buy .

                Drop the name-calling MB 2/4/11 + Please try to use ratings properly! Kos 9/9/11 + Trusted Users have a responsibility to police the general tenor... Hunter 5/26/06

                by indycam on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:09:17 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Because you go (3+ / 0-)

          to Trader Joe's and they have a habit of getting rid of the things you like?  Or at least they do that to me.  

          Where is the XYZ?  

          Oh we don't have that any more.

          Dang!  I really liked that.

          Yes, it was really good.

          Hrmmff...

          "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

          by newfie on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:04:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There are several things (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nellgwen

            at several stores ,
            that are no more .

            I've looked for them online ,
            I can buy in bulk and have them shipped to me .

            There is an item
            that just seems to have vanished altogether .

            I went to the store managers and asked ,
            he had to go to the self to see if I was telling him the truth about the item having gone missing .
            He didn't know he no longer had it for sale .

            Drop the name-calling MB 2/4/11 + Please try to use ratings properly! Kos 9/9/11 + Trusted Users have a responsibility to police the general tenor... Hunter 5/26/06

            by indycam on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:11:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  It's like the tax system (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nellgwen

          some pay / some don't - we all live here.

          We have to pay for firefighters even when they're not fighting fires.......

          A garage is always more expensive than the backyard mechanic - because the garage has to pay for insurance, facilities, phones etc.  Nothing against the backyard guy - he's a good mechanic but it's apples to oranges.  Laws and regulations don't like the backyard guy - too hard to control - for that reason - I don't think McCain will prevail.

          The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

          by ctexrep on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:32:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  We are in different fields . (0+ / 0-)

        I only charge for completed , successfully completed jobs .
        I don't work on retainer , I don't charge for talking about , I don't charge for jobs that don't work out .

        I can work for hours and hours on something ,
        if it doesn't work as it should when I am done ,
        there is no charge .

        How does it work in your field ?

        Drop the name-calling MB 2/4/11 + Please try to use ratings properly! Kos 9/9/11 + Trusted Users have a responsibility to police the general tenor... Hunter 5/26/06

        by indycam on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:01:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It depends (0+ / 0-)

          Some clients pay me hourly; some pay me a flat monthly fee regardless of how much they use me.

          sviscusi said it best above: in cable, you're already paying $100 for a bag of groceries while only eating the orange; why won't they charge you $100 just for the orange?

          •  So I go into the market to buy only an orange (0+ / 0-)

            and the seller wants me to by an orange for $100 ?
            You are asking me why would they not ask for $100 ?
            Is that really a question ?

            If you went to the store to buy an orange
            right now today , and the sales person asked
            you for 100 dollars , what would you say ?

            Some clients pay me hourly; some pay me a flat monthly fee regardless of how much they use me.
            I had a boss , he would charge for a complete rebuild if he only changed the batteries .
            When I had my own shop , I would tell the customer that there was nothing wrong , nothing to fix , that they just needed to go to longs and get some new batteries ,
            Different ways to do business .
            Different ideas about right and wrong .

            I've taken things to get a quote only to be told that the quote will cost me money . A quote taken out of a book .
            I never charged for a quote . And I stuck to my quotes .
            If I screwed up the quote in their favor  , I stuck to the quote . If I screwed up the quote in my favor , I charged them less when they came to pick up .
            Different ideas about right and wrong .

            Drop the name-calling MB 2/4/11 + Please try to use ratings properly! Kos 9/9/11 + Trusted Users have a responsibility to police the general tenor... Hunter 5/26/06

            by indycam on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:26:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  One Problem With the Grocery Store Analogy (0+ / 0-)

            is that the store tells you the price of all products, including the orange. Cable companies don't tell you the price of individual channels, except for the premium ones.

            "The problem with posting quotes off the Internet is you never know if they're genuine."--Gen. George Washington at the Battle of Gettysburg, February 30, 1908

            by Aspe4 on Thu May 09, 2013 at 12:09:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Will the lobbyists actually let this happen? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, mattc129, nellgwen

    The reason why cable companies don't want to move to a la carte is that they stand to lose billions, because by bundling the popular cable channels with other garbage, they are able to charge you tons of money because consumers have been willing to pay up.

    Now, that's changing as people just drop cable altogether.  MLB actually does offer games online already, and it's a great deal for the whole season.

    Though, don't think this will save you tons and tons of money per month.  Cable companies will just charge you $10/month for ESPN, $5/month for each of the 4 major networks, etc. etc., so that your bill will probably end up pretty much the same anyway.

    It is done. Four More Years.

    by mconvente on Thu May 09, 2013 at 09:34:37 AM PDT

    •  That last paragraph. Again. (8+ / 0-)

      You've already proven you're willing to pay $X for the channels you do watch, even though others are available. Why won't they bill you that same amount while not making the other channels available?

      •  Yup. If anything, it will SAVE cable companies $$ (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Adam B, mattc129, nellgwen, bryduck

        They now will have no reason to pay 50 cents per subscriber per month, or whatever the fees are, to universally carry a network's shitty channel.

        I honestly can't understand why cable companies wouldn't be for something like this.  Unless they are afraid it changes the model so drastically that eventually it will lead to people not wanting cable at all, which then will cost companies money.

        It is done. Four More Years.

        by mconvente on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:01:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  True (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mconvente, nellgwen

          Most money you pay to the cable or satellite company goes directly to the program providers - the TV stations.  They'll still get their fees for derlivering the sevice to your house even if it's only six channels.

          They big cable companies make most of their money now from internet and telephone - that money all goes into their pockets.

        •  No, it will kill them (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Nowhere Man, nellgwen, Miggles

          Streaming online will ultimately be the death of cable - it's just a matter of when.  They can't lose control - even though this particular bill won't kill them - it's a push down the Highway to Hell.

          Once "Disney" can stream directly to customers - they will.

          ABC - $.
          ESPN - $
          .**
          etc.

          They will offer a-la-carte or then they can offer you the "Disney Package" which would be a discounted total.

          Cable companies where a necessary middle man for years because they provided the "hardware" to get the programming to the home.

          The internet - which is free - is now the "hardware".  Customers have their own "boxes" (their computers) and pay for the circuit (ISP) - all Disney has to provide is content - it's all they provide now - except through the cable / sat middleman.  

          This will mean more revenue for Disney - less for Cablevision.  AT&T and Verizon have strong positions since they are using their ISP as a middleman service which basically, won't be necessary if / when the content providers go direct....but at least Verizon and AT&T will still have the ISP business.

          The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

          by ctexrep on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:43:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't think that it would kill them. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bryduck

            It would, however, represent a pretty dramatic upheaval in how they do business with the content providers and consumers - so that would mean a lot costly of adjustments from consumer billing on up to channel licensing deals - all of which would cost a lot of money - and all of which cable customers would ultimately have to pay for.

        •  Cable Cos know the make money doing what they (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mconvente

          do today.  They have also built their cost structure on the current revenue model.

          New rules bring the uncertainty that they will make less or even lose money.

          The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

          by nextstep on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:25:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  It's a pain for them (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mconvente

          technically, it's going to be a lot harder to just allow certain people certain channels.

          Right now, they just throw everything at you and your cable box makes the distinction. There are few options - you get this group, or this group + x, or this group + y.  It checks your account and you get x, y, or z.

          Allowing ala carte would mean that they'd have to do a lot more on the back end to make sure that you got the right grouping of channels. It's possible, but would require more setup all the way around.

      •  That could be ok (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nellgwen, Miggles

        We dropped DirecTV a few years ago because of the expense and the annoyance of having to sort through hundreds of channels of garbage, trying to find something worth watching, while often not succeeding. There are a few shows we watch, and I am willing to pay for the content I want to see. Right now we buy about four TV series on iTunes to watch whenever we want, commercial free.

        This way we are paying far, far less per year than we did with a monthly bill to watch the same few shows. But it's not as easy (or reliable) as having cable and a DVR, and you have to be much more proactive in searching out new stuff that may be worthwhile. So I think I would be happy to pay about the same amount we're currently paying to get just the few channels on cable. I really disliked those extra hundreds of uwatched channels cluttering up my menus. I think the pay-for-what-you-want model would be an improvement. But not if it still costs a hundred dollars a month to get 5 channels. That would mean sticking with iTunes and Netflix.

      •  That is probably the way it would go. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mmacdDE

        But it is also true that you could see people subscribing to more channels individually.  So if I pay $60 currently I may be still willing to pay the same $60 for a selected grouping that includes channels I don't have already.  The benefit to me - I don't have to set up favorites to ignore the 90% of the channels I will never watch.  And I probably will sacrifice a whole slew of channels for one that I don't have but would really like on it's own.

        That said, I am seeing more options today than previously.  I think I can add HBO alone - where I used to have to jump up in service and include others (I think).  But as it is I won't add HBO to the cost of my bundle.  I would probably sacrifice more than 1/2 my current channels to obtain HBO for the same price.

         I think requiring cable companies to go a la carte is not a great idea.  Ensuring that there is competition that will do the same thing.  With competition you will get a la carte.  And if I am comfortable spending $60 I will probably pick and choose my channels to get to that $60.  But if I want vast array of choice to satisfy my surfing needs then I can bundle and "save" on a price per channel basis.

        "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

        by newfie on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:21:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Another big factor is who creates the content (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nellgwen, newfie

          I think that is the biggest impediment to a la carte programming in the short and long term.

          Content creators are the networks, and they are more than happy with the current system.  And they also hold all the leverage because they are creating the popular shows that customers demand.

          This is why you're seeing Netflix produce their own shows now, with House of Cards and picking up Arrested Development.  They are becoming their own content creator and giving subscribers a reason to keep subscribing even when costs go up because the networks are fucking them over with exorbitant license fees and all.

          If the networks were smart and innovative the past decade (and really 5 years), they would have all done their own streaming service so that you can watch their own shows a la carte.  But they must not have thought the market was there, which is why they all licensed TV shows and movies to netflix for dirt cheap in netflix's infancy.

          Well, oops.

          It is done. Four More Years.

          by mconvente on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:29:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Would it work to have an a la carte bundle? (3+ / 0-)

        The biggest complaint I have is that there aren't enough choices in the bundles they offer, either in size or mix of channels - you are offered $XX for 13 channels, not including your favorite local sports team, or you have to pay $XXX for 250 channels including your sports team, plus way too much other garbage you couldn't care less about.  There is no package in between too few and way too much, and you don't get to choose which channels are in your package.  

        What if there was an a la carte bundle you could build according to your price point and preferences?  A "basket" of a certain size, which you can fill up with whatever you want.  So I could choose a 13-channel, 25-channel, 60-channel, 150-channel package, or whatever level I am willing to pay for, and then I can fill up my package with whatever channels I want, instead of a set list. Different channels could be weighted according to their expense.  So maybe in the 13-channel package you get five expensive channels of your choice, five medium-expense, and 3 startup channels. Seems like this would cover the expensive ESPNs of the world, and also leave room for new channels to build a viewership.

        “No, Governor Romney, corporations are not people.” ~ my new Senator Elizabeth Warren

        by Domestic Elf on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:37:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Cable Companies WilL Find a Way to Make (0+ / 0-)

      you pay the same amount, or more, for a la carte channels. Ultimately they can't make you pay anything if you "cut the cord." As Adam B stated before, consumers need competition to lower prices, not a la carte. Under a la carte most telecoms keep their market power unless substantial numbers of people are willing  to subscribe to satellite or stop watching cable. Right now not enough people are willing to walk away from the cable companies.

      "The problem with posting quotes off the Internet is you never know if they're genuine."--Gen. George Washington at the Battle of Gettysburg, February 30, 1908

      by Aspe4 on Thu May 09, 2013 at 12:13:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Norway Is Doing Something Really "Neat" (9+ / 0-)

    They wanted their telecom companies to start to wire fiber directly into homes. They told them they'd give the firms a huge tax credit for each house wired. But the catch, they had to open up the fiber to anybody that might want to offer a competing service. Just basically a win win.

    Now I should write about this more, but my little rural town got a $750,000 Federal grant to wire my town with fiber. Just built a backbone out and wired every public building (schools, library, post office, City Hall).

    The law suits are about to start, cause my town wants to wire fiber into every household and offer free Wifi and paid Internet access.

    The cable company and Verizon not so happy about this.

    •  Similar things have happened here. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nellgwen

      I think with DSL?  When DSL was expanding, major companies got tax benefits for expanding the system, but had to make their facilities open to competitors, I believe.  I'm sure I'm not getting the details exactly right, but compulsory access has been done here before.

  •  Forget a la carte cable (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sviscusi, Miggles

    Drive them all to IPTV,

    Except for sports and the occasional news event, who cares about simultaneity?

    "Don't be defeatist, dear. It's very middle class." - Violet Crawley

    by nightsweat on Thu May 09, 2013 at 09:35:50 AM PDT

  •  Yeah for a la carte. (4+ / 0-)

    I've read a couple of articles suggesting some of the biggest proponents of bundling are the religious networks, who worry that people wouldn't pay to watch them.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Thu May 09, 2013 at 09:36:51 AM PDT

  •  Didn't he try this a few years ago? (6+ / 0-)

    Obviously it went nowhere.

    I've got a much better idea. Do to the cable companies what was done to Ma Bell. Make the cable lines public and allow telecom companies to compete for business. It would create the conditions for lower prices and better service.

    It's time for the cable monopolies to go.

    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

    by HairyTrueMan on Thu May 09, 2013 at 09:39:12 AM PDT

    •  I Mentioned Norway Is Doing That (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elfling, HairyTrueMan, ColoTim, mconvente

      They said to their telecom companies we'll give you a huge tax credit if you wire fiber directly into homes, but to get it you have to allow open access to said lines.

      I look at what Google is doing in Kansas. Wired an entire town with fiber in months. Offering 100GB a second Internet connections and cable TV for a fraction of what I pay.

      I mean it is possible.

      •  Even right wingers would support subsidies... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mconvente, nellgwen

        that improve their cable and internet service while reducing the costs. And perhaps some blue-collar jobs would be created too.

        I wonder why the issue isn't important to either major political party???

        If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

        by HairyTrueMan on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:09:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Look At What Google Is Doing (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HairyTrueMan, mconvente, mmacdDE

          With their "Fiber" project:

          https://fiber.google.com/...

          It just hurts my head. Things are possible. We got a huge Federal grant in my town of 8,700 folks and wired every public building (32 of them -- who knew) with fiber in two months.

          We now want to wire every business and home. We figure maybe folks would want to move here or open a business since nobody around me offers that.

        •  Probably because there's too much (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nellgwen, mmacdDE, HairyTrueMan, gmats

          money to be made under the status quo.

          We need a national broadband initiative though, the way we got rural electrification back in the old days. (And while we're digging up the ground to install fiber, why not also go ahead and underground the electrical grid so that there's less disruption during major storms or other disasters?

          There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

          by Cali Scribe on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:55:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Yes. If (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nellgwen

      you didn't have to get re-cabled every time you were seeking a new provider it would be nice.

      "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

      by newfie on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:23:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There are no other providers in my area. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nellgwen

        Time Warner is the only show in town. And that includes high-speed internet. What I would like to see is the telecoms divorced from the utility cables. Make TWC, Charter, Cox, Verizon and any number of other companies compete for my business.

        I have a cable box that uses archaic technology in my living room. My smart phone has exponentially more computing power and doesn't heat up to 130 degrees. And of course my saved shows are stored locally in my cable box. Why hasn't TWC discovered the concept of cloud computing? Why does it take 10 seconds for my cable box to respond to my remote and why do I have to stand directly in front of the box for it to work at all.

        Why does it take 30 minutes to reach a representative when I call TWC to complain about a (frequent) problem with my service? Why does it take three weeks to get a repairman to come to my house?

        I would choose a provider who did not have these problems if I had a choice.

        If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

        by HairyTrueMan on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:42:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wow, my Comcast box (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HairyTrueMan

          is way better than that; I need to find out if we'll have to upgrade the box if we upgrade to HD because I've got a lot of DVR backlog to get through if that's the case. And fortunately we do have competition here; AT&T U-verse has been making inroads. I prefer the Comcast high-speed to AT&T (have some friends who've been switching back) and the packages are more attractive for what I want with Comcast, but with the option out there Comcast has been offering a lot of specials, even for long-time subscribers. (I just wish they'd stop pushing the digital voice; we're happy with our current landline phone and I worry about having all our technological eggs in one basket.)

          There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

          by Cali Scribe on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:00:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You sound like me (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gmats

            I don't want my cable to be all things. Nor do I want my phone line to be all things.

            I have phone and internet from Verizon, and TV from Comcast. It probably costs more, but if the cable goes out I still have internet and if the internet goes out (and it NEVER does, all of Verizon's infrastructure here is underground now) I can still watch TV.

  •  Great! $100 a month for crap (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    webranding, nellgwen

    I'm paying a $100 a month for the privilege of watching like 3 channels (maybe a few more too).  Unfortunately, those three channels are really important. At one point, tried to drop a 'package', but found out that BBC America was in the package, and our family can't live without Doctor Who.  Then there is MSNBC and Comedy Central.  NFL Network and a few other sports channels are necessary during basketball season.  That is pretty much it.  $100. A. Month.

    The struggle of today, is not altogether for today--it is for a vast future also. - Lincoln

    by estamm on Thu May 09, 2013 at 09:46:59 AM PDT

    •  I Just Looked At My Bill (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Avilyn, nellgwen

      I am paying $18/month to watch Doctor Who. The other channels I get with that "tier" I don't even know where they are :).

      Heck my brother and I had a long conversation about this last week. Via Hulu, Netflix, and iTunes we are going to see if we can ditch our cable.

      •  It's easy enough to do (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lady Libertine, nellgwen

        We haven't had any TV service since 2002.  Don't miss it.  Netflix gets the one or two shows we'd be interested in eventually, and other stuff, like the Daily Show, can be streamed online.  I use video podcasts for Rachel Maddow, and I'm set.

        The part that really cheeses me off is where they charge us more for our cable modem because we don't get TV service.  Would love to see the bill address that.

        The Girl Who Loved Stories
        I’m a feminist because the message is still "don’t get raped" not "don’t rape"

        by Avilyn on Thu May 09, 2013 at 09:59:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You should drop (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        webranding, scyellowdogdem, nellgwen

        the tier and just get it online or when it comes to discs.  I did that with HBO and Showtime.  Saved $20 a month and all I have to do is buy Game of Thrones and Dexter when it comes to BluRay.

        •  Been Thinking About That (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sviscusi, mconvente, nellgwen

          I like to joke I live my movie life nine months behind. I NEVER go to see a movie. I mean why pay $10 to see a movie when I can wait a few months and pay $19.99 and own the darn thing?

          •  I'm the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nellgwen

            same way.  With Netflix, bluray, and affordable hdtvs there is no reason in the world for me to to go to a theater and spend the money per ticket plus drinks and snacks, when I can rent the movies I'm interested in, buy the movies I love and watch them all at good quality from the comfort of home.

            I think ironically dvrs are what did that to me.  I have a tendency to watch tv in blocks, letting a bunch of episodes cue up, then watching them all at once.  The natural extension was to get the discs which have the benefit of coming with extra features.

        •  Did the same thing with Homeland (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          webranding

          I wasn't going to pay for premium Showtime, and I did have to avoid spoilers during the regular season.  But it was great being able to watch the whole first season whenever I wanted.  Waiting 'til August for the second to hit DVD. (I also watched the entire Sopranos series in a few months on dvd - great experience again).

          Never argue with stupid people. They will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience. (attributed to) Greg King

          by scyellowdogdem on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:27:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There Is Something Very Enjoyable About That (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nellgwen

            I am 43. Never had cable until just a few years ago. I often would just watch the entire series on DVD. Again, something nice about having an entire season, sitting down on a rainy Saturday and just watching hours and hours of it. No commercials.

            Heck a couple of my favorite shows, I let backup on my DVR so I can watch more than one at a time.

    •  You can find most of that for free online (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lady Libertine, mconvente

      You just have to know where to look, have a good connection, and HDMI that laptop to your tv.  

      Done and done.  All the tv shows, all the cable shows, all the sports.  HD for much and all the local channels.

      The symbol for the Republican party shouldn't be an elephant -- it should be a unicorn.

      by Deadicated Marxist on Thu May 09, 2013 at 09:53:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sports (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cali Scribe

        We looked into this at some point in the fairly recent past and sports was the main reason why we felt we couldn't.

        I am not the resident sports expert in our household but isn't there an issue with being able to see the games live, esp local market games?

        •  Should add (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Deadicated Marxist

          I think there are a lot of people for whom this really is not an issue - but the primary consumer of TV in our home happens to be a 12 year old sports fanatic ... so ESPN, CSNBA, MLB Network et al are on heavier rotation than any other channels.

        •  Sports is tricky (2+ / 0-)

          What you can do is subscribe to your favorite sports package thru xbox, ipad, online, etc.

          For instance, mlb.com give the season pass (every game) for $129.  But they offer a free game almost every day.

          If you're really into local sports that aren't on free tv (like seeing every hockey game), then cable might be the only route for you.

          The symbol for the Republican party shouldn't be an elephant -- it should be a unicorn.

          by Deadicated Marxist on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:00:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yep (4+ / 0-)

          This is why the cable companies have me by the scrotum: 75% of what I watch is live sports, and 75% of that is live local sports. If NESN ever starts live streaming, I might be able to dump cable, but I'm not holding my breath, and I got to have my Red Sox and Bruins :).

          In fact, cable is about to tighten its grip on my scrotum. The English Premier League is switching in August from Fox Soccer (which I don't get) and the one measly game a week on ESPN (which I watch religiously) to the various NBC channels, all of which I get. So, now, besides the Red Sox and Bruins, I'll be tethered to my cable by Liverpool :D.

          And, yes, I agree with Adam B's comments above about how a la carte wouldn't work because they'd jack the prices up. One thing he didn't mention is how they spread these things out--and how NBC is going to do the Premier League (and how they currently do the NHL playoffs and especially the Olympics) is a good example. So, you want the soccer. So, you pay 10 bucks for your local NBC affiliate and 10 bucks for NBC Sports Channel. You're all set, right? Not so fast, my friend. Some of the games are going to be on CNBC. Or MSNBC. The NHL playoffs are, right now, using CNBC for some games--and the Olympics uses all those plus USA and Bravo. So, if I don't want to go broke, and Liverpool is on CNBC and NBC Sports is showing Wigan-Newcastle, I'm shit out of luck.

          "Maybe: it's a vicious little word that could slay me"--Sara Bareilles

          by ChurchofBruce on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:27:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I wondered about that too (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ChurchofBruce

            Even not necessarily sports, but now and then some new TV show comes up that I hear about and I will give it a try. Often it will be on a channel I don't watch with any regularity so wouldn't have subscribed to in a debundled situation. Am I going to bother to deal with the cable company to add $5 to my package to get a channel so I can try a TV show I am not sure if I will like or not? Probably not.

          •  We're paying for my brother-in-law's (0+ / 0-)

            cable specifically for soccer; watching it keeps him calm with his mental health issues, and he smokes so much that my lungs wouldn't be able to stand having him over here to watch the games. (He used to be an Arsenal fan, not sure who he's following now -- all I know is that he calls Man U "Man Spew" so that gives you an idea of his opinion of them. ;-) ) (He does watch other sports programming though, like Giants baseball and Warriors basketball; hasn't really gotten into hockey yet but he puts up with Mr. Scribe and I when we talk about it.)

            There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

            by Cali Scribe on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:09:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I really couldn't give up live sports (1+ / 0-)

          especially now with Twitter; I usually spend much of the games I watch at home with my phone or laptop chatting with friends. I have a friend in Sacramento, a friend in Napa, me in the South Bay, and our mutual ex-ballplayer buddy on the Peninsula, and we can all commiserate together when the Giants' bullpen blows another game.

          There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

          by Cali Scribe on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:03:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Its kind of awesome, but you just know... (4+ / 0-)

    that the cable companies will do some nonsense like $20 for 1 channel, or $22 for 14 channels and then state the infrastructure requirements are the same no matter what and that's the bulk of the cost. It would end up being just as costly to have 5 a la carte channels as it would 125 (albeit a lot easier on the remote thumb).

    Whatever, choices are still better than no choices. Let's break up bundling and see where the competition lands.

    •  That's (4+ / 0-)

      exactly what will happen.  Instead of paying $70 we'd pay $20 for the ESPN's, and we'd have choices like paying $5 for USA or $15 for all of the NBC/Comcast channels, the same would go for Time Warner and FX, etc.

      •  Heh (0+ / 0-)

        As I said above, the NBC/Comcast channels have the NHL playoffs, the Olympics, and are about to get the Premier League. That's beyond football and other sports they broadcast. And, for some things--the Olympics especially, but the Premier League might end up being close--they use six channels--NBC, NBC Sports, CNBC, MSNBC. USA, and Bravo. If you got that for 15 bucks, I'd be completely amazed. More like 115 :D

        "Maybe: it's a vicious little word that could slay me"--Sara Bareilles

        by ChurchofBruce on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:31:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Chicago Cubs blackout (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cassandracarolina, nellgwen

    I am a NY Mets fan and when they play the SF Giants whether in NY or SF, they get blacked out.  I hate it.  Doesn't that also apply for the Chicago Cubs games with SF Giants?

    This year I switched from getting the games on the TV to getting them on my computers, iPad and iPhone.  Cheaper in the end.  However, same blackout rules.

    •  Baseball (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PatConnors, nellgwen

      blackout rules are the most annoying thing ever.  I believe every team claims a home area and one can only view those games on something other than the contracted channel if they live outside that area.  

      There was an article somewhere, maybe fangraphs, that showed how ridiculous the rules were and that there was an area out in the mountain region that was claimed by a half dozen teams and because no local carrier any of the channels, was in a virtual permanent blackout.

      Furthermore I believe all games are blacked out on Saturday because of the contract with Fox regardless of whether Fox is carrying the game or not.  I'm also a Met fan and I remember a few years ago a game wasn't broadcast by anyone one saturday because Fox claimed it as one of their regional broadcasts and then ended up showing another game on the east coast.

      •  Fox blackouts (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cali Scribe

        Yeah, I hate that because I live in Sacramento where Fox usually shows SF or other West coast games and I want to watch an East coast game!  Plus, these blackouts happen on computer/iPad.  When you go to look at a game, the first screen you get is the 'checking if blackout area'.

        PS  Being a Mets fan, takes so much patience!

      •  I thought about getting MLB Premium (0+ / 0-)

        this year, but the blackout rules killed me -- I'm not always at home and I'd love to be able to catch an inning or two of Giants or A's on my iPhone when Mr. Scribe and I are out running errands in the car or when we're visiting his mom but can't because of the blackout rule.

        The reason many teams have gone to playing evening games on Saturdays is to get around the "FOX Window" -- FOX has exclusive rights to televise games between, I think, noon and 3pm Pacific so any game that starts in that timeframe that's not on FOX is blacked out. By playing evening games, they get around that restriction so can have their own local broadcasts.

        There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

        by Cali Scribe on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:20:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Huh? Never heard of them (2+ / 0-)
    I'd pay for the four broadcast networks, Syfy, Comedy Central, ESPN, Bein Sports, NBC sports and BBC America. Heck, if it wasn't for sports, I'd ditch the broadcast networks and catch the
    I wonder if they're some long lost relative.
  •  How about doing something about Infomercials? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    webranding, nellgwen

    The reason we got rid of cable was because I was tired of paying for commercials (and extra for HD).

    We live in an urban city, and we have an HD antenna.  On top of that, we have excellent broadband, so we can watch pretty much any tv show or movie or sports whenever we want.  And it only costs about $50 a month for high speed internet.  

    Most people I know pay over $120 a month for tv/internet/home phone.  But the future is moving away from that.

    I can't tell you how many times I'd flip thru the channels only to find infomercials everywhere.  Maybe I stay up late, but what am I paying for exactly if that's mostly all that's on?

    The symbol for the Republican party shouldn't be an elephant -- it should be a unicorn.

    by Deadicated Marxist on Thu May 09, 2013 at 09:52:10 AM PDT

  •  Don't have cable. Never paid for one (except (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, nellgwen, Miggles

    for a couple years, for my aging low-income in-laws in Israel, till my bro-in-law installed and tuned a satellite on their roof).

    Probably never will. Heck, even Netflix alone has cheaper, more plentiful and higher quality TV shows than cable.

    Cable bundling and de-facto monopolies is one of the biggest scams of present-day corporate economy. Basically, the authorities are handing over a money mint to these bastards, at the expense of the part of the public who is not sophisticated or resourceful enough to bypass it.

  •  If you don't think they won't use it .... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elfling, mconvente, nellgwen

    to raise rates - enormously - and that is it not sponsored by the very corporations that own most of those channels, you're dreaming.

    Love is the only answer ... Hate is the root of cancer

    by relayerbob on Thu May 09, 2013 at 09:53:53 AM PDT

  •  At last, something we can all agree on (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein

    Better entertainment options!

    Good grief.

  •  when you have as many houses as McCain does (14+ / 0-)

    those cable fees must really start adding up.  

  •  on the bright side (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein, nellgwen

    if you're a baseball fan, it's probably best that you not watch chicago's teams...

    here in oregon, we directv subscribers just spent a year with no pac 12 network, with negotiations ongoing. and ongoing. and...

    give me hbo, showtime, and a few other movies channels, a few channels for major sports, a couple of french and german channels, and i could dump everything else.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Thu May 09, 2013 at 09:58:40 AM PDT

  •  Interesting. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein, mconvente

    I'm a fan of the a la carte idea, but Adam B brought up a lot of good points of the telecoms pulling off tricks to keep the prices padded to their currently absurdly high costs.

    I don't have cable anymore, and get the internet through my internet hotspot to get to Hulu, YouTube, and NetFlix. The only problem I have is catching sports, but that's what the sports bar is for.

    The Grand Bargain must be stopped at all costs to protect the 99%.

    by cybrestrike on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:05:25 AM PDT

  •  I'm not sure I agree with the idea (0+ / 0-)

    of forcing companies not to bundle channels. If we want to see an end to channel choice, the surest way to do that is to separate them all out.

    If ESPN is pulling the weight for a bunch of other channels, then the only change they will make will be dropping the other channels (which your cable company gets for free/cheap) and leave you paying the same amount but only getting the primary channels.

    •  As a continuation (4+ / 0-)

      If people are only watching the big networks, then the bulk of fees come from the big networks, and dropping the smaller ones isn't going to save you any significant amount of money.

      If you're willing to pay $100 to watch ESPN (and recieve a bunch of extra channels that you never/marginally watch), then the logical solution to the cable company is to give you ESPN for $100 and drop everything else.

      Cable isn't ever going to get cheaper, because people have repeatedly shown that current prices are the ones they're willing to pay.

      •  More like forced to pay (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mconvente

        Cable are regional monopolies. Hell, in NYC where I live, it's neighborhood monopolies! This area in Brooklyn gets Time Warner, that area gets Cablevision, maybe some FIOS overlap.

        I think it goes both ways. We're willing to pay the current fees because there aren't that many other options for a full set of channels. But I do agree with others' comments that the content owners would jack up the prices so high that the effective bill would be the same or just barely under.

    •  I Couldn't Find The Article (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Adam B, nellgwen

      so this is off the top of my head. I am a huge sports guy. But ESPN and the cost you might pay as a non-sports fan for me to get that channel, is mind blowing. Close to 15% of your cable bill.  A few channels, ESPN at the top, are the majority of your cable bill. Channels I like not so much, but I have to pay an arm and a leg to get them.

  •  Why is McCain doing this? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Krush, nellgwen

    of all the senators why McCain? This is out of his forte, seems to me....

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:10:08 AM PDT

  •  I agree 1000%. My cable bill is the second (5+ / 0-)

    highest expense after my rent. Outrageous!!!

    •  You nailed it. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Miggles

      For fuck's sake.  This is relatively ancient technology.  Even satellite TV is two decades old.  Not only is the infrastructure in place, it's been fully amortized for YEARS.

      As for content cost, that's just bullshit, too.

      I don't disagree with AdamB above, about costs staying high no matter whether ala carte or bundled.  But look.  It's trivially easy and inexpensive to put high-speed internet access in every home in the country, and it's fucking absurd that your communications bill (phone/internet/cable/mobile, whatever) winds up costing as much as your health insurance does.

  •  While ala carte (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KellyB, Caipirinha

    sound nice I don't think it'll change prices all that much, just turn every channel and block into a HBO/Cinemax/Showtime type.  

    A better solution would be more tiers or a limited ala carter withing a premium tier ie paying for basic and extended but being able to add a channel from a tier above.

  •  Stuck with satellite in my rural area (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    webranding, a2nite, nellgwen

    and only Direct TV will work. Tried to switch to Dish, but I would have to cut down some huge trees to access the lower satellite. Still can't get local broadcasting because of the trees so I get the New York and Los Angeles network channels.

    I get a gazillion channels but fortunately can at least edit down my channel guide to the channels I actually watch. Fox "News" hasn't appeared in my guide for many years.

    Very expensive, but there are a few shows I do enjoy. I was going to cancel it a couple of years ago when my health insurance premium jumped $60 per month, but a friend has taken over the payments. He watches my TV more than I do anyway and he doesn't have electricity at his house other than a generator.

  •  This is one of those shining examples.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nellgwen

    where it is simply TOO EASY to point out the total stupidity of "free market" ideologues.

    When the entire industry is doing the same thing, then the free market is worth exactly shit.

    One of the things that always comes to mind first, for me, is smartphone wifi tethering.  Technology that has been easily available on phones for several years, but all the carriers hide it behind a fee, despite the fact the tech is built right in.  Not even ONE of the carriers, that I know of anyways, has let the device just provide this feature without an extra fee.  Boggles my mind.

  •  I would support this in a second - GO McCAIN!!!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

    by Wisper on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:15:46 AM PDT

  •  interesting issue (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lady Libertine, nellgwen

    we never got cable - even with kids.

    nowadays you can watch everything on the internet.

    cable sucks.

    one shouldn't have to pay $50/month or more just to watch some hockey games.

    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

    by mightymouse on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:16:41 AM PDT

  •  heads they win, (3+ / 0-)

    tails we lose.

    big frikkin racket. SSDD

    ...

    when I was your age, kos, lol, TV was ya know, FREE. All four channels!! And ya had to get your lazy butt up off the couch to change them!

    if they keep this up, I might hafta to go back to reading books!!! sheesh.

    mutter mutter

    If I can't dance I don't want to be part of your revolution. ~ Emma Goldman

    by Lady Libertine on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:17:48 AM PDT

  •  It's the amendments, stupid... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, nellgwen

    I've been in favor of many of these "reforms" for forever.  There's only 7 channels that I really watch with any regularity and it's not worth paying $60/month for it.

    I doubt anything will be passed that cuts into the providers' revenues, so, while clutter may be reduced, the price of cable will not go down.

  •  Im researching cord-cutting right now (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    webranding, nellgwen

    I need sports (just Hockey and Tennis, really...,. maybe some college basketball), HBO, access to an on-demand library like Netflix or something and a good physical setup to easily stream content onto my large television (My wife and I are not sitting around watching a movie or Capitals game on our iPads).

    Working out the details now and then >snip!< ...looking forward to being off the hook from these bastards.

    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

    by Wisper on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:20:06 AM PDT

  •  I don't need cable and have never had it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nellgwen

    Whenever I visit friends, I may watch their cable, but I'm still not impressed.  Even offerings like History channel seem to show too many cheap fictionalizations and movies- instead of history.  In the Chicago market via broadcast I get 4 PBS channels, 3 channels from city colleges, one which included news by Deutsche Welle, Al Jazeera and  numerous other.  I also get Bounce for good movies.  Then all the major networks are there too.

    We subscribe to Netflix for 9 bucks/month and that's it.

    I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

    by Satya1 on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:20:18 AM PDT

  •  Oh Yeah! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nellgwen

    I want some of this.

  •  Everyone would generally be better off, (0+ / 0-)

    particularly health-wise, if they watched less or no TV and devoted time formerly spent watching TV to other more productive things, like exercise, food preparation, child nurturing, writing, making things, backyard science, growing food, community involvement and public citizenship, etc.

    I gave up on watching all broadcast and cable programming about 5 years ago and I haven't looked back.

    •  One in every group, eh? (0+ / 0-)
    •  TV is my downtime (0+ / 0-)

      and usually my chance to do crochet or other handcrafts (still toying with the idea of trying to learn to knit one more time). It's also becoming a large part of my social life, as I have a chance to chat with friends on Twitter about the games.

      I already spend quite a bit of time on many of the "more productive things" like food preparation, writing, and such; being apartment dwellers limits some of our choices. I like to think I'm a pretty well-rounded person and TV is just one part of a full life.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:42:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I do have a few concerns (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nellgwen

    What happens to small marginal networks like Free Speech TV? If not enough people choose it, would it get dumped altogether? (Less of a problem now for PBS thanks to shows like Downton Abbey, though I wish our local outlets were still showing old Doctor Who -- just can't get into the shiny new stuff.)

    I'm probably like you, Markos -- I'd get mostly sports stuff (the ESPNs, NBC Sports, local Comcast sports channels, and MLB/NHL/NFL Networks; maybe add in NBA Network because I'm starting to get interested in round ball with the current run of the Warriors in the playoffs). Local stations for network coverage and local news (I worry that we spend so much time on what's going on around the world that we ignore to our peril what's going on around the corner). Probably MSNBC for breaking national stuff, and CNBC because NBC sticks a lot of sports stuff there they don't want cluttering the Mothership (like the NHL playoffs). And I'll keep my HBO and Showtime for their special stuff, though if we get our new SmartTV I'll likely watch entertainment shows even less since I'll be able to get Netflix and Hulu Plus via WiFi -- our old CRT is starting to flatline (literally -- gets a flat line on the screen and have to let it warm up a bit before it disappears).

    Maybe if networks put up better programming, they wouldn't have to worry about being dumped; I remember when Discovery Networks had actual informative programming rather than Real Housewives of Wherever and all the other crap shows. (Still miss "In A Fix" the most -- Sparky the electrician was smoking hot.)

    There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

    by Cali Scribe on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:25:30 AM PDT

    •  Ha, yeah. (3+ / 0-)

      Remember when "The Learning Channel" actually showed programming where you learned things, and not just Honey Boo Boo.  lol

      It is done. Four More Years.

      by mconvente on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:51:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Used to watch a lot (0+ / 0-)

        of Animal Planet -- should check that out again sometime. (Did come across a show called "My Cat from Hell" where a cat behavior expert worked with owners of cats that engaged in bad behaviors...more often than not, it wasn't the cat but the owners that needed the re-training efforts.)

        There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

        by Cali Scribe on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:28:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wow, I can root for McCain for something nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nellgwen
  •  I got rid of Dish... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lady Libertine, nellgwen, Miggles

    ...last year. Honestly, other than missing a couple Packer games I don't miss it at all. Any show I want is available on Apple TV, Netflix, or Amazon streaming. If anything it has cut down on the amount of TV I watch allowing me to write more, practice guitar, and a myriad of other things now that I am not tied to my TV.

    "Republicans only care about the rich" - My late Father (-8.25, -7.85)

    by Mark E Andersen on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:26:08 AM PDT

  •  You are a Chicago fan living in the Bay Area? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nellgwen

    Welcome to the club...

    Sox of Cubs? (this is a test of your natural sports intelligence, so choose wisely)

    Progress 365 not just a slogan a goal - 300 progressive seats in the House and 65 progressive seats in the Senate.

    by jusjtim35 on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:31:21 AM PDT

  •  I'd be more inclined to take cable w/o Fox News (0+ / 0-)

    "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:31:28 AM PDT

  •  What we buy (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    solesse413, nellgwen, Miggles, defluxion10

    Actually the real savings would be to those of us who don't want sports channels.  They are the real reason for high cable/satellite costs.  Put them in a separate tier.  The "free" ones are very heavily cross subsidized.

    •  Sports is the only reason (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      webranding, Adam B, Cali Scribe, JGibson

      to keep cable. Honestly, there's discussion above how between Netflix and Hulu and all, you could cut the cord....unless you're a sports fan. We sports fans are stuck.

      You think the cable companies don't know this?

      "Maybe: it's a vicious little word that could slay me"--Sara Bareilles

      by ChurchofBruce on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:40:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly. As Many Others Have Said (4+ / 0-)

        I might be able to "cut" the cable, but sports stop me. Die hard Cardinals guy here and I can only get their games one place. Fox Sports Midwest. They carry about every game. Only a handful are on the local station.

        Don't even get me started on college football. LSU guy in southern IL. I have to get every ESPN channel just to see a part of their games.

        I'd be willing to pay $20/game, but alas I don't even have that option.

        •  Sports TeeVee (0+ / 0-)

          KILLS physical fitness in the viewer-

          Ironic isn't it, oh and welcome back; I knew it wouldn't last long webranding being gone...

          :♥)

          Evidence that contradicts the ruling belief system is held to extraordinary standards, while evidence that entrenches it is uncritically accepted. -Carl Sagan

          by RF on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:36:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yup (0+ / 0-)

          The cable operators will make sure they offer the leagues more money for games than the leagues would get going direct to customers. Because the day I can get a good NBA feed and the NFL online is the day I ditch DirecTV.

          •  NFL Sunday Ticket To Go... (0+ / 0-)

            ...doesn't check if you aren't able to get DirecTV service anymore.  You're still paying DirecTV, but it's $350 once a year rather than a big monthly bill for shit you don't watch.  The only games you miss are Thursday Night Football -- Sunday Night Football can be streamed from nbcsports.com, and Monday Night Football can be watched using the WatchESPN account of a family member with ESPN.

            MLB.TV works for out of market games at $100/yr...and in market games if you run a proxy outside of the home market.

            NBA still doesn't have a package, unfortunately.

            Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Clarke's Third Law

            by The Technomancer on Thu May 09, 2013 at 12:19:38 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  that's really not the case (0+ / 0-)

        There are newly broadcast shows that aren't available on Hulu (or Hulu Plus) and they won't be available on Netflix until at least the next season. I like Person of Interest and Mentalist, neither on Hulu last time I checked a few months ago. CBS doesn't even offer them on demand on cable like they do their other shows, although I believe they do offer them on their website. But why bother having a big screen TV and comfortable couch if you end up hunched over your computer at a desk to watch your favorite shows? Also, you can't watch Game of Thrones without cable. Of course you can download all this stuff illegally off the newsgroups, but I prefer the legal option.

        I hate watching sports on TV (it's fun to go to a game though) and would nix every sports channel if it was an option. ESPN is one of the most expensive channels subsidized in a cable bill. Verizon Fios even requires us to pay an extra approx $3 fee every month for some stupid regional sports channel requirement. It's an actual line item on the bill. We can get a package with no sports fee, but it only has the most basic of channels.

        "Watch what you say or they'll be calling you a radical, a liberal, fanatical, criminal..."-7.75, -5.54

        by solesse413 on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:06:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Free Up Space->Quit SportsTV->Take back time (0+ / 0-)

        and see you at the next:

        1./ USATF-NE Mountain Race
        2./ Road Race
        3./ Cycle Event
        4./ Swim Event
        5./ Boycott Komen
        6./ Professional Sports Event!
        7./ High School Football Game
        8./ First Grader Soccer aka Jello and Viewer Torture
        9./ CarTruck Racing Event
        10./ Life

        Evidence that contradicts the ruling belief system is held to extraordinary standards, while evidence that entrenches it is uncritically accepted. -Carl Sagan

        by RF on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:34:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  At the prices for tickets (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RF

          these days, it's cheaper to pay the cable bill than to go to as many sporting events as we watch. Doesn't mean I'm tethered to the boob tube -- thanks to StubHub I've been able to score some fairly cheap tickets (especially on weekdays now that Mr. Scribe is retired), but when we have to bail due to unforeseen circumstances (like a couple of weeks ago when my mother-in-law ended up in the hospital after a mild stroke) it's nice to know that I've still got the game available on TV to watch. As for hockey, we're talking about $100 per game (tickets about $40 each, then $20 for parking). Plus watching at home means no annoying fans in front or behind us, cheaper beer and shorter bathroom lines. ;-)

          I can watch TV and still have a life -- the two are not mutually exclusive.

          There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

          by Cali Scribe on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:50:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Cost (0+ / 0-)

            1./ USATF-NE Mountain Race  Max $25
            2./ Road Race Max $25
            3./ Cycle Event Max $25
            4./ Swim Event Max $25
            5./ Boycott Komen :$)
            6./ Professional Sports Event! You know your $tuff...
            7./ High School Football Game Max $25
            8./ First Grader Soccer aka Jello and Viewer Torture $?$
            9./ CarTruck Racing Event- I don't attend these.... $100-$300?
            10./ Life  $Free$

            Money is for people butt we live in a time where people are for money-

            In this time; folks should knot use their money where the beneficiaries are screwing the people-

            Enough follow that rule, and money may be for people again, but until that is the case, I choose life every time-

            Gotta run!  (Literally)

            Evidence that contradicts the ruling belief system is held to extraordinary standards, while evidence that entrenches it is uncritically accepted. -Carl Sagan

            by RF on Thu May 09, 2013 at 12:03:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I actually go to HS games a *lot* (0+ / 0-)

          and college games (my school is going to the NCAA's in baseball--Division III, sure, but still :)).

          But pro games? I'm here complaining about how much cable costs, I'm surely not going to pay to go.

          I'm not interested in a lot of the rest of it, quite frankly. Life? Life sucks without sports on TV :)

          CoB, right now watching the 2012 Olympics. On DVD. Yes, I record the Olympics, the only sports I can watch non-live and repeatedly :) but it also points out just how TV-sports-obsessed I am!

          "Maybe: it's a vicious little word that could slay me"--Sara Bareilles

          by ChurchofBruce on Thu May 09, 2013 at 08:07:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  indeed. ESPN is a prime example. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RF, nellgwen

      Don't have the exact info in front of me but there's a chart floating around tehintertubes showing ESPN cost about $4 of a cable bill, while HGTV cost maybe .25.

      cursory search found this:

      ESPN Is The Biggest Reason Your Cable Bill Is So Expensive

      According to estimates obtained by Sam Schechner and Martin Peers of The Wall Street Journal, ESPN charges cable companies $4.69 per subscriber per month. That is the highest rate for any cable company and up 42 percent in the last five years. For comparison, the average cable channel charges just 26 cents per subscriber per month, up only 24 percent during the same period.
      An executive with the company that owns the Starz network recently called ESPN "a tax on every American household."

      "Watch what you say or they'll be calling you a radical, a liberal, fanatical, criminal..."-7.75, -5.54

      by solesse413 on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:10:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I cut the cord (4+ / 0-)

    last year. It's been great. My husband a major sports fan, mostly baseball. He now uses the net to watch or listen to his sports. The only channel I miss is HBO and the BBC but I just wait until my favorite shows come out in DVD's. We have two great local DVD rental stores within walking distance. One is owned by a musician friend of my husband. We also get movies from our library. I really like not having the TV pump propaganda, fear and useless garbage into my house 24/7. At least with the net I can pick my own poison and talk back. Comcast lost me when KO left . We took the box back the next day.  

    •  us too. Its quite liberating (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RF, shaharazade

      actually. Makes you realize how much crap you used to casually half-watch out of sheer boredom, or laziness, lol. When you go cable free, you have to work a little more but you find that you actually consciously choose what goes into your brain space. Just get the live streaming box thingie and you're good to go. We dont miss cable at! all!

      If I can't dance I don't want to be part of your revolution. ~ Emma Goldman

      by Lady Libertine on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:46:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Basically the same mentality that is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RF

    killing the newspapers -and will force people even further into their self-imposed silos.

    I suspect that is the real reason McCain supports this.  Megabucks to the likes of Fox News and all the minor but interesting channels will fade away.  Oh well, we still have the intertubes.

  •  Like paying for THE SPORTS PACKAGE to get TCM (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nellgwen

    I can't believe 'I'm with McCain" on any issue of the day, but it looks like Hell is a freezin over.

  •  We cut the cord years ago (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RF, nellgwen

    and have never regretted it.

    To paraphrase Roger Waters:

    I got hundreds of channels of shit on the TV to choose from.
    That said, if an ala carte system was offered up I could easily see being lured back.
  •  Over the Air Broadcasts? (0+ / 0-)

    Uh...

    Didn't we terminate broadcast tv here?

    THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN CONTROL PEOPLE IS TO LIE TO THEM. You can write that down in your book in great big letters. -- L. Ron Hubbard Technique 88

    by xenubarb on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:48:47 AM PDT

  •  The cable model forces us to subsidize channels to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pasadena beggar, nellgwen, Miggles

    Another reason to get rid of the old cable model with the changes proposed by McCain is all the damage being caused by subsidizing hundreds of cable channels  hardly anyone watches.

    I mean seriously, we all hate hate Fox, but if you have a cable or satellite TV subscription, you're paying Fox News money each month, even if you keep the channel blocked on your TV, you still pay them.

    How much money is there in those cable fees from tens and hundreds of millions of people who never watch your channel? Enough that at least 2 broadcast channels were  ALREADY thinking before the Aereo case of switching to becoming a Cable channel. Because sure, they'll lose millions of viewers, but the cable fees from tens and hundreds of millions of people who NEVER watch your shows will more then make up for the losses.

    How does that make any sense? You get LESS customers, and therefore make LESS money for the commercials you show, yet you're STILL making more money?!?

    Such a business model can only be kept up for so long, it's inevitable that cable subscriptions are going to plummet VERY soon, just like Newspaper subscriptions did. For over a decade we were warned the newspapers are in trouble, but the papers were making more money then ever! Then almost over night papers started folding and going out of business one after the other, and now newspapers are making like 1/10th of what they used to make from ads in their papers.

  •  Just say no. If you don't like cable so much, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RF

    don't buy it.  

    The elevation of appearance over substance, of celebrity over character, of short term gains over lasting achievement displays a poverty of ambition. It distracts you from what's truly important. - Barack Obama

    by helfenburg on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:59:16 AM PDT

  •  somehow (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RF, nellgwen

    everybody got duped into paying a thousand bucks a year .....ON TV! what a scam. i've cancelled my cable, got netflix, and a digital antennae for local stations. and i stream on my computer. utter horseshit that's out there in the trough for the masses.

  •  You know there's one network that'll fight this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RF, nellgwen

    What is the number of households across the country that would ditch FoxNews in a microsecond if it wasn't bundled with everything else they do watch? You can guarantee that the numbers Fox touts for how many homes they reach is a direct byproduct of bundling.

  •  It is McCain- (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wednesday Bizzare

    So what is the catch?  

    Sign on to a SHITTY SOPA or PIPA or whatever the phuck longstocking name for screwing up the Internet?

    If USA congress circa 2013 ever gains any semblance of CNTRL over the corporate media stranglehold currently up any subscribers ass, and that CNTRL is borne from "Get off my Lawn" 's office; I will seriously see that PITA in a completely different lite...  Knot holding breath....

    NFWNFH; what is the catch.?.

    Evidence that contradicts the ruling belief system is held to extraordinary standards, while evidence that entrenches it is uncritically accepted. -Carl Sagan

    by RF on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:15:22 AM PDT

  •  Channels like SyFy and Comedy (0+ / 0-)

    Will cease to exist.

    http://callatimeout.blogspot.com/ Jesus Loves You.

    by DAISHI on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:24:15 AM PDT

  •  YOWSAH!!!!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nellgwen

    We don't get cable TV service at all, but we do get our internet through a cable provider.

    As it happens, you can get online access to cable networks if you subscribe to them through the cable provider, so...
    we decided that we'd be willing to spend some money to get BBC America. We'd probably save a few dollars on Dr. Who, Sherlock, and Top Gear and gain access to other things as well.

    But, as it turns out, even thought the cable company reps told me I could do what I wanted to do (and I told them the tier I was looking at and the cable service that I received), by the time it came down to placing an actual order, there was nothing available for less than twice our current monthly fees.

    Screw that.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:25:18 AM PDT

  •  ESPN that'll be $30 a month thanks (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Adam B

    So one of the channels you watch is ESPN? They get what six bucks a subscriber and the ratings show about 20% of viewers watch the channel.

    Do the math: $6x5=$30 to maintain the same revenue.

    And BBC America? That won't exist anymore.

  •  Can you believe it, something we can finally (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RF

    agree with John McCain on?


    "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization"

    by Angie in WA State on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:29:43 AM PDT

  •  Sweet! kos is a soccer fan! (0+ / 0-)

    beIN Sports

  •  I don't think this is good at all (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cali Scribe

    This affects me not a bit, since I "cut the cord" about two years ago and have never looked back.  I have an HD antenna plugged into an EyeTV USB dongle that allows me to use my computer as a DVR (I can even program it with an onscreen guide) and I stream over Netflix.

    That said, this is only going to squeeze out the smaller players in terms of channels and the studios that produce the content for the channels.  Where does it stop?  Today we're complaining that we have to pay for a bunch of channels we never watch.  Next, it will be complaining that we pay for a bunch of shows on those channels that we never watch.  So why not just buy the shows individually?

    Well, we can already do that, so I see no incentive to the cable cos to give the intermediary step.  And you may not watch ESPN even though you pay for it, but the people who watch ESPN pay for a bunch of channels they never watch.  Will MSNBC survive on a per-subscriber basis?  Will it have to shift to a more profitable ideology?

    Anything like Current TV will have no chance whatsoever, so forget about it.  Right now the blockbuster channels pay for the less-viewed ones, and I imagine that it's the channels more popular with the DailyKos crowd that will be the ones that go away the fastest.  TCM?  Logo?  The History Channel?  I would not imagine they'd be long for an a la carte world.  ESPN?  Fox News?  Not going anywhere.

    And I highly doubt there will be much, if any, decrease in price.  You can only watch one thing at a time - so essentially you're not paying for channels, you're paying to have TV content in your home 24/7.  Whether you select from 5 channels or 500, you're still getting 24 hours of content per day, max.  

    Like I said, I don't really have a horse in this race, except that I enjoy content that is quite obviously "subsidized" by cable packaging which I imagine will go away (most everything I enjoy has been canceled or is nearing the end of its run, anyway).  This is just a way for fewer people to make even more money, all under the guise of "consumer choice".

    We already pay for only the channels we watch.  Whether there are 5 you don't watch or 500 you don't watch, it's foolish to think that your overall price will come down at all.  All that will happen is that there will be fewer choices, and fewer things that are not "sure bets" will be made, and the already-successful entities will end up with an even bigger share of a shrinking market.

    It's no wonder at all John McCain supports it and it's disappointing to see he has support here.  No one will save any money on this deal - it will just continue to squeeze out the smaller players.

  •  Would love this to happen... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    defluxion10

    I would love this.  

    I would have TCM, Sundance, Comedy Central, BBC America, Al Jazeera, and maybe History and/or Discovery Channel.  

    There may be 1000 channels on your cable, but only 5 or so are really worth watching.  So much of it is mindless garbage.  

  •  Cable Unnecessary (0+ / 0-)

    If all you want to watch is sports, you don't need cable TV.  All you need are your local channels which you can get with an antenna.  Any other shows you want to watch you can get on the internet and mostly with no commercials!

  •  No Deal (0+ / 0-)

    As one who has never been a cable television subscriber, and never will, I've learned to adjust my lifestyle without it, and still manage to stay reasonably well-informed.

    Sure, the broadcast and cable industry has managed to fully co-opt yet another asset of the people - who in theory own the airwaves, as well as the property that the cable industry's infrastructure rests, but it's a little difficult to shed a tear for those who willingly choose to feed off of a corrupt industry that supplies an unnecessary product.

    "The highest patriotism is not blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one's country deep enough to call her to a higher plain." --George McGovern

    by Progressive Pride on Thu May 09, 2013 at 12:39:22 PM PDT

  •  All specific complaints and agreements (0+ / 0-)

    aside, I am all for returning control of the airwaves, which are owned by the people of the United States, back to the people of the United States.  This cable policy has been insanity since it was signed by President CLINTON (!) in the 90s.  The insane on the right shout "free markets"... OK, let's have a f**king free market.  Complete choice of providers in every market and complete channel choice of each provider per consumer.  Period.

    And stop listening to the cable companies' whining... They are coining money per the current laws.  

    Enough!

    Americans who vote against their own interests are driven by "the human need to find a strand of significance that will hold everything together that isn't on TV..." (quote is from P. Roth in "Sabbath's Theater")

    by ceebee7 on Thu May 09, 2013 at 01:14:11 PM PDT

    •  Oh, and by the way, I don't WANT to (0+ / 0-)

      watch TV on my computer, I want to watch TV on my TV.

      This legislation should also have some hard language about customer service and the failure of Comcast, for one example, in that area.

      Americans who vote against their own interests are driven by "the human need to find a strand of significance that will hold everything together that isn't on TV..." (quote is from P. Roth in "Sabbath's Theater")

      by ceebee7 on Thu May 09, 2013 at 01:17:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Congress...more of this (0+ / 0-)

    I wish more Congresscritters would focus on some of this sort of stuff.  It seems small, but it makes a big difference in the cost of living for some people.  I say this even as someone that doesn't have cable at my house (I have internet).  I think people would have a much better opinion of Congress and govt if they see things that really help their lives.  I do hope some Dems join in this and it is bi-partisan.  

    The other big missed opportunity that had bi-partisan support was the HomeStar program that would have provided home owners support for energy efficiency upgrades.  It would have helped cut utility bills, lowered energy usage, and provided decent jobs.  Not sure what happened to that one.  Again, it would have been something that provided immediate impact for a home owner and for those hired to do the work.

    The sequester is the new Republican immigration reform plan. Make things so bad here in the US that no one will want to live here.

    by Mote Dai on Thu May 09, 2013 at 02:48:10 PM PDT

  •  Part of the reason (0+ / 0-)

    I am about to cancel my cable, I ha e already cancelled wireless phone service, $100 per month is to rich for m blood, same for cable, being unemployed for over 1 months I am looking for as many savings as I can find.  

  •  I totally agree. I have Comcast (in the North Bay) (0+ / 0-)

    And as a rabid SF Giants fan am forced to sign up for another tier in order to watch CSN Bay Area where most of the Giants games are broadcast. We used to like to watch Turner Classic Movies but realized we were paying $35.00 more for TCM and a bunch of Garbage (like religious programming); TCM was the only channel we watched in that "Bundle". We dropped it.

    "Three things cannot be long hidden: The Sun, The Moon, and The Truth." Buddha

    by Grandson named me Papa on Thu May 09, 2013 at 04:25:15 PM PDT

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