Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Cable Companies Want Bigger Share of Online TV Market

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the boobtube-in-the-intertubes dept.

Networking 175

commodore64_love writes with news that a number of cable companies, such as Time-Warner, Comcast, and Cox, are trying to establish themselves as content providers on the web in addition to television. They are currently negotiating with HBO, TNT, CNN, and a number of other channels to bring their programming online exclusively for cable TV subscribers. They say they're not trying to develop "some enormous new revenue opportunity," but rather trying to compete with sites like Hulu, which provide shows for free. "They pay networks a per-subscriber fee each month for the right to carry channels. But the cable companies have groused that they are paying for content that programmers are giving away for free on the Web. ... People aren't yet cutting the cord en masse - the Leichtman survey found that people who watch recent TV shows online every week are not more likely to give up TV service than other people. But the industry is heading off what could end up as a troubling trend. After all, the availability of free content online has befuddled other media industries, from music to newspapers. ... The cable companies and others involved in the talks for a TV service said their goal isn't to kill the online video goose, but to work out a plan that keeps everyone's business intact."

cancel ×

175 comments

Eliminate the middle man (2, Insightful)

Ron_Fitzgerald (1101005) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018987)

How about we eliminate the middle party fees and go right to the source. everyone wins!

Re:Eliminate the middle man (1)

goofy183 (451746) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019019)

My thoughts exactly. The internet is the middle man, we're seeing it with record companies already who are having to retool a bit back into more production and less distribution. The internet is going to make telcos who want to double as media providers obsolete. We still need the telco side but the media provider side can be done directly be the content creator/owner.

Re:Eliminate the middle man (1)

Bobnova (1435535) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019125)

During the Olympics NBC had a deal like this going on with many cable providers, if you lived in the proper area you could watch just about everything online, rather then the meager showing on TV.
My cable provider wasn't on the list, but the online section was quite willing to believe that i was 250 miles southeast in a different zip code and let me watch it anyway.

The difficulty with this whole idea is making sure that you can't just type in a different zip code, but at that point you run into issues. My DHCP assigned IP addresses for my cable internet are generally based in the nearby metropolis (30k people, largest in the county), but occasionally they show as being 300 miles south in a completely different cable companies turf.

Re:Eliminate the middle man (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019355)

I have no reason to believe that they are actually this competent; but there is no reason to resort to IP geolocation for the purpose. Obviously, your ISP knows your IP address and, for anybody with cable internet, which is a large percentage of people who would be watching streaming anything, your cable company is your ISP. It wouldn't exactly be rocket surgery for NBC to know the IP ranges of approved and unapproved ISPs.

Re:Eliminate the middle man (1, Interesting)

budgenator (254554) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020463)

All they have to do is look at the referer in the HTTP request, if your refered from the ISP's portal your good to go, it's a lot easier for the ISP to tell if your a subscriber than the content provider.

Re:Eliminate the middle man (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019283)

I've been waiting for some time now to see a company offering "season sets" or subscriptions to web broadcasts. It's only logical in such a scenario to go straight to the studio for the downloads or streams, rather than going through a "middle man" cable company.

In fact I don't see how the cable companies think they're owed the opportunity to take on web broadcasting. That should be done by the producing studio, not by some arbitrary winner of exclusive rights.

And... (2, Insightful)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018989)

A bigger share of the pie.

(with pie being money)

Re:And... (1)

Aggrav8d (683620) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020313)

But at least they're not following the RIAA by, say, suing customers for watching free TV online.

Someone over there has learned the lesson and is trying to turn this into an opportunity.

Someone over there is smarter than all those RIAA lawyers put together.

Hey, cable guys! Here's what we'll do: We'll keep paying for channels we don't need IF you can deliver more bandwidth and faster downloads from internet.

In fact, get out of TV altogether and just do the cable. How much extra bandwidth could I get if you dropped those 500 channels from your tubes?

It's PC vs TV and PC is winning. Get with the program.

Obama to extend Iraq withdrawal timetable (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27019047)

Obama to extend Iraq withdrawal timetable; 50,000 troops to stay [mcclatchydc.com]

Shades of Muhammed Ali:

The HOPE-A-DOPE!

Told ya!

Where's the tax cut for 95% of us?

Time Warner is horrible.... (4, Interesting)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019053)

During LOST on ABC this week my cable cut out five times....in the first fifteen minutes of the show.

I instead just waited for the show to be over, then downloaded the HD scene release from one of those internet sets that let's you do that, instead of watching the choppy version from my digital cable box that I pay a lot for per month.

Time Warner customer service is terrible also. They had no idea what was wrong with my box. Replaced it. And the same thing happened this morning when I watching the news....so I just listened to news radio this morning instead of local TV news.

If Time Warner and these other companies expand into the online realm of audio video media entertainment are they going to carry the baggage and problems that they have on cable already? Are we going to have to pay for 1,000 internet channels when we only watch at most ten of them? Is the digital cable guide never going to be available? When will they start upping the subscription rates and not telling anyone? Will they force the user to purchase a CD from Time Warner with the software installed to watch the online videos so that they can charge an installation fee?

I pay for cable but I almost download everything I watch now besides live sports events, and even then with the reliability of my cable box, I've been turning to radio more often than ever.

Maybe people have other experiences with different cable and satellite TV providers, but Time Warner is tremendously horrible. And why do I keep Time Warner? They are the only cable and internet provider around me, for real. Ugh.

Re:Time Warner is horrible.... (4, Insightful)

Medgur (172679) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019121)

Solution: Stop paying for cable.

Re:Time Warner is horrible.... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27020017)

How was this modded insightful? OP clearly addressed this point in his closing sentence!

And why do I keep Time Warner? They are the only cable and internet provider around me, for real. Ugh.

If it were possible for him, OP clearly states that he would prefer to view shows on his television, rather than having to resort to downloading them. He merely says that downloading has become his only option to view them at all, not his preference.

As for the second part of OP's statement, that you conveniently ignored, he explains the other reason why he still sends them money every month: he has no other ISP. If he wants his internet at all, he has no choice.

Yes yes, wouldn't it be fantastic if OP stuck it to Time Warner by canceling his service? Certainly they deserve it. But that won't help OP read slashdot tomorrow, will it? Time Warner has him right where they want him, bent over and de-pantsed thanks to local monopolies we paid them to build.

Re:Time Warner is horrible.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27020219)

no shit. GP ostensibly knows the solution, but just can't quite let go. Fuck Time Warner. Fire them, and make life simple and enjoyable again!

Re:Time Warner is horrible.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27020865)

I cut the cord and have never looked back. If you really miss a show, you can buy a cheap used season box of it online.

Re:Time Warner is horrible.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27019169)

Being able to stream or download television shows is truly one of the great things about the internet today. I do it whenever I miss something "live".

Until your cousin, grandma, and next door neighbor figure out how to do it. That's when it brings down the entire network.

HD video is horribly bandwidth intensive, and the fact of the matter is that if enough people start using it the cable companies (or almost any ISP for that matter) will be forced to throttle.

The most efficient way to distribute high quality video is via the broadcast model (be it analog or digital).

I'm not sure about Time Warner's quality as I don't have them here, but like anything I'm sure there are good areas and bad areas.

Re:Time Warner is horrible.... (4, Interesting)

gwait (179005) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019603)

An open standard using a torrent like system would allow a hybrid between broadcast and full video on demand.

Right now while my TV is turned off my cable company is broadcasting several digital HD channels at my house, and I don't even have a digital converter box yet. Total waste of bandwidth to broadcast all this data at people who aren't even watching that channel.

How peer to peer could work:

Show creators release this week's episodes as an open standard binary with tags in for downstream commercial addition, (or not for pay per view).

All licensed digital providers (ISP, Cable, Telco) then pick up the torrent seed from the source and fetch it to their local hard drives.

I pay a (REASONABLE) fee for the show, more for commercial free, and my home media adaptor (PS3, XBOX360, Linux box, AppleTV whatever) torrents it from my local provider to my place on to my drive for me to watch.

Yes, you could then implement QOS to allow streaming services like telephones etc to operate while my media box torrents in my selected content.

No I don't want a closed box Motorola PVR, they are crud, too buggy, and I have no control over feature removal at the whim of megacorp incorporated.
This should be open so there is competition, so the quality of the whole thing is reasonable.

Make it easy and cheap enough and you won't have to worry about DRM screwing up the paying customers (and not preventing pirates) See: Nine Inch Nails free music giveaway scheme for evidence.

Miro plus Torrents plus RSS almost offers this now, but is piracy (someone's got to pay the media providers!!) and too technogeeky for Grandma.

No, you giant media conglomerates don't get to push us back on the couch to watch broadcast. You lost. Get out of the way. There's a good reason people spend more time on the web than TV in the western world.

Torrent-ial waste of bandwidth (2, Interesting)

Joe U (443617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020111)

Why isn't this multicast? You send the multicast stream once from the source, ISP/CableCos get it, insert commercials, then they can multicast it to the end users to save to hdd.

Torrents should only kick in when your primary disribution isn't running, the end users or the cable co do not need to upload for normal distrubtion. In fact, I really don't see any reason why they should ever kick in. Direct download would be more efficient since the distribution point is at the ISP/CableCo, not over the Internet.

Re:Time Warner is horrible.... (1)

cjb658 (1235986) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020551)

Right now while my TV is turned off my cable company is broadcasting several digital HD channels at my house, and I don't even have a digital converter box yet. Total waste of bandwidth to broadcast all this data at people who aren't even watching that channel.

False. It's being broadcast over one wire, which splits off to each house in your neighborhood.

ABC, CBS, and NBC are broadcasting television over the air. I'm not watching either one right now. It's not wasting any bandwidth.

Re:Time Warner is horrible.... (3, Interesting)

drspliff (652992) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019201)

Are they going to make you pay for 1000 channels, when you only watch 10... and STILL show adverts?

And I presume it'll all be DRM'd up to the hilt and only playable on Windows?

Or will they release it in a various formats (flv,mpeg etc.) without DRM and all downloadable on a per-show basis without any adverts, like BBC iPlayer does?

Only time will tell

Re:Time Warner is horrible.... (1)

cjb658 (1235986) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020557)

I think this is the RIAA all over again. The cable companies see new technology as a threat to their existing business model, and are trying to block competitors by inking exclusive deals with content providers.

I also believe this is why they are going crazy about Bittorrent and the bandwidth "problem."

Re:Time Warner is horrible.... (2, Informative)

LordKaT (619540) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019439)

One of the biggest problems with TWC - at least in the NYC area - is line degradation. Customer service will insist that the box is malfunctioning, but if you do some basic line noise tests you'll probably notice a significant noise problem.

TWC won't do a damn thing about it. They'll claim to the heavens that it's Scientific Atlanta's problem, or that your house wiring needs to be replaced. You have to twist a managers arms for months before they admit that they don't see the need to replace/maintain the copper connection from their fiber loop to the home. I know that in my area, the same copper has been in use since the 1970's and the lack of maintenance shows: digital artifacts abound, some channels just don't come in, and two-way communication with the headend is fucked beyond belief (we had a month where we were charged over $200 for "on demand" movies - it was a backlog of all the on demand movies we had ordered over the past year, apparently the box was unable to communicate with TWC for the longest time, and was able to do so one day by some miracle).

Of course, if you have the Scientific Atlanta HD DVR, you're fucked. The software on the box has so many bugs it's completely unacceptable. They pass the box off as retail ready, but after 3 years on the market, it's STILL an alpha product at best.

Every few months there's talk of Time Warner as a whole going under, and it's with good reason: the entire company from the jackass that calls himself a CEO, to the child companies of AOL and Scientific Atlanta, down to some stupid CSR cunt in Wisconsin is incompetent.

Re:Time Warner is horrible.... (1)

Stele (9443) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019581)

But I thought cable was so much better than satellite! At least that's what all those commercials proclaim!

(I watched it without commercials on my DirecTV DVR, with no cut-outs)

OTA? (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019647)

Can you get over the air (OTA) or are you stuck? It is more reliable IMO.

Re:Time Warner is horrible.... (1)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020119)

Interestingly if you have a supported OS, and a sufficiently fast internet connection, it may be worth trying ABC's streaming service for Lost.

I was shocked to find that if you choose the HD stream and have a sufficent bandwidth the quality is really at true DVD level. Sure thats not really HD, but for web streaming services that is unheard of. The quality definitely exceeds the 350 MB per episode divx torrents, and I find is still better than the 700 MB divx torrents.

It is not always at quite DVD quality, but after watching 10 episodes of Lost on the service, I am positive that the amount of compression artifacts in some scenes is equal or less than the amount on the fairly standard 5 EP/DVD format, and in most are not too significantly worse. At all points the quality was better than 350MB/Ep divx torrents.

(The bitrate is changed dynamically to minimize the possibility of stuttering, or buffering pauses, with the side effect that the best quality does require one to have a fast connection.)

Downsides:
Advertisements. Each episode of lost contains 6 advertisements, mostly 30 second advertisements, but at least one 15 second one. The advertisements all come from the same company, except that one will always advertise an ABC show. (Currently, every episode is advertising the upcoming ABC show Castle). The advertisements are flash based, and almost invariably include a video, although most of the time a pause button is provided, so you can stop the video, and just wait for the 30 seconds to end.

After advertisements, the show does not continue automatically, but you need to push the play button to continue it. This is minor.

If you were using the full screen feature, the advertisements will yank you back to non-fullscreen mode, but when you continue, it will return to full screen.

A change that seems to have been made just today, appears to make it no longer possible to pause the video or view the progress of the show while in full screen. Hopefully they will fix that, but I suspect this is currently deliberate. (The controls are flash based, and could even be using a different version of flash than was being used in the web browser, which I suspect was causing problems. [My browser was using Flash 9, but the full screen display's controls were using Flash 7. I suspect my IE flash plug-in must be out-of-date.])

The video is not flash based, but use a separate plugin, however, the controls are flash based.

Overall I'm fairly impressed, although some of the things listed in the the disadvantages are a definite drawback.

Oh, and I'm really only posting this, because I've been wanting to write down how I felt about ABC's streaming service, and your post provided an excuse.

Re:Time Warner is horrible.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27020875)

The only good thing I get out of Time Warner is roadrunner. so far, even though they are a bit pricey, it's been really reliable, not as reliable as my earthlink connection was, but compared to verizon's offerings in my area (ie, plenty, but even the fastest dsl grants you a 90 kbps download rate, and for some reason they like to pretend my house is sitting in another dimension when it comes to offering services, but not when delivering the bill for the phone service that goes unused now that we dont use dialup and use t-mobile for cell phones, also, do not get me started on verizon's cell network.)

Anyway, they should put their money into being a data provider, and offering special services tacked onto that. so far, they do a great job at doing the data provider thing. They dont mess with it, and nor should they, that's the only thing keeping me with them. They have good speeds, even with their 1.5mbps down service, they're faster than dsl rated at the same throughput. However, their TV service is shit and I'm better off watching digital OTA. Even then, I hate TV. They need to think beyond TV if they wish to survive, and use the internet to their advantage, start offering interactive entertainment.

There is a reason that the FCC (4, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019057)

... has historically worked hard to keep content carriers (ISPs) and content providers (television show, movie & music makers) completely separate. IMO, allowing cable companies to become content providers as well as ISPs violates that principle. It carries too much danger of a few companies controlling all content. One of the historical fears is that not only does this have the effect of monopolizing content, it allows too few companies to control the news.

Re:There is a reason that the FCC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27019163)

I agree. I've had to limit the amount of streaming video here because this month Charter introduced a 100 GB a month cap for those with 15 Mbps and lower plans. Which is insane! 100 GB is nothing. And no, I do not have bittorrent running 24/7. I feel like they're doing this to stop people from online viewing. I enjoy watching TV shows online and I also have Netflix as well. I watch more movies and TV on the net than I do via the television! I'm who they're scared of. ;)

Re:There is a reason that the FCC (1)

my $anity 0 (917519) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019773)

One of my friends is suffering with a limit of 200MB a day. That's not even 100GB a year.

Admittedly it is satellite, and for three hours a day the cap is raised, and she is in the south, but still.

Re:There is a reason that the FCC (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27019179)

... it allows too few companies to control the news.

So, you can be sure Pelosi, Reid, and Obama will love THAT!

There'd be less targets they'd have to go after in their pursuit of squelching dissent, err, a "fairness doctrine".

To Flamebait: (2, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019427)

You know, I am really tired of this. The fairness doctrine did not squelch dissent. It demanded for equal time for opposing views... no matter who supplied the original opinions. That is the opposite of "squelching dissent"... what it does is allow everybody to get some word in. Without it, you get situations like in this last election, in which some people were simply excluded from debating the issues. THAT is "squelching dissent"... and is exactly the kind of situation that the fairness doctrine prevents.

The people who oppose equal time are the people who are afraid of dissent. There simply is no other logical explanation.

Re:To Flamebait: (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019799)

Plus, no one (certainly not Pelosi, Reid, or Obama) is trying to reinstate the fairness doctrine anyway. Apparently it's not enough to misrepresent the fairness doctrine's purpose and effect; they have to misrepresent its status as a political issue, too.

Re:To Flamebait: (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27019995)

Who decides what the 'opposing view' is - while we love to simplify things to the left and right dynamic, most issues are not (at least at a depth beyond sound bite) bipolar. For a talk by a 'supply side' economist, is the opposing view that of a Keynesian? How about a Marxist? Austrian School?

How does one handle Global Warming - Al Gore would have us believe that it is a one sided issue, Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly would argue vehemently that there are two sides to it. Same story for evolution vs intelligent design. How about abortion - would anti-abortion advocates have to refute in the language of 'a woman's control of her body' or would a pro-choice advocate have to refute in the language of 'the unborn's right to life'? The ruling party (or at least their appointments) would be able to decide what 'fair and balanced' is, and I suspect that the results over time would far from 'fair and balanced'.

We also need to take the audience's preferences into account as well. How many who like Rush would change the channel if Keith Olbermann gave a response to every rant? How about getting a dose of Ann Coulter on DailyKos or MoveOn.org? It doesn't directly squelch dissent, but if putting on Rush would require someone who drove away your audience, would you still put him on? It is not direct censorship, but the market for these commentators would shrink if the rebuttal were required. I admit that some programs of this form have been successful, 'CrossFire' and 'Hannity and Colmes' come to mind, but as anyone who saw John Stewart's torpedoing of the former can tell you, it PROMOTES partisanship rather than informing the electorate. Given the amount of choice in sources of information available today, we should respect the preferences of the viewer/listener rather than pretend that we are back in the days of 3-4 stations that can decisively manipulate the populace.

The argument for the fairness doctrine is to have balance in talk radio. The argument against is largely that conservative talk radio is an 'alternative media' to balance NPR and most broadcast and print news.

The name does not always properly convey what the act intends See "Employee Free Choice Act", "Patriot Act", and assorted other Orwellian names.

Re:To Flamebait: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27020031)

The real problem with the Fairness Doctrine is that promotion of dissent - and that it doesn't necessarily make sense. Rush Limbaugh runs a very popular talk show, one way or another. It's cool, it's worth money to the station, they're willing to air it, people listen. Stephen Colbert runs a pretty popular comedy news show. It's cool, it's worth money to the station, they're willing to air it, people watch. With a 'fairness doctrine' in place, now you have to air someone with opposing views - good luck finding someone who won't put your listeners to sleep. It's a liability. It's obnoxious. It hinders political speech.

Re:To Flamebait: (0, Troll)

jcnnghm (538570) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020117)

The fairness doctrine is all about silencing conservative talk radio by forcing the stations to carry unprofitable liberal radio. All of the major networks except Fox lean to the left, which is why the Democrats including Pelosi are so keen on it.

Re:To Flamebait: (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020273)

You are contradicting yourself. First you say that they want to force the conservative stations (which have the majority of money-making talk shows, according to you), then in the next sentence you say that most of the networks are liberal... therefore the liberals own most of the stations.

Sorry, dude, but it can't work both ways.

If the liberals owned most of the networks, but they were unprofitable, then they would sell them. That's what sane people do. If the liberals owned the networks that ran the conservative talk shows, and they were the only ones that made money, then the liberals probably would not want to shut them down. But if they did want to shut them down, they could do so without a fairness doctrine... after all, if they own the network they don't have to run the show.

The main thing that you are forgetting is that if the liberals owned most of the newtorks EXCEPT for those that ran the conservative talk shows, the fairness doctrine would still give equal conservative time to their own liberal views... if they wanted to shut down all the conservative networks, they would be shooting themselves in the feet, because the fairness doctrine would force them to allow equal time for the conservatives on the liberal shows!

In summary: what you say makes no sense at all. The fairness doctrine does nothing but give people a choice as to what they want to listen to, no matter who is running the show. And that is a good thing for America, whether you are a liberal or a conservative. The only way you could possibly believe that such a choice is a bad thing (unless you actually believe the delusion you were spouting), is if you are afraid of someone else's message.

Re:To Flamebait: (2, Insightful)

jcnnghm (538570) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020623)

You are contradicting yourself. First you say that they want to force the conservative stations (which have the majority of money-making talk shows, according to you), then in the next sentence you say that most of the networks are liberal... therefore the liberals own most of the stations.

Most of the television networks are liberal. Talk radio is the only area that's dominated by conservatives.

Sorry, dude, but it can't work both ways.

No shit.

If the liberals owned most of the networks, but they were unprofitable, then they would sell them. That's what sane people do. If the liberals owned the networks that ran the conservative talk shows, and they were the only ones that made money, then the liberals probably would not want to shut them down. But if they did want to shut them down, they could do so without a fairness doctrine... after all, if they own the network they don't have to run the show.

They have. Liberal talk radio has never really taken off, so there are very few stations compared to conservative talk radio. Because the libs are unable to compete, in the interest of "fairness" they would force the stations that have conservative shows to dedicated the same amount of time to liberal shows in comparable time slots, which is essentially impossible since there isn't any money in liberal talk radio. The most popular liberal hosts on Air America only attract about 1.5 million weekly listeners, whereas Rush Limbaugh averages 14 million, and has been as high as 20 million.

The main thing that you are forgetting is that if the liberals owned most of the newtorks EXCEPT for those that ran the conservative talk shows, the fairness doctrine would still give equal conservative time to their own liberal views... if they wanted to shut down all the conservative networks, they would be shooting themselves in the feet, because the fairness doctrine would force them to allow equal time for the conservatives on the liberal shows!

No, it wouldn't. What would happen is that the stations would have to either reduce the length of, or cancel the conservative radio shows because they wouldn't be able to take the hit of airing hours of unpopular, unprofitable liberal shows.

In summary: what you say makes no sense at all. The fairness doctrine does nothing but give people a choice as to what they want to listen to, no matter who is running the show. And that is a good thing for America, whether you are a liberal or a conservative. The only way you could possibly believe that such a choice is a bad thing (unless you actually believe the delusion you were spouting), is if you are afraid of someone else's message.

In summary, you're wrong. The fairness doctrine is primarily about silencing Rush Limbaugh since the stations that air his 3 hour show would then be forced to air 3 hour liberal shows in comparable time slots, which they can't do because there is no money in liberal radio. They'd either have to cancel the show or scale it back, which is exactly why the Democrats want this back.

Re:To Flamebait: (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27021197)

"Most of the television networks are liberal. Talk radio is the only area that's dominated by conservatives."

Gee, it might have been nice if you has stated that in the beginning, rather than pretty solidly implying otherwise. The only "stations" or "networks" you mentioned were, apparently, in the context of radio. Now you bring a new factor into the equation.

"They have. Liberal talk radio has never really taken off, so there are very few stations compared to conservative talk radio. Because the libs are unable to compete, in the interest of "fairness" they would force the stations that have conservative shows to dedicated the same amount of time to liberal shows in comparable time slots, which is essentially impossible since there isn't any money in liberal talk radio. The most popular liberal hosts on Air America only attract about 1.5 million weekly listeners, whereas Rush Limbaugh averages 14 million, and has been as high as 20 million."

So what? You don't seem to be getting the point. Your entire argument is that the conservatives might lose some money under the fairness doctrine. And that may be a legitimate point. However, MY argument is that a fairness doctrine allows freedom of speech and discussion -- especially political discussion -- over the public airwaves. And I am sorry, dude, but my right to freedom of speech very clearly trumps your right to make a profit. Further, you have NO logical basis to argue that conservative speech would be curtailed in the process. So, since your argument is one of corporate profit vs. free speech... guess what? THAT argument is ended. You lose.

But since you insisted in being long-winded anyway, and trying to beat a horse that was actually quite alive and kicking, I will answer your other comments as well.

I used to like Rush Limbaugh. Until I found out that off-camera he was a slobbering, drug-addicted hypocrite, trying to condemn people to prison for marijuana, for example, all the while he was addicted to and abusing pain killers and other prescription drugs... in an illegal manner that far outshadows any simple marijuana user. And he has had other "little problems" over the years, as many of his followers know... and all were about things he preached against, all the while.

Thank you, but I will do business with an honest crook before I will even look in the direction of such a hypocritical piece of garbage as Limbaugh. He let me down, not in a minor way but in a number of very major ways, mostly because he is such a goddamned hypocrite. He may have an audience, but if so they are people who either have extremist views, or are unaware of his history, or are outright hypocrites as well. Probably a combination of all the above... and none of them are people with whom I want to do business.

This is not about money. It is about freedom, and in particular freedom of speech. Money should never rule the microphone... but you are very clearly saying that it should. No. YOU are wrong. Very, very wrong.

Re:To Flamebait: (1)

dodongo (412749) | more than 5 years ago | (#27021199)

Quite simply, you're wrong. If Rush airs three hours / day that leaves 21 hours of void that has to be filled. If the stations are forced to put some liberal bloviator on the air for 3 hours to clear the air of Limbaugh's flatulence, then that still leaves eighteen hours.

Morning and afternoon drive dayparts in radio are 4 hours each (6a-10a, 3p-7p) and even if you include the five hours of non-prime midday airtime in between, you're still looking at a 13 hour window, not even half of which is filled up with Limbaugh + Anti Limbaugh.

So don't make this about the Democrats wanting people to cut back on Rush Limbaugh. We both know he'll be the last one to go. This has nothing to do with Rush and much more to do with the floozy hacks who get hired to fill in around Rush Limbaugh's corpulence. Like Sean Hannity :)

Re:There is a reason that the FCC (3, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019375)

I agree. The vertical integration of Time Warner is a bit disturbing. They own the studio that makes the show. They own the TV channel that carries the show. They own the cable network that carries the channel. They own the ISP that competes with that cable network as a method of distribution. They own the infrastructure that carries both the ISP and the cable network to your home. Am I missing anything?

Personally, I think that the split should be between the people who provide infrastructure and everything else. If you're the company that actually runs the cable to people's homes, then you shouldn't be allowed to provide any kind of service over that network. It presents too many conflicts of interest.

Re:There is a reason that the FCC (1)

ion.simon.c (1183967) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019975)

Am I missing anything?

They (probably) don't yet own the utilities that provide the power to their equipment!

Spot on, MOD UP PLEASE (1)

Atario (673917) | more than 5 years ago | (#27021063)

Exactly what I came in here to say. If you make money from providing the medium, you shouldn't also be in the message business -- and vice versa.

(Way past) Time to start enforcing anti-trust legislation again.

Here is a bullet-proof plan (1)

vivek7006 (585218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019079)

Infect your subscribers PC with DRM and Spyware. Hey, it worked for Sony.

Re:Here is a bullet-proof plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27019223)

Hey, it did not work for Sony.

Fixed that for you.

if it's "free"... (2, Interesting)

krotkruton (967718) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019123)

If my cable company would let me sign into some site (which I would get access to because I pay for the cable in my house) and watch tv episodes, I'd watch it on that site over a site like hulu. Of course, that all depends on which has better quality, fewer commercials, etc.

I travel a lot, so in lieu of a slingbox, I'd appreciate the added feature of being able to watch the service I pay for when I'm on the road.

Re:if it's "free"... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019393)

Based on the quality of most Cable STBs, that hypothetical site would probably be an IE6 only ActiveX monstrosity of the highest order and lowest quality.

Re:if it's "free"... (1)

krotkruton (967718) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020103)

That was what I meant with "etc.", but I agree with ya. After all, isn't it the hassle that's driven most of us to use torrents in the first place? Why would the new kids learn from the mistakes of those who came before them... but there's always a chance.

Re:if it's "free"... (1)

Fatal67 (244371) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020933)

My understanding is that this is exactly what Comcast is planning on doing.

I'm sure that the cable companies'... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Covard (140827) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019147)

...growing implementation of data-per-month caps has nothing to do with free-and-legal streaming video, right? It's all about those bandwidth-hogging criminals, most assuredly!

This was my first submission to slashdot (4, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019175)

I don't recognize a single word. Nice editing. LOL. :-) - The key point of my submission is that YOU WILL NO LONGER BE ABLE TO WATCH SHOWS FOR FREE on sites like tnt.com, abcfamily.com, et cetera because the shows will be placed behind a wall, and only cable subscribers will be able to access them. Non-cable homes (such as myself) will no longer be able to watch ad-supported online shows like the Closer, Kyle XY, or Monk.

The cable companies argue that, because they pay subscriber fees (25-90 cents per home per channel), they should be able to control who does, and does not, have access to online TV shows.

Aside -

Frankly, when I read this in my hometown paper, it made me rather angry. It's bad enough Comcast has a monopoly over cable lines, but now they want a monopoly over internet TV watching too? I've been watching Monk and Kyle XY on usanetwork.com and abcfamily.com for awhile now, but it appears I won't be doing that after Fall 2009 arrives. They will be sealed behind subscriber-only access.

Re:This was my first submission to slashdot (4, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019361)

Don't worry this will fail.
If done right, they'll just abandon this silly notion and nothig will change.
If they really fight this, they will stop in a few year after throwing billion of dollars.
In the mean time just use bitorrent.

I consider it a form of civil disobediance.
P prefer not to, but if they are locking my out of content I want to see, I'll use it.

All I want to do is ahve my machine automatically download the shows I select. I have no problem with them inserting ads, I do understand that's where they get there money.

In fact, they could insert local ads based on your location, which could be based on your billing address.

That is the future of television.

Re:This was my first submission to slashdot (2, Interesting)

mcsqueak (1043736) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019479)

In fact, they could insert local ads based on your location, which could be based on your billing address.

Exactly, they should actually put some thought into creative thinking about where they would like to see the industry go and revenue come from, rather than their usual protectionist actions that deprive users of access to content in order to keep life support going on an outdated business model.

It's just plain laziness and a very wrong idea about "deserved" revenues. They don't deserve to make any money if they don't keep their customers happy and actually provide people with what they want.

It actually struck me for the first time how weird it is that a cable TV company is my Internet provider. Of course they are going to be against unlimited streaming video, as it directly competes with their existing business model. They have been too lazy to figure out how to properly monetize it, so they'll just slowly choke off access. Maybe it'll be time to look into Clear (WiMax service) soon...

Re:This was my first submission to slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27020213)

This is called the Cable Canoe program and it's actually a little more disturbing. They want to synch ads to your browser and your TV. Imagine surfing the web while watching TV and having all the ads support each other.

Re:This was my first submission to slashdot (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019525)

>>>I have no problem with them inserting ads

Me neither. Ads pay to allow me to watch the shows for free. I'm happy with that arrangement. But this Comcast/Cox/TW proposal means I'd have to subscribe to Comcast at $65 a month (basic access), in order to watch Kyle XY or Monk online. Otherwise I'll be blocked. Cute.

Re:This was my first submission to slashdot (1)

cjb658 (1235986) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020659)

It would be even better if they could take some advice from Google and show you relevant ads.

I have no use for Viagra, tampons, a new car after I just bought one, or almost anything else that's advertised on TV.

Re:This was my first submission to slashdot (2, Insightful)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019445)

Doesn't seem too different from this. http://news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/02/06/1444258 [slashdot.org]

Re:This was my first submission to slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27019521)

So Time Warner will have to pay ESPN twice...one time for the cable ESPN and one time for the internet ESPN. What's the ticker symbol for ESPN?

1. Create sports channel monopoly.

2. Charge companies multiple times for the same content.

3. ????

4. PROFIT!

Re:This was my first submission to slashdot (1)

Fastball (91927) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020357)

What's the ticker symbol for ESPN?

DIS - Walt Disney Company

Re:This was my first submission to slashdot (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019551)

No that's a little different:

- ESPN360.com and Disneyconnection.com are charging Verizon ISP to pay for the websites. It's a business-to-business deal.

- This proposal is charging customers directly. They will move streaming TV shows on tnt.tv, abcfamily.com, usanetwork.com, etcetera, and lock them behind a wall. Only people who subscribe to Comcast or Cox or Time-Warner will be allowed past the wall. People who don't have cable get nothing.

Re:This was my first submission to slashdot (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019853)

The cable companies argue that, because they pay subscriber fees (25-90 cents per home per channel), they should be able to control who does, and does not, have access to online TV shows.

I'm not sure that you'll see this sort of "exclusive" licensing, where you won't be able to see Monk anywhere except on Comcast's website. That would be really silly for the producers of Monk. I'm sure they'd be more than willing to license it to any website that wants to pay what they the producers are asking.

The issue, of course, is that Comcast already pays USA Network 25-90 cents for each home that gets USA Network. So if Comcast offers this to their customers, they shouldn't have to pay any more money than they are paying now--it's the same program. Of course, USA Network doesn't see it the same way. They want x cents per household for TV viewing, y cents for On Demand, and z cents for Internet viewing.

Re:This was my first submission to slashdot (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019895)

Non-cable homes (such as myself) will no longer be able to watch ad-supported online shows like the Closer, Kyle XY, or Monk.

I guess you'll just have to get a torrent and watch them without ads. What a shame!

Give people what the want, for Pete's sake! (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019177)

People have wants that aren't being met. Cable companies have the power to grant those wants. Why aren't they doing something about it!?

Here's #1: People want to watch their favorite shows on their own schedule. Sure, DVRs are a partial solution, but they only work if the customer remembers to set it up properly. Cable companies have had 'on demand' for years now, but instead of using it to keep their customers happy, they throw a few crappy programs on it and charge. Why!? That would totally stop a lot of people from watching online.

Instead of just throwing money at the problem, they should be thinking like a customer for a change.

If they would make CableTV fun and reliable, I would probably stop watching online and start paying for a cable line again.

Re:Give people what the want, for Pete's sake! (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019231)

>>>If they would make CableTV fun and reliable, I would probably stop watching online and start paying for a cable line again.

Go read the article. You will no longer be able to watch your favorite cable shows online, because Comcast/Cox/et cetera will be sealing them behind a subscriber-only website. So if for example your favorite show is the Closer, instead of watching it for free at tnt.tv, you'll have to pay Comcast to gain access to the show.

  Fun eh?

Re:Give people what the want, for Pete's sake! (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019269)

Part of that re-vamp to make it more reliable could be a cableco push for a minimum quality for a TV feed to be considered "HD".

right now it's only pixel width and height.

I can take a postage stamp sized ASF file from the 2001 filesharing networks, change a few tags on it, and it would be considered "HD" despite being nothing but 15 huge macroblocks with some sound.

Half the channels on comcast's network look exactly like my hypothetical description.

When there's no difference between your tv and youtube, people will go to youtube.

Re:Give people what the want, for Pete's sake! (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019493)

Traditionally video is measured in how many lines (|||||) can be seen, counting left to right, inside a square. The sharper the image, the more lines you see. So you have:

VHS - approximately 250 ||||| lines
analog TV-330 ||||| lines
S-VHS- 420 ||||| lines
DVD - 480 ||||| lines
720p- 700 ||||| lines
1080i-1000 ||||| lines

All values are approximate, since the measurement is performed using analog means (the human eye). A heavily-compressed HD channel might deteriorate to only 500 lines horizontal resolution - not any better than DVD resolution. Perhaps the FCC could mandate that for a 720p channel to call itself "HD" it must have at least 600 lines of horizontal resolution, per picture height. And for a 1080i channel to call itself "HD" it must have at least 900 lines of horizontal resolution, per picture height.

Re:Give people what the want, for Pete's sake! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27020699)

scanlines go top to bottom, moron

Cable industry incompatible with 'net streaming (2, Insightful)

gd2shoe (747932) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019187)

The cable companies' business model is to charge for a connection to content. In the up-and-coming age of Internet streaming, that isn't going to happen. They need a paradigm shift if they're going to survive. The CBS and NBC sites are good examples of what can survive (although they're done quite poorly, IMO).

At this rate, cable co.s are going to become ISPs, and nothing more. If they can set up their own streaming sites, (with competitive offerings and commercials) some of them can survive as content providers. The Internet has a tendency to cut out the middlemen. The middlemen must now add value to persist.

Besides, the cable model is inherently unfair anyway. One both pays the cable co. and must sit through commercials. Most people won't admit that they're getting double billed, but they can feel it. They will migrate to better models as they become available.

Re:Cable industry incompatible with 'net streaming (1)

mcsqueak (1043736) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019313)

Besides, the cable model is inherently unfair anyway. One both pays the cable co. and must sit through commercials. Most people won't admit that they're getting double billed, but they can feel it. They will migrate to better models as they become available.

Yes, and they still charge an arm and a leg for their premium offerings... I know people who pay between $150 - $200 a month for cable - that is insane!

I don't mind sitting through commercials when I watch online because it's mostly free (besides the cost of internet), but commercials on cable TV are aggravating. Its little wonder DVRs are so popular.

The only reason I can see where the cost of cable is worth it is to be provided with your shows in hi-def if you own a nice LCD or Plasma display, which you could easily pirate and send to your TV if you know what you're doing.

Netflix (2, Informative)

transporter_ii (986545) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020049)

I don't use Netflix just for streaming, but I moved my plan up a notch just to have access to it.

I can't say I'm burning up the tubes streaming stuff, but I like it when I do.

I feel the price I pay is a fair price, so I can see a business model that does charge for a connection to content.

What isn't going to happen is someone paying 69.95 a month for low quality video just to stream it to a laptop.

This is where they will miss the boat. It doesn't have to be free. People will pay for things if the price is right. I'm on a fairly tight budget but I've been a Netflix customer for well over a year now.

transporter_ii

They just don't get it (2, Insightful)

wyldeone (785673) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019195)

It's amazing how adept the media companies are at shooting themselves in the feet. They've come a long way with sites like hulu such that it is now more convenient to watch shows legally than illegally. If they change that by acceding to the cable companies' demands, the only result will be more piracy and less revenue. Cable companies are going to have to realize at some point that their primary function of providing access to a lot of content that most of their customers aren't interested in isn't going to last much longer, and that they are going to become just another pipe into the home. Attempts like this to forestall the inevitable are going to fail in the long run.

Re:They just don't get it (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019657)

It's also amazing how broke some of this shit is. Hulu's movie selection is abysmal at best and they rarely add new things. Television shows are rotated, so you could see, say, Monk Season 4 episodes 5, 6, and 7. If you wanted to watch 8, 9, and 10, you'd have to wait for them to rotate them in.

Are we in some sort of bandwidth or storage crisis that they can't put the whole series online? No. Someone in the background is pulling strings and saying shit like, "If you put the whole series online people won't buy DVDs anymore".

Streaming shows don't have the special features. Steaming shows have advertisements, which means you have eyeballs watching ads no matter what they're watching - even movies. Streaming shows will give you far more accurate metrics as to who's watching what rather than the Nielsen system.

Hulu is at best a half-assed compromise and it can't stand up to the commercial-free options - BitTorrent, downloading, Tudou, YouTube, etc. If they'd just, as you've said, stop shooting themselves in the foot, they'd be doing just fine.

Re:They just don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27020409)

If "fine" means less profit, then they will never accept it.

Online TV made me cancel my comcast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27019213)

Problem was they were also my ISP so I was screwed for awhile.

Good luck! Meanwhile enjoy some real competition (3, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019237)

Cable retained users by offering more channels with fewer commercial interruptions.

As adoption skyrocketed, cable companies began tossing more and more commercials into the mix.

In 1986 the average cable show had 2 commercials in it; today popular shows have 6 minutes of commercials for every 5 minutes of content.

Do that in today's market and leaner, meaner companies with less legacy issues to tie them down will come eat your lunch!

Cable providers have already shown they don't have the spine to risk losing that programming, so they can't threaten to shut these studios out. They'll have to take a huge cut in profits by either paying them higher fees for exclusivity or lowering their commercials on live and offering more dependable, consumer friendly service.

If they try to up their bills satellite will eat their lunch, even if they manage to lock out hulu and netflix, and the higher their bills go -- especially with their bundling with internet service, the more customers they will lose.

There are those who consider the TV just superfluous and buy only net. if the cable company jacks up the tv portion of their bill they'll switch ISP's

For those whose primary purpose is TV, people, especially in this economy, might save their pennies for food/gas/mortgage and start giving pirate bay more patronage (and flowers : ] )

Re:Good luck! Meanwhile enjoy some real competitio (4, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019413)

today popular shows have 6 minutes of commercials for every 5 minutes of content.

That is bullshit. The typical prime-time hour long show has 39-42 minutes of content,leaving only 18-21 minutes for commercials. That is a ratio of 1 minute commercial for every 2 minutes of content. I know this because I edit the commercials out before watching and I use the "time remaining" counter in my video editor as a sanity check that I got all of the commercials.

Re:Good luck! Meanwhile enjoy some real competitio (2, Informative)

GIL_Dude (850471) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019649)

You are absolutely right of course. Interestingly, I time it by DVD releases that I watch while on the treadmill. For example, Star Trek (TOS) from the 1960's episodes are 50 minutes long. So apparently there were 50 minutes of "show" to 10 minutes of commercial. Star Trek TNG from the 1990's is 45 minutes of "show" to 15 minutes of commercial. Psych (2nd season) is 43 minutes of "show" to 17 minutes of commercial. I think the worst I have seen so far is 40 minutes of "show" to 20 minutes of commercial.

For me it is very interesting though to see how they foist more and more commercials over time. I'd like to have that 50 minutes of show per hour back!

Re:Good luck! Meanwhile enjoy some real competitio (1)

Puffy Director Pants (1242492) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019931)

Reminds me of something I read back when TNG was first on the air, about how it cost so much to make that Paramount was selling most of the advertising time in order to pay for it.

Re:Good luck! Meanwhile enjoy some real competitio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27020059)

That doesn't make sense. TNG was syndicated, it was one of the first shows to be distributed only in syndication. One result of being syndicated is that the only source of revenue is payments from the syndicating stations.

Re:Good luck! Meanwhile enjoy some real competitio (1)

Puffy Director Pants (1242492) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020691)

You may not believe it, but it's true.

Re:Good luck! Meanwhile enjoy some real competitio (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 5 years ago | (#27021133)

I know this because I edit the commercials out before watching

Could you maybe, you know on your last day before layoff or retirement, "forget" to edit the commercials back in. It feels good to break a rule know and again, wouldn't you agree?

Tiered Internet, v2 (3, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019353)

Now that we are almost all on metered internet, they will offer 'reduced bandwidth rates' for local content, relative to their competition.

EVERYBODY? (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019417)

to work out a plan that keeps everyone's business intact.

Well, I'm sure that's close to what he meant to say...

BitTorrent. (2, Interesting)

Doug52392 (1094585) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019419)

I just download TV episodes from BitTorrent. Much more convenient, I don't have to install some shitty Windows only software filled with security holes, no commercials, and I have full control over the files I download.

I usually download a ~349Mb TV episode, and copy it to a flash drive. I then bring the flash drive downstairs, plug it into my PlayStation 3, and enjoy watching the shows in HD.

Or sometimes, if I know I won't have time to watch the show because I know I'll be busy all day, I'll run the video file through a converter and copy it to my MP3/Video player, and watch the TV show when I have a bit of free time.

And the legitimate, legal customer is limited to watching a video that's interrupted by commercials, confined to a small Flash window, etc etc.

Re:BitTorrent. (1)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020155)

I'm confused how you can consider the 350 MB releases HD. The 700 MB releases are the ones usually labeled HD, and even they often don't reach the quality of regular DVDs.

(I'm assuming of course, that you are talking about standard 42 minute programs, rather than 21 minute programs like sitcoms, and old programming.)

P!ss the f&@k off cable! (1)

Cathoderoytube (1088737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019555)

Honestly. My cable company just raised my bill per month by $10, so I canceled my cable all together. If they're complaining about internet stealing all their business they should take a look at the sort of terrible programming they're offering. I wanted 3 extra channels on my cable package, but I couldn't just get just those channels, I had to get an additional 200 channels I didn't want and an additional $30 on my bill. The internet's rightly stealing their business because when you go online you can watch whatever the hell you want whenever you want. It's a pretty clear case of an anachronistic business model complaining that the new better ways are digging into their bottom line.

This is a stopgap measure for cable. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27019559)

One day the networks will bypass the terrestrial affiliates and go straight to cable/satellite. That will open up a lot more airtime they can show commercials. But even cable is another middleman they'd like to bypass. Once full definition video on demand over IP becomes truly feasible and universal, the networks will go straight to the Net, the hell with the cable/sats.

Switched to Netflix and will never go back (5, Informative)

Temujin_12 (832986) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019629)

My wife and I recently bought our first HD flat screen TV. We were about to call Comcast to add HD to our cable plan. Then we stopped and asked ourselves a question, "How much more enjoyment will we get from watching shows we already watch but now in HD?" The answer, for us, turned out to be almost nothing. So now we were stuck with stretched and obviously pixelated non HD programming on our new HD TV.

So we asked ourselves another question, "How many of the shows that we watch aren't available online as full episodes (many in HD)?" The answer again, for us, turned out to be almost none.

So we dropped all cable TV (cable package, DVR, and on-demand) and only kept internet. We then signed up for Netflix 3 DVDs with Blu-Ray and on-demand for only $17 a month. We then bought an LG Blu-Ray player that hooks into your Netflix account and allows you to stream any Netflix on-demand show to your TV. LG even recently released an upgrade where now we can browse YouTube and watch any video.

Looking back, we would never go back to cable. We're perfectly happy with the selection of entertainment Netflix and online sites give us and very much enjoy watching TV on our terms with almost no commercials (most network TV websites use commercials... though Netflix doesn't, of course). Plus, we went from almost paying ~$80 for HD cable with a DVR and an on-demand box to only $17 a month (plus the Blu-Ray player we bought) and are much happier with our TV.

What's poetic justice in all this is that Comcast is providing the bandwidth for us to stream all of their competitor's content. Makes me realize why cable companies are vehemently against net neutrality. I hope they never win that battle.

Re:Switched to Netflix and will never go back (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27019867)

We just moved and DTV provided us the little push over the edge to give up on cable. Same thing, we realized that there's nothing on satellite in our hotel room that we couldn't get online, so we're getting DSL, ditching cable, and getting a DTV converter. Savings? $45/month. That's a lot of beer.

Re:Switched to Netflix and will never go back (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020583)

Savings? $45/month. That's a lot of beer.

That depends upon your definition of "a lot".

Re:Switched to Netflix and will never go back (2, Informative)

Dwedit (232252) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019953)

It will get more expensive when you hit Comcast's 250 GB/Month cap, then your rates increase $10 for each 15GB you go over the limit.

Re:Switched to Netflix and will never go back (1)

Dwedit (232252) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019973)

Sorry, should be $15 for each 10GB over the limit, switched the numbers by mistake.

They'll suck the money out of us one way or... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27019665)

Internet tv wont be a panacea to tv watching customers. You'll be able to have a streaming box like a Roku or a store and play box like a tivo that will get free or nearly free tv shows with re-play or re-download abilities if you dont get the show the first time, but then your cable internet bandwidth will jump through the roof and the cable companies will charge you double for the extra usage.

So instead of paying comcast $50 for cable tv and $50 for cable internet, you'll end up paying them $100 for high usage cable internet.

Directv and comcast will simply become larger broadband providers.

Seems like a smart direction to go in. Trying to shove 300 channels into a limited bandwidth in real time is pretty stupid.

theplatform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27019835)

comcast already owns "theplatform"

that's what most of the "big players" (hulu for one) in the "internet tv" space are using to host/deliver all their cool little internet tv apps anyway.

funny how that works isnt it ? :)

NBC (1)

dukeofurl01 (236461) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019855)

Far as I know, Hulu is owned by NBC. They already own the content. They can do what they want with it. Comacast (and other cable companies) don't own content. They can't do anything with something they don't own (or license). It's that simple.

But also, I don't know why the cable companies want to have a website for internet TV. They say it's not for revenue, and it certainly couldn't be, a big website like Hulu costs a lot to develop, and while I like Hulu, it doesn't make me think any more or less of NBC, or earn them any goodwill.

Yeah, they make money from advertising, but it can't come close to what it cost to develop the site.

Re:NBC (1)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020193)

Hulu is a joint venture between NBC Universal (NBC) and News Corporation (Fox), although other "content providers" can make their shows available on the service if they so desire (this is mostly the case where the production company of the executive producer owns the rights, as opposed to a network or the network owned production company. (Almost all shows have two or more production companies these days.))

NBC and Fox will make some money on the advertisements no matter whose show is being watched (Although they obviously make more money when a show they own is the one in question).

Cable companies don't deserve a piece! (1)

wshwe (687657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019925)

Cable companies don't deserve a piece of the online pie! They already have 1 monopoly!

I cancelled cable 8 months ago.... (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020075)

I had one of the bundles with TV, internet, and phone service. I cancelled it all back in August. I was getting ready to take on a project at work that was going to eat most of my time. And I got to looking. I was spending about $140 per month for all of it and really only watch 3 TV's show that I could purchase for $40 per season at iTunes. I had internet at work, and much faster than at home, and I had my cell phone. So I just cut it all off. And I can't say that I've missed it that much.

I love watching St. Louis Cardinals baseball. $110 and I get to watch all the games live over the internet via MLB.tv. So basically, I get all the entertainment I want for about 2 months of what I was paying.

But? (1)

BCW2 (168187) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020327)

What about those of us that got fed up with the sleezy billing practices of Time Warner and now use DirectTV? I wouldn't pay a cable company a penny for anything.

I'm part of the trend. I axed able. (1)

ZorinLynx (31751) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020503)

I just wanted to mention that I'm part of the trend.

I got tired of paying $63 a month for cable when most of the "live TV" I watch are major network shows. I download South Park and a few other cable only shows, and don't even watch them on their normal cable channels.

So I went to Radio Shack and got a nice VHF/UHF yagi. I put it in the attic pointing in the direction of the antenna farms.

The result? Beautiful HD picture from all the local stations and national networks. And it costs $0.

I canceled cable the same week. If I find myself missing cable channels (I haven't yet) I can always go satellite for those channels which is cheaper anyway.

Cable will lose subscribers if they don't provide better value. These things are the first to go when the crunch hits the pocketbook.

They think very highly of themselves ... (2, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020575)

... work out a plan that keeps everyone's business intact.

Sound familiar? The problem is, the consumer is not usually a part of such plans. Well, other than as a cash cow to be milked for all it's worth.

So now the truth comes out (3, Informative)

kimvette (919543) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020773)

Now they're finally admitting the real reason for the bandwidth caps: they do not want to lose their cable TV monopolies.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...