Beta

×

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!

Millions of Subscribers Leaving Cable TV for Streaming Services

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the end-of-an-age dept.

Television 380

suraj.sun writes "Netflix and Hulu are convincing millions of cable, satellite and telco subscribers to cut the cord and dive into video streaming. That's the conclusion of a new report released this week by the Convergence Consulting Group, which finds that 2.65 million Americans canceled TV subscriptions between 2008-2011 in favor of lower-cost internet subscription services or video platforms. Though Convergence co-founder Brahm Eiley projects that the number of people opting out of TV subscription services will begin to slow in 2012 and 2013. Part of the problem, Eiley argues, may be the rising price tag for streaming rights to programming which could cause fiscal fits for Netflix."

cancel ×

380 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Costs much? (5, Insightful)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582571)

It's cheaper to get Amazon Prime, Hulu, AND Netflix than it is to pay for cable.

Well that and if your lucky like I am (5, Interesting)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582653)

I get the basic channels for free. How? Simple, I have cable internet and phone over which basic cable comes through unfiltered. When I asked the installer about it he told me they do not have filters for that range. Since that gets me my locals, weather being most important, its all good.

What is really sad. I was paying for basic cable. I subscribed to the basic service using the website for 12.95 a month. Then come January someone at work mentioned that their cable bill went up by $5.00 and they say increases in internet charges too. Other people later chimed in to say similar. Well I did check my bill and lo and behold, I was now being charged 17.95 for basic cable. I called, cancelled it, and still have it all because my televisions can read it just fine. Best part about it, on their website it is still 12.95 but I cannot get it. Seems the local version of the same provider could care less about the web site pricing.

TL;DR. Cable is killing itself because the right hand doesn't let the left hand in on what it is doing. Worse, they have tried to follow this combo model where they aim for over one hundred a month in combined charges. I am at 62 now with phone and internet (16/4 btw) and still have more TV than I want.

I do know one thing, more people would drop cable and sat like a rock if you could stream HBO; there are people at work who get HBO and Cable simply for Game of Thrones!) and other "premium" channels.

A side note, my cable lists a cap of 250g a month. I haven't hit that cap yet but I am wondering if the improved show quality (1080p) offered by some services will push me over.

TV schedules need to revolve around me, not some schedule determined in a room in NYC or LA. Once a provider can time shift all their content then they will have value to me, but probably not as much as they will want to charge.

Re:Well that and if your lucky like I am (5, Insightful)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582733)

I started to write a longer top level about how refusal to support Clear QAM and forcing cables boxes on people with QAM capable TV's and forcing people to use cable company provided DVR's instead of - well Clear QAM was a major contributing factor but the comment started to get too long and lose focus.

BTW, the way the media companies are dealing with loss of viewers is the opposite of what they should do.

Look at an original Star Trek episode on Hulu, it runs about 54 minutes. Look at an original Battlestar Galactica Episode, it runs about 50 minutes, look at a modern SciFi show - it will run about 43 minutes.

I would argue an hour long reality show is 0 minutes of non-advertising content.

People are watching less TV partially because there's less TV to watch in an hour.

Re:Well that and if your lucky like I am (5, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582995)

People are watching less TV partially because there's less TV to watch in an hour.

I stopped watching broadcast TV except on the BBC in the UK because there were too many ads (I then stopped watching the BBC channels, because iPlayer is a more convenient way of getting at the same content). When I tried watching TV in the USA, I was amazed anyone put up with it. You had at least twice as many ads as we did when it passed my tolerance threshold.

I don't have a TV anymore, and I watch a lot more TV shows than I did back when I had one. Between iPlayer and DVD rentals, there's a lot of enjoyable content, and I know that if I sit down to watch a TV show for an hour then I will get an hour of entertainment, not 45 minutes of entertainment and 15 minutes of being annoyed.

Re:Well that and if your lucky like I am (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583039)

I've pretty much quit TV. I do watch South Park and most of the Fox cartoons on the Internet, but I don't actually turn a TV on to flip through the channels anymore. That being said I work with TV junkies and there's TV's all over the building I work in and most of my family are still a bunch of TV junkies so I'm not that far behind on what's happening on TV, rather I want to be or not. I've tried watching TV, I really have.

The last shows I've watched (not counting the ones mentioned above)

Dollhouse
Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles
Caprica
Stargate Universe
First Wave
Battlestar Galactica
Farscape
Stargate

Well, two ran their course.

Re:Well that and if your lucky like I am (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39582821)

Just because your cable provider does not filter or block you from it, you are still stealing cable because you're not paying for it. I leave my home doors unlocked. Does that mean that you can enter my house and look around? I have a hose bib on the outside wall of my house. Does that mean that you can hook a hose to it and water your lawn?

Re:Well that and if your lucky like I am (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39582891)

OK, but if you installed your hose bib on his property, don't you think he should be able to hook up to it. That's what the cable company has done here.

Re:Well that and if your lucky like I am (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582965)

And you are stealing air because you are not paying for it.

Re:Well that and if your lucky like I am (1)

ji777 (1107063) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583191)

The more apt analogy here would be if you had run your hose onto his property and left the spigot open, dumping unused water onto his lawn. All he's doing is visualizing images that are already being streamed to him unrequested. If he was bypassing some sort of filter then it would be stealing, but plugging the cable into the TV or running your hose over to his flowers instead of on his grass? I'm not sure labeling it as theft is really all that apt. I could see an argument for a moral issue here, but not really so far as theft. The proper course of action would be to inform the provider or in your analogy ask you to turn your spigot off.

Re:Well that and if your lucky like I am (2)

MisterMidi (1119653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583263)

Let's say I want to buy your house. You decline, because you like living there, it is almost paid for and I'm not offering enough. Now I pay off whatever is left of the mortgage so the house is yours and you can live in it for free for the rest of your life. By your logic, if you continue living in it, you're now a thief and I can report you to the police.

Basic Cable? Free? BFD. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39582839)

Basic Cable - with *some of the local channels that you could get for free anyway with an antenna - has just crap on it with tons of advertisements.

They should be paying you to watch that shit.

* - What I've found with the local channels on cable is that they don't have the sub-channels. Meaning, you get channel 2.1 but not 2.2,2.3 or 2.4. So, basic cable gives you less than broadcast TV.

Re:Basic Cable? Free? BFD. (1)

MDillenbeck (1739920) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582963)

I found that when I use my cable box I only received the x.1 channels - but when I plug the cable in directly I receive them all. Eventually I explored the higher number digital channels and found most are replicated. In other words, x.1 was 112-2, x.2 was on 84-7, x.3 was 83-2. (Okay, those numbers are made up, but essentially how Charter seems to do it for my area - breaking up the sequentially tiered known 2-digit network numbers into weird randomly placed 3-digit channels.) Still, frustrating but an easy work-around when you only want to get local channels (I live far enough out of town that I need a roof antenna, and I haven't looked into my local ordinances or installation costs - otherwise I can't seem to pull any in over-the-air even though I am only about 20-30 miles away.)

Re:Well that and if your lucky like I am (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39583097)

Seems the local version of the same provider could care less about the web site pricing.

Couldn't care less. "Could care less" doesn't make sense, because it implies that they actually care about it.

Re:Well that and if your lucky like I am (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583209)

They didn't put a filter on for you house, I had the same situation for a while as well; instead of looking at my bill to see if I was being charged I called them. Still took them 6 months to actually get someone out there to filter me, and it was after a storm so I bet they were actually there to do other work.

Give it time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39583223)

Eventually your cableco will go all digital and encrypt the feed. Want basic cable? You'll need our set-top box for that. No more free basic channels.

Re:Well that and if your lucky like I am (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39583249)

If your cable MSO doesn't have filters for blocking out analog channels, they deserve what they get.

Re:Costs much? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582679)

Also a lot of local stations are now streaming on their websites, so you can get the live news and local sports as well.
And the NBA had the games streaming for free in march.

No reason at all to have Cable TV/Satellite TV anymore It's overpriced for what it delivers. I'll come back Comcast, if you give me all the channels for $20.00 a month and the price never goes up.

Re:Costs much? (1)

ewieling (90662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583363)

In Huntsville, on Knology, is more expensive to only have internet service than it is to have basic cable + internet. Yay bundling,

Re:Costs much? (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582691)

I do wonder just how bad the US cable market really is - I have Sky in the UK, and I pay roughly $75 a month for TV, Broadband (unlimited 20Mbit ADSL) and voice with free evening and weekend calls.

The Sky subscription gets me Anytime+, which gives me access to tonnes of tv and movies for viewing at any time. It also gives me SkyGo, which is essentially the same as Anytime+ but available on computer, tablets and phones - I have no need for Netflix or Lovefilm. Sky also have a suite of apps to interact with my dvr and do other things.

How does that compare to the US?

Re:Costs much? (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582763)

My parents pay about $200 a month for basic cable plus a package that gives them Boomerang and a few movie channels like Starz. They get about 3 Mbps up and down and home phone service. They really don't want the home phone service but the way the package triple plays in the US phone service is like an appendix. Mom's been complaining that when she first got this package it was about $120 a month and just keeps creeping up in price.

BTW - it's fiber. I used to think the company she's using was among the best in the US but their service is slowly degrading to the point I don't know how they get away with it. Last time I was there many websites were unavailable - just no route to host and this isn't uncommon anymore. I was having to use my mobile phone to look at websites because I couldn't use their fiber service - and it wasn't DNS, I confirmed this. This sucked almost as bad because Sprint's service - Edge, 3G and absolutely no WiMax sucks balls in Louisiana. Even if you get an excellent 3G signal the back haul makes it seem like you're using a 28.8.

I haven't personally had cable in almost a decade. I get some very basic analog cable with my Internet access but I don't use it. The guy who did the install asked if I wanted my TV hooked up and I said no. Three times. Finally about the forth time he asked I caved and said go ahead since it didn't cost and extra, my dad uses it to watch news when he visits.

Re:Costs much? (5, Insightful)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582713)

I think far more important than price is the idea of a virtual VCR where you can watch what you want, when you want, with far fewer ads than "traditional" channel-based TV.

My exposure to DirecTiVO broke my TV habit. When I moved back to Canada, I shifted to torrents. But I will NOT go back to watching shows on the schedule set by some arbitrary board of assholes.

Re:Costs much? (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582811)

Absolutely.

The cable companies are basically advertising for all the services I mentioned by refusing to offer anything worth watching in Clear QAM and pretending HD costs more for them to get to the consumer.

Hint - it costs the cable company more to offer an SD and HD version of a channel than it does to just offer an HD version. By offering both they're actually cutting into the bandwidth available to make other channels better HD. Not to mention two versions gets really confusing for people who have to remember to go to the HD version of the channel instead of the SD in the lower number range.

Most cable companies offer the fucking Home Shopping Network in 1080p for free, will offer SciFi and Discover - channels that actually put a lot of thought and effort into picture quality - in SD with a basic package and if you actually pay for the HD option will upgrade it to 720p using no bandwidth left as an excuse. Maybe if you eliminate the SD channel and reallocate that bandwidth to this channel you can just offer HD as basic? Many cable companies have been outed for lowering bitrates or lying about HD channels resolutions. (this page [widemovies.com] is dedicated to keeping track of that in Dallas)

Science Fiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39582783)

It's cheaper to get Amazon Prime, Hulu, AND Netflix than it is to pay for cable.

And I can create my own science fiction channel! On AC TV, Firefly is in continuous reruns, along with Star Trek, Doctor Who, Torchwood, and best of all, all those indie real science fiction movies like: Pi, Prime, The Man From Earth, etc ....

Now if only Netflix would get their act together and have more content streamable because their selection is getting long in the tooth for me.

Hulu is annoying because because for many shows they just have clips or just a few episodes at a time - e.g. "Good Eats" with Alton Brown.

Re:Science Fiction (5, Informative)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582849)

Hulu pisses me off because even if you pay for + you still get increasingly more commercials (seriously, they started with just a couple of commercials per show, now they rival over the air amounts).

The thing that REALLY pisses me off about Hulu is the lack of agnosticism. You can only watch THIS show on a computer, you can't watch it on your TV with your BluRay player or on your phone - even if you paid for Plus. I had Plus for a month and told them to shove it.

Seriously, before I got Plus I was looking at BluRay players at a store, I wanted to check out their site on my phone to see if a player had added support for Plus or not. EVEN THE FAQ SECTION redirected me to an alert and denial. I wasn't allowed to look at the compatible device list because I was a filthy mobile phone user.

So let me get this straight:
I can watch American Dad with my BluRay player.
I can't watch a nearly 10 year old Spiderman Cartoon series that never really took off.
I can watch Family guy with my phone.
I can't watch an obscure Japanese import cartoon few people know about.
I can't watch the Simpsons on my BluRay player?

Most shows I want to watch are not approved for "TV Viewing", they charge for that inconvenience and I still have to watch commercials. Screw them.

I may consider getting Hulu Plus again after I buy an HD TV and a media PC for it. (That's right, my BluRay player is hooked up to my SD 36" Diamatron CRT!)

Re:Science Fiction (5, Funny)

iONiUM (530420) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582999)

I can't watch an obscure Japanese import cartoon few people know about.

Yea, I can't watch Sailor Moon either..

Re:Science Fiction (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583017)

I was talking about Witchblade, but sure.

Re:Science Fiction (1)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583133)

I feel the same way. I can pay them $8 a month for the privilege of streaming free Hulu content over my Xbox/Blu-Ray player, yet when I actually GIVE them money for this privilege, they take away access to half the crap I wanted to watch. Really?

Fortunately, Hulu realizes this is a problem (bad forsight on negotiating contracts on their part) and they're working to make all content available on all platforms. It still kinda irritates me that the $8 will still only be a courtesy fee for using their content on certain devices and slightly outrages me that I still have commercials. For the time being, I'll just hook my laptop up to the tv.

Re:Costs much? (4, Insightful)

tirefire (724526) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582831)

It's cheaper to get Amazon Prime, Hulu, AND Netflix than it is to pay for cable.

An excellent point. I would like to add that it is even cheaper to just wait for the show to come out on DVD. And then check it out from the local library.

On the one hand, it requires discipline and patience. On the other hand... it's just TV. I'm not rich, so I'm probably showing some kind of ironic poor-man's snobbery here, but even my favorite TV shows (Futurama, House, Mad Men, The Wire, Top Gear UK, Cowboy Bebop) still enrich my life less than a good novel/comic book/six-pack of beer. And even a terrible novel stimulates the imagination more than TV, with its effortless entertainment value, something that is only really valuable to me if I'm dead tired or staying home from work sick or something.

Paying for any TV show is just not a good deal for me. Or maybe I just don't know good television - feel free to suggest a good show I haven't heard of. But hearing about millions of subscribers leaving cable and satellite TV makes me smile. Cable/sat companies have offered little to nothing of value beyond their infrastructure for years. Enough of this 19th-century rent-seeking. I'm lukewarm about TV, and I understand that puts me in the minority, but I'm sure we can all think of things more deserving of our money.

Re:Costs much? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582925)

On the one hand, it requires discipline and patience. On the other hand... it's just TV.

It takes discipline and patience if you want to eat brussels sprouts since they are seasonal. On the other hand...it's just brussels sprouts.

TV is infinitely worse than brussels sprouts, because I like brussels sprouts and TV gives me a rash.

I've never had cable television. Some years ago I was on a fellowship and stayed at a friend's vacant house and he had full cable. Everything. HBO, Showtime. All that stuff. He's in an associated field so he says he has to have the full boat.

For about a week, I spent more time changing channels than watching anything. Then, I settled on some classic movies network, but I had to finally turn that off, because some moron decided it was a good idea to "colorize" fucking classic movies that were originally in black and white. I guess I'm dating myself, because I heard that they finally knocked that colorizing shit off. Thank god. When some kid out there stumbles on Dr Strangelove or They Drive by Night or the original Cape Fear or La Dolce Vita or The Bicycle Thief or the original Night of the Living Dead, they need to see it in the original, ethereal black and white like god intended. What kind of putz sees Citizen Kane and says, "You know...something's missing. I think what this needs is...color!" Whoever it is needs to be shot or have Jane Fonda as an ex-wife or something.

Anyway, look at the time. I'm sorry to have run on like this (I'm going to make that my sig). There is nothing on TV.

Re:Costs much? (1, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582943)

Will somebody please tell this asshole to use preview and than insert a backslash when he closes the em tag?

Re:Costs much? (5, Funny)

rich_hudds (1360617) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583025)

Will you please use preview and than insert a backslash when you close an em tag

Re:Costs much? (3, Funny)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583045)

Will somebody please tell these two yahoos you use a forward slash to close a tag?

Re:Costs much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39582915)

Uh, wait till they start enforcing data caps.
I live in Houston and Comcast "caps" us at 250 GB a month.
After that you end up paying much more per GB (think text messages) and your bill will skyrocket or they will refuse to provide access.

Re:Costs much? (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583023)

250GB is a lot of video. iPlayer HD is 3600Kb/s. At that rate, it's over 150 hours of streaming - or about five hours a day. The SD content is 800Kb/s. At that rate you can stream over 22 hours per day and still not hit the cap.

Re:Costs much? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39583119)

if the cable TV companies were smart they would start switching to streaming their service across the web. its only a matter of time before smart tv's and media center computers replace standard tvs. even with game consoles. if Cox cable offered their channels on the web,wii, or computer i would think about subscribing again.

Re:Costs much? (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583143)

With so many smart TV's and BlueRay Players, most people will have the ability to stream videos which will give them further incentives to cut Cable.

Re:Costs much? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583163)

Exactly it really comes down to costs. I once had Digitial Cable with all the channels... And I ended up watching a few channels and the rest were repeats of the same freaking show at different time slots. I watched an interesting show on Discovery channel... Then it is available next week on Discovery 2 and Discovery 3... They will add 20 new shows I want to watch a season. Then it is repeats and repeats on all the other channels. It just isn't worth the money. Then to make it worse you get adds that are blasting loud every 10 minutes and they seem to get longer and longer every year. Often to a point where they cut out a critical scene in the story just to stuff more adds in it.

Re:Costs much? (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583193)

And if you are cheap even for that, there is a "broadcasting" version of it: shady low quality streaming services.

Research funded by the DOSWAK (3, Funny)

rebelwarlock (1319465) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582573)

Also known as the Department of Shit We Already Know. Next, we explain how fewer people write handwritten letters after the advent of "electronic mail".

Seems about right (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582581)

My mom learned to use bittorrent to get new shows, and also watches Hulu. My brother uses an Xbox with a friend's Netflix account and also torrents. They canceled cable TV last month. There's really no need to have cable anymore unless you want live sports. Practically everything else is available online for free.

Re:Seems about right (4, Interesting)

wanzeo (1800058) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582635)

There's really no need to have cable anymore unless you want live sports. Practically everything else is available online for free.

That and cable news. I would love to get my parents to switch, it kills me to see them sending $100 to Comcast every month. But they are absolutely addicted to the talking heads. I have tried to introduce them to online news, but so far online news is mostly text based with short video clips. Until there is a mainstream site that streams 24 hour news presented by a human, they (and many others) will never give up their precious cable.

Re:Seems about right (3, Interesting)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582747)

Aye, that was the last thread holding my father to paying for cable as well. I eventually convinced him to start reading his news instead of watching it. I showed him the CNN website and the BBC, and got him to start listening to NPR.

Text is superior to watching a talking head anyway; it's just hard to convince people of that generation--assuming your parents are within a generation of 50yo.

It came down to time. You can read a rundown of the news in just a few minutes that would normally take an hour if you were trying to watch it on cable with commercials. But I know a lot of people are devoted to their particular favorite news personality so that keeps them tuning into that channel every day.

Re:Seems about right (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583229)

I showed him the CNN website and the BBC

Does CNN.com stream 24 hours a day, or does it stream only 10 AM to 3 PM on weekdays like MSNBC.com does?

Text is superior to watching a talking head anyway

With a talking head, you can hook the cable box up to a radio transmitter and listen with headphones throughout the house or with a shower radio. You can also recline in a recliner and watch TV on the TV set that you've already paid for instead of a $400 tablet.

I know a lot of people are devoted to their particular favorite news personality so that keeps them tuning into that channel every day.

Someone in one of the households in my survey sample (let's call her "Becky") is like that: it has to be MSNBC's Morning Joe Brewed by Starbucks, and something like CNN's American Morning or HLN's Morning Express or FNC's Fox and Friends is unacceptable. And BBC America is only on cable where I live, not OTA. She even does the shower radio thing.

Re:Seems about right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39583251)

Aljazeera.com

Re:Seems about right (1)

odie5533 (989896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582701)

For live sports, you can get something like the NBA League Pass which offers streaming games for about $2 a month.

Re:Seems about right (1)

RubberMallet (2499906) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583221)

Or you can simply use one of the many free streaming sports options. You can stream just about any sport being broadcast on the planet.

Re:Seems about right (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583351)

My mom learned to use bittorrent to get new shows

I tried teaching my mom but I think it's just too far removed from her comfort zone to do unsupervised. Instead, I just get emails every few days asking me to get the newest episodes for her, but I don't mind. She's good at getting the episode names and everything, at least.

She was a pro at Napster and Kazaa and such back in the day, but I think torrents are just too complicated.

I convert as many people as possible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39582597)

Dropped all cable TV subscriptions and use only their internet service to stream HULU+Netflix and through my internet TV, ROKU and Logitec Revue boxes. In addition I stream numerous live news services directly though both the ROKU and the Logitec boxes.
Since I am not a sports nut I am not affected by the lack of live HD sports coverage through the methods outlined above, but I have saved hundreds every year with more programming that I actually desire than the crap that was "served" to me by my local Cable operator plus fewer or no commercials.
Most people pay extra for a DVR since they cannot enjoy the shows when they air. This method functions pretty much the same way and allows my TV shows to revolve around me, and not the other way around. CABLE is DEAD!!

choice and bandwidth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39582609)

1) Doesn't it bother anyone that by having the choice of what to see and when, you simply reinforce your own interests/prejudices, rather than open your mind to new ideas? This is probably the Internet's greatest sin.

2) Doesn't it bother anyone that unicast is a horrible waste of bandwidth?

Re:choice and bandwidth (1)

kermidge (2221646) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582689)

1) Yes, people who want to reinforce their interests and prejudices can do so more easily now. I hardly think it's the Internet's fault, though. Nothing new; some want to learn about the world around them and do so, while others apparently willingly or unwittingly don blinders.

2) Yes. BitTorrent might could help; if I recall a-rightly, Bram and others were working on modified torrent protocol specifically to address this.

Re:choice and bandwidth (2)

lxs (131946) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582843)

1. Yes it does, but I don't see how being tied to the prejudices and interests of media companies is any better.
2. That bothers me also but broadcast television really sucks. Being tied to a schedule not of my making is a horrible waste of human resources.

This "sin" you speak of is a minor one in recent human history. If you want a truly shameful medium look towards broadcast radio. From jingoistic recruitment drives in WWI via genocidal propaganda during WWII and many places including Maoist China to the slaughter in Bosnia and Rwanda, radio and in lesser extent television has been the 20th century greatest killer. It is time for something less totalitarian than broadcast media.

Re:choice and bandwidth (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582917)

2) YES

The best way to avoid this would be to allow me to build a MythTV box with my own QAM tuner cards in it. (or let me use an off the shelf Tivo or something)

Well, technically I'm allowed to do so and it wouldn't even cost all that much - but since the cable company encrypts just about anything that isn't PBS or the Home Shopping network it would be pretty pointless now wouldn't it?

Re:choice and bandwidth (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582981)

Doesn't it bother anyone that by having the choice of what to see and when, you simply reinforce your own interests/prejudices

Doesn't it bother you that you prefer to be reinforced by OTHER people's prejudices and interests? Oh wait, yeah, television networks are 100% unbiased and never ever push an agenda.

Re:choice and bandwidth (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583043)

Doesn't it bother anyone that unicast is a horrible waste of bandwidth?

Yes and no. It is a waste of bandwidth if everyone is watching the same thing at the same time. A better solution would be more caching at the edges. If I watch a popular show, it should be stored on my router and then if my neighbours watch it they should stream it from me, keeping it on the local segment. That gives you most of the advantages of multicast, but without the limitation of people needing to receive things at the same time. You could perhaps do some speculative caching, so if it predicts that more than one person on a segment will want to watch something it will broadcast it on that segment and they all cache a copy.

Re:choice and bandwidth (5, Insightful)

MDillenbeck (1739920) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583175)

1) Doesn't it bother anyone that by having the choice of what to see and when, you simply reinforce your own interests/prejudices, rather than open your mind to new ideas? This is probably the Internet's greatest sin.

Actually, that is why I like my Netflix subscription. I watch it... a lot. I've seen almost all the things I want to see on it, and the rate of new content is slower than I would like - but I do only pay $8 a month, so I don't expect a lot. However, when it is 3 am on a sleepless night off with nothing to do (everything is closed and I don't think my neighbors would appreciate me cutting the lawn or building a shed at that hour), I will turn on Netflix and watch a show before going to bed. I find myself often going into sections I normally wouldn't, loading up something I don't think I'd normally watch, and finding out I really enjoyed it. Then I follow the suggestions based on that film until I run out of content - only to repeat the exploration again when I run out of stuff a few months down the road.

Think of it this way - its like internet browsing. I look up something on wikipedia, a blue link of an interesting word (or unknown word) gets followed, then an article link at the bottom takes me to a new web page, and so forth, until I am on a totally unrelated topic - a topic that I would have thought of looking into without that flow of links taking me there. I sort of do the same thing on Netflix as I do on my web browsing. So, no, I don't think the Internet and personal choice simply reinforces my own interest/prejudices - however, exploring one's interests is not always a bad thing. Just as I make it a point to go to new restaurants and places in my life, I also find it acceptable to go to my favorite diner or place frequently. The trick is balancing likes with new experiences.

I opted out last year (4, Insightful)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582611)

After 12 years of paying for TV, I finally cut the cord. The final straw for me were the distracting popups shown at the bottom of the screen in the middle of the shows. I mean really, think about. You are paying for the "priviledge" of being a product subjected to insistent advertising. How ridiculous is that? My average bill was around $100 month. That's over $12,000 a decade for chrissakes! What do I have to show for that expense now? Absolutely nothing!

Re:I opted out last year (3, Interesting)

kermidge (2221646) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582777)

http://www.waynesthisandthat.com/commerciallength.htm [waynesthisandthat.com] for a piece on pop-ups, logos, and increasing time given to standard commercials. When I was a lad a half-hour TV show was about 26 minutes; last I looked, more like 17 1/2. Haven't owned a TV in five years and didn't use it for two years before that. I now watch a half-dozen shows from Hulu and some of the networks' sites.

Seems like every time I look at the local cable company, everything's fifty bucks: digital cable, telephone, "high-speed" Internet. I got a "deal" from Time-Warner for Internet for $35, 7 down, 1 up. Real-world mileage varies.

Re:I opted out last year (5, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583381)

I have pretty much ignored TV for the past 12 years, getting my shows and movies online. I do have a cable subscription again (it comes with my internet hookup, for a few euros extra), and recently I have started to watch some TV again; my new GF sometimes likes to veg out and channel surf a little. And I am appalled at how crap TV has become. Not because of the shows but the incessant, loud commercials. And those popups, yes. Dear god, how can anyone sit through that?

What pisses me off even more than the increased ad airtime, is the fact that shows are now designed around commercial breaks, especially the non-sitcom shows. They now show you what's to come after the break, and after the break there's a short recap of what has come before, eating into the amount of actual content even further. Then there's the timing of ads. For example, at the end of Community, Troy and Abed always do a funny little skit. You guessed it: between the show's end and the skit is a commercial break. Milking the audiences' interest in the show for all it's worth.

Funny thing about those popups: I had never seen them before until recently, but I remember sitting in at some conference where a company (I think it was Adobe) announced technology to insert them on the fly. I think I was the only real consumer at that talk, all the others were content producers or broadcast people. And I recall my horror at their enthusiasm. I asked the speaker if he really thought that people were waiting for this sort of disruption during their shows, and he assured me in no uncertain tones that yes, TV stations and advertisers would love it, and the rest of the room joined in an enthusiastic brainstorm on the possibilities. Of course I meant real people, not TV airheads and marketeers. In the whole presentation, Q&A, and subsequent discussion, the topic of us the viewers or our viewing pleasure did not come up once.

That enthusiasm leads me to believe that it's only a matter of time before Hulu and all other streaming services will start inserting ads and popups into their streams. Streaming media will simply replace cable broadcasts; what changes is the selection of content and the on-demand nature of the medium, but the ads will come back. Even if there will be a few premium channels offering ad-free content for a little extra, at some point even they might cave in to pressure or temptation. The once ad-free premium TV channels around here all have caved in long ago.

Living room convergance finally here.. (1)

ItsIllak (95786) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582623)

It wasn't long ago that you'd have had to watch these on a laptop, at best hooked up to the TV for the duration of the show. Complete, probably, with AV, update and email pop-ups...

Now we just watch it on our $200 XBMC boxes, our XBOX 360, Wii or whatever device it is we normally hook up to the TV. We also get it in every room (Wii in the Playroom with Netflix + netflix kids, Xbox 360 in the main room, old xbox running xbmc in the kitchen, tablet everywhere else).

And that's even with a very limited selection of shows - just wait until the rest of the world catches up with content, Cable and Satellite will be converting all their resources to suing their customers MPAA stylee!

Full Fledged DVR system on HTPC (1)

TemplePilot (2035400) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582629)

These days all you really need is a powerful laptop & a smart HDTV connected to it and an unlimited or very high cap cable/dsl service then you get access to TONNES of Online Content World Wide [dslreports.com] The people have spoken. Convergence is IN!
And Depending on where you live you can agument with OTA antenna to your HDTV.

Nobody wants an HTPC (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583335)

These days all you really need is a powerful laptop & a smart HDTV connected to it

Except nobody* wants to connect a computer to a TV. See this comment [slashdot.org] and this comment [slashdot.org] and this comment [slashdot.org] . If you want, I can dig up more.

and an unlimited or very high cap cable/dsl service

Which the cable Internet companies are trying to kill precisely because it encourages cable TV customers to become former customers. Comcast prefers to just let its Tata uplink saturate [slashdot.org] .

* Outside the tiny, commercially insignificant minority that reads Slashdot and the various HTPC forums.

Only Logical (5, Interesting)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582631)

Let's see:
* Cable TV with the few channels that air shows I want to watch: ~$100/mo.
* Cable TV with only basic channels + Internet ~$75/mo.
* Internet only: ~$50/mo.

Netflix: $8/mo.

Between stuff available online, stuff downloadable as a torrent and netflix, WHY would I want to watch something that is:
* Only available according to the broadcaster's schedule
* Chopped up to make room for 15mins of advertising at a minimum
* Where the ads are broadcast louder than the shows
* The shows worth watching are all scattered on specialty stations each of which costs me extra $$$ to watch, or broadcast in another country but not here and simply not available.

Cable TV and the 5000 channels of shit have priced themselves out of the market, the huge number of (mostly pointless) channels have spread the advertising potential so thin that none of them can make anything that isn't a cheap reality tv show etc.

TV is dead IMHO. The only problem is that the shows I like to watch still cost money to produce, and they need revenue from somewhere. Hopefully the deals with Netflix and other services are sufficient to provide that money. Hopefully this also kills off the shitty programming that isn't worth the time and money it took to make it. Let the viewers decide. I would much rather spend $8 per month than ever see another ad again in my life.

Re:Only Logical (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39583005)

The 8 dollars a month you are spending is only additional revenue for a show that has already made most of it's money in it's original broadcast(s). If we have serious shift to a streaming model you will either be seeing more adverts, or you're going to be paying more. Period.

Re:Only Logical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39583013)

Your pricing looks wrong. Net access only is generally dearer than getting it with cable TV. E.g. Verizon gives you 35/35mbps for $35 when you have FiOS TV, but charges $75 for net access only.

TV will never die while the majority of households want live sports and current shows. Dweebs living on their own are well and truly in the minority. Consumers will never have the choice of individual programming, the content providers will not allow the cable companies to do it. Which is why 95% of channels, no one wants, are complete shit.

Re:Only Logical (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583203)

"Cable TV and the 5000 channels of shit "

compare to

"internet+netflix+hulu+amazon+whatever and 50000000 channels of shit"

5000 channels of shit is not a problem. Problem is 0 channels of non-shit.

Re:Only Logical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39583235)

While TV's not dead, it's trying hard to kill itself.

The whole "pay $80/month for 200 channels of unmitigated crap and 4 channels you watch" model cannot sustain itself forever. Add 1/3rd of hours being ads, reality TV, and pop-up ads during shows, and I can't imagine why anyone is watching most TV anymore.

Netflix (or Hulu or the like -- pick your poison) and a good TV antenna in most areas is going to suffice. There are still some hurdles now (MLB.TV's price is laughable), but I'm guessing some of these will ease as the demands raises.

Cable/Satellite will be pulled kicking and screaming into the Internet Age, like the music industry, or they will be left behind ... like the music industry.

Cost and annoyance factor. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39582639)

First, yes, cable costs too much. I'm not technically old enough to "remember" the days when one of the major selling points of cable TV was the theoretical lack of commercials. After all, you're paying for the TV channels directly, why would you need commercials? But companies are greedy, and folks learned to tolerate commercials, and now you get where we are today. You're paying to be advertised to. And don't think I've not noticed the same creep happening with Hulu, originally one commercial per show, now 2-3 commercial breaks per half hour show, with 1-2 commercials each break... (However, Hulu's the internet equivalent of free-broadcast TV, so I cut it a lot of slack.)

What really turned me off and pisses me off now, though, is the return of the cable box. When cable was new, the cable box was a requirement. I remember it oddly fondly. Old fake-wood plastic with a sliding linear tuner, up to channel 35 or 55, even though we only got up to 21 or 22...

Then came Cable-ready TV's! You can just plug 'em in, use a remote, handy dandy!

Now, with the Digital transition, you're dependent on cable boxes again, which I understand from a practical stand point. Older TV's aren't Digital Cable ready. Annoying, but acceptable.

However, even with Digital Cable-Ready TV's you still need to rent a "box" from the cable company, except now it's a card. You have to have a cable-company specific decryption card, which my local company charges you monthly rent for, in addition to the "subscription" fee for digital cable, which just happened to increase as they transitioned these past 6 months. Plus, my understanding is, they can use it as a poor-mans Nielson, track my habits, make MORE money from me that way...

Oh, and let's not forget that there's a new format/standard for the cable cards that's coming out, and your "Digital Cable-Ready" TV may not be able to use the NEW card, so you're back on the damn box again...

Really? I'm really going to PAY for a service that's LESS convenient than it was in the 1980's? That makes my functional technology artificially obsolescent? I'm going to accept a BACKWARDS movement in capabilities and convenience? When I don't even use 95% of what they make me pay for anyways, but tolerated because it was "good enough, barely?"

Hell, NO. I'm taking advantage of the digital transition to drop cable. I'm not dropping TV entirely, I know myself, but Over-the-air, with Netflix, Hulu, and DVD supplements will be enough for me.

Screw 'em.

(Of course, I think those cunning bastards at Comcast, or some of them at least, have realized that as cable becomes more of a hassle more people are going to be Net-only households, thus their aggressive acquisition of so much internet infrastructure, but that's another delusional rant for another time.)

Re:Cost and annoyance factor. (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582983)

I will not cut Hulu a bunch of slack.

It seems to me Hulu itself is a descent company that wants to offer us a descent way to watch TV on our computers, but they have to suck and take it to get the content. Part of this bending over to secure rights to the content includes putting tons of detection into their site to make sure I'm not using a browser integrated into a set-top box to watch it on my TV instead of on a computer. Part of this sucking includes showing commercials - while initially significantly less numerous than a cable viewing have slowly increased in number even if you pay for the premium version. All the premium payment allows me is the back catalog of some shows and earlier viewing opportunity and the ability to watch the shows near the bottom of list to be seen with my BluRay player while the ones I really want to watch are of the "unsecured rights" variety that I still have to use a computer for.

I cut them slack for corporate intent. I take it back for failure to push back enough.

yeah, return of the cable box is the big thing (2)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583065)

Cable companies and content providers want to live in a world where all play back devices are "pay for play" and consumers have to pay a marginal fee for every video watched and every song listened to. Even better would be if the play back devices could detect how many people were in the room and a charge per viewer/listener could be assessed. Fortunately for consumers such a system is presently unworkable.

But encrypted digital channels allow cable providers to get pretty close. On top of subscription fees and premium packages, consumers now have to rent a set top box (or cable card) for each playback device in the house. My television with clear QAM tuner, useless. My wife's eyeTV with the clear QAM tuner, useless. My DVR with the clear QAM tuner, useless. To get set top boxes for all those devices would almost double my cable bill.

So I did the reasonable thing, I cancelled the TV portion and kept just the Internet and phone service. But, unlike the ones mentioned in the article, I didn't replace the subscription with online streaming. There are some shows I miss (AMC's Walking Dead, Comedy Central's The Daily Show, MSNBC's Morning Joe) but, at least so far as I can tell, there is no streaming service that has all of those shows available unless I sign back up for a TV package at a cable provider.

I would switch once it is available in India (1)

Vijaysj (1003992) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582655)

With atleast 33% of every program slot consisting of ads, I would prefer shifting to online ad-free service as soon as possible.

Re:I would switch once it is available in India (1)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582721)

Can't you just call them and tell them to turn it off? Or, at the very least, they surely will turn it off for you if you don't pay the bill. What's online is online, whether it be a networks website, bittorrent, or even binary newsgroups.

Dry loop fee (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583369)

Can't you just call them and tell them to turn it off?

If the cable company turns off TV, it'll still charge me nearly the same amount for a "dry loop fee" that it charges for TV if I keep Internet.

What's online is online, whether it be a networks website

"We could not validate your subscription with a participating cable or satellite television provider."

bittorrent

At thousands of dollars per show (cf. Capitol v. Thomas)?

Re:I would switch once it is available in India (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39583297)

i'm not sure how it would affect the cost balance where you are, but if you subscribe for a host or VPS hosted in the USA you can then proxy through an SSH tunnel and watch as much as you wish. You could always find yourself a free proxy instead but then it takes more effort to find one that isn't either blacklisted or not bogged down.

eg: ssh -D localhost:1080 -L 3390:192.168.18.16:3390 yourusername@yourhost/vps then just set your browser to proxy through localhost as a SOCKS proxy on port 1080.

if using windows you can do the same thing with putty, but you'll have to google a how to or some such. There's VPS Hosting services out there that are about as cheap as 8$ a month or so. If you just use Netflix that effectively doubles the price but it's definitely worth it where I am. You can also use the same idea for other regionally restricted services, like certain youtube videos and such. There isn't much concern with bandwidth either as the cap on most VPS servers will most likely be much higher than whatever cap you have on your own internet service.

For ease of use I recommend using an addon for whatever browser you use that allows for quick proxy setting changes, like ProxySwitchy for chrome or ..i think it's Foxy Proxy for firefox something like that. That way you can turn it off when doing things like starting large file downloads via http and such.

Just putting that out there...

Haven't missed it (1)

Monoman (8745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582765)

We ditched land line and TV service last summer. Currently we watch OTA, Hulu Plus, and Netflix (DVD and stream). None of us feel like we are missing anything worth the cost of TV service. Amazon Prime may get added to the list.

I've never had cable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39582773)

I've been a "streaming" customer for close to a decade- used to be mail order DVDs, now internet available movies.

Cable has WAY too much shit attached to it. No, I do not want someone to teach me how to construct a piece-of-garbage melamine shelf.

Premium is dead (1)

blarkon (1712194) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582797)

Stuff like Game of Thrones gets made so that people sign up to HBO. If enough HBO subscribers move to streaming (which brings substantially less revenue) - good bye expensive premium content. That's why it's not unreasonable to predict that Game of Thrones will last to the end of the saga (even though that bit hasn't been written). The production costs are simply to high and HBO won't be able to maintain its subscriber base as people move away from the Cable TV model to streaming.

Re:Premium is dead (1)

ifrag (984323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583181)

Stuff like Game of Thrones gets made so that people sign up to HBO. If enough HBO subscribers move to streaming (which brings substantially less revenue) - good bye expensive premium content.

So far Thrones has felt a little too budget tight for me despite being expensive premium content.

The most disappointing part is battles they have cut out. The most offensive editing so far is the one where Tyrion gets immediately knocked out. In the book I recall Tyrion participating quite successfully despite his supposed role as a decoy.

Re:Premium is dead (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583237)

They have HBO Go but you can't get that unless you have a normal HBO subscription.

streaming will evolve too - not to the good (1)

e**(i pi)-1 (462311) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582837)

TV has become almost unbearable indeed. I guess that this evolution will repeat with streaming too. We see the trend also in youtube. First it was completely free, then adds appeared at the begnning. the next step is to have adds to appear during play or interrupt the movie for ads.Once TV is less relevant and streaming the only possibility, the crap will creap in too. The movies will be interupted regularly for advertisements, or adds will be injected into the movies and show and on will only be able to get rid of it by paying more.

The next level (1)

zippo01 (688802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582867)

I think in a few years we will see netflix style "or a better organized company" come out that will have full access and stream all TV shows past and present. No longer will you have to wait and see what is on, or have to use a DVR or be limited to a small amount of media on netflix/Amazon style systems, but contain huge amounts of media, from sports to shows. The user will just pick what you want to watch say "MacGyver" or "Mama's Family" and watch it, all of them. It would hosts everything from odd news broadcasts, sporting events, everything. Think about how much money is being wasted by the owners of content due to lack of distribution or networks that simply don't want to air them. This was they get X amount per viewing. Free money. Then when a new episode is created it will simply be added to the lists at a given date and time. This would also given better feedback about what shows are popular and what shows aren't. Say $30 dollars with commercials. $120 commercial free access?

Re:The next level (1)

zippo01 (688802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582899)

A pure content provider. Once they get enough viewers they will have bargaining power. Something they lack now.

I didn't replace it with streaming (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582881)

I just quit watching it all-together. The
Only thIng I watch any more is college basketball and NFL, wh

HDTV Actually did it for me (1)

pugugly (152978) | more than 2 years ago | (#39582907)

We had Satellite (We're in the boonies) and honestly at the time we coonsistently watched the Daily Show, The Colbert Report, various documentaries from the science networks that were, at their best, only on par with average PBS programming, and often no where close, and some news.

HDTV and a MythTV box were easily worth trading those out for. DailyShow and Colbert are online. Since then I've done Netflix and caught up on some good TV series. I bought a Roku box when my Wii was in for repairs - I wish the interface was as good as the Wii interface, but it does have a lot of nice features.

Why would I pay for satellite?

Pug

Opportunities for film makers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39583015)

This is an amazing opportunity for amateur film makers. Make small, interesting/entertaining movies, get them available online (perhaps even with Amazon, Netflix, etc) and push out the big players. The viewers are there now that they are giving up TV services - they will be looking for new stuff to watch. Just reel them in and let word-of-mouth reel in more.

well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39583029)

I simply hooked my cable up in that fancy green box up the street and ordered DSL service for my interweb tube. I pay 49 a month for what I consider good service and the cable company can suck a fat babys dick as far as I am concerned.

I just did this (1)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583035)

I can acquire every show we watch on iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, or streaming from the network's website. Adding up all that cost is still far cheaper than cable. I don't watch sports, so there is really no point. Of course, I can also tune in the networks for free over the airwaves.

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39583095)

I gave up cable two years ago. And with my current Usenet+Sickbeard+Couchpotato+XBMC combo, I dont give a flying **** about streaming either.

ROI (4, Interesting)

MDillenbeck (1739920) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583125)

People have hit on two major issues as to why cable is dying: first, the on-demand issue (who wants to have to be in front of a TV on a weekday at 7pm to catch their show - or what if it only comes on at 2 am?); second, the cost (paying for Netflix and internet can be a lot cheaper than extended cable and internet, and it can offer more variety of shows).

However, I want to expand on the cost issue. For me it isn't just the rising cost, but the cost for comparable goods. Who here remembers when over-the-air (OTA) television stations when off the air in the wee hours of the morning? Ah, I fondly remember the "Indian" crying or the waving flag/bald eagle playing at sign-off. To fill their late night blocks, many stations (especially the independents) would buy up whatever was cheap - old movies, B movies, or whatever was in the equivalent of the discount bin for TV. Eventually cable took over with its 24 hour schedule of reruns - and TV viewing was good for insomniacs.

However, things have changed significantly in cable land. Late night shifted from a "lets fill the airwaves with cheap shows" to "lets make money by selling ad time to people who make 30-60 minute commercials - score!!!".

I am a night owl, I am most likely going to watch TV between 10pm and 4am. Not their main market, I know, but I've watched infomercials take over the wee hours of the morning, creep into the just after midnight hour, and now see the bloody things as early as 9pm. Heck, they are even creeping into the daytime hours now.

TL;DR Long story short - I dumped cable not only because the price kept were going up, I dumped it the minute I realized they were asking me to pay to watch commercials (infomercials) rather than entertainment shows during the hours I was most likely to watch! As mentioned, the shortening of shows due to increasing ads is hard enough to swallow - but when most of the channels of expensive extended cable are nothing but ads on the late night, why the heck should I keep paying more for less?!? This is why I dumped cable and even have to avoid many OTA channels. Thankfully, ad-free Netflix and Amazon Prime is there for us night owls.

AppleTV (3, Insightful)

NetFusion (86828) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583189)

Apple are on thier way to winning this war on cable. The new AppleTV was quietly updated to 1080p and requires no local time shifting storage solution. The have secured agreements so you can get most shows one day behind air date, with premium shows from HBO released after season ends. No commercials for the majority except for Glee which did put in post show adverts that put it in my will not watch again list. No monthly fee so you can not buy anything new and still have access to you previous purchases. Prediction: Apple will release AppleTV iOS apps with user selectable channels and lower the bar to become a broadcaster with Apple doing delivery. Tight integration with iPads and iPhones for remote control with Siri voice query as option. Maybe a TV set with AppleTV docking station to allow for brain upgrades without replacing set every time.

Comcast is giving away basic cable for "free"... (3, Insightful)

divisionbyzero (300681) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583197)

to pad their subscriber numbers. I cut the cord over a year ago and they keep calling me to give me "free" basic cable in order to pad their subscriber numbers and get more ad money. I always find it amusing when the person on the phone can't believe that I don't want "free" cable. I tell them I get everything I need over the internet and down't want cable. If they offer it to you, don't take it. It'll just prolong the life of an obsolete business model. I can only assume Comcast will eventually take the next next step and *require* you to have cable if you use broadband. If and when that happens I hope there is a firestorm of lawsuits...

Comcast sucks (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39583349)

Being a somewhat typical software engineer I have trouble paying bills on time, for want of attention rather than cash. Like most cable companies (and unlike phone, gas, etc which have to observe regulated protocols), Comcast reacted by quickly cutting off my service. So far, that seems fair. But since I rarely watched TV anyway I often went weeks or months before paying the bill so I could get the service restored. I figured Comcast wouldn't charge me for the time when my service was interrupted, but no. They charge me in full every month, regardless of whether I had service or not. This was definitely not OK. When I asked one of their CSRs this once (after waiting on hold for forty minutes) they told me that my service technically wasn't interrupted, that there was a way of getting basic cable if I pressed some hidden combination of buttons on my cable box.

Needless to say, cancelling that service was a pleasure. And of course, a couple days later one of their sales reps called me with a "what will it take for you to come back" spiel.

Ad supported Netflix (1, Interesting)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583211)

I know this is going to rub a lot of people here the wrong way, but I've always thought that Netflix needs to have some shows that are ad-supported. If they do not do this, I doubt they will be able to secure the licensing rights (or they will cost an arm and a leg) for tv shows as soon as they come out. For most people the appeal of streaming services is the ability to watch what you want, when you want it. If someone wants to watch the latest episode of X show, they are forced to either rely on basic cable, or pirate it.

Ironic (1)

meowris (1988866) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583213)

I quitted watching TV channels years ago. The only incentive for me to pick up one right now, is probably when I get a new video game console...

TV sucks now (3, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583231)

Everyone seems to be forgetting how terrible TV is now-a-days. Reality TV is awful. They have shows about parking meter attendants? Pawn Shops? Random slutty women that marry rich and then spend their days gossiping about each other? How many carbon copies of "Star Search" are they going to make? The only decent TV is on AMC, HBO and Showtime. All of which you can get on DVD/Netflix after the seasons over. Network and cable TV is doomed.

I took a different approach (2)

jimbrooking (1909170) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583253)

In 2004 I got fed up with the commercials, the repeats, the mindless blather and the realization that sitting in front of a TV was a consummate waste of time. It wasn't entertaining - one rarely sees "entertainment" of any value. It wasn't informative - "if it bleeds, it leads" being the editorial policy of "news" programs. The movies were limited in availability, always way behind the current theater showings, and rarely good enough to sit through. I gave my TV to a shelter for women, canceled cable service (satellite, actually) entirely, renewed my library card and rediscovered the unlimited world of books. It felt like my IQ increased by 20 points within weeks. I suddenly had a lot of time to be with friends, read, and take my dog for long walks. I could go to bed when I got ready, not "having to" finish a 10pm show or the 11pm news. I was able to approach purchasing decisions without the "help" of TV ads. I was able to decide whom to vote for without hearing attack ads for months before an election. (Money in politics? Meh.) How liberating! If anyone wants their life back, they ought to think carefully about how many hours they spend in front of the box being immersed in pseudo-entertainment and plied with propaganda about products, services and politicians. Think carefully, too, about whether they really like being the lowest common denominator to whom most TV "content" is pitched. And think of how much richer life could be with all those hours devoted to something else.

Cable is dead! (1)

muppetman462 (867367) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583289)

I severed the cord from Cable in 2007. No way I was going to pay over $100 for internet and channels that I did not want. We all know how to get shows via downloads, (torrents, ect). But now the streaming services (Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, Youtube) are starting to have their own content. Hell, my wife watches the Soaps she missed online, no bubbles, no troubles. Some of the cable channels get the whole online thing, just look at comedy central. I'm sure people that are connected to the internet would be willing to pay for channels they want to stream (HBO, ESPN, ect).

goes the way of FM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39583315)

repressive commercials lead to this behavior.
no one likes the MAFIAA anyway.
We sneakernet 1TB now.
fukkem.

Out with the old... (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#39583355)

Once again, MBAs and their lack of understanding of the real world of technology and how it impacts competition. They see their products and services as a fixed value (with adjustments for inflation) and little else. They can't handle the notion that as cheaper alternatives come out, they need to adjust the perceived value of their products and services in some way.

Cable and other TV service providers have not adjusted their pricing structures. What's more, while they continue to rake in lots and lots of advertising revenue, they feel the need to gouge their viewing customers for premium TV rates. Everyone else seems to have noticed the shift to streaming entertainment. It seems the Cable TV service providers either didn't notice or refused to accept/believe it and have certainly and unquestionably failed to respond to it.

What SHOULD the Cable TV service providers be doing? Offer service for FREE or damned close to free. Without taking this measure, they are risking the loss not only of their viewing customers but also the advertising revenue that comes with having viewing customers. This means they will make less money either way, but if they want to keep the business running, then they need to make a change. Doing nothing will eventually result in a dead business.

Instead, what do we see? Basic TV provided for between $30 and $50 per month depending on your provider in most of the cases I have seen. Consequently, I only get internet myself. If I have to pay for TV, I'm not going to watch it. I used to get it illegally, but since my internet installer refused to take a bribe, I have been living happily without basic cable for more than 2.5 years and counting. Nice thing is I have come to realize how entirely needless TV actually is. I do other things now. And the things I watch are much more limited... much, much more.

The TV providers are over-valuing themselves in much the same way I see complaining American women over-valuing themselves and wondering why they can't "get a good man" and all that crap. Well guess what idiots? You have to offer something of VALUE at a REASONABLE PRICE before you will get what you want. With increased competition and people learning to simply go without or entertaining themselves, the expensive service providers will find themselves without customers. (Yes, I'm still talking about American women.)

Netflix/no-ads is not the answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39583389)

Beside the fact that watching TV without ads means only watching shows that have been released on DVD, then either buying/renting/borrowing the DVD, downloading a ripped copy (which I do not condone) or using Netflix (hopefully they have the rights to offer it on their streaming service), there is one really big reason why this "solution" to the cost of cable/satellite/broadcast TV will inevitably fail: it doesn't pay for any of the production costs of the shows you watch. This is the catch 22 of the situation. Production costs are paid for by advertising dollars. Sure there is money to be made from DVD sales and syndication, but those revenue streams are largely deferred and are way too risky, from the production company's POV, to be the basis for investing millions of dollars into creating even a single season of a new show, and even then it would STILL not even be viable for syndication which typically requires 100 episodes.

So you can stop watching ads, and the networks will have to either sell more ad time (shorter shows) or go with cheaper alternatives (reality TV). Hmmm, sounds familiar. Of course, we can hope that a fundamental paradigm shift will occur that allows everyone to get what they want; on demand, ad-free, high production quality shows available on all devices for pennies on the dollar that somehow the networks and production companies are still able to make a profit from. Yeah right. Maybe getting the the networks out of the way will help, but I doubt it. More likely, we will all just bank on our neighbors continuing to be suckers and footing the bill so that our shows stay on the air and eventually end up being available on our cheaper alternative media provider of choice.

I find it amusing that the general population of /. is totally blind to this simple logic.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

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>