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!

Canadians To Get Unbundled Cable TV Channels

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the shut-up-and-take-my-money dept.

Canada 195

Jerry Rivers writes "The CRTC, Canada's communications regulator, has approved changes to the way cable companies bundle programming to allow the purchase of selected channels while dropping others they do not want. However, the customers won't necessarily be paying any less. 'The flipside is that the fewer channels that are subscribed to, the more expensive each will become, people familiar with the matter said, asking for anonymity because details of the decision are confidential. The decision is a small step toward an "à la carte" model long talked about by regulators — and longed for by consumers — but resisted by TV channel owners and distributors for fear of undermining the economics of cable television, which have come to rely on subscriber fees from those channels.'"

cancel ×

195 comments

What I'll pay (2, Interesting)

rtaylor (70602) | about 2 years ago | (#40718711)

I'm willing to pay $15/month for HBO, SyFy, and the Food Network.

If it comes with extra, that's fine, but I'm not going over that amount (adjust for inflation).

Re:What I'll pay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40718851)

I wouldn't hold my breath on that. HBO can cost close to that on its own, already.

Re:What I'll pay (2)

Marc Desrochers (606563) | about 2 years ago | (#40719035)

With my provider, the 'movie' package which includes HBO and 8 other movie channels, as well as all the on demand stuff, is $16. The problem is that I have to take the 'basic' service which is 30 some odd channels of garbage just to have the option to choose the 'movie' package, and that is $40. If I can finally drop the crap and pick only what I want I'd be thrilled. I don't want 15 French channels, but I have no choice. This is amazing news and I can't wait, if it's true.

Re:What I'll pay (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#40719093)

I would be... surprised... if this new model is allowed to interfere with the oh-so-precious-and-fractious English/French dickering in Canadian regulatory affairs.

Re:What I'll pay (2)

nametaken (610866) | about 2 years ago | (#40719493)

Consider yourself lucky. Providers can charge that much for HBO. Comcast quotes $10-$23/mo.

Re:What I'll pay (5, Insightful)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 2 years ago | (#40718863)

I'm willing to pay $15/month for HBO, SyFy, and the Food Network.

Will that price cover the costs of fixed plant and personell? You know, those fixed costs that are irrespective of the number of channels you get? Will it cover the rental of converters and such?

Considering that HBO is a premium channel that is on the order of $10/month to start with, that leaves $5 to cover SyFy and FN and all the fixed costs. I doubt that you'll be paying such a small amount for any cable connection anytime soon.

Re:What I'll pay (4, Insightful)

masternerdguy (2468142) | about 2 years ago | (#40718945)

Sssh, this is slashdot where there's no such thing as "brick and mortar". The only thing that matters is the cost of sending the data down the wire, and there are no other costs that really exist (it's all regulator BS and fat CEOs trying to siphon your hard earned money). Who cares if it takes actual people to run an operation?

Re:What I'll pay (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#40719163)

Sssh, this is slashdot where there's no such thing as "brick and mortar". The only thing that matters is the cost of sending the data down the wire, and there are no other costs that really exist (it's all regulator BS and fat CEOs trying to siphon your hard earned money). Who cares if it takes actual people to run an operation?

While a strawman is always fun, I think that people(at least the slashdot crowd) would much prefer to see a 'this is the per-location cost of keeping the system up' base charge, with the option to purchase various sorts of services(channels, data, etc.) over the wire, rather than giant opaque bundles or 'a la carte' pricing that obfuscates the fixed costs by having some byzantine sliding price for each item based on how many items you are buying, that's just intended to be confusing.

Re:What I'll pay (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40719041)

The obvious model is to follow POTS: you pay a base fee for the physical line & equipment, then pay "per. use" and pay extra for additional features.

Re:What I'll pay (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40719073)

Will that price cover the costs of fixed plant and personell? You know, those fixed costs that are irrespective of the number of channels you get? Will it cover the rental of converters and such?

Why on Earth should I care about such things? If the company can't find a way to make that profitable, then obviously it won't offer the product. And I won't buy the product that it's not selling.

The world, in all likelihood, will continue to turn.

Re:What I'll pay (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about 2 years ago | (#40719085)

HBO costs a lot more than $10 per month. To get it, I have to subscribe to basic cable, plus digital cable, plus the cable box, and then finally I can pay $10 on top of that to get HBO.

I already have the 10Mbps Internet connection and a Roku box that supports HBOGo. All I want is to be able to subscribe to HBOGo for $10 per month without having to pay another $50 per month on top of that.

CNN, HLN, TBS, TNT, TCM, and Cartoon Network (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#40719525)

At least in my country, HBO's parent company wants you to subscribe to CNN, HLN, TBS, TNT, TCM, and Cartoon Network before you're allowed to subscribe to HBO.

Re:What I'll pay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40719269)

I wouldn't even need Comcast to get HBO if they didn't have HBO by the nards. HBOGo is great.

I presume the "fixed plant and personnel" costs will be paid by the subscriber to his ISP.

Re:What I'll pay (2)

Firehed (942385) | about 2 years ago | (#40719339)

Then he doesn't buy. Free market at work here. Good/service X is worth $y to me. Company offering said good/service is asking $z. If $z = $y, I buy it. If their costs are such that they can't offer the thing to me at a price at or below what I'm willing to pay, then I go without. If going without really bothers me, then $y is actually higher than I stated earlier (unless it's artificially capped by what I actually _can_ pay, i.e. I simply can't afford it, but would buy if I could)

Re:What I'll pay (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40719575)

Yes this stuff doesn't come for free. I used to subscribe t the "limited" locals-only service and Comcast charged $7 a month. Since local TV is free, I figure 7 dollars is how much it actually costs to maintain the antenna, the cable, and associated equipment. Just like it costs ~7 dollars for basic phone service with no included calls.

As for the original poster, I've seen cities that have ala carte charge $2 per channel.

So HBO + Syfy + Food would be $10 + $2 + $2 plus the $7 hookup fee I discussed above. About $21 per month..... still a hell of a lot cheaper than the $70 Comcast normally charges for basic+HBO.

Re:What I'll pay (2)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#40718905)

Realistically, it's unlikely that the monthly bill will be any less than at least the most rudimentary cable subscription, which tends to start at about $45 per month. *ANYTHING* that you get over and above the basic channels is going to cost you extra, whether you go a-la-carte or get additional ones in package deals.

Content bundling (3, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | about 2 years ago | (#40718919)

I'm willing to pay $15/month for HBO, SyFy, and the Food Network.

If it comes with extra, that's fine, but I'm not going over that amount (adjust for inflation).

But suppose Viacom won't sell dishnetwork Nickelodian but wants to bundle Nick their AMC channel. The cable and dish networks are not the only bundlers. If the cable folks stop bundling shows, the content producers may start bundling their channels, leading us right back to where we started.

The difference is that it's been proven that the content producers are much more powerful than the cable and sattelite providers in dictating terms.

Scrambled broadcast (1)

goombah99 (560566) | about 2 years ago | (#40719017)

Is there some reason why there isn't scrambled broadcast TV? There are so many digital broadcast channels not theres no reason to have Cable TV. Wait you say, HBO is only on cable. Yes so it is, but that has nothing to do with Cable. why can't they broadcast HBO scrambled? Then you could cut out the Cable provider and pay the broadcaster.

People in cities that pay for cable are mainly doing it because thats how they are used to doing it. Between broadcast and streaming cable is obsolete.

What cable could do is return to the days of yesteryears when there were no commercials at all on cable TV. Then they could compete with broadcast. But probably not with scrambled braodcast.

Cables future is as an internet provider not as a content provider.

Re:Scrambled broadcast (2)

Guspaz (556486) | about 2 years ago | (#40719443)

In my apartment, in the heart of downtown of the second largest city in Canada, or the sixth largest city in the US/Canada, I get a grand total of zero digital channels. Before the digital switchover, I got three or four analog, all but one with very poor quality (double/triple images, lots of snow, etc), and that one that came in well was only viewable if I stood in a certain place in the room, less the image degrade.

At the same time, satellite dishes are forbidden, and IPTV from the phone company requires you to have an internet connection with them (which would have me paying twice as much for a third the monthly cap).

So, yeah, cable television is kind of a must. It's the only viable option for me. My only other hope is that the phone company loosens their mandatory bundling requirement for IPTV. Such bundling is illegal anyhow, although nobody seems to care.

Re:Scrambled broadcast (2)

Ichijo (607641) | about 2 years ago | (#40719483)

Here's a very good antenna [amazon.com] . Before I got it, my old Terk indoor antenna only received one digital channel. Now I get about 10, even with the antenna mounted indoors next to the TV.

It's called satellite (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#40719551)

Is there some reason why there isn't scrambled broadcast TV?

In the United States, there is. It's called satellite. The problem in Canada, I'm guessing, is that it's so far north that one is less likely to have a good enough view of the southern sky.

Re:It's called satellite (1)

cdrguru (88047) | about 2 years ago | (#40719971)

As far as I know neither Dish or DirecTV operates in Canada. I am pretty sure it has to do with satellite "footprint" where the signal can be received reliably. Sure, there are plenty of people getting DirecTV along the southern edge of Canada, but they can't advertise their service there because it doesn't work even over the lower provinces. I am not sure Canada would let them get away with saying that if you can receive the signal then fine, otherwise too bad.

Re:Scrambled broadcast (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40719771)

Is there some reason why there isn't scrambled broadcast TV?

In the US, I'm not sure the FCC licenses it.

There are so many digital broadcast channels not theres no reason to have Cable TV. Wait you say, HBO is only on cable. Yes so it is, but that has nothing to do with Cable. why can't they broadcast HBO scrambled? Then you could cut out the Cable provider and pay the broadcaster.

People in cities that pay for cable are mainly doing it because thats how they are used to doing it. Between broadcast and streaming cable is obsolete.

What cable could do is return to the days of yesteryears when there were no commercials at all on cable TV. Then they could compete with broadcast. But probably not with scrambled braodcast.

Cables future is as an internet provider not as a content provider.

Yeah, um, local broadcasts of HBO won't work, it'd be more expensive than what they currently do, which is let somebody use it on a Satellite.

And if you think cable is obsolete, you don't live in a mountainous region.

Re:Content bundling (2)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 2 years ago | (#40719071)

The difference is that it's been proven that the content producers are much more powerful than the cable and sattelite providers in dictating terms.

Except that this is Canada we're talking about, where with the exception of a couple of independent stations, the content providers are all part of the Shaw, Bell, Videotron, or Rogers media empires, and where the cable/satellite providers are Shaw Direct, Bell TV, Videotron, or Rogers.

Re:Content bundling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40719285)

The difference is that it's been proven that the content producers are much more powerful than the cable and sattelite providers in dictating terms.

Except that this is Canada we're talking about, where with the exception of a couple of independent stations, the content providers are all part of the Shaw, Bell, Videotron, or Rogers media empires, and where the cable/satellite providers are Shaw Direct, Bell TV, Videotron, or Rogers.

other than the igloo channel and Red/Green is any content still produced in canada? Don't you all watch USA and British shows? Good luck telling the US content producers to unbundle.

Re:Content bundling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40719347)

Actually, The Red Green Show aired their series finale some time in 2006. And with it went 33% of the reason I watched PBS.

Re:Content bundling (1)

EdIII (1114411) | about 2 years ago | (#40719373)

the igloo channel

Oh Canada, why do we continue to let you be a country?

-- Barney Stinson

Re:Content bundling (2)

Stormthirst (66538) | about 2 years ago | (#40719565)

Actually loads of shows are still produced in Canada.

LMGTFY [wikipedia.org]

Re:Content bundling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40719975)

Yeah, they're produced in Canada as Works for Hire to American production companies making them American shows.

Canadian content has to include at least one cooking show using Moose or Maple Syrup and someone singing "Squid Jigging Ground" or the "Log Driver's Waltz".

Re:Content bundling (4, Informative)

Guspaz (556486) | about 2 years ago | (#40719389)

Amusingly, most of the channels mentioned (HBO, SyFy, Food Network, Nickelodeon) are not available directly in Canada. AMC is, assuming it's not a watered down Canadian version, but most Viacom channels (like Comedy Central) are not available.

The CRTC has "cancon" (Canadian Content) regulations that require:

1) Canadian channels to show Canadian productions for a certain percentage of their airtime
2) Cable providers to have Canadian channels as a certain percentage of channels offered
3) Consumers to subscribe to a certain percentage of Canadian channels

For cable companies in Canada that already have a-la-carte offerings (my provider, Videotron, will sell you basic cable and you can a-la-carte the rest) require that your a-la-carte selections adhere to the cancon restrictions.

your digits are "flipped" (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | about 2 years ago | (#40718927)

most likely not going to happen but i wanna see the maths on how many setups will save you money if you grab Your Channels and also grab say "The Fae TeaGarden Channel" or some other channels that they just can't get viewers for (now of course you get them because they are bundled with the Ultimate Platinum Package (with the other 300 channels)

Re:your digits are "flipped" (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about 2 years ago | (#40719523)

but i wanna see the maths on how many setups will save you money if you grab Your Channels and also grab say "The Fae TeaGarden Channel" or some other channels that they just can't get viewers for

I think that your example is exactly why the cable companies don't wnat to eliminate bundling. The cable companies don't pay for "The Fae TeaGarden Channel", but how to explain that if the customer doesn't want that channel, there will not be a reduction in the monthly charge?

Re:What I'll pay (4, Interesting)

Macrat (638047) | about 2 years ago | (#40718961)

I'm willing to pay $15/month for HBO, SyFy, and the Food Network.

Remember when the SyFy channel actually showed SciFi programming?

the space channel is the real Syfy channel not (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#40719293)

the space channel is the real Syfy channel to be NBC will let us have it

Truth in a name (3, Informative)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about 2 years ago | (#40719403)

Remember when the SyFy channel actually showed SciFi programming?

Yes - that was when it was called the SciFi channel. Now it's called SyFy and shows iffy programming...so they only got a couple of letters wrong.

Re:What I'll pay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40719087)

Too bad subbing to "real" HBO, SyFy and "real" Food Network is illegal in Canada.

You can get Canadian edited versions of HBO and Food Network, though.

Re:What I'll pay (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#40719363)

What's good on the Food Network anymore? It used to have good cooking shows with advice you could actually use (esp, Good Eats). Now any time I turn to it it's just that bleached spiky haired jackass or some really stressed out chefs bitching at each other.

Re:What I'll pay (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#40719649)

The fact that you lump HBO with the other channel show you don't really know how it works. So good luck on getting that. Also, a unicorn that poops cheese burgers.

~5 years late (4, Insightful)

bigjarom (950328) | about 2 years ago | (#40718715)

This is great, but it has become a moot point for myself and others who have long since abandoned cable television.

Re:~5 years late (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40718759)

Cool story bro. This is big news for 95% of the country.

Re:~5 years late (1)

Dan667 (564390) | about 2 years ago | (#40718847)

streaming is replacing cable. They have waited to long to try and make their Customers happy.

Re:~5 years late (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40718949)

Too bad most sports don't stream live. Or they do except they charge more then cable.

Re:~5 years late (1)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | about 2 years ago | (#40719005)

Sure for a couple percent of people. Most people still get cable. You need to expand your sampling size beyond Slashdot and other nerd circles.

Re:~5 years late (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40719111)

They said the same thing about tablet PCs and smart phones 10 years back, too.

Re:~5 years late (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#40719133)

...streaming is replacing cable.

And for many people, the internet comes through cable.

Re:~5 years late (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 2 years ago | (#40719179)

This is the real kicker. The transition to inexpensive and capable boxes like Roku is only starting, but now that I've had a taste for the convenience and interesting programming I can get on Roku but not from cable/sat, it is clear to me we are close to a rapid transition. Large content companies will see niche players making money on streaming and recognize they can make more without the cable/sat middle men.

RIM type companies that ignore this shift will be swept away.

Re:~5 years late (1)

tom17 (659054) | about 2 years ago | (#40718777)

I almost cancelled Rogers this year, but they managed to get my VIP package down to $60 so I am in for one more year.

This may just be what they need to do for me to cut that down to ~$40. Then I will be happy.

They will of course be crying of reduced profits, but they won't see it as $40 instead of $0, they will see it as $40 instead of $60...

Re:~5 years late (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40718787)

I went a step beyond that and got rid of my tv. I have no movies, no Netflix and no downloaded videos.

Don't watch them on my '13 in laptop screen either.

Re:~5 years late (1)

danomac (1032160) | about 2 years ago | (#40719429)

Ditto. I cancelled in September 2010 and put up a TV antenna. Couple with that my mythtv box I use to record with, don't miss Cable at all.

I may only have six channels, but there's really no difference to having six channels with nothing on or 150 channels with nothing on. There's still nothing on!

Re:~5 years late (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#40719635)

look at me, I don't use cable. This topic has nothing to do with me and won't impact me but I just wanted to tell you how hip I am that I already cut the cable.

See how you sound?

I remember when (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40718719)

I thought of this idea when I was like 13 and thought I was going to become a millionaire.. then I realized there's no way in hell the industry is ever going to get behind it.

'50s Economics of cartoons and movies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40718807)

In the '50s movies were sold as "package deals" with cartoons and newsreels.

Newsreels outlived their usefulness but pre-movie cartoon shorts stopped being a staple because once theaters could get a movie by itself, there was no reason to pay for the bundle.

Too Little Too Late (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40718849)

I never understood why people who didn't want ESPN and other high priced channels had to subsidize pricing for those who do. But in reality, this is too little too late. I don't think anyone who's cut the cord will go back to cable.

Re:Too Little Too Late (4, Insightful)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | about 2 years ago | (#40719095)

Because you won't actually save money going a la carte? It will only mean that pretty much all channels will be more expensive since there will be smaller group of people purchasing them and the fees for carrying the channel for the cable operator won't go down.

Re:Too Little Too Late (3, Informative)

Guspaz (556486) | about 2 years ago | (#40719489)

The only real upside is that, while you may get the same number of channels for the same price, you might be able to get more channels that you want by replacing the ones you don't want.

Re:Too Little Too Late (3, Informative)

brusk (135896) | about 2 years ago | (#40719783)

This. You are likely not too save much money if you like sports in general, and get all the sports channels, or movies in general, and get all the movie channels. But if you are croquet (and no other sports) and documentaries (and no other movies), and get the Croquet Network and the Documentary Channel, and nothing else, you might come out ahead.

Unbundle this.. (3, Insightful)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | about 2 years ago | (#40718853)

Unbundle the endless parade of commercials and then maybe I would be interested. We only do Netflix at home. Im vacationing/visiting for the month and wow.. the commercial to program ratio on cable is pretty abusive once you break loose from cable for a while.

Re:Unbundle this.. (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 2 years ago | (#40718909)

Unbundle the endless parade of commercials and then maybe I would be interested.

The only commercials the cable company has control over are the local-avail spots, and if those aren't used by the local cable company they are filled by commercials from the programming provider. The cable company could do away with ALL of their commercials and you'd still see just as many commercials.

There's no way you are ever going to get the local broadcast channels to stop using ads, nor will you see any of the non-premium satellite services drop them. Cable companies will never have enough clout to get that to happen.

Re:Unbundle this.. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#40719615)

they could, but people would need to pay 5 times what they do now for the service. ALL the customers.

Just wait (4, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | about 2 years ago | (#40718939)

Unbundle the endless parade of commercials and then maybe I would be interested. We only do Netflix at home. Im vacationing/visiting for the month and wow.. the commercial to program ratio on cable is pretty abusive once you break loose from cable for a while.

When Cable TV started the big selling point was no commericals cause you were paying to the shows. Now it's pay for the shows and get commercials too. Do you think this won't happen with streaming? Go watch Hulu. It will happen just like it did with Cable.

Re:Just wait (3, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#40719601)

"When Cable TV started the big selling point was no commericals cause you were paying to the shows"
No, it was not. The only cable that ever said that was ON TV, and that wasn't for 'shows', that was for shows on their channel. Like if HBO has it's own box on your TV.
No other cable company every promised that because it makes no damn sense.

People who sold satellite, the big ones, would say things like that because the feeds weren't scrambles, so you could get shows before commercials were inserted.

Re:Unbundle this.. (1)

kenboldt (1071456) | about 2 years ago | (#40719013)

If Netflix didn't completely suck in Canada, and I had some reliable way to watch the live sports that I wanted, then I would consider going that route over cable television.

My wife and I did the free trial of Netflix and thought, wow, this would be great if all you wanted to watch were movies from the 1980's and seasons 1 and 2 of television series that are in their 9th season. Even at $8.99 a month Netflix in Canada seems like a complete waste of money. If the content was the same as in the US, then that would be a whole different story.

Re:Unbundle this.. (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 2 years ago | (#40719205)

It's $7.99/mo in Canada, and pretty much every series it has is complete. They're not all old series, either... just yesterday, I was watching Mad Men, where they have the current season. They've got the current Top Gear (UK), and they just added the current Torchwood and Breaking Bad series, too.

If you want to watch current seasons of stuff though, Netflix has never been the place to go. Just go to the website for the appropriate station, and stream it from there.

Re:Unbundle this.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40719021)

The commercials *are* the program. The other stuff is just to keep you sitting there so you'll see the commercials.

Torrents: TV a la cart (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40718867)

Works for me, I pay the cable company alot for highspeed internet and "overage" charges.

ala carte (2)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 2 years ago | (#40718879)

Pure ala-carte would indeed seem to raise cost. People won't want to subscribe to just one more channel that they watch only rarely. However what I think they need is a finer grained model. Instead of a typical "only the bare necessities" vs "basic" vs "premium" that they have now there need to be small bundles. Ie, 5 kids channels in one bundle, or discovery+science+history+natgeo in a second bundle, things like that.

Re:ala carte (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40718991)

I know with Bell Satellite here in Canada, they have smaller bundles like this, but rather than one bundle that has discovery, and, natgeo, they have 2 differnet bundles, each one containing 1, plus a bunch of crap that I don't care for. Its all build around a model that forces users to pay for things they don't want, and won't watch. That is what is so infuriating.

Re:ala carte (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#40719097)

or discovery+science+history+natgeo in a second bundle

Dream on. It will be Discovery plus 4 Barney the Dinosaur channels in one bundle.

Re:ala carte (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#40719555)

reallt is shouldbe:
natgeo+history+syfy+ghost network.

History and natgeo no longer care about actual science.

SIde effect (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | about 2 years ago | (#40718895)

One side effect of picking what channels you want instead of a bundle is the cable companies would know for sure what channels customers actually liked at what price point. Right now they get data from the digital boxes on what you are watching and that helps in their bargaining with the content providers, but real sales data would bring real market forces to bear.

You just know they would experiment with varying prices to see what the revnue maximizing price is for each channel. And I wouldn't have a problem with that.

ala carte will cost too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40719049)

Ah, ala carte cable pricing. In my case, with Charter Communications, it is calling up customer service and deciding which of 491 different channels I want. And then changing my mind and changing the line up in a few months. Ala carte selection will drive the billing process crazy.

My MOXI DVR lets me drop the channels I want from the guide. This gives me some semblance of ala carte pricing. The Cicso junk does not. By the time you have surfed 491 channels...

Oh, and Charter is using Switched Digital Video. That means they have more channels than the cable can handle. So they only broadcast the channels that are being watched. And if they run out of channels, well, they will not tell me.

Re:ala carte will cost too much (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#40719275)

Ah, ala carte cable pricing. In my case, with Charter Communications, it is calling up customer service and deciding which of 491 different channels I want. And then changing my mind and changing the line up in a few months. Ala carte selection will drive the billing process crazy.

A la carte pricing will 'cost too much' in roughly the same sense that cablecard suffered magically intractable interoperability problems... Because the providers really don't seem to want it, they have exceptionally minimal incentive to provide a good interface for customers to get it. Shockingly enough, businesses that sell individual items(like, oh, every retail and online store ever) have generally worked out ways to manage the terrifying complexity of offering a bunch of SKUs and charging you for the ones you want...

By way of example: Our friends at Amazon have a bit over half a million products listed in their DVD section. They manage to make, in most cases, hunting by title, hunting by genre, hunting by 'other people like', hunting by 'people who like stuff I like liked', and any number of other parameters pretty trivial. The checkout process isn't exactly rocket surgery either.

The Downside .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40719059)

Is that there are often really interesting cable channels that are new or that are poorly advertised. These are often part of the "bundle" and you can discover them by accident. With an ala-carte system, it will reduce new channels coming online and only the established channels will remain.

Oftentimes regulations are used not to protect the consumer but to fool the consumer into protecting the established companies. Large corporations for example are very much in favor of corporate income taxes. Why? Because large corporations grow slowly and their profits per-size are thus small. They also have as much coming off their depreciation rolls as are going on. Small more nimble corporations grow rapidly and can double in size in a year or two and corporate income taxes help keep rapid growth in check helping protect the large slower and less efficient corporations.

Re:The Downside .... (4, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#40719079)

I look forward to the day when there are no channels at all, and you simply watch whatever the fuck you want to watch whenever the fuck you want to, regardless if it's made by some BIG STUDIO or by a couple of kids in their garage. Who the fuck should care about what "channel" anything is on. The future is channel-less.

Re:The Downside .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40719221)

We will still have channels. They just won't be like current channels, they'll be "bundles".

You might subscribe to HBO to get access to all their shows because it's cheaper than subscribing to any (say) three of their shows.
You might subscribe to TVLand to get access to (formerly) syndicated reruns because the market simply can't support some older shows any other way, but it CAN support all these shows collectively.
You might subscribe to a "Harpo" channel and get access to that production companies works.
etc. etc.

Re:The Downside .... (2)

keytoe (91531) | about 2 years ago | (#40719267)

I look forward to the day when there are no channels at all, and you simply watch whatever the fuck you want to watch whenever the fuck you want to, regardless if it's made by some BIG STUDIO or by a couple of kids in their garage. Who the fuck should care about what "channel" anything is on. The future is channel-less.

I completely agree that it's time to drop antiquated notions like channels, time slots, prime time and other nonsense. People are moving away from that model. My DVR sits idle most of the week but for some reason on Thursday and Sunday night I have to micro manage the tuners to make sure I can record everything. Because apparently everything is on between 8PM and 10PM on those two nights.

This is nothing but inertia from The Way Things Were and no longer makes any sense.

Re:The Downside .... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#40719539)

While the channel will mean just that: which chanel do you gte your media. It won't be a frequence, but it will be a channel of delivery.

Prime time means the shows you watch during a peak period. That will not go away.It will change. Instead of being "What prime time shows do people watch", it will be "what shows do people watch during prime time?"

People respond to ads different at different times of day.

Re:The Downside .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40719449)

it's called youtube

Re:The Downside .... (1)

cpicon92 (1157705) | about 2 years ago | (#40719545)

I will miss channels. It was nice being able to turn on the TV and then completely shut off my brain. The ability to decide what to watch and when comes (for me) with the annoyance of having to decide what to watch and when.

Re:The Downside .... (1)

Cabriel (803429) | about 2 years ago | (#40719711)

I believe they call that "DVD Boxed Sets"

Re:The Downside .... (1)

Mitreya (579078) | about 2 years ago | (#40719765)

The future is channel-less.

Indeed. And they should move to KickStarter-like model for renewing show for next season, instead of relying on arbitrary metrics (such as number of viewers which often depends on the ever-moving timeslot and requires having cable to participate)
Bring back Firefly! :)

Re:The Downside .... (1)

dontmakemethink (1186169) | about 2 years ago | (#40719851)

As long as there are commercials there will be channels telling studios what kind of crap they want to shove down our faces to assemble demographics to match their potential advertising base. Channels should be paying us for allowing their garbage into our homes.

An even better system.... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#40719083)

... would be to just pay for the specific shows you watch

You watch shows X, Y, and Z on whatever channels? You watch them every day or every week? Fine... subscribe to those shows, and then the PVR provided by the cable company automatically records those shows for your perusal later (or you could watch it "live", if you happened to be around at the time).

One Monet for a Reality Check (1)

rueger (210566) | about 2 years ago | (#40719101)

The Canadian CableCos are about as "competitive" as the Cel companies. Then again, they're usually both.

The likelihood of any ordinary consumer seeing any saving from this is more or less zero. You now have two choices:

a) Accept bundles of channels that include all sorts of crap you don't want.
b) Pay through the nose to choose a smaller number of channels, the result being that your monthly bill doesn't change.

I'll stick with c) do neither.

Re:One Monet for a Reality Check (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 2 years ago | (#40719581)

Right, because there are obviously no available choices for television service in Canada. Why, a person in Montreal can choose between only six different services (Illico digital cable from Videotron, FibeTV IPTV from Bell, BellTV satellite from Bell, ShawDirect satellite from Shaw, Colbanet IPTV from Colbanet, Zazeen IPTV from Acanac) from five distinct companies over three different transport mediums... No competition whatsoever!

What about a sports only plan where you just may (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#40719121)

What about a sports only plan where you just pay for the sports channel and not crap like lifetime, OWN, logo, mtv, vh1, ETC.

Re:What about a sports only plan where you just ma (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40719239)

I'd be more interested in a no sports plan where you just pay for the interesting channels and not crap like ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN classic, ESPN 8 "The Ocho", and Fox Sports.

When I want to watch sports, I go to a bar with friends. And, ESPN is a big part of why cable costs so much.

also stuff like VH1C own and others (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#40719401)

also stuff like VH1C own and others drives up cost as well.

Re:What about a sports only plan where you just ma (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#40719495)

How about a plan without any sports channel. I can not imagine those channels are cheap.

Re:What about a sports only plan where you just ma (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about 2 years ago | (#40719585)

What about a no-sports plan where you don't pay for the sports channel

FTFY

Really, that would have the most value to me. ESPN is (or so I have read) one of the most expensive sets of channels for the cable companies to acquire, so it annoys me to pay for them, when I never watch them. Of course in the scenario where I can choose (and actually pay less) for not getting ESPN, that is going to increase your cost of ESPN.

Put ESPN in a HBO like pack disney as well (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#40719137)

So you only pay $10 for it if you want HBO also disney used to be a pay more channel and even it acts like now days with west feeds and stuff like disney XD, disney JR and so on.

Yep, money for nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40719147)

Pretty soon here in Canada the CRTC will approve channel-less cable TV packages for the price of DIGITAL BASIC, $38.04/month. Don't forget to add the HD terminal rental fee of $13.14/month. One-time installation fee of $49.99 may apply. Taxes are extra.

You can buy the box or rent to own up there (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#40719235)

You can buy the box or rent to own up there.

And that buy the box with out a outlet or mirroring fee on each box as well.

Canadians get the better WGN with all the sports a (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#40719247)

Canadians get the better WGN with all the local (Chicago OTA only) sports as well.

No more sports (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40719307)

I have a pretty full-meal deal on Shaw. Fully half of the HD channels are sports channels - some are regular channels that are given over to full sports coverage at various times of the year. I don't watch sports. Other channels appear in the HD channel lineup, but are visibly NOT HD - (looking at you, Fox 26 - a UHF channel out of the states that runs old Two and a Half Men reruns). Other channels are given over to full time bullshit - the occult and pseudo science. I will drop all of these channels in a heartbeat even if it doesn't save me a dime. Can't vote with my feet if I am forced to have these channels anyway. Maybe a clearer signal will be sent when bullshit channels like TLC, History, and (sadly) National Geographic, suddenly looks all of their viewership.

ive two channels i want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40719361)

bittorent and newsgroups
have a nice day at your regularly scheduled movie theatre

CRTC Confidential? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40719467)

The CRTC is making confidential decisions now? And we are just to take it on faith that's not outright admitting they are being compicit in some new scheme to screw the taxpayers they are supposed to represent? I'll believe *that* when I see it.

Unbundled...but not cost effective (1)

erp_consultant (2614861) | about 2 years ago | (#40719703)

It would be great if each of the 200 channels (or whatever it is) were available for 25c each but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting. How is it that iTunes can sell the best selling songs of all time along side some tune you have never heard of - both for 99c? One is clearly more popular than the other but they cost the same amount. The tv networks use this model where the "popular shows" (i.e. NCIS, etc.) subsidize the "unpopular shows" (insert favorite fringe tv show here that hardly anyone watches). If you start unbundling things then the cost per show goes up. At the end of the day you spend about the same and get fewer channels. Granted, you'll watch the shows but you'll pay about the same as before. I don't think it's an accident that the pricing model ended up this way ;-)

Don't care (3, Insightful)

Sean (422) | about 2 years ago | (#40719857)

Torrents are already unbundled.

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...