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Why Internet Television Isn't Quite Ready To Save Us From Cable TV

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the not-there-yet dept.

Television 304

smaxp writes "It's no surprise that few people love their pay TV providers. In May, Variety reported that the American Consumer Satisfaction Index ranked cable television providers last in all consumer categories. Pent up frustration with cable and satellite TV providers fuels a steady buzz that Amazon, Apple, Google and Netflix will disrupt TV. These new entrants promise to offer variability in pricing and greater choice fueling notions that Americans have officially cut their proverbial cords. But true disruption is wishful thinking. Data from the PricewaterhouseCooper’s (PwC) global entertainment and media outlook for 2013-2017 doesn’t support a disruptive market scenario. Incumbent cable and satellite pay TV providers and over-the-top (OTT) challengers such as Amazon and Netflix are both forecasted to grow. OTT TV has only reinvented a single part of the TV business, streaming archival movie and television content over the internet replacing physical DVDs and time-shifted DVR replay of TV programs. To displace incumbents, OTT TV has to continue to change TV business models in ways that appeal to consumers and attract content owners. "

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No Shit Sherlock (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579123)

Is anyone surprised?

Re:No Shit Sherlock (1)

sjwt (161428) | about a year ago | (#44579405)

Other way around in some places..

https://www.foxtel.com.au/shop/packages-and-deals/?execution=e1s1 [foxtel.com.au]
$47 a month for the basic 37 chans.. $109 for 86 channels. (+$10p/m for HD)

The Piracy battle has been lost here in Australia.

Re:No Shit Sherlock (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579939)

Not sure what point you're making. Foxtel has just started it's own IP option, $50 a month for worthwhile content and no 24 month contract or settop box extras. So I'd say the battle continues.

no shit (2, Interesting)

Xicor (2738029) | about a year ago | (#44579127)

the problem is that the ppl who make the television all have deals with specific channels, and those channels have deals with the providers. none of the online sites are willing to deal with this kind of structure, and most are smart enough to realize that everyone who watches shit online already has a site where they watch them for free without ads

Re:no shit (2, Insightful)

iluvcapra (782887) | about a year ago | (#44579383)

none of the online sites are willing to deal with this kind of structure

Erm, Netflix, Youtube and Amazon make deals for content all the time. Kevin Spacey has a deal with Media Rights Capital, that company has a specific (exclusive) distribution deal with Netflix for House of Cards. The web companies are adopting business tactics networks have used for decades, while demanding free access to the cable to your house, while the cable networks have to negotiate with cable providers for access.

Re:no shit (4, Funny)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year ago | (#44579407)

I have an exclusive deal with the Pirate bay that trumps all those deals. Netflix, Youtube and Amazon are NOT the future of video. They are just extensions of the same relics the cable companies are. Internet killed the video star.

Re:no shit (4, Insightful)

Bengie (1121981) | about a year ago | (#44579583)

Because TPB has instant streaming, good recommendations, integrates as an instant streaming source for all of my house-hold devices, and has a lovely children's mode? TPB is only a good deal if you don't value your time or you just can't find something you want somewhere else for a decent price or ease of access.

Re:no shit (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579631)

As fast as show episodes can download, it's close enough to instant to be worthwhile.

Download a 480p episode of whatever and any device in your household can stream it.

Re:no shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579985)

Because TPB has instant streaming, good recommendations, integrates as an instant streaming source for all of my house-hold devices, and has a lovely children's mode? TPB is only a good deal if you don't value your time or you just can't find something you want somewhere else for a decent price or ease of access.

it's actually better than instant streaming, on the west coast you can have all of the evening's primetime shows for free, BEFORE they air and WITHOUT commercials. How do you compete with that?

ESPN is the key (4, Insightful)

Martin Blank (154261) | about a year ago | (#44579393)

I think the biggest player that keeps people locked into subscription TV is ESPN, and they know it. Everything else can be found via acceptable delays whether it's Netflix/Hulu/whatever, DVD release, or even torrents. But most fans still strongly prefer to watch sports live.

Most people I know who still subscribe would gladly ditch cable/satellite if they could stream ESPN even if it cost $20/month, which is far more than ESPN gets from the cable companies and would allow them to offer features they can't run through non-interactive media. The number of people who have cut the cord (or know how to) hasn't reached critical mass yet, but once it does, ESPN is either going to be able to start dictating higher fees from cable companies or will take a shot at streaming (or both). I expect a strong drop in the cable/satellite subscriber base in the first year after this happens, which will be devastating to their share prices because jacking up rates to make up for lost revenues and profits will just encourage more people to leave.

Re:ESPN is the key (2)

the_Bionic_lemming (446569) | about a year ago | (#44579421)

Yep, as long as you aren't into sports - It's ok to cut the cord.

Over 6 years now - That's $7,000 saved (minus netflix charges).

Never,EVER going back to paying for commercials.

Not so much (4, Interesting)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a year ago | (#44579745)

if you've got kids, particularly girls, you're stuck. They all want to watch the same shows and the same night. I'm too broke for cable right now (When it hit $170/mo for Internet+tv I had to bail) and it drives my kid nuts. Sure, the shows might show up on Netflix, but it takes months. I can get them on iTunes, but it's so expensive I might as well buy cable (and I'm sure that's by design).

I know a lot of people will rant about Television being brain rot and all that, but for most normal people (hint: Not the /. crowd) TV is a social thing. It genuinely puts my kid at a social disadvantage that she doesn't have it.

Re:Not so much (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579981)

You could, I don't know, NOT cater to your childrens' every whim?

Just an idea.

(Social disadvantage my ass... did you suffer because your parents didn't buy you designer jeans in high school?)

Re:ESPN is the key (1)

speedlaw (878924) | about a year ago | (#44579797)

I don't watch sports. How about I get a refund for all the espn I've been forced to watch...or can I split my cable bill and slingbox espn to someone who cares ? eff the tos.

Re:no shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579935)

I am afraid I have to call bullshit on that. The content creators get payed a fixed price for their content for the season by the channel who then turns around and sells advertising (as much as they can) for that show. The channel also sells themselves and their obtained content to cable and satellite. Me thinks that the channels are not just getting by.

Now if you could come up with a way (You Tube channels) for the content creators to sell their shows directly to the world and say the streaming platform gets $0.20 a stream (assuming $1.00 per stream to end user) or some small amount to cover cost that is scalable with enough room for the creator to make a decent profit, since they did most of the work, I think a lot of creators would hop on that model.

The problem is that there is SOOOOOO much middle man structure in place to keep this from happening.

Dunno, I'm pretty happy without cable... (3, Insightful)

mellon (7048) | about a year ago | (#44579131)

Admittedly, I have no idea who got voted off the island, but I'm coping pretty well. I can watch all the shows I care about on streaming, when I want, with no ads. Sure, people will continue to pay for cable for years to come, out of habit, but it's a business model that's failing to deliver value to new customers, so the population that consumes it will age out over time even if the streaming services don't change anything.

Meanwhile, big cable is doing everything they legally can to prevent the streaming providers from delivering good service. And yet streaming providers are attracting plenty of customers, and plenty of people are cutting the cable. Why the hurry?

BTW, can we please stop calling it "over the top?" That implies something about the business model that's total nonsense: the idea that IP service is a side business, and cable is the real business. Where did this term come from, anyway?

Re:Dunno, I'm pretty happy without cable... (1)

TitusC3v5 (608284) | about a year ago | (#44579279)

I haven't had cable or satellite TV in over ten years. I watch the occassional movie on Netflix, and I watch a few channels on Youtube on a regular basis (The Young Turks, Angry Video Game Nerd, Black Nerd Comedy, Ray William Johnson, and a smattering of unsigned artists). But by and large my downtime is spent either playing games, mostly online, or reading. Plain old television simply hasn't had a place in my life for over a decade.

Do sport fans age out? (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44579293)

so the population that [subscribes to multichannel pay television] will age out over time even if the streaming services don't change anything.

Will people really "age out" of following the major professional and collegiate sport leagues over time? I was under the impression that sport fandom tended to be something that was passed down from generation to generation.

Re:Do sport fans age out? (5, Interesting)

LordZardoz (155141) | about a year ago | (#44579439)

Interesting question. I am going to guess no. Sports are surprisingly tied to modern culture.

While it is clearly not 'high culture' in the way that Opera, art galleries, ballet, and such manage to, sports are surprisingly important to modern culture. Humans are competitive with one another. Sports are one of the few acceptable physical outlets for that. Competition in sports allow humans to compete with one another, either individually or in groups, without resorting to violence. Humans are tribal, and sports teams push several psychological buttons for people (belong to a group, and lets kick the ass of those other guys from across the river).

Individual sports may increase or decrease in importance over time, but I expect that some form of sports will continue to be culturally relevant and important as long as humans are both competitive with one another and want to impress women by showing off how dominant they are.

END COMMUNICATION

Re:Do sport fans age out? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year ago | (#44579587)

What a load of crap. Sports might be important to many men, but most women don't give a shit about them.

Re:Do sport fans age out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579681)

I take it you don't know many women.

Re:Do sport fans age out? (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#44579719)

You're right, women aren't attracted to dominant men. Women are attracted to sensitive, funny men who share women's concerns about hot-button social issues. Women also greatly value intelligence and thoughtfulness. A man who isn't afraid to be fucked up the ass with a dildo is always a plus. That old stereotype of the muscled man who is in charge of every situation went out with the Reagan administration.

Re:Do sport fans age out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579795)

How big a dildo are we talking?

Re:Do sport fans age out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579959)

Failure to understand. Most sports teams don't win anything most of the time, some don't win anything any of the time, so being a fan of team sports in particular is about being part of the team, not about winning or losing. There you go, I turned you Ayn Randism into a socialist construct in one sentence. Actually, human behaviour is quite complex.

Re:Do sport fans age out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579475)

Will people really "age out" of following the major professional and collegiate sport leagues over time? I was under the impression that sport fandom tended to be something that was passed down from generation to generation.

They will find alternative means, like you know, actually going to the game or streaming it where available or going to venues that screen the game.

Re:Do sport fans age out? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#44579559)

or going to venues that screen the game.

When I was childless, I watched most games on the over-the-air channels. Sometimes they were on cable, in which case I went to the local bar and watched the game. My bar bill for an entire month probably was very similar to my cable bill, but I was actually getting out of the house. Now that I have kids, I barely have time for sports at all, so I watch what comes on over the air and deal with it :)

Season tickets or Buffalo Wild Wings (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44579565)

Anonymous Coward suggested three workarounds for cable-exclusive sports telecasts. They may work for some people but not for others, and here's why:

actually going to the game

Cable is far cheaper per year [slashdot.org] than season tickets for you and junior to two sports. Attending games in person is also impractical for people who follow an out-of-market team, such as fans who moved away from their favorite team, fans of the team associated with the university that a family member attends, and fans whose favorite player got traded to another team.

or streaming it where available

It probably isn't available. If it's shown OTA or on a national or regional sports network in your area, it's blacked out online.

or going to venues that screen the game.

That depends on how many other people at Buffalo Wild Wings want to watch the same game that you and junior want to watch, and restaurant food is still more expensive than home-cooked food. Or if by "venues" you mean a neighbor's house, that eventually gets ruled out as well [notalwaysright.com] .

Re:Do sport fans age out? (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about a year ago | (#44579511)

Will people really "age out" of following the major professional and collegiate sport leagues over time?

I sure hope so.

Re:Do sport fans age out? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year ago | (#44579675)

so the population that [subscribes to multichannel pay television] will age out over time even if the streaming services don't change anything.

Will people really "age out" of following the major professional and collegiate sport leagues over time? I was under the impression that sport fandom tended to be something that was passed down from generation to generation.

That's a good question, and one my wife is struggling with now. She's a sports fanatic and loss of cable (and before that, satellite) means she struggles to find ways to watch her games. Part of the solution is to go back to the antenna, part is to watch games on her laptop. I understand that the roku has some kind of sports package, but I don't think she's ready to spend money on that yet. I think the answer will eventually be that sports will be streamed from sources specializing in sports. But it's not all in place or completely working yet. (For instance, lots of sources still use flash, which doesn't work on her tablet.)

Re:Dunno, I'm pretty happy without cable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579309)

Agreed... Cut the cord six months ago and never looked back. I save over $80 a month, and if I feel like it I can just buy a season of a show for $14. No big deal. I'm assuming this "study" was conducted by the cable providers to try and stem the flow of folks dumping their service in droves...

MNF (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44579327)

Anonymous Coward wrote:

if I feel like it I can just buy a season of a show for $14.

Can you buy a season of, say, Monday Night Football or The Rachel Maddow Show for that much?

Re:MNF (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579443)

The Rachel Maddow Show can be streamed from nbcnews.com.

As for Monday Night Football, I guess not. But once upon a time it aired on ABC, which is available free over-the-air. There are plenty of sports to watch with an antenna, if that's your thing.

I haven't had cable or satellite since... well... almost 10 years now. Since before Hulu. And I'm a TV junkie. I can watch television programming for days on end, no problem. (I'm an introvert, so I don't require human contact to stay sane.)

Screw cable and satellite. Just move on. The rest of the world will catch up in a few years.

When even the finals are on cable (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44579509)

The Rachel Maddow Show can be streamed from nbcnews.com.

Live, or delayed a day and requiring user interaction after each clip?

There are plenty of sports to watch with an antenna, if that's your thing.

In 2012 and 2013, some games in the NHL Stanley Cup series were shown on Versus (now NBCSN). That's the finals of professional ice hockey, as if the second half of the Super Bowl were on ESPN. The head of one of the households in my extended family is a fan of NFL, NHL, and UFC, and he told me that should money become tight, he'd rather take himself and others in his household back to dial-up than cut off his sports telecasts.

Re:MNF (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about a year ago | (#44579531)

Well, I can watch Rachel Maddow here. [nbcnews.com] Monday Night Football requires a subscription to ESPN. If you want to watch it live you either (a) need to pay for it or (b) need to go to a bar. I'll go to a bar. It's usually more fun anyway.

If I don't care about watching it live, there's NFL Game Rewind. [nfl.com] . $69.99 for all the games from all the teams, including playoffs and Super Bowl. If you have a favorite team, you can watch their games for $29.99, but no playoff or Super Bowl (Yeah, like your favorite team is going to make it to the Super Bowl! HA!)

Go away, you're not 21 (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44579595)

If you want to watch it live you either (a) need to pay for it or (b) need to go to a bar. I'll go to a bar. It's usually more fun anyway.

Option (b) won't work for parents or college underclassmen in a 21-to-enter state, unless by "bar" you mean something like Buffalo Wild Wings.

Re:Dunno, I'm pretty happy without cable... (2)

swalve (1980968) | about a year ago | (#44579637)

See, I worked my ass off to get to a position where I can spend $100 a month on internet+tv. Maybe I get my money's worth, maybe I don't. I'll save the money some other way. But when I want to watch something, I just want to turn the tv on and watch it. I'm not just paying for content, I'm paying for convenience. The ability to tell WMC "record series" and have it all waiting there for me when I want it can't be underestimated. Or overestimated. I'm tired. I like it a lot, is what I mean.

Re:Dunno, I'm pretty happy without cable... (1)

Wildclaw (15718) | about a year ago | (#44579775)

I save over $80 a month,

You are saving $80 + Not being brainwashed by ads + Time not spent being brainwashed by ads.

Even as a single minimum wage worker, that is probably more than $200 per month in total. (most people heavily underestimate the value of personal time)

I on the other hand am very happy with cable (3, Insightful)

LordZardoz (155141) | about a year ago | (#44579379)

I have no idea who got voted off the island. But I am very satisfied with what I get from having Cable tv.

  - New episodes of good tv shows like Sons of Anarchy, The Walking Dead, Dexter, and Breaking bad show up on broadcast first. Streaming is absolutely more convenient. But running up against spoilers is too damn easy to do by accident if you use any kind of social media sites.

  - New tv shows like 'The Amerikans' on FX show up on broadcast long before going to streaming sites, unless they are Netflix Originals.
  - Live sports matter. Turns out I like watching people fight in a cage for money. The UFC puts out a surprising amount of events on free TV; 9 events on 'Free TV' (each being 6 hours (prelims and main card) plus an additional 9 events with prelim fights, and another event on Fox Sports 1 tomorrow. Watching these events legally through the official streaming service is much more expensive. Watching illegally is a pain in the ass. On top of that is more content from Bellator on Spike and regional promotions on Fight Network. MMA is not for everyone, but it is for me. And for others, its the NFL, or NBA, or NHL, or MLB.

  - Also, as far as social media + spoilers, as much as it can hurt the experience of seeing a show to know the ending, it fucking kills any kind of sporting event.

  - Not all content that you may wish to watch is going to be streamed easily. My wife is a fan of the Food Network. Not much demand for streams of those shows.

Personally, I love that Netflix and others are doing their own content now, but we are still pretty far off from being able to cherry pick only the shows I want to see and then pay only for that content.

END COMMUNICATION

Re:I on the other hand am very happy with cable (2)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year ago | (#44579849)

Browsing is good too. I find programs that I like because I bumped into them. With streaming there's less of the browse factor, you grab exactly what you want and nothing else. Streaming may be like premium cable too in many ways, all your friends will gush about a great program you must watch but it's not on the channels you get so you skip it.

Sometimes it's just a major hassle. I want to see new Arrested Development, one of my favorite shows. But I don't want to watch it on my computer, I don't want to subscribe to netflix, etc.

Re:Dunno, I'm pretty happy without cable... (1)

kesuki (321456) | about a year ago | (#44579433)

"Meanwhile, big cable is doing everything they legally can to prevent the streaming providers from delivering good service."

i stream video over wifi and so does my phone with no service bloackage even my ps3 doesn't have an issue. now verizon they ARE throttling over cellular towers. i have tried to stream netflix over 4g lte networks and it is trash. google plus app for android also refuses to run over 4g lte even if you disable wifi. normally the android phone does everything over wifi and sends nothing over cell towers, for no good reason. the bad reason is pure greed. 2gb for $20 a month when you're lucky to pull 90 mb per month.

Re:Dunno, I'm pretty happy without cable... (3, Interesting)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year ago | (#44579659)

I resemble that. We have a roku box in one room and a blu-ray player that includes netflix in the other room, and an ANTENNA (remember those?) on the roof so wife can watch football, and we've been cable-free for almost three years now.

Probably the biggest part of this is no longer caring if we see a show when it first comes out. We've talked about this in other threads, but waiting until a series accumulates a season or so, and then watching it in a few marathons allows one to pick up nuances that would be missed at one episode per week. I'm way WAY ok with not having seen whatever the guy across from me at work saw last night. We can still talk about series, but we talk about them like other people talk about movies. I saw this, it was pretty good, you should try it.

I don't recall the last time I saw a commercial. It might have been the last superbowl. (I don't watch football but I attend the parties because there's beer.) Moreover, the response to "what do you want to see tonight?" is never never NEVER "I dunno, what's on?" Because the networks no longer control what we can watch. (Or choose not to watch.)

> BTW, can we please stop calling it "over the top?" That implies something about the business model that's total nonsense: the idea that IP service is a side business, and cable is the real business. Where did this term come from, anyway?

Completely agree. The term comes from an erroneous assumption.

Re:Dunno, I'm pretty happy without cable... (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year ago | (#44579833)

I wouldn't mind, but my internet won't handle it steaming very well, and I'd have to do some rewiring around the house if I want to watch on a tv and sofa instead of hunched over my computer (wifi too slow and insecure). The infrastructure just really isn't here to make this take off on a wide scale, so it's going to continue to be seen only in higher income urban areas, so the same areas that won't mind cable costs anyway. Right now you can essentially _only_ get decent speed broadband with cable providers anyway like comcast or at&t and they're all going to have bandwidth limits that will cut down the viewing (ok if you only want to watch a few shows a week, but not enough for the typical couch potato family).

The internet model will have to change, to be something like yet another cable provider. Service provided to the whole town, local caching of popular content, paying to upgrade infrastructure, etc.

Of course Price Waterhouse... (4, Insightful)

pigiron (104729) | about a year ago | (#44579137)

doesn't like internet TV. It's customers are the big Network and TV cable companies!

It's been dead to me for years (3, Insightful)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about a year ago | (#44579147)

I haven't paid for TV in years. I just pirate everything that I can't find on Netflix. Not because I don't want to pay for something, or because I'm some kind of cheap ass looking to save a few bucks. I simply don't like paying $100+ a month to watch a few TV shows a week, which of course are laden with commercials. Unfortunately, this will always be an underground "war" until either the knowledge on how to safely pirate shows is commonplace, or there becomes actual competition in cable providers.

I'm content with things the way they are now, however. I watch what I want, when I want, and how I want, for either free or cheap. The ball is in their court now.

Re:It's been dead to me for years (1)

Xicor (2738029) | about a year ago | (#44579183)

well, it is currently not against the law to watch streamed copies of movies and tv shows online(at least in the US)...but most average people dont know this.

Re:It's been dead to me for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579231)

...this will always be an underground "war" until either the knowledge on how to safely pirate shows is commonplace...

I agree wholeheartedly but this statement contradicts itself. Remaining "safe" requires vigilance. What works today may not work tomorrow. Today it's a civil offense, tomorrow it could be an international crime...

Re:It's been dead to me for years (1)

msobkow (48369) | about a year ago | (#44579343)

I look on torrents as an online DVR, to be watched when I want and without the annoying commercials stretching a 45 minute show to last an hour.

I haven't paid for TV in ten years -- I can't afford it on disability. I don't even *watch* an hour's worth a week -- I just archive everything in *case* I want to watch it at some point in the future. A bit of a pack rat addiction to downloading. :)

Last time I paid cable, the bill was over $70 a month. I've no doubt it would have increased to $100 a month by now. And that's before HD packaging, a DVR rental, etc. Quite frankly, I'm disgusted that I was ever stupid enough to waste that much money on something that provides me with less than 10 hours of entertainment a month. There is *no* TV show that is worth $10/hour, especially when one considers the force-fed advertising that comes with it.

Were I to be employed again at some point in the future, I'd opt for something like Apple's packaging. $1 an episode is far more palatable than $10 per episode. However, that's rather unlikely as I'm on disability nowadays.

Just to put things in perspective: $100/month would be 25% of my after-rent income, which is supposed to include food, phone, power, heat, clothing, medication, and entertainment. Spending a quarter of my budget on an electronic lobotomy would be foolish. I pay only $85/month for phone and internet, and get the same mind-numbing content at my fingertips if I choose to be numbed.

Re:It's been dead to me for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579367)

Not because I don't want to pay for something, or because I'm some kind of cheap ass looking to save a few bucks. I simply don't like paying $100+ a month to watch a few TV shows a week, which of course are laden with commercials.

You could buy season passes/legal downloads for most shows (without ads), if you're not some cheap ass looking to save a few bucks. If I went nuts with shows, I might spend $25/month on season passes; when I didn't have cable, and waited for a sale, I got it down to $4/month (though it would have been $1 more if Breaking Bad was on at the time.)

Re:It's been dead to me for years (2)

Simulant (528590) | about a year ago | (#44579669)

Me too. 10 years now.

The thing is, My ISP and the cable tv company are the same company. I'm still paying them, and only a few dollars less than internet plus basic cable. When enough people dump the cable TV, they'll can just hike the price of internet to make up for it.

Re:It's been dead to me for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579839)

Had cable long ago, got so upset with it that I cut their cable off of my home, tossed it onto the road and ended my service. For a few years I just use local TV and tape rentals. About a year after DirectV was out I also got USSB, both sats were about half a sky degree point from each other and used the same dish. All was good, had eveything including HBO, Cinamax, Stars, Classic movies and much more. Total for both services was about 41 dollars a month. Then DirecTV changed owners and aquired USSB. They quickly announced new channel "Packages" making my bill over a hundred per month. I downgraded my channel package for a more reasonable cost. Next I tried Dish. As soon asr my 2 yr contract was up their prices floated up so I stopped service with them. If it wasn't for the rip-off prices, DirectTV wasn't bad. Dish sucked in so many ways and was a mistake. Customer service should be tarred-and-feathered then run out of town. About 2 years ago I rwent back to using antenna for local channels. I get more from the net now. Getting rid of paid cable and sat is an excellent choice, I don't miss them at all. My savings so-far has bought me 2 new computers, a 55 and 40 inch tv.

still not as good (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579165)

For me, the only bottleneck is (still) bandwidth. When actual broadband connections get to every household, which means they are cheap enough and all companies invest on HD streaming, there will be no coming back. But the quality of many streaming services nowadays is really unacceptable.

Re:still not as good (1)

Xicor (2738029) | about a year ago | (#44579199)

i dunno what bandwidth you get, or where you go for sites... but i get 5mbps(which is total crap) and i can stream 720p without buffering time

Satellite is capped (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44579307)

Some people who live outside cable's service area stick with satellite TV because satellite Internet has a 10 GB/mo cap. Even at 1 Mbps, that's only about 11 hours a month if half the cap is used for streaming.

Re:still not as good (1)

swalve (1980968) | about a year ago | (#44579677)

If you have cable, then the bandwidth is available. Whether the company chooses to deploy it is another story. Fiber+coax networks are very scalable. Especially if they converted everything to IP and used multicast for live things. My rough math says that catv has 150 something channels, each of which are just 38mbps data streams. I mean, "U-Verse" is just IPTV over DSL, and even that can sustain something like 3 or 4 live channels + internet to each house.

PWC trustworthy? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579201)

The same Pricewaterhouse Coopers that lied and helped Enron and MCI Worldcom cook the books? We should believe anything they say because..... why exactly?

Re: PWC trustworthy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579487)

Sorry to discredit your rant, but PWC != Arthur Andersen. That being said, consultants are consultants, and I generally have little tolerance for them and the value of their sales/services.

Antenna + PVR (3)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about a year ago | (#44579207)

OTA digital subchannels are what saved me from cable. Between and DIY and educational shows on 3 PBS channels, and the old reruns on various commercial "retro" subchannels, I'm now getting much better programming than the "reality" crap played 24/7 on the burned out carcasses of what used to be decent cable channels. Best of all, it's free.

Of course they're not disrupting OTT yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579209)

Of course OTT won't disrupt the traditional TV models just yet. Netflix is definitely moving in that direction, though, by producing original series. As that segment of original programming grows, they're poised to disrupt the traditional cable model, instead of the video rental model they already disrupted twice (once with mailed DVDs, again with streaming).

ISP have there own TV systems and they cap (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#44579229)

Comcast caps it's HSI so people don't cut out the TV side and go on line only also they own parts of some local RSN's and other sports channels.

Re: ISP have there own TV systems and they cap (1)

malchus842 (741252) | about a year ago | (#44579321)

I've been on Cmcast for years. Never been hit by a cap (despite going well over the old threshold amount several months in a row). Now I have 100mbps with no cap. And no cable TV. :-)

Re:ISP have there own TV systems and they cap (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | about a year ago | (#44579353)

That is the stone cold truth. Comcast caps and Warner bro's filters. If you don't have a bundle deal that rapes you for the maximum dollar your service starts getting blocked, or dropped, or lagy'er than pr0n server on a 14.4 modem.

Re:ISP have there own TV systems and they cap (1)

dugancent (2616577) | about a year ago | (#44579489)

Comcast doesn't have a cap at the moment.

Piracy (5, Insightful)

Highland Deck Box (2786087) | about a year ago | (#44579241)

I pirate because the uploaders provide an infinitely better service than the cable companies or even Hulu/Netflix etc. I get DRM/region free ad-free files that work on any device, at great resolutions and quality, barely minutes after the episode has aired. Why the hell would I go back to their terrible services when that option is open to me? Now yes i'm not paying for the content, but often that's not an option anyway, (see The Oatmeal's comic on trying to buy Game of Thrones online). As has been voiced a million times, if these companies fired all their old idiot suits and brought out a 'Steam for movies/tv' that had all the added value that Steam brings it would take off like a rocket.

Re:Piracy (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#44579295)

time warner has a special $64.99 package of internet, basic broadcast channels and HBO including HBO GO so you can watch GoT when it airs and on demand

Re:Piracy (1)

Nutria (679911) | about a year ago | (#44579351)

Yes, but does it run on Linux?

(When was the last time someone on /. wrote that in a serious manner?)

Re:Piracy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579673)

The problem with that is that the GPL crowd have it entrenched in their very ideology that they do not want to inter operate with proprietary software, so while they want the content they want it on their terms and since the content producers are only offering it on terms that require the FOSS crowd to use proprietary software (which they dont want to do) that content is not offered on FOSS platforms. They can have content offered on their terms but most people dont want that content.

Re:Piracy (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about a year ago | (#44579603)

Old idiot suits is right!

They could be making lots of money just by showing their stations online for a world wide audience and showing advertisements.

But they choose not to do it because they aren't informed enough. HULU makes money, and every broadcasting station should have their own site or use HULU.

Look how bad NBC screwed up with the Olympics. They could have shown every event live, and kept a recorded version for people who don't see it live. They'd have solved the olympic television problem of,"How do we let people watch what event they want, when they want and not cut anything off?". But no, they just treated it like television again. And not only that, they forced people to jump through hoops to verify they owned a cable or sattellite package! Look I have cable, but your verification program was too difficult to navigate through. So instead of me watching Olympics and watching some advertisements which would make NBC money, I just said,"NBC sucks." and went and played computer games.

Don't they know they're shooting themselves in the foot by not letting us watch their advertisements? I mean they could dig through all their archives of old shows, and put everything online with ads, and make a ton of money. They have the technology to region lock you out. So they have the technology to play advertisements that would cater to a world wide audience, or even localized advertisements for those zones if they want to put some effort in to make more money.

Old dumb suits are just shooting themselves in the foot by not letting people give them money. I mean look at TV, they make money on cable, and they make money on advertisements. They make so much money on TV, they could pay you to watch TV and still make money. So if they got creative, they could even run an online network that let you win prizes as you watch television. I'm not saying they should do that because the technology to verify if a person is behind their computer still can be cracked if not implemented intelligently. But what I'm saying is instead of trying hard, they're not even trying a little bit.

I will say one thing, I was able to watch the NBA on what was it TNT? You could watch from multiple camera angles and customize your views. Yet other networks like to black out their sports from online. If they show their sports online, they'd make more advertising revenue. If they black out their sports online, they should really have to answer to their stockholders because they're saying,"We take offense at taking money from people who use the Internet." And in today's day and age of greedy corporations, why would someone say no to easy money? The only thing I can think up is that they really are stupid people in charge of their companies.

Where do you get your Internet? (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44579257)

Most people get it from a cable company. And those companies will do whatever it takes to throw a wrench into the works of their competition. Apple and Netflix haven't raised the ire of the last mile monopoly yet. However Google has. And I'm starting to see anything 'Google, including some of their analytics mysteriously being throttled by the incumbents. Until the stranglehold on the last mile can be broken and broadband providers are classified as common carriers, nobody does business in the turf they consider to be theirs.

That's a nice little streaming video service ya' got there, buddy. It would be a shame if something happened to it. Ha, ha, ha.

Re:Where do you get your Internet? (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#44579287)

i have a la carte internet from time warner. no pay TV. netflix is great, almost blu ray quality. MLB TV is also HD quality. i pay $50 for 20/1
of course a lot of content is locally hosted via CDN's so its not like i'm going to the internet to stream netflix. google from what i know lives inside google data centers so you have to use the ISP's limited internet data pipe

i have some streaming issues with some porn and sometimes youtube, but it will only be selected videos

Re:Where do you get your Internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579395)

You have a CDN sitting in your living room? It may point you to the closest (geographically) cache of the video you're accessing, but it's still "going to the internet."

Re:Where do you get your Internet? (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about a year ago | (#44579627)

netflix is great, almost blu ray quality

My wife is not that picky when it comes to quality, but a side-by-side of a regular 720p dvd to Netflix HD puts Netflix to shame, yet alone BluRay's 1080p. I have not have the privilege of Netflix' Super HD.

Re:Where do you get your Internet? (1)

Nutria (679911) | about a year ago | (#44579371)

And I'm starting to see anything 'Google, including some of their analytics mysteriously being throttled by the incumbents.

My cable ISP sure isn't throttling youtube-dl.

no sports and a la carte adds up (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#44579267)

at least the home teams are blacked out on MLB and NBA. and they cost a lot. $150 for baseball, $180 for basketball. no football yet on streaming.
ESPN streams live games but you have to pay for TV

in the end pay TV is not that bad. time warner and comcast have packages that start at $80 for internet and TV
time warner is worse because it is supported by less streaming services like Disney Jr, Bravo and Epix

internet by itself is $50. by the time you pay for netflix, hulu, any a la carte TV shows via itunes, the electric bill to leave your computer on 24x7 to run bit torrent all day it adds up

Re:no sports and a la carte adds up (1)

kesuki (321456) | about a year ago | (#44579517)

you shouldn't be torrenting with a power hungry desktop or laptop when a small linux run downloading box. there are many was to do this from a pi with NAS or other kit computers using slow chips, that sip power and are not huge hacking targets. http://lifehacker.com/274177/build-a-bittorrent-box [lifehacker.com]
they reccomend 'old' box but there has been much progress in low power chips these days, and with bittorent network speed is part of the problem, unless you have fiber to the door then it's number of seeds.

Re:no sports and a la carte adds up (1)

kesuki (321456) | about a year ago | (#44579545)

russian hackers expunged the site. i didn't follow links prior to finding this out. so sorry. i also screwed up my grammar but that doesn't bother me much

The only thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579289)

The only complaint I usually hear about is the cost of cable tv. All the providers have to do is lower the cost of the packages and people will stop dropping them in leu of streaming packages. The only reason I have cable TV is because comcast actually gave me a $2 discout to have tv and internet instead of just internet. I had to ask her if this was the case and she assured me that I would pay $63 for internet and tv or $65 for just internet. Sure I only get local channels and OnDemand but I actually save money? If they can do this then they can lower the cost of their other packages.

Re:The only thing (1)

swalve (1980968) | about a year ago | (#44579725)

And when you look at the subscriber fees the content providers charge, plus the retransmission fees the OTA networks charge, the actual cost of delivering the service to the house isn't all that bad. The real problem is on the content side.

Have full cable with premium channels (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about a year ago | (#44579299)

I still use sickbread, I tried cablecard and recording that way far to much was block off unless I went with MS lock in. I still have cable it goes nowhere because the bundle is cheaper that the internet by itself.

Netflix is crap, ime. (2)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#44579311)

My son is staying with us for a few months and has set up Netflix on our main dvd player, so I've recently had a chance to try it out for a while, but almost any time that I think of an old movie I'd really like to see that I don't have the DVD for already, I find it's never actually available on Netflix anyways. If Netflix carried stuff that I actually cared about, I'd probably get it myself when my son moves out, but it doesn't. So.... nope.

Re:Netflix is crap, ime. (2)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year ago | (#44579381)

Previously, Netflix had a much wider streaming selection, but they had a falling out with several content creators. (Who promptly created/bought their own, rival, streaming services.)

This caused netflix to lose their ability to stream that content to customers.

Complaining that "netflix is shit", and then running to the same abusive people who are responsible for cable being over priced to begin with, because they have all the content you want, really doesn't accomplish much.

Rather, you should complain that the content producers refuse to license to netflix, and other streaming services in a nondescriminiatory fashion.

Blackjack and hookers (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44579445)

Rather, you should complain that the content producers refuse to license to netflix

But that'd still be complaining. Rather, you can consider making your own content, with blackjack and hookers.

Re:Netflix is crap, ime. (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#44579905)

Who said I'm running to the cable company? All of the TV shows that I watch are available online, streamed from the network's website only one day after airing, and available online for about 2 weeks. I haven't had cable for almost 5 years.

As for how wide Netflix selection used to be, I have no comparison.... since I only just started using it a few weeks ago. I can easily see it as more convenient than going to a video rental store, which is what I see Netflix replacing, but if they don't actually have anything I want to watch, then that convenience can only say that it's not any better than a video rental store at having what movies I want to watch, then that convenience isn't worth a dime to me.

Streaming HAS replaced my "pay TV" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579323)

Contrary to all the evidence, "their data doesn't support".. mKay

lmao (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579345)

I cut the cord 5 years ago. 3 years ago i set up my parents, and my wifes parents, with a roku box, a netflix account, a torrent client with a proxy already configured and a bookmark for EZTV and the bay. Next week, i'm headed out to set up my 80 year old grandmother with a roku and anetflix account. she's excited at the idea of having only 6 buttons.

My kids don't know what commercials are, and have never needed to worry about when a show is on.

Cable can keep stroking themselves off until the last few subscribers die off, hell, it's still working for AOL, but we all know that they are dead men walking.

A Big 4 Report that says anything disruptive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579373)

Come one, look at who pays them (Hint: Comcast is a major client of PwC) Why on earth would they say anything that would rock the boat? What's the worst that happens? All they ever do is survey a bunch of people, write a slick summary, and call it what the future looks like.

Imminent relocation of dairy products (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44579471)

Why on earth would they say anything that would rock the boat?

When the cheese moves [wikipedia.org] , PwC's clients need to know when, where, and how to move with it. Businesses that do not move with the cheese don't stay in business very long.

Fleshlight pine scented tree ornament (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579401)

it's the gift that keeps on giving

Idiot Box. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579403)

I understand the appeal of being able to watch exactly what you want, exactly when you want. I watch 2-3 series a week, and it is nice to have them on-demand. But this type of content-centric viewing is not the norm, for me.

Most of the time when I watch TV, I am doing household chores or working on projects that don't take my full attention. Or I watch during a meal. For this type of peripheral viewing, I want to turn on a TV, flip through the channels and settle for the first thing that doesn't make me want to immediately change the channel again. Generally, I am not going to watch through the end of the hour, and I don't want to invest time in actually specifying a program, even if it is better than whatever is on.

The ultimate a-la-carte-anything-on-demand TV solution would undoubtably deliver better content, but would be pretty much useless for the majority of my TV use.

The Testicle Chronicles (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579537)

Ballsack awakens and the testicles eat their way out of the 79 year old man, and with the hatching of these creatures comes the death of the poor fellow. He wasn't just a typical old guy, he came from the planet melmac, and was a half breed.

His last words were, "I wish I hadn't wasted so much time reading Kuro5hin.org !" and his penis fell limp, with significant shrinkage.

Oh really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579599)

Say it to somebody who doesn't have TV, and wouldn't buy it on his own free will.

OTA FTW (1)

triffid_98 (899609) | about a year ago | (#44579697)

Cable what? OTA + Netflix gives me pretty much everything I want.

Too bad the cable company is my only halfway decent choice for an ISP.

importance (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year ago | (#44579721)

Looking over the wide range of responses, one thing stands out -- one's opinion on whether "cable is dead" has a lot to do with how much importance one puts on TV in general. If you have a need to make sure you don't miss anything, you still need cable and you tend to believe it'll be there for the foreseeable future.. If you only watch TV occasionally, and your head won't explode if a certain series doesn't happen to be on Netflix right now, (because other series worth watching still are) then you tend towards cable's days being numbered.

What's the actual truth? I dunno. I tend towards cable being a dying technology. But I'm definitely in the second camp -- I don't care about whatever is on TV this week. I'm still working through season two of Veronica Mars.

Cable is dead to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579757)

I have the simple philosophy, if it is not available on Netflix, Amazon, or RedBox (rent n rip) then they don't want my money very badly so oh well.

Since they don't want my money, I guess they don't need it so I'll get it from someplace else.

Sports is now a non-argument for cable. The online offering from all the major sports is much more interesting than anything cable is offering these days

Cable Needs to Persuade us to Come Back! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579769)

I've been off of cable for over 10 years. What compelling content do you have to persuade me to come back, cable providers?

Awesome. I'll ask again next decade, maybe you'll have figured out something by then.

I've concluded that, for the most part, cable TV offerings are a waste of time and a brain drain. If a friend or relative suggests a certain show, I'll look for it online. If I find it for pay, fine, ... if I find it pirated for free, even better.

Cable is a fucking twitching corpse on life support. If they can't migrate to a pay-per-view model, I say tag 'em and bag 'em.

All this talk of torrents...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579815)

Hi all,

I'm not trolling, honestly, but so many folks here are talking about torrenting. Mind my asking how they aren't getting caught? Years ago NBC sent me a nastygram (via Charter) telling me stop torrenting 30 Rock. And hell, I wasn't seeding it for more than a couple of hours. I was cowed into submission and haven't torrented since. Is there some trick here in the US I can use to keep NBC off my back?

Thanks.

Re:All this talk of torrents...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579929)

We use those letters for toilet paper.

mod 0P (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579865)

Are 7ou GAY

Silly TV people (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about a year ago | (#44579927)

They are looking at it completely bass ackwards.They are assuming that we are all just waiting to watch Here comes Honey Booboo, and Duck Dynasty and American loggers on the internet. Ain't necessarily so. People like myself aren't interested in that swill, and I'm just as happy to watch things I click on on Youtube here on the internet

Cable TV is starting to have very little of interest. Network television is the pits of hell. The very limited time I spend watching cable Television is when my SO is watching something. It really isn't difficult to replace the almost 50 percent commercial rate, where now we don't know if the programming is those idiots that need a bath talking about each other, or the main point is how such and such medicine is going to make you kill yourself, but ask your doctor if it is right for you, how to get Social security disability, or the fine range of products thst will allow you to urinate without using a toilet - just pee in your adult diaper, and life will be good. And nothing makes you feel as good as watching a catheter advertisement. Now that's entertainment!

My son has never used Cable Television since being on his own for several years now, a trait shared by many young people. And I am going to be dropping it as soon as the wife gets tired of watching infomercials and the other crap that they foist on us.

Blah blah (1)

redog (574983) | about a year ago | (#44579953)

Blah yea right, I don't need 99% of the fucking crap on cable assholes

A La Carte Cable and Consumer Choice (2)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | about a year ago | (#44579961)

The largest reason I don't have cable TV, except for the cost, is that I cannot choose what channels I pay for. By only having tiered packages available, I cannot avoid having my money going to things I don't watch or find repugnant. I simply don't want my money going to Fox News, MSNBC, MTV, or the flavors of ESPN.

The major content creators (Viacom, Disney, Fox, etc) force cable companies to bundle their offerings, so if you want something popular (say, Nickelodeon) you also end up with the second rate crap or worse (Nick at Nite, CMT, etc). It's very anti-consumer, but no politician wants to get on the bad side of media.

One even more morally disgusting thing is that the NFL can blackout games in taxpayer-funded stadiums. I'm curious if this happens in other countries with football/soccer or other sports?

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