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Comments on news posted 2009-10-20 11:30:56: Comcast, DirecTV, Time Warner Cable and nearly a dozen other pay TV carriers have successfully beaten back a consumer lawsuit that accused the companies of antitrust behavior for forcing customers to buy bundles of channels. ..


castsucks

@sbcglobal.net

I hope the lawsuit over being forced to rent the box does no

I hope the lawsuit over being forced to rent the box does not end up like this.
jvanbrecht

join:2007-01-08
Bowie, MD

Re: I hope the lawsuit over being forced to rent the box does no

Thing is, you are not being forced to rent cable boxes. Well some people may be, but atleast in the DC Metro area, you have the option for cable card, they just do not advertise it, you have to ask, and argue for it. With directv, well you can already buy the equipment.
CMoore2004
Premium
join:2003-02-06
Jonesville, MI

Re: I hope the lawsuit over being forced to rent the box does no

With DirecTV you might be able to go to Best Buy and pay money for a receiver, but technically you're just leasing or renting it after you walk out the door. When checking out, you even have to sign something saying you understand that, and if you cancel your service, you are required to send it back.

castsucks

@sbcglobal.net
still forced to rent the $50-$100 cable card

fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2

Re: I hope the lawsuit over being forced to rent the box does no

said by castsucks :

still forced to rent the $50-$100 cable card
Not really. Some cable companies allow you to buy them.
rendrenner

join:2005-09-03
Grandville, MI
uhhh no. First cable card in a device is free
NGOwner

join:2000-11-21
Leawood, KS

1 edit

Re: I hope the lawsuit over being forced to rent the box does no

Cable card costs vary depending on system.

Here in KC, each card costs $1.75/mo each. I have three, one in a TV, and one in each of two TivoHDs.

[NG]Owner
--
It is impossible to create an idiot-proof product. Humanity is simply too adept at churning out better idiots.
rendrenner

join:2005-09-03
Grandville, MI

Re: I hope the lawsuit over being forced to rent the box does no

interesting. I though most systems gave the first for free and only charged for the 2nd card in the same device. Usually would only apply to Tivo's using the single stream cards.

Morac
Cat god

join:2001-08-30
Riverside, NJ
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast

Re: I hope the lawsuit over being forced to rent the box does no

said by rendrenner:

interesting. I though most systems gave the first for free and only charged for the 2nd card in the same device. Usually would only apply to Tivo's using the single stream cards.
Most do, though some will throw in additional outlet fees for additional devices. Overall though cableCARDs should be cheaper than renting a cable box.

The main problem is that many cable companies charge for installation of cableCARDs which is nearly a do it yourself process. I'm seen numbers as high as $100 a card.

The hardest part of installing a cableCARD is making sure it's paired which involves reading a bunch of letter and numbers to someone on the phone.

Cable companies could implement a system where the user could pick up the cards at the local office and then enter the pairing info on a web site or something which would negate the need for an installation fee. Some have done this already.
--

The Comcast Disney Avatar has been retired.

Morac
Cat god

join:2001-08-30
Riverside, NJ
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast
said by castsucks :

still forced to rent the $50-$100 cable card
By FCC regulation, cable cards are supposed to be offered at a nominal fee. Most cable companies will give you at least one for free with addition ones being a few dollars a month.

If you are being charge $50 to $100 then I'd complain to the FCC.
--

The Comcast Disney Avatar has been retired.
gorehound

join:2009-06-19
Portland, ME
usual bs here.companies will milk us for whatever they can get away with.
i do not have cable.i dumped it and will not feed the pig.
Heated Man

join:2009-06-18
Cleveland, OH

Re: I hope the lawsuit over being forced to rent the box does no

No you just feed some other pig I am sure.
jvanbrecht

join:2007-01-08
Bowie, MD

I could care less about the antitrust aspect

What bothers me is that I am paying for channels I have no use for, and will never watch. The sports channels are a big issue, I do not watch sports, its not that I hate sports, I just hate watching sports on TV, end of story. Why should I pay (and lets be honest here, my guess is that the sports channels make up a significant chunk of the content costs that your cable company is passing onto the customer).

The real issue, is that is cable went to a la carte, I would have maybe 20 to 30 channels. I do not watch the rest of the crap.

SLD
Premium
join:2002-04-17
San Francisco, CA

1 edit

Re: I could care less about the antitrust aspect

I'd have HBO & Showtime. Nothing else. But I have neither because Comcast wants to charge me $55/mo. for content I don't want to get those two channels. So Comcast gets $0 from me. And those channels get nothing either - they refuse to sell their current shows online.
Bobcat79
Premium
join:2001-02-04

Re: I could care less about the antitrust aspect

We only ever watched 3 channels. The cost from Cablevision is $54 per month, and will go up to $80 per month when they go all-digital.

So I canceled my Cablevision service and they get nothing from me. I guess they'd prefer to get nothing instead of, say, $10 per month for 3 channels.

--
It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice.

fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2

Re: I could care less about the antitrust aspect

said by Bobcat79:

We only ever watched 3 channels. The cost from Cablevision is $54 per month, and will go up to $80 per month when they go all-digital.
How so?
Bobcat79
Premium
join:2001-02-04

Re: I could care less about the antitrust aspect

said by fifty nine:

said by Bobcat79:

We only ever watched 3 channels. The cost from Cablevision is $54 per month, and will go up to $80 per month when they go all-digital.
How so?
I'd need 3 boxes @ $6.75/mo each, plus Cablevision's hidden "iO Navigation" fee of $5.95/mo.

$54 + $5.95 + 3*$6.75 = $80.20.

I elected to cancel my service entirely, so now I pay Cablevision $0. Dolan can put that in his pipe and smoke it!

--
It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice.

fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2

Re: I could care less about the antitrust aspect

said by Bobcat79:

said by fifty nine:

said by Bobcat79:

We only ever watched 3 channels. The cost from Cablevision is $54 per month, and will go up to $80 per month when they go all-digital.
How so?
I'd need 3 boxes @ $6.75/mo each, plus Cablevision's hidden "iO Navigation" fee of $5.95/mo.

$54 + $5.95 + 3*$6.75 = $80.20.

I elected to cancel my service entirely, so now I pay Cablevision $0. Dolan can put that in his pipe and smoke it!

You do not need cable boxes for digital service. All you need is a TV with a digital tuner that supports QAM.
Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO

Re: I could care less about the antitrust aspect

Oh, his bad. Maybe he should go out and buy 3 new TV's to support this?

By him saying he "needs" 3, I will give him the benefit of the doubt that he knows what he is talking about when it comes to his hardware.

fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2

Re: I could care less about the antitrust aspect

said by Skippy25:

Oh, his bad. Maybe he should go out and buy 3 new TV's to support this?

By him saying he "needs" 3, I will give him the benefit of the doubt that he knows what he is talking about when it comes to his hardware.
Nah, I call BS on this one. I was an ex CV subscriber myself and I hooked up additional TVs with no problem and no additional boxes needed.
Bobcat79
Premium
join:2001-02-04

Re: I could care less about the antitrust aspect

said by fifty nine:

said by Skippy25:

Oh, his bad. Maybe he should go out and buy 3 new TV's to support this?

By him saying he "needs" 3, I will give him the benefit of the doubt that he knows what he is talking about when it comes to his hardware.
Nah, I call BS on this one. I was an ex CV subscriber myself and I hooked up additional TVs with no problem and no additional boxes needed.
I'm not sure what you're referring to, but CV's Family Cable is down to 45 analog channels (for $54 per month), and it's only a matter of time before they all go away. A digital TV only gets you digital versions of the analog channels (and only some of them), so there are no additional channels to be gained.
--
It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice.
Bobcat79
Premium
join:2001-02-04
said by fifty nine:

You do not need cable boxes for digital service. All you need is a TV with a digital tuner that supports QAM.
Wrong. With Cablevision, that only gets you the basic cable channels. No CNN, Cartoon Network, Nick, etc, etc.

fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2

Re: I could care less about the antitrust aspect

said by Bobcat79:

said by fifty nine:

You do not need cable boxes for digital service. All you need is a TV with a digital tuner that supports QAM.
Wrong. With Cablevision, that only gets you the basic cable channels. No CNN, Cartoon Network, Nick, etc, etc.
If you have a TV with a cablecard slot, you can use that to unlock the additional channels.
beavercable
Premium
join:2008-05-11
Beaverton, OR
I have to disagree there. In order to get both hbo or showtime would require limited basic and a box. So depending where you are $7.88-$12 for basic service, $15.99 for either premium channel and $1 box fee. Basically $30 to $45 for what you're talking about.

SLD
Premium
join:2002-04-17
San Francisco, CA

Re: I could care less about the antitrust aspect

Not here. Trust me, I woud have done it a long time ago.

Ebolla

join:2005-09-28
Dracut, MA
not quite, cable companies have to offer a basic(local) package and can ala carte premiums without any requirements other then basic and equipment. on comcast that would be $10-15 for basic, 3 boxes would be about $16 2 premiums $40 if alacarte or $35 if premier/w2prem so around $60-$70.
nnaarrnn

join:2004-09-30
Nitro, WV
The cable guys around here say that carrying ESPN accounts for 60% of their channel cost, which i'm sure is passed on to the customer, as we're forced to have ESPN.

baineschile
2600 ways to live
Premium
join:2008-05-10
Sterling Heights, MI

Re: I could care less about the antitrust aspect

said by nnaarrnn:

The cable guys around here say that carrying ESPN accounts for 60% of their channel cost, which i'm sure is passed on to the customer, as we're forced to have ESPN.
Sort of. Its ESPN, and all of its affiliates (espn2, espn classic, espn deportes, espnnews, etc). They account for about 30% of the programming costs. Sports channels in general (local sports networks, in my case, FSN; VS, big ten network, speed channel, espnu, etc) make up another 20% or so. So, basically, sports costs us a lot.

fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2

Re: I could care less about the antitrust aspect

said by baineschile:

said by nnaarrnn:

The cable guys around here say that carrying ESPN accounts for 60% of their channel cost, which i'm sure is passed on to the customer, as we're forced to have ESPN.
Sort of. Its ESPN, and all of its affiliates (espn2, espn classic, espn deportes, espnnews, etc). They account for about 30% of the programming costs. Sports channels in general (local sports networks, in my case, FSN; VS, big ten network, speed channel, espnu, etc) make up another 20% or so. So, basically, sports costs us a lot.
If that's the case, I'm paying a lot of money for nothing since I don't watch any sports except the superbowl and that's at a friend's house not mine.
jimbo2150

join:2004-05-10
Euclid, OH
said by jvanbrecht:

What bothers me is that I am paying for channels I have no use for, and will never watch. The sports channels are a big issue, I do not watch sports, its not that I hate sports, I just hate watching sports on TV, end of story. Why should I pay (and lets be honest here, my guess is that the sports channels make up a significant chunk of the content costs that your cable company is passing onto the customer).
I agree. I just dropped my cable box because of all the headaches with it. Back to regular POCS (plain old cable service) that still comes with ~70 channels... most of which I do not watch. I notice that many of the shows I watch are online on services like Hulu or the network's website. When I get an apartment I do not plan on getting cable. Internet is just fine for me. I would even be willing to pay a premium to get more content online, but the companies seem to just want to push back on that. These companies need to face the facts: cable is slowly on it's way out and revenues are shifting to the internet. They either need to capitalize on it, step aside, or fail.
--

- "Techie" Jim

Hpower
Roflmao

join:2000-06-08
Glendale, CA
Yea I don't even watch any TV. Don't have or need one at home. I have my computer for all the entertainment needs. I see enough TV at work already with all the negative news and useless channels.

There is only a few channels I watch which is history, discovery, and travel chanel.
--
The Internet is about to go down....it is actually.
cornelius785

join:2006-10-26
Worcester, MA
I'd love to have an 'a la carte' tv system. i wouldn't hesitate to drop every damn sports channel, music channel, or any other channel i don't care for. i turn the tv off (assuming i'm controling the remote) before i tune into some sports show/channel/whatever.
rendrenner

join:2005-09-03
Grandville, MI

Re: I could care less about the antitrust aspect

How much would you be willing to pay for just the channels you want to watch? Lets say a local cable company to you carries the History channel and that cable company pays a $100 dollars a month to carry that channel. If you are the only one watching it your saing your willing to pay $100 for just that channel? NO? Well then you must think that every one else who has cable should subsidise the cost of that channel so you could watch it?
This may seem like a silly comparison, but thats how channels are aquired by a cable provider. They pay a price for a channel or group of channels sometimes dependant on the number of viewers sometimes a set price. The cable company cannot absorb this whole cost, it would still just drive up rates for everyone overall. Cable companies have risked dropping channels before in order to avoid paying channel providers a higher fee for the content. Charter just earlier this year almost lost a whole series of channels from (Viacom?) in order to prevent a rate increase.

In order to go to a true a la carte system, two thing would have to happen.
1) the Cable provider would have to be an all digital system. Which would require a box for every tv. You cant use a series of filters stacked up on each other to chop out the channels. Too much signal degradation would occour. What if a sub only wanted 5 channels, how many filters are you going to stack up to make that happen. With a box, you could just teir mask the device to authorize certain channels.

2) Instead of going after the service providers ( Comcast, Dish, verizon) the focus should be the content providers. Force them to provide the channels a an a la carte price as apposed to a set price based on the number of subscribers in a system. Make ESPN charge the service provides say 1.25 or so per month for every person that actually wants to view it.

A la carte while feasable is not going to just happen with out driving up costs for someone and that tyipcally going to be the one who only wants a few channels
Bobcat79
Premium
join:2001-02-04

Re: I could care less about the antitrust aspect

said by rendrenner:

Well then you must think that every one else who has cable should subsidise the cost of that channel so you could watch it?
That's what happens now. I don't ever watch the History Channel, so I'm subsidizing you!!
Heated Man

join:2009-06-18
Cleveland, OH
And do you think the rest of us want to watch the crap you want to? Come on people why not complain and try to effect something far greater. Like I don't know gas prices?

Vchat20
Landing is the REAL challenge
Premium
join:2003-09-16
Columbus, OH

Content providers

While by no means are the pay tv carriers off the hook, they are not the only bad guys in this. Should also complain to the content providers as well who force both you and the carriers into either paying for large chunks of channels they own or 'take a hike'. Disney and Viacom are two that clearly come to mind and they both repeatedly like to put a stranglehold on the pay tv carriers to where they either have to put up with rate hikes and take ALL of their owned channels or get nothing at all. And this all filters down to the consumer.
--
I swear, some people should have pace-makers installed to free up the resources. Breathing and heart beat taxes their whole system, all of their brain cells wasted on life support.-two bit brains, and the second bit is wasted on parity! ~head_spaz

NOVA_Guy
ObamaCare Kills Americans
Premium
join:2002-03-05

Re: Content providers

So I wonder what would happen if a major cable company like Comcast would just turn to Disney and tell them to take a hike? In reality, though, it's not like that will ever happen so it's probably a moot point.

I would love to have a choice in channels I receive via cable, satellite, etc. This would be the ultimate in competition. Then one would be able to tailor an entertainment package to exactly fit one's needs without having to keep all the useless crap (like CNN, ESPN, MSNBC, HSN, etc., etc.) that one never watches.
--
Nobel peace prize for Obammer... Now he's got one more thing in common with Arafat besides hating America. And he's just as succesful as Jimmy "the failure" Carter.
caco
Premium
join:2005-03-10
Whittier, AK

You want to see a real fight?

Let congress try to mandate that tv services need to provide a la carte services. Content providers will empy out their entire war chest trying to get that killed if it ever is attempted.

Anyone thinks that Disney is not going to link ESPN or Disney channel to everyother crap channel they have or that Viacom will not threaten to withhold Nick if you dont pick up MTV is living in la la land.

Content providers are in driver's seat because they know everytime negotiations are up they can just run a scroll saying that x channel will go dark on x day if evil cable/sat company doesn't fall in line with their $$$$$$ demands. Cable/sat companies immediately get thousands of phone calls demanding that channel stay on the air and everybody gets screwed. Happens every couple years.
--
»www.seabee.navy.mil

Hall
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-28
Germantown, OH
kudos:2

Re: You want to see a real fight?

said by caco:

Anyone thinks that Disney is not going to link ESPN or Disney channel to everyother crap channel they have or that Viacom will not threaten to withhold Nick if you dont pick up MTV is living in la la land.

Content providers are in driver's seat...
You're exactly and that (the content providers) is the source of the problem, not the cable or satellite companies. This group sued the wrong people.

baineschile
2600 ways to live
Premium
join:2008-05-10
Sterling Heights, MI

Impossible until all digital

This wont be feasable at all, especially for cable, until there is an all digital lineup. There arent filters created for the Hz spectrum for single channels; and to do so, the cost would be so high, it would be something like $18/channel.

•••••
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

Trouble is brewing

They can keep fighting this all they want, but these content providers had better see the light soon that many people don't want all this crap that they have to pay for. I have Netflix, and I love the freedom it gives me. In fact, there are so many people at work who have it that I had trouble giving away free month trial cards a few weeks ago, and our outgoing mail basket is full of little red envelopes every Monday morning. Thing is, hardly any of these folks know that they can stream content to their TVs with a Roku box or other compatible hardware. Just wait until they figure that out.

And we're paying around $75 for our HD sat service with a DVR. I like it, but I find that, since we got Netflix streaming, we use it a lot less. I'd have to pay an ETF if I dropped it right now, but when our contract is up, I'm not sure what will happen.

The point is, cable and sat service is getting more and more expensive, the quality of programming, by and large, is dropping, and viable alternatives are appearing. Sooner or later, something is going to give. The studios and cable/sat companies can stick their heads in the sand all they want, but change is coming.

Jason Levine
Premium
join:2001-07-13
USA

Re: Trouble is brewing

I wholeheartedly agree. I won a Roku box a month ago and signed up for Netflix to use it. I have a 6 year old and 2 year old and they love the Roku. They even ask to watch it over normal cable.

If I canceled cable today, I'd save almost $70 a month. That would be enough to pay for Netflix, two new DVDs every month and still have plenty of money to spare. Yes, I would miss some of the shows that I can only watch on cable TV, but I've got to ask myself if those shows are worth paying $70 a month. Right now I'm not so sure that the answer is "yes."
--
-Jason Levine
Support a children's charity. Buy a calendar and/or a photo book. Shooting For A Cause

mod_wastrel
iamwhatiam

join:2008-03-28
kudos:1

Bundles = POS

But bundle vs. a la carte being an "antitrust" issue? I don't see it. I canceled cable a long time ago because I couldn't get only the channels I want (to not pay for the ones I don't want, and not "subsidize" those I don't want for everyone who does--ESPN et al).

The Internet is my "a la carte" now, though I expect every ISP that also provides TV service (Comcast, at&t, Verizon [FiOS]) to do everything it can to void that capability as soon as it can. "TV" is such a small part of my day anyway. So, if bundling is my only choice for channels, then I'll pass.
Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO

Re: Bundles = POS

I see it as antitrust and very anticonsumer.

They should be required to provide channels a la carte. That does not mean they can't offer their current bundles that may appeal to the masses or even get creative by creating new bundles that may appeal to even more. They have no reason to not offer this. They make this pretty clear when their only argument is that it will "cost consumers more". Though I appreciate them looking out for me and my pocketbook I call BS.

Very few providers and very few channels owned outside of the big 4 or 5 content producers = anticompetitive behavior that is beneficial to the megacorps and not the consumers.

mod_wastrel
iamwhatiam

join:2008-03-28
kudos:1

Re: Bundles = POS

Oh, we all know that their argument is bogus. Without a bundle, Channel X will cost more for customers who want Channel X because all of the customers who don't want Channel X will no longer be paying into the "Channel X bundle fund"; plus, some customers are willing to pay for the extra crap to get something they want, which means more money for the provider, which is the only thing the provider is really concerned about--more money for them. Bundles are a marketing tactic and, yes, anticonsumer... but not "antitrust".
hsdguy

join:2001-06-17
Plymouth, MA

REALLY?

Did the American people think that they would have won against these companies?
kirk1233

join:2003-08-15
Pittsburgh, PA

Good

Good. A La Carte would be the end of the wide array of TV options we enjoy today! No niche channels would survive at all.

Besides, why should the government dictate how video content is sold?
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

1 recommendation

Re: Good

What niche channels ever survive?

Sci-Fi: Began as a channel showing sci-fi. It gradually got more and more watered down until its low point, when they added wrestling. Now, it's turned into the channel showing junk about ghosts and other stupid crap, along with wrestling. And I'm not even going to type that abomination of a name it's been given.

TV Land: Began as a great classic TV channel and stayed that way for maybe a year. Now it's like a bad 24-hour version of Nick at Nite without cool stuff like SNICK.

MTV/MTV2/VH-1: Those channels that used to show music. 'Nuff said.

Cartoon Network: Used to show everything from Looney Toons to Thundarr the Barbarian to anime to Dexter's Laboratory. It still shows animation, but most of the good stuff is gone. Where? Oh yeah, over to Boomerang, their new niche channel.

ESPN Classic: This one is still mostly classic sports, but now live events are spilling over onto it. How long until it becomes ESPN 3?

Sure, there are niche channels, but they only last for a short time. Then, the execs start messing with them to "broaden their appeal" until they're just mediocre general-entertainment channels with a slight programming slant.
kirk1233

join:2003-08-15
Pittsburgh, PA

Re: Good

Many channels you don't think of as niche now would become so. A lot of people would only buy a handful of channels if they had the choice.

If cable companies and content providers want to do this then fine, but the heavy hand of government needs to stay out!

KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

What independent competitors. Sheesh.

Talk about missing the point....

••••
HeavyC

join:2004-03-31

Why do we even need channels in the first place?

The whole idea of TV channels is becoming increasingly antiquated in every way. Why not just sell the content directly to the consumer? That's the end game, and it would do them some good to get in front of it, because they are going to be dragged that way kicking and screaming.

I don't want ala-carte by channel, I want it by individual show. The only thing keeping me tied to cable/satellite are local sports blackout rules that prevent me from watching my "local" NBA team in any other fashion.
caco
Premium
join:2005-03-10
Whittier, AK

Re: Why do we even need channels in the first place?

Chances are you NBA team is locked into some sports channel and they appreciate being bundled with some other crap channel.
--
»www.seabee.navy.mil
HeavyC

join:2004-03-31

Re: Why do we even need channels in the first place?

I'm know that is the case for the Bulls and Comcast Sports Chicago. The only way that is going to change is to legislate it away. I'd love to see a bill that eliminated the practice of blacking out games or limiting who can watch a game based on geography.

If you don't want an actual piece of legislation, then just threaten to take away their anti-trust exemptions.

Kommie
Premium
join:2003-05-13
united state
kudos:3

If everyperson here wanting "Ala Carte" would write a letter

Wow, if every person here wanting Ala Carte would write a old fashion letter to their representatives/senators we actually might have some change.
Heated Man

join:2009-06-18
Cleveland, OH

Re: If everyperson here wanting "Ala Carte" would write a letter

Yeah lets hold our breath on that one. There is nothing wrong with the current model.
sandtiger

join:2006-08-17
Mount Vernon, IN

Give me A la Carte

Maybe I am in the Minority here; but I would love to get an A La Carte system. I have Insight and I pay around 50 for the Digital Choice which has close to 90 channels. So that would be around .56 a channel. I would gladly pay between 2 and 3 dollars a channel (Mind you an nearly an increase of 400% - 600% per channel just to get the 7 channels I watch.
Give me my Locals(Free Anyways), ESPN, CNN, USA, ScFy, Comedy Central, National Geographic, & Discovery. Anything else I can watch online.
At the top spectrum of $3 per channel, I'm still cutting my TV bill in half, after taxes and fees. call it $25 month for 12 months thats $300/year.