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'A La Carte' via Satellite
NetSat reveals plan to offer television programming
by Optimized 11:05AM Sunday Jun 05 2005
NetSat, from Wholesale-Telecom, has unveiled its plan to offer a full television programming service in addition to its satellite internet services. They claim that they will be offering these television programming choices “a la carte” - which means that consumers only pay for the channels they want. The press release notes that more details will be sent out as agreements are put into place. Alpha testing for the service is set to begin in July and potentially begin rolling out in the 3rd or 4th Quarter.

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wjr110

join:2005-02-23
Brooklyn, NY

Price?

A la cart is good, but at what cost? Would getting networks like Home Shopping Network lower your monthly bill?

pcscdma
hi
Premium
join:2004-01-14
Winterset, IA

Re: Price?

HSN pays cable companies and satellite providers to put them on their channel lineup.
The Big Dishes can already get this a la carte stuff. This just looks like they will use high power satellites so that their customers can use small dishes like E* and DirecTV.
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alg
Passionately apathetic
Premium
join:2001-04-10
Houston, TX
kudos:3
said by wjr110:

A la cart is good, but at what cost? Would getting networks like Home Shopping Network lower your monthly bill?
The cost will probably be more than or about the same as regular.
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"Mein Fuhrer, I can walk!" | ACCEPT Logic in your life and you will be forever SAVED! | Where sanity and reason end, religion begins.

fartness
computersoc dot com
Premium
join:2003-03-25
Look Outside
I've been getting a la carte via my C band dish for the past 20 years.

wesm
Premium
join:1999-07-29
Redmond, WA
Reviews:
·Frontier FiOS

Re: Price?

BUDs are the greatest thing, except when the $*@) analog feeds keep dropping off. Reason #1,229,592 why I will never live in a HOA: BUDs are beautiful.
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Do not meddle in the affairs of sysadmins, for they are easy to annoy and have the root password.
cptmiles
Premium
join:2004-04-22
Swayzee, IN

Kicking and Screaming

I would like to see them pull this off, because that would lead to other companies getting the rights to do a la carte, but I don't see it happening. The programmers will bond together and make it so hard to do it and so pricey that it won't be worth it to the normal subscriber. It will literally take an act of congress to force the programmers to allow a la carte at a reasonable rate I fear.
gpancner

join:2001-09-27
Nine Mile Falls, WA

Re: Kicking and Screaming

You've got that right!

odog
Cable Centric Vendor Biased
Premium,VIP
join:2001-08-05
Atlanta, GA
kudos:10
wait until subsrcibers actually see how much ESPN costs! let alone all the other sports channels!
--
disclaimer: my opinions are my own, my employer is not responsible.

ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA

Re: Kicking and Screaming

No problem with that here... I don't watch it anyway. Why should i have to pay for it??
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FWD#: 223611

ultimatelyagoodidea

@ny325.fios.verizon.n

Re: Kicking and Screaming

Yes, ultimately this is a GOOD idea! The per channel basis thing has been LOOONG over due but it would seem to affect satellite providers first because its direct competition for echostar and directv, currently nearly no provider offers the majority of the channel lineup as an "A-la-carte" choice.. and if they do its completely out-of-line pricing...maybe 900% of the wholesale price...
radarman

join:2005-06-01
Odenton, MD
Because ESPN subsidizes a lot of smaller channels you do like. Trust me, you are reaping the benefit of all those sports nuts that don't watch anything else.

n2jtx

join:2001-01-13
Glen Head, NY
I have zero, nada, zilch, interest in the sports channels and channel packages and would be very happy to not have them or pay for them. I fully support the right of sports fans to have them as long as they pony up the fee for them. In the same breath, I don't think they should be forced to take Tech TV, Home and Garden or any other channels that they might not be interested in. Myself, I would take CNN Headline, Fox News, Tech TV, TNT, Sci-Fi, A&E, BBC, VH1 Classic, and Discovery. After that I would consider USA, TV Land, Lifetime, Game Show, History, Bravo, AMC, IFC, TCM, and Spike.
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radarman

join:2005-06-01
Odenton, MD

Re: Kicking and Screaming

Keep in mind that the networks arguments for bundled packages isn't completely bull.

There are a lot of smaller, less well-funded networks that are essentially subsidized by much larger networks. Take, for example, A&E. I remember when that channel wasn't even it's own channel. They would "take over" another channel after prime-time. (at least in my area, Nickelodeon would switch to A&E after 10pm) Now, it is a large enough network to stand on its own, but had it not been for other networks - it wouldn't exist. The same goes for the Sci-Fi channel, the History channel, and oodles of other specialty channels. (about half the channels you listed would probably not exist were they not either actively being subsidized, or were subsidized when the first started)

So, if everyone goes ala-carte, don't be surprised when all that is left after a few years are channels you don't like, or the price for the channels you do like zoom WAY up. In fact, you might end up paying more than you do now, and have fewer choices to boot.

IOW - be careful what you wish for, you might get it.
fiberguy
My views are my own.
Premium
join:2005-05-20
kudos:3
said by n2jtx:

I would take CNN Headline, Fox News, Tech TV, TNT, Sci-Fi, A&E, BBC, VH1 Classic, and Discovery. After that I would consider USA, TV Land, Lifetime, Game Show, History, Bravo, AMC, IFC, TCM, and Spike.
Cable Cable inc in canda offers a $1.99 per month per channel offering. (Keep in mind the canadian dollar)

You would have 9 at $1.99 = $17.91. (this is not to say that if the U.S. did this, you would see this price, rather it's guessed to be more like $2.49 or $3.99 a channel here) You must also, here, subscribe to the lowest tier of service (about $13.00 on average) This is, without tax, $30.91. Add the converter rental of about $5.00 a month for $35.91 + taxes and lf fees to about $40.00 a month.

Tell me, where it the savings and benefits here? Sure, you can say you are only getting and paying for what you want, but I'd rather stay wit my $45.00 a month + tax and have a more robust 70 channel offering vs your approximately 35 channels.

A couple of important details:

1) It's only on the digital channels. To offer channels most often in the analog range, cable systems would have to either scramble their entire network and force EVERYONE back to the converter (make sure you make your home address public so others can thank you appropriatly) or have a digital simulcast in place in order for this to work.

2) You would also have to pay for a converter rental as well

3) You will never see the government "force" the netowrks to lower their fees for this. It's silly, and the government would have no way to justify forcing networks to operate in a negative profit environment. Also, I think by government treading into this area would be dangerously close to violating consitutional areas of the press. You would then have the government putting networks out of business.

4) Cable companies and Telephone providers of TV aren't going to back this and I support that as well. There is not profit really to be made in this type of environment and all you will do is slow the growth of new build from these providers giving people here yet another reason to complain that they aren't getting their new toys fast enough and why the government should be building new fiber networks, etc. It's just a bad idea and still has very little support in the private sector and in congress.

5) You aren't going to save any money in the long run so why bother?

See why this idea isn't going to work?
clickie8

join:2005-05-22
Monroe, MI

Re: Kicking and Screaming

You have no idea what you're talking about.

Ala Carte programming has been available on C band satellite for years. You can get HBO for an entire year for what a few months of cable service run you. This article is about a satellite ISP that plans on providing telephone service as well. Your comments about analog cable systems mean nothing because this isn't cable.

You do not have to pay for converter rental, you'd have to pay for satellite receiver rental or more likely, purchase.

The government very well MAY force pricing on networks because of their propensity for tying contracts and price fixing. They keep raising the interest of government, I suspect the greed of cable networks and operators as well as satellite companys won't be controlled enough so the government won't notice.

Cable companies and telephone providers have nothing to say about this. It's a competing system, and they'd better hide their tracks if they want to engage in subterfuge to stop the little guy. Fact is, YOU can call up Time-Warner, work up a distribution deal for your little satellite company or cable outfit, and start selling.

Ala Carte has LOTS of interest in the private sector because the consumer is tired of paying for channels they do not watch. Go out and find a C band programming provider and take a peek at how much Disney and ESPN will run you per month. That should give you a good idea of the percentages paid to these people for bundled cable packages. If you do not watch sports or Disney, that is a sizeable savings.

dddane

join:2002-01-10
Chicago, IL

Re: Kicking and Screaming

actually, i think he is exactly right.. who cares what you've been getting on C band for years... most people don't have 10 feet satellites in their yards, nor do they want them. the majority of americans get their cable TV through just that: cable. in order to convert the system to ala carte, providers would either have to get rid of analog, scramble everything, or make everything digital. in the end, everyone would have to pay for equipment on each and every tv they own... not to mention NO provider is *EVER* going to just charge you $5/mo for service, plus channels.. . its just not gonna happen. they can't make a profit off of serving a person one channel for $7, 2 for $9, etc... the infrastructure costs are figured right into the cost we pay now, but everyone wants to forget about the infrastructure costs and hope for ala carte where the infrastructure works on magic ...
cptmiles
Premium
join:2004-04-22
Swayzee, IN

Re: Kicking and Screaming

You're right about the costs being built right in. The only way a la carte will work with a cable company or telephone company is if a connection fee associated with how much bandwidth is delivered to the home, say about $1 per meg. This will be charged before the first channel is even delivered. If you really want to get funky, I believe the real future of a la carte, if any, will be a VOD type offering. The sub pays $25 for the connection (25M for video use only) and then pays per minute or in blocks for content, not so unlike long distance is done today. Hence, the Superbowl would be a big PPV event. This idea would be hard to fathom by the advertisers. It would be a nightmare for them to figure out how to get their cereal jingles embedded in the minds of our children.
fiberguy
My views are my own.
Premium
join:2005-05-20
kudos:3

Re: Kicking and Screaming

Actually, cptmiles, you are right on the money. This is already being discussed and is pretty much an option being worked on today. I heard your exact theory told to us in one of our system wide meetings. It would be an OPTION that people, using the IPTV rheml, would be able to have a pay as you go option to content. So, wanted to let you know that you were on the money.
fiberguy
My views are my own.
Premium
join:2005-05-20
kudos:3

1 edit
I DO VERY MUCH have an idea of what I am talking about. I work in the industry, sir. You are just a guy with an outdated dish in your yard telling me I have no clue when I posted a very long and descriptive argument with facts as to why it will not work.

For the record, yes I know it's about satellite... not C-band.. AND, who do you think sets the prices? It's the networks... You also mentioned these "cable networks"... I am not aware of any "cable" networks these days.. Last time I checked, HBO sold to cable, satellite, outdated c-band, and some telephone providers...

Ala Carte has NO interest in the private sector. Please post your source as to the "lots of interest" please, because last time I checked, the entire industry is pretty much dead set against it. There are some customers that would like to see this as an option, and they would also like to see it be something they can get for under $10.00 (ain't going to happen) and there is VERY LITTLE interest in congress to go after this either.

I hope you can understand that your situation does not represent the real market place today. There have been many valid posts here regarding why ala cart is not in the future at this point. One of them being that people want variety. People want more choice in viewing options. Alot of these "choices" are smaller channels that would not survive on their own and need their parent operating unit to support them. This multiplexing of channels and combined pricing is what keeps this system alive. There are people that like Soap net, many don't. Some people like GNS, many don't.. but these little networks are paid for by package pricing and offerings. If the smaller networks were not being purcahsed as much they would drop.. what happens then? Channels go down, we go BACKWARDS...

Someday you may be able to purchase smaller GROUPS of channels, but one at a time? Doubt it.

And to answer one last comment of yours? I would go out and find a c-band promgrammer, but they are few and far between these days. I am sure you are aware of DirecTv and Dish Network, right?

You should be carefull when starting off posts with "you have no idea what you are talking about."

- peace, out!

KoolMoe
Aw Man
Premium
join:2001-02-14
Annapolis, MD

Re: Kicking and Screaming

Groups of channels is something I've suggested as a good middle-ground for a while now. It's good to see that it may actually be considered. I've no need for the sports, foreign, and shopping packages, but the kids, nature, news, comedy, and scifi/mystery packages (and PBS, of course) would be cool to have ONLY.

I sure don't want to see 'pay as you go' though, unless it's on the order of cents per minute. It's hard enough to get the various family members to turn off the TV as is! I can imagine getting charged $50 because the TV was on Cartoon Network all afternoon cause the kids went to play outside without turning off the darn tube...
KM
grantje
Premium
join:2003-05-07
Kokomo, IN

"free" tech support?

The linked press release mentions that tier 1 tech support is now "free". How much, I wonder, did it cost before? And heaven help us, what does it cost to talk to tier 2, if there is such a thing?

And only providing tier 1 tech support for those using Windows doesn't honestly sound like much of a commitment. It certainly doesn't echo their stated mission of selling "what I need", not "what they have".