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Cable Pondering Pre Paid Cable TV
Cheap Set Tops Paired With Codes or Cards
by Karl Bode 02:36PM Wednesday Jul 11 2012 Tipped by rv65 See Profile
An anonymous source tells Light Reading that at least one major cable operator is considering selling prepaid television service, using a model that's much like what you see with prepaid wireless phone service. The idea is to sell an inexpensive set top at big box stores or online, while at the same time offering prepaid codes or cards that provided a certain amount of viewing. The report claims that Comcast already examined the idea but scrapped it, and it's unclear what cable operator is currently planning the effort. The idea would be to target the lower income markets, something cable operators pay a lot of lip service to but don't spend much actual time pursuing -- opting instead to raise rates often twice a year, every year. A prepaid option would obviously be of particular interest to college students and the snow bird set.

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topics flat nest 

FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

a la carte by show instead of by channel - iTunes for TV

Sounds like a possibly workable plan for very light TV watchers. But for heavy TV watchers, I expect that pre-paid a la carte could get expensive very quickly.
--
»www.mittromney.com/s/rep ··· bamacare
»www.mittromney.com/issue ··· lth-care

Simba7
I Void Warranties

join:2003-03-24
Billings, MT

2 recommendations

Re: a la carte by show instead of by channel - iTunes for TV

Why not just utilize IPTV then?

Hell with CATV service. Just turn the entire coax into one huge Broadband connection and feed it.

fifty nine

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

Re: a la carte by show instead of by channel - iTunes for TV

said by Simba7:

Hell with CATV service. Just turn the entire coax into one huge Broadband connection and feed it.

Horribly inefficient.

Simba7
I Void Warranties

join:2003-03-24
Billings, MT

Re: a la carte by show instead of by channel - iTunes for TV

said by fifty nine:

Horribly inefficient.

How? Everything is already delivered digitally.

dvd536
as Mr. Pink as they come
Premium
join:2001-04-27
Phoenix, AZ
kudos:4

Re: a la carte by show instead of by channel - iTunes for TV

said by Simba7:

said by fifty nine:

Horribly inefficient.

How? Everything is already delivered digitally.

peruse the uverse forum and you'll see.
majortom1029

join:2006-10-19
Lindenhurst, NY
kudos:1
HOw is that horribly inefficient? Cablevision already has voip which is digital and internet.

Cablevisions ipad and iphone tv apps already use the internet data portion to deliver the tv stations.

All they have to do is use this software on the boxes and they can then use the coax as one big pipe.

Split the coax into 3 or four sets of bonded channels so that you can split the homes among them.

Cablevision is even making the guides on the boxes hosted at their end with html 5.

tshirt
Premium
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Comcast

1 recommendation

Re: a la carte by show instead of by channel - iTunes for TV

Because when you and 30 million others sit down to watch the Oscars, instead of 1 channel efficiently streaming to all 30 million at once, you instead have 30 million seperate streams, each taking a chunk EVERY group of 4-8 channels assigned to a given modem repeated hundreds of times at every node in comcasts footprint, and the same thing at TW and cox and uverse.

Single stream distribution to the home for usage either live or time shifted (even slightly, for the extra snack/bathroom break) via and in home DVR is a far better solution for big events.
save the IPTV for when you wake up with a need to watch episode 8 of season 4 of whatever crap you dream about.

tshirt
Premium
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Comcast

1 recommendation

It would take "one HUGE broadband system" to deliver it.
by the time you paid for that, you probably couldn't afford too many channels/shows.
take a look at amazon prices and figure out how many first run episodes of a popular show you would buy, if the entire market was priced like that.
It would certainly end casual "channel surfing" and watching of reruns if it was all pay per view.

dvd536
as Mr. Pink as they come
Premium
join:2001-04-27
Phoenix, AZ
kudos:4
said by Simba7:

Why not just utilize IPTV then?

Hell with CATV service. Just turn the entire coax into one huge Broadband connection and feed it.

And have your internet slow when the TV is on ala uverse. no thanks!

Cabal
Premium
join:2007-01-21
Reviews:
·Suddenlink
I could see this working in conjunction with a good OTA setup for broadcast channels. 90% of what we record on the DVR is already OTA, but as long as HGTV still exists, we're never getting rid of cable.
--
If you can't open it, you don't own it.
zed260
Premium
join:2011-11-11
Cleveland, TN
Reviews:
·Charter

Re: a la carte by show instead of by channel - iTunes for TV

said by Cabal:

I could see this working in conjunction with a good OTA setup for broadcast channels. 90% of what we record on the DVR is already OTA, but as long as HGTV still exists, we're never getting rid of cable.

»www.hgtv.com/full-episod ··· dex.html

most everything on hgtv can be found for free so you just need a ps3/xbox360 turn it to that site and easy pesy no more hgtv trouble

Cabal
Premium
join:2007-01-21
Reviews:
·Suddenlink

Re: a la carte by show instead of by channel - iTunes for TV

said by zed260:

said by Cabal:

I could see this working in conjunction with a good OTA setup for broadcast channels. 90% of what we record on the DVR is already OTA, but as long as HGTV still exists, we're never getting rid of cable.

»www.hgtv.com/full-episod ··· dex.html

most everything on hgtv can be found for free so you just need a ps3/xbox360 turn it to that site and easy pesy no more hgtv trouble

Won't pass the WAF test, though. And I like it as my background, multi-tasking channel.
--
If you can't open it, you don't own it.
mogamer

join:2011-04-20
Royal Oak, MI
said by zed260:

said by Cabal:

I could see this working in conjunction with a good OTA setup for broadcast channels. 90% of what we record on the DVR is already OTA, but as long as HGTV still exists, we're never getting rid of cable.

»www.hgtv.com/full-episod ··· dex.html

most everything on hgtv can be found for free so you just need a ps3/xbox360 turn it to that site and easy pesy no more hgtv trouble

I don't have a PS3, so I don't know about it. But I do know that Xbox 360's currently don't have browsers and just can't go to any old website. You'll still need a pc, tablet or phone for that.
zed260
Premium
join:2011-11-11
Cleveland, TN
Reviews:
·Charter

Re: a la carte by show instead of by channel - iTunes for TV

said by mogamer:

said by zed260:

said by Cabal:

I could see this working in conjunction with a good OTA setup for broadcast channels. 90% of what we record on the DVR is already OTA, but as long as HGTV still exists, we're never getting rid of cable.

»www.hgtv.com/full-episod ··· dex.html

most everything on hgtv can be found for free so you just need a ps3/xbox360 turn it to that site and easy pesy no more hgtv trouble

I don't have a PS3, so I don't know about it. But I do know that Xbox 360's currently don't have browsers and just can't go to any old website. You'll still need a pc, tablet or phone for that.

i thought they could ps3 can but never had a 360

dvd536
as Mr. Pink as they come
Premium
join:2001-04-27
Phoenix, AZ
kudos:4
said by zed260:

said by Cabal:

I could see this working in conjunction with a good OTA setup for broadcast channels. 90% of what we record on the DVR is already OTA, but as long as HGTV still exists, we're never getting rid of cable.

»www.hgtv.com/full-episod ··· dex.html

most everything on hgtv can be found for free so you just need a ps3/xbox360 turn it to that site and easy pesy no more hgtv trouble

not that ive seen. many of the shows i like aren't on there or just a select subset of their programming.

pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD
said by FFH5:

Sounds like a possibly workable plan for very light TV watchers. But for heavy TV watchers, I expect that pre-paid a la carte could get expensive very quickly.

As much as I'd love the idea of a la carte TV, I predict that if the current cable TV subscription model collapses, then the per-episode price of a la carte tv would double, at least.
--
Romney 2012 - Put an adult in charge.

Jason Levine
Premium
join:2001-07-13
USA

Re: a la carte by show instead of by channel - iTunes for TV

I think we need to look no further than Verizon Wireless' shared data plans for how this would work out. Shared data is, in theory, a great idea. Why give each device its own data limit when you could have one bucket for every device on the plan? In practice, though, Verizon Wireless priced it so it would be more expensive in most cases.

Cable operators will eventually introduce a la carte TV and I guarantee that they'll 1) price it so it is more expensive than "bundle TV" and 2) declare it a failure when people stick with the less expensive "bundle TV".
--
-Jason Levine

dvd536
as Mr. Pink as they come
Premium
join:2001-04-27
Phoenix, AZ
kudos:4

1 recommendation

Re: a la carte by show instead of by channel - iTunes for TV

said by Jason Levine:

I think we need to look no further than Verizon Wireless' shared data plans for how this would work out. Shared data is, in theory, a great idea. Why give each device its own data limit when you could have one bucket for every device on the plan? In practice, though, Verizon Wireless priced it so it would be more expensive in most cases.

Cable operators will eventually introduce a la carte TV and I guarantee that they'll 1) price it so it is more expensive than "bundle TV" and 2) declare it a failure when people stick with the less expensive "bundle TV".

"Sure we'll give you ala carte, instead of 400 channels of which you actually watch 20 for $75, we'll give you just those 20 for $5 each/month"

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness
They already have it. it's called ITUNES.

Simba7
I Void Warranties

join:2003-03-24
Billings, MT

"opting instead to raise rates often twice a yr, every yr"

How much of that is the content companies asking for more?

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

Re: "opting instead to raise rates often twice a yr, every

said by Simba7:

How much of that is the content companies asking for more?

Some of it is. But if some company asks for an extra 5 cents more per sub the how come the cable/satellite companies raises prices by $5?

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

Dish Network

I believe Dish Network already offers something like this. I suspect it has to do with their heavy international customer base and who may not have "credit" established yet (I do NOT mean that in a discriminatory way either). Downside is the customer has to pay for installation and equipment (which is likely a couple hundred dollars).

NWOhio2

@utoledo.edu

Re: Dish Network

Yes Dish already does this. You buy the Dish, they install it, you buy a $50 card each month. It's good for only ONE TV set and that's it. If you want another box- you buy another complete system. It's for anyone not wanting a contract and anyone that can NOT pass their credit check.
Joe12345678

join:2003-07-22
Des Plaines, IL

let's see the in store boxes are leased

let's see the in store boxes are leased and come with high multi room costs?
Joe12345678

join:2003-07-22
Des Plaines, IL

I like the own your own box part

I like the own your own box part Now make that part also work with post paided.

But I can see saying you must rent a cable card and pay a outlet fee

LBDSL
Lightning Bolt

join:2002-01-07
Auburn Hills, MI

Re: I like the own your own box part

This is how a Tivo box works

NWOhio2

@utoledo.edu

Re: I like the own your own box part

And yet they still charge you to use that box. Either $199 for a lifetime or $20 a month.
tom thomas

join:2010-11-04

how about internet?

i actually think cable broadband this way may work. i work at a small cell phone store . i have quite a lot of mobile broadband customer, most use with a single computer at home.

nearly all my mobile broadband customers would prefer a high quality wired connection, but they can not pass the credit check of afford the one time up front cost.
bdnhsv

join:2012-01-20
Huntsville, AL

Doubtful about the benefit of this

Somehow I don't see this benefitting low income people - they are likely to watch more TV than people with more expendable income who can get out and entertain themselves in other ways. I would also be curious as to how often the cable company could/would increase the monthly rate(s) for this new service. Finally, cable service is already pre-paid (look at your next or last bill and notice the dates on it).

printscreen

join:2003-11-01
Juana Diaz, PR
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Choice Cable TV
·Coqui/PRTC

Re: Doubtful about the benefit of this

said by bdnhsv:

Finally, cable service is already pre-paid (look at your next or last bill and notice the dates on it).

True BUT... current system requires you to pay each month and if you stop paying they will start bugging you for payment, will get the service disconnected and have to pay a fee to reconnect, you are sent to a collection agency.... in the purely "pre-paid" model you pay for 30 days or so, if you don't recharge at the end of the 30 days your service is interrupted but nothing else happens. No bills, no collections, no nothing. Just recharge and you are good to go for another 30 days.

DirecTV offers pre-paid down here with various programming packages good for 15 or 30 days. You go to a store, buy the kit that includes the dish and the receiver which are yours to keep and install it yourself.
majortom1029

join:2006-10-19
Lindenhurst, NY
kudos:1

Cablevision

I can see cablevision as the company looking into this. Cablevision samsung boxes use downloadable security. So any cablebox can be used since the security is downloaded onto the box.

They are already making the box software hosted at their end using html 5.

So all that would be neded is a small cheap box with a remote .

Cablevision has stated numerous times that it would love to do alacarte for tv but its the content providers that do not allow it.
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·EarthLink

Not ala-carte, no real benefit to consumer

Service will still be sold in tiers/bundles mirroring existing channel groups.
The content industry isn't going to join a race to the bottom or adopt an iTunes model.

Service will still be on 30-day terms.

The only potential advantage will be the possibility of self-installation, and depending on your calculus, ending the box rental.

Not quite dead on arrival, but much ado about nothing.

Cable could just allow customers to order standard service on a prepaid card basis, credited online or via IVR.
Rekrul

join:2007-04-21
Milford, CT

Great idea...

Wife: Honey where's the remote? I want to watch Dancing with the Stars.

Husband: Don't you dare! We only have three and a half hours of TV left this month and I'm saving it for the game on Sunday!
moes
Premium
join:2009-11-15
Cedar City, UT

Re: Great idea...

This would be useful for my grandparents and there summer home. but for me, heh I'd need normal cable tv to be able to survive.
civicturbo

join:2009-11-08
USA

They could use this in North Murderapolis Minnesota

All the hood rats in Minneapolis Mn seem to live in North Minneapolis hence most of the murders happen there and the nickname it earned. When I worked for TWC as a tech I would hold my breath and hope for the best as I drive down the alleys doing discos. Almost every tap on the man line was empty and this goes on for blocks.
Prepaid tv would work for these people just as prepaid cellular with it's no credit checks, no monthly bill. It doesn't have to be ala carte or iptv or pay per show like you guys are saying. Just monthly access paid up front to a all encrypted, all digital catv system. No more expensive truck rolls to do discos and reconnects of the analog cable. Buy your own box available in cheap SD version, HD and simple DVR versions ie add your own HDD to keep price down.
The cheapskate in me likes it, It had better be well thought out because my Roku kicks a$$ and it's free per month, so it has to offer more ie same channels as the standard cable lineup. Pricing can be simpler than prepaid cellular. They could do something like prepaid monthly cellular, x dollars gets you access to teir1 for a month, xy dollars gets you access to teir2 for a month, all you can watch just like our regular monthly customers.

Yo dawg where you at? Now you know where you at with BoostTv,
you be chillin and home with your laddie watchin the tube.
travis5379

join:2005-03-28
Rathdrum, ID

Of course

"Comcast already examined the idea but scrapped it..."

Of course. With internet usage up, it means that people are spending more time web surfing and less time watching TV (or they're watching TV online). Therefore it's in the cable co's best interest to charge you a crap-ton for television service that you're probably not using very much of. There's probably millions of people who pay $80 a month for cable television and watch 2 hours a week of TV.
tmc8080

join:2004-04-24
Brooklyn, NY
Reviews:
·Optimum Online
·ooma
·Verizon FiOS

pay upfront to a cable company?!? haha...

apparently some people place too much value on video..
far too much of the content on cable's been watered down to look like OTA (or worse) anyway. all those billions they make on commercial advertising aren't good enough, they have to keep pushing rate hikes and fight amongst themselves on subscription price hikes.

the only place this is pushing the consumer is to the internet for alternatives to the content providers. what did you think higher speed broadband was going to enable? faster web surfing? 3d pron?
more like the VOIP equivalent of Video. No more set-top rentals, no more franchise fees.. direct to consumer downloads & streaming. just about every (broadband) consumer has enough bandwidth to receive a standard definition video stream (480i) which is equal to the best analog tv set out there for the amount of time they would view a tv set. the dust hasn't settled on this market evolution yet and the service providers are squandering what time is left to mould consumer behavior.