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Television The Almighty Buck The Internet

One In Eight To Cut Cable and Satellite TV In 2010 502

Posted by Soulskill
from the cue-panic-from-the-cablecos dept.
r0k3t writes "It looks like people are finally getting sick of overpriced, ad-infested cable and satellite TV. I had predicted that by 2005 we would mostly be using the net for video — seems like I was a few years off. From the article: 'A cutting-the-cord trend has been the subject of speculation for some time, as networks have increasingly made television programming available for free on the Internet. But a combination of other factors, including a growing number of battles between cable companies and networks, soaring Internet video viewings, and an increase in connected TVs and devices, suggest the trend is finally upon us. ... The biggest reason why customers will cut the cord, according to the study, is the growing cost of pay-TV service. Cable and satellite viewers pay an average of $71 per month, and they receive an average annual price hike of 5%, according to research firm Centris.'" How many of you have made the switch to Internet-only TV, or are considering it? Any regrets?
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One In Eight To Cut Cable and Satellite TV In 2010

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  • by CrackedButter (646746) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @12:18PM (#32057136) Homepage Journal
    I gave up TV in 2003. Just use BBC iPlayer for the Doctor Who episodes now. Everything else is a combination of iTunes rentals, torrents and podcasts.
    • by u38cg (607297) <calum@callingthetune.co.uk> on Saturday May 01, 2010 @12:42PM (#32057354) Homepage
      Same. I moved in with my partner in early 2004 and being poor and in love, we couldn't afford a TV and found other ways (ahem) to spend our time. We've never got round to buying one. We did inherit one when we moved into our current place, and I'm glad it's there, because when the next 9/11 hits, the internet will be a dead zone (it was bad enough last time). Useful to know I can still get BBC One if I have to.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by stoat (125788)

      I still have basic cable but rarely use it. Most shows I'd like to watch are posted to usenet within 30 minutes of airing.

      Automatic feeds to download what I like in 720p. Don't feel too bad about it since I keep basic for cnbc.

    • by mickwd (196449) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @12:57PM (#32057496)

      Similar here. Don't watch much TV "live" at all, but iPlayer is great for many of the things I do want to see.

      Seems like television is one of those things where too much competition is not necessarily a good thing. More channels means fewer and fewer viewers per channel, which means less money from advertisers, which means less money spent on programs. We're lucky we have the BBC to still produce some quality programs (with no adverts!), but it's got a unique funding method which seems to be coming under more and more fire.

      I swear TV programs were better when there were only 4 channels (with the advertising pennies split between only 2 channels). And without Sky to pay big money for films, the terrestrial ("free") channels would get them more cheaply, too.

      Now we have dozens, if not hundreds, of channels, most of which are complete crap, most of the time (for all its good stuff, the BBC makes a lot of rubbish too).

      Not to mention what's going to happen to football in this country (soccer for you US-ians) when Murdoch pulls the plug on funding the Premier League, because he's already got all the viewers he needs.....

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by imamac (1083405)
      No cable since 2005 and loving it. iTunes has most everything I want to watch. And even the major networks now stream online with only 3-4 commercials, which is fine by me. That's how I watch "Lost"--abc.com.
    • by deathcow (455995) * on Saturday May 01, 2010 @01:24PM (#32057758)

      I'll be letting my Dual Tuner Dish DVR boxes grab all our favorite shows up to two at a time. We'll watch them exactly when we want to, and we'll skip over all the commercials by pressing the Yellow Arrow key on our remote 6 or 7 times.

      • by NFN_NLN (633283) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @02:22PM (#32058234)

        I'll be letting my Dual Tuner Dish DVR boxes grab all our favorite shows up to two at a time. We'll watch them exactly when we want to, and we'll skip over all the commercials by pressing the Yellow Arrow key on our remote 6 or 7 times.

        Harold and Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo Bay

        Kumar Patel: [to illegal immigrant] I'm telling you Jorge, the first thing you have to do when you get to America - buy a device called TiVo. Okay? Freedom means nothing if you're a slave to regular programming. I promise you that.

    • by ericlondaits (32714) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @01:33PM (#32057850) Homepage

      I live in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and have cut cable TV last year... I got rid of my TV set as well.

      For a while now I've been using torrents for all my TV viewing needs, even programs available to me in cable. Once my girlfriend cut down her TV watching as well I proposed getting rid of cable and we agreed on removing the TV set as well since my 24'' widescreen LCD computer monitor is up to the task.

      My main reasons for watching torrents: ability to watch the programs as soon as they are available and without the normal geographical delay (blame it on Lost, American Idol, and the like), and the possibility of watching at any time of the day (TVR never really caught in Argentina).

      To any TV execs reading this: If TV channels gave me all the quality and convenience torrent does (automatically downloaded HD video with no DRM) I'd have no problem watching "official" videos with commercials in them... or even paying a very small amount for them (we have a weak currency in Argentina so even one dollar per episode is borderline steep).

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Qzukk (229616)

      I think the only regret I've had since I quit watching TV is that I have no idea what's going on in Lost anymore.

      • by AlamedaStone (114462) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @02:42PM (#32058378)

        I think the only regret I've had since I quit watching TV is that I have no idea what's going on in Lost anymore.

        I still watch Lost, but I have to admit I have the same regret.

    • by ehrichweiss (706417) * on Saturday May 01, 2010 @02:01PM (#32058080)

      I've been dying for the BBC to open up the iPlayer to non-UK countries. I'm more than willing to pay a few bucks to have access to the shows I like(Doctor Who, IT Crowd, etc) but if they don't, I'll continue to do as I've been doing most of this time...downloading it and watching it. NO, I won't wait 2 weeks while BBCAmerica gets the episodes. Are ya listening BBC? I just told you that I'm willing to pay you some $$$ for access to your shows. Get your shit together!!

      That said, we haven't had satellite in our house in over a year at this point and we don't watch any broadcast TV so most of what we watch comes from online viewing. With the prices of satellite being what they are and cable being as limited as it is in our area, unless the satellite companies start giving it away for free in exchange for us watching the ads(that they give us now even though we already pay), we'll be using the Net for most of our entertainment.

  • 2007 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by poopdeville (841677) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @12:19PM (#32057138)

    I made the switch in 2007, when I got my 24 inch iMac, and an EyeTV TV tuner. No regrets, really. Between Hulu and Netflix and OTA, I can watch pretty much everything I want.

  • by Hatta (162192)

    I'm sick of overpriced, ad infested cable internet.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nurb432 (527695)

      I'm sick of overpriced, ad infested internet.

      There, fixed it.

      • by mikael_j (106439)

        On the web you can at least use ad blocking software or simply avoid ad-supported content to a greater degree than you can with TV, I get ~15 channels via cable for "free" (included in the rent), of those 13 have commercials. I'd rather go without TV than suffer through 15 minutes of crappy german detergent commercials (poorly) dubbed to swedish every hour.

      • Re:TV? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Surt (22457) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @01:23PM (#32057748) Homepage Journal

        There are still ads on the internet? I haven't seen one in about 4 years now.

  • by RichMan (8097) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @12:24PM (#32057188)

    There just is not the content out there worth paying the amounts they want.
    The price set exceeds my demand.

    Also 99% of it is crap.

    Off the air for what I can get if it fits my time. Really don't even watch stuff off the net.

    • by ErikTheRed (162431) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @12:42PM (#32057356) Homepage

      Pretty much. I have a fairly comprehensive cable package (not a big deal; I can afford it), but I'm getting ready to drop it anyway after many, many nights of "500 channels and nothing I want to watch." On-Demand helps a bit, but I'm thinking that Netflix or just buying DVD / BluRay makes more sense at this point. If I price out the programming that I actually "look forward to" I'm probably paying something like $20 / hour / month (with a massive pile of crap added on for "free").

      There is some value to be had for the convenience and being able to participate in the social interaction geared around the current shows, but I'm not sure it's worth it. Offsetting that, not having 500 channels of crap will probably be life-enhancing (after a period of adjustment).

      • Don't you mean to say "57 channels and there's nothing on..."? We suffer from that here, although it's more like 200 channels, with maybe 13 channels showing content worth watching. The rest is filled with absolute drek. This summer comes time to make fixes to change that.

      • but I'm getting ready to drop it anyway after many, many nights of "500 channels and nothing I want to watch.

        And that's the thing, isn't it. Now, what really does help there is having a decent DVR. There are always shows and movies on that you would like to watch, they're just not on when you want to watch them. Having a DVR changes the TV watching experience completely. For me, it's like having the ScrewMaster Channel ... all my favorites, all the time!

        What I find very shortsighted on the part of a number of programming providers (yeah, HBO, I'm looking at you) is that they disallow recording! I have AT&T

      • by AK Marc (707885) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @04:26PM (#32059106)
        I'm getting ready to drop it anyway after many, many nights of "500 channels and nothing I want to watch."

        They know the answer. They refuse to offer it. All they have to do us unbundle. Want ESPN2 without ESPN? Want anything in Disney's lineup without the rest? Then unbundle. Order just what you want. Then you'll not have channels you never watch.

        One thing I've always said they should do (And should be exceedingly easy to implement) is to have channels be able to be deleted from the lineup. That way, I could, saw, delete QVC and never run across it again. Not in a menu, not in the listings, not when I channel up, never. I never watch it, so having it on my list of 500 is an annoyance. (and no, "favorites" isn't the same thing, though some implementations have come close)

        They distribution companies are used to the TV model where the advertisers are the customers and the watchers are the product. With cable/satellite, the customers are the watchers and the product is the content. But because that's the opposite of the TV model and still part of the same industry, it confuses them. They should be looking at what people want, and try to give it to them.

        And yes, I'm aware of all the complaints about unbundling. I've never seen a complaint that prevents it from being done today, just with higher cost (i.e. you could enable just ESPN2, but you'd have to pay for ESPN as well). And when a couple of the big companies do it and refuse to accept future bundled sales of channels, everyone will do it and it will improve the sales of cable and channels.

        But they'll never do it unless the FCC requires it.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, 2010 @01:26PM (#32057776)

      A story from someone who used to watch TV like *ALL* the time. It simply costs too much for what is there. They cater to a small segment of watchers the 'sports guy'. The rest of us just suck it up. The 'sports guy' will buy the 200 dollar package. The rest of us are left with the 'low' priced 60-80 dollar packages.

      10 years ago it was 25-30 for a decent package. Now it is nearly double on its way to triple. Yeah not a good deal. Then they made using DVRs a pain in the ass. But turn around and rent you a crap one. Then want to rent you a 'digital' box which they overcompress the feed anyway and you end up with the same res as you had before just more boring stations.

      Yeah I cut the cord. It was overpriced and my tastes had changed. So I was not watching much anymore. I now buy DVD's and games with that money. I can buy a whole season for 15-60 bucks. Sure I am a bit out of sync with everyone but who cares! I even 'know' that there is a serious amount of stuff on the net. I do not even bother with it. I dont have time for that. I just buy whatever season I am interested in.

      I remember as a kid there where few commercials on cable TV. It was one of their main selling points. Your paying for it... I then remember them butchering the shows that were on so they could get their 5 mins of commercials in.

      Once you 'cut the cord' you crave it for a couple of months (yes I was 'addicted to it'). But after that you dont even look back. Cable 'missed' the PVR revolution then tried to co-op it. Too late. They should have been ALL over making Tivo and others like it almost stupid easy to do. Instead they were trying to figure out how to monetize it. Instead of making their service more compelling to keep (as they were raising prices) they made it less compelling and still raised prices. The one thing that made cable 'take off' in the late 80s early 90s was the cable ready TV. Then the companies fell back in love with the extra box for some reason (money). But it is costing them dearly.

      But here is the BEST bit here
      http://stopthecap.com/2010/04/27/ted-turner-slams-former-time-warner-ceo-for-google-is-a-bunch-of-bullsh-comment/ [stopthecap.com]

      When you have the dude who practically invented the cable franchise telling you your doing it wrong... that says a lot.

      So Cable dudes look out your customers are starting to notice you charge too much for too little these days. It was a 'good deal' 20 years ago. Not so much anymore.

  • Not if the ISPs/Content providers have anything to do with it. Remember net neutrality?

    Besides, you can expect the commercials to follow you regardless of how you get the content.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RLiegh (247921)

      Actually, you'll have the cable/telecoms companies become the only providers of Internet, legislate away p2p (see the ruling earlier today "unmasking" file-sharers), strangle services such as netflix, cut the selection of available shows and then push even MORE INTRUSIVE advertising down our throats.

      IOW, I don't see any great, worth-while trade offs here, especially since the only decent broadband provider I have access to is my local cable company. They get their cut either way (and I get ads and shit tv s

  • by Aldenissin (976329) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @12:28PM (#32057232)

    Sure, I miss not getting shows that friends talk about at work, but I have other ways. And with Hulu and Netflix, I rely on those other ways less and less, if at all. I want to pay for my content, but not everyone else's. Watching the fiasco's with Disney and ESPN (among others over the years), I was glad that I wasn't involved and getting suckered.

      For me, it began over watching the Discovery Science channel. It was channel 101 and suddenly just out of my lineup range. I had been trying to explain to my father (who lived with me) science concepts, as he was opening up more and showing interest. The TV shows's imagery and hosts could often explain things better than I could, and I might learn something new as well. My free trial was over, and so I called Adelphia (now Comcast) up. They said that not only would I have to forsake my special rate of something like $35 for the next 6 months (I think I had it for a year total) I would have to pay for digital cable and also the first additional digital package. So, for 1 channel they wanted me to almost triple my bill to $95. My next words were, "Cut it off."

      Unfortunately I still am dealing with them over Internet service, but maybe in time things will get better.

    • Unfortunately I still am dealing with them over Internet service, but maybe in time things will get better.
      That is I meant to say that in time perhaps my other options will get better.

    • by Nerdfest (867930) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @12:39PM (#32057334)
      The way the networks are run I'd swear that they _want_ people to download shows instead of using their services. A typical show seems to run for 2 weeks, then be interrupted for some special event. Then, they'll show another episode, and then quietly move it to another time slot. Then, they'll show another 2 episodes, and then 2 weeks on re-runs. Then time for a 3 month break for the holidays. When they come back after that, the show will be offset 5 minutes because of "Dancing with the Frikkin' Stars" and I miss the end because they've lied to my PVR about the start and end times. Seriously guys, you're driving people to download the damn shows.
      • by kimvette (919543)

        That's the problem with good shows where continuity is important and functional neurons are required to enjoy the show - especially on Fox. This is even more true of shows that cost a bit more to produce (Arrested Development, Firefly, Futurama, Family Guy, etc.) Networks like lowest-common-denominator shows, and unfortunately, People Magazine-styled "reality"[sic] shows because they are cheap to produce. When a show costs a lot to produce and is a concept that wins over a programming director's idea, they

  • OTA and net (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Beaker74 (453388)

    We watch what we want OTA from the networks, and with the help of an OTA DVR (DTVPal DVR) we "tape" what we can, and use Hulu for the rest.

  • by Dr. Spork (142693) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @12:29PM (#32057242)
    If you live in a city and invest in a decent antenna, you will get enough HDTV programming to cover your typical urge to just be a couch vegetable for a while. The internet and Netflix is a great supplement to this, leaving you with more to watch than ever before.
    • by tepples (727027) <tepples AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday May 01, 2010 @12:43PM (#32057360) Homepage Journal
      But then how do you get that Internet access? If you cut your cable, you can't easily get cable Internet, and if you switch to a cell phone, you can't easily get DSL. Well, you can, but they charge you a "line fee" equal to the price of limited basic TV or basic telephone service. Nor can you get a video-grade Internet connection over the air. And if you try to get your Internet access by tethering your PC to your cell phone, the 5 GB per month cap will ensure that the only Netflix service you get is DVDs by mail, not Watch Instantly.
      • by spxero (782496) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @03:19PM (#32058648) Journal
        Well, you can, but they charge you a "line fee" equal to the price of limited basic TV or basic telephone service.

        False. Maybe that was true in 2003, but I currently have dry loop (or naked, if you prefer) DSL. $30 for 3Mbit, $40 for 6Mbit (a little pricey, but 10Mbit cable starts at $60), and no "line charge" or telephone-equivalent fee. And it's from the evil AT&T no less. Call 'em up, and as a bonus, try to get them to say "naked DSL" on the call.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by King_TJ (85913)

      Well, yes and no. When things first moved to HD, I was excited by this proposition myself. (Hey, for the one time cost of putting up a decent antenna on my roof, I can watch hi-def broadcasts, AND receive a bunch of new stations to boot, because the networks tend to put additional programming on sub-carrier channels like 9.2, 9.3, etc.? Cool deal!)

      In reality, it didn't work out that well. For starters, without an antenna rotator (and those motorized contraptions break down every few years too!), it's no

  • Sat and cable are too expensive, and I don't watch much anyway. Maybe someday I'll get a Slingbox or similar so I can do video-on-demand, but it's not a priority.

  • by RobertM1968 (951074) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @12:30PM (#32057250) Homepage Journal

    "It looks like people are finally getting sick of overpriced, ad-infested cable and satellite TV. I had predicted that by 2005 we would mostly be using the net for video — seems like I was a few years off. From the article: 'A cutting-the-cord trend has been the subject of speculation for some time, as networks have increasingly made television programming available for free on the Internet.

    So... why would I (or numerous others in similar situations) do this when we can get high speed Internet for $30 a month IF we spend another $30 on cable?

    So, honestly, I could drop cable (and thus Internet) and then spend more than $60 a month to get Internet (of a similar speed) from someplace else? See why this article doesnt make sense? Nowadays with the cable/Internet bundling prices, people would simply revert to basic cable (ie: no HBO, SHO, etc) and keep their cheap-yet-decent-speed Internet.

    After all, without that decent/high speed Internet connection, one cannot watch "online TV" - and for many that means keeping cable as well (and for a growing number, it means keeping Verizon's equivalent or paying a lot more for just Internet).

    Now, as far as satellite goes... sure... I could see a bunch dropping that. My brother got satellite for a while... but it meant he had to pay extra to get Internet from someplace else, so, even though satellite at least offered more channels and somewhat better quality on a bunch, overall it wasnt worth it when getting a comparable Internet connection to the previous cable one (28Mb/7Mb) would cost quite a bunch. So, out went the satellite, back in went the cable.

    • I dropped the Cable/Internet package from Comcast for $120 / month (basic cable w/ internet) for $40 / month DSL.

  • I know we are looking at cutting back the channels a bit. We wouldn't get rid of our dish entirely but do we really need HGTV and MTV? Going with the basic channels will save us $30/month approximately. Anything I miss I can probably find online somewhere if I really want it.
  • I sold my remaining TV about 5 years ago when I realized I had not even turned it on for many months. I don't miss it at all.
    Anything worth watching is on the internet.

    • If it's an SDTV, I understand why you got rid of it. But if it's an HDTV, keep it: you can connect your PC's VGA out to the TV's VGA in or the PC's DVI out to the TV's HDMI in. This gives you a PC monitor that you and your friends can comfortably fit around.
      • by LBt1st (709520)

        It's good info but doesn't apply to me. I've already got a high quality monitor. And for movies/guests, I've got a projector connected to a 2nd video card. Computer monitors tend to have a better display then TV's. But I'd take an HDTV over a CRT monitor or something.

  • There are a few programs I like that are only on cable/sat: some of Comedy Central, Sy-Fy, History, and Discovery. I see those episodes on torrent sites the day after showing up on sat, but I pay for what I watch, so I keep my Dish. The problem is the 80% crap most people don't care about that is bundled with even the basic packages.

    Ala carte channels would fix this, but that won't happen. Maybe individual program downloads if appropriately priced (say 25 cents for a Daily Show, or 50 cents for an episode o

    • But I suspect the pricing will be more like $1 for an episode of the Daily Show *with* commercials

      I watch the Daily Show online, it's theoretically on the comedy central website, but being on the wrong side of a border, I watch it on the crummy site of the local media-bullshit company. Their site sucks, I hate them, I hope their business will fail, but I can watch the show on their site, for now... when it's uloadded and working (which is about 85% of the time).

  • can't wean the wife and kids off the tube, but by the time we empty nest we'll be gone. Personally I watch only one show, never catch it live because the timeslot is inconvenient to my work schedule, so I have watched every episode online. I might miss live sports but I don't watch regular season games unless my teams are contenders. I'm betting that by the time I cut the cable, most pro sports will be available live with ads like tv episodes. Heads up to advertisers: I'm more likely to watch your ads whe
  • by jameson (54982)

    I pretty much stopped watching TV in 2002, when I moved to the US. Not only were the ads unbearable, but the shows I cared about were never on at the time I wanted to watch them.

    At this point, I use various online services (sadly reliant on Flash) to watch the shows I want to watch. Unfortunately, many of them still contain ads-- I'd happily pay the providers to not interrupt their shows with that nonsense. Alas, certain shows (such as the new Doctor Who series) are not accessible in that fashion, so I w

  • by Weezul (52464)

    Are there any good TV shows? I've watched some Lost episodes when a hawt girl said she loved it, but mostly it's just an incremental improvement over that perpetual mystery garbage the X-Files popularized.

    I'd say the last good TV show I saw was B5, although Buffy was alright if you skipped al the crap episodes. I'm sure there must be good one season shows like Earth 2 and American Gothic, but I've not noticed them.

    I've mostly watched movies on the internet since I've been living in countries like German

  • Actually several lessons, none of which are likely to be learned. But the one I was thinking of is that you can't just rest on your laurels. The boom in cable took place in the 70s and 80s, and all the cable companies thought once they got the cable installed they would have a monopoly and wouldn't have to work again. The satellite companies rained on their parade, but the fact was they had that wire into everyone's house, and they didn't have to do very much to make money. Several times there were idea

  • Screw TV (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bsDaemon (87307) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @12:46PM (#32057402)

    At the risk of being "That Guy" [theonion.com], I don't have a TV and I don't really have any plans of getting one. My old roommate just moved out, and the cable was in his name. I just ordered service (currently, I'm leaching Wifi... sucks), which despite the fact I have gear and am already wired, apparently they have to send someone to me or some crap. Point is, despite the fact they really wanted to bundle me TV and digital phone service (I have a cell phone, why do I need a 'land line', especially if it'll go down if the power is out?), I had no reason to bite.

    I think that as younger generations come up and are the ones making these types of purchasing decisions, it's going to be more and more common to just "do without" "old people" entertainment. The few things I want on cable, I can get on Hulu, or on southparkstudios.com the day after the episode was on TV. I use the internet to keep in touch with my friends that don't live near by, group coordinate stuff with those who do, get my the news that I don't get off of NPR in the car, obtain my software updates, work on personal projects, and sometimes work from home. I don't really need TV and I don't want it. Hell, I think if my parents' generation realized that they can get the weather on the internet without having to weight until "the eights", they'd probably ditch cable, too.

    Of course, that means that the service providers aren't going to let "network neutrality" ever happen, aren't going to stop doing stuff like DNS hijacking if they can get away with it, and advertisers are going to continue polluting the tubes. Why? 'Cause they have to make up the revenue somehow, and if we're not watching TV, they'll move to where we are.

  • I live overseas so I'm out of the loop on this whole thing. I was shocked to see my mom's Comcast bill the last time I was home - $149 + taxes and fees. Every month! Sure, she gets a lot of channels and internet, but still.

    As an aside, as someone who "doesn't watch TV" (and yet I don't shout it from the rooftops every chance I get) I always look forward to coming back to America, cracking open a beer, settling into an easy chair, and getting reacquainted with an old friend called "Television". I have

  • I think everyone here has his small old Linux home server running somewhere.
    So you can implement the following setup:
    1. eztv.it has a feature to generate a RSS feed with torrents out of any TV show.
    2. mldonkey is a headless edonkey/bittorrent/kad/overnet/etc client that can take rss feeds.
    3. You need a small script, run via cron, to check for new entries in the feed, and add them to mldonkey. (The feature to integrate it is planned, but they need developers.)
    4. mldonkey downloads the files, even while your

  • by sesshomaru (173381) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @12:51PM (#32057444) Journal

    Now, I'm a person who loves good TV. However, cable has never made sense for me, because I don't watch TV on a schedule. Even back when Firefly was on, if my girlfriend had amorous activities in mind, I would regretfully have to catch up on the missed episode later.

    Up until recently, I was combining broadcast TV (I watched a lot of syndicated TV like the Simpsons and various sitcoms) with DVDs and the Internet. Then the government helpfully killed my TV, the digital box I bought (in part with YOUR TAX DOLLARS) never really worked well enough for me to use it. Currently, the only channel my TV picks up is the Nintendo Channel (my Xbox 360 is hooked to a computer monitor).

    The only show I really make it a point to catch these days is Breaking Bad which I'm subscribed to through Amazon's Unbox (normally I'd wait for the DVD, but someone at work will spoil the episode for me if I don't watch it the morning after it airs.). By the way, I'm aware of the negatives of Amazon's Unbox service, but it works for my narrow use.

    Now, of course, this is not to say I've never mooched off of anyone's cable, as my parents can attest, but since I've been moved out I've never gotten cable or satellite in my home.

    Why would I when I can watch just about anything I want to whenever I want to on the Internet? I'm serious, it's rare I can't find somewhere to watch something online nowadays.

  • by KalvinB (205500) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @12:54PM (#32057466) Homepage

    People are cutting out non-essentials so they can get out of debt or simply be financially secure. An extra $71 on a $150K mortgage will cut years off the time it takes to pay it back and save thousands of dollars.

    If we didn't get cable forced on us through our HOA (at $8 a month, a steal) we wouldn't have it. We have NetFlix and the internet for watching movies and shows. We're getting rid of our landline to save $25 a month that we don't need to be spending. We have MagicJack, Tracfones and a company provided cell-phone.

    All the money we're saving is being snowballed onto debts which are quickly disappearing. Once we're out of debt then we can decide which luxuries we'd like to have.

  • My family dropped cable TV service a couple of weeks ago. We're probably not typical, though. We never had cable TV until our kids got to be about 9 and 12, and then they said they really wanted it, so we got it. It was a novelty at first, but then they lost interest. Since we weren't watching more than an hour a month, we decided there was no need to keep paying the bill. I think flash games and internet chat take the place of TV for them. Rising prices were a contributing factor, but we probably would hav
  • We haven't had cable in our house for 10+ years now. The local cable company, Charter, is really expensive and doesn't offer internet service. Our telco, CenturyTel, offers the only available internet (10Mbit DSL) but their TV offering is a partnership with Dish Network and that's a deal breaker.

    Recently we found out we could watch NetFlix through our Wii for $9/month. We can watch a lot of the BBC programming we love and a ton of movies. The user has control over what and when they watch programming.

  • As soon as the Boxee Box comes out and I get some feedback on how the NHL center Ice package ($80/year) looks over a decent connection, I am dumping everything else.
  • and I associate TVs, cable and the like with the likes of Betamax, System 5, and floppy disks. Haven't owned or had easy access to a television since I went off to college when I was 18.

  • One In Eight To Cut Cable and Satellite TV In 2010

    I currently have AT&T U-Verse (having had Dish Network ... awesome service but I can't get it where I am now) and Comcast (blecch!) My current bill (not counting taxes, fees, etc.) is about $160/month. I dropped all the stupid movie channels (there's a vast wasteland for you) and went down to the mid-level tier on Internet speed (12 mbit/sec). I have one phone line, and two cable boxes (one is AT&T's DVR) and I pay the extra ten bucks for the high-definition channels (now that's a rip, so far as I'm

  • I like directv, but I find that I am watching less and less of it. So much is crap.

    Here's what I want...Pay per view video on demand.

    Let me explain further.

    Pay per view must be cheap enough that I don't really need to think about it too much...say 25 cents per show..

    Absolutely no commercials!..Not even one!

    Content should include every show that has ever been produced in the history of video, with good indexing and search

    Yeah...I know it's a fantasy...but it would be cool

    And no, I don't want t

  • And have probably saved $2000 in after-tax income. I stream hockey from web-sites, or over-the-air, and torrent the few shows we watch. We have a popcorn hour media tank for playing content on the tv, both high-def and standard dev.

  • Every hi-speed internet outfit that isn't hella expensive around here requires you to order the TV portion as well, otherwise they charge you substantially more. So, I ordered tv and internet, and cancelled tv 31 days later. Doing so made my internet connection cheaper per month (with no promotional period), and made the installation free. I would have otherwise had to pay $250 for installation. I point-blank told the person I was going to cancel the tv service after a month and a day, and could they pl

  • I'll join the parade... gave up DirecTV years ago and never looked back. I can find just about all the shows I want to watch on the Internet for free, not to mention a ton of non-US stuff that would *never* get to see on cable or satellite. Every once in awhile I miss being able to sit down and channel surf when I'm bored, but it ain't worth $75 a month. And really, even if I had cable how many channels would I watch outside of the networks? 3? Maybe 4? And of those it's usually for 1 or 2 shows each. It's
  • Comcast here in central Pa has just swapped over to all digital, so the basic package went from the 8 local channels and another 20+ bleed-overs I could see for free to just the locals. So.. $10 for basic and $40 for InnnerTubes, or cough up another $60+ for extended basic and a box? Nah... I've got Hulu, etc if I really want to see something.

    Ok -- I'll miss MythBusters.. just have to wait for the streams..
  • Not only that, but with all the amount of shows on DVD, I just have a PC connected to my TV, I rip all my shows to that, and use it like a jukebox. It's worth it to be one or two seasons behind what's on TV, since I don't have to watch any commercials, there are no bugs at the bottom corner and no slide-in ads, I don't have to worry about DVRs because I can pause it, and I can choose what to watch when I want. For everything else, there's PBS. Plus, I can easily transcode any of the videos on that TV PC
  • I was a subscriber to basic but they kept moving channels I watched to digital-only, meaning I needed to rent a box to watch them. Then when they kept replacing those, now, empty channels with shopping, religious and spanish-language stations I dropped it. All the content I wanted is available OTA or on the net so, I'm missing nothing. I'm certainly not missing the monthly bill.
    If they offered digital tuners for free or, even better, had ala carte plans, I'd come back. It'll never happen though.

  • I haven't read the article fully, but the poll involved asking people what they plan to do. But most people will put off that phone call, or once on it, will be talked out of canceling by the crafty cable salesperson.

    And if 1 out of 8 are downgrading, how many are upgrading? If more than 1 out of 8 are, then the cable companies' business is going up.

  • My roomie keeps threatening to reduce expenses by killing the cable TV.
    Sometimes I think it annoys him when I reply with, "Fine by me.".
    After all, I may have the TV on, but I watch almost none of it, certainly nothing I can't get from the internet, especially the stuff from other countries.
  • by ZorinLynx (31751) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @01:43PM (#32057928) Homepage

    For the cost of cable or satellite for a year ($70 * 12) = $840, you can afford to buy season sets of about ten series, assuming $80 per set, which is a high assumption; season sets frequently sell for a lot less.

    And you get to keep it afterwards, and the quality is better than what you get on TV and without commercials.

    So yeah, I canceled cable and haven't looked back. If you're willing to bend the law you can also get torrents if you want instant gratification. What the heck is the point of cable/satellite, unless you like sports?

    I'm sure many fellow geeks who couldn't care less about sports feel the same way.

  • by NoPantsJim (1149003) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @01:44PM (#32057936) Homepage
    I am sure the various telcos are acutely aware of this trend, and have plans in place to cover their bottom line. When subscription numbers drop drastically, be on the lookout for internet connectivity prices to skyrocket. I sincerely doubt they'll go quietly into the night as half their business fades away while the other half makes the same money as before. Remember, they have the monopoly, they can do it.
  • by zogger (617870) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @01:59PM (#32058048) Homepage Journal

    Mr. Fancy pants rich fatcat insensitive clod with his high speed connection! A lot of us use FREE over the air TV signals. Works great, and since the digital changeover, we get a lot more stations.

    I have been watching TV since we were the first family on the block to have a television. Yes, that long ago, and I will never pay anything more for it then my eyeballs looking at it, and I learned to ignore commercials decades ago, they don't even register anymore. Of course I don't watch that much either, but we have it, the same old 19 inch color CRT we have had for years and years that I paid 50 bucks for and "upgraded" with my socialist TV digital perverter box. That's all TV is worth to me.

    You want to know why I won't pay for TV? Because I can remember going to the county board meeting long ago when those cable TV doofuses promised that if you paid for it, no commercials. Freaking liars. Once they got their monopolies, back to commercials. Screw 'em. had cable for a short time back then, then dropped it when they showed they were liars, never again. I boycott companies when they are dinks or liars, same as I started boycotting (new, I will snag heavily discounted used) the **AA members over priced DRM infested "products" once it was obvious they were never going to offer fair prices or stop being cartel jerks. Despite going through several alleged Federal "busts", they never stopped being jerks.

    As to watching "internet TV" ain't happening outside of the dense/urban (mostly, I know there are some exceptions)low hanging fruit areas served with high speed connections. If you are stuck on low speed or dialup, forget it, even youtube won't stream easily.

  • Sports (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kadoo (822109) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @02:18PM (#32058212)
    Sports is the biggest thing that has kept me subscribing. Most TV programs are available for download in some form. Sports is something you generally want to watch live. More content is being moved online but it often is very restrictive, blacked-out and expensive. Then again nerds don't watch sports do we?
  • by vorpal22 (114901) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @02:54PM (#32058468) Homepage Journal

    I ditched cable in 2005 in lieu of downloading shows, and it was one of the best things I've ever done with respect to my entertainment time and money. I simply Bittorrent all the new shows that I watch, which is incredibly convenient, because it allows me to watch them, commercial free, when I want to (instead of when the networks dictate that I should watch them), and I can also save them permanently by collecting a season at a time and then burning them to DVD.

    Furthermore, it makes me use my entertainment time more judiciously. There's none of that bad habit of plopping down on the couch in front of the TV and spending an unsatisfying three hours watching whatever happens to be on, much of which is crap or reruns. Now I have a directory full of new episodes of shows (or backlogs of old seasons of shows I intend to watch), and I simply pick one and watch it. Unless I specifically choose otherwise, my entertainment is always new, fresh, deliberate, and uninterrupted by advertising.

    I do disagree with the people who say that TV content sucks these days. A few years ago, when reality TV became the norm rather than the exception, I would certainly have agreed wholeheartedly. Nowadays, though, many great shows are being released, and although I hate to admit that I'm a TV junkie, right now I have a list of about 50 shows that I watch each year, and while some of them are simply mediocre, there are some really great programs on that list with exceptionally creative writing and acting. IMO, 2009-2010 has been an extraordinary year for television.

  • TV is bad for you. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by znerk (1162519) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @03:13PM (#32058612)

    I haven't owned a television in years, never mind cable TV service. My cable bill is ~$80/month for internet-only, but that's beside the point. According to a calorie burn calculator I just checked, a 180 pound human will burn approximately 81-86 calories per hour while watching TV. The same amount of time spent sleeping (depending on which calculator you use) will burn 96-155 calories.

    When you are watching TV, your brain turns off.

  • by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Saturday May 01, 2010 @04:45PM (#32059234) Homepage

    I was TV-less for a long time, technically I still am, but the various women in my life were all TV junkies. Our cable bill is rather obscene (by my standards at least), but the wife can't live without her Survivor/Lost/Heroes/WB. We have an "everything" package, because they bundle things in such predatory fashion that she can't trim off the fat without losing some essential channel.

    This isn't to say I don't watch shows, but I can count them on one hand and it's trivial to find them online. Would I pay for these shows a-la carte ? Sure! Price them a buck per episode, yank out all the ads and I'm there... but I don't see that happening in this universe.

    Even when there's a show I want to see with the wife, I prefer to download it without commercials, rather than tune in at a specific time, or time-shift with the PVR. For one, the interruptions annoy me, and frankly I can find better things to do with the 18 minutes they waste for every hour. I also don't give a flying fuck about the latest tampon marketing buzzword or the local "news" about some ginger kid curing a 3-legged puppy of canceraids.

    Let me put it this way: if the wife ever leaves me, or drops dead, I will suddenly have $200 more to blow on hookers and booze. Hmmm... tempting!

  • by kwandar (733439) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @06:37PM (#32059812)

    .. and couldn't be happier.

    It wasn't so much that we switched to internet (we did somewhat for my wife's foreign language programs) but a value for money proposition. We were getting close to zero value (unless you count our daughter's watching Treehouse or whatever it was .... and that was becoming a problem).

    We have been better off financially without Rogers, and our daughter gets 2 movie nights a week and she is FAR better behaved/attentive/learning enabled without television. We're a few years behind (starting on Madmen now) but there are definite advantages to that. We don't waste time on crap,or ads.

  • Since 2001 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Protoslo (752870) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:02PM (#32060538)
    I haven't had cable since 2001, except for a brief period (with digital cable, new & shiny) in 2004. DVRs still weren't quite the thing in 2004, though, so in general I discovered that there was (still) nothing on, even for $75/mo. I mostly watched Stargate SG-1 reruns on the SciFi channel. Making any sort of "syfy" golden age argument, however, would be a serious mistake: in those days Stargate reruns were just the leader for...Crossing Over with John Edwards. Oh, an CSPAN. It's all over the internet and satellite radio now, though it is, problematically, still financially supported by cable companies.

    Today, it is perfectly possible to do the same thing I have been doing since 2001, without even breaking copyright law (well, mostly). For example, recently I (finally) watched all 17 episodes of the classic (1967) "The Prisoner." For some reason AMC won't put it on Hulu (though there is a link), and instead makes us watch it in their crappy player with inserts one 30-second Google video ad at the beginning, one around eight minutes, and one whenever you pause it and then maximize or minimize (and if the moon in in the house of Jupiter...). Further...there was only one ad available. That's right, I watched the exact same fucking 30-second content-less Siemens ad roughly 50 times...in a row. They don't even have consumer products. "Imagine an America..." in which I don't fucking want to murder every person in Siemens advertising agency and everyone who was involved in this technical clusterfuck at AMC or Google ads!

    Now that I am calming down, I will say that AMC's decision to maintain "control" of their video appears a bit counterproductive from a commercial standpoint. This model is still...immature. Since it was The Prisoner, the mindfuck, irrational aspect of showing me the same meaningless ad until I was losing my sanity was actually oddly appropriate, though. It's a pity the parallel wasn't intentional. Still, we have reason to hope. If AMC can somehow make money that way, just think of how much they will rake in with a less Kafka-esque profit model. For a similar experience, I recommend reading the C.S. Forester's excellent novel "The Good Shepherd" in one sitting, after remaining awake for thirty-six hours. Whoa.

    Some day...there might be some sort of...market...where better shows are rewarded, and awful shows are canceled. Instead of "ratings" there will be "revenue." An unlikely-sounding dream, I know, to say nothing of the dangerous meaning of "better." If people will now spend less on TV, something may have to give, but I doubt it will be anything that we will actually miss. Besides, the internet offers the added value of targeted advertising and accurate (by TV standards) metrics. There is obviously enough demand for what AMC and HBO (and Showtime, and FX, and even...ESPN) are producing (since people pay extra for HBO & Showtime & certain ESPN already), just like the book market has room for John Barth and Gene Wolfe at the same time as Dan Brown and Stephenie Meyer without the (TV-esque) need to generate sales for Barth and Wolfe by bundling them with vampire-romance-thrillers. There's even room for John Irving to sell the same novel fifteen times, so maybe sitcoms will survive...de gustibus non est disputandum?

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