Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Television

400,000 American Homes Have Dumped Pay TV This Year 333

Posted by samzenpus
from the to-the-internet dept.
redkemper writes "More than 400,000 American homes have cut the cord and ditched their cable and satellite pay-TV services since the start of 2012. The figure includes 169,000 subscribers shed by Time Warner Cable last quarter, marking the service provider's tenth consecutive quarter of customer losses. It also includes the 52,000 net subscribers DirecTV lost this past quarter, and 176,000 customers who left Comcast."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

400,000 American Homes Have Dumped Pay TV This Year

Comments Filter:
  • I did... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 02, 2012 @06:10PM (#40861905)

    ...and I haven't regretted 1 minute of it.

    • Re:I did... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 02, 2012 @06:17PM (#40861975)

      same here, cut my consumption of crap tv at the same time great bonus.

      • Re:I did... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by UPZ (947916) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @06:34PM (#40862171)

        same here, cut my consumption of crap tv at the same time great bonus.

        Likewise here. It feels like the quality of my life has improved. Now that I am no longer bombarded with commercials I don't have the desire anymore to buy things ( unless I really need it).

        • Re:I did... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by TWX (665546) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @06:54PM (#40862393)
          I was coming home and watching 4+ hours of CSI every evening. It was easy to veg out to. It was mildly interesting, mildly entertaining, and required minimal thought or engagement to pay attention to. I also watched The History Channel, The Discovery Channel, and the various movie channels like TCM and AMC.

          One day I realized I was neglecting my wife, my hobbies, my chores around the house, etc. We got rid of pay cable when Turner Classic Movies was taken off of extended analog and put on to digital, which was one of the few networks that we actually cared to specifically watch.

          We went without pay TV for years, and bought our DTV decoder boxes like everyone else, and I rediscovered many of the actually good vintage shows on RTN and Me and other networks. Just recently I started playing with XBMC, and I wholly recommend it. I threw together a junk PC from parts laying around and hooked it into the component inputs on our widescreen HD tube TV, and now we can watch hundreds of "channels" worth of free content from PBS, several cable networks, Vimeo, Youtube, and lots and lots of other sources. They seem to be without commercials too.

          Now we can watch what we want, when we want, and can pursue our hobbies without having to interrupt just to watch a stupid TV show.
          • Re:I did... (Score:4, Informative)

            by cpu6502 (1960974) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @08:44PM (#40863345)

            I saved about $10,000 over the last decade by not having cable TV. You probably have similar savings amounts.

            Of course even with "just" an antenna I sill end-up watching more TV then I probably should: Perry Mason, Alfred Hitchcock, Dragnet...... plus hulu's free shows (like Syfy). My schedule is booked even w/o the comcast cable in my home.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          same here, cut my consumption of crap tv at the same time great bonus.

          Likewise here. It feels like the quality of my life has improved. Now that I am no longer bombarded with commercials I don't have the desire anymore to buy things ( unless I really need it).

          So you're impulsive, undisciplined, and display follow-the-leader (sometimes derisively called "sheeplike") characteristics?

          Advertising can't work otherwise. That's why these master manipulators use beautiful women and cute children and fuzzy kittens in their propaganda, because getting an emotional response bypasses rational thought. That's where not being impulsive comes into play. They love to get you to buy things you don't really need by making you think you might need them, that's where discipli

          • by doston (2372830)

            same here, cut my consumption of crap tv at the same time great bonus.

            Likewise here. It feels like the quality of my life has improved. Now that I am no longer bombarded with commercials I don't have the desire anymore to buy things ( unless I really need it).

            So you're impulsive, undisciplined, and display follow-the-leader (sometimes derisively called "sheeplike") characteristics? Advertising can't work otherwise. That's why these master manipulators use beautiful women and cute children and fuzzy kittens in their propaganda, because getting an emotional response bypasses rational thought. That's where not being impulsive comes into play. They love to get you to buy things you don't really need by making you think you might need them, that's where discipline kicks in. They want your purchase to be their idea and not your own evaluation of your wants, needs, and budget, which is why being an individual is so important. I guess that sounds negative but the purpose of explaining this to you is so you can see just how ruthless and devious these people in marketing really are. These traits are not really your fault. The school system and the media and the government all find them useful to varying degrees and they all encourage these character defects. Becoming your own man or your own woman in a meaningful way that makes you resistant to manipulation/propaganda is difficult because at first the deck is stacked against you, but it is more than worthwhile. The other problem a lot of people have is that they're prideful and easily offended so they don't take criticism well, preferring to get mad at me for trying to tell them something like this rather than being grateful someone is actually telling them how it is. If that kind of outrage is so valuable to you that you'd rather continue to be impulsive, undisciplined, and easily led, well, that would be your option, but I hope you can do better than that. As you see I feel no need to sugarcoat everything to make it easier to hear because that's exactly the sort of thing a manipulator does so that'd be rather hypocritical of me.

            To quote "How To Get Ahead in Advertising"'s John Bristol's commentary about the PR industry "If you breathe, it works on you". I think you're underestimating the PR industry's ability to get under the skin of even the least indoctrinated and well informed. Do you understand that with which you'd tinker? I'm gonna digress here...a lot, but whatever. Companies spend billions every year on PR and they're not just roping in the "sheeple". Read the Robb Report lately? Even the most educated and least indo

      • Re:I did... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by fm6 (162816) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @08:13PM (#40863075) Homepage Journal

        This is actually why I don't have cable. I cut it off about 8 years ago because I was broke and couldn't afford it. Later, when I could afford it, I realized I was glad not to have a firehose of crap emptying into my living room. So I never hooked up again.

    • Re:I did... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fiannaFailMan (702447) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @06:24PM (#40862065) Journal

      Me neither. I gave it up years ago and found better things to do with my time.

      If supermarkets worked like Cable TV you'd have your cereal sealed into the same container as hamburgers, frozen peas, a pound of apples, two candy bars, six loaves of bread, and you'd be forced to buy the whole container even if the only thing you wanted was that one brand of cereal.

      • Re:I did... (Score:5, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 02, 2012 @06:38PM (#40862207)

        Good analogy, but you don't take it far enough. In reality it's more like:

        "Cereal, hamburgers, frozen peas, bread, tampax, a sears catalog, a bible, a box of adult diapers, a carton of, and a bag of that peanut taffy halloween candy that NOBODY likes" - And you pledge to buy one every month for two years, after which the price goes up unless you sign a new pledge.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      ...and I haven't regretted 1 minute of it.

      I think about getting TV, but only for one purpose - to follow world football. Nothing else is of much interest to me on TV. My own set has been turned one once in the past 12 years. It still works. I just have not patience for the junk which is continually on. Anything worth watching I pick up later on DVD. Which isn't much, either. TV is overrated.

      Besides, I already have all the Monty Python DVDs, what else could I want? Ni!

  • Now if only the giants would see this as a reason to innovate and increase competition and lower costs. We haven't quite gotten there yet.

    • by preaction (1526109) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @06:22PM (#40862023)

      No, they'll see it as a reason to lobby the government to prop up their failing business model, just like every other business model disrupted by the Internet.

      • by evilviper (135110)

        They're already a government-granted monopolies... That's why they're one of 2, or perhaps the only options for high-speed Internet service in any given area. Can't prop them up much more than that!

        If too many people are dropping cable TV, the cable companies will just raise the prices on internet service, in the sneakiest ways possible. I know in my area, Verizon has introduced FIOS, eliminating DSL, and making the lowest-cost internet service from a mere $65/month... My local cable company is either i

        • by preaction (1526109) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @08:12PM (#40863065)

          Except they are not government-regulated, it is just prohibitively expensive for a competitor to run cable on the power company (a gov't regulated monopoly) poles. Which is why the Internet is so disruptive to these entrenched businesses.

          http://gizmodo.com/5830956/why-the-government-wont-protect-you-from-getting-screwed-by-your-cable-company [gizmodo.com] Apparently there used to be exclusivity but that was repealed. Probably in the guise of "de-regulation" that everyone is so fond of.

        • Personally, I don't see why people are so adversed to OTA HDTV. The vast majority of decent-quality original content is on the OTA broadcast networks, and with the switch to digital, the picture quality from an antenna is superior to any pay service.

          I think I have all of two OTA network shows on my regular viewing schedule. Everything else I watch is either from cable-only networks or the premium stations. For my money TNT, USA. FX, and A&E have far better programming than OTA. I honestly don't remember the last time I followed a show on ABC. And NBC has had only one show in the last several years I found interesting. I don't eschew OTA channels because they're OTA, I do it because their content is of little interest.

          I will grant you that the pictu

    • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @06:41PM (#40862245) Homepage

      Well many cable TV providers are fighting this trend by offering free service to people who want to leave. Why would they do this?

      Well, I can answer that by describing the reason why I get free bicycle magazines. I bought a bicycle a couple of years ago...a really nice one. With it, I was given a trial subscription to a cycling magazine. Nice, but not worth paying for... I would look at it if I had it, but wouldn't buy it. But that's why I got it for free. Initially, I started getting "your subscriiption is going to expire!" notices. Then I got "last issue!" notices. Then I got more magazines after that. But why? Well, the magazines are full of ads. And those ads are worthless if they can't show the advertisers they have subscribers.

      Now, let's look at cable TV... lots of ads... ads which are worthless if they don't have subscribers.

      • Re:Getting there... (Score:5, Informative)

        by LateArthurDent (1403947) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @08:03PM (#40862981)

        Nice, but not worth paying for... I would look at it if I had it, but wouldn't buy it. But that's why I got it for free. Initially, I started getting "your subscriiption is going to expire!" notices. Then I got "last issue!" notices. Then I got more magazines after that. But why? Well, the magazines are full of ads. And those ads are worthless if they can't show the advertisers they have subscribers.

        I'd double-check the credit / debit card you used to buy that bike. Years ago I bought something at Best Buy and the cashier said they were offering a free subscription of some magazine, and to just fill out the card with the address to send it to. I was just a stupid college student back then and filled out the card. After those "your subscription is about to expire" notices, I also kept getting the magazines. But they charged the same credit card I used to make the best buy purchase for the renewal, without any action on my part.

        I called and got them to refund my money, but it's easy to overlook a $20 purchase that happens once a year, so I'd check just to be sure.

      • Well many cable TV providers are fighting this trend by offering free service to people who want to leave.
        Now, let's look at cable TV... lots of ads... ads which are worthless if they don't have subscribers.

        I discontinued my cable TV from my bundle that included Phone & Internet. It was $60 less on the bill, but they never turned it off
        but Cable TV does not make a lot of money from TV commercials, yes they do insert some, but the originating Station makes most of the money from the ads.

  • by symbolset (646467) * on Thursday August 02, 2012 @06:11PM (#40861913) Journal
    So these numbers are about to get a whole lot worse [google.com].
  • Goodbye Pay TV (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 02, 2012 @06:11PM (#40861915)

    Usenet + SAB + Sickbeard = I'm satisfied

    • Re:Goodbye Pay TV (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rude Turnip (49495) <valuation.gmail@com> on Thursday August 02, 2012 @06:46PM (#40862303)

      If you're still partaking in TV programming, regardless of the means, you haven't said goodbye to it.

      • by geekmux (1040042)

        If you're still partaking in TV programming, regardless of the means, you haven't said goodbye to it.

        The one thing cable companies said goodbye to for certain was my revenue stream.

        Feel free to split all the hairs you want after that, doesn't matter to me.

    • by garcia (6573)

      As a grad student I get a discount for Amazon Prime ($39/year). With a $80 Roku and a $3.25/month payment I have access to a ton of TV on DVD content as well as movies. Even at $80/year ($6.67/month) it's a huge bargain over the fear of having my ISP cut off my connection for piracy--something as a husband, parent, and professional I don't care to do like I did in college.

      In our case we also have Netflix (the children's selection is better than Amazon) and for my wife, Hulu+ so she can watch her favorite cr

  • Much better view without their worthless wires overhead in my backyard.
    • Move into a newer suburb then. Cable, phone, and power are all buried in new subdivisions.
    • Much better view without their worthless wires overhead in my backyard.

      I thought that the resident paid for that wire in the installation, cant you take the wire down yourself and use it for the new antenna?

  • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @06:12PM (#40861933)

    ...but for some reason my cable/internet provider charges less for 10Mbps when it's also packaged with their basic cable than they do when it's by itself. So, I gladly accepted their $8/month credit to add basic cable, and I simply unplugged the cable from my TV as soon as the cable guy had left. Strange thing is, this isn't a special as part of signing up with a contract, since I have no contract with them.

    I really don't get how they do their accounting, and I'm beginning to think they don't either since they're losing so many customers.

    • by jfengel (409917)

      I'm in much the same position, though having paid for it I did take the trouble to plug it in for the Olympics. I find the commercials aggravating and the coverage as bad as it ever was, and I'll be unplugging it again as soon as the games are over.

    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday August 02, 2012 @06:22PM (#40862033) Homepage Journal

      I really don't get how they do their accounting, and I'm beginning to think they don't either since they're losing so many customers.

      If you have CATV then you are counted as a "viewer" for the purpose of selling advertising. Same reason magazines give out free subscriptions.

    • by erroneus (253617)

      It's all about the numbers... the sales numbers. They can't easily justify keeping certain operations in business if they can't show numbers.

      And see my other post (http://entertainment.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3022619&cid=40862245) about the value of ad revenue.

  • by ohnocitizen (1951674) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @06:12PM (#40861935)
    I really hope some of the companies out there (HBO especially, I needs my Game of Thrones fix) figure out other ways of getting money from customers. I wouldn't want to see the shows I like cut back or eliminated if the tv/cable networks go the way of newspapers. So, dear cable/tv companies: We have money, we want to support your art. Let's figure something out!
    • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @06:15PM (#40861965) Homepage Journal

      I really hope some of the companies out there (HBO especially, I needs my Game of Thrones fix) figure out other ways of getting money from customers. I wouldn't want to see the shows I like cut back or eliminated if the tv/cable networks go the way of newspapers. So, dear cable/tv companies: We have money, we want to support your art. Let's figure something out!

      I.e., don't be douche bags and try to tie your loyal fans into antiquated distribution methods that we, the consumers who drive the economy and thus are your bottom line, have repeatedly and soundly rebuffed.

      • Hate to break it to you, but to commercial TV you're not the customer.

        You're the product.

        • Not to HBO, which is at whom his jab is aimed, due to their choice to limit HBO's online streaming to current cable customers. They don't have commercials and collect all their revenue directly from their customers (and I guess content licensing onto other networks or media, whatever).

    • by tool462 (677306) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @06:19PM (#40861991)

      HBO Go and ESPN3 need to be made available to those of us who want their programming, but have no desire to pay for cable.
      If anybody from those companies is listening, hurry up and make it happen. You have a customer waiting who's desperate to give you money, but can't without giving 10x that amount to Cox/Comcast/DirectTV/etc.

      • I thought HBO is owned by Time-Warner so don't hold your breath about them decoupling HBO from cable. I'm in the same boat you are: would love to get/pay for HBO but not cable.

    • by Xiaran (836924)
      I don;t live in the US so don't even have an option for HBO... but there is the problem... Game of Thrones is broadcast on a channel here that has an agreement with HBO that they have the right to show Game of Thrones. I enjoy a lot of HBO programming and would happily pay for some kind of online subscription with them but they simply can;t offer that.
    • by Fishbulb (32296)

      So, dear cable/tv companies: We have money, we want to support your art.

      That's like complimenting the milkman on his diet because "his" milk is SO DELICIOUS.

      The artists make the art. The cable/tv companies only deliver it to you. The internet has made delivery trivial. Cut out the middle-men, pay the artists more.

    • by toejam13 (958243)

      Won't happen. HBO is part of Time-Warner. You know, the folks who own Time-Warner Cable. Better chance of Showtime doing it since it is owned by CBS.

    • by Zaelath (2588189)

      Simple solution:

      1. Charge the same money.
      2. Get rid of ads; who pays to watch ads?
      3. Produce an hour of quality television a day, no "reality TV".
      4. Repeat above hour 4 times a day, the other 5 hours in rotation are the shows from the previous hour a day that week
      5. Make your entire back catalog available to subscribers on demand.

      People who watch more than 6 hours a day are not anyone's target market, you don't need to "produce" 24 hours of content for 24 hour channels, or pay royalties on reruns from 10 ye

    • by steelfood (895457)

      Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way.

      HBO isn't going to piss off all of the cable companies by going behind them and distributing their shows a la carte. They do that and they lose a very strong negotiating position. Come contract negotiation time, the cable companies will demand a bigger cut of the subscription, or will even refuse carry HBO outright, or some such. Not to mention there are probably stipulations on the existing contracts about these things, e.g. content can only be delivered to HBO subsc

  • Oblig. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fiannaFailMan (702447) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @06:20PM (#40862007) Journal

    Edward George Ruddy died today! Edward George Ruddy was the Chairman of the Board of the Union Broadcasting Systems, and he died at eleven o'clock this morning of a heart condition, and woe is us! We're in a lot of trouble!

    So. A rich little man with white hair died. What has that got to do with the price of rice, right? And *why* is that woe to us? Because you people, and sixty-two million other Americans, are listening to me right now. Because less than three percent of you people read books! Because less than fifteen percent of you read newspapers! Because the only truth you know is what you get over this tube. Right now, there is a whole, an entire generation that never knew anything that didn't come out of this tube! This tube is the Gospel, the ultimate revelation. This tube can make or break presidents, popes, prime ministers... This tube is the most awesome God-damned force in the whole godless world, and woe is us if it ever falls in to the hands of the wrong people, and that's why woe is us that Edward George Ruddy died. Because this company is now in the hands of CCA - the Communication Corporation of America. There's a new Chairman of the Board, a man called Frank Hackett, sitting in Mr. Ruddy's office on the twentieth floor. And when the twelfth largest company in the world controls the most awesome God-damned propoganda force in the whole godless world, who knows what shit will be peddled for truth on this network?

    So, you listen to me. Listen to me: Television is not the truth! Television is a God-damned amusement park! Television is a circus, a carnival, a traveling troupe of acrobats, storytellers, dancers, singers, jugglers, side-show freaks, lion tamers, and football players. We're in the boredom-killing business! So if you want the truth... Go to God! Go to your gurus! Go to yourselves! Because that's the only place you're ever going to find any real truth.

    But, man, you're never going to get any truth from us. We'll tell you anything you want to hear; we lie like hell. We'll tell you that, uh, Kojak always gets the killer, or that nobody ever gets cancer at Archie Bunker's house, and no matter how much trouble the hero is in, don't worry, just look at your watch; at the end of the hour he's going to win. We'll tell you any shit you want to hear. We deal in *illusions*, man! None of it is true! But you people sit there, day after day, night after night, all ages, colors, creeds... We're all you know. You're beginning to believe the illusions we're spinning here. You're beginning to think that the tube is reality, and that your own lives are unreal. You do whatever the tube tells you! You dress like the tube, you eat like the tube, you raise your children like the tube, you even *think* like the tube! This is mass madness, you maniacs! In God's name, you people are the real thing! *WE* are the illusion! So turn off your television sets. Turn them off now. Turn them off right now. Turn them off and leave them off! Turn them off right in the middle of the sentence I'm speaking to you now! TURN THEM OFF...

  • Easiest habit I ever kicked.
  • by stox (131684) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @06:23PM (#40862051) Homepage

    Don't let the door knob get wedged up your ass on the way out.

    Sincerely,
    A Happy Ex-customer

  • by mallyn (136041)
    Folks:

    I unplugged 32 years ago.

    However, after watching a crew do the filming of a tv show here in Portland a while ago, I was shocked at how many people and how long to took to film tv shows. It takes several hours or even days to film what would be about a minute on tv.

    Those people are all paid union wages

    Those people are paid by advertisers and subscribers.

    So, I can foresee one of two things happening if enough pull the plug like I did.

    Either we will see worse shows (skimping on the costs of filming

    • Re:Irony (Score:4, Funny)

      by crakbone (860662) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @06:39PM (#40862213)
      Foresee? You obviously have not been anywhere near SYFY.
    • by Githaron (2462596)
      Either one of those would cause less people to watch TV. This would cause a feedback loop into a spiral of doom.
    • by bobbied (2522392)

      Either we will see worse shows (skimping on the costs of filming) or more commercials to make up the lose of subscriber revenue.

      We are already there. The quality of the programming is really getting bad with literally 300 channels but nothing to watch and when you do find something they stuff in as much advertising as they can. They put banner ads in their interactive TV screens and insist on playing commercials when you try to search their "on demand" offerings. It is getting really sad.

    • More commercials? We're already at the point where the commercials are occasionally interrupted by some kind of show.

  • by Kohath (38547) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @06:25PM (#40862091)
  • by BMOC (2478408) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @06:26PM (#40862101)

    ...interactive.

    Honestly, other than live sports broadcasts, paid TV is crap. HBO and Showtime have good shows they put out, but I don't need to see them first-air, and they don't play relatively-recent movie releases anymore on those channels.

    Cable Television used to be the best thing ever. It used to be you would see amazing amounts of programming that were simply unavailable through traditional networks. This content existed because the major networks had frankly rejected a lot of good ideas. Well those great ideas turned into formulas in a mature industry, formulas that are now followed without deviation. The Discovery channel used to pick up all the untouched NOVA ideas and it was awesome, now when I turn on the multitude of science/engineering channels I'm left to try to not punch my television into pieces because it's telling me that Egypt was built by aliens. The comedy channel used to be almost 24-hour-a-day stand up routines, which was fantastic, it changed from that a long time ago. Thankfully the cartoon network is still the lone shining beacon of basic cable that still provides true entertainment, but it's the only one at this point.

    Cable died because they got cheap, they went low-margin-formulaic on their content generation, and hence their content is essentially all crap.

  • by ilsaloving (1534307) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @06:34PM (#40862169)

    And nothing of value was lost.

  • by Nethemas the Great (909900) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @06:40PM (#40862223)
    Lt. Cmdr. Data:

    That particular form of entertainment did not last much beyond the year Two Thousand Forty.

  • Well, duh! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AnalogDiehard (199128) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @06:40PM (#40862227)
    Content providers keep adding more and more commercials to content, the content gets worse and worse, and they keep driving up subscription costs by demanding more $$$ from cable companies and demanding worthless channels to be bundled together.

    TW charges too much, keeps pushing their prime channels to higher priced tiers, and refuses to offer als carte programming to customers.

    Comcast is no better than TW, and to add salt to the wound they spy on their customers for the government and the MAFIAA.

    DirecTV has poor service, fails to deliver product, and screws customers for cancelling services [lawyersand...ements.com]. I had them for 4 weeks with the promise of internet service. No one installed the internet service. After being passed around DirecTV phone support for 90 minutes, I cancelled my service because they failed to deliver. And I STILL had to pay a $135 early termination fee, despite not signing any contractual agreement.

    The industry is getting greedy and corrupt, and consumers are tired of it. Very soon my parents will join the exodus.
  • Sports (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dohnut (189348) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @06:45PM (#40862301)

    If it weren't for sports I think that number would be at least 10x higher.

    There was a thread about "cutting the cord" on one of the AV forums recently and sports was the primary argument for sticking with cable. ESPN and its ilk are well aware of the clout they have. Networks like HBO have influence too, but if you can wait a year all of the shows worth watching on those networks are going to be out on DVD/Bluray/streaming.

    I ditched cable 5 years ago and I've had to make a few sacrifices. I used to be able to watch my local BigTen basketball and football games on network TV until the BigTen Network came along. Then ESPN took Monday Night Football. Yeah, NBC has Sunday Night Football, but there was something special about MNF. I just don't watch most those games now. I also don't get to see college football bowl games or march madness games unless I go out or to a friend's house. You do miss that a little but then you remember the 100 other things you could be doing with your time and life goes on.

    I do subscribe to a number of streaming services and my over the air selection is pretty decent. So, I really watch about the same amount of television that I did before I got rid of cable. I just pay a heck of a lot less now.

    Some retort, "Yeah, but you still have to pay for Internet access..." Like I wasn't going to do that anyway? Yes, of course, now there is no "bundle" deal. Fortunately I live in a town with multiple cable providers (yes, 2 different coax cables are run into my home) and DSL so Internet access is reasonable even without a cable TV package.

    I also didn't /have/ to buy extra equipment for watching streaming video on my TV. I use my PS3 which was not bought for streaming video but, rather, for playing games. Now it gets more use as a media player than a game console though. The only device I /did/ buy that I might not have needed to before was a Roku for the bedroom TV.

    If cable companies offered an a la carte subscription service I might actually sign up again, but I don't see that happening.

  • by cdrguru (88047) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @06:56PM (#40862401) Homepage

    Sure, cable TV packaging today involves both bundling up of channels as well as bundling of services.

    In part, there is a reason for this. I'm not going to address the bundling of channels as we already know why that is done and what the financial ramifications would be if they stopped doing it. Instead, a far less obvious factor here needs to be mentioned. Cable Internet generally doesn't pay for itself. What? You mean there is a service that is being provided at a loss? Well, not really. You see, it was assumed from about 1980 on that if you could get cable TV, you would have it. The folks way out in bumble that could not get it were of course envious of their closer-in friends but the logistics and economics of wiring rural communities made it impractical. It still is impractical in many places.

    So the pricing of cable Internet services was done for market-building reasons and for competitive reasons. The idea that someone would have Internet without Cable TV supporting the physical plant aspects of the connection was foreign to everyone. Nobody would do that. So cable Internet services were priced with the idea that the physical plant was supported by the TV service charge and the Internet could be priced really low to attract more customers - and bundling the services makes it even more attractive to just have all of them together.

    Now you have people dropping the cable TV portion of the service and just going with the Internet connection. Admittedly, 400,000 subscribers nationwide is a drop in the bucket and isn't going to really affect anything. Should this number expand we might see some real changes being forced upon us. Changes like:

    • Cable Internet prices doubling, at least. With a huge credit if you bundle it with cable TV service. Because one way or other, the physical plant has to be fed.
    • Some cable systems just dropping the Internet service completely because they can't be competitive with the $14.95 DSL service. If cable is $99 a month and you can get DSL for $15, who would do that, really?
    • Some really creative billing systems that are usage-based. The idea would be to make any sort of IPTV service extremely unattractive pushing the customer base back to broadcast TV.

    Now a lot of cable systems are going to be faced with capacity problems if more than a small fraction of their customers are trying to use IPTV streaming services. The systems were never designed for that kind of load and there is almost nothing that can be done without huge increases in bandwidth to the nodes that serve 500-1,000 homes at a time. Huge increases, like trying to deliver 10GB/sec. The other alternatives are replacing the entire cable infrastructure with fiber and eliminating the neighborhood node concept entirely. Both of these are extremely costly, so costly that it may seem foolish to embark on that course for any but the strongest players. Pushing back on IPTV delays that decision - because in many cases the decision will be to just turn it off.

    So as more and more people move away from broadcast TV to IPTV services we can expect to see cable systems hit very, very hard and reacting in some unexpected ways. While the Internet of 1995 was interesting and a low-cost service to be provided, today's connections are pretty pricy for the cable company without a lot of payback. Tomorrow's Internet connections are going to cost them a bloody fortune to supply and many may simply choose not to make that kind of investment.

    You can always get a T-1 connection anywhere in the US and probably anywhere in Canada.

  • 400,000 people cut the cord, but that doesn't count the 275,000 subscriber increase for Verizon and AT&T's TV offerings. Doesn't change the overall trend, but it is misleading to say that overall 400,000 people cut the cord when it's really "only" 125,000.

  • and I don't regret even one minute of it. Recently I saw a commercial on television at a friends place. The funny part about it was that I got the feeling I should know this guy, because he was presented in a way that suggested he needed no further introduction, but really, I had NO clue at all who that was. My friends were surprised that I didn't know him at all. I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything really.
    Would your life be incomplete without (for example) Jessica Simpson. Sorry Jessica. I hav

  • by Kazoo the Clown (644526) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @07:21PM (#40862623)
    Cable TV hit the market when I was a kid. There were two main selling points-- 1) more channels in rural markets than you could get over the air, and 2) NO ADS.

    What happened?

    READ MY LIPS-- subscription media companies, you have a choice. Either provide FREE content that is ad supported, OR paid content that is ad free. Period. There's no way I am going to pay you to spam me with ads. Your greed has no bounds, and it looks to be doing you in. I say good riddance. Other media sources have risen up to fill the vacuum you currently occupy in ad-free media.

    In the meantime, I will continue to rent or buy DVD content that is not interrupted by ads.
    • by roc97007 (608802)

      > In the meantime, I will continue to rent or buy DVD content that is not interrupted by ads.

      At least for now.

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @07:27PM (#40862671)
    The content proviers force the cable/satalite/phone companies to force packages on their customers. For example, if you want AMC... you have to get all of the channels that they force you to take along with it. AMC will not allow you to get AMC without also getting IFC, WE tv, Sundance Channel, and IFC Films. Why do they force these companies to carry these other channels? Becuase the content on those channels is very very cheap... But they are full of commercial revenue. AMC itself has all of their hit shows, which are expensive.

    Because the majority of content providers follow this same format, we now have hundreds of channels, most of which are airing total crap... or decades old reruns. Sprinkled inbetween these channels are the core channels that people really want to watch. Unfortunately you have no choice in your lineup, and because the content providers force everyone to sign the same contracts, you don't have any choice in what you get to watch.

    Sick of it all, everyone's turning to Netflix or outright piracy.
  • are greatly displeased at this development.

    Without most of the public distracted by sports, sitcoms and stories of young doctors/lawyers/policemen in love they are likely to find time to think and question their place in life, politics, etc.

    We cant have people doing that, it'll fuck up the economy.

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @07:45PM (#40862829) Journal

    Ok, so almost half a million subscribers of several types have dumped various kinds of pay TV.

    That sounds like a lot, right? But, there are an estimated 115 million households in the US. (via us census)

    So those half a million, comprised of geeks who have found another way, and households who just can't afford both cable *and* food, are approximately .3% (point three percent) of all US households.

    So... slow news day?

  • by Grayhand (2610049) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @07:47PM (#40862843)
    I dropped Cable over the AMC fight and haven't looked back. Frustrated that I'll have to wait to see Game of Thrones and Walking Dead but maybe this latest debacle will force the content providers to sell streaming services like HBO Go. The joke is Netflix streaming doesn't carry much current content but they have a ton of older stuff and they are adding faster than I can consume so at this rate I'll never run out. I mostly let it run while I work for white noise anyway. It's got the added benefit of no annoying commercials. It's why I stopped watching CNN, their ratio of news to commercials is 50/50. Completely obscene.
    • by Mandrel (765308)
      The broadcasters are relying on the fact that many want to watch shows when they're first available, so that we can be in the loop with our friends and colleagues. If it wasn't for the social aspects of media consumption, most would be willing to be years behind the curve, cherry-picking the extensive and inexpensive back catalog. This water-cooler effect gives the broadcasters the market power to get away with their bundling, blocking the ability to purchase individual programs at their time of first relea
  • Even though... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jaktar (975138) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @07:58PM (#40862939)

    Even though my only current option for TV is satellite and my ISP is capped at 600 MB/day, my wife and I have seriously talked about dropping our TV subscription.

    It's not Netflix or internet content. It's just shitty TV.

  • by organgtool (966989) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @09:23PM (#40863641)
    I'm all for shitting on the cable companies and their overpriced services, but I don't get the math in this article. The author claims the following companies lost customers: 52,000 (DirecTV), 169,000 (Time Warner), 176,000 (Comcast), and 10,000 (Dish) for a total of 407,000. The author also admits that Verizon and AT&T have added a combined 275,000 customers. Doesn't this mean that the number of people who have actually cut the cord is more in the neighborhood of 132,000. That's about a third of the number the article claims.
  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Friday August 03, 2012 @12:22AM (#40864653)

    I would keep cable with a decent channel selection at $40.

    But regardless of the starting deal it soars to $90 to $120 very quickly.

    Not worth it.

  • by azav (469988) on Friday August 03, 2012 @10:43AM (#40868005) Homepage Journal

    And FiOS and U-Verse added 275,000 users.

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI

Working...