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February 21, 2006

Comments

Josh

I used to work for a cable company a few years ago. One of the things I found out by working there is how cable is set up. One of the bits of info I think I should impart here is something I haven't seen in all your info.

Forgive me if I don't get all the terms right, its been a while. But there is a point where all the cable comes in. In most cases for most analog channels they can get 4 channels on one cable line that comes into the main box. So assume a box has 50 inputs for analog -- that means they can offer 200 channels. So that means that if you want to select each channel a la carte you'd have to pay for the equipment upgrades in each area of town by putting in 3 more boxes, which costs money OR deal with less selection which would be devistating to many channels that some of us know and love.

Which is the same reason why you will find that when the cable goes out on one channel that several other channels are out too. If you have digital you can get more channels on one line however -- you need a box to get it which costs money...so if you eliminate all analog channels you'd HAVE to have digital cable and you'd HAVE to have a box -- but then you'd run into the same problem -- you can't pick and choose your channels. So all the bandwidth that you'd have with digital would be lost. This, in all honesty, would be a step back in terms of selection. Because the only channels that cable companies would put up would be only THE most popular channels. How about that Golf channel you like? Well, if 45% of the subscribers don't watch -- its going away. How about all the ESPN's? Some of them might go away too. Basically I agree...prices are too high but I do like having such a vast selection to watch. A few of the channels I like to watch (BBC, Bravo, Sundance Channel) would probably all go away if they did a la carte OR my prices would go way up to compensate for the cost of the new technology. I hope they find a solution but since I saw how it works I'm not too optimistic about prices going down.

From working with the public for most of my working life in a sales capacity everyone wants a lower price but wants everything they are used to to come with it as well. So I'm sure they can do a la carte and lower prices -- but your selection will be cut way down. With every 'upside' there is a 'downside'.

Edro

That's a great description of how the cable industry works Josh. How about this: I don't want all those other channels, so I totally cut my service! (for those of you in Rio Linda. . that's no money coming in for anybody) Now let's suppose that millions of other disgruntled cable users do the same, well then, all the channels and cable itself would be KAPUT!!! So, if cable can't keep up with comsumer needs then it will go the way of the buggy whip. It's a free market society that will decide what it wants. I would suggest the cable and satellite companies hear the cries of the consumer. The first to do so will reap great capitalist rewards!

Misty

Analog cable is outdated anyways. I am Happy with my Dish Network. I have a DVR to record my favorite shows a package which includes 8 channels of HBO so I can watch my sopranos, and 10 channels of Starz for all the latest movies and it is all 100% digital so the picture is great! I only pay $55, of which with Comcast it would be well over $80 for this package and the first 99 channels would still be analog. Dish also just came out with a programming package called the family pack. To my knowledge it is all family oriented channels (40+) and is only $19.99.
So we do have options! I had Comcast for awhile and found myself frustrated with charges I didn't expect to have, 5 + different taxes being charged, and my cable box going out all the time. I haven't had those problems with my satellite subscription and the customer service is way better!

Cathy

I used to have Direct TV and was content with the service and price. But I also had dial up at the time. When I decided to switch to DSL I found that NONE of the providers were available to me. And the cost of Direct TV hi-speed is extremely high and, from what I have read, weather sensitive. So I was forced to switch to Comcast just to get their hi-speed. I have the bare minimum TV package but great computer connection. So I guess I am being held hostage. I continue to check the various DSL providers, but nothing yet to my address. If I eventually find one, I will be so gone from Comcast and back on satelite.

E. Mitchell

Isn't the Comcast refund the result of action by the local franchising authority? If I'm not mistaken, what the telephone companies want is relief from these authorities when and if they start selling cable television services under state and federal law changes.

So how would overcharges be corrected if you have to petition the FCC each time?

Jim

I think everytone has it wrong. DON'T go afte the Cable operator. Go after the programming providers. The ESPN'S Lifetime's MTV's why don't you ask congress present programming fee's.
And why can DirectTV and Dish Net sell a cheaper service. No utility fee's(pole retal)No multiple headends (satellite receiving sites) limited if any employees.
Get the FACTS everyonebefore you start slamming Cable.
Most of you really don't know all the details.

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