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Old 07-20-2010, 04:26 AM   #46  
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Originally Posted by rcoleman11 View Post
Let's see now, bicker and Scottnot launch a barrage of insults, accusing me of "naivete"
"Naivete" is a description of perspectives expressed. It is not a personal insult.

If you want to consider "naivete" to be a personal insult, then your use of the words "ridiculous" and "laughable" are even more egregious in that regard. Stop trying to avoid the issues raised in objection to what you wrote, by feigning insult.

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Originally Posted by rcoleman11 View Post
As to Scottnot's assertion that bicker never said anything about cable representing great value, here are bicker's exact words: "cable's tier-system results in very reasonable prices for consumers"
Thank you for admitting that you corrupted what I wrote, so that you would have something easier to argue against.

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Originally Posted by rcoleman11 View Post
People who are paying $80 to $100 a month for the 5 channels they can't get for free would probably take issue with that.
You continue to pick people to insult, now switching your attacks to people who pay for cable, implying that they're not being rational and logical in their decisions of worth of the services that they're paying for.

Why not accept and appreciate that other people may not value things the way you do, and respect their right to their own values, instead of insisting on imposing your values on everyone?

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Originally Posted by rcoleman11 View Post
As to the comments about "entitlement", who said anything about subscription TV being an entitlement?
All of the comments that asserted that any of these competitors should be doing something because the poster wants them to do it is an expression of unfounded entitlement. Competitors in a market offer products at specific prices, and we consumers then get to accept or reject those offers. Stop trying to make commerce sound evil.

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My comment was that the pricing is getting out of hand, which is causing lots of people, myself included, to look at alternatives.
People looking at alternative is a good thing, for everyone.
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Old 07-20-2010, 08:03 AM   #47  
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Originally Posted by rcoleman11 View Post
My comment was that the pricing is getting out of hand, which is causing lots of people, myself included, to look at alternatives. This forum is littered with posts from longtime cable and satellite subscribers like oblioman, Chris Gerhard, and HD Goofnut, who have ditched their cable and satellite subscriptions in favor of free over-the-air TV and Netflix, which will give you most of the same content at a fraction of the cost.
After paying for cable TV for more than 20 years the ridiculously high prices and constant price increases finally made me cancel last October. My typical cable bill at that time was over $120.

Last October I became a tester (before it was available to the public) for the new Sezmi system which combines over the air and over internet TV, with an awesome DVR and user interface. www.sezmi.com

I completely enjoy the Sezmi system which became available to the public in March, the rates are much lower than cable with 2 packages available at only $4.99 or $19.99 a month and has no other fees or taxes. It also has on demand with a large selection of free movies, as well a large selection of free on demand TV series (current season and classic long canceled TV series) and on demand pay movies as low as $0.99.

So count me in as a long time cable TV user who got tired of paying for their high prices and ditched them.
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Old 07-20-2010, 03:05 PM   #48  
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A few questions:

1. Isn't basic cable around $40 a month? I am currently paying overpriced DirecTV (so I can watch my football team), so I don't even know what the price is these days, but I remember basic cable being $40 a few years back.
2. If they sell off channels above 30, doesn't that still leave 29 channels (2-30)? Why are people talking about only have 4 or 8 channels? I remember in the SF Bay Area, that 29 channels would be enough to cover everything, especially if you weren't watching 3 different versions of NBC.

Some general thoughts. When people talk about the right of the poor to have free TV, and maybe they should be given cable service for free (i.e. someone else pay their cable bill), I can't help but think of the word "communist".

OTA companies should also be able to bid for the air space above 30. Money is a great way to show what society values more. Declining viewership/advertising for OTA indicates where American society places their value.

It makes sense that the air waves be reserved for those devices that cannot have a wire (i.e. a cell phone). A stationary TV doesn't require a wireless signal to operate.

Maybe someone should start a charity for those that can't afford cable, and pay their cable bills for them. Tough to get donations for a charity with that purpose? Why is that?

The original article talked about cell phone apps meaning the death of free. Last time I checked, the internet as a whole was doing quite well. I don't know how cell phone apps stops that.

P.S. I currently have a pay-as-you-go phone that is mainly used by my wife and on trips (saves money on hotel phone charges). I will probably break down soon and get a phone that can actually run apps, but I don't think I am currently in the cell phone lover category.
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Old 07-21-2010, 05:59 AM   #49  
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Originally Posted by fryet View Post
1. Isn't basic cable around $40 a month?
Basic cable typically runs from $15 to $25 per month.

A lot of people (especially people who are trying to make cable sound bad) quote the price for expanded basic cable, when outlining the cost of basic cable. Expanded basic cable is not a specific service, so it is debatable even as to which specific packages by specific suppliers qualify for consideration. Comcast Digital Economy, for example, has a bunch of cable networks, and is offered for about $35-$38, where it is available, so that would be closest to your $40 number.

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I am currently paying overpriced DirecTV (so I can watch my football team), so I don't even know what the price is these days, but I remember basic cable being $40 a few years back.
Give yourself some credit: If you're paying it, it isn't "overpriced". You're not a stupid consumer. You know how much you're paying the supplier, in total, and what you're getting, in total, and you make a qualitative judgment about whether it is worth it.

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2. If they sell off channels above 30, doesn't that still leave 29 channels (2-30)?
There is no correspondence whatsoever between channels above or below 30 and what is being discussed in this thread.

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Originally Posted by fryet View Post
Why are people talking about only have 4 or 8 channels?
The unreasonable fear being promulgated by some in this thread is that they're going to get rid of all free OTA television. The reality is that they're aiming, right now, to just reallocate a very small percentage. The unreasonable fear-mongers are corrupting that into their tales of doom-and-gloom. However, you have to give them enough credence to believe that the very small percentage reallocation being considered at this time is just the beginning, and more reallocations may follow. The 4 HD + 4 SD is projection of a rational end-game for the reallocations. It is a direct and explicit acknowledgment that it would be unfair to take away all free OTA television. However, the unreasonable fear-mongers don't acknowledge it as such, because they're blinded by their own form of greed, greed that prompts them to insist that every bit of spectrum allocated for free OTA television now is sacred.

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Originally Posted by fryet View Post
Some general thoughts. When people talk about the right of the poor to have free TV, and maybe they should be given cable service for free (i.e. someone else pay their cable bill), I can't help but think of the word "communist".
Or at least "socialism". To be fair, our nation does have a public interest in ensuring that there is a very inexpensive way to provide an adequate amount of emergency communications and such. That's really why the 4 HD + 4 SD idea is so good. It satisfies the actual obligations to the public, without causing wasting of resources that the adoption of the unreasonable fear-mongers' sacred spectrum perspective.

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Originally Posted by fryet View Post
Declining viewership/advertising for OTA indicates where American society places their value.
You've hit on a few things in this sentence. Please keep in mind that viewership of OTA broadcast programming, itself, is not the issue, because viewership of those channels that is provided via cable or satellite service does not count toward establishing the "value" OTA broadcast's use of broadcast spectrum. Only the amount of viewership by antenna counts.

With regard to advertising, you're really hit on something important there. Beyond the necessary news and information service that these channels provide (and would still provide, under my 4 HD + 4 SD idea), the value of OTA broadcast use of spectrum is indeed best measured by how much advertising money is raised. There is a cost to the system from commercial avoidance, and that must be reflected by the system.

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Maybe someone should start a charity for those that can't afford cable, and pay their cable bills for them. Tough to get donations for a charity with that purpose? Why is that?
Yes, true, but again, there is some obligation... it just isn't as big as the unreasonable fear-mongers are trying to make it sound.
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Old 07-21-2010, 07:38 AM   #50  
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Not to wade too deeply in these waters, but I wanted to make a couple points of my own:

1) Where does the article mention anything about TV? Yeah, they talk about free information - and by implication you can take that to include TV - but I don't see TV spelled out specifically anywhere in there.

2) Where's the proof that this is actually set to happen? That is, I read alot of speculation on here about how free TV's days are numbered, but I see nothing by way of actual evidence backing that up.

3) Business models are changing - drastically. I find it amazing when an article can claim that an industry is raking in money hand over fist... while at the same time it's hurting consumers. What? Do they understand NOTHING of how business works? You can't force someone to buy your product - the only entity that can do that is the government (but that's a discussion for another day). You can only get someone to part with their hard-earned money if you give them something of value in return. The fact that these wireless services are making a killing (ditto pay TV, btw) is a testament to the fact that they're actually listening to and responding to consumers. If the experiment that the article hyperventilates about (charging customers for content that was originally free) fails... so what? Then the business model changes again. If these companies start charging for stuff, but lose money... what do you think will happen? The lack of faith in the market is disturbing to me, but the market is us... the consumers. Articles like this piss me off because they're absolutely insulting - they tell you that you're way too stupid to decide for yourself what's worth spending money on and what's not. Enough of the hand-wringing! If it doesn't work then the model will change.

4) Finally, I wanted to address the notion that space is being taken away from OTA TV channels. Right now that's simply not true. But even if it was true... so what? Did it ever occur to the folks who are gnashing their teeth over this that you can carry the same content as was traditionally carried by OTA TV with a fraction of the bandwidth? Let's use an example of a very typical market. Let's ignore independent stations, and just stick with the 4 networks (btw, if you do this for more networks then the difference becomes even more pronounced). In the good old days of analog, how much bandwidth was needed to carry programming for those 4 stations? Answer: 24 MHz. Each channel required 6 MHz of bandwidth to carry its signal.

Now, let's move to the digital era. And what's more, let's give every station 2 feeds - an HD feed and and SD feed. Now... how much bandwidth is needed to feed that same market? Answer: 15 MHz, max. Even with the carrying of HD - you can fit 2 HD channels in the same 'slot' that is used by a single analog feed. And you can fit 8-9 SD channels into the same space. That means, even with a smallish market, you free up 9 MHz of space without sacrificing anything. And like I said, if you include independent stations, that number just gets higher.

Couple this with the fact that OTA is no longer the only game in town, and what Bicker pointed out is exactly right - the amount of space allocated to OTA hasn't gone down... despite the fact that they can carry the same with less bandwidth, and the fact that millions of people (me included) don't watch any OTA at all. How in the world is that a justifiable position?

In fact, the one post about Sezmi is case in point that there's spare bandwidth. How does Sezmi work? They get their feeds in 3 different ways: 1) OTA broadcast (part of their service just includes a high-powered OTA antenna; 2) IP; 3) OTA 'cable' broadcast - what does this mean? It means that Sezmi leases bandwidth from stations in local markets to carry cable channel feeds. That's what it means. TV bandwidth is SO restricted... so tight... right now... that TV stations are able to carry everything they do while still leasing off some of that space.

Can we please stop with the conspiracy theories. They just don't hold water.

Last edited by JPL; 07-21-2010 at 10:42 AM..
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Old 07-21-2010, 07:56 AM   #51  
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Basic cable typically runs from $15 to $25 per month.
The price varies by area, while some areas have lower prices some don't. I believe the lowest advertised (or referred to in any way) price here is $52.99 this is without a box and before taxes or any other fees are applied. Here basic cable is not referred to or advertised but is available for $39.95 + taxes and other fees as well as box charges if you use a cable box.
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Old 07-21-2010, 08:08 AM   #52  
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In fact, the one post about Sezmi is case in point that there's spare bandwidth. How does Sezmi work? They get their feeds in 3 different ways: 1) OTA broadcast (part of their service just includes a high-powered OTA antenna; 2) IP; 3) OTA 'cable' broadcast - what does this mean? It means that Sezmi leases bandwidth from stations in local markets to carry cable channel feeds. That's what it means. TV bandwidth is SO restricted right now... that TV stations are leasing off some of that space.

Can we please stop with the conspiracy theories. They just don't hold water.
Exactly.
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Old 07-21-2010, 11:20 AM   #53  
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2) Where's the proof that this is actually set to happen? That is, I read alot of speculation on here about how free TV's days are numbered, but I see nothing by way of actual evidence backing that up.
Yes, exactly. The anti-alternative use advocates are basically peddling unfounded fear, uncertainty and doubt to try to deceptively drum-up political power to fight what they don't want to see happen.



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The price varies by area, while some areas have lower prices some don't. I believe the lowest advertised (or referred to in any way) price here is $52.99 this is without a box and before taxes or any other fees are applied. Here basic cable is not referred to or advertised but is available for $39.95 + taxes and other fees as well as box charges if you use a cable box.
I suspect you're not talking about basic cable, but rather about expanded basic cable. Basic cable generally offers only the local over-the-air broadcast channels.

Furthermore, it should be noted that due to increasing competition for basic cable, the FCC is now forced to allow suppliers in many areas to choose whether they want to offer basic cable or not. So you may live in an area where basic cable is simply not (really, no longer) offered.
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Old 07-21-2010, 05:10 PM   #54  
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Where I live Basic Cable runs 29.99 that is locals only no box. I get more channels OTA then with Basic cable. I decided against cable and go OTA and with Netflix for my TV viewing. I would like to be able to watch discovery USA Spike and the such but it isn't worth $50 a month to me. Most people I know that do have cable or satellite constantly bitch about the cost but can't bring themselves to do with out.
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Old 07-21-2010, 06:57 PM   #55  
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Answer: 15 Now... how much bandwidth is needed to feed that same market?
the question is how much bandwidth is going to be used for watching tv on a 3" device? For the latest twitter? For the latest i app?
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Old 07-21-2010, 07:04 PM   #56  
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I suspect you're not talking about basic cable, but rather about expanded basic cable. Basic cable generally offers only the local over-the-air broadcast channels.

Furthermore, it should be noted that due to increasing competition for basic cable, the FCC is now forced to allow suppliers in many areas to choose whether they want to offer basic cable or not. So you may live in an area where basic cable is simply not (really, no longer) offered.
I believe the $39.95 plan is the very lowest available in this area and it is only offered if specifically asked for and not advertised or published in anyway. It is slightly more than the main local OTA channels but not much more. There really isn't any reason to offer only local OTA channels because the OTA has excellent reception in this area, even the cheapest rabbit ear antenna will normally pick up every local OTA channel for almost all of this area without any problems.

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Old 07-22-2010, 04:24 AM   #57  
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So indeed it sounds like your area doesn't offer basic cable, anymore. Makes sense.
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Old 07-22-2010, 05:25 AM   #58  
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the question is how much bandwidth is going to be used for watching tv on a 3" device? For the latest twitter? For the latest i app?
Huh? What are you talking about? The points have been made that bandwidth is being taken from OTA TV to be given over to wireless providers. The assumption is then made that that means that OTA TV content will take a hit. My point is - that's not true. Even if they take some of the bandwidth currently given to TV to wireless, so what? There's spare bandwidth out there.

Use my example again. In the old days I could carry 4 programs with 24 MHz. Today, I can carry those same 4 programs (in both SD and HD) in 15 MHz (max - probably less). That means that you can carry all the same exact programming that was traditionally there, in both HD and SD, and STILL have bandwidth you could give away to wireless. How in the world does that in any way take away from what's offered on TV? It doesn't.

The device I choose to use to view stuff via wireless is totally irrelevent. Whether I use that 9 MHz to view stuff on my cell phone... use an on-line ap... or whatever... doesn't matter. The question is - how much overall bandwidth will be available for wireless. How that bandwidth is used is totally separate from this conversation (it's not like me watching a TV program on a cell phone takes away any more bandwidth from OTA TV than it would otherwise - when that bandwidth is allocated to OTA, you don't have other devices tapping into it).

Finally, Bicker's point is totally valid. At one point OTA TV was the ONLY game in town. You wanted entertainment at home, it was either radio or OTA TV. That's it. That's no longer the case at all. Yeah, there are still alot of people out there who watch stuff OTA - I don't deny that. But far from a majority. There are so many alternate sources of entertainment that OTA TV viewership, as a percentage, is a fraction of what it used to be. Couple that with the fact that you can carry the same with less bandwidth than you used to, and it's utterly insane NOT to reallocate some of that TV bandwidth to other sources.

And even if they do that... where is it written that OTA TV is going away? Where is it written that OTA content will even take a hit if they do that? It won't. There's way too much fat in the TV bandwidth that's out there today - I gave one example of Sezmi. TV bandwidth is so restricted right now... that TV stations are able to lease out part of their bandwidth to another company. As another example - when the OTA analog shut-off happened, the FCC allowed TV stations to reoccupy their old VHF slot. That is, prior to the shut-off, TV stations had two slots - one VHF and one UHF (for digital). After the transition, they allowed TV stations to move their digital feed down to their old VHF slot.

So what? Well that means that there is additional bandwidth in the TV spectrum that's not being used for anything right now. The FCC only sold off a portion of the VHF spectrum - far from all of it. That's on top of the space that the TV stations are leasing to Sezmi. Take all that together, and you have alot of fluff in the TV spectrum that could be reallocated for better purposes WITHOUT CAUSING ANY REDUCTION IN FREE OTA PROGRAMMING AT ALL.
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Old 07-22-2010, 05:56 AM   #59  
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Huh? What are you talking about? The points have been made that bandwidth is being taken from OTA TV to be given over to wireless providers. The assumption is then made that that means that OTA TV content will take a hit. My point is - that's not true.
Yes, you're right on-target. Indeed, looking at it from a different direction - OTA TV content has taken a hit, having nothing to do with any reduction in the number of broadcast channel hours in the system. Consumers turning to alternative leisure activities (such as surfing the Internet, watching video discs, playing video games, etc.) have already had such impact. What? Are folks suggesting that DVDs and Xboxes be banned, because they adversely impact how much television programming is presented OTA?

If you really want to pick up a banner to protect OTA TV content, then you should oppose DVRs (because they enable commercial avoidance, which also undercuts the ability for OTA broadcasters to spend as much money to provide as much OTA TV content as they have in the past).

Good luck with that.
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Old 07-22-2010, 07:39 AM   #60  
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So indeed it sounds like your area doesn't offer basic cable, anymore. Makes sense.
Makes a lot of sense. Too many in the larger markets don't realize that people in the smaller markets have far fewer available channels OTA and local government officials did a lousy job of issuing contracts to cable providers that give them a license to steal and they have no problems using that license to the fullest (see ConCast). Some cities had the foresight to force basic cable offerings at affordable prices, but many did not.
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