Saturday, 3 August 2013

By on August 3rd, 2013 in news

08:29 – Time-Warner Cable is in a big fight with CBS over retransmission rights. I keep hoping that one of these times the cable TV company being extorted will tell the network doing the extorting to get stuffed and just stop carrying their signals. The whole idea of requiring cable TV companies to pay for retransmission rights is stupid anyway. The networks broadcast their programming as free OTA signals. All the cable TV systems do is pick up that signal and provide it to their subscribers, who could have gotten it OTA for free. The cable TV systems aren’t charging for the content; they’re charging for providing the equivalent of the antenna. These retransmission fees already total several billion dollars a year, all of which comes out of cable TV subscribers’ pockets. The networks are being paid twice, first by their advertisers and then by cable TV subscribers.

It’s long past time that we put a stop to this. In fact, it’s long past time that we put a stop to OTA TV and cable TV and put television networks out of business. That RF spectrum is wasted on broadcast TV. It would be much better used for wireless data. And the cable TV companies should become pure broadband data providers. If people want to watch TV programming, they should be doing it via IP packets. There’s absolutely no need for broadcast television networks, local TV stations, cable TV, or any of the rest of the obsolete infrastructure that grew out of the way things were done 60 years ago.

12 Comments and discussion on "Saturday, 3 August 2013"

  1. CowboySlim says:

    IIRC, when cable first was laid down our street 30+ years ago, governmental agencies decreed that the cable companies must carry local, OTA stations, without payment to the stations I assume. I suppose that the feeling was that cable customers would not want to go around to the back of the TV and switch back and forth between the cable feed and their rabbit ears.

    What irks me is that I pay for a bundle of channels of which I only watch a handful. I sure wish that they would provide an a la carte option. I don’t want to pay for MSNBC, even in a 18p super low def format. Nor Nance Grace in her buzzed out, smudged up face (I wonder if they do that electronically nowadays instead of the old gauze or Vaseline on the lens).

  2. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Yeah, both the broadcast networks and the cable TV companies are all about “have it our way”. They just don’t get that that business model is obsolete. Nowadays, people want to watch what they want when they want, and they want it without commercials.

    That’s why Netflix has 30 million US subscribers and growing. If Netflix ever starts offering live sports as a separate premium service, a whole lot of people are going to drop cable TV. Of the people I’ve spoken to who still have cable TV, about 3/4 of them would cut the cable if they could still get sports programming. And there’s no reason why major sports organizations like MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL shouldn’t do separate deals with streamers like Netflix instead of trying to do their own streaming services. The networks really do contribute almost no value-add. Cutting them out entirely would be pretty simple.

    And, as I said years ago, Netflix’s foray into producing content itself is the death knell for the traditional networks.

  3. Jim B says:

    You urbanites, with your many options, may not appreciate your blessings. I live in a remote area, and have never lived where cable is available. OTA TV is similarly unavailable here, but sat TV is, of course available, probably for a higher price than CATV in many communities. I agree that the cable concept is way past obsolete, but some of us might be willing to get it if we could, just for the Internet benefit.

    The future is point to point wireless, but may always be “the future” for us. Actually, we have PTP, but it is a bit expensive, and at 0.5 Mb/s, slower than our DSL. Our landline provider (DSL) wants out, and is not offering any new DSL accounts. Other DSL providers (CLECs) are not interested, either. My DSL was 1.5 Mb/s, but recently mysteriously increased to a little over 2 Mb/s. Wow!

    The cell providers (only two here) are beginning to roll out 4G, but their data is even more expensive, and the backhaul is already getting overloaded, so getting 4G speeds during peak periods may be a problem. A government initiative (!) is bringing fiber to the area, but this appears to be just for govt and commercial use. The last mile is also a problem. So, a good PTP service connected to the fiber backbone would be a godsend. Not sure the current PTP provider will be able to connect to the fiber. Some of us are looking into a community-based solution, but it looks like that might never happen.

    A sad fact is that Digital Subscriber Line was invented to provide movies to the home, but a paranoid Hollywood has effectively banned all but streaming. Try streaming with our infrastructure! Yet, downloading a 1 GB Linux iso takes “only” an hour or two, so high quality movies could be possible if allowed. I am not really interested in movies or TV, but instead find the plenitude on the web to be enough, especially the fine contributors on this site.

  4. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    That’s one of the reasons I’m in favor of shutting down broadcasting and using that spectrum for transmitting data.

  5. Lynn McGuire says:

    Can the internet handle ALL tv transmissions? DirecTV has 35 million subscribers in the USA (I am one) – 100 million people???. I do not think that Echostar is far behind. Somehow I have gotten the opinion that the internet is handling around 30% of tv viewing right now. Scaling that up to 100% will require a LOT more bandwidth.

  6. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Not really. The secret is to get the content cached close to the consumer.

  7. MrAtoz says:

    Maybe this is how we can get to Mr. Bob’s .01%:

    Vic: Fuck you, bitch.
    Cop: I’m afraid, blam!

  8. CowboySlim says:

    I also now recall that in the early days of cable that free, non-OTA such as ESPN were paying the cable companies $0.10 per subscriber per month to be carried. How things have changed.

    Yes on the sports on TV, the red face on top of my red neck will be watching NASCAR on TV in a few minutes. (I still have an avatar on HWGUYS II.)

  9. CowboySlim says:

    Yeah, that killing in Santa Ana was far more unprovoked that the Zimmerman – Martin event. But of course, Jackson and Sharpton will not get involved so it will only get 1% of the media coverage and not bring Nancy Grace to tears.

  10. Lynn McGuire says:

    BTW, you can get an internet replacement for the major OTA services for $8/month with DVR service for people living in New York city, Boston and Atlanta:

    I do not know why I cannot watch New York OTA stations here in the Land of Sugar using this service. Looks like Aereo will have all major cities in the USA in the next 12 months though.

  11. Lynn McGuire says:

    Don’t mess with women cops. Most of them have something to prove. Plus, the dude was apparently advancing on her.

  12. CowboySlim says:

    “…Plus, the dude was apparently advancing on her.”

    Yes, but she should have waited until he was pounding her head on the sidewalk and then some more…

Comments are closed.