reply to zed260
Re: Only a matter of time b4 this happened. Agreed and since the government created the situation, perhaps the government should bear the cost of explaining it to consumers. They sure spent a bundle on DTV transition.
I certainly understand why, in the 1980s, local broadcasters freaked when they realized they might lose customers to the NYC or LA NBC/CBS/ABC affiliates. The result was the "must carry" regulations.
Fundamentally it just doesn't seem fair that cable/dish customers should have to pay for content that is OTA for free. IMO, if MSOs would stop bundling and allow consumers more channel choice, I think the consumer would be empowered to end this nonsense.
Dish and cable channels have options though; once the OTA stations demand and accept payment- they're NO longer must carry. At that point they should be moved to a tier above basic. And they lose their status on being able to demand where they are placed. If they don't like being moved to expanded or higher- then they stay a must carry station with no payment.
But as the OP mentioned, the consumer (g'ma and g'pa) won't understand it without considerable education. They may not understand picking channels one by one either, but at least it would expose the true cost of each and allow the consumer to vote with their wallet. It would also end the black out problems since customers would be informed whenever channels raise their prices and that their bill will reflect the new higher price if they don't cancel the channel.
Granted, this might create a lot of thrashing but with today's digital STBs, isn't this just begging to be a website where the conumser can pick and choose what they want, when they want? Once the right billing software is in place, the itemized bill shows what owe. 1-month minimum subscription periods would prevent one-day-a-month craziness.
Perhaps I'm oversimplifying it and of course, the cable company would have to have some kind of minimum hookup fee to cover maintaining and upgrading the system.
Maybe the real answer lies in video services OTT -- once there's enough network capacity. Then you can buy anything you want and the consumer and content provider have a direct relationship. That's probably wishful thinking but it's a thought.
the thing is though; they could do that now with no problem if they went to all Digital and required everyone to have an STB. Would be easy and they already can itemize the bill. They do it with ppv, etc.
True. Nothing new here except the package vs. a la carte thinking. What would be really interesting is if the MSOs would agree on a world-wide STB standard like DOCSIS, drive the cost down and then get TV manufacturers to include it in TVs. Heck, it seems reasonable to assume 99% of what they need is already part of every modern TV's ATSC tuner. They just need a "provisioning" mode that locates and finds the MSOs provisioning server and locks out the unauthorized channels.
Of course it seems the industry is going away from "broadcast" delivery to SDV. Again, though, as smart as today's TVs already are (browsing the web and all), perhaps just adding a DOCSIS board to the TV and a "NetFlix" like viewer is a better approach.
I can dream...
San Diego, CA
·Time Warner Cable
The vast majority of new cable boxes (at least with comcast) have had a DOCSIS modem built in. Been there for ages. Just not used usually. (I believe the Comcast Tivo/Motorola trial does use the cable modem part for guide data only. Much faster.)
The day the child realizes that all adults are imperfect, he becomes an adolescent; the day he forgives them, he becomes an adult. The day he forgives himself, he becomes wise.
Yeah-- I've noticed that when you get into the "settings" menus of most of the DVRs there's usually a screen that shows an IP address. I always assumed they were using some kind of IP infrastructure for speaking to various NOC APIs for things like guides, purchase decisions and controlling the VOD (play, pause, rewind, etc.) It also seems like a natural way to send error data as well as "experience" data (what, when, how you watch programming).
San Diego, CA
They are talking back, but its usually not docsis but a much much slower uplink. Im talking sloow. Why they haven't just started using the built in cable modem is beyond me