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Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Mad About the Cost of TV? Blame Sports

Your cable bill—$80 or $90, or whatever it is—is best understood as two prices. The programming (i.e. the channels you watch) and the distribution (i.e. the infrastructure and profits for the cable companies). Every time you pay a cable bill, the channels collect a small fee. It’s called an “affiliate fee.” The most in-demand channels tend to negotiate the highest fees. And those tend to be sports channels. Take a look.

By my rough calculation, if you pay $90 a month for cable, you are paying about $76 a year (about 7 percent of the total cost of cable TV) just for the NFL.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 12:21 PM | 118 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cable, espn, media

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   1. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: April 02, 2013 at 04:47 PM (#4402317)
The channel ESPN does not cost $5.
   2. Dolf Lucky Posted: April 02, 2013 at 04:58 PM (#4402333)
I admittedly don't understand the cable pricing universe, which means that I have no idea if the graph's assertion of $5/mo for ESPN is correct or if Fly's rebuttal is correct.

I do know that I value things quite differently than a cable provider would, and would gladly sign up for a $10/mo fee allowing me to stream the ESPN suite of networks over my Roku. I would imagine that there others who would do the same. Why wouldn't the 4-letter make such an option available? Would they lose that much leverage with the cable providers?
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 05:05 PM (#4402338)
Why wouldn't the 4-letter make such an option available?


Because they are part of a major company that also provides ESPN 2, ESPN Classic, ESPNU, ESPN Desportes, ESPN News, Disney, ABC Family, History Channel, H2, Biography, A&E, Lifetime, and SOAPnet, all of which depend on the current cable model.
   4. Dolf Lucky Posted: April 02, 2013 at 05:15 PM (#4402354)
I guess my question is:

Would the current cable model (i.e., bundles galore) necessarily fall apart if ESPN made an a la carte streaming option available?
   5. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 05:21 PM (#4402369)
If ESPN offered ESPN programming as an app for $20, yes, that would eat into cable subscriptions quite a bit, and ABC/Disney needs cable subscriptions to support all those other channels I listed. ESPN is not its own entity, it is a product (a cash cow) offered by a company that is more interested in keeping the current model to support its other products.

OTOH, there are rumors HBO might allow HBO streaming online without a cable subscription despite the fact it is owned by Time Warner, which also owns TBS, TNT, truTV, CNN, Cartoon Network and god know what else. But I'll believe it when I see it.

Right now there's no incentive for ESPN to offer a la carte. Anyone that wants ESPN has a cable subscription except cord-cutters like myself, and we make a tiny fraction. That all may change someday, but there's no reason for ESPN to do it now.
   6. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: April 02, 2013 at 05:25 PM (#4402375)
I guess my question is:

Would the current cable model (i.e., bundles galore) necessarily fall apart if ESPN made an a la carte streaming option available?

Based on what I have read the content providers bundle their programming so that cable companies purchase blocks of channels or none at all from Viacom, etc. so unbundling would affect ESPN's ownership because they can't foist their secondary offerings onto basic cable packages and charge those subscriber fees as well.
   7. Gamingboy Posted: April 02, 2013 at 05:34 PM (#4402387)

OTOH, there are rumors HBO might allow HBO streaming online without a cable subscription despite the fact it is owned by Time Warner, which also owns TBS, TNT, truTV, CNN, Cartoon Network and god know what else. But I'll believe it when I see it.


Agreed. I think those "rumors" may have been part of a way to hype up Game of Thrones some more....
   8. valuearbitrageur Posted: April 02, 2013 at 07:28 PM (#4402476)
Agreed. I think those "rumors" may have been part of a way to hype up Game of Thrones some more....


The problem is that the world isn't static and if networks ignore the rapid growth of the non cable audience, they'll be caught with their pants down as the cable TV model evaporates and the advantages of having multiple channels to leverage together for cable system space will evaporate with them.

As Netflix, Redbox and other independents start buying/funding their own shows they will fill the vacuum HBO leaves by not offering subscriptions to their service online.

What happens if FoxSports or someone less tied to cable starts a subscription sports news channel with tons of regional and other content? ESPN will have to counter before its too late or they could get crushed. Cable system carriage is no longer any kind of competitive advantage as Cable TV dies, it's actually an anchor to a dying business.
   9. cardsfanboy Posted: April 02, 2013 at 07:41 PM (#4402489)
What happens if FoxSports or someone less tied to cable starts a subscription sports news channel with tons of regional and other content? ESPN will have to counter before its too late or they could get crushed. Cable system carriage is no longer any kind of competitive advantage as Cable TV dies, it's actually an anchor to a dying business.


We can only hope, I think that it's probably true that it's a dying business, but also think that it's a few years away before it is really going to be impacted by any upstart. I wouldn't be surprised if some of these cable channels have a plan in the works and are just holding it off to see what everyone else is doing. I don't think anyone wants to be the first one to rock the boat.
   10. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: April 02, 2013 at 08:38 PM (#4402555)
The problem is that the world isn't static and if networks ignore the rapid growth of the non cable audience, they'll be caught with their pants down as the cable TV model evaporates...

Can anybody name another entrenched entertainment business that was too content to sit on its fat butt and collect Money For Nothing while the world around it changed?

Anybody? Anybody at all?

I fully expect the cable industry to hang on to its old business model to its last fingernail until not one more penny can be extracted out of it, then come lawsuits (more than just those of Aereo ilk), then resignation, then ???, then profit-no-more.
   11. PJL Posted: April 02, 2013 at 08:38 PM (#4402556)
I have worked in the cable programming business for a long time. The prices quoted in the Atlantic article are not out of line and are sourced from a widely respected third party. Those are the wholesale costs of the channels to the distributors on a per-subscriber-per-month basis. ESPN is a very profitable business. ESPN could not possibly make as much money if it were sold on a la carte basis, so they have little reason to change their business model. Roughly a third of subscribers are big sports fans. To be whole on subscription fees ESPN alone would have to cost more than $15 per month and, at that price, it would not get any casual fans (so it wouldn't have their viewership against which to sell advertising). So that means the a la carte price would have to be more than $15 per month, maybe more like $25. Also, if ESPN were to offer the service on an a la carte streaming basis (e.g., to the Roku), the cable operators (and DirecTV, Dish Network, Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-Verse) would, not unreasonably, expect to have the right to sell it a la carte as well. None of these changes are going to happen.
   12. valuearbitrageur Posted: April 02, 2013 at 08:46 PM (#4402568)
None of these changes are going to happen soon


But they are coming. Already I can get better access to MLB games through MLB.TV than through any cable service for a piddling $10 per month and the games are more important to me than ESPN's hilite clips.

It's so much cheaper and better to go without cable already I'm surprised that half of cable customers haven't already deserted. Inertia explains some of it, but as more and more people become aware of the advantages of untethering inertia will fade fast.
   13. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 02, 2013 at 08:51 PM (#4402572)
I don't understand post one because that fee is bandied about pretty regularly in discussions on cable fees

young people don't pay for cable. I think the average age of a cable subscriber is along the same lines as someone who buys greeting cards, mid 40's

and I know that phrase will get torn apart by the pedants who will talk about college kids and reduced budgets and all that cr8p

kids are using the internet, roku, apple tv, netflixx, amazon prime, hulu in some combination.

and that is why cable long term has to re-think it's model
   14. cardsfanboy Posted: April 02, 2013 at 09:11 PM (#4402598)

It's so much cheaper and better to go without cable already I'm surprised that half of cable customers haven't already deserted. Inertia explains some of it, but as more and more people become aware of the advantages of untethering inertia will fade fast


Can't argue with that, I've dumped cable and live off of Netflix and mopvideo/videobull.com for any of my tv show needs. But I will watch shows like the Daiy show on comedy central.com because they put them up within 24 hours of airing and figure the commercials are short enough that I don't feel the need to locate a pirated version. Only thing I'm missing is my local sports. Somewhat sucks, but I'll survive.
   15. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: April 02, 2013 at 09:23 PM (#4402613)
So... is it therefore the case that someone not interested in sports can buy non-sports cable cheaply?
   16. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: April 02, 2013 at 09:24 PM (#4402616)
I don't understand post one because that fee is bandied about pretty regularly in discussions on cable fees


That is the cost for the ESPN Family Of Networks, which includes something like 6 channels.
   17. Harold can be a fun sponge Posted: April 02, 2013 at 09:27 PM (#4402623)
What happens if FoxSports or someone less tied to cable starts a subscription sports news channel with tons of regional and other content? ESPN will have to counter before its too late or they could get crushed. Cable system carriage is no longer any kind of competitive advantage as Cable TV dies, it's actually an anchor to a dying business.

I don't think that's the direction it's going to come from. First, neither Fox nor ESPN can start offering streaming services without the rights to do so from the sports leagues. Second, I don't want to buy ESPN's package; if I want games, I know which leagues' games I want, and I'd much rather buy the content from the league than have an ESPN or Fox in the middle.
   18. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 02, 2013 at 09:36 PM (#4402629)
fly

c'mon, espn is leveraging it's main channel to foist the other channels onto buyers

please. this is just tiresome.

   19. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: April 02, 2013 at 09:38 PM (#4402633)
If ESPN offered ESPN programming as an app for $20, yes, that would eat into cable subscriptions quite a bit, and ABC/Disney needs cable subscriptions to support all those other channels I listed. ESPN is not its own entity, it is a product (a cash cow) offered by a company that is more interested in keeping the current model to support its other products.

I would also think that advertising dollars on those other channels would plummet. We are moving to a model where we are far more selective in what television we watch, but I imagine that people with 200+ channels will watch something other than ESPN to pass the time more than just occasionally, and eventually they'll get your eyes to see plenty of commercials on those other channels.

I wonder if the History Channel would have more viewers if it were sold a la carte, or bundled.
   20. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 02, 2013 at 09:40 PM (#4402635)
espn radio has a pay app but if you go the radio app you can find a station that plays espn radio without having to pay anything
   21. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 09:56 PM (#4402658)
What happens if FoxSports or someone less tied to cable starts a subscription sports news channel with tons of regional and other content? ESPN will have to counter before its too late or they could get crushed. Cable system carriage is no longer any kind of competitive advantage as Cable TV dies, it's actually an anchor to a dying business.


You're not paying for the news when you pay for ESPN. ESPN puts a lot of their news segments on Youtube or ESPN.com for free. You're paying for sports content. ESPN owns the rights to a lot of the sports programming people want to see. And sports leagues want to be on ESPN - the NHL was badly damaged after they lost ties with ESPN.

The model will be disrupted one day. I mean there was a day when FOX was some piddling little fourth channel that could barely get affiliates to air their shows. A few years later they overbid on MLB and won it. With the proliferation of major college programs/wanting to set up their own conference networks, and MLBtv and NBAtv being fairly successful, maybe their programming will start to erode to the point where someone can challenge their model.
   22. PJL Posted: April 02, 2013 at 10:00 PM (#4402670)
None of these changes are going to happen soon


It is true that the model could change. As multichannel television gets more expensive, more people are going to get priced out of the market. Right now, about 85% of US households subscribe to multichannel television. Even if that number goes down to 75% in a few-to-ten years, ESPN would still be better off staying with that business model (probably charging $6-7-8 per subscriber per month then) than tossing it out.

I think the reason half of cable customers haven't deserted is they think that it is worth buying (on the take-it-or-leave-it basis on which it is sold). Every year cable programming has more and more live sports and other popular shows. That's what has allowed the providers to raise prices as much as they have and not lose many of their subscribers. Inertia isn't enough, just ask the people who sell telephone landlines.
   23. villageidiom Posted: April 02, 2013 at 10:40 PM (#4402724)
ESPN's model won't change because it can't. If they go a la carte or streaming, there is nothing stopping the content providers from doing it themselves and cutting ESPN out.
   24. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 10:44 PM (#4402728)

ESPN's model won't change because it can't. If they go a la carte or streaming, there is nothing stopping the content providers from doing it themselves and cutting ESPN out.


How do the content providers make any money doing this without ESPN though? I can't imagine many channels being good enough for people to pay for them.
   25. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 11:19 PM (#4402793)
How do the content providers make any money doing this without ESPN though? I can't imagine many channels being good enough for people to pay for them.

Sell direct, like mlb.tv does. I'm certain that if, say, the NFL started selling a streaming version of Sunday Ticket, football fans would pony up. Once you move to a streaming model, the networks may not provide much value.
   26. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 11:30 PM (#4402804)

Sell direct, like mlb.tv does. I'm certain that if, say, the NFL started selling a streaming version of Sunday Ticket, football fans would pony up. Once you move to a streaming model, the networks may not provide much value.


Yea, but aside from sports. Who is going to pay for History Channel by itself? CNN? A&E?

EDIT: Ah, I see what you're saying, the sports content providers on ESPN. My bad. Yes, I was making the similar point - all of these leagues are heading in the direction of providing content themselves so ESPN may have no choice someday. We're on the same page.
   27. Dan Evensen Posted: April 03, 2013 at 06:53 AM (#4402884)
What is all this talk in TFA about this being the "golden age of television?" I find most contemporary U.S. television shows utterly unwatchable.

ESPN has always driven me nuts. There's never a focus on the game on hand. Each game is treated as a stepping stone to advertise for the next "can't miss" game.

MLB.TV remains a great deal in my opinion. For everything else, there are torrents and other means. Honestly, I've found that the less television I watch, the less I miss it.
   28. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: April 03, 2013 at 07:19 AM (#4402887)

MLB.TV remains a great deal in my opinion. For everything else, there are torrents and other means. Honestly, I've found that the less television I watch, the less I miss it.


Say what you will about stealing intellectual property, but you can't argue with the price!
   29. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 03, 2013 at 07:27 AM (#4402888)
What is all this talk in TFA about this being the "golden age of television?" I find most contemporary U.S. television shows utterly unwatchable.

Why would anyone watch most US television? Why would anyone watch most British television for that matter? When they say it's a golden age they mean if you condense all the good shows being produced on all the channels, you have a lot of good tv, some of it even great. Breaking Bad, Louie, Archer, GOT, The Walking Dead, Mad Men, Homeland, Justified, Adventure Time, and so on. (I don't watch all these shows, just making a point, though I specifically left out Downton Abbey which, even though it's not American, is TERRIBLE!)
   30. BrianBrianson Posted: April 03, 2013 at 07:29 AM (#4402890)

young people don't pay for cable. I think the average age of a cable subscriber is along the same lines as someone who buys greeting cards, mid 40's


It's been a while since someone's called me young. But as a thirty-something, the slang for someone who pays for cable is "sucker".
   31. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 03, 2013 at 07:37 AM (#4402891)
What is all this talk in TFA about this being the "golden age of television?" I find most contemporary U.S. television shows utterly unwatchable.

It depends on how you look at it. There's no question it's the Golden Age of Television if you have the time and patience** to discover the highlights from the worthwhile channels, and never waste your time on the channels that pander to your laziest and least interesting instincts. OTOH if you limit yourself to considering only the shows that are promoted during sports events, you probably would think that we're in the Golden Age of Mental Retardation.

It's the same thing as with information in general: If you've got the money for an internet connection, and lots of time on your hands, there's enough of it out there to permit anyone to acquire an unprecedented amount of genuine knowledge in nearly every subject imaginable, at least the sort of knowledge that doesn't require hands-on, first hand experience. But if all you want to do is to reinforce your own ignorance***, it's just as easy to become profoundly dumber than anyone who ever lived before 1990, because there are so many people out there today with access to you who have every motivation in the world to make you dumber by the minute. To paraphrase Dickens, in terms of this particular issue, we live in the best of times, and we live in the worst of times.

**and the money to spend on premium channels like HBO, Sundance and the ExtraInnings package

***a point that obviously doesn't apply to people like you
   32. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 03, 2013 at 07:55 AM (#4402895)
andy

the better option for viewing baseball games is mlb.tv. extra innings is far more expensive and without the extras.
   33. Crosseyed and Painless Posted: April 03, 2013 at 09:10 AM (#4402930)
I pay $50 a month for cable. I feel like I'm getting a good enough deal and would probably pay a bit more. I don't feel like this is one of the great injustices in the universe.

That said, technology is obviously changing things and I'm sure the networks/providers are thinking up every way possible to make sure they keep their cash.
   34. jmurph Posted: April 03, 2013 at 09:32 AM (#4402943)
I pay $110ish per month, taxes/fees included. Roughly $40ish of that is just for the internet access. Like many people, I suspect, especially sports fans, I've determined that the cost and convenience of the all in one cable TV system beats in both price and quality the bundling of the various online services I would need to get what I'm looking for. The cord-cutting talk is premature by many years for most people.
   35. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 03, 2013 at 09:35 AM (#4402945)
the better option for viewing baseball games is mlb.tv. extra innings is far more expensive and without the extras.

Maybe so, but I'm paying $179.99 for Extra Innings, so you're talking about a savings of less than a hundred dollars a year. And then I'd have to go out and buy some extra device to connect the TV to the computer, and figure out how to use it, since there's no way I'm going to watch ball games on a computer monitor. Not worth the hassle for that small amount of money, especially since I also don't care about any extras.
   36. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 03, 2013 at 09:36 AM (#4402946)
What is all this talk in TFA about this being the "golden age of television?" I find most contemporary U.S. television shows utterly unwatchable.


Its always been the case that most television is unwatchable, just like most food is uneatable, most literature is unreadable, and most baseball players can't hit.

But the best TV shows today are better than at any time in recent memory, at least since the 70s when shows like MASH, All in the Family, and Hill Street Blues were taking big risks. Heck, even the crappy shows now are better than the crappy shows of the 80s. As lame brain as something like "The Big Bang Theory" is, I'd watch 100 episodes of that before one episode of a lame 80s sitcom like Mr. Belvedere.

A lot of that has to do with there are just way more channels with way more shows than there used to be. More channels means more opportunities to take risks. Also, HBO has led the way and you see a lot of networks wanting to follow their lead.

The cord-cutting talk is premature by many years for most people.


Agreed, but its getting easier and easier, and once they start making TVs that get internet service directly, its going to really disrupt things. Even a sizeable minority of customers leaving is enough to disrupt the cutthroat cable market.

And honestly its not that hard now. You get something like Roku, a one time cost of $50, and you can just type in the name of the show you want to watch, and it will find it among your channels. There are really only 3 major players as far as channels go - Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. If you can't find your show on those, its not available online (legally).

The "hassle" if there is one, is having to decide to watch something, rather than mindlessly flipping through channels (which you can still do with OTA channels).
   37. jmurph Posted: April 03, 2013 at 09:37 AM (#4402948)
Also, I hate to be the one to defend Big Cable, but the idea that cable systems have their heads in the sand as the world passes them does not really match reality. Comcast, everyone's favorite punching bag, has an insane amount of On Demand programming that comes included with their digital service. DVRs, provided by cable systems, are amazing. Some systems (Evil Comcast included) even have a ton of online programming available.

(For the record I'm no longer a Comcast customer- switched to an alternative strictly to save money. I get maybe 90% of what I had with Comcast for roughly $70 less per month.)
   38. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 03, 2013 at 09:44 AM (#4402953)
If ESPN is really $5/month per subscriber I'd be delighted if it went to a subscription package. I'd sacrifice the ESPN networks to save that money.

But the best TV shows today are better than at any time in recent memory, at least since the 70s when shows like MASH, All in the Family, and Hill Street Blues were taking big risks. Heck, even the crappy shows now are better than the crappy shows of the 80s. As lame brain as something like "The Big Bang Theory" is, I'd watch 100 episodes of that before one episode of a lame 80s sitcom like Mr. Belvedere.


What's amazing is just how bad TV was in the pre-cable days. Considering that they had the entire world at their fingertips the completely unwatchable stuff that got aired is stunning. There is great stuff out there today, it's just a matter of finding it sometimes.
   39. jmurph Posted: April 03, 2013 at 09:45 AM (#4402954)
Retro- you're leaving out sports though, right?
   40. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 03, 2013 at 09:47 AM (#4402956)
The cord-cutting talk is premature by many years for most people.


Agreed, but its getting easier and easier, and once they start making TVs that get internet service directly, its going to really disrupt things.

That's the key right there. But until then....
   41. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 03, 2013 at 10:01 AM (#4402970)
What's amazing is just how bad TV was in the pre-cable days. Considering that they had the entire world at their fingertips the completely unwatchable stuff that got aired is stunning.

That seriously underrates the quality of much of early television, though given that most current viewers get exposed to it only through nickelodeon, it's an understandable misconception. Nobody would ever try to claim that shows like Ozzie and Harriet ever were anything other than whitebread comfort food. But that's only half of the story.

Given its technological limitations, early TV wasn't really all that bad, because it hadn't yet fallen into the ratings-driven race to the bottom. From the late 40's up through the mid-60's, for example, there were numerous high quality live dramas shown in prime time, often featuring actors on the level of Dick Powell, Paul Newman, Barbara Stanwyck, Ernest Borgnine and Rosalind Russell. The problem was that as time passed, the bottom line became more of an obsession, and shows like that were gradually phased out and replaced by the usual mix of westerns and sitcoms. It was only with the advent of cable that shows like these were gradually able to make a comeback.
   42. Cowboy Popup Posted: April 03, 2013 at 10:08 AM (#4402978)
What is all this talk in TFA about this being the "golden age of television?" I find most contemporary U.S. television shows utterly unwatchable.

While the golden age of TV was somewhat more applicable in terms of quality a few years ago, in terms of access to personalized content, I think we are still in the golden age of television. And I say this as someone who hasn't been connected to cable for more than a year. There are innumerable channels pumping out original content these days, all targeted at their niche audiences. Compare that to 20 years ago when there were a dozen channels producing original content or 40 years ago, when there were three channels producing original content, and this age looks pretty golden.

I agree that the general level of programming is not necessarily being produced at a golden age of quality but that, in part, depends on what you want to nerd out to. For example, the stunning lack of a decent space sci-fi TV show, especially after the success of the Star Trek movie, continues to bewilder me. On the other hand, cartoons, both aimed at kids and adults, or both, are achieving a pretty spectacular level of quality these days. I love a ton of stuff FX puts out, but this is an all time low for NBC, and all really network, content I can enjoy. I think there is something out there for everyone, even when the overall levels of quality TV are at a relative low, you just have to know where to look at it. And that is way better than having to hold your breath waiting for one of the networks or some syndicated program to offer something of interest, which was the situation when I was a kid.
   43. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: April 03, 2013 at 10:17 AM (#4402989)
Yeah, the reason they call it the golden age of television is because there is, and have been for roughly the past decade, multiple truly great shows on TV that go vastly beyond what the medium was producing prior to that period. Whether it's comedies such as Arrest Development, Archer, or Dan Harmon's Community, or dramas such as Deadwood, Battlestar Galactica, or Mad Men, there's just a lot more well crafted, intelligent work out there. Of course, you still have your Two and a Half Men and your CSI, but just because there's still a lot of bad TV doesn't take away from the brilliance of a Wire.

Also, I'm sure HBO would like to get all the people pirating GoT to watch on a platform they get paid for. But it's not that simple and the best they can do is hope those piraters bring other people to the show who DO pay for HBO, and that they buy the blu-ray sets. Alyssa Rosenberg had a very smart look on the things standing in the way of a standalone HBOGo option last year.
   44. BrianBrianson Posted: April 03, 2013 at 10:18 AM (#4402990)

Agreed, but its getting easier and easier, and once they start making TVs that get internet service directly, its going to really disrupt things.


Yes, but that's very close to now. It was Wii+Netflix that caused me to stop paying for cable.
   45. SG Posted: April 03, 2013 at 10:19 AM (#4402991)
There are quite a few internet connected TV models available already. I've got a Vizio that connects via wireless to Netflix, Hulu and a bunch of other crap I never use.
   46. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 03, 2013 at 10:26 AM (#4402995)
The thing about an internet TV model is that shows won't be "on" at a certain time so much as they'll be "available." The trick is going to be generating a "water cooler" type show that people want to see live. I know the last season of Lost I watched as it aired because I knew people at my office would be discussing it the next day. I don't know how or if that will work with internet programs (we see it with so many shows DVRed already) and that helps generate interest.
   47. jmurph Posted: April 03, 2013 at 10:33 AM (#4403003)
Yes, but that's very close to now. It was Wii+Netflix that caused me to stop paying for cable.


This I don't get (don't mean that as a personal criticism). I guess it depends on what you're watching, but I don't see much overlap between the two. Netflix (aside from the new original content, which is exciting) is year-ish old (or older) TV series and very, very few movies. I subscribe to Netflix, but I don't really see it as competition for cable. Yet. Until more original content starts coming in.
   48. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: April 03, 2013 at 10:34 AM (#4403004)
MLB.TV remains a great deal in my opinion. For everything else, there are torrents and other means. Honestly, I've found that the less television I watch, the less I miss it.

Say what you will about stealing intellectual property, but you can't argue with the price!


Oh I only torrent shows from groups who leave the original commercials in. McDonalds paid good money to try and convince me I could keep their food down, they deserve a chance to make the argument.
   49. Poulanc Posted: April 03, 2013 at 10:38 AM (#4403008)
And then I'd have to go out and buy some extra device to connect the TV to the computer, and figure out how to use it, since there's no way I'm going to watch ball games on a computer monitor.


You mean an HDMI cable?


and once they start making TVs that get internet service directly


As SG says, internet connected TVs are available now. Not to mention internet connected blu-ray players. It can't get much easier than it already is.

I guess it depends on what you're watching, but I don't see much overlap between the two.


That's where Hulu comes in.
   50. BrianBrianson Posted: April 03, 2013 at 10:39 AM (#4403009)
Netflix doesn't 100% replace cable, but it does ~99.5%, and the remaining ~0.5% isn't worth $50/month. I don't know why I'd care if it's "new" or "new to me". And if I want to watch a specific movie, Netflix isn't great, but if I just want to watch a movie, it's better than any cable package I've ever had (I've never used pay-per-view, so I don't know if that changes it.)
   51. Cowboy Popup Posted: April 03, 2013 at 10:42 AM (#4403014)
I don't know how or if that will work with internet programs (we see it with so many shows DVRed already) and that helps generate interest.

People, at least people I know in DC, slammed House of Cards pretty quickly. I don't know about water cooler talk (my job has no water cooler), but it definitely gets dropped during conversations at bars. I think it will work a bit differently in that the buzz for TV gets everyone to watch each episode when it is on and talk about it the next day. The buzz for House of Cards helped convince people who hadn't seen it to watch it and later talk about it.

But there is also the Twitter (and Facebook to a point) element to discussing a TV show now, which encourages people who want to take part in that conversation to watch a TV show when it is still fresh. My guess is that streaming TV shows will benefit from the urge to take part in the social media TV show discussion. Netflix didn't release the actual numbers, but they indicated that House of cards was the most popular TV show on its service when it came out.
   52. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 03, 2013 at 10:43 AM (#4403016)

Retro- you're leaving out sports though, right?


Yea, that's going to be the big hold up for a lot of people. But things like MLBtv are making it easier.


The thing about an internet TV model is that shows won't be "on" at a certain time so much as they'll be "available." The trick is going to be generating a "water cooler" type show that people want to see live. I know the last season of Lost I watched as it aired because I knew people at my office would be discussing it the next day. I don't know how or if that will work with internet programs (we see it with so many shows DVRed already) and that helps generate interest.


That depends on how the content producers roll out the shows. Some may roll all the episodes out at once like Netflix did with House of Cards. Others may go with the traditional weekly episode model - you can get episodes of Mad Men for example, on Mondays after they air on Amazon.

And people can still watch OTA shows "live".

Besides, aren't DVRs killing "water cooler" conversations about shows anyway?
   53. jmurph Posted: April 03, 2013 at 10:45 AM (#4403017)
Netflix doesn't 100% replace cable, but it does ~99.5%, and the remaining ~0.5% isn't worth $50/month.


I think we're just watching different stuff, no big deal. I (clearly) watch a lot of TV, including mostly first run stuff. I use the DVR heavily, don't get me wrong, I'm not sitting around every night watching what the channels tell me to watch. And I'm also watching a lot of sports. The extra 50-60 per month is worth it, now, for me, in comparison to the alternatives, primarily for the sports.
   54. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 03, 2013 at 10:45 AM (#4403018)
Netflix (aside from the new original content, which is exciting) is year-ish old (or older) TV series and very, very few movies.


I don't have enough years in my life to watch all the stuff in my Netflix Instant queue. There is more than enough content IMO.
   55. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 03, 2013 at 10:48 AM (#4403020)
Netflix doesn't 100% replace cable, but it does ~99.5%,

Kind of depends what kind of shows you like to watch, doesn't it?

And if I want to watch a specific movie, Netflix isn't great, but if I just want to watch a movie, it's better than any cable package I've ever had (I've never used pay-per-view, so I don't know if that changes it.)

And that kind of depends on what kind of movies you like to watch. The vast majority of Netflix movies I've rented aren't available on streaming. And TCM alone, which doesn't stream, offers an opportunity to see films that you never would have even known about through Netflix's recommendations, useful as they often are.
   56. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: April 03, 2013 at 10:49 AM (#4403021)
I'll just leave this here, but y'all should check it out.. I'm giving ESPN $60+ a year and I don't watch it. No welfare queen in her gilded Cadillac has done worse by me.
   57. jmurph Posted: April 03, 2013 at 10:57 AM (#4403030)
Speaking of all of this stuff, I find I'm much more annoyed about the cost of home internet access these days. Does anyone have any insight into the costs/profit margin in that? I've always suspected that the providers are cleaning up by charging $40-50 per customer, but I have to admit I know very little about the world of broadband.
   58. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 03, 2013 at 11:01 AM (#4403035)
I wish TCM would stream their catalog already. That would solve a lot of content problems.
   59. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: April 03, 2013 at 11:14 AM (#4403050)
For those of you who have cut the cable cord, how do you watch your teams (I'm assuming we're all sports' fans here). I live in Chicago, and basically the only reason I keep cable is for watching the Hawks & Sox. Because of blackout rules I wouldn't be able to get these teams on MLB.tv, Extra Innings, or Center Ice. Streaming sites are OK for wrestling, baseball and soccer, but it's nearly impossible to follow a hockey game on a grainy stream.
   60. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 03, 2013 at 11:16 AM (#4403053)
I watch highlights on my phone during the game, listen to the radio, and sometimes watch the game the next day (or that evening if its a day game). I also watched a lot of Nats and Tigers games last year.
   61. BrianBrianson Posted: April 03, 2013 at 11:38 AM (#4403086)
Kind of depends what kind of shows you like to watch, doesn't it?


I think the answer is generally no. If you want a specific show, yes. But whatever genre of show you like, you'll find a goodly amount. You are hosed for news, but if you're watching news you're too old to give up cable TV as Harvey wisely noted, and news stations generally broadcast on the internet anyhow. You're also screwed for sports, but since I'm currently working in England, I'm screwed for sports anyhow.
   62. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: April 03, 2013 at 11:59 AM (#4403108)
Netflix does not give you as many options as cable, but for my purposes it's perfectly cromulent. The selection isn't the best, but I would prefer to watch a rerun of Cheers or The West Wing on Netflix, than whatever crappy crap I'd find channel-surfing 200+ channels. The movie selection particularly bad, but I definitely get my money's worth.

Counting MLB.tv and my Netflix subscription, I pay less than $20 a month over the year for my tv-watching. And Hulu is free, and perfect for catching up on Parks & Rec and The Office. I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything at all. I am out of the loop on some popular television shows, but the great thing about television these days is that it'll be there when you're ready to watch it.
   63. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 03, 2013 at 12:00 PM (#4403110)
Kind of depends what kind of shows you like to watch, doesn't it?

I think the answer is generally no. If you want a specific show, yes. But whatever genre of show you like, you'll find a goodly amount. You are hosed for news, but if you're watching news you're too old to give up cable TV as Harvey wisely noted, and news stations generally broadcast on the internet anyhow. You're also screwed for sports, but since I'm currently working in England, I'm screwed for sports anyhow.


News is fine online, and in fact it's even better if you expand your definition of "news", not to mention if you include the websites of the NY Times, globalpost, AllAfrica, etc., which aren't available on TV. So score one there for the internet.

But as you say, you're screwed with sports. And there's no way (yet) to duplicate TCM's infinite variety of older movies on the internet. So in two of the three categories I watch with any degree of frequency, the internet gives me little or nothing. Which means that I'm not likely to drop one or the other anytime soon.
   64. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: April 03, 2013 at 12:08 PM (#4403116)
You mean an HDMI cable?

Explain, please. MLB.tv is available on a PC, according to the web site. Premium gives access to mobile devices. In order to use an HDMI cable, I'd have to have a PC near the TV in my family room, my basement, and my bedroom, no?
   65. zack Posted: April 03, 2013 at 12:12 PM (#4403119)
I wouldn't expect this much lack of cable among a hardcore sports community. That's the main reason I have cable, that and watching a trillion car shows, despite never having owned a car.

Also Adventure Time rules, was the best show on TV the last three years though I think it's entering it's decline phase.
   66. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 03, 2013 at 12:16 PM (#4403123)
In order to use an HDMI cable, I'd have to have a PC near the TV in my family room, my basement, and my bedroom, no?


Yes. Or buy Roku/AppleTV/Slingbox/Boxee or a gaming device (Wii, PS3) or a bluray player, none of which are hard to figure out, and can be had for a one time cost as little as $50.

I'm about the most technologically ignorant person my age, and I have been able to navigate without cable just fine. My wife is even more ignorant than I (but watches TV far less) and she's learned how to watch old episodes of "HIMYM" on Netflix, and "Revenge" on Hulu easily.

Cutting the cord is not for everyone. If you watch a ton of TV and like to keep up on current programming, or watch a ton of live sports, its going to be difficult. But if you don't watch enough TV to justify a $60-100 TV bill, it makes a lot of sense.
   67. zack Posted: April 03, 2013 at 12:26 PM (#4403135)
In order to use an HDMI cable, I'd have to have a PC near the TV in my family room, my basement, and my bedroom, no?

You can get HDMI cables at 50 ft. for not that much money online. I don't know about the signal quality at that distance, or your tolerance for cabling, but it's there.
   68. villageidiom Posted: April 03, 2013 at 12:28 PM (#4403143)
There are quite a few internet connected TV models available already. I've got a Vizio that connects via wireless to Netflix, Hulu and a bunch of other crap I never use.
Panasonic for me, and it's fantastic. In addition to what is mentioned above, it can also connect wirelessly to my computer and play stuff from there. I'm an MLB.tv subscription away from having MLB.tv showing on my TV, without involving my computer at all.

I'm also a TV tuner away from setting up my computer as a DVR. But that's another story.
   69. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 03, 2013 at 12:31 PM (#4403150)
Cutting the cord is not for everyone. If you watch a ton of TV and like to keep up on current programming, or watch a ton of live sports, its going to be difficult. But if you don't watch enough TV to justify a $60-100 TV bill, it makes a lot of sense.

Hell, with TCM and a DVD recorder I easily save enough on DVDs every month to pay for my entire FIOS internet-TV-landline-cellphone-ExtraInnings package and then some. (/ducks)
   70. zack Posted: April 03, 2013 at 12:57 PM (#4403195)
Speaking of TCM, I was watching Cool Hand Luke last night, and afterwards that TCM guy talking with a black person about it. I called myself a racist for thinking every black guy is a basketball player, but no, I guess Reggie Miller is just a big fan of movies released when he was 2.
   71. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 03, 2013 at 01:01 PM (#4403206)
Speaking of TCM, I was watching Cool Hand Luke last night, and afterwards that TCM guy talking with a black person about it. I called myself a racist for thinking every black guy is a basketball player, but no, I guess Reggie Miller is just a big fan of movies released when he was 2.

Ha! I caught Reggie talking about Strangers on the Train the other day and...why don't they just hire me to talk about these things. I can also say nothing interesting. Still better than Drew Barrymore rambling on, though. Alec Baldwin was pretty good at the patter, I thought, even if I prefer they just give factoids and backup info about the movies instead of trying to book club them afterwards.
   72. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 03, 2013 at 01:13 PM (#4403226)
The best TCM hosts I can remember have been Baldwin and Molly Haskell, but given TCM's need to reach out to an audience beyond us Warren William and Ida Lupino cultists, it's almost a given that they're going to have a certain number of outside celebrities featured during their prime time shows. I only wish that Reggie Miller had picked a few movies that they haven't shown a million times already, but that's usually the case with their prime time programming no matter who's doing the picking, since during that period they're choosing from a very narrow range of films.
   73. McCoy Posted: April 03, 2013 at 01:26 PM (#4403247)
But the best TV shows today are better than at any time in recent memory, at least since the 70s when shows like MASH, All in the Family, and Hill Street Blues were taking big risks. Heck, even the crappy shows now are better than the crappy shows of the 80s. As lame brain as something like "The Big Bang Theory" is, I'd watch 100 episodes of that before one episode of a lame 80s sitcom like Mr. Belvedere.

A lot of that has to do with there are just way more channels with way more shows than there used to be. More channels means more opportunities to take risks. Also, HBO has led the way and you see a lot of networks wanting to follow their lead


It really isn't about risk since there is a ton of money riding on the success of these shows. What it really is about is niche programming and lowest common denominator programming. In the 70's and 80's when you had the big 3 for national progamming the programming had to appeal to the largest demographic possible which meant for the most part you got bland one size fits all type shows. With the introduction digital cable, satellite, and the internet you have the TV population fragmenting off into various sub-demographics and you now can no longer pump out some bland family sitcom and get a 20 rating. Instead you're focused on getting a 3 to 6 rating for most programs. You're appealing to a smaller and more specific demographic now. Which means you can get quite good programming like Mad Men or The Sopranos or The Shield but it also means you get brain candy like Duck Call masters, Pawn Stars, and the Kardashians.
   74. Poulanc Posted: April 03, 2013 at 01:45 PM (#4403265)
In order to use an HDMI cable, I'd have to have a PC near the TV in my family room, my basement, and my bedroom, no?


Yup. I guess I just assume everyone has a laptop these days. I shouldn't do that.

Although you could get a lap top for less than a year's worth of cable bills that would do a great job of streaming anything you wanted.
   75. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: April 03, 2013 at 01:45 PM (#4403266)
Yes. Or buy Roku/AppleTV/Slingbox/Boxee or a gaming device (Wii, PS3) or a bluray player, none of which are hard to figure out, and can be had for a one time cost as little as $50.

All of those support MLB.tv?
   76. DL from MN Posted: April 03, 2013 at 01:51 PM (#4403273)
Between Netflix, broadcast and the library I have more than enough TV to fill my nights. I have been checking out MLB.tv and they have a "free game of the day" every day. If you're not picky about the team and just want to watch a ballgame you absolutely cannot beat that. 162 free games a year for the $50 cost of a Roku (or $0 cost if you already have Xbox or PS3). Plus, no commercials. Not sure how long this will last.
   77. Swedish Chef Posted: April 03, 2013 at 01:53 PM (#4403277)
In order to use an HDMI cable, I'd have to have a PC near the TV in my family room, my basement, and my bedroom, no?

These days you can use Wi-Fi Display or whatever stupid marketing names are in vogue for that technology and stream stuff from your PC (or your phone) to your TV wirelessly.
   78. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 03, 2013 at 01:54 PM (#4403278)
All of those support MLB.tv?


This is MLB's official list from the website.

Supported devices include:
Xbox 360
Sony Playstation® 3 system
Apple TV
WD TV
Roku
Panasonic
Samsung
LG
Boxee
   79. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 03, 2013 at 01:56 PM (#4403283)
a relative purchased us apple tv as a gift

it took me 10 minutes to set up.

it's connected to the wife's mac so it shows all the playlists and my podcasts.

and of course mlb.tv.

works fine
   80. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: April 03, 2013 at 02:29 PM (#4403309)
Apple TV is actually very slick and very simple. Now I just need to set up a better sound system so I can use iTunes via my TV. I kinda like having the album covers display on the television as the song plays.
   81. Poulanc Posted: April 03, 2013 at 02:29 PM (#4403310)
Not sure how long this will last.


It lasted all of last year. Downside is sometimes games are either afternoon games or west coast games.
   82. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: April 03, 2013 at 02:30 PM (#4403311)
This is MLB's official list from the website.

Ah, of course I have:

Wii
Xbox 360 (but don't pay for Xbox Live Gold)
Sony Blu-ray player
Panasonic Blu-ray player that doesn't appear be on their supported list

So I appear to be at the sweet spot of not being able to really use this. I already use all of my devices for the streaming that I need, such as Amazon, so I don't really want to purchase new hardware.

But at least it's out there.
   83. Dan Posted: April 03, 2013 at 02:37 PM (#4403320)
The only reason I pay for cable is that Comcast has changed the breakdown such that internet without cable TV is still over 80% of the cost of the package with both. I wouldn't have cable if it was $40-50 of the $100 I pay for the bundle, but even if I dropped the cable TV I'd still be paying over $80/month for just the internet connection. So the marginal cost to get the TV service too is so minimal I figure why not?

A few years ago that same $100 bundle would've broken down to something like $50 for just internet or $50 for just TV (plus usually a $10 surchange for internet without TV), so I'd've paid around $60/month for just internet. With that pricing it made sense to just buy the internet service. BUt it seems like they've gotten smarter, or realized that the demand for internet is simply far higher than the demand for cable TV.
   84. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 03, 2013 at 02:51 PM (#4403334)
what Harvey watches on television

the horseracing channel (can never remember what its called despite watching it constantly)
Bloomberg
cnbc
fox
msnbc (i like chris Mathews, sue me)
some mlb network
tcm
local sports (brewers, packers, badgers)
big ten network
   85. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 03, 2013 at 03:09 PM (#4403353)
Probably 90 percent of what I watch on cable is sports, but what I want to watch - Rockies games, Northwestern football games - I REALLY want to watch. For episodic TV, it's pretty much all Netflix, Hulu and DVDs at this point. The full run of "Kojak" is on Hulu.
   86. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 03, 2013 at 03:18 PM (#4403363)

The only reason I pay for cable is that Comcast has changed the breakdown such that internet without cable TV is still over 80% of the cost of the package with both. I wouldn't have cable if it was $40-50 of the $100 I pay for the bundle, but even if I dropped the cable TV I'd still be paying over $80/month for just the internet connection. So the marginal cost to get the TV service too is so minimal I figure why not?


You need to call them and ask for a lower internet price. They will give it to you if you can cite a lower introductory rate by one of their competitors, which you should be able to find. No one should ever pay the regular rate for internet or cable service. $80 strikes me as ridiculous, I pay $40 with no bundle to provide enough internet service that I can stream TV shows every night.
   87. puck Posted: April 03, 2013 at 03:24 PM (#4403372)
I think we're just watching different stuff, no big deal. I (clearly) watch a lot of TV, including mostly first run stuff. I use the DVR heavily, don't get me wrong, I'm not sitting around every night watching what the channels tell me to watch. And I'm also watching a lot of sports. The extra 50-60 per month is worth it, now, for me, in comparison to the alternatives, primarily for the sports.


My family also watches a lot of tv. I've found cable worth it for the convenience and quality (compared to streams). We also have Netflix. MLB.tv has great quality and so does netflix. ESPN3/watchESPN has always kind of sucked for me (don't own an XBox) and the one time I tried FoxSoccer2Go it was more like ESPN3 than MLB.tv. There's stuff on cable that I watch a lot (a crapload of soccer) that would be hard to replace with streams--a lot of them would have to be illegal, which I've found to be of suspect quality.

The multi-TV setup is damn expensive, though, and is close to being the straw that breaks the camel's back and pushes me to streaming.
   88. bigglou115 Posted: April 03, 2013 at 03:27 PM (#4403377)
There are a few things still working against a la carte as it applies to sports. Regional blackouts are the one thing that really stand out to me. You can't unplug in baseball without completely foregoing your local team. I think its more likely the NFL mimics MLB's policy if they ever catch up to MLB.tv and At Bat then MLB drops the blackouts. Furthermore, the NFL itself is a problem. As I understand it, the reason the NFL doesn't have an NFL.tv is that the online rights to games belong to the service providers, like DirecTV offers the app that lets you watch games you wouldn't ordinarily get. Those contracts would have to expire.

Seems to me that cable and satellite will never go a la carte as long as the sports channels maintain their ties, sports fans are just too big a chunk of the regular cable audience. It would take a near collective decision by non-sports fans to unplug to make it economical to break up the packages.
   89. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 03, 2013 at 03:35 PM (#4403389)
So all this chatter has made me decide to sign up for MLB.tv for the first time. Apparently I can also get MiLB.tv with it for $20. Anyone have any experience with that? How is it?
   90. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 03, 2013 at 03:40 PM (#4403396)
It seems to me that some kind of hybrid of cable plans/a la carte could be done. For example you wouldn't be able to access the Tier 4 channels in any form unless you already got Tiers 1-3. Then you could select various channels in Tier 4 in an a la carte fashion that enabled 3-4 channels before it simply became cost effective to get the full Tier 4 plan.

I've been trying to upgrade for a few weeks to add some channels and it's incredibly frustrating how difficult it is. The fact that I can't call Verizon and ask "how much to go from the Extreme to the Ultimate plan" and get a coherent answer is insane. I've been trying to give them money for 3 weeks and they are making it difficult to do so.
   91. booond Posted: April 03, 2013 at 03:41 PM (#4403397)
One nice thing about Roku that I didn't see mentioned is its portability. You can pick it up and move it as needed. All it needs to do is pick up the wifi and you're ready to go.
   92. Dan Posted: April 03, 2013 at 03:52 PM (#4403408)
You need to call them and ask for a lower internet price. They will give it to you if you can cite a lower introductory rate by one of their competitors, which you should be able to find. No one should ever pay the regular rate for internet or cable service. $80 strikes me as ridiculous, I pay $40 with no bundle to provide enough internet service that I can stream TV shows every night.


Well it's not $80 for "enough internet service to stream TV shows". My internet is 50 Mbps down/10 up. I'm sure they offer lower tiers at lower prices.
   93. DL from MN Posted: April 03, 2013 at 05:04 PM (#4403458)
The downside to going to all streaming is it doesn't work very well on more than one TV at a time, at least using my DSL. If one person is streaming in our house the other TVs are going to be viewing broadcast TV, watching DVDs or playing video games. Not usually hard to manage the conflicts.
   94. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 03, 2013 at 05:53 PM (#4403514)
Since I only stream maybe at most 5 hours a month through my computer, I'm qualified to ask what's probably a stupid question: If I were to stream (say) 3 or 4 hours a day, would all this extra streaming be reflected in my monthly bill, or is unlimited streaming pretty much standard these days?

As I said, it's a moot point with me, but I'm just curious if all these savings for going all-streaming are quite as big as they seem. I do notice that as a DVD-only subscriber to Netflix, I'm paying less than I would if I subscribed to their streaming only.
   95. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 03, 2013 at 05:58 PM (#4403521)
Unlimited's pretty much standard. I can't see that lasting, though. Allowing unlimited streaming enables cord cutting. Too much cord cutting, bye bye flat rate streaming.
   96. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: April 03, 2013 at 06:00 PM (#4403527)
So all this chatter has made me decide to sign up for MLB.tv for the first time. Apparently I can also get MiLB.tv with it for $20. Anyone have any experience with that? How is it?


I loved milb.tv when I had time for it, if nothing else, for a chance to usually watch the Memphis Redbirds prospects on a Cards off day.

Video quality is nowhere near what you'd get with mlb.tv, but it's perfectly acceptable for a window in a laptop/background noise while reading a book or cooking dinner.

I find I spend more time watching Hulu than Netflix, and actually have a pretty significant LEAP put against NFLX, because I don't think their business model will survive when HBO and others realize how easy it is to do what NFLX does. It just takes too long for DVD movies to show up, the postal service is sucking and getting suckier, and they don't have enough of the movies I want to watch/television series "on-time" for me. They are good for "catching up on" series that you missed in the past- I've used them for supernatural, mad men, lost, etc, and it's awesome to be able to watch 5-6 "old" episodes in a row. However, the new stuff isn't there; it IS on Hulu (and AMZN, for a per-episode cost).

They are complementary, today, but there's no reason hulu can't do what NFLX does, and lots of reasons why NFLX can't do what hulu does. Long-term, of course, both are going to be destroyed by the original content providers like HBO and Disney launching their own streaming services. They just have no leverage; they can't force those guys to sell them their rights, and the prices will only go up.
   97. McCoy Posted: April 03, 2013 at 06:07 PM (#4403533)
I'm not really sure unlimited data plans are the standard. I know Comcast slows you down after 200 gigs. Cox has several price tiers ranging from 50 gig to 400 gigs.
   98. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: April 03, 2013 at 06:49 PM (#4403570)
What people are watching

As far as I know, Disney, and History don't have any live programming, ever.

USA has the wrestling. And ESPN has the live sports.

Note that the uppers at ESPN would dispute this; they always show up lower in the ratings because so many people are watching in group situations (sports bars and such) and are not really counted in traditional TV ratings that way.

Also, "ratings" are kind of weird for cable. The national heavy hitters are counted more or less accurately, but YES has a much bigger carriage audience than FOX Sports Southeast (or whatever). So if you count them the same, the smaller channel is at a big disadvantage.
   99. Dan Posted: April 03, 2013 at 07:06 PM (#4403578)
I'm not really sure unlimited data plans are the standard. I know Comcast slows you down after 200 gigs. Cox has several price tiers ranging from 50 gig to 400 gigs.


Comcast doesn't really do this. I think they suspended the cap anyway, but I've never met anyone who's actually had Comcast throttle them, even when going over 300 GB per month routinely.

In any case, 200 GB is a HUGE amount of data. Even constantly streaming I don't think you'd hit that in a month.
   100. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: April 03, 2013 at 07:07 PM (#4403579)
I find I spend more time watching Hulu than Netflix, and actually have a pretty significant LEAP put against NFLX, because I don't think their business model will survive when HBO and others realize how easy it is to do what NFLX does.

To hedge against being wrong and to reduce or prevent the erosion of time value on the LEAPS, sell the near month put at the same strike each month and pay it back. If things break right you just might break even or make a little moulah, but at least it reduces the cost of the LEAPS that you bought.

What can Hulu do that Netflix can't? Sign a license agreement?
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