New Cable Talking Point Against Cord Cutters: They May Be Cutting, But They're Poor Nobodies

from the nice-try dept

We already noted that the cable industry is really trying to stick its head as far in the sand as possible when it comes to the fact that many customers are starting to drop their cable TV subscriptions. First, they pretended it wasn't happening at all, and that they had somehow "beat" the internet (based on a single anecdote of someone who had dropped cable, but gone back to it a year later). Then, when news came out of massive numbers of people dropping their cable TV plans, they said that they weren't really cord cutters, because they were only canceling service due to the down economy. The latest strategy appears to be to insult the cord cutters, saying that while the idea behind cord cutters was that it would be young, technologically savvy folks, it's actually people who the cable companies just don't care about: poor older folks. Seriously. At least that's the argument being made by one of the cable industry's favorite talking heads, who tries to minimize the cord cutters by saying they're "poor" people who "eat a dog's breakfast."
Mr. Moffett said the image of the cord-cutter had been that of a "cutting-edge technologist" who preferred to bypass cable to watch programming on computers and on an ever-proliferating array of devices. "The reality is it's someone who's 40 years old and poor and settling for a dog's breakfast of Netflix and short-form video."
Sounds kind of like the cable industry is moving from the "denial" stage to the "anger" stage of grief...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Prashanth (profile), Oct 29th, 2010 @ 6:55am

    Do they not get it?

    Do companies not get that unless your name is RyanAir/you thrive on controversial statements, you're not going to win over any new customers by calling them crap?

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 6:58am

    The only problem is ESPN. I hated missing the awesome NCSU vs FSU game last night, but other than that, it is the tech savvy abandoning cable.

    Their biggest problem is that Netflix instant view is better than cable by itself.

    When I visit my in-laws, I'm always disappointed by their $800 a year habit. If they canceled cable and spent the $800 on reasonable internet ($120), Netflix ($120), and a $500 HDTV, they'd have a better entertainment experience. And after year one, they'd save hundreds a year.

    So again, the only problem is ESPN. Cable companies better keep sports locked up, because when they lose sports, it's over.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 7:06am

    How to stop the Web's live sports pirates
    http://edition.cnn.com/2010/TECH/web/10/29/nfl.streaming/index.html?hpt=Sbin

    Angry stage indeed LoL

    I saw a building with a server that had tones of (legal purchased/maybe illegal distributed. Where does it turns illegal? material on it, that building doesn't need no cable as for sports only one guy needs to get the stream and he could divide the expenses with his friends in his building or neighborhood.

    But maybe he is right is the older people who are cutting the cord because the younger generation may not even know the cable is there, games are better then TV these days and the internet has everything.

     

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  4.  
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    zaven (profile), Oct 29th, 2010 @ 7:06am

    Re:

    Pretty much every game ESPN broadcasts that's not on ABC or ESPN U is available on-line now. ESPN3.com is awesome

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 7:13am

    Re: Re:

    Even better, some ISPs give you access to ESPN3.com. I know Verizon did when I watched the World Cup recently.

     

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  6.  
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    Jared (profile), Oct 29th, 2010 @ 7:19am

    They're right that people are cutting the cord to save money but they're wrong that the average cord cutter is broke. I'd bet that many of those supposed poor cord cutters still have high priced, high speed internet, and that many are like me, just sick of the ever increasing prices with every decreasing quality.

    If your a sports fan and don't have access to ESPN3 then your pretty much tied to cable. I think thats a big reason TWC doesn't want ESPN3, it would allow for sports fans to more easily cut the cord.

    We cut the cord over the summer, it was a rough transition and it's still not nearly as easy to "watch tv" than before, we use a mix of Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Hulu but it is doable and seems to be getting better every month.

    We had to invest a several hundred in hardware to make it happen but after one year it'll break even and we'll effectively have a free computer. One nice thing we've found is that we're now very decisive about what we watch and have gotten many hours of life back now that we spend effectively zero time chan surfing.

    I do however miss 5.1 and HD on most things, though that seems to be changing. Netflix on the PS3 is really quite amazing and is example of things to come.

     

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  7.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 29th, 2010 @ 7:20am

    Re: Re: Re:

    And there are other sites out there that have access to pretty much every major sporting event as well. The other day, I had my triple monitors set up with one having the Blackhawks game, the other the Bears game, and a third showing me the Bulls preseason game.

    My ongoing war with the VS. channel and Comcast Sports Net's ridiculous online policies and customer service rages on....and I am not losing....

     

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  8.  
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    Tetsubo, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 7:28am

    I have Comcast as both my cable provider & internet provider. I was going to cancel the cable portion of my plan due to income issues. Than they told me that I would actually save $1 a month if I kept the basic cable plan with my internet access. So I did. Mostly I watch the news.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 7:35am

    Re:

    $120 a year for reasonable internet? Where? That's $10 a month. The cheapest in central Ohio is $15 a month, and that's for 512kbit down, 128kbit up dsl which is far too slow for netflix.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 7:36am

    I haven't watch TV(regular/cable) in years.

    I don't think I could bear all those commercials anymore.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 7:36am

    I actually laughed out loud at that one

    I haven't had a TV subscription for over five years. I'm also technology officer for a division of a Fortune 50 company -- pretty much the definiton of a "cutting-edge technologist."

    Of course "cutting-edge technologists" are only a tiny percentage of the population. Since they're probably outnumbered at least 10:1 by poor 40 year olds, the spokesman admits that they have a much bigger problem than they previously thought.

     

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  12.  
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    JEDIDIDAH, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 7:37am

    ATSC vs. Cable

    The current spat du jour in this area is about the World Series of course. That is something that I am presently recording off the broadcast portion of my PVR setup. No cable needed there at all.

    The switch to digital TV was supposed to improve cable-free TV offerings and in some respects they have. A lot of cable TV is pretty redundant. Of course "clear signal" used to be one of the big reasons to get cable to begin with.

    ...might not be such a big deal now.

     

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  13.  
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    Mike Espinosa, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 7:38am

    Re: Sports

    There is no stopping IPTV. GoogleTV is here and Boxee is around the corner. Those two and the future stb's with full internet access will let you stream content including ESPN3 HD...On your big screen TV and using a small remote or your Smart Phone to change (channels?)

    There is also a new start-up called Ivi TV. They offer streams from major cities of local channels. Great for black-outs.. And it continues to grow exponentially. Forget cable and satellites. How to wean people from decades of cable watching is what is going to take time to do.

    TvMike

     

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  14.  
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    JEDIDIAH, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 7:40am

    ...basic math education.

    The price of cable over a year is nothing to sneeze at. People are finally starting to realize this and that there might be something better to spend it on. You don't have to be poor to be picky about how you waste money.

     

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  15.  
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    Mike C. (profile), Oct 29th, 2010 @ 7:46am

    Cancelled Comcast because they stink...

    In my area, the Comcast "service" is horrible. Regular outages or interruptions, constant price increases for basic cable ($65/month for a wire to house, no box, no DVR... really???) and I could never get anyone to come deal with line issues (low hanging wires for years, finally ripped down by a garbage truck).

    When U-Verse was added to my neighborhood a couple years ago, I waited a couple months for them to shake out the bugs, signed up and never looked back. Now at least a dozen of my neighbors have done the same. We cover all age bracked (early 20's through late 70's), several income levels (retired, unemployed, part-time workers, full-time salaried, etc) and multiple tech skill levels. We all cancelled Comcast for the same reason - horrible service and lack of quality.

    Somehow, I don't think they quite get it yet... :-)

     

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  16.  
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    R. Miles (profile), Oct 29th, 2010 @ 7:46am

    Just in case the idiots reads TD...

    "...and settling for a dog's breakfast of Netflix and short-form video."
    Why is it this "dog's breakfast" can offer more than what cable can, with only a few web addresses?

    180 channels and we get:
    -80 music channels because?
    -100 channels of ads interrupted by a damn TV show.

    I'll stick to my "dog's breakfast". So nice to actually watch content, not ads.

    Yes, Mike, I know you think they're the same thing, and they are, but to a point.

    I'm done paying for product endorsements.

    It appears the growing number of 1 million probably feels the same way.

     

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  17.  
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    ChronoFish (profile), Oct 29th, 2010 @ 7:46am

    He's Almost partially correct

    "... the image of the cord-cutter had been that of a "cutting-edge technologist" .... "The reality is it's someone who's 40 years old and poor and settling for a dog's breakfast of Netflix and short-form video."..."


    Cables been cut for 10 years now. My current demographic:

    Age: 38 (close)
    Income: upper-middle
    Breakfast: Cereal (I'm not one for Dog Chow)- Enjoy the weekly shows (The Event, Chuck, Colbert, Bones, Caprica, Modern Family {all on Hulu} - I guess those are "short-form video")
    Profession: Software Developer (though it's true I'm not a gadget freak)


    -CF

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 7:57am

    Yep, I will absolutely never go back to Cable T.V. now. His remarks were insulting, arrogant. Their loss.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 8:02am

    Never even connected the cord

    I moved from CA to TX about 8 months ago and when I setup my house I never even called about cable TV. I have a great pipe (18Mbps) and all the shows I would want to watch are all aggregated on www.eztv.it or I can usually find them on TPB a few hours after original broadcast.

    I am a 27 year old male. I don't eat dog food for breakfast, lunch or dinner and I could certainly afford to shell out for cable TV.

     

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  20.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Oct 29th, 2010 @ 8:17am

    yummy

    My dog food sure is tasty! I'm never going back to human food.

     

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  21.  
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    Jim O (profile), Oct 29th, 2010 @ 8:24am

    I may be a poor nobody....

    I may be a poor nobody, but I just dropped $2K on a new TV and a Boxee box (preorder). I have never had a cable subscription and (until last weekend) I have never actually owned a television.

    My household:
    - 3 people (my fiance, my roommate, and myself)
    - 27 - 30 years old.
    - 1 Female, 2 Males.
    - We range from tech savvy to "what is twitter"?
    - None of us would take cable even if it were free

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 8:44am

    I long ago cut the PPV bill. I had one tv when the US went digital. I didn't bother to buy a black box, didn't bother to buy a new tv, and didn't bother to worry about it.

    When I bought a new place (cash of course), I didn't worry about connecting the cable; that's not even a consideration.

    I'm fed up with high prices, poor programming, and poor service with constantly rising prices for what little you get. Most of the tv programming is ads with a show as a sideline excuse to pass them to you. Did I mention I hate a commercial with a passion?

    I will not be going back to tv. They've priced themselves out of a market and the offerings for programming are so poor as to be of no interest.

    The cable companies as well as the public channels can believe what they want. To me, they are on the verge of finding out what happened to the newspaper industry.

     

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  23.  
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    nasch (profile), Oct 29th, 2010 @ 8:53am

    Re:

    For me, I spend about $420 a year on internet, not $120, and Netflix streaming is often really jerky. And it doesn't even look as good as a DVD, let alone HD. Maybe I don't have great internet service, I don't know, but it's fine for gaming.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 8:53am

    So, how long until they move to the 'bargaining' stage, where they lobby to congress to get their business models declared fundamental to the American way of life, and cord-cutters defined as evil thieving terrorists?

     

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  25.  
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    G. Stanley, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 9:01am

    Moffett: Go back to Business School

    This is my personal opinion.

    So let me get this right: If I don't follow your ideal, Mr. Moffett, of what service I should be watching then, according to you, I'm something like a poor schmuck who can't decide what's good content and what's not?

    Time to face facts: Cable isn't offering what customers want content-wise. I hate watching TV - it's worse than my dog's breakfast. That's why I have Netflix, iTunes on AppleTV, Hulu, and (if I want to watch news on TV or Public TV station) I have an antenna which gives me free 1080i uncompressed local channels from NY and Philly.

    The only thing Comcast has been good for is internet service - and they botched the installation which required connecting two coaxial cables on a pole (everything else was done for them).

    I have yet to hear anyone love their cable company or the content cable provides. And we can see why with people like you and your attitude towards customers at the top.

     

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  26.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Oct 29th, 2010 @ 9:07am

    I cut the cable cord a couple of years ago due to high price, internet choking and the entire silliness of packaging.

    I'm over 50 so I fit the insult, I'm not poor but there comes a time when even the least intelligent realize they're paying a lot for what they aren't getting with cable. Also, I'm far from a technophobe so I don't fit there.

    Gee, I must be an outlier. If so I'm proud of it.

     

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  27.  
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    Mike B, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 9:11am

    a dog's breakfast

    Not only do I love not paying for cable and getting everything via the internet, A Dog's Breakfast is also a really good movie on Netflix :)

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 9:30am

    Re: Re:

    $120 a year more than their current internet. Upgrade from DSL ~1 MB/s to a ~5Mb/s plan. I was guessing $10 a month. I don't actually know what was being offered.

     

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  29.  
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    William, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 9:49am

    I like my "dog's breakfast of Netflix"

    I like my "dog's breakfast of Netflix". I watch what I want, when I want.

    And not going back to cable!

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 9:55am

    My technophobe girlfriend hates cable. She's hooked on Hulu Desktop and Netflix streaming service. We cancelled things about 8 months ago and haven't looked back.

     

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  31.  
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    John (profile), Oct 29th, 2010 @ 9:56am

    Re: Re: Re:

    ESPN is the only reason I keep cable as well. As Time Warner customers, we just got access to ESPN3 and ESPNNetworks.com, but unfortunately, you are only allowed in if your TV package includes ESPN...effectively shutting out the 'cord cutters.' Pretty crappy if you ask me.

     

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  32.  
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    PMacDiggity (profile), Oct 29th, 2010 @ 9:59am

    What the statement should have said:
    "We're loosing the middle-to-low income 40 year olds who make up the core of our audience as well as the youth demographic with disposable income who define where an industry is going, we are in very deep doo doo."

    Of the many people I know who have cut the cord (& myself), the common characteristic is that none of them are big sports watchers. As soon as cable looses sports, they're done.

     

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  33.  
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    Ian Moriarty, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 10:06am

    At Least...

    At least it's not the dog's breakfast of low quality shows crammed season to season that are immediately canceled the moment they become unprofitable, leaving those that were watching with zero recourse.

    ~I

     

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  34.  
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    25dogfoodeater, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 10:16am

    orly?

    I'm 25, technologically savvy, have streaming netflix, and the internet. I "Cut the cord" 4 years ago and never looked back.

    For the record, I had a ham, egg, and cheese this morning and it was delicious.

     

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  35.  
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    RadialSkid (profile), Oct 29th, 2010 @ 10:53am

    "I don't have cable TV."

    "Well, then you're POOR! Stupid poor people! You make me sick!"

    What the hell? Is this grade school?

     

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  36.  
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    MarksAngel (profile), Oct 29th, 2010 @ 11:10am

    I'm a 35 year old housewife, who never even finished high school. But over a year ago I realized we were paying way to much for nothing with cable t.v. We cut it off, I hooked a computer to the t.v. and we've been just fine with hulu, netflix, and the occasional Itunes and Amazon purchase ever since. It has saved us a ton of cash and we find we spend less time watching t.v. now and more time in other activities.

     

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  37.  
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    TPBer (profile), Oct 29th, 2010 @ 12:01pm

    Just think...

    if we were all a bit more ignorant we could run a cable co.

    What else can they say to the likes of GTV. Google was so smart in their naming convention, the cable companies did not see it coming.

    "Companion Box", yeah right!

    Between torrents and GTV I believe all content is now freeeeeeeeeeeee :)

     

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  38.  
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    ChronoFish (profile), Oct 29th, 2010 @ 12:31pm

    Re:

    "..."We're loosing the middle-to-low income 40 year olds who make up the core of our audience as well as the youth demographic with disposable income who define where an industry is going, we are in very deep doo doo."..."

    Except the dirty little secret of Cable is that their core demographics is in the 50s-60s and aging (no offense to those who are in their 50s and 60s). They've already lost the 20-30 somethings.

    -CF

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 1:01pm

    Darnit, Newegg still doesn't have a laptop with a TV-Out port. (I had a dickens of a time finding the one I'm using now.) If they did have one, I would've linked it here.
    I've been using the aforementioned laptop instead of cable TV for over a year now, and I could never go back. I watch what I want, when I want, and I'm no longer driven up the wall by annoying commercials.

    Rather than whining about how there aren't enough people paying them for an obsolete product, cable companies should be preparing to transition to full-time ISPs. Blaming the customers like this is like being on a sinking ship and just standing around complaining about how your feet are getting wet.

     

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  40.  
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    Sam, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 5:43pm

    I cut out cable because I was tired of paying $100+ per month for commercials, reruns, shopping channels, music channels, religious channels, and infomercial channels. Premium movie channel repeat the same ten movies over and over.

    Netflix gives me everything I want for $9 a month. The cable company tried to force me to keep TV by offering a lower combine cost for internet and TV. Internet only is twice the price of Internet and TV combined. My guess is that cable companies charge more for internet only, to prevent people from cutting the cable cord. If cable companies did not charge people more for internet only, I am sure many more people would be cutting out cable TV.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
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    Jay (profile), Oct 29th, 2010 @ 11:51pm

    Re: He's Almost partially correct

    Caprica just got canceled...

    Looks like you have even more free time.

     

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  42.  
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    Jay (profile), Oct 29th, 2010 @ 11:54pm

    Another advantage to cable

    No dish, no box rental, no satellite to adjust...

    Now as soon as more TV shows put their stuff on Ustream, it'll be that much better to have an internet only connection.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
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    Trish, Oct 30th, 2010 @ 4:58am

    Well by that logic...

    There's bound to be an acceptance stage. There's hope yet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
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    Haggie, Oct 31st, 2010 @ 2:03pm

    Combined househould income: $250K+
    Amount spent on cable television: $0

    We have naked broadband cable and download all of our TV (even shows available OTA) using BitTorrent and ShowRSS with OpenVPN and PeerBlock to keep it anonymous and streamed to our TV via Buffalo Linkstation and PlayOn. We can also access all of our content remotely using Orb.

    The whole set-up costs less per year than one month of cable television.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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