If Your Cable Company Were Honest, This Is What Its Commercial Would Look Like

from the well-done dept

You may have already seen this, as it seems to be getting passed around everywhere this morning, but for those of you with actual important stuff to do all day, you may have missed this amusing mock cable company commercial from what Extremely Decent Films has dubbed “The First Honest Cable Company.” It is marginally NSFW depending on your work environment and their likelihood of being offended by a the occasional swear word or vague reference to a sexual act.

Just a snippet of the transcript in case you can’t watch the video right now:

You’ll have the option of choosing from several of our completely unwarranted ripoffs, including internet speeds almost 200 times slower than Korea… at twice the price. TV packages with over 500 channels, 90% of which you can’t view and we guarantee a plethora of hidden fees. Then our barely trained technicians will come to install your service somewhere between the hours 8am and 10 pm, knock once while you’re in the shower, and promptly leave…. Why you ask? We’re part of what is called an “oligopoly.” It’s like a monopoly… only legal!

Good stuff.

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Comments on “If Your Cable Company Were Honest, This Is What Its Commercial Would Look Like”

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Anonymous Coward says:

superb! so much truth in this, like so many other things in the USA and so many reasons will be dreamed up so as to be able to ignore it. let’s face it, the government will spend as much as it takes to protect the entertainment industries, helping it to stay as a backward, ages old business rather than force it to progress into the digital age. the piss poor internet access and broadband speeds from just as backward thinking monopolistic telecom companies will be protected just the same. then the complaints continue because almost every other country has speeds in excess of 50mps, leaving the USA out on a technological limb! serve their rights!!

Robert P (profile) says:

very funny, fortunately doesn't fit my experience

I’ve been a fortunate and happy Comcast customer, especially since I moved to my current residence. I get good (not as best as possible) internet speeds, very reliable service (almost no outages) and when needed, they comcast guy is usually available the next day, shows up on time and knows what he’s talking about.

I’m the 1%

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: very funny, fortunately doesn't fit my experience

That’s not 1%. That’s what things should be like. If you are with Comcast, my bet is you get somewhere around 20 Mbps down, and you are paying ~$45/month for it, giving you about $2.25/Mbps. My HOA (I know, it’s awful, etc) provides 100Mbps down and 20Mbps up for $55 ($0.55/Mbps), alerts us to when there will be planned outages (around 2am when they occur, which is rarely) and has only had one unplanned outage in a couple of years. I’ve had Comcast, Qwest, and some weird Verizon bastard child thing. I never liked any of their customer service, though I admit I rarely had to deal with it more than setup and disconnect. It’s just that what I get now is actually worth the money.

Not to rub it in, but I’m pretty sure my ISP hasn’t agreed to the 6-strikes plan either, so there’s that. I’ve also not noticed any filtering (I got some amazing speeds on a couple of linux distro torrents).

Ben S (profile) says:

Re: Re: very funny, fortunately doesn't fit my experience

Do you know who the ISP is through your HOA? You’re talking over 14 times my current speed (downstream, upstream is far more vast a difference) at a mere 57% increase in price. I’m hoping Google Fiber begins to spread to force ISP prices down, but until then, the speeds and price you’re getting sound awesome.

Miff (profile) says:

Re: very funny, fortunately doesn't fit my experience

Comcast is rolling out IPv6 nationwide and will send a tech for bad signal levels. Knology sees no benifit to IPv6 and even at -12 dBmV, you’ll sit on hold for 90 minutes before all they do is lock out your ability to view signal levels at the modem.

I showed my modem stats to a Comcast tech and he said that he’s surprised that I even get internet at all.

richard says:

Re: very funny, fortunately doesn't fit my experience

Unless you have google fiber your internet survice simply cannot be as good as the rest fo the 1st world’s. The US has consistently lagged behind. You may have a good speed compared to others in the US, but I assure you it sucks in europe. They had 10MBS connections over 10 years ago; and we’ve only recently gotten there. THAT is what this video is about.

Akari Mizunashi (profile) says:

I’d watch the video, but my bandwidth’s sluggish (and possibly capped since I’ve ignored those 113 CAS “warnings” sent to my inbox).

Wouldn’t matter if it wasn’t sluggish. By the time it started streaming, I’d be on the phone, again, bitching why their cheap ass modem requires me to unplug it for 2 minutes to fix the problem.

“Bob” is always nice, but I’d wish he’d quick drinking on the job. He sounds like he’s from India. He’s always helpful, going down the same 10 checklist items only to discover my original question isn’t covered and puts me in touch with… technical support. I thought that’s who I called.

But the jokes on them! I save myself the price of a stamp each month by sending my payment via my online bank and force them to send me a paper copy invoice!

I know, I’m evil, but I’ve learned from the best!

out_of_the_blue says:

Okay, so regulate the hell out of them!

Make ’em public utilities. — Of course, you’d then complain of no innovation and lethargic bureaucracy, but some reasonable balance can be achieved, as for The Phone Company, which at one time was world leader in technology. — Most important is to not let corporations grow without limit or watching them closely.

I’m glad to see Mike recognizing obliquely monopoly as bad: “t’s like a monopoly… only legal!”. — Now, if can just get him to see that BAD is always associated with BIG…

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Okay, so regulate the hell out of them!

Most important is to not let corporations grow without limit or watching them closely.

Once again Blue, who gets to decide what is considered “too big” for a corporation? You?

And what are you gonna do to stop them? Penalize them for being too successful?

To put your wacko notions in simpler terms:

Force the farmer to prune his apple trees to keep them from getting “too big” because the may block out some of the sunlight. Of course, what you are left with is scrawny sticks in the ground that neither produce fruit nor provide shade.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re: Okay, so regulate the hell out of them!

And what are you gonna do to stop them? Penalize them for being too successful?

The Randroids always show up with that particular strawman when anyone starts talking about curbing corporate abuses. Sane people understand the truth, though. No one wants to penalize success; but people taking success and abusing it, turning it into economic exploitation, does need to be penalized strenuously if you want to maintain a healthy society.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Okay, so regulate the hell out of them!

Honestly, this was being discussed by major network operators here in the US just last month. Not so much for regulation, but to expand infrastructure across the US, federally funded operations wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
Here’s a link to the discussion:

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Okay, so regulate the hell out of them!

Okay, so regulate the hell out of them! Make ’em public utilities.

The infrastructure should be a public utility. Then ISPs should be able to compete to offer service. Then the PUC could make sure the infrastructure is maintained properly and charged for fairly, and competition will take care of the rest.

I think that would solve most of the problems we have. It would be great if it could all be solved with competition, but the wires are a natural monopoly, so we have to find some other way to deal with that. Duopoly, which we’ve chosen so far, is obviously terrible. While we’re living in fantasy land, how could we ensure new technology is adopted to keep improving our internet services?

Amy (user link) says:

Netflix Should Hire These People For Marketing

And this is why so many people around my age and younger are just cutting the cord. Even when you find a company that doesn’t hose you, they’re often just piggybacking off one of the big company’s networks and are subject to slowdowns and service blackouts at the random discretion of their network provider.

It’s only a matter of time before the legacy companies run out of lobbying funds, but it’s a hard wait when you know it’s coming, but the government just helps them continue to limp along.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Netflix Should Hire These People For Marketing

[citation needed]

“profit” doesn’t just have to be for shareholders. It could be excess employee compensation, excess CEO and other executive compensation, excess administrative costs that ultimately do unfairly benefit someone. Not just net profit as in shareholder profits.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Netflix Should Hire These People For Marketing

We’re paying way too much for a service that should only cost a small fraction of what we’re paying. Someone is scamming us blind and that needs to be fixed. The legal system is the problem because the legal system is bought by lobbyists and corporations that pass laws to stifle competition.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Netflix Should Hire These People For Marketing

No, that is someone who actually has some experience with the industry instead of just assuming I know what I am talking about because I read something on Techdirt. TV is not the cash cow. Not anymore. Small local operators don’t even want to offer it, but have no choice if they want to compete. The networks are milking paid TV for all they can. The profit margin is very low. Internet is where companies now have to make their profit.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Netflix Should Hire These People For Marketing

“No, that is someone who actually has some experience with the industry instead of just assuming I know what I am talking about because I read something on Techdirt.”

Coming from an AC I will just take this as your unsourced opinion, which holds very little weight. Techdirt at least has references that can be traced back to non-anonymous sources.

ComputerAddict (profile) says:

Ready. Set. Disruption.

The market is ready, Google is set to do it, only leaves disruption.

Once a few years of Google Fiber numbers come in, new businesses (read Copy Cats… (Read Pirates…. Read dirty thieves))) will leverage Google’s business model as a “proven model” to secure loans from investors and will deploy similar solutions in other areas the country.

Once these startups hit a high enough percentage market share the big ISPs will have to compete (probably only in those areas) or buy out these smaller companies… Both have their headaches, buyouts require will gov’t approval, and competing is a new concept to them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Ready. Set. Disruption.

No offense, but I’m noticing Google is slowing down just a tad bit. From discontinuing, instead of improving, many of their non-core services (which creates user mistrust which makes it less likely for people to adopt future services even if they’re good or potentially good, which makes it less likely for Google to begin, continue, and hence improve future services) to not improving their core services much (ie: Google translate has long arguably been the best translator and is very useful, but face it, it still completely sucks and I have noticed very little improvement. Google started out on the right foot with it, they were developing ways you can speak into a microphone in one language and have it translated to someone else in an earpiece in another and have that person speak back into a microphone in their native language and have it translated back to the first persons language in an ear piece so that people can converse but, all of a sudden, those efforts now seem to be discontinued? Google maps now has outdated phone numbers and locations and it seems to be getting more and more outdated and not up to date, etc…). Google needs to kinda step it up a bit, but maybe since they went public their interests are beginning to change, who knows. Lately, what new exciting innovation have they really put to market? The test of Google Glasses?

They started out well, Gmail having more space than everyone else (and everyone else had to consequently improve their service and offer more space), Google Search, Youtube, etc… They came out with a nice Google 411 service that was nice until it disappeared. What now? I don’t see very much.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Ready. Set. Disruption.

Going public was the worst thing that could have happened because now it’s clear that they’ve been hijacked by the same greedy people who have taken control of every other company, soon their good ideas are going to stagnate and we’ll be showered with terrible, restricted ideas.

PRMan (profile) says:

Funny, but not so true in my case

I have TimeWarner in Southern California and I can tell you that while their HD picture completely sucks (I have DirecTV), their internet is super fast and almost 100% uptime. I can’t remember the last time it was down and they have raised it from 5Mbps to 10, 20 and now 35 without telling me or raising the price (maybe $5 over a 10-year span).

Just a happy customer who thinks it’s unfair for my company to be painted with the same broad brush, when they are doing pretty good if you ask me.

Rapnel (profile) says:

Re: Funny, but not so true in my case

How about you post us a screen shot of your : http://www.timewarnercable.com/en/residential-home/support/speed-test.html ?

Then tell us how much you’re paying and then compare that info to costs in other, and for some strange fucking reason, better connected countries.

Same provider and I have 5.7 download and 0.97 upload.. 5, 10, 20 and now 35 you say?

ECA (profile) says:

Very good

Its funny.
Think for a second..IF CABLE corps got together, they could FORCE the Channels into being CHEAP. IF the Channels wanted ACCESS to customers they have FEW choices.

They can install Antenna towers across the nation.
OR Send a SAT signal that Cable/sat could use, to sell to customers.

There has to be a BIG SAT up there for all the channels. THINK of the CRAP TV you get to watch, all those channels that VERY few watch, and are still on.

dont worry about the complaints that its EXPENSIVE to send signals to SAT’s..they get PAID for commercials. And trying to setup Antennas around the USA to get to customers is Much more expensive..

Do I have to mention SUBSIDIES? Much of the fiber is getting PAID for by YOU. In 1 form or another. YOU PAID FOR IT. At least 10 times over.

ECA (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Very good

They are all 1 single group..at least controlled as a group.
All the money goes the SAME way..UP.

Why do you think Cable/sat charge you for channels you DONT WATCH..an the cable/sat companies have NO WAY to take them out?
I dont watch the sports channels, but have to PAY for them..
The FCC has been TRYING to get ala carte channels for years.
Cable STARTED with bunched channels..you paid for the EXTRA. You got BASIC channels for $20. no sports, no religious, no THIS/THAT/OTHER.. NOW you pay as much as THEN, but get TONS of garbage you dont watch..and PAY MORE..

Basic channels..$20
HBO..$10(2-4 more channels)
Show time $10(2-6 channels)
ESPN $20 (4 channels).
and so forth..
NOW you pay for ESPN…EVERYONE pays for ESPN even if they dont watch it.

Watchman (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Very good

You are on the right track. The issue that you face with pay TV is that broadcast companies sell to the provider in bundles as well and mandate them to carry channel X if they want to offer channel Y. Otherwise, they charge a larger fee to carry the channel or may even refuse to provide the channel all together. That right there is a racket!

Watchman (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Very good

I forgot to mention that this tactic is used to increase advertising revenue for the TV channel. Now they supposedly have even more people being reached by the ads and can therefore charge a larger fee to carry a commercial. So this is why these TV channels are in your line up. Purely because it generates more money for the TV company not the cable / satellite company per se.

Ben S (profile) says:

Re: Tech Support

I do tech support actually. Discovered for a particular caller that their DNS server was down because of ping results. What’s funny is that everyone in the office she was in was unaffected, just her assigned station. Of course, I’m not high enough level to be allowed to have her switch DNS servers as a temporary fix, so I had to transfer to a higher tech support.

Casey says:

Small, local cable companies have an uphill battle, both ways. The customers demand service identical too or better than the competitors at an equal or lesser price. All the while the local cable company has to pay significantly more for bandwidth than their giant competitors, pay more for tv channels, without the leverage and deep pockets. When your upstream provider sometimes turns out to be your competitor, how can you get ahead? You can’t.

RoyalPITA (profile) says:

TV packages with over 500 channels

I wished! In my area I’m lucky to be offered over 100 channels. Dish and DirectTV offer more, but not 500.

Then our barely trained technicians will come to install your service

Every installer I’ve seen in my area is a contractor and NOT an employee of the cable co. I’ve seen several do both cable and dish installations. And yes, I’ve seen some “barely trained”.

Make ’em public utilities

In my area the cable co had to get a charter from the city, just like a utility. The bad news is that neither the city nor the state regulates the rates they charge.

And the city won’t grant multiple charters because the companies don’t want to share the same cable/fiber/infrastructure, etc.

Anonymous Coward says:

I wish it didnt say “local”. Where I live there are local telco’s that have great (for the area broadband offerings) and good customer service and products within their scope.

In fact the service is so much better by our local provider that when they moved into town (from one town over) they have all but ran Time Warner out of this town. That after about 30+ years of a total monopoly TW had here where they charged 3x the price than they did 10 miles away.

Watchman (user link) says:


I couldnt stop laughing at this. I work for a cable company and sometimes genuinely wonder if this is the case. Seems like no matter how hard I try to do the right thing, there are lots of others that will just do the bare minimum to get by. But my local competition isnt much better. They jerk people around just as much. And then you look at pay TV in general…. why am I paying to have TV channels with more commercials?! If you are paying for TV, there should be ZERO commercials. It is funny to think that we are paying to have advertisements blaring in front of our faces all the time. I say start a revolution! Stop watching TV, start exercising, and use that thing between our ears a little more. And while we are at it, lets get our kids outdoors and stop wasting our lives sending updates on Twitter and Facebook. No one cares about your passive aggressive self deprecating remarks that are a blatant attempt to gain praise from your 742 “friends” on Facespace. I could rant more, but I don’t want to pretend to be too much of a tough guy on a random post. I will do that on a forum where I am a millionaire fireman that kicked UBL in the shins while riding a tiger

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