Comcast Took My NFL Network Away Just As Season Begins

Comcast’s long, bitter struggle with the NFL Network ended last year, but that was only the beginning of the cable giant’s waffling over whether or not to charge customers extra for the channel.

I subscribe to Comcast’s Digital Starter package and was flabbergasted last season as Comcast gave and took the channel away every few weeks without explanation. William is in the same boat and was unable to access the channel for the weekend’s slate of preseason games, while I had access to the channel. He writes:

So I woke this morning looking forward to a day full of football. I thought I would start by turning over to the NFL network, which for the last year, has been included in my Digital Starter subscription. To my horror, I got a message on the screen telling me to call to order. This couldn’t be right, I thought, so I went to the comcast website to double checked the lineup for Memphis,TN. To my aboslute disgust, I found that the NFL Network has been moved to something called the Sports Package, which is extra.

I absolutely plan on switching to DirecTV immediately.

Comcast Digital Starter subscribers, do you have the channel these days? Did you get it last year?

Previously: Want NFL Network, Comcasters? That’ll Still Be An Extra $60 (Or $200) A Year

Comments

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  1. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    He should pay for every channel he wants to watch…. and only for the channels he wants to watch.

    • sleze69 says:

      Ahh yes. The ala carte debate. Say goodbye to everything except USA, TNT, Spike, TBS, and ESPN.

      • Illusio26 says:

        Most other channels could go away and I bet 90% of the people wouldn’t even notice.

        • A.Mercer says:

          I completely agree. A ton of channels would go bye-bye and they would barely be noticed missing.

          There are some specialty channels that would go away that a few people would complain about. However, I do not want to subsidize another channel that I do not want to watch. That is one reason why I dumped cable and satelite all together.

          If they introduced a la carte pricing then I would be very tempted to come back.

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            The only channels I would approve of being subsidized and provided for all audiences would be stations that provide positive or education content that might otherwise not be on the air except for our “donations” of subscribing to cable. Items like Discovery, PBS, etc.

        • NeverLetMeDown says:

          For any given channel, no, 90% of people wouldn’t notice. For the channels as a group, yes, they would notice.

          Even the big cable networks don’t draw nearly as many viewers as broadcast, though. USA, which is the #1 cable network, gets an average prime time audience of about 1% of the US population. All the cable channels combined are only about 60% of total viewing, with the broadcast networks making up the other 40%.

      • EarlNowak says:

        I’d add travel and food network, turner classic, AMC, discovery, animal planet, FX, tv land and syfy. I’d pay $20 a month for those 14 channels. I don’t even need my cable company to provide locals- I can get those over the air. My TV already seamlessly mixes cable and antenna channels as it is (because I get beautiful HD signals over the air).

        • JMILLER says:

          You seem to think 8 channels would be $20. Not so much. Those 8 stations would cost you about $50. I bet you can get 50 other stations for the same $50 with bundling.

        • common_sense84 says:

          You could never add individual channels. You have to add channels in groups.

          Since the owners of multiple networks will bundle them. And if bundling by them is illegal, they will sell it as 5 bucks for the first channel and 20 cents for each additional channel. That way you are encouraged to get all their channels.

      • Griking says:

        If channels don’t have enough support to survive then they’ll fold up just like any other company. What’s the problem? That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see these lesser channels morph into web based shows where people can still pick them up if they wanted.

    • fs2k2isfun says:

      Actually, assuming he picked 5-10 channels, he would probably end up paying about the same as he pays now. Here is a very good article explaining the economics of changing to a la carte:
      http://makeanysense.blogspot.com/2010/07/more-choice-is-less-choice-strange.html

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        This is an extremely flawed analogy. In the analogy used, people pay for use of the city parks. But in the world of cable TV, there would be a 3rd entity charging the city for the existence of the parks, which would have to be recouped in the annual membership fee the residents have to pay.

        The missing piece is the fees networks change cable companies to use programming. Most notable, as based in this article, are sports networks. They charge higher fees than non-sports channels, which is why cable companies often bundle them into an add-on feature that costs the consumer more than the basic services.

        Bottom line: In a la carter pricing, people who want sports channels would pay more overall than people who did not pay for sports packages. So if you’re a sports nut, you want to keep things the way they are. If you don’t care about sports, you want a la carte pricing.

        • Egat says:

          @Loias:

          Focusing on the park analogy is flawed, as it does mask the point of the article that fs2kisfun posted. The issue of a 3rd party payer vs. city payer is not germane to the discussion of a la carte cable pricing issues.

          The point that the author poorly tried to convey was that applying traditional economic ideas such as “a la carte pricing” to a system with marginal or zero unit-cost will not yield the same results as a traditional system where unit-cost is dominant. For cable providers installation and maintenance of transmission infrastructure is the major cost. The technical considerations of the transmission medium mean that the cost to cable provider for a single channel to a single subscriber is essentially the same as the cost to provide that same channel to 500 or 5,000 subscribers.

          Consider that the executives running the cable companies will not allow profit to go down. Profit is revenue – costs. If subscribers can pick only the channels they desire at the price they currently pay per channel (monthly bill/# of channels) then revenue would go down. Since costs remain fixed, the only way to maintain the same profit with “a la carte” is to set prices to (average # of channels) * (channel cost) = current monthly bill.

          As a followup point, the infrastructure that is currently in place is not setup to handle data transmission in a way that allows for the “a la carte” model. A cable company pays the same transmission costs for providing you with 50 channels as it does to provide you a single channel. Moving to “a la carte” pricing would require a nearly complete replacement of their equipment. The consumers will bear the brunt of that cost in the form of higher subscription fees.

          I am not a cable company apologist, far from it. I believe that fundamentally you are correct in demanding “a la carte” pricing. You have a valid concern in profiteering that happens in the industry. The entire cable “franchise” monopolies have been pushing money into shareholder/executive pockets instead of into builds of equipment capable of economical operation in the future.

          Given the cable companies steadfast refusal to upgrade their equipment, the proper avenue for the “a la carte” pricing model is what is already being seen by the early adopters. Services such as Hulu and Netflix that give the end user the same experience as “a la carte” cable pricing would, but are built on an infrastructure that is architected for sending data when requested.

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            Oh I understand completely that infrastructure is a large factor for cable companies. And I’m not naive enough to think that a la carte pricing means I only have to pay $1/channel/month or something ridiculously low like that. I understand my bill would likely be very similar to my current one. But, it would still be cheaper.

    • Chaosium says:

      I’m not paying welfare to ESPN and the Disney Channel and Fox news. But, it is likely that they’ll still sneak the funding in somehow.

    • Chaosium says:

      I’m not paying welfare to ESPN and the Disney Channel and Fox news. But, it is likely that they’ll still sneak the funding in somehow.

  2. bigdirty says:

    I have no idea what Comcast package I have, since the channel listings are for Digital Starter, yet the plans are being sold as XFinity. However, plain and simple Comcast is horrible, and it’s why I’m trying to rally the townsfolk not to renew their charter (and hopefully get the 5th largest cable provider to take their place).

    • Woodside Park Bob says:

      Even better, get Verizon or RCN, or some other company with a history of building competing cable systems to come in and provide service to your city. Competition is better than simply replacing one monopoly with another.

      • NeverLetMeDown says:

        No dice. RCN overbuilt, and then, predictably, went bankrupt. Verizon’s never going to get their investment back on FiOS.

        • common_sense84 says:

          >Verizon’s never going to get their investment back on FiOS.

          Cute. But they went from offering a dying product. Phone and slow DSL. To offering cable TV and internet that can easily be increased in speed as time goes on.(of course they still have phone)

          Verizon will absolutely get a return on their investment. The cable TV market should have more than doubled what they can make per customer.

          • NeverLetMeDown says:

            Not cute, fact. FiOS is costing them $5000 per customer in pure infrastructure costs. The financially rational thing to do would have been to focus on squeezing as much cash as possible out of the existing phone and DSL businesses, and then shut them down in 10 or so years. Cable TV isn’t a great business, given how much they have to pay for programming (a good bit more than Comcast, since Verizon’s cable business is so small).

    • bnceo says:

      Xfinity is simply a brand name that Comcast uses in certain markets (such as markets where they compete with Verizon FiOS).

  3. therealchriss says:

    Unless it was on a free preview, I’ve never seen NFL Network available to digital starter customers. It was always on either the Sports Entertainment tier or their Digital Preferred/Classic package.

    Granted – these things can change from area to area.

    • erinpac says:

      Here NFL just moved up to the new “Digital Classic” Tier, which appears to have inserted itself between Starter and Premium, so now everyone on Starter has ~10 channels when they used to have ~60 or so.

  4. shoelace414 says:

    I’d be happy to not have to pay for any sports channels.. including the most expensive channel that cable companies carry.. ESPN. I don’t watch sports, so could I get a non-sports package?

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      At the moment, you can only do that by tossing the cable entirely and buying a good antenna.

      I support your move towards freedom.

    • tbax929 says:

      Only if I can get a package that doesn’t include movie channels, which only seem to show shit I’d have seen in the theater or on DVD if I wanted it.

      • frank64 says:

        But those movie channels are cheaper(unless you are talking about the HBO”s which are a la carta). It is really the high premium costs which is the issue. Having only the people who want the real premium channels pay is the only way to keep cable prices in check.

  5. blogger X says:

    “I absolutely plan on switching to DirecTV immediately.”

    He’d better read up on some of the DirecTV postings here before he makes that move. If FiOS is available in his area (just became in mines) I’d seriously consider them first.

    • Skellbasher says:

      DirecTV isn’t that bad. They’re not nearly as bad as Comcast.

    • tbax929 says:

      At least he didn’t mention Dish. If he’s a baseball fan, Dish Network doesn’t have the MLB Channel.

    • "I Like Potatoes" says:

      Football is the main reason we have DirecTV. Between NFL Network and Sunday Ticket it’s the best for hardcore football fans.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      Fios is still expensive. I have Fios, Comcast, and the dishes as options in my area. I still see a lot of dishes in my neighborhood. Apparently it can’t be that bad, because these people have options.

  6. hewhoroams says:

    Nope, you only randomly get the NFL network when it doesn’t matter. I’ve been fighting this battle with comcast for years.

  7. failurate says:

    It is not on Comcast or Time Warner… So who exactly is watching the NFL Network? Is it a dish only channel?

    • failurate says:

      Sorry, reading fail… So the guy does have the ability to watch it, he just has to pay for it now. I’d pay for it.
      I pay for the Time Warner sports package, which get me MLB TV. As soon as the baseball season is over, I’ll drop that package. If they offered the NFL channel, they would have me paying for it all year.

  8. Jimmy says:

    It’s only $5 a month and you get redzone too. Redzone is basically 6 hours of football without commercials of every game as they’re in the redzone. I actually like redzone better than when i spending hundreds of dollars for Sunday ticket.

    Besides you don’t need it all year. So what is it like 25 or 30 bucks for the whole season?

    • craptastico says:

      REdzone was 50 or 60 bucks last season. i bet that price will double next year. every one i know that had it (myself included) loves it, and it is better than watching the sunday ticket (unless you want a particular game) b/c it’s like watching the sunday ticket with God handling the remote control.

    • CoachTabe says:

      Comcast just raised the price of the sports package – it’s now $7.99 a month.

  9. ShruggingGalt says:

    I make my own NFL RedZone channel at home.

  10. Alvis says:

    I wish ESPN would move to some premium sports package. Most expensive basic cable channel – would make a huge difference in rates for the many of us who couldn’t care less about sports.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      I like sports, but think ESPN is becoming a worthless E! channel wannabe more than a sports network. Sportscenter is obsolete with the dawn of the internet on every device you own. Jeremy Schaap is the worst interviewer/reporter on television and the poster boy for nepotism. I only watch MNF when its a game I care about and PTI every now and then. With that said, I would trade no ESPN for a lower bill.

  11. ommpa_loompa says:

    the NFL network needs more nudity

  12. dg says:

    Comcast – it’s Craptastic! Always has been, always will be. That said, DirectTV isn’t much better. I had them for MANY years because I couldn’t stand CrapCast, but over time DirectTV increasingly dialed up the compression on their channels so they could squeeze more into their available bandwidth, and that made the pictures less sharp than they had been when I’d first subscribed. Yeah, the signal would go out when it rained REAL hard, or snowed VERY hard, but that was around 2x a year and we dealt with it. It was still less than CrapCast’s outages which happened every time a squirrel chewed on the line, it rained, a mouse farted, or something else happened that they claimed didn’t.

    The reason we switched from DirectTV was bad customer service. We had ONE channel that went out one night. Rebooted the box – 2x. No effect. Called Cust Service – waited on hold for 40 minutes. Got someone who couldn’t fix the problem. Wouldn’t xfer to supervisor. Told us it was what it was… I told them that I wasn’t going to pay that month, wasn’t going to pay until it was fixed, and would be switching the MINUTE a competitor came into the neighborhood.

    When I didn’t pay – they got it fixed. When Uverse showed up in the neighborhood I visited the guys digging for the local boxes they were putting in the neighborhood. Had them have a sales guy contact me. We were the FIRST people in this area to get Uverse. Compared the pic side by side against DirectTV – Uverse was practically s-video quality, DirectTV looked like a VHS. Called DirectTV and said “yeah, buh bye…” Haven’t looked back.

    Now with everyone switching to Uverse (better selection, better pricing, better pictures, DVR that works, guides w/o advertising on them like CrapTastics guides), CrapCast is trying to make deals upon deals.

    My advice? Screw CrapCast and DirectTV – go with whomever has the best service, and price. There’s a TON of sports crap on Uverse (none of which I watch because I’m not a sports guy), but I’d be willing to be there’s more than enough football on for you to watch.

    That aside, if everyone refused to pay the NFL + CrapCast tax for football, then the prices would come down. But they know you’re addicted and have you by the rocky mountain oysters, so they don’t care… Just say no – read a book instead.

    • TimothyT says:

      Uverse looks good programming-wise, especially the HD channels but it’s not available in N. GA yet. Thanks for the heads-up though, hopefully it will be here soon. I currently use DirecTV and have been for a long time. It’s been 50/50 on the customer service aspect. Sometimes I can get the help I need when I call but other times I have to raise cane, escalate, etc.

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      “Uverse was practically s-video quality”

      Oooh, s-video quality? Wow, you mean 480 whole lines of resolution?

  13. davidc says:

    I would gladly go to Ala-Carte pricing. Of course, once I am paying to watch individual channels, those channels should be “commercial” free. There is no reason I should have to have to pay to watch a channel *and* suffer through commercials.

  14. doobiewondersmoke says:

    This is nothing new. When I had Comcast I paid the extra fee to get NFL Network, but it also comes in handy for college football because you extra sports channels in order to see certain games. Not a big deal Comcast has been doing this for quite awhile. I suggest DirecTV anyway, I have it now and wouldn’t go back to Comcast even if they paid me.

  15. svengali84 says:

    NFL Network is not on digital starter. It’s on digital preferred which is the next tier. This person was probably receiving it in error or maybe as part of a special preview or something.

    • Jerim says:

      Nope, I was receiving NFL Network for the past year, since signing up. NFL Network is listed as part of the package both in the guide they gave me when I signed up and it is still listed as part of the package online. From what I can tell, the packages differ from area to area.

      Also, keep in mind that they didn’t move it to a high tier. They moved it to a sports package, which includes some channels I don’t care for. This is the same thing they were doing in other regions that caused the conflict with the NFL. So basically they take the channel you want to watch and bundle it with some crappy channels to make it sound like you are getting a deal, when what they are really doing is forcing you to pay more for channels you want. It would be like charging people more for ABC this month, just because the Lost finale is own.

  16. erinpac says:

    I would just like them to stop deleting my channels. I want USA, Comedy, Cartoon Netwook, Syfy… erm, I guess it’s possible I may occasionally turn on something on ABC or TNT but I think that’s pretty much it. Everytime I turn on my Tivo lately it’s reprogramming something because a channel vanished. ~4 channels, leave them alone pleeeeaaaaassseee.

    No problem with the packaging, but must channels vanish every week?

  17. ned4spd8874 says:

    I have Wow and noticed this weekend that, I too, no longer have the NFL network. I did have it last year. I haven’t called to find out what’s going on though.

  18. Barko says:

    I’m on Comcast in Michigan… and I could tell the same story above word for word, right down to the sitting down to watch some preseason games only to find that I no longer had the channel. Frustrating.

  19. Egat says:

    @Loias:

    Focusing on the park analogy is flawed, as it does mask the point of the article that fs2kisfun posted. The issue of a 3rd party payer vs. city payer is not germane to the discussion of a la carte cable pricing issues.

    The point that the author poorly tried to convey was that applying traditional economic ideas such as “a la carte pricing” to a system with marginal or zero unit-cost will not yield the same results as a traditional system where unit-cost is dominant. For cable providers installation and maintenance of transmission infrastructure is the major cost. The technical considerations of the transmission medium mean that the cost to cable provider for a single channel to a single subscriber is essentially the same as the cost to provide that same channel to 500 or 5,000 subscribers.

    Consider that the executives running the cable companies will not allow profit to go down. Profit is revenue – costs. If subscribers can pick only the channels they desire at the price they currently pay per channel (monthly bill/# of channels) then revenue would go down. Since costs remain fixed, the only way to maintain the same profit with “a la carte” is to set prices to (average # of channels) * (channel cost) = current monthly bill.

    As a followup point, the infrastructure that is currently in place is not setup to handle data transmission in a way that allows for the “a la carte” model. A cable company pays the same transmission costs for providing you with 50 channels as it does to provide you a single channel. Moving to “a la carte” pricing would require a nearly complete replacement of their equipment. The consumers will bear the brunt of that cost in the form of higher subscription fees.

    I am not a cable company apologist, far from it. I believe that fundamentally you are correct in demanding “a la carte” pricing. You have a valid concern in profiteering that happens in the industry. The entire cable “franchise” monopolies have been pushing money into shareholder/executive pockets instead of into builds of equipment capable of economical operation in the future.

    Given the cable companies steadfast refusal to upgrade their equipment, the proper avenue for the “a la carte” pricing model is what is already being seen by the early adopters. Services such as Hulu and Netflix that give the end user the same experience as “a la carte” cable pricing would, but are built on an infrastructure that is architected for sending data when requested.

    • vastrightwing says:

      The cable companies should simply charge a fixed fee for the infrastructure like $5.00/mo. to cover the maintenance and equipment costs. They should separate their business into infrastructure and content provider and act as both. Then the programming can be a la carte. The business seems to be split between acting as a carrier and as content distributor. I object to this. The business should be one or the other: not both. Conflict of interest and monopolistic practices. If a content provider wants access to the customers on the cable system, then it should be up to the provider to add a feed to the pipe. Comcast could act as a billing provider for the supplier as a service to the customer. Just saying.

    • Krang Krabowski says:

      Why al a carte pricing really has less to do with your cable provider and more to do with your favorite channels.

      let’s say i want espn… did you know that it’s owned by disney? that means in order to get it i have to place the other disney networks and work out a deal for all of those channels at the same time.

      Here’s a suggestion go look up the networks you love and you’ll find a whole bunch of other stuff that your cable providers had to place in their packaging and come to an agreement as to where it will fall in their “tiers” of service.

      I agree it would be simpler but it’s unrealistic to expect anyone to do it.

  20. 420greg says:

    If the Comcast sports tier has the Red Zone channel you may want to stay and pay the $9 or whatever the tier cost.

    The only way to get the Red Zone channel on DTV is with a Sunday Ticket package at about $300 a year.

  21. crons says:

    I’ve seen all the complaints here about Directv but honestly, not to sound like a fanboy, in my own experience, they’ve been great. I’ve had them for 5 years and they’ve always solved every issue I’ve had.

    They’ve lowered my Directv NFL sports ticket price for the past two years in a row due to the economic slump – which now they’ve bundled all the games in HD for one set price (before it was 100 dollars extra). Moved to my new house and they setup the dish for free, got a referral which helped out on my bill. I have even called them up to see what promos/discounts they have going on and they’ve happily obliged. Sure the signal might go out from heavy rain which is amazingly not as bad as some people would have you believe, this coming from someone in rain-soaked Miami.

    Crapcast, on the other hand, has been nothing but a headache (I use Directv for tv, Comcast for internet – they unfortunately have the fastest connection in my area). Their modem has crapped out on me (got it replaced, and yea I know, I should buy my own) or internet service mysteriously disappears which can be a pain if your side job consists of freelancing design. My billing with them has gotten switched with other people. My tenant’s billing has had the same problem. And to top it off, they show up whenever they want when an appointment is made (to hell with the time window), if at all.

    I’ve also had Atlantic Broadband, another cable provider. Don’t get me started on them – NFL channel but no NFL games on gametime? wtf is up with that?

    Between Directv and Comcast, I’d go Directv all day. It may have it’s faults (DVR’s are notoriously slow, some overpricing on the packages, weather affecting reception) but all in all if my alternative is some company that believes they could solve their customer problems by a lame name change, then my choice is (and has been) easy. I’ll pay more for, what has been to me, better quality in service.

    Honestly if U-Verse was offered in my area, I might consider it for the connection speeds.. but then I wouldn’t have all the NFL games – which is the winning argument for me, a football fanatic.

  22. aleck says:

    So, a cable network rearranged some channels to try to charge more for a popular sport broadcasts. A customer plans to switch to a competitor. So far so good, now.. how is this news worth publishing on a national web site? Is it because the guy missed a day of football and it is guaranteed by Constitution?

  23. rick420buzz says:

    Here in Pueblo, CO the NFL Network has never been on Digital Starter. The NFL wanted them to put it there, on the same tier with ESPN. Comcast should’ve told the NFL “We’ll put the NFL Network on the same tier with ESPN on the same day we get to offer the Sunday Ticket package to our subscribers.”

  24. Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

    Wow. The way all you people are complaining about Comcast not offering NFLNT, I guess I should be happy to be Canadian. As much as I hate Rogers, at least the NFL Network is available on even the most basic digital cable package. And NFLNT HD just found its way up here too. And yes, we can buy Sunday Ticket up here too. In fact, for CAD$25./month, you can get every one of those out-of-market packages (Sunday Ticket, Extra Innings, Centre Ice, League Pass, NASCAR, NCAA football/basketball and others as well, don’t have the time to look up the rest of them.) Guess the NFL is trying to appease us Canucks by giving us this over our own team to root for. (No, watching the lousy Buffalo Bills play one game in our lousy Concrete Convertible for outrageous prices doesn’t qualify as having our own team, trust me!)

  25. elangomatt says:

    I know I need to duck since I am going to get things thrown at me but I love my comcast. I never have problems with my service and the few times there have been issues, customer service has been awesome. My only complaint is the price. As far as NFL network goes, I have been getting it on their second tier of digital service for a while now. I really never even tried it till the last week or two though.

  26. tacitus59 says:

    I haven’t checked my comcast lineup yet and I have no idea on what tier it is in my area. And frankly I would be very happy if it was put in a sports package so I wouldn’t have to pay for yet another channel I don’t watch. I wish all of the sports channels, except the most basic (ESPN-1) would be put in a sports package. I think alacart would be too hard for Comcast to manage, but smaller and more flexible packaging would be nice.

    Oddly enough, I have been fairly happy with Comcast except for the lack of flexibility in what you get/pay for and of course the severe communication problems within the corporation itself.

  27. vastrightwing says:

    Cable (as it stands now) is analogous to charging money to park at the mall. Then to charge money to enter the mall. Why? Because people pay it. It is this simple. As a consumer, you’re paying for access. That is all. The content creators are being paid by advertisers. The “distributors” are nothing more than brokers. They make money off of, well being middle men. In a few years, cable companies won’t exist (using the same business model they are now) because all content can be delivered for about… zero costs. The only reason you’re paying $50+ per month for all these channels is that you’re supporting a legacy system still using the same distributors and infrastructure put in place decades ago. Some people don’t like change. And it will change. It is changing. My advice is to dump cable. It’s a big waste of money. The only reason it still exists is because the content creators are slow to change and consumers too. When things work, they don’t like to change it. It is this simple.

    yes, all of you sports lovers out there are the ones enabling this legacy cable system to stay in place by paying the freight for NFL ticket and season passes. As more and more people can’t afford the fees and don’t sign up, the price will drop.

  28. mingtae says:

    NFL Network is NOT part of the Digital Starter Package. The NFL took Comcast to court and tried to make them change the channel from “Sports Entertainment” to “Digital Starter” as well as trying to charge Comcast as much money per subscriber for the distribution rights as Disney charges for ESPN. The settlement ended with NFL network being placed in Digital Preferred along with the MLB Network, NBA TV and NHL Network. So if William was seeing the channel and now its gone, I would recommend calling Comcast and asking why the channel is missing. Chances are you may have inadvertently dropped the Digital Preferred package and thinking the NFL Network would still be there.

  29. tape says:

    Not having to watch preseason football sounds like a good thing, not a bad thing, to me.

  30. kimmie says:

    I have Comcast’s HD Gold package thingy with HBO and SHO. I pay way too much for it ($200/mo for triple play), but I also get NFLHD, which is important. I’ve never had a problem with NFL coming and going. If only they’d show the Steelers games on the actual days they air…

  31. Kevin5280 says:

    I had Digital Starter and never had the NFL Network.

    If his discount rate is up on that package, they have the Digital Preferred with the NFL Network for $50/month for 12 months, which is less than the full price of Digital Starter (unless he wants to talk them into keeping the Digital Starter w/ discount).

  32. blanddragon says:

    Direct TV does the same thing. They have been moving ‘basic’ or ‘starter’ channels into other tiers for years. I get 15 sports channels I do not want so I’ll trade you all mine for the Outdoor channel that I had and they ‘re-tiered’ last year.

  33. nacoran says:

    The real evil of the current system is that it allows networks and cable companies to make it seem like it’s the other guys fault.

    If I had a la carte pricing, would I have less selection when I turned on my TV? Of course! I would never order the golf channel. Would the stations I want cost more than they do now? Yep. But they would depend on me liking their content and wouldn’t run infomercials all night. If I don’t like a station the only choice I have bundled is to not watch it or cancel my cable altogether (ignoring for the moment the internet). The theory seems to be that the networks need to spend as much as they do to produce TV. They may in fact spend all that money on producing shows, but they do that because the actors, writers, etc. all know that they can demand all that money because the network is making that much money. They have advertising revenues to protect and tons of consumers cancelling their subscription will force them to get lean. If they let the quality of programming goes down they’ll lose subscribers too. Obviously something will have to give. My bet is it will be salaries… not just executives, but writers and talent. Some will flee to movies, but that will flood that market, so in the end production prices will fall.