Study: Cable Bills Could Reach $200/Month By 2020

Right now, the average monthly cable bill — not including any bundled phone or internet services — is around $86. But industry analysts say the non-stop slap fights between cable companies and content providers is only going to send that price soaring in the years to come.

A new report from the NPD Group says that even though wages have flattened in recent years, cable prices have continued to increase by 6% every year. And with those carriage fee disputes only resulting in higher prices for subscribers, NPD predicts that by 2015, the average cable bill will be $123 and will soar to $200 by 2020.

“As pay-TV costs rise and consumers’ spending power stays flat, the traditional affiliate-fee business model for pay-TV companies appears to be unsustainable,” a rep for NPD tells the NY Post.

Cable bills to pass $200 a month by 2020: industry forecast [NY Post]

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  1. John says:

    If prices are rising because of individual carriage fights, that should give more credence to ala-carte services. Let the free market decide then.

    • frank64 says:

      Agree

    • flyingember says:

      exactly. Let the consumer show that the value of a specific brand really isn’t as much as believed.

      I want 10-15 channels tops and I’ll pay no more than $10/month for those 15 channels.

      If you get 100 channels for $85 there’s no way a single channel is worth even $1.

      • Velvet Jones says:

        And what makes you think you’ll get it? People like you are incredibly naive if you think that channels are going to cost $1 each or something close to that. If A la carte pricing is ever introduced those single channels will be closer to $10 each, at least the ones that survive.

        • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

          i think that will also depend on the content – like if they make their own content and whether it is high or low budget.
          i currently watch a la carte programming on roku, and not counting the conglomerate channels like hulu plus, just the little guys:
          the prices range from $0.99 a month to $20 a month. the average for moderate budget channels with actual “produced” shows [not some guys in a basement with a webcam] is turning out to be about $5 a month. which many people are happy to pay for specific content that they want.
          it’s not prime time and it’s not premium cable, there’s a long way to go to get those a la carte. but more people are buying into the mindset of paying only for what they want to watch and let the other shows/providers sink or swim

        • Blueskylaw says:

          You do remember that television used to be free; paid for by commercials, right?
          Not only do you have to pay outrageous monthly fees for television now, but they still have commercials and whats even worse, while you’re watching the program there’s permanent advertising on one of the lower corners of the show you’re watching.

          • pamelad says:

            I worked in the broadcast industry for 25 years, and that time included the transition from analogue to digital. Since the advent of free over-the-air HDTV transmissions, I haven’t paid for cable and don’t intend to in the future.

            Have to forego ESPN and a few other cable-only channels, but I don’t care. We have no monthly fees for TV viewing, other than a few dollars a month for Redbox or Blockbuster Express DVD/Blu-Ray movies. Other than that, we get our movies free, free, free from the library, and they have a remarkable selection, delivered on request to our closest branch.

            We have a digital video recorder. It’s not TiVo, but somewhat close in its abilities to easily record a program to view at one’s convenience, fast forward through commercials much more easily than VHS, etc. Unlike TiVo, there are no monthly fees. And there are no add-on fees to view a week’s worth of TV Guide using this DVR.

            Cheapskate? Yeah, right, proud to save the quoted average of $86 per month, and loving my home TV/movie setup with no monthly fees.

          • nybiker says:

            Exactly. When I had Directv, I ended up canceling showtime becuase of their logo being on the screen (so much for being a premium channel). But I never watched BBC America due to the on-screen text screaming for me watch whatever as well as showing the name of whatever was being shown at the time. (Yeah, the channel logos are ubiquitous, so while still despicable & disgusting, they aren’t going away anytime soon on the ‘free’ channels).
            I had even stopped watching the one or two NBC shows when they started with the ‘upcoming’ text. Of course, their displaying the olympic rings is another despicable thing but since they no longer have anything on that I want to watch, I am not bombarded by it.

            OTA to a VCR and Roku with Netflix FTW. (I also get my Netflix DVDs).

    • macnbc says:

      Someone who works for a cable network here. The thing is, the carriage fights aren’t for individual networks, because very few companies now only operate a single network. They’re for BLOCKS of networks.

      Don’t want to play ball with Disney on the Disney Channel or ABC Family? Then you don’t get ESPN either. Don’t want to pay Time Warner’s bill for TNT? Then kiss HBO, TBS, etc. goodbye.

      Cable networks also use their big channels to subsidize their smaller ones. For example if a cable provider pays Viacom X dollars per subscriber for Spike TV and Comedy Central, then they might also get MTV2 and TeenNick for free.

      The path to ala carte is not a simple straightforward one that people make it out to be, where cable companies like Comcast can simply flip a switch and make it happen. This is something with complex legal agreements with a multitude of providers that last for many years. It would require a complete restructuring of an entire industry, and that doesn’t take place overnight.

      (Note: I’m actually in favor of a la carte. But I know it’s not quite that simple, and that a lot of channels would go dark and a lot of people would go unemployed if it were adopted without careful thought and planning.)

      • tdogg241 says:

        I couldn’t care less about the supposed plight of the cable companies and content providers. If my cable bill is going to hit $200 just for TV, then it’s getting the boot. Hell, I’ll probably dump it when it hits $60 (I’m paying about $40/month as part of an introductory deal). So content providers can decide if they want to let me pay for the handful of channels I actually watch and continue making money off of me, or they can be stubborn and make nothing off of me. One is clearly the better business model.

        • cigsm says:

          Yes, losing you would be the clearly smart thing to do. Just because YOU want to only pay $40 a month for 100 channels doesn’t mean it makes financial business sense.

          I WANT to pay $50 for a new BMW, but guess what? If I went to BMW & told them that they’d show me to the door.

          Unfortunately, with conglomerates owning multiple channels, they have the power, not you.

    • jim says:

      A La Carte pricing will not lower the cable rates for most people. All those home shopping networks lower your bill. The popular channels are sold as a part of bundle so the cost of the channel you like is lower cost in the package. So if you want say only 15 of the top 25 most popular channels and that is all it will still likely cost the same or more on your bill. USA for example cost the cable companies about 1 buck a month but that is because it comes with bravo for .60 NBC sports for .30 and a few more channels. USA does this because it now has more total ad space to sell. Now if it was USA alone they will need to charge 2 bucks to see the same revenue.

      • tcm147 says:

        But since comcast owns USA …They pay themselves 2 buck for it..

      • tdogg241 says:

        Isn’t this just saving money by spending more though? If I could pay $50/month for my local stations and the limited handful of cable channels I’m actually interested in, that’s already cheaper than the $86/month average that currently exists.

        • kathygnome says:

          You can do this right now as long as you don’t want sports, but stop thinking in terms of channels and start thinking in terms of programs. You pay $15-20 for limited basic and buy new shows a la carte from amazon ($1.99-2.99/episode) and use netflix streaming for old movies and reruns.

          Our video portion was $125. We figure doing this, our video will drop to about $50 or $60 and we really won’t miss anything. The key is being willing to look at mad men and say “if I was willing to pay $125 a month for cable, I’m willing to pay $3 for this 45 minute episode”

          • Icky says:

            I couldn’t agree more. That’s exactly what we’re doing, buying each episode of the shows we really like and getting the rest of our viewing from Netfilx and Hulu. We also watch 1/10th of the commercials everyone else does!

            • kathygnome says:

              We just started, the final cancellation on cable went in this week. I set up a media pc to act as a DVR for locals and that’s a big source for us as we’re PBS fanatics. I have to admit, it is a bit jarring to have the cost rubbed in your face when you order a tv show, but it’s certainly a lot cheaper than the package we had.

      • SideshowCrono says:

        A la carte pricing would dramatically lower the cable bill for me and anyone else who doesn’t give a crap about ESPN.

        Stupid sports, how I loathe you. STOP PLAYING BALL ON MY LAWN!

        • longdvsn says:

          ESPN (and the other most popular stations) would see the smallest increase in price with a la carte pricing. The more obscure channels would see the largest price increases. Suppose you have a channel currently receiving $0.10/mo from the cable company per subscriber, but only 1% of subscribers actually watch the channel and would be willing to pay for it. Then, under a la carte, that 1% subscribes…but the price must be $10 per subscriber for the channel to make the same amount of money/profit.

          ESPN and other big channels probably receive closer to $4 per subscriber per month – but if 50% of subscribers watch the channel and are willing to pay for it, it may only cost $8/mo under a la carte.

          Overall, bills will not decrease under a la carte pricing unless you really only watch one or two cable channels while the average subscriber pays for more than that. It’s the number of channels you watch compared to a typical subscriber, not the specific channels, that matter – at least on average.

          • kathygnome says:

            The specific economics are that ESPN receives 4/month and Fox Sports YOURCITY receives $2.50 per month. And roughly 1/4th of households watch them.

            So to be revenue neutral, these two channels sold a la carte would have to charge cable companies $26, there would, of course, be a markup to the customer. My understanding is cable profit margins are around 40$ so figure these two channels a la carte would be around $36 to the customer.

  2. SoCalGNX says:

    Between the free version of hulu and the $8 a month all you can eat version of Netflix, I am wondering if I even want to bother with subscription TV.

  3. scoutermac says:

    I will stick with Dish Network until the price goes up. Then I will see what Directv has to offer. If it is too much I will just do without all together.

  4. Hi_Hello says:

    neat. I wonder how long until cable lines becomes like landlines…

  5. Blueskylaw says:

    I see the death spiral already. As they continue to raise rates they will lose subscribers and as they lose more they will raise prices to compensate for lost revenue. Rinse, lather, repeat and pretty soon the word cable will only be used in the same sentence as Circuit City and The Wiz.

  6. Upthewazzu says:

    Study: No one will subscribe to cable by 2020.

    • vastrightwing says:

      I respectfully disagree. I don’t think the average cable bill will reach that high. My reason is that in spite of what many think, the free market is deciding on what the price will be. You consumers are paying. There‚Äôs no denying the facts, you whine about the high cost as you write the check out each month. Comcast and TWC don‚Äôt mind listening to you all whine while you continue to pay your bills each month. However, at some point, the number of people still paying the cost will decline and try as they may to raise prices, you will stop. And only then will this end. The management team at Comcast and TWC, et. Al. are not as stupid as we like to think, they know full well what the market will bear (to a point). The negotiations between the carriers and providers are simply the two sides fighting over who gets the spoils. Nothing more. At the end of the day, they decide what they can live with, all knowing you, dear consumers, are footing the bill. Pay TV is not a necessity, it is a luxury. It‚Äôs that you‚Äôve been conditioned to believe it‚Äôs a necessity, so you continue to pay. As long as your mindset is thinking of pay TV as a necessity, the price will climb ever higher and take a larger bite out of your budget. Fortunately, more and more consumers are cutting the cord. New subscribers are only slightly higher than the number leaving. This will change. When it does, prices will start reversing. By then, it will be too late. Demand will never go back up. The slide will continue and pay TV will be a niche market. Only the few people who can‚Äôt quit will still subscribe.

      • mindaika says:

        Or, for another example: gas prices. Americans whine about how expensive gas is, yet continue to live 20 miles from work and drive 8 blocks to to grocery store instead of walking.

        • HogwartsProfessor says:

          Not everyplace has good public transit, unfortunately. I really want to move back to a city that does. I hate driving all over the damn place on weekends.

        • Snoofin says:

          Thats because we like to do our errands and shopping in an hour or 2 instead of spending 5 hours doing the same thing because we are waiting on busses and having to transfer 2 or 3 times per trip. Also we dont like living in the middle of a city where we have to hear constant traffic noise, gun shots, and loud stereos and those stupid mufflers that sound like chainsaws

        • 8bithero says:

          I live 52 miles from work. simply because I cannot afford to live any closer (DC area). Public transportation would take me 3 times as long to get to work..

          So, I have to be at work at 6 am. I can get up at 2 am to get ready for work, get to the nearest Metro station in about 30 minutes, wait for the Metro, switch lines twice, get on a bus, and finally get to work at 6 am. Then I need to repeat the process going home. I leave work at 3 pm and would get home around 7 pm. This is considering there are none of the constant line closures and delays.

          -OR-

          I can drive a little over an hour leaving my house just before 5 am and be home around 4 pm.

          Your scenario is not ideal for everybody as it’s just not feasible for everybody.

  7. az123 says:

    I wonder what my cable bill would be if I could pay for the 10 channels that I watch on it rather than all 200+ of them.

    The stupid thing is the argument they keep using is that some specialty channels targeting small segments of the population would not be able to survive if they were not getting the fees from cable companies…. so the government will not let us buy ala carte so we all support those stations. Let the free market drive things and we will probably get down to fewer channels with decent content!

    • kathygnome says:

      That depends on what 10 channels you watch. If they include ESPN, your local sports network, and Disney, then chances are you’d pay more for those 10.

      ESPN is $4/sub to the provider and is watched by 25% of households, so to have equal revenue, they’ll have to charge $16 at a minimum to providers. Local sports networks are around $2.50 and probably have similar demographics. So you now have two channels and you’re up to $23.50. And that’s just the cost for the channels, cable has a profit margin of around 40% so you’re now up to $33 for two channels. And that doesn’t include operating costs for infrastructure, advertising, customer service (LOL), and so on.

      The ten most expensive channels are a huge portion of your bill.

    • Snoofin says:

      The government has nothing to do with it. Just because they dont semand that we can buy ala carte doesnt mean they are forbidding the cable companies from offering it. Cable TV is not a necessity and therefor the government has NO business regulating it.

      • BurtReynolds says:

        I don’t know about that. Cable TV exists in many cases because government allows cable companies to use public right of ways. Imagine if Time Warner had to buy rights to run lines? These companies benefit greatly from public resources and therefore the public has a say in how those services are provided.

  8. Mark702 says:

    I only used HD channels, which required an extra $5 per month for the HD cable box that I couldn’t purchase, only rent. For the HD tier channels, I had to get all the lower level tiers, so it was about $80 a month for the 12 or so HD channels I watched. I stopped my cable service back in 2007, got a $30 OTA HD receiver, and use Netflix, Hulu and torrents+TVersity for everything else. I don’t miss wasting my money on ripoff HD cable prices. $80/mo * 60 months = $4800 I’ve saved, and almost $6000 by the end of this year!

  9. gqcarrick says:

    I’m sure glad I cut the cord this year. Cable can have my money for internet, but that’s it.

  10. samonela says:

    And free OTA HD in 2020 will cost……………..?

    (Suck it Time Warner)

    • Cat says:

      If our corporate overlords convince the FCC that being able to twitter anywhere is more important than your OTA HDTV, it may disappear completely. This is what our current FCC staffers want, to sell all the TV spectrum they can while simultaneously over-regulating broadcasters with onerous regulations. Google “Benjamin Stuart modest proposal”. He’s the FCC’s “resident scholar” and broadcast TV hit-man.

      • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

        I wish the FCC would study areas of the country were OTA isn’t available, like my neighborhood, and put up a translator that would cover at least part of our county. It’s not like there aren’t antennas and towers on the local mountains anyway, for 911 transmissions and cell service.

        • Cat says:

          That would be the responsibility of your local government, not the FCC or federal government. Some stations also own their own translators.

          Although I do know there are some areas where private non-profits have raised money and installed translators. Some have been quite successful: Cortez, CO has nearly 100 channels available, though most are SD and there are some duplicate channels and audio-only channels.
          Cortez, CO and surrounding area (population: about 25,000)
          http://www.rabbitears.info/market.php?mktid=291 – click on each channel to expand the view to all subchannels

        • jeb says:

          Same thing back home. Both Willmar, MN and Alexandria, MN have repeaters of all of the local networks, along with a couple of cable channels. While they’re unscrambled, they request that people send in $50 (Willmar, with less channels) – $80-$100 (Alexandria, with more channels) a year if they use them.

          • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

            I’d be more than happy to send someone $50 – $100 per year to receive channels over the air, and just pay Comcast for internet service. I’d be ahead of the game after less than 2 months.

  11. dolemite says:

    I’d like to see a similar study on healthcare premiums. I’m predicting $2,000 a month by 2020. Minimum wage will probably be $8.25.

  12. Phil Keeps It Real [Consumerist] says:

    Study: Maybe we should go back to reading, writing & publishing our own books !

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Yeah, I was just thinking the publishing companies are gonna rake it in, since no one will have TV and maybe start reading again.

  13. kranky says:

    I wonder how much of these increases is just cable companies taking money out of one pocket and putting it in another.

    For example, Comcast owns USA, Bravo, Oxygen, E!, The Golf Channel, and others; and Comcast is a minority owner of The Weather Channel, A&E, The History Channel, Lifetime, The Biography Channel and others.

    If E! raises prices to cable companies, how much is Comcast going to care or push back? They get all the money anyway.

  14. Lyn Torden says:

    This is why we need √Ä la carte consumer choice. If some content provider that YOU don’t care about wants to raise the price of their content offering, then YOUR price should not go up.

    That said, I’m not opposed to a content provider wanting to make their own offerings √Ä la carte or Table d’h√¥te (the French term that is the opposite of √Ä la carte).

  15. DemosCat says:

    This is why I don’t have cable. We recently replaced a legacy analog TV antenna left by the prior homeowners with a digital TV antenna. Both worked to catch digital broadcast, but the digital antenna does work better.

    The money saved by NOT having cable can be used to purchase DVDs, or for services like Hulu, Netflix, etc. This way, we don’t miss out on any of the stuff we used to watch on cable, and save money to boot.

    • allknowingtomato says:

      let’s not forget excaping advertising. when i had cable and netflix, i would often times watch things on netflix (even things i could watch on TV) because i was sick of the commercials.

      commercials existed in the first place to pay for the programming we were receiving for free. at the beginning of TV, WE were the product being sold to advertisers. Somewhere along the ling, we were tricked into simultaneously being sold to advertisers and paying for the privilege. the sheer reduction in ads i have to endure has justified getting rid of cable for me. Now that it is gone, it’s going to be a hard sell to ever get me to pay for programming that is constantly interrupted for several minutes at a time by ads.

    • baquwards says:

      pssssssst, little secret, you just bought a better antenna. Antennas can pick up VHF or UHF or both, the antenna itself doesn’t know or care whether the signal is digital or analog! My antenna is new but looks exactly the same as antennas from decades ago that sat on roof tops, big wide wings for VHF and tail fins sticking up for UHF.

  16. frenchman says:

    It’s cute that they think we’d pay $200/month for cable.

    Hell, the only reason I have cable now is because it’s included in my room & board. Next year… I wouldn’t count on it.

  17. redskull says:

    Well, good luck to them.

    I wouldn’t come back to cable if it was $50 a month. There’s just too little that I want to watch. And the little I do want, I can see via other means.

    I remember reading back in the late 1980s & early 1990s that some day we’d have 500 channels to choose from. That sounded awesome to me and I couldn’t wait for it to come to pass.

    Be careful what you wish for.

  18. frenchman says:

    It’s cute that they think we’d pay $200/month for cable.

    Hell, the only reason I have cable now is because it’s included in my room & board. Next year… I wouldn’t count on it.

  19. Maz says:

    But wages are predicted to remain the same!

  20. aja175 says:

    lol mine will be $200 by 2013. It just jumped up to 180

    • dolemite says:

      Mine is about $140 for digital expanded, internet, HBO and a dvr. I think I’m also getting 1 or 2 “deals”. Otherwise it would be about $155. It also went up this year again.

  21. allknowingtomato says:

    I got rid of cable this year because I could not justify the price for the number of channels I watched. i cannot think of a single show i want to watch that i cannot find a way to watch for free. Customers screamed for a la carte pricing for years, and cable companies insisted on their dinosaur model. with the advent of apps and individual song purchases, customers will have an increasingly hard time being convinced that they have to pay for 10 times as many channels as they use. We don’t buy other media this way, especially not anymore. Customers will walk (i LOVE tv and i walked). Good riddance.

  22. Rod Rescueman says:

    Well that’s it. I’m going to have to work multiple jobs to pay my cable bill, but I won’t have time to watch cable because I’m working all of the time, but I’ll pay the monthly bill anyways because I don’t want the cable company to feel sad.

    Nobody likes a sad cable company;-(

  23. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    This should be compared to general inflation to temper the outrageousness.

    How in line, or out of line, is this to inflation in general going to 2020?

    • JiminyChristmas says:

      If you assume a 3% annual rate (that’s the rough average of the CPI for the past 10 years) of price escalation, $86 worth of cable today would cost you about $109 in 2020. For it to cost $200 by 2020, prices would need to increase about 11% per year.

  24. psychic_acid says:

    Dropped my cable 3 years ago due to trying to cut back on expenses while in school. Now in the “working world”, I don’t miss it one bit. Online viewing is a much better option and I generally don’t spend a dime (did Netflix for a couple months – $8/mo for streaming videos that I can watch whenever I want slightly outweighs the $63/mo for Cox’s basic TV service).

  25. Cat says:

    My cable bill is expected to remain unchanged. $0.

    Over 600 free channels and counting… Thank you, OTA, FTA, and Roku.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      668 on roku right now, 447 free/partial free content
      how many DO you get FTA? i’ve got too many trees for a dish really, i was already having issues with directv when i cut it off due to line of sight blockage. but i’m curious

      • Cat says:

        447 free Roku channels – of which I watch maybe 40. Just like pay TV, right? And as I’ve mentioned to you before, that doesn’t count subchannels.

        Right now, I get zero FTA channels, as my FTA system is not yet up and running. When it is, it could add 262 channels – http://www.ftalist.com/master.php of which 89 are in English – http://www.ftalist.com/english.php

        Of course, I’ll only be watching maybe 20 of them. But isn’t that the same as cable?

        I get also 35 unique channels with an antenna. I do watch maybe 25 of them.

        447
        262
        +35
        —–
        744 channels, FREE. 85 or so of those I actually watch, at least occasionally.

        Thanks for making me do the math, catastrophegirl.

        • webweazel says:

          “Right now, I get zero FTA channels, as my FTA system is not yet up and running. When it is, it could add 262 channels – http://www.ftalist.com/master.php of which 89 are in English – http://www.ftalist.com/english.php

          Problem is- 90% of those channels (in English) are religious. (or just weird–a pier?) That’s fine if you like the bible thumpers and want to watch them all day, but if you don’t, once you axe out those channels, there might be one or two left to watch. If you want to watch channels in a different language, it might be good. Otherwise, might not be worth the effort.

          • Cat says:

            But the cable company counts them as “channels” too, as I noted – “Of course, I’ll only be watching maybe 20 of them. But isn’t that the same as cable?”

            I’ve invested under $100 in the FTA system, so it’s no biggie if I watch only 10 over the next 5 years. That’s $2 per channel for the next 5 years. The receiver is also HD, and if I hook a HDD to the USB, it’s a PVR, too.

        • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

          hey, i’m interviewing you for my next article.
          really, i keep seeing people talk about FTA channels and there’s someone down the road from my friend who has THREE dishes, so i want to know more.
          thanks.
          for a part time job that i do for under $1 an hour [ad revenue alone] i really don’t have the energy or time to go into all the subchannels. i count plex as one, playon as one, nowhereTV as one, etc. expand all those subchannels and there would be thousands of things to count. i’m already not looking forward to over a thousand roku channels existing the end of this year.

  26. prismatist says:

    If a cable company goes bankrupt in 2021, will anyone notice?

  27. GJaunts says:

    I’m about to dump my cable carrier. I have a cable and internet package with Fios I need to figure out the cheapest way to keep the internet connection I have now, though. I figure if I call them up and haggle/sob story/threaten to cancel entirely, I can get something of a deal.

    Also, anyone have any luck with antennas for an almost-basement apartment? I live in a sub level sort of deal, and I still want the basic channels. Basically, I just don’t want to miss Jeopardy every night!

    • Cat says:

      If you can get an antenna outside (through a window, mounted on an exterior wall, set in a bucket of cement, etc) you have a chance – I’ve seen it done. It depends on your location.

      Go to http://www.dtvusaforum.com/dtv-hdtv-reception-antenna-discussion/ and they can help you tell if it’s possible.

    • zandar says:

      In places of marginal signal reception, such as near the ground (this is a line-of-sight broadcast technology, so the higher the better, theoretically), a multi-element antenna- which amplifies weak signals from a specific direction- is probably the best bet- but it would have to be rotatable.

      You may happen to live in a place that gets good signals from an omnidirectional antenna- that’s awesome, it’s much easier to install. But odds are that won’t quite be good enough and you’ll need some extra oomph to extract a usable signal from the air.

      • Cat says:

        I have neighbors who are using rabbit ears in a basement window. Of course, they don’t get half the channels I do with an outdoor antenna, but it is possible in the right situation.

  28. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    Um, no. I’ll read books and wait for everything to come out on DVD before I pay that much for cable.

    I worry that internet service will not be available as a stand alone service in the future, and that Comcast, who has a de facto monopoly in my area will make us purchase cable + internet.

  29. AllanG54 says:

    I pay $194.50 now. Four TVs, DVR, phone, internet, HBO, Encore, Starz. So, if it only goes to $200 that’s not that much of an increase.

    • bobomb says:

      Um… I’m pretty sure they’re talking about JUST cable TV. Not Internet, not HBO/Starz/Encore/whatever. Then tack on an HD surcharge, per-tv charges, taxes… hell, you’d be lookin at probably 250 – 300 bucks.

  30. Mr. Spy says:

    If anyone asked me ten years ago about getting rid of cable, I would have laughed in their face.
    But right now, it’s been 10 months without cable. Only Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and google for misc. I also have about 300 more dvds that I purchased with the savings. $70 a month, buying up a dieing format will fill the netflix gaps. And the other half of netflix fills the new movie gaps.

  31. Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

    I honestly hope they try, see everyone stop subscribing, get depressed and kill themselves.

  32. eezy-peezy says:

    I have seen cable TV and there is nothing on it I would pay $5 a month for, let alone $86. I get 2 PBS stations over the air (antenna) and have a VCR and video movies. Perfectly happy with that, the Kardashians will have to get along without me.

  33. j2.718ff says:

    Why do the prices keep going up!? I don’t have cable myself, so I can’t tell… are they improving quality? Are they adding channels? Are the channels adding content?

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I feel like the question had an answer you already knew about.

    • dolemite says:

      In the past 10 years of having cable, I haven’t seen many new channels. Some of the SD channels have HD counterparts. Quality of the SD channels are the same. Pretty much seem to be paying 5-10% more each year for .05% increase in service.

    • macnbc says:

      Someone who works for a cable channel here!

      Content. You know how there were articles about how Boardwalk Empire on HBO was their most expensive series ever? You know how TBS was able to pay Conan to come to cable? You know how Discovery Channel splashed out some big bucks for Planet Earth a couple years ago?

      There’s your answer.

      Cable channels are spending more and more and more to win over peoples’ eyeballs, which leads to asking for more and more and more from distribution deals with cable providers, which means you end up paying more and more and more to watch.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        But the content SUUUUUUUUUUCKS. Why would I want to pay more and more and more for it?

        • macnbc says:

          Sucks is subjective. My wife likes Game of Thrones. I’m sure that wasn’t cheap to make. I like Conan.

          Nobody’s forcing you to buy it if you think it all sucks.

          • YouDidWhatNow? says:

            Yes and no, and that’s the rub with the forced bundles.

            So you like Conan. Period…nothing else on TV even interests you. Can you just buy TBS? Nope. You are forced to buy a basic package, and then an expansion package on top of that, then you can watch Conan – and ignore the other 90 channels you are forced to subsidize by doing so.

            Sure…no one’s twisting your arm, forcing you to watch any TV at all. And naturally the big traditional networks are OTA. But if you *want* to watch Conan, the only way you can do so is by letting the cable/satellite company force you to pay for a whackload of stuff that you don’t have any interest in.

  34. WarriorKitty says:

    Never would I pay that. There’s going to be- and already a lot- too many options by that point to feel tethered to a cable monopoly. Eff that.

    (I bet some people said that about cell phone bills too…)

  35. kathygnome says:

    Our video portion was $125 with an HD DVR, 2nd HD box, and no premium channels. That pushed our total bill over $180 and that was enough.

    We already had netflix streaming and we added Hulu and dropped down to limited basic (broadcast only). That saves us $100 a month and we’re buying shows individually on amazon through our Roku box. Yes, the 45 minute episode of Mad Men we watched last night cost $2.99, but you can buy an awful lot of of $2.99 shows for a hundred dollars.

  36. duncanblackthorne says:

    I dropped cable TV service several months ago, put an antenna on my house for local channels, and haven’t looked back. Despite my potential misgivings, I find that my life is just as rich and rewarding without paying Comcast $120/month total for a bunch of channels I never watched enough to justify the expense. If I could live without internet access I wouldn’t even be their customer anymore, but these days that’s tantamount to being a luddite hermit. I highly recommend weaning yourself off of too much TV and doing other things instead.

  37. sjb says:

    I cut the cable about 12 years ago, the TV got sent to recycle very soon after that. Took a bit of readjustment in dealing with all of that extra time I now have but have managed to fill it with real things. I do rent a dvd on occasion, maybe once a month, and watch them on the computer which has a better screen than the TV we use to have.

  38. Kenmist says:

    Its kinda funny when you put things into prospective. If you could have TV and not pay a thing would you do it even if there is not that many channels (OTA Digital,HD). No because they don’t offer HBO or ESPN. So would you pay $200+ for cable with HBO and ESPN in digital or HD if we offered it. NO because its too expensive.

    • GJaunts says:

      And this is EXACTLY why I’m getting rid of cable. I pay $100/month for ESPN and Nat Geo. That seems absurd.

  39. damicatz says:

    TV as we know it will be obsolete in 2020. Everything will be streamed over the internet.

    With TV channels, you can only watch what the network wants to show. And you have to watch in on their terms. And things get preempted for sports or other events.

    With the internet, people can stream what they want when they want it. And they can purchase only the shows that they are interested in seeing. In 2020, there will be no need for cable television.

  40. AmateurD says:

    If there were a way to get all my local sports without cable, I would have dropped it months ago.

  41. do-it-myself says:

    I think I may eventually buy a tivo as a DVR to hook in hulu plus/netflix with a Digital antenna. The only thing that sucks is that for many cable shows, people are going to spill the beans before you ever have a chance to watch.

    However this sucks because NOT having cable makes the internet cost that much more and what you end up saving is a complete wash. Comcast only has ONE double play option in my area: Digital Preferred with BLAZE internet. I don’t need my internet to be lightening fast, I’m not running a business at home! Perhaps I should!

    Of course there are hundreds of Triple Play combinations to choose from, but I don’t feel like paying $150 a month for a phone line I don’t need.

    • kathygnome says:

      You don’t need a tivo, which comes with its own $20 subscription fee, buy a little “media PC” instead and windows media center does everything tivo does without the subscription fee and the mini-pc costs about the same as the tivo.

  42. unimus says:

    Cable companies will soon discover most people don’t care about TV, but couldn’t live without internet. If everyone cuts their TV, that guarantees internet rates are going to skyrocket. I suspect those bastards will get us one way or the other.

    • Naked-Gord-Program says:

      True but the difference is there’s a variety of options for internet.

      Phone company, cable company, wireless (A Canadian company here offers stick internet for $35 a month which is actually cheaper than most phone/cable company internet plans).

      There’s even a company here that’s building wifi networks in major Canadian cities.

  43. MrEvil says:

    I’ll tell you what the real problem is. Big Content has a huge entitlement problem. They feel that their product is worth no less than what they’re asking. Which isn’t how market economies work. Just because you think your product should be priced at no less than $X doesn’t mean people are going to buy it at that price.

    What’s ironic though is that concert promoters have figured this out for YEARS. Promoters want to keep ticket prices at the maximum a concert goer is willing to pay, they do so by making sure they play the largest venues possible. You stand a much higher chance of a sell-out crowd when you offer 20,000 seats @ $50 than you would 10,000 seats @ $100.

    If anything, Big Content needs to charge less so more people subscribe to cable, because as the rates go up, more and more people cancel their subscription.

  44. slightlyjaded says:

    Standard cable TV shilling:

    A lot of folks on here talk about cable companies raising rates because apparently they just feel like raising rates. They are raising rates because the content providers are demanding huge amounts of money. And not the dinky content providers (usually) like HGTV or the Lifetime, but the big ones (FOX, ESPN). And their demand for ginormous carriage fee increases is driven almost entirely by sports, especially the NFL.

    When you hear that the NFL just signed a billion dollar TV deal, or that CBS is paying a billion dollars to the NCAA to air March Madness, that money comes from somewhere. That’s why FOX is getting in tiffs with cable companies and threatening to pull their stations if they don’t hand over the cash. Because FOX broadcasts NFC Sunday and playoff football games, and pays gazillions of dollars to do that, and in turn now expects the cable companies to pay gazillions of dollars to carry FOX.

    I don’t actually think prices will ever get as high as this article suggests. Eventually people drop cable, and eventually cable companies tell FOX to go screw themselves, and eventually FOX tells the NFL they can’t pay the latest huge rate increase the league is demanding. But this stuff takes a while to shake out.

  45. Jenny8675309 says:

    My household has been cable and satellite free for about 7 years now. We have an antenna and watch digital tv. We get all the Boston and Providence stations plus four pbs, ion, etc. Worth every penny. I have Amazon Prime because we seem to order everything from them and the movies and shows are a bonus. Everything else I find a way to watch for free. There aren’t any shows that I feel are worth the exorbitant prices.

  46. cspschofield says:

    I don’t suppose there’s any chance that they will be providing $200 worth of SEVICE a month by 2020?

  47. britswim04 says:

    I’d prefer cable and Internt lines get designated the same as power lines. Then they become dumb pipes and I would actually get some CHOICE. They did it for phone lines, how about we do it for the rest?

  48. the_Jenkins says:

    Pfft.. not for me. Cable is going away next month when our contract is up!

  49. Chaluapman says:

    umm…I have news for you….

  50. farker22 says:

    imo cable should be free with ads, or cost with no ads…

  51. kathygnome says:

    People might be interested in what the government forcing some cooperation onto broadcasters does in the UK for free over the air TV: http://www.freeview.co.uk/

  52. LostClan02 says:

    No one here actually understands how cable companies work do they?

    I work for a large cable company, and I just wanna put this out there. We know Pay TV is dying. Every quarter it turns a smaller and smaller profit. Between rising provider rates, real competition from the Satellite boys, and lower subscription numbers the amount we make on TV services is a fraction these days.

    Internet and media delivery solutions are where the money is at. DVR’s (that aren’t affected by the digitally embedded DRM,) home media server solutions (Ultra-TV, any room DVR, Slingboxes,) and someone to administer this network, someone you can call when things go wrong are things we’re offering now. Faster internet, alternate delivery methods, and more variety are what we focus on now. As the internet has spread over the past few years almost all of our money has gone into upgrading and enhancing the internet portion of our service. the ability to offer reliable phone and things like On-Demand are by products of those upgrades.

    The issue most people are going to have is that while currently the video subscribers foot most of the bill for network maintenance and upkeep, as those subscriber numbers continue to fall, someone (IE Internet customers without bundles) will be picking up that slack.

    What we offer isn’t a charity, you can act indignant and mighty all you want, but Hulu, Roko, and Netflix Streaming don’t work to well without internet. Just food for thought the next time you cry for ala-carte pricing. the 5 dollars a month you want to spend on ESPN and Fox Sports has to cover plant infrastructure as well at provider costs, and our bottom lines.

    • Browsing says:

      You know what’s crazy is the cable companies here in Sweden have managed a la carte pricing just fine. If I want cable I can choose a package of say 10 channels a month (I choose the channels) and next month if I want to switch the channels I can. Course our internet is a lot faster and cheaper as well the only drawback is learning that strange Swedish language :-)

      • Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

        Another reason to think about going expat.

    • Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

      The ONLY reason you are still in business is because you monopolize the areas where you operate. If people could go elsewhere for internet they would.

      We know you don’t operate a charity. So why don’t you just up and die like a failed business should instead of buying off politicians and strangling other businesses with more integrity?

  53. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    Shoot for the moon, dick heads. Never had a cable bill, never will. I get more than my fill of annoying commercials just browsing the Internet — no need to pay for more of the same.

  54. dush says:

    It’s amazing how much sway TV has over people.
    Imagine a world where everyone canceled and went outside.

  55. wild7s says:

    >200 a month
    haha, no. I only have basic cable for the cable modem. if prices like that came to be, I’d switch to DSL and cancel cable entirely.

  56. adent1066 says:

    My guess, by 2020 something different will be here

  57. ferd says:

    Heck I left satelite when I was paying $60 a month. Don’t look like I’ll be back anytime soon.

  58. rockelscorcho says:

    this doesn’t matter. I’ll probably die between today and then. if I don’t, i should get cable to celebrate!

  59. ancientone567 says:

    I just cancelled my boost plus and got regular speed back for the internet and I cancelled the cable phone service and got ooma.com for 5- month. I knocked the bill from 130- to 75- a month. If I kill the TV and just do the internet I can knock it down to 30- month

  60. mydailydrunk says:

    the free market leads me to putlocker and torrents.

  61. inputhike says:

    I don’t believe that cable will exist in its current form in 2020.

  62. xanadustc says:

    Let it soar…then I can get into another debate with a broke person that ‘worked all my life and have nothing’…but cable TV….

    I have not watched in 15 years and I do not think that I am actually missing anything…

  63. Mrs. w/1 child says:

    *cough* Netflix *cough*

  64. Mrs. w/1 child says:

    *Completely Freaking Out*

    Seriously!? We budget $200 a month for gas, electric, and water for a family of three. Most months we don’t even have to spend the full $200. We don’t have cable.

    With a decent down payment on a used car an additional car payment would be $200 a month.

    You could easily support another child on $200 a month – just shut off your cable.

    $200 a month into a savings account – even with low interest will do more good in your retirement years than an episode of true blood.

    Well, I suppose by the time this happens everyone will just buy the episodes of shows they want off of itunes or wait for the dvd’s to rent. Or just download everything illegally.

  65. TuxRug says:

    If this happens, we will cancel cable and just watch DVDs when we want to use the TV.

  66. Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

    Now all we have to do is to stop cable companies from monopolizing their regions and/or suing to squash local government’s attempts at installing free municipal wifi.

  67. BuntaFujiwara says:

    Thus the reason I torrent all the shows I want to watch. If cable prices were anywhere close to reasonable, I’d happily get it. Is it right what I am doing? Nope. But, just like CD’s, offer crap on the market for unreasonable prices, people turn to other means to get their product. That being said, I do buy Blu-rays of all the stuff I actually enjoy or want to watch again.

  68. AngryK9 says:

    And this is the kind of pricing model they want to implement on your broadband service as well.

  69. Lefturn says:

    Cut the cable about 3 months ago. With so many free alternatives now, I doubt I’ll ever go back.

    Now I just need to find an alternative for internet service. Any ideas?

  70. Tacojelly says:

    prediction: Nobody pays for cable tv by 2020

  71. mikells43 says:

    Sucks when Comcast is the only web here. We’re stuck.
    We’re over 200 with 3 hdtvs.

  72. morpheoush says:

    for $200 people will just buy an HD antenna and grab the shows off the air. no way i’d pay 200 JUST for tv. i’d rather watch nothing than pay that much

  73. soj4life says:

    At the same time, switching to a la carte will cost about the same because the same content providers will want to maintain their revenue levels. What also pushes up the cost of tv is how much the content cost to broadcast. It cost ESPN over $100 million per monday night football game. CBS will earn about $250 million in syndication fees from two and a half men.

  74. WyomingGunAndHuntingEnthusiast says:

    Could reach $200? When i had comcast between TV and Internet i was paying $196/month, then with Cablevision/Optimum i was paying $210 for TV and Internet. I recently switched to Dish Network now with TV and Cable Internet throug Optimum i pay $134 after the first year it goes up to $163