That panicked wiggling you hear might just be cable giants quaking in their over-priced boots: Netflix CEO Reed Hastings says subscribers watched four billion hours of streaming content in the last three months. Exciting for Netflix, not so much for the cable biz: According to one report, this all means more people are watching Netflix than cable TV.
Here’s what Tim wants: to turn on his TV and watch football games in high definition. That’s pretty simple, and seems like a reasonable enough request. At least he thought so. His cable company, Bright House, advertises that they offer HD for free to their subscribers. Wow, that’s great! They quoted Tim a $29.99 rate, but failed to mention that he wouldn’t be able to receive HD without renting a cable box. You know, the HD channels that were the entire reason why he got cable in the first place.
Have you been staring sullenly at your cable or satellite bill, wishing you maybe didn’t have to pay so much for TV anymore? Seems some customers are getting turned off pay-TV services, as DirecTV says it’s finally losing subscribers for the first time, with a downturn of 52,000 customers between April and June. It added 26,000 customers in the same time frame last year, which is the toughest time of the season for luring in new customers.
Today’s media consumers are so picky. They’ve come to resist the idea that they must pay hundreds of dollars every year to receive three hundred cable channels when they only watch maybe five of them. A recent government regulatory board decision means that consumers will have more choice over which specific channels they subscribe to and pay for in the near future. The bad news: It’s the Canadian government.
If you scan through your cable/satellite guide and see diminishing returns from the growing number of channels being made available to viewers, you’re not alone. In fact, the head of a company that makes an awful lot of money by selling customers on all those channel choices says he’s on your side.
Cloud storage is the way of the future, it seems. But right now, there are some bugs to work out and devices that don’t quite work as planned. Todd just had Cablevision installed last week, and he has a new kind of DVR, called DVR+, that has no hard drive and stores his recorded programs remotely. Pro: No large hard drive that will inevitably fail inside the set-top box. Con: This new type of DVR is slow and crappy.
Citing low demand and a high cost, AT&T U-Verse has ditched ESPN 3D from its lineup. The move is yet another sign that 3D TV may not be the wave of the near future, as the expensive technology struggles to make headway in the marketplace.
This news item, spotted on the Orange County Register’s police blotter, is brief but intriguing: a man in Mission Viejo, Calif. was so distraught that his cable had been shut off that he did the only logical thing: threatened to kill himself. The person he spoke to at Cox Cable, in turn, called the police to report a potential suicide at the man’s address.
What has cable company executives losing sleep at night? It’s certainly not thoughts on how to improve customer service or billing. But it’s also not Netflix, Hulu, BitTorrent or any other obvious customer siphon. No, cable suits confess, it’s actually the fact that a growing number of Americans find themselves too poor to pay to watch TV.
Now that NBC Universal and Comcast have sealed their civil union to become NBCUniversal — isn’t it adorable how she took his name? — it will presumably soon be time for subscribers to give the company its wedding gifts: Higher cable rates.
Reader T was pleased to answer a call from a Comcast rep who offered a deal that would give him more channels for less money. He eagerly accepted, only to receive a call from Comcast the next day that informed him there was a hold on his account and he should work to get it removed immediately. Confused, he called Comcast’s customer service and found reason to turn his smile upside down.
Alex has a Time Warner DVR, but never asked for one. He tells Consumerist that the installer brought one to his home and connected it to the main TV instead of a cable box, but without installing DVR service. Because Alex and his roommate never asked for it. He’d be inclined to write this off as a simple error on the installer’s part, but he knows three other households in different parts of New York state that have had strangely forgetful cable installers.
Giving an odd boost to cable providers, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled the state could slap a sales tax on satellite TV services even though cable companies don’t need to tack the tax on to their packages.
Just in time for Game 3 of a World Series that very few people in its viewing audience care seriously about, Cablevision and Fox have ended their two-week standoff. Which means Cablevision customers will have Fox stations back on the air — and they’ll be paying more for them!
Many people had predicted — or at least hoped — that the fee squabble that led to Fox’s Friday night decision to pull its local NYC and Philadelphia affiliates from Cablevision subscribers would have been sorted out in time for folks to enjoy Sunday afternoon football. Alas, that didn’t happen and hordes of Giants and Eagles fans were scrambling for antennas.
Just in time for the NLCS and the World Series, the very public slap fight between NewsCorp and Cablevision hit an impasse on Friday night, with Cablevision subscribers in the New York City and Philadelphia metro areas no longer having access to their local Fox affiliates.
How long can a cable channel run commercials before viewers forget what they were watching and — literally — tune out? That’s the question that the folks at Spike TV appear to be tacitly asking their audience, as it stretches the length of some of its commercial breaks well past existing standards — some to as long as 10 minutes.
With only days to go before the NCAA and NFL football seasons kick off, many Time Warner Cable customers have been worried that their cable provider wouldn’t be able to hash out an agreement with Walt Disney Co. and that they’d be without ESPN when they needed it most. But it looks like that crisis will be averted and the companies will work out their differences soon.