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November 07, 2007

Short Notes

I can't post from home just now, as our Verizon-branded DSL router just went toes up yesterday. After only four months of service. After a rather crappy switch from Frame Relay to ATM networks. The good news is that the tech I spoke to identified himself as Ivan, who was one of the few who seemed to know what he was doing the last time I rode this merry-go-round. The bad news is that he doesn't control Verizon shipping, so it remains to be seen if the replacement router will arrive via UPS within the 24-48 hours he quoted.

On another note, we're experimenting with reduced cable television. We had 'extended basic' cable, which is analog cable with more stations than we watch. We were paying on the order of $55 per month by the time we got tired of the slowly escalating bills, and stations disappearing into the 'digital cable only' cloud. So now we're subscribing to 'limited basic' cable. For myself, this means giving up Comedy Central (South Park, Drawn Together, and if they ever release a new season, Venture Brothers) and the SciFi Network (mostly Stargate Atlantis, Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who [wah!] and the endless string of cheap made-for-SciFi movies). For Jean it mostly means giving up The Daily Show (Comedy Central again). For Renee, it means giving up Animal Planet, and some of the stations that re-run the crime shows she's grown fond of. And that's it.

So we get all the networks that also broadcast locally over the air, and we get tons of shopping channels and public access, that I'll never use. The price quoted on the Comcast site is $8.40, but of course that's before surcharges, taxes and double-speak fees. This next bill will be split across the old and new service, so I won't know what the actual price will be for another billing cycle.

If Comcast does something stupid like removing the limited basic channels from analog ('you need a Comcast set-top box for those channels, for a small monthly rental fee'), then we'll just start looking at one of the satellite packages. Burr uses Dish, and likes it. Or I hear that Verizon is going to start offering IPTV in our area in the next year. Of course, I'm just a little peeved with Verizon right now... Oh! Full Circle!

Posted by dpwakefield at November 7, 2007 08:52 AM

Comments

I've heard there are rumblings (FCC chair is one) about getting a la carte channel selection. I totally hope it will happen in the future. Get only the few channels I really watch.

Posted by: Adam at November 7, 2007 06:29 PM

And on the cold, cold day in hell when that is actually implemented, I'll add back SciFi Channel, AMC and Comedy Central to our rotation.

And remove all the home shopping and other crappy channels that we get even using 'limited' basic cable.

Except of course that the home shopping channels are paying the cable companies to carry them, so they subsidize part of the bill, and allowing me to remove them 'a la carte' would probably add to the cost of my monthly bill.

And once they unbundle, the price per channel will be $5 per month or more. Pick ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CW, SciFi, Comedy Central, Animal Planet, Discover, AMC and whatever else Renee hasn't told us about, and that the $55 bundle price we paid before switching would 'look' like a deal. Yeah, I'm skeptical...

And of course, by the time a deal like this could happen, equivalent cost unbundling methods involving the internet will have eclipsed the whole industry.

So what were we talking about? ;^)~

Posted by: Don Wakefield at November 8, 2007 09:53 AM