General chatter - ($)#@&*^$$ Cable TV!!




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Hat Trick
10-16-2008, 05:55 PM
So we just got our cable bill this month and guess what? Surprise, surprise Comcast is once again raising cables rates by $3.30. They raised them in Feb. by $2.30. Almost $6/month - - - FOR WHAT??

I am fed up with them and their monopoly. We've looked into satellite tv and it costs the same per month as cable so I don't see the point of switching.

And to boot, Comcast is moving AMC (hellooo? Mad Men!) to a different channel and they are requiring us to get a box of some kind in order to see this and a few other channels.

I listed the shows we (ok, I :)) regularly watch. They total 8 'must see' shows and all but ONE is on basic cable. Mad Men is the odd one out. We have debated numerous times about dropping cable but don't because: a) I like Nick and Disney for my two youngest. They will grow out of these channels in a few years (middle son is special needs and youngest is almost 12) and these channels will be easier to drop then and b) we watch Foxnews, CNN regularly.

Has anyone else dropped cable? How was the withdrawl? Does anyone have any other alternatives to cable (other than satellite?) the only alternative I can think of is dropping to basic cable for $18.10/month, catching the news stuff on the PC, and giving up channels like AMC, DSC and Bravo.

Why does Comcast have a monopoly on cable anyway? Why isn't there more competition in the market? Also, I've asked Comcast several times to set up channels as ala carte but they just tell me that would end up costing me more. If I paid the $18.10/month for basic cable and $1.00 per channel for the channels I watch my monthly bill would only run around $35.00/month. Multiply this out by . . . how many households?? . . Comcast would still be rolling in it. Why do I have to pay double the money for 100+ channels that I don't want and don't watch? Why can't I just pay for what I watch??

Sorry to grumble but this is just more money going out and it's one of the very few things we enjoy. Just chilling at night . . . um, I'm basically too tired to do anything else . . . and watching some tube.


asparagus4sale
10-16-2008, 05:59 PM
Well I go back and forth between having cable or not. When I don't have cable, I do netflix. I have a pretty big DVD collection for my son and I tend to like those more than the stuff on TV so I have no problems with that. Plus, I get 3 movies each month on Netflix and one is for him. Nowadays with so many TV shows going to DVD you just end up being behind but not completely missing a show. So I would say take a break - see if you like it. If not, go back or switch to Satellite.

nelie
10-16-2008, 06:01 PM
I dropped cable a few years ago and I've been extremely happy. I don't have to see any commercials anymore. You can get an antennae to get local channels and netflix (or blockbuster) is so much better.


PhotoChick
10-16-2008, 06:02 PM
It's a problem everywhere. Our choices here are Comcast or have a satellite dish installed. Except our HOA doesn't allow satellite dishes, so our choice is Comcast or nothing.

When we lived 1/2 mile down the street, our choice was Charter or nothing.

When we moved, we had to switch companies - which meant new deposits, new installation fees, new everything.

And with the new requirements now that by 2009, everything will be digitally broadcast, there's no "choice" any more anywhere.

If you want to watch TV, you have to pay the company that has the monopoly in your geographical area.

*grumble*

.

PhotoChick
10-16-2008, 06:03 PM
You can get an antennae to get local channelsNot next year. The FCC has mandated that all TV broadcasts must be digital in order to free up the open airwaves for other uses. Like cell and emergency systems.

Feb 17, 2009 is the deadline and after that, there will be no more analog broadcast of TV.

.

nelie
10-16-2008, 06:06 PM
Not next year. The FCC has mandated that all TV broadcasts must be digital in order to free up the open airwaves for other uses. Like cell and emergency systems.

Feb 17, 2009 is the deadline and after that, there will be no more analog broadcast of TV.

.

Well I don't know too much about the regulations, we don't even use our antennae. There are HDTV antennaes and channels are broadcasting in HDTV which you can catch over the airways. I believe that as long as you have an HDTV antennae, you should be fine.

Weena
10-16-2008, 06:11 PM
You know, I have had this fight with myself a few times. In our household this is how it usually works. Bills get tight, Comcast Cable is the first to go. And this is why, Most of the shows you watch you can find on the net, via You Tube or others, just google it. News too! Watch Tv sitcoms dot com is another good one for various movies and shows.
The kids "withdrawls" are bad for awile and all you hear is whinning about being board or nothing to do. But be ashured all that will subdue when they discover there toys and books that have been in there room all along.
Your withdrawls will come too, maybe not as fast but they will..lol

modkittn
10-16-2008, 06:15 PM
With the switch over to DTV in February I'd drop my cable in a HEARTBEAT. All the shows I watch are on NBC, CBS, and ABC. BUT during hockey season, DH HAS to watch the games. I like to watch them too, but I could do without to save the $50/month. Oh well!

nelie
10-16-2008, 06:15 PM
Here is information on how to get over the air tv if you don't have cable/satellite.
http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/digitaltv.html

How Do I Receive Digital Broadcasts If I Don’t Subscribe To Cable Or Satellite?

If you receive only free over-the-air television programming, the type of TV you own, either a digital TV or an analog TV, is very important. Consumers who receive only free over-the-air television may view digital programming through a TV set with a built-in digital tuner (integrated DTV) or a digital-ready monitor with a separate digital tuner set-top box. (Both of these digital television types are referred to as a DTV). The only additional equipment required to view over-the-air digital programming with a DTV is a regular antenna, either on your roof or a smaller version on your TV such as “rabbit ears.”

If you have an analog television, you will have to purchase a digital-to-analog set-top converter box to attach to your TV set to be able to view over-the-air digital programming (see “What About My Analog TV?” below).

-----

Oh also, a lot of stuff you can find online. I've watched tv episodes on the website of the channel. I watched portions of the olympics on NBCOlympics.com. You can watch TLC and HGTV tv show episodes on their website. etc etc.

mandalinn82
10-16-2008, 06:17 PM
Photo - antennas will still work. Most antennas on TVs today will pick up digital signals as well as they'll pick up analog signals. The problem is that you need a converter box to output the digital signal to your TV that you didn't need to output the analog signal to your TV. If your TV is digital, this isn't an issue. If you have an analog TV, though, you'll need the converter.

If you have an antenna and an analog TV, you won't have to switch to another provider...you just have to get the converter box. If you have a digital TV, you should be OK when the switch occurs.

modkittn
10-16-2008, 06:18 PM
Not next year. The FCC has mandated that all TV broadcasts must be digital in order to free up the open airwaves for other uses. Like cell and emergency systems.

Feb 17, 2009 is the deadline and after that, there will be no more analog broadcast of TV.

Yes, but most TVs sold within the past few years can accept digital signals. And if yours can't, you can get a box (free or close to free with a rebate) that will convert that over-the-air digital signal into analog so that your TV can display it.

modkittn
10-16-2008, 06:19 PM
I love how all three of us posted on that at once!

mandalinn82
10-16-2008, 06:24 PM
In terms of paying for cable...we pay a lot. But I'm pretty much OK with that. My entertainment budget outside of it is almost non-existent. We don't go out to eat often. We check out our books and often rent movies at the local library. We see maybe 3-4 movies in a theater per year. Comcast provides us with OnDemand, which includes not only movies to watch instead of renting, but also exercise videos that save money (new strength training and yoga routines!).

To me, the benefits I get are worth the costs. But every family has to make that decision for themselves...if it isn't worth it to you, there are a ton of other things you can do for entertainment.

bethbeth
10-16-2008, 06:28 PM
We don't have cable, and we're happy. I get a lot of stuff from the library to watch...all for free. I watch tons of TV shows all from the library, with no commercials!

PhotoChick
10-16-2008, 06:32 PM
True, true. :) There are alternatives as long as you're prepared. The problem that I see comign down the road (keeping in mind that my family's business deals with the FCC on a daily basis, so I know how screwed up they are!), is that 1 - there's no provision being made by a lot of companies for the last minute changeover folks so I know it's going to be worse chaos than waiting in line for the new iPhone :) and 2 - the people who aren't tech-savvy enough to know about the changeover are going to be the ones who are stuck in the middle when the middle of Feb hits next year. I'm surprised at the people who DON'T know about the analog to digital switch coming.

Then again, I agree with Mandalinn - we budget for cable and all the extra channels because it's our entertainment. We go out to movies once in a while, but we're not big into going out on the town otherwise. So for us, cable and netflix comprise probably 90% of our entertainment budget. Oh, and Tivo, so make sure we don't miss any of the cable stuff we love. :)

Cable and books. That's the majority of my entertainment budget. :)

.

nelie
10-16-2008, 07:20 PM
To me, the benefits I get are worth the costs. But every family has to make that decision for themselves...if it isn't worth it to you, there are a ton of other things you can do for entertainment.

We were paying nearly $90/month and watching very few hours of cable which is where our decision to get rid of it came in. We mostly watched On Demand and hated commercials. So the switchover to Netflix was awesome for us.

We also decided to buy DVDs we thought worthy and that is really most of our entertainment budget. We don't go out to the movies. We buy DVDs we really like and rent others on Netflix.

zeffryn
10-16-2008, 07:39 PM
I'm with Manda - We pay a bit for cable, but I'm ok with it. Cox's OnDemand is not nearly as good as Comcast, but it's getting there. Between that and Netflix, it is cheaper than getting a babysitter and going out all the time. Considering food+gas+movie+babysitter = more than we pay for cable and netflix in a month. Our bill from the cable company is around $100 a month (including digital phone, hs 'net and HD digital cable) and netflix is about $13.

We reserve going out for special occasions.

zenor77
10-16-2008, 09:03 PM
We don't even have a TV, let alone cable. I'll admit the original withdrawal from cable was a little hard, but not all that terrible and I would never go back! We got rid of our TV for a variety of reasons, but without cable there really was no point to having one.

For news, we listen to NPR or read articles/watch videos online. You can also find almost all TV shows online. USA has most of their shows on their website as do other channels. I've found most cooking shows on You Tube and their is a great site called Fancast that has new and old tv shows as well as movies. BTW, Fancast is legal and you still have to put up with one commercial per show.

Honestly, we mostly read, work on our hobbies (I crochet), or actually get stuff done around the house. We watch maybe one show per week on the computer and watching movies is rare for us.

Modkittn~ If you are okay with this you can tell your hubby what I tell mine during Basketball season... Go to a sports bar! I'll go with him most of the time or he'll hang out with his friends. The cost of a beer a few times a month is a lot cheaper then cable.

sapphire9
10-16-2008, 09:28 PM
After a ten year hiatus, I got digital cable about 6 years ago. Since then, my Comcast bill has been creeping up. This month, without any explanation, it went up $6! I have a package that includes movie channels like TCM, Sundance, Retro, etc. I looked over my package and considered going to basic cable, but in my area, that's $60., so for $25 more I can keep the movie channel. Also, I don't want to let the converter box go until I'm ready to buy a new digital tv. I also have netflicks and go to movies regularly, so my monthly entertainment bill is pretty high. That also doesn't include the many books I buy. For now, I'll keep it, but if my financial situation should go south, that would be the first to go.
To the first person who posted, if Mad Men is the only thing you're watching outside of basic cable, you could cut back to basic and rent the whole season from Netflicks next spring, when it will probably be available.

WebRover
10-16-2008, 09:31 PM
Except our HOA doesn't allow satellite dishes, so our choice is Comcast or nothing.

PhotoChick: Even if your HOA deed restrictions disallow satellite dishes, if I understand it correctly, they are not allowed to enforce that restriction.

http://www.fcc.gov/mb/facts/otard.html

This is the core of it. They do specify that it includes Homeowner associations and not just government entities.

"The rule (47 C.F.R. Section 1.4000) has been in effect since October 1996, and it prohibits restrictions that impair the installation, maintenance or use of antennas used to receive video programming. The rule applies to video antennas including direct-to-home satellite dishes that are less than one meter (39.37") in diameter (or of any size in Alaska), TV antennas, and wireless cable antennas. The rule prohibits most restrictions that: (1) unreasonably delay or prevent installation, maintenance or use; (2) unreasonably increase the cost of installation, maintenance or use; or (3) preclude reception of an acceptable quality signal."

kittycat40
10-16-2008, 09:44 PM
Good timing chicks! Today I told a comcast cable rep their company was about to lose my business. I was furious. Their equipment has not worked since the day we got it. They want me to take the time and the gas to drive to their building so I can switch it out. I suggested they mail it to me. Well, they would, for a shipping fee!! (I am so angry reliving this, I am slamming the keys on my keyboard :o)
Cripes, I now have to call them back to finish resolving this. I am seriously thinking of ending comcast cable. We have verizon fios and satelite tv as alternative options here. Argh.

zeffryn
10-16-2008, 10:06 PM
Like Kittycat - our Cox service has been iffy since we had it reinstalled after the move. I requested that we not be charged for the week that it would take for a tech to come and fix it and the answer was "no", because we did receive SOME channels.....oy.

I'm going to call again and speak to a manager...most times threatening to move your service will get you what you want.

nicoledg
10-16-2008, 11:12 PM
I'm going to call again and speak to a manager...most times threatening to move your service will get you what you want.


I used to work for a call centre here in St. Catharine's, Ontario. The program I was on was Cox Communication, Billing Department, the people that probably told you no to a credit lol All you have to do is tell them everything was out, analoge and digital, you could also say it was out for longer than it really was, they have no way of telling when your cable isn't working, they don't know it's out until someone calls in to complain that it's not working. Also, you'd be better off dealing with a regular rep than a manager...the reps are more likely to be a little more generous with crediting...and I believe the area you live in, they are able to credit up to $50 per call...just an FYI ;) Just be nice to the person on the phone, the're just doing the're job, and they'll be good to you. I was always grateful for nice people, and I would do all I could to help them. If you call during a really busy time, you'll most likely get the centre here in Canada, we took the overflow when things were busy, first thing in the morning was always really crazy, I think we're a little more relaxed with things than the other centres...hope this helps :)

lizziep
10-17-2008, 01:58 AM
we dropped cable when we moved down to basic. we use tivo and anything thats on the regular channels i tivo to watch later. we converted our old laptop into a tivo-like device, all our downloaded materiel can be played off of it and onto the TV. Whatever we can't find on download, I'll watch on the channels website.

Hat Trick
10-17-2008, 10:51 AM
To the first person who posted, if Mad Men is the only thing you're watching outside of basic cable, you could cut back to basic and rent the whole season from Netflicks next spring, when it will probably be available.


For tv shows that I watch, yup Mad Men is the only cable show I really like. It's Nick and Disney that my kids watch. I know they will outgrow these channels w/in the next few years and if we bide our time we will be able to drop down to basic. Of course by then, they'll probably have done away w/basic -- Murphy's Law an all. ;)

What infuriates me more than anything else is that we HAVE to pay for tv channels that we don't watch. I would love them to tier their channels or bundle 'family channels' or 'sports channels', or have a 'build your own bundle' type package so you could get basic then a bundle of say 6 or 8 channels for xx price. Much less channels that what we have now and ultimately they could make a fortune off of it because per channel, it's more expensive. But for us, it would lower our monthly bill and we would be paying for what we watched and nothing else. Does that make sense?

I'm also bugged out because the two choices are Comcast or satellite. Both cost approx the same; actually Comcast is cheaper for us. Not according to the satellite folks. They'll provide like 50 or 100 more channles for about $10 more per month than what we are paying to Comcast now for somewhere around 100 channels. (Actually I don't even know how many channels we get because we have so many blocked off the remote because we do not watch them.) But MORE channels is certainly not what we want.

What I want is to pay for what I use but the only option is to pay for what I don't use. It's just so frustrating.

I'm also confused as to whether or not we will need some kind of converter box come Feb. All I read was that if you have cable you will be fine, do nothing. But now I'm hearing that if you have DIGITAL cable you will be fine; cable via analog signal may only get you your basic channels and you may need a converter box. Not the kind you can buy from a store but one you must rent from Comcast. So that's another $10/month.

With the most recent increase we will pay nearly $750/yr for tv. I remember when it was free, less channels and . . . well it was nice. :)

Why is Comcast allowed to increase their prices so much? I went back over our bills and on average they consistently raise their prices 10% every 14 months. I find this insane.

We will probably end up keeping it for awhile longer for the kid's channels but I'm looking forward to giving Comcast a permanent boot one of these days.

lizzie - not being too much of a dope but . . . is tivo a box thing you buy or is it a service . . or both? how does that work? thanks!

PearFreak
10-17-2008, 10:51 AM
Well I'll give you my Charter Subscription for your Comcast. Charter just plain Sucks. I've had many a problems with them. But it is the only thing available in this area... the town over has Comcast and no one has a complaint about them. Charter on the other hand---- horrible costumer service... online, via the phone and in-person.
We had problems with them w/their wires and tinny sounds (nothing of our doing) they said it'd cost me $75 an hour for a guy to come and check out my box and wires. Um, no it is your problem. It ended up being the wire connection and a bad box. Hmph... them, not me. Oh and wait... I love how they were working on the wires outside my house and the cable was disconnected Friday-Monday evening. Wonderful... seeing as THEY disconnected our whole street and wouldn't give us a credit for not having it the whole weekend. So very typical of Charter.
Ok, I am done...

zeffryn
10-17-2008, 12:29 PM
Honestly....the price raises in cable don't really surprise me....when is the last time that you paid for a service or good that DIDN'T have periodic price increases.

Our home and car insurance goes up every so often, even though we don't file claims, our energy bills have gone up even though we've taken steps to reduce our energy consumption, or gas bill is really high, grocery bill is really high.....we don't use more, but with inflation - companies cannot afford to keep their prices the same forever and still turn a profit. Call them greedy, but it is just like any other business.

Also, cable is a luxury. Simple as that. Sure, it is nice to have but in times of crisis we could definitely go without it. We didn't have cable the first three years my husband and I were married because we chose to save that money. Sure, my son would be upset that he couldn't watch his "Dragon Tales" or "Elmo's World", but since he doesn't pay the bills...he would get used to it. He has movies to watch, but more importantly, PLAYING to do. My son doesn't get to park himself in front of the television for hours on end, and honestly, I'm not so sure he would want to. He has energy that needs to be used or else he turns into something not human. We read, we bike, we play in the yard...

Anyway, my point is this: If a 2-3 dollar hike every other quarter is too much, get rid of cable. Most cable shows can be rented if they are that important. Most of us watch too much television as it is.

modkittn
10-17-2008, 01:24 PM
Modkittn~ If you are okay with this you can tell your hubby what I tell mine during Basketball season... Go to a sports bar! I'll go with him most of the time or he'll hang out with his friends. The cost of a beer a few times a month is a lot cheaper then cable.

You OBVIOUSLY have not seen my husband drink :) He will have 3-4 during a game, if it is not on a weeknight. That means $20+ for one game. And we pay $50 a month for cable. Also, he watches EVERY SINGLE GAME, so that is 3 games a week (roughly) and even though he doesn't drink on weeknights NOW, if he was forced to go to a bar to watch the game, he would probably have a few. There's no way that would be cheaper for us! :)

Shannon in ATL
10-17-2008, 03:02 PM
Photo - my husband works in satellite internet business and WebRover is right about the 1996 - your HOA can say that they restrict satellites, but if they are less than 1 meter in diameter they can't tell you that you can't have it. They can restrict the location for matters of aesthetics, but if the only location that works is on the front of your house sticking out towards the road the HOA rules would be overruled by the FCC if you protested.

lizziep
10-17-2008, 03:08 PM
Tivo is a a digital recorder- a lot of times Comcast gives them out w/ their service now (but it's called something else)- it records all my shows- i tell it what show i like and it records it every time it's on. it also can pull stuff off your hard drive of your computer so anything you have there you can play on tv too. there are other things it does like ours is set to download some podcasts and we have a couple we watch every week. mostly think- fancy vcr without the vhs takes. :D

zeffryn
10-17-2008, 03:30 PM
Lizzie - we used to have a tivo, we gave it up because the DVR our cable service offered was less expensive.....bad idea. Tivo is way better.

modkittn
10-17-2008, 04:35 PM
Lizzie - we used to have a tivo, we gave it up because the DVR our cable service offered was less expensive.....bad idea. Tivo is way better.


I :val1: Tivo!

shelbysmom
10-17-2008, 06:22 PM
Three words- F.ree T.o A.ir..............search engine somebody...LOL

tinamae
10-18-2008, 06:47 PM
We have debated dropping Comcast several times. A few months ago dh had had it with cable. We have three recievers with remotes and high speed internet. We live out in the sticks, if I didn't have high speed internet I would have dialup. I think that would be like watching paint dry after seeing the difference. We pay alot for our cable but like others said it is about the only entertainment that we have. My husband called the cable company and threatened to drop the cable completely and just like that they dropped our month bill by $30 a month. We had heard if you called and complained that they would drop your bill. I never thought it would work so that is why I put dh up to doing it. It worked!!!

Now I get Exercise TV on demand. Right now they have Shred I and II.

zeffryn
10-18-2008, 08:54 PM
Tina - I did the same thing after I noticed our rates continually climbing. They ended up putting me into a package for new customers, dropping my rates from $150 to around $100 a month.

EZMONEY
10-18-2008, 09:02 PM
My cable bill runs me around $150 a month for my TV's, DVR and hi-def recorder, phone and internet...

and I don't even have Showtime or HBO!!!....I am yelling this part...

To make it worse for me ....I remember when cable was a cool thing (still is) over that rotary and my bill was $13.00 a month!!

Progress?