April 15, 2004


From Washington Post comes this article on the people who still use the large (eight foot diameter) satellite dishes and who like it... The cool thing is that they can pick and choose which channels they want to subscribe to as well as watch live feeds from various news services for free. They are not required to buy a "package" as it is with smaller Ku band and Cable. bq. Like most cable and satellite television subscribers, Mike Cooper gets WGN, Turner Classic Movies, MTV, TV Land, Nickelodeon, Country Music Television and the Independent Film Channel. What makes him different from almost everyone else is that he pays for only the channels he wants. bq. His television bill is about $25 per month. Yours? Often twice that much, whether you get your programs from a cable company such as Comcast Corp. or a satellite firm such as DirecTV. And you're paying for dozens of channels you probably only glimpse when you skip by on the way to your handful of favorites. But there is hope: bq. Many advocacy groups and an increasing number of lawmakers -- such as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) -- say the nation's 93 million cable and satellite subscribers should not have to pay for channels they don't want. McCain has promised legislation this year requiring cable and satellite companies to offer some form of a la carte programming. bq. Cable programmers and distributors are fighting it. In a March 24 letter to McCain, Judith A. McHale, president of Discovery Communications Inc., home to popular cable channels such as Animal Planet, said an economic model worked up by Discovery's research division estimated that, under an a la carte system, the average customer would pay $187.50 per month for 30 channels. (Cable subscribers on average pay $65 a month for premium channels such as HBO and packages that include other standard fare, according to the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, an industry trade group.) This is very cool and McCain is getting a letter of support from me for this. As some of you know, Jen and I are moving out to the country and there is no cable available, just satellite. I was planning to dig up an older C-band rig just to watch the raw news feeds but the ability to pick and choose which commercial channels I want to see makes it that more attractive... Here is the list of NPS's A La Carte Offerings with such goodies as: Discovery / Learning / Animal Pl / Travel for $1.40/month CNN/CNNI/CNNfn/Headline News/Fox News for $2.00/month Independent Film Channel for $1.00/month The major networks are all under $4.00/month. Premium channels like HBO, Cinemax, Disney, Showtime are in the $10 to $20 range. You can also prepay for one year and get two months free. Posted by DaveH at April 15, 2004 4:39 PM