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Raycom stations may drop from Dish at midnight (and now back on Dish again)


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#51 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 08:31 AM

I think history shows the market will usually keep prices lower for consumers as long as government prevents monopolies.

 

By the same token, history shows that when government gets directly involved in pricing, prices go up.

 

What examples can you think of for the latter? 


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#52 OFFLINE   Athlon646464

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 09:36 AM

What examples can you think of for the latter? 

 

I'll give you the big three......

 

Food prices, energy prices, health care.......

 

Government policies have contributed to increases in all three areas.  There are always exceptions, of course, but in general when government tinkers, prices rise.

 

For example, subsidizing farmers to grow biofuels (which have debatable positive effects and/or public demand), while sounding positive and therefore a 'good/nice thing to do' politically have had the unintended consequence of lowering some other types of food supplies and therefore price increases for those foods. You've seen it in the grocery store over the last few years even though there is no inflation right now.  Most stores are charging the same but the portions are smaller.

 

Government has also messed with gas prices.  Four years ago gas was below $2 a gallon.  I don't have to tell you how much it is for us now.  Because of government programs it's more profitable to sell oil overseas and therefore lowers domestic supplies causing us to pay more.  This is incredibly true even during our current recession while demand is near a 25 year low!

 

Health care costs have gone up dramatically in the last 18 months, despite the new health care law, and is predicted to go even higher soon when the law kicks in fully.  The current administration has even delayed pieces of the law to tamp some of that down.

 

I don't want to debate the merits of each of these issues, these are just some of the facts as they relate to what you and I pay for these goods and services.  

 

The market almost always creates fair prices based on supply and demand.  When prices become unfair, demand falls and the market will self correct.  

 

The free market is not always perfect, but government usually makes 'political' decisions and not 'business' decisions.  That's why nearly every government program wastes money and causes unintended consequences in the free markets. 


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#53 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 09:46 AM

Part of the argument for retransmission consent is that cable and satellite dilute an OTA station's drawing power.


So it is not compensation for copyright it is punishment for apparently reducing viewership? Even though in the next breath the stations claim that cable and satellite are making money by selling OTA reception and they want a piece of the action?

They can't have it both ways. Pick a theory. Either retransmission on cable and satellite reduces viewership or it increases viewership. One cannot claim both!

There is nothing in the law that allows an OTA station to penalize a cable or satellite company for competing with them. The law allows the OTA to charge for retransmission ... not for competition.

There is no question that retransmission fees have become a significant part of the broadcast stations' revenues, and if they were to lose those revenues they would need to be replaced elsewhere.  The replacement would be in the loss of quality programming, since they couldn't raise their prices elsewhere.  Advertisers won't pay more just because the networks aren't getting money from cable and satellite.  In many smaller markets, you might even see stations go belly-up.


That is a failure of the STATIONS. They should never have relied on retransmission for income - and the trend to demand dollars instead of pennies for retransmission is reasonably new. A couple of years ago the networks and their O&Os started pushing for $1+ per subscriber and suggested the affiliates did the same. Before that, the rates were more reasonable.

If retransmission fees were never allowed to be charged perhaps stations would have already gone belly-up ... or perhaps they would not have tried to extort money from the companies that are helping them reach their audience. A long time ago DISH network did not carry my market's locals. Before I subscribed to DISH I had cable with locals and saw their programming ... when I switched to DISH I had satellite without locals and lived without OTA stations. It was a major benefit to those OTA stations and their advertisers when DISH added the channels in my market. Why does the thank you card come in the form of a bill?

The digital transition really put the squeeze on a lot of stations' budgets.  A 50kw lo-VHF analog station didn't use nearly the power a 1000kw UHF one does to cover a slightly smaller area.  And thanks to the fact that analog was variable in power usage (white used 0 power, black 100%) the actual electrical usage was lower.


That sounds like one of those arguments that when DISH loses customers their satellites use less power (more signal for the rest of us when lost customers stop receiving the signal).

In my area UHF power levels dropped to cover "the same area". We have one station with 800kw and the rest are below 400kw. We even have three of UHFs that are 85kw or less. The conversion from tube transmitters to solid state (no tube or just one large tube) has reduced the power usage for the station ... not increased it.

Getting two companies to agree when their interests are in opposition is even harder.  My bet is this will resolve in a week or two, and all the terms will be confidential.


That I can agree with. It happens all the time. In the best times it happens without a loss of channels for the customer. But there are few disputes where a channel loss is permanent.
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#54 OFFLINE   Paul Secic

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 10:00 AM

Time Warner Cable just drop CBS CORP. for retrains trouble.


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#55 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 10:31 AM

@ Athlon

 

Thanks for the reply. While this is not the place for this debate, may I offer that the third example is primo, whereas the first two are very interrelated and very complex, and not necessarily the Gov't's fault. And, yes, Gov't regulation costs each and every one of us  bucks- some programs are worth it, others not so much. I feel safe eating in any restaurant that doesn't look horrible, and have a high degree of confidence that what I buy in the market isn't poisoned. There are glaring exceptions to both, but without the FDA, I wouldn't be as happy. Possibly the EPA; not Homeland security- or rather the TSA. I could go on and on, but won't! :)


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#56 OFFLINE   jsk

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 10:41 AM

This problem was caused by government DEregulation.  They have been relaxing TV ownership laws and it has allowed companies to become so powerful that a retrans dispute will hurt a cable/satellite company in multiple markets.  This is just one problem caused by relaxing the ownership laws.


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#57 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 11:02 AM

Yeah, I figured part of the transition to digital was to reduce power consumption.

 

On the retrans fees and revenue .... if they're getting so much more, why are local commercial minutes increasing during the news?


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#58 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 03:25 PM

Yeah, I figured part of the transition to digital was to reduce power consumption.

 

On the retrans fees and revenue .... if they're getting so much more, why are local commercial minutes increasing during the news?

 

You're asking the wrong question.

 

Do you have a job?  Do you want a raise?  When did you last get a raise?  Why wasn't that raise enough for you now?

 

Costs go up... people want to buy things...  people want more money to work... companies have to pay more... companies have to charge more...  it just keeps cycling around and around.


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#59 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 09:35 PM

In how many cities is CBS off both systems in these disputes?


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#60 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 09:45 PM

On the retrans fees and revenue .... if they're getting so much more, why are local commercial minutes increasing during the news?

Costs go up... people want to buy things...  people want more money to work... companies have to pay more... companies have to charge more...  it just keeps cycling around and around.


Charge the advertisers more ... and continue to provide programming worth watching so the station has viewers to sell to those advertisers. :)

Trying to charge their viewers more indirectly through cable or satellite providers just seems wrong. Especially when the local commercial load is increasing and stations are cutting back on the quality of local production. Why are we watching? Sometimes I wonder.
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#61 OFFLINE   NR4P

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 09:48 PM

Yeah, I figured part of the transition to digital was to reduce power consumption.

 

On the retrans fees and revenue .... if they're getting so much more, why are local commercial minutes increasing during the news?

 

Reduce power consumption? Nope.  All our big screen TV's draw far more power than the 25" TV's they replaced.   And with the new TV's we need soundbars and audio system.  More power.

 

The primary reason was spectrum efficiency.  With Analog, you couldn't have adjacent channels in overlapping areas.  Digital increased the TV station density and with that, comes more TV stations paying the government for licensing.  It also eliminated the upper end of UHF TV, channels above 67.   Where did they go?  Reassigned for auction.

 

Make no mistake about it, money was first, HD was second.   But the consumer was sold on increased features with digital, and that's real too.  And cool.

 

Back to the original point of the thread... The DISH dispute has taken Fox off of that sat. where I live.



#62 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 10:14 PM

Reduce power consumption? Nope.  All our big screen TV's draw far more power than the 25" TV's they replaced.   And with the new TV's we need soundbars and audio system.  More power.

I believe the thought was reducing power consumption at the TV transmitter. Perhaps on a global scale it all balances out with more TVs and devices in homes. Of course, where some stations may be saving money each month on their electric bill they had to put out a lot of money for new transmitters (especially for full power stations with parallel operations a couple of years ago) plus all the new digital switch gear needed to retransmit and now produce live HD programming.

And now, they are passing the expense on to you! For only $1 per month (or whatever Raycom is asking for) you can continue watching your Fox station. And if you don't think $1 per month is bad then wait until the other OTA network stations want their $1 per month ... would that be bad? And when the $1 per month contracts come up for renewal the local station will want $1.50 ... or $2. They won't want less. :)
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#63 OFFLINE   sregener

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 04:50 AM

I believe the thought was reducing power consumption at the TV transmitter. 

 

If ATSC 8VSB had worked well on VHF 2-6, I think this would have been the case.  In most markets, stations fought to not even be put on VHF-HI because it is inferior to UHF for reliable digital reception.  I never heard power consumption being listed as a reason for pushing it.

 

The government pushed the transition so they could sell off channels 52-69 for other uses.  They stood to make billions selling off that spectrum.  HD was the carrot to get the American public to buy into it.

 

I had a 32" CRT that pulled somewhere around 400W.  I replaced it with a 50" Plasma that uses an average of 40W and a peak of 80.  An LED LCD pulls much, much less.  Big screen TVs do not draw more power than a decade-old 25".

 

What seems reasonable to me is for satellite to drop the locals, but still provide the guide data for DVRs.  And then put OTA tuners (dual would be nice, Dish...) on every receiver and include an OTA install with every new Dish.



#64 OFFLINE   sregener

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 06:40 AM

In my area UHF power levels dropped to cover "the same area". We have one station with 800kw and the rest are below 400kw. We even have three of UHFs that are 85kw or less. The conversion from tube transmitters to solid state (no tube or just one large tube) has reduced the power usage for the station ... not increased it.

 

I had my numbers wrong yesterday.  Analog UHF was 5000kw maximum ERP.  Digital, because it uses a practically constant power, has the same effective coverage (and average power usage) at 1000kw.  What is not in question is that the vast majority of lo-VHF stations moved to the higher-power-using UHF spectrum.  In reading insider complaints about the digital spectrum, most stations who gave up lo-VHF (or hi-VHF) spectrum for the more reliable UHF state their power bills are dramatically higher.  UHF stations have not saved energy by broadcasting digitally - they're using the same power now as before the transition (or more, in some cases.)

 

I can find no evidence that analog transmitters had to be tube-based and that only digital ones can be solid state.  Thus, any power savings from converting to solid state would be valid for analog as well as digital broadcasting.  If the energy savings justified the cost, I find it hard to believe that stations would not have voluntarily replaced their transmitters long before the digital transition came along.



#65 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 07:14 AM

In reading insider complaints about the digital spectrum, most stations who gave up lo-VHF (or hi-VHF) spectrum for the more reliable UHF state their power bills are dramatically higher.

Remember, electric rates have gone up in the last few years too.  In some cases dramatically.  I know mine has gone up close to 50% per KwH in 10 years.


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#66 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 07:21 AM

I can find no evidence that analog transmitters had to be tube-based and that only digital ones can be solid state.  Thus, any power savings from converting to solid state would be valid for analog as well as digital broadcasting.  If the energy savings justified the cost, I find it hard to believe that stations would not have voluntarily replaced their transmitters long before the digital transition came along.


It is more of a new vs old issue ... and transmitters are rather expensive. Even if a chief engineer approached the station bean counter and said they could save 50% on the power bill by upgrading the transmitter the price of the transmitter would push the break even point far enough out that the bean counter would win. One would practically have to lose a transmitter to get a new one.

During conversion when they ran both the analog and the digital it was not a happy time for bean counters.

The VHF markets faced different challenges ... blanket statements applied to all stations in the US based on the complaints of a VHF to UHF converting station or a VHF to VHF station would not apply. One thing that can be applied to all stations is that it cost them money. Paying engineers and specialized lawyers to protect their coverage area was only the beginning of the cost. It was not a cheap process.

And now the cost is passed on to you ... the cable or satellite customer.

The stations I feel for are the small non-network stations who do not have highly rated content to hold hostage. Stations that if they asked for a dime a month would be refused and few would notice. They still have the expense of running a station but don't have the pull of a major network station when it comes to negotiations.

Which begs the question ... If a small non-network station can afford to stay on the air with less advertisers, lower ratings and no retransmission fees why can't the larger network stations live off of their advertising and not charge a retransmission fee? The powerhouse stations that allegedly cannot survive without $1 per month from cable/satellite viewers ... they should learn something from the smaller stations that are surviving.
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#67 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 07:32 AM

Which begs the question ... If a small non-network station can afford to stay on the air with less advertisers, lower ratings and no retransmission fees why can't the larger network stations live off of their advertising and not charge a retransmission fee? The powerhouse stations that allegedly cannot survive without $1 per month from cable/satellite viewers ... they should learn something from the smaller stations that are surviving.

For one thing, I'd say the smaller stations don't have several people drawing multi-million dollar salaries.


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#68 OFFLINE   TBoneit

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 10:24 AM

Snipped:
And now, they are passing the expense on to you! For only $1 per month (or whatever Raycom is asking for) you can continue watching your Fox station. And if you don't think $1 per month is bad then wait until the other OTA network stations want their $1 per month ... would that be bad? And when the $1 per month contracts come up for renewal the local station will want $1.50 ... or $2. They won't want less. :)

 

Just think $1 per station in a market Like NYC or LA!

 

 

 

So it is not compensation for copyright it is punishment for apparently reducing viewership? Even though in the next breath the stations claim that cable and satellite are making money by selling OTA reception and they want a piece of the action?

They can't have it both ways. Pick a theory. Either retransmission on cable and satellite reduces viewership or it increases viewership. One cannot claim both!

Snipped:

 

I suspect that both claims could be true.

I can wrap my head around the thought (Theory) that Viewers that only have OTA will end up watching more Local TV stations content than a Cable or Satellite Viewer that can cherry pick shows to watch from the local stations plus all the non OTA content. On the other hand they can say more viewers since the entire DMA gets their channel. Hmmm...............

 

A conspiracy type might claim that they are trying to get more people to go back to OTA only by raising prices on Cable or Satellite.


Edited by TBoneit, 04 August 2013 - 10:26 AM.

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#69 OFFLINE   TBoneit

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 10:26 AM

The NBC affiliate in Columbia, SC is affected - as far as I am concerned, they can leave it off. I rarely watch the networks.

 

Anyone watches NBC? Do they have anything worth watching?


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#70 OFFLINE   fudpucker

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 12:06 PM

While you always see people saying, in discussions like this, "Well. I never watch NBC so who cares?"  or whatever network channel, the fact is that most people watch the networks a LOT. A rating on a cable station that is much smaller than a rating on one of the big 4 networks is often considered very good. Sports, top prime time shows, etc. Plus for many the local news.

 

Something really does need to be done. I understand the arguments for TW or Dish or DirectTV, etc. refusing to pay fee increases, but for many of us a carrier missing one or more of the major networks is unacceptable. The only reason I subscribe to Dish is to watch the stations; I.e. the stations are the dog and Dish is the tail for me. I can't get my locals via OTA, plus I'd lose my ability to record them via DVR (which is how we watch most TV, for various reasons.) 

 

I do know that when the local CBS and Fox stations were within days of dropping off of Dish, even though it may have been the "fault" of the owner of the networks, the local cable people and DirectTV were bombarded with people dumping Dish. People who post on forums like this tend to be more hardcore than the average viewer, who just wants to watch their NCIS or NFL game or the Masters golf tournament or Community, etc. And most people, if they are faced with one provider in the area not carrying CBS or NBC or Fox or ABC and other carriers who do, they will switch to the ones who do. Yeah, yeah, good luck when you switch from Dish to Time Warner and then Time Warner loses CBS, but then they'll just jump ship again. I don't know of many people who would be happy that their Dish bill was $2 less per month but they don't get CBS and Fox. 

 

I do believe that this is a case where Congress (bleh) should jump in and set some rules on the public network and re-transmission fees. 



#71 OFFLINE   seern

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 12:43 PM

Anyone watches NBC? Do they have anything worth watching?

Only the evening news as far as I am concerned. Though Crossing Lines is not bad for a summer show. Yes I am lurking here from the Direct area, but our NBC station is a Raycom unit so I was curious as to how this was playing.


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#72 OFFLINE   sregener

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 03:27 AM


Which begs the question ... If a small non-network station can afford to stay on the air with less advertisers, lower ratings and no retransmission fees why can't the larger network stations live off of their advertising and not charge a retransmission fee? The powerhouse stations that allegedly cannot survive without $1 per month from cable/satellite viewers ... they should learn something from the smaller stations that are surviving.

 

Okay, what market do you have in mind?  In mine, we have 6 broadcast channels + 1 local translator.  That's 1 each for ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, and 2 for PBS.  The translator is for 3ABN.  The local TBN translator got shut down due to high costs.  ABC multicasts This, CBS multicasts MyNetwork, NBC multicasts CW, and Fox multicasts MeTV.  None are O&O, so they are all paying significant fees to the major networks to be affiliates.  Plus they're paying to carry their multicast channels.  And those multicast channels are not on Dish.  For a couple, there isn't even guide data for OTA reception and recording.

 

The big networks are charging affiliates more than ever for membership.  Those dollars have to come from somewhere, and they're coming from cable and satellite viewers.  In exchange, the big networks are able to bid for the rights to major events, and even so, they lose frequently to ESPN or one of the other cable networks.  What isn't there is a serious containment of costs.  Every channel in turn gets to hold the providers hostage, and providers who don't want to lose a lot of customers end up caving and paying whatever the channels want.  The channels then outbid each other for programming with their newfound wealth, which leads to another round of holding providers hostage.  The cycle will not stop until people stop paying for television (or at least, stop paying traditional sources for it) in large enough numbers to matter.



#73 OFFLINE   sregener

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 03:33 AM

Something really does need to be done. I understand the arguments for TW or Dish or DirectTV, etc. refusing to pay fee increases, but for many of us a carrier missing one or more of the major networks is unacceptable. The only reason I subscribe to Dish is to watch the stations; I.e. the stations are the dog and Dish is the tail for me. I can't get my locals via OTA, plus I'd lose my ability to record them via DVR (which is how we watch most TV, for various reasons.) 

 

Most people who state they can't get their locals via OTA are wrong.  I'm not saying there aren't white areas in the country, but those areas are few and far between.  There are probably many more who live in condos or other areas that face the wrong way and can't erect an antenna where it will work, though the modern tuners are able to deal with signals bouncing off buildings better than anything in the old analog days this number is also probably smaller than people think.  And there are OTA-only DVRs out there, and there's the HTPC option.



#74 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 05:08 AM

Okay, what market do you have in mind?


No specific market or station in mind ... just looking at thousands of stations without the "big network" leverage that manage to keep the transmitter on and fed.
 

Plus they're paying to carry their multicast channels. And those multicast channels are not on Dish. For a couple, there isn't even guide data for OTA reception and recording.


Once again you're expecting DISH to pay a penalty to stations. Retransmission rights payments should be for the signals that satellite and cable retransmits ... not for signals they do not retransmit.
 

The big networks are charging affiliates more than ever for membership.  Those dollars have to come from somewhere, and they're coming from cable and satellite viewers.


And that is the root of the problem ... Fox telling their affiliates to demand $$ per subscriber regardless of market. And then instead of supporting the local station it just goes back to the national programmer.
 

In exchange, the big networks are able to bid for the rights to major events, and even so, they lose frequently to ESPN or one of the other cable networks.


Have you forgotten who ESPN is? They are the owners of a Mickey Mouse OTA broadcast network called ABC. Who are they bidding against? NBC Universal, the owners of another major OTA broadcast network and many cable channels? Fox, the owners of the Fox Sports empire? The big OTA networks ARE the major multiple cable channel networks!
 

The cycle will not stop until people stop paying for television (or at least, stop paying traditional sources for it) in large enough numbers to matter.


Good luck with that. A decade of a la carte talk has led to more firmly entrenched package/tier system. As long as the major players own their content it will be delivered to people on the major players terms.

Unless you're suggesting that the government should seize sports and other programming and force it to be delivered to customers at a government set rate. :)
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#75 OFFLINE   Paul Secic

Paul Secic

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Joined: Dec 16, 2003

Posted 05 August 2013 - 09:40 AM

Anyone watches NBC? Do they have anything worth watching?

Nope.


Enjoying AT 250 HBO, 

 

Equipment: VIP 722 reciever





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