If you have followed our site at all then you have probably read our articles about TV, such as:
We’re Not Anti-TV
Now, it may look like we are anti-television, but really, we actually do enjoy TV. What we dislike is how the entertainment gets to the TV.
This article is not directed only at Cable companies, in fact, it could probably be considered an open letter to cable companies, satellite companies, and just about any other television subscription service that fits with our below complaints. Here are our reasons:
#5. 1500 Channels! That’s Way too Many Channels!
I see the advertisements all the time bragging about how you can have access to 1500+ channels. The reason they offer 1500+ channels is so they can justify the high monthly subscription prices they charge. When I had 100 channels with cable I watched 3! I know not everyone is like me, but I also happen to know that everyone isn’t the opposite of me either.
My wife also only watched about 3 to 4 channels, and my in-laws only watch about 3-4 channels. Out of a 4 person sampling, the results are looking pretty consistent: We don’t need 1500+ channels. What we do need is more money in our wallets, but again that means the cable companies would lose revenue.
#4. More HD Programming Than Any Other
I have no desire to see Dane Cook’s pock marks, or the lip stick on the teeth of the local news anchor. This isn’t to say that HD isn’t pleasing when it is a nature scene (like a waterfall or aquatic life swimming), but I don’t need it on every channel, nor do I care to pay for it at all. And they are slowly moving HD programming into standard packages so I will have to pay for it. That’s the wrong direction for me. I just don’t care about HD in most cases. I even use the Standard Definition pricing plan for Netflix.
#3. Rental Fees For The Tuners?
Let me get this straight, you’ll give me the programming, but you won’t give me the device to let me tune it in? Last I checked you gave me the cable modem when I subscribed to the Internet service, and I also got the digital to analog converter when you gave me the digital phone line, but I have to rent the stupid signal tuner?
I’ve heard the arguments before, about how my TV can probably tune the signals on its own, but I find it unethical that they charge for the box in the case that I need it. At least offer the option to purchase the TV Tuners out right! But again, that might cut into profit margins.
#2. It’s An Archaic Business Model
Cable TV programming is an archaic business model in that you get a set block of channels with little flexibility as to what you actually pay for. This goes along with some of my other complaints, but I’m going to focus it more. If I don’t want Spanish channels, then I shouldn’t have to pay for it. If I don’t want Mindless TV (MTV), then I shouldn’t have to pay for it.
The thing that bothers me most about this gripe is that I know it could be changed easily with today’s technology. It’s demonstrated on a daily basis with all of their “premium” channels that you have to pay extra for. They could easily make every channel a subscription channel and I could order only the channels that my wife and I want but it would mean 1 of 2 things:
- They would charge an exorbitant fee per channel to maintain high profit. Which would render this option unattractive to a person with a brain.
- They would charge a fair price, but it wouldn’t be as profitable as their current business model so they have no incentive to do this, other than pleasing their customers.
#1. I Don’t Want to Pay for Channels I Can’t Watch
I don’t speak Spanish. I took two semesters of Spanish in college and all I know is “hola” and “muerta” (hello, and dead respectively). So, effectively, I know the words that people hear when someone comes into this world and leaves it. I don’t watch Spanish news, I don’t watch Telemundo, and I don’t want to pay for Spanish programming. Conversely, if a customer doesn’t speak English, then I don’t think they should have to pay for English programming.
If movie channels can be separated out so that you must subscribe to them, then I believe the same options should be available to Spanish and English channels as well. But this would cut into the cable company’s profit margins which means they can’t do it.
The reason why I dislike cable TV is because they don’t offer the flexibility that their customers want when they have the ability to do it. The reason why it won’t be fixed by the companies voluntarily is because it would cut into their profit margins.
While it may seem counter productive for a company to offer a less profitable service, they should do it if that is what their customer wants. Instead, they offer huge numbers of channels and programming that most people don’t use, so they can justify their high monthly cost. What bothers me is that this won’t change until 1 of the following happens:
- Enough customers get fed up that they drop the service
- A new competitor comes in and begins usurping market share
- The television oligopoly is broken by TV getting served primarily over the Internet, thus forcing the companies to change their model.
- A combination of the above (which appears to already be happening.)
Until then, we will continue using Netflix as our television entertainment provider. It has been fantastic, it is cheap, and it is dependable! Sorry cable and satellite companies, until you change your business model this is one subscriber you won’t have. Hasta Luego!