Posts tagged ‘Cable TV’

09/17/2011

Cable TV Failed To Show Football Game

One would think Charter Communications, the Cable TV monopoly in Madison, would have carried the football game on Sat. Sep. 17 between the 7th ranked University of Wisconsin Badgers and Northern Illinois, but the game was not on any of the 50 Basic Service stations, the 56 on Expanded Service, or any of the 54 on Digital View Plus, even though we subscribers give Charter plenty of money each month to provide good service.

So what was on Cable at 2:30 p.m. instead? Their lineup included seven football games, including none we wanted to watch: 1) Versus carried Texas Tech and New Mexico; 2) Fox showed Colorado St. v Colorado; 3) ESPN went with Texas and UCLA; 4) CBS broadcast Tennessee v Florida; 5) NBC had Notre Dame and Michigan St.; 6) ABC announced Nebraska and Washington; and 7) the Big Ten Network chose Minnesota and Miami of Ohio. If I had purchased cable’s Sports View package, and spent even more money, Northwestern v Army was on CBS Sport Network, and Virginia v North Carolina was on ESPNU.

Why does Cable TV do this? When will they ever learn that our interest in a local football team, does not translate into a general desire to watch whatever game they decide to give us. Like the vast majority in Wisconsin, I turned the TV off, and had to watch the Badger game on my laptop through an online stream of ESPN-3. When will advertisers learn the vast majority of people watching most games, are just fans of the two teams on the field.

Although the cable monopoly promotes itself as a wonderful carrier by advertising over 100 stations to choose from, the number of channels makes no difference, if they show only filler programming no one wants to watch. Cable TV could be so much better if the people of Wisconsin huddled up, went on offense, put Cable on defense, and pressured them to change their lineup. We should be able to stop them from calling all the plays. We should be able to move the ball in the direction we want it to go, by collectively forcing them to show us the games we want to watch.

08/02/2011

Cable TV Could Be So Much Better

When I was young, the TV set was known as a “black and white,” because nothing was broadcast in color, until 1964. “Rabbit ears” sat on top of it, so we could receive of one of the three VHF Milwaukee stations. We could also get one UHF channel, but the picture quality was grey and fuzzy, and frankly not very good.

The three networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC, had regular programs that allowed us to plan our TV viewing. The Green Bay Packers always kicked off their weekly game on Sunday, at Noon. The Johnny Carson Show started at 10:30 p.m. Most prime time entertainment comedies ran new episodes in their usual weekly half hour slots, the entire season from Sep. through May.

The major networks also carried a certain amount of educational programming. 60 Minutes first aired in 1968. The Sunday morning lineup included Face the Nation (CBS) and Meet the Press (NBC). In those days, networks adhered to quality standards. Facts were distinguished from opinion. People needed credentials to appear before national audiences. They behaved while on TV. No one shouted down, cut off, or interrupted other guests. The best part about TV in the day was that it was free.

Cable TV gradually replaced the old-style of broadcasting. While it made TV reception better, particularly in rural areas where there had been no broadcast signals, the quality of programming went down, despite additional stations, since most new ones carried nothing worth watching, and competition weakened the networks.

On the plus side, ABC, CBS and NBC remained on the air. Although PBS is still shown, they are routinely threatened with extinction by Congress. I like it when cable offers the BBC, because American networks are weak as to international news. The Weather Channel comes in handy in a storm. CSPAN is a plus when Congress is debating something important. The History Channel occasionally has a good story, and Discovery once in a while carries solid science. The Travel Channel is sometimes educational. MSNBC was needed to counterbalance Fox, the Republican network, and to replace CNN, which inconsistently jumped from serious news, to frivolous stuff.

But cable could be so much better, if consumers were allowed to pick a minimum basic lineup of 12 stations, for $1 per channel. I would select PBS, BBC, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, the Weather Channel, C-Span, C-Span-2, ESPN and the Big Ten Network. After purchasing a basic 12-pack, consumers could then select additional stations, again for $1 each. I would add History, Travel and Discovery, bringing my total to $15. I might also add a few movie channels, depending what they carried, for $1 sums.

We currently subsidize many stations not worth watching with our monthly payments. By allowing consumers to choose, we could remove most of the junk from cable, as several stations would find themselves without enough viewers. Why should I be forced to subsidize Fox, the Republican political network? Does anyone really watch religious programming? Degenerate entertainment like the hideous Jerry Springer Show, where people swear and throw chairs would die. How many Sci-Fi ax murderers do we need? Dumb Hollywood-types, like Paris Hilton, Ozzie Osborn, and the Kardashians, who have never done anything to deserve TV attention, would come to an end.

Viewers are smarter than cable companies assume, and most would turn to quality programs. We should let consumers choose their cable shows via their pocketbooks and improve TV viewing.