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  #1  
Old 04-29-2014, 07:24 PM
nyle nyle is offline
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Google Fiber TV and Sage?

So has anyone seen anything else about the future of SageTV?

http://9to5google.com/2012/07/26/it-...red-by-sagetv/

I miss my SageTV, I ended up retiring my system as TWC gets ready to kill off the remaining ClearQAM channels and my tuner died. I was really hoping that Google would release an Internet based TV service that competed directly with CableTV and used SageTV.

Well I supose everyting is still hush, hush secret. I did see that Dish Network and TWC will be offering Internet based TV services soon. I for one want competition to open up TV to a la carte pricing so I can pay for just the channels I want and get them streamed over the Internet.

No more cable TV, no more satellite.

So, anyone heard anything else from Google and SageTV?
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Old 04-30-2014, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by nyle View Post
So has anyone seen anything else about the future of SageTV?
If there had been anything new, I'm sure someone would have reported it here.... sigh....
(btw, I assume you know that link you gave is almost two years old and that you posted it just as a reference point)

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I for one want competition to open up TV to a la carte pricing so I can pay for just the channels I want...
You and, well, just about every other person in the world.

Several have tried (to create an a la carte option), all have failed. Mega-behemoth cable companies aren't giving up their decades-old cash cow and they'll do whatever they have to in order to maintain it, until too many people have cut the cord and they finally see a significant loss of profit, at which point they'll have to adapt. I just don't see that happening for at least 10 years. The people who are tech savvy enough to do this (who have been in touch with the shifting of TV viewing away from live viewing) are not yet the majority of the content-purchasing public. When today's teens and 20-somethings (who are the majority of those exclusively getting content from the internet and on-demand) are the 30-, 40-, and 50- (and even 60-) somethings that make up the bulk of the money-paying public, cable companies will have to change.
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Old 04-30-2014, 10:34 AM
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Nope nothing not even a rumor
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  #4  
Old 04-30-2014, 12:58 PM
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No news on that front that I've heard. The old SageTV group is the new Google Fiber TV group (plus several new folks). I know they are working on the TV hardware for all Google Fiber users including software/feature upgrades and some new devices in the works, but thus far it's been limited to subscribers of Google Fiber. And Google Fiber TV's channels and packages are very similar to traditional cable companies so not much to say on that front either.

There seemed to be hints that it could grow beyond that, but not a peep on anything that direction for quite a while.
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Old 04-30-2014, 06:10 PM
nyle nyle is offline
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Originally Posted by Brent View Post
No news on that front that I've heard. The old SageTV group is the new Google Fiber TV group (plus several new folks). I know they are working on the TV hardware for all Google Fiber users including software/feature upgrades and some new devices in the works, but thus far it's been limited to subscribers of Google Fiber. And Google Fiber TV's channels and packages are very similar to traditional cable companies so not much to say on that front either.

There seemed to be hints that it could grow beyond that, but not a peep on anything that direction for quite a while.
I would suspect with TWC and Dish Network offering IPTV in the near future that others are likely close to doing so themselves. Anyone tried of seen Foxtel Play in action, is it legit? It's a bit expensive but looks to have actual channels people want. I bet that Google would love to offer IPTV to anyone with a broadband connection. If they could just convince the networks that they'd gain viewers and money instead of loose it, it would likely happen.

I know a lot of us are hoping for the same thing and that traditional cable companies are holding on for dear life. Really it's not just 20 somethings cutting cable, I know a lot of people in their 30s and 40s doing the same thing. We all talk to each other and more of us all the time are going to Internet based entertainment and rentals instead of bundled cable TV options.

Looking at the lost customer metrics I think the big cable companies are starting to get that they can't keep forcing us to use their encrypted old cable boxes anymore. We want streaming and we want to access it from any device.

I was hoping someone might have a little more than I've seen.

I know my link is old. I was hoping someone had heard more but it sounds like we are all at the mercy of the companies to announce offerings. I was sad to see Intel drop out of the push for IPTV.

I keep hoping. I really miss my SageTV.
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  #6  
Old 05-01-2014, 06:14 AM
pjpjpjpj pjpjpjpj is offline
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That Foxtel thing (which I'd never seen before) is an example of why a la carte is completely blocked by cable cos. $50/month for Game of Thrones. $50/month for some sports channels. Just those two things alone and you are at or above the cost of cable (with those channels included) in some (many?) parts of the country. And that doesn't even get you other content that cable would. The cable companies have such a larger number of customers to offer the media providers that they always get the best prices. An upstart (i.e., Intel) provider won't have enough eyeballs to offer to an HBO or ESPN and thus will have to charge way more per month. The stats on ESPN's rebroadcasting rights alone are unbelievable - I've seen articles that in some parts of the country, over 40% of your cable bill is just for ESPN. Many people I know have cable JUST for ESPN - "I'd cut the cord if not for ESPN." And as more of the major sports start moving from free major networks to pay cable networks, sports fans will be even more locked into having to buy cable.

That's why I think we're so far from a la carte being available. I'm aware that 30- and 40-somethings are cutting the cord (I'm one of them) but I'm literally one of two people I know my age who have done it. I work in an engineering office with 85 people who are, for the most part, well, geeky engineers. You'd think people here would be tech-savvy enough to cut the cord. But I'm the only one who has. One other late-20-something guy cuts the cord for most of the year, but pays for Dish for a few months every year to watch Game of Thrones. Some others I know talk about it but haven't done it. I think the actual numbers are lower than most think (and the numbers you see are probably skewed if you live in a more tech-savvy part of the country, i.e., California coast). Sure, there are lots of teens and young 20s (coming out of college, getting their first place on their own) who are already so accustomed to getting everything streaming that they just won't ever start. But for every one of those, there is a 30-something who "has to have his cable" and will be a homeowner who would blindly pay for cable for another, what, 40 or 50 years? Eventually there will be a large-enough majority of people who don't want cable that the cable companies will have to change their model - and I suspect that will happen before that 30-something guy dies (way less than 40 years from now) and will force "that guy" to change - but I don't think there will be a significant-enough dent in the cable-buyer numbers for at least a decade or two. There are still too many 50-, 60-, 70-, even 80-somethings who are too entrenched in cable (as they know it) and aren't going to change. That core base of people alone is enough to keep cable "as it is" for at least another decade.
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  #7  
Old 05-02-2014, 09:30 PM
nyle nyle is offline
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Originally Posted by pjpjpjpj View Post
That Foxtel thing (which I'd never seen before) is an example of why a la carte is completely blocked by cable cos. $50/month for Game of Thrones. $50/month for some sports channels. Just those two things alone and you are at or above the cost of cable
Very true, I didn't think it was cheap but I did think it was interesting that they did have some actual networks available.

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The stats on ESPN's rebroadcasting rights alone are unbelievable - I've seen articles that in some parts of the country, over 40% of your cable bill is just for ESPN. Many people I know have cable JUST for ESPN
This is exactly why bundled cable is so unfair. I hate watching sports on TV. Not everyone loves sports and it would be interesting to see who wouldn't pay for ESPN. If it's 40% of my bill - I would have kept my cable if it cost my 40% less. I'd be completely happy to not have a single sports channel. I have many other channels I don't want to pay for either. At some point this bundled model has to end and I think once enough people cut the cord we'll see competition.

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That's why I think we're so far from a la carte being available. I'm aware that 30- and 40-somethings are cutting the cord (I'm one of them) but I'm literally one of two people I know my age who have done it.
I think that the number of subscribers that the big cable companies have lost speaks for itself. It's the same argument when we do analysis of our peer groups and say well no one I know has done XYZ, so it must mean it's not happening. In this down economy many people are cutting cable in addition to those who want to divorce from traditional bundled cable. This crosses all age groups but it is possible that younger people are doing it more but I'm not so certain about that.

Time Warner and Comcast lost 1.1 million subscribers in 2013. They lost a large number of subscribers in 2012 as well. Now yes, they still have millions of subscribers but if the trend continues this bodes really well for them waking up. They both already appear ready to launch their own IPTV services.

http://arstechnica.com/business/2014...omers-in-2013/

Once they offer pure IPTV, it will be hard for them to argue that other big cable providers and satellite not be able to compete head to head with their IPTV offerings. I think these losses are exactly why Comcast wants to buy TWC. They want to up their subscriber base to prepare for the upcoming storm so they can use it as leverage in negotiations with the networks. Just my opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pjpjpjpj View Post
There are still too many 50-, 60-, 70-, even 80-somethings who are too entrenched in cable (as they know it) and aren't going to change. That core base of people alone is enough to keep cable "as it is" for at least another decade.
We'll have to agree to disagree, If we keep talking about it and helping others understand what is available so that the big 9 keep loosing 1+ million subscribers a year, the market will end up forcing change. Companies exist to not only make profit but grow to guarantee future profits. The cable companies can see the writing on the wall, when their video subscriber base is shrinking and their broadband base is growing for multiple years - it let's even the most dense corporate bureaucrat see, that a trend is forming that they better respond to.

Right now they still think they can offer a bundled IPTV service and lock us into them because they'll have all the networks. All it takes it Dish TV and Dish Network to offer cheaper IPTV packages with the same big networks and competition will start to put market pressures on the networks. So that force bundling undesirable stations with others to force consumers to subsidize non-profitable channels will start to end.

As for your estimate of a decade for a la carte, I guess 10 years isn't really that long in my book, so it could take that long to reach that goal. However, I'm thinking we'll start to see positive changes in less than 5 though.

It's fun to speculate on it all isn't it though.

Imagine if a BIG tech company that already has agreements with all the networks starts to offer IPTV all over the Internet. If no white night arises as I think they might. It isn't a stretch to see as AT&T and Verizon are growing subscribers and that if the trend continues, soon they may just gain enough share to push for being able to sell their service to anyone with an IP address.

All speculation, I was hoping to hear some more plans for SageTV to be available to the general public again. It's unlikely that in the rural town where I live, we'll ever see Google Fiber. Thanks for the conversation.
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  #8  
Old 05-03-2014, 08:36 AM
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This is exactly why bundled cable is so unfair. I hate watching sports on TV. Not everyone loves sports and it would be interesting to see who wouldn't pay for ESPN. If it's 40% of my bill - I would have kept my cable if it cost my 40% less. I'd be completely happy to not have a single sports channel. I have many other channels I don't want to pay for either. At some point this bundled model has to end and I think once enough people cut the cord we'll see competition.
I'm in the same boat as you. However, I firmly believe (ridiculous as it is) that we subsidize the sports fanatics. If they stopped using us to do so, I think the sports packages would need to go up at least 50% in order for the networks to continue their huge windfall of profits.
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Old 05-04-2014, 04:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyle View Post
This is exactly why bundled cable is so unfair. I hate watching sports on TV. Not everyone loves sports and it would be interesting to see who wouldn't pay for ESPN. If it's 40% of my bill - I would have kept my cable if it cost my 40% less. I'd be completely happy to not have a single sports channel. I have many other channels I don't want to pay for either. At some point this bundled model has to end and I think once enough people cut the cord we'll see competition.
I think your evaluation of the economics is all wrong. If so many people didn't watch sports and there was no ESPN the cable viewership would go down and the price would go up because advertisers would not be willing to pay cable providers as much. Your bill would NOT go down by 40%, it would actually go up.

More subscribers mean lower prices for all.

What I could see happening is a "Chinese menu" of channels where a subscriber must pick x channels from column A, y from column B and z from column C WITHOUT a drop in the pricing model. A bet subscribers wouldn't balk at this precisely because each person watches only a small subset of the channels available.
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Old 05-04-2014, 08:56 AM
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My cable bill has a line stating "Surcharge Sports Programming". I asked for it to be removed along with all the sports channels, which was obviously not allowed. Essentially, I'm paying an extra fee specifically so other people can sit on their couches watching other people play games. I find that mind boggling.

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  #11  
Old 05-04-2014, 07:46 PM
nyle nyle is offline
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I think your evaluation of the economics is all wrong. If so many people didn't watch sports and there was no ESPN the cable viewership would go down and the price would go up because advertisers would not be willing to pay cable providers as much. Your bill would NOT go down by 40%, it would actually go up.

More subscribers mean lower prices for all.

What I could see happening is a "Chinese menu" of channels where a subscriber must pick x channels from column A, y from column B and z from column C WITHOUT a drop in the pricing model. A bet subscribers wouldn't balk at this precisely because each person watches only a small subset of the channels available.
Thanks, just keep in mind it isn't my estimate. Another user suggested that our cable bills are 40% higher because we subsidize ESPN. I don't know where they got the number from but it's possible.

Personally, I'd like to see all channels up for sale at their asking price. If they want to bundle their own channels at a discount fine but I only have a few channels I want and I hate supporting channels I don't want for more reasons than just the cost.
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Old 05-04-2014, 08:54 PM
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The argument, which I now believe more than I did originally, with a la carte across the board is that some customers (mainly sports customers, I would figure) are really going to hate it.

Let's take ESPN. It's profitable, almost grossly profitable. And that's because they have $X/month in subscriber fees. For ESPN, they're a basic cable channel, every sub to cable/sat in the US _must_ subscribe, it's not an option. And that generates $X a month. Well if ESPN goes a la carte, you think their monthly gross revenue from subscriber fees is going to go down? I highly doubt it. They simply take $X and divide it by the new subscriber base and that's what they're going to charge the BDUs to carry ESPN. Pretty simple math. Now they might have to take a slight hit, sure, but not much. If that means it's $25/mth for ESPN then so be it.

Even with that, I think there's still money to be saved on a pure a la carte system, it's just not as much as people hope/think (or at least some people, like me -- a sports programming junkie).

I can look at my recording history in Sage for the last 7 years. Other than the odd outlier, I could pretty much survive with about 9-12 channels (the major networks, my sports channels and literally _two_ specialty channels). What would I pay for those compared to what I'm paying for the 200 or so that I get (and literally at least 180 I never watch, but are bundled in to ensure I get the dozen channels I do watch)? Hard to say, but I'm guessing it's not much less than the $70/mth I'm paying now.

I think the expectation of most is that a pure a la carte is going to reduce one's bill to like $10/mth and for $10 you're supposed to get the major networks and the half dozen or so specialties you actually watch. Just won't happen. I really believe an ESPN a la carte is at least $20/mth, probably more. Now many don't care if ESPN is $20/mth, I get that. But the most popular cable only channels will all fall into that price range. Sure you might get the 24 hour dog show channel for $0.49/mth and those niche channels will be dirt cheap and there are probably some customers who will live on the cheap niche channels alone and save a tonne of money, but most customers will have at least one "super premium" channel that's going to be in the $20/mth range on its own. Need two "super premiums"? Well there goes the a la carte savings.

Time will tell, I suppose.
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Old 05-05-2014, 08:42 AM
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Sure you might get the 24 hour dog show channel for $0.49/mth and those niche channels will be dirt cheap and there are probably some customers who will live on the cheap niche channels alone and save a tonne of money, but most customers will have at least one "super premium" channel that's going to be in the $20/mth range on its own. Need two "super premiums"? Well there goes the a la carte savings.
Actually, that hypothetical "24/hour dog show channel" probably will need to charge a fairly large amount to stay in business. Because it will appeal to a relatively small niche, the few remaining subscribers will need to pay more to fund it. And if they can't find enough dog fans willing to pay up, that specialty channel will just disappear.

The a la carte pricing model would most likely drive a lot of specialty channels out of business. In all likelihood we will end up with a handful of channels that appeal to the lowest common denominator. My guess is this will mean mostly "Reality" TV programming. Get ready for the 24-hour "Dancing With the Bachelor Idols" channel.
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Old 05-05-2014, 09:22 AM
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Actually, that hypothetical "24/hour dog show channel" probably will need to charge a fairly large amount to stay in business. Because it will appeal to a relatively small niche, the few remaining subscribers will need to pay more to fund it. And if they can't find enough dog fans willing to pay up, that specialty channel will just disappear.
Actually, you're right. But to me that's not a bad thing either. If every channel were a la carte then you've got true market forces deciding what lives, at what price, and what dies. I'm all for it. If ESPN wants to charge $40/mth because they think that's what they can get from the sports junkies, I say let them go for it. It won't take long for the market to speak and maybe ESPN is worth $40 or $30 or whatever and this dog channel (that I've now affectionately called WOOF-TV) is only worth $0.49, but, like you say, at $0.49 they can't possibly survive and they disappear -- amen!

If ESPN (or the equivalent up here) charges me $40/mth I probably don't pay. $25? Probably do pay, but only because I'm only going to buy 8 other channels, most of which I expect to get much cheaper. I think my bill for 10 channels is probably still pushing $50-$60/mth, but I don't mind that because if I want I can dump the high priced sports channels, which is probably 75% of my bill, but that's my choice.

In a true open market for channels, how long before the number of channels shrinks to something reasonable? Not long and that's a really good thing, imho.

Quote:
The a la carte pricing model would most likely drive a lot of specialty channels out of business. In all likelihood we will end up with a handful of channels that appeal to the lowest common denominator. My guess is this will mean mostly "Reality" TV programming. Get ready for the 24-hour "Dancing With the Bachelor Idols" channel.
Exactly. In Canada, the cable/sat cos own most of the content, including these ridiculous specialty channels. Forced bundling keeps them alive and keeps the printing press for money operating at full steam for these media giants up here. This is why they want no part of this a la carte model. And that's what's so frustrating. I'm not exaggerating when I say my sat provider has some 700+ channels on its service. I'm currently subscribed to ~200 (+/- a dozen or so) and I regularly record from 10-12 of those channels. And may record a few times a year from another 6-10, but these 6-10 I could live without if I didn't have access to them. So ~180 channels I never even look at and yet I'm paying for them. That is messed up!
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Old 05-05-2014, 09:55 AM
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I would even settle for removing the Sport channels from all the packages and making it an add on like HBO or Starz. I have never watched ESPN and never plan too. The fact that I have to pay for it so someone else can watch it a cheaper price is annoying.
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Old 05-05-2014, 11:03 AM
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Ah, but that's the issue. ESPN won't allow it under today's model. ESPN tells the BDUs that they're in the basic tier or you can't have ESPN. And if you don't have ESPN you lose probably 20-30% (minimum) of your subs immediately. You'll never be able to refuse ESPN until it's a pure a la carte system and that won't happen unless it's legislated.
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Old 05-05-2014, 11:07 AM
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And it won't be legislated (or unlikely to be) because of lobbyists. Especially tougher now in the US thanks to SCOTUS and Citizens United.
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Old 05-05-2014, 11:18 AM
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I heard years ago that the bundling was a lobby forced by religious channels because they knew they'd all die if they didn't get that guaranteed funding. I have no idea if it's true, but I think the idea applies to all "niche" channels. Without being in a bundle, they'd be gone instantly. Without bundling, I bet the number of stations would drop to less than 20. Quite a few which are owned by the same large mega-companies would be merged.

The problem with ESPN is sports bars, or bars in general. How many places do you go to eat or drink where ESPN is on the TV? Hint: MOST of them. So what happens someday when pay TV goes a la carte? All of those places are only paying for sports channels - and probably saving a lot of money because they don't ever need any of the other channels they've been buying for decades - while at the same time they are buoying the cost of ESPN. Heck, if ESPN packages all their channels (ESPN2, ESPN Classic, etc.) together, they might be able to charge $80/mo or more for them.

BTW, nyle, that article you linked is very deceiving. They focus on the major companies but ignore the small companies, and seem to think that 1.1M people leaving Comcast and TWC means all those people were cord-cutters. There's no evidence in the article of what those people did. Maybe they switched to dish. Maybe they have FIOS TV service from their local phone company. Either way, they would still be "pay TV" and not proving the cord-cutting theory. The article indicates that broadband service is increasing, but seems to overlook the fact that this (I'd assume) includes packages where people are getting "pay TV" by this means. The closest they come to making a guess at what is really happening seems to be this:"While cable companies as a whole lost 1.7 million video subscribers, moving down to 49.6 million, the entire multi-channel video market lost only 104,521 subscribers, bringing the total down to 94.6 million. In 2012, the whole multi-channel video market added 175,000 subscribers." If this is truly representative, then the market lost a whopping 70,000 people over two years. That's 0.076%. I don't think they're worried yet.
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Old 05-05-2014, 12:52 PM
Slugger Slugger is offline
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Originally Posted by Wayneb View Post
As far as a Dog show channel, Directv has Dog TV for $4.99 a month, it's for dogs so they can watch TV too. I can't imagine fighting over the remote with my dogs when they want to watch TV.
I should have known better! You can't even make up a channel without it already existing. The only thing that would have made me laugh harder is if it was actually called WOOF-TV!

Now what makes me sad is I'm thinking if I scan the EPG on my sat receiver, there's probably a decent chance that crappy channel is active on my account because it got bundled in somehow so that I can record Stephen Colbert on the Comedy Network. I don't remember now, but I know it's crazy the amount of channels I had to bundle in just to get the Comedy Network and it's really the only specialty channel I _must_ have - I record a decent number of shows off it. 90% of everything else I record is from the major US networks & sports channels. Again, there's about a dozen channels I want/need, everything else could be disabled, and technically most of it is in Sage. Of the ~200 channels I have access to, I think only about 40-50 of them are actually enabled in my Sage EPG, the rest are so useless I long since decided I'd never record anything off them anyway so why even bother downloading EPG data for them.

And then think about this... if there are actually people paying $5/mth for a dog channel, what do the popular channels go for a la carte? Maybe $20 per month is low!?
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Old 05-05-2014, 01:15 PM
pjpjpjpj pjpjpjpj is offline
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Originally Posted by Slugger View Post
And then think about this... if there are actually people paying $5/mth for a dog channel, what do the popular channels go for a la carte? Maybe $20 per month is low!?
$20 is definitely low for "popular" channels, at least at first. Heck, think about how much it costs you today to add HBO, and that's with the negotiating leverage of massive cable companies helping lower the price. Maybe someday waaaay down the line when a la carte has been the norm for years and years, and TV viewership has changed drastically, then maybe $20 for the "popular" channels. When the first company manages to take a stab at providing a la carte, I'm guessing the ESPN channels and HBO will be at least $40 or $50, probably more.

Actually, when it eventually happens - and I still think it's over a decade away but I'll table that topic for now - I suspect it will still be bundles, it will just be bundles that won't have to come with a large "basic" package attached. You'll be able to get a sports package, for example, for like $60/mo, with nothing else. It will still have the outdoor channel and fishing channel and Speed and other niche sports channels... but you won't have to get "basic" stuff like CNN, Weather Channel, TBS, etc. But then the question will be whether a sports package will have the channels you want... for instance, my local MLB team is on Fox Sports Ohio. Would they be packaged in with the ESPN package? Probably (almost definitely) not, because ESPN and Fox Sports are rivals. So then you are back to the same issue of bundling costs and such.

Referring back to my comment above about TV viewing changing drastically, I do wonder if shows will even have "times" eventually, or whether they'll just all be posted for viewing at once. Will a show shoot a season - or, say, 5 shows at a time - and put them all up for viewing? Will the days of "must-see TV" (or whatever) go away? The old days of "water cooler talk" the next morning about a popular show are waning, because so many people DVR shows and watch everything later ("don't tell me what happened, I haven't seen it yet!!!!"). Very few shows are still "must watch when it's on" these days (seems like most that are, are on HBO). If indeed society did change to where the current "airing" model went away, that would leave the only live events as sports, and "emergency" things like Presidential addresses in the face of catastrophic events. Even occasional things (State of the Union) could be pre-recorded and posted whenever. And local news would presumably go away, or else be replaced by a constantly-running local program like a news channel, where they'd re-run recorded news and only update it with new stories every few hours.
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