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Video Cable Companies Hate Cord-Cutting, but It's Not Going Away (Video) 160

On May 29, Steven J. Vaughan Nichols (known far and wide as SJVN) wrote an article for ZDNet headlined, Now more than ever, the Internet belongs to cord-cutters. A few days before that, he wrote another one headlined, Mary Meeker's Internet report: User growth slowing, but disruption full speed ahead. And last December he wrote one titled, Reports show it's becoming a cord cutter's world. SJVN obviously sees a trend here. So do a lot of other people, including cable TV and local TV executives who are biting their nails and asking themselves, "Whatever shall we do?" So far, says SJVN, the answers they've come up with are not encouraging.

NOTE from Roblimo: We're trying something different with this video, namely keeping it down to about 4 minutes but running a text transcript that covers our 20+ minute conversation with SJVN. Is this is a good idea? Please let us know.

Slashdot: I am Robin Miller for Slashdot. Today, we are on the line with Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, who has been writing about cord-cutting. Do you really need that cable TV? Hard to say. His most recent opus on the subject was titled “Now more than ever, the Internet belongs to cord-cutters”, and he wrote that on May 29 – which is last week.

So what do you mean, it belongs to cord-cutters?

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Well, snap, snap, snap (*holds up scissors). But you get the idea. It’s already there. Prime time for Internet usage these days is in the evenings and about – oh, I don’t have the article in front of me or the stats, but it’s about 69% of all Internet broadband is going to video entertainment. And that kind of says it all, when almost 70% of everything on the Internet and at prime time... that’s when the Internet is most used, it’s not during the business day, and it’s all going to video.

Slashdot: Interesting. So all going to video. But does Netflix figure in that? We have Netflix.

Steven: Yep. Netflix is number one by a gigantic majority. Again, I don’t have the numbers in front of me but nothing else really is close. YouTube, I think, is second and they are something like three times smaller than Netflix. So you know every time you are watching something on Netflix at night, a whole lot of other people are on the Internet with you doing the exact same thing.

Slashdot: All right. Now here is sort of a technological question.

Steven: Sure.

Slashdot: About efficiency. As far as I know, as an old radio engineer, as you are too, it’s much more efficient from a bandwidth standpoint to send a signal to a whole bunch of people at once than break it into packets and do it custom for everybody.

Steven: Right.

Slashdot: So we’re sucking up, it seems to be, a lot of technology, a lot of manpower and a lot of bandwidth.

Steven: Right.

Slashdot: Why are we doing that? Why don’t we just have feeds going down, push in the background, why aren’t we there?

Steven: Well, we are not there because the technology to do that efficiently so that everyone gets their own little pipeline really is not there, so what we have instead is behind Netflix though you don’t see it.

Slashdot: Yeah.

Steven: First there is this huge cloud thing, which is basically always failing, which is something other people don’t realize about Netflix. Netflix is designed to keep going even as it falls apart constantly. So what’s actually happening though, if everything goes right, you never see it, and since Netflix works , and so many people use it, it actually does work despite constantly failing, as constantly things are coming up and things are coming down, but from your viewpoint it’s always pouring down to you. And they get rid of some of the bandwidth problems by sticking little Netflix boxes and routers throughout most of the major ISPs. So when you say you want to watch – oh I don’t know, the last season of Game of Thrones or something, you are not actually getting it from some central computer in San Francisco. What you are really doing is, it’s going to some data somewhere, one second it might be San Francisco, the next Washington D.C. and then they are both telling wire with the closet point to you in terms of hops and bandwidth to send that show on to you. And it works amazingly well.

Slashdot: All right. Now Netflix costs me, what does it cost me? We have the DVD option.

Steven: Right.

Slashdot: So we pay Netflix I guess $15 a month, $16 a month?

Steven: For the DVD, yeah it’s about that.

Slashdot: Yeah. And I don’t know, maybe it’s worth it. Now let’s talk about Hulu. I am not sure about Hulu, it sounds to me like they are charging to watch things that are otherwise free. What’s up with that, are people buying that?

Steven: Well, Hulu is a funny little company. NBCUniversal owns a large chunk of it.

Slashdot: Yes.

Steven: And they are not sure what to do with it. And a lot of other media companies own chunks of it. So what they have done it’s one they really don’t know what they are doing with it. So it is that some shows are available easily and quickly. For example, the show Aquarius with David Duchovny, very popular show, if you are watching; you can't watch it over the air, you don’t need any cable for it, because it’s NBC, but you can have the entire series now that’s actually already available on Hulu, no one is sure for how long. But if you wanted to just watch the entire 13-episode series one weekend, you can do it. And I know a lot of people are. So that’s one advantage it gives you. It’s Hulu Plus which is really what I am talking about here.

Slashdot: Yeah we both are.

Steven: Yeah, which is another example of how they are confused, you say Hulu, but it’s actually two slightly different products. It does cost you about $8, $9 a month, and they do include some ads, you cannot get away from the ads, you can try, but you can’t do it. But if you like a lot of over-the-air cable television shows, sometimes you can get the new ones like in this deal where you can see the whole thing and just gorge yourself on the show, sometimes you can watch older shows, which you can’t get to very easily. And they also do show some movies as well. The neatest things as far as movies go is, they have a large chunk of a criterion collection. So it’s like, so you are really into the French New Wave or the Japanese Samurai movies, I mean it’s well worth the money, because you are going to watch a lot of those kind of foreign international films that you are just not going to get anywhere else, and they are really good. Yeah, some of them are available public domain and so on, but these are really good cuts of them. It’s not something that someone videotaped off a 16 millimeter film 10 years ago and this is just something they threw up on the web.

Slashdot: Okay. All right. And then there is Sling TV.

Steven: Yes, the newest of them.

Slashdot: Yeah, you’ve written about Sling.

Steven: Yep.

Slashdot: And how much does that cost?

Steven: Sling is $20 a month for their main package, which is up to 20 channels right now. The big selling point on Sling that none of the others have is ESPN, because before the one big problem of cord-cutting was if you are like really into baseball, MLB.TV had you covered; if you are really into the NBA, there is a NBA channel like MLB.TV that had you covered. But if you just were like a general sports guy or you are really into football, there really wasn’t much out there for you, and Sling TV gives you basically all the ESPN channels worth watching: ESPN, ESPN News, ESPN New, ESPN 2, ESPN

Slashdot: Oh that goes

Steven: Yeah. Ladi-dadi-da.

Slashdot: Alright.So I watch a little NFL football, not a whole lot.

Steven: Yeah.

Slashdot: And that’s about it, so I’m not mister sports guy.

Steven: Right.

Slashdot: Why do I have to pay for ESPN?

Steven: Right.

Slashdot: They actually show it as a breakout item on a bill how much you are spending which is like $4 a month just for ESPN.

Steven: Right.

Slashdot: And apparently since they had a contract obligation to deliver it to every house including mine.

Steven: Right. Well, that’s because ESPN is really popular, live sports television for better or worse is the one thing that up until really Sling TV that the networks, the cable companies and the satellite companies had over the conventional or had over cord cutting, and now it doesn’t, now since I guess your closest team to you is the Jacksonville Jaguars

Slashdot: No

Steven: I can't blame youfor not watching Major League Football.

Slashdot: No, no, no, we have the hapless Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Steven: Well, I’m so sorry. So I can understand your interest in pro ball. I mean, no offense to Jacksonville or Tampa Bay fans, but wow, you’ve had better decades.

Slashdot: Yeah, but we also have more retired football players than anybody because they come here, they play a couple of seasons and go elsewhere and they come back.

Steven: Yeah.

Slashdot: That’s why the tackier than Hooters, we have Ker's Wing House, where they don’t mean those, they mean chicken wings.

Steven: Right.

Slashdot: It’s here because Crawford Ker was from Tampa, he played around here and there, but came home after he got done with the NFL or they got done with him.

Steven: Right.

Slashdot: He bought a restaurant in Clearwater called the Wing House, stuck his own name on it and turned it from, well it’s still a kind of a family place, you can actually take your kids there.

Steven: Right.

Slashdot: You can, and they have a kids menu, but don’t go there on frightnight, sometimes Ker’s – let’s put it this way, they have off duty police in uniform as bouncers on the big nights.

Steven: Right, got it.

Slashdot: And on the other hand I like that because I ride my expensive recumbent tricycle there and I lock it up out front, somebody has got an eye on it but not when they're paying a lot of money for some latest big time boxing match.

Steven: Right.

Slashdot: They regretfully charged a $10 a head cover.

Steven: Right.

Slashdot: Because they hadn’t gotten to the cord cutting thing yet.

Steven: Right.

Slashdot: That was over HBO or something.

Steven: Right.

Slashdot: Now maybe I could bootleg that at home.

Steven: Bootleg cord cutting is, a lot of those, it tends to be really badly done and sloppily done, I mean if you want to, say, bit-torrent movies down, you can still do that and sometimes you get crap, most of the times you don’t, but for things like bootlegging sports and so on, in my experience 9 times out of 10 you get a crappy signal that just.

Slashdot: Yeah.

Steven: It’s more trouble to watch than it’s worth, so. And again getting back to the subject, that’s why having ESPN on Sling is such a big deal. For all those people who love their sports, I mean it’s big, too, and they make it work, but they throw in some other stuff to HDD TV on the main thing.

Slashdot: But here is the thing, on prices, just prices. For a long time I had BrightHouse cable, which is the Time Warner of Tampa Bay, and then they kept getting more and more outrageous. At one point we’re giving them nearly $160 a month for a reasonably good download speed internet, but crummy upload speed, plus augmented basic cable HD with a recorder and all that. And we were like $159 a month. Now I’d shopped around before and like most connections we have two choices, one of them is a cable company and the other one in our case is Verizon FiOS.

Steven: Right.

Slashdot: And much though Verizon angered my wife and me over the years, we moved to FIOS. Their technology is so much better and, hold on to your horses, $91 a month is what I pay for exactly what I got from BrightHouse except way better internet. So basically I’m paying $30 a month for cable with a recorder and all that.

Steven: Right.

Slashdot: And replace it with a cut cord, I would have to have – really have to have – TiVo because my wife likes the interface.

Steven: Right.

Slashdot: So TiVo plus an over-the-air antenna which I do have and a big one, not close to the local antennae, and that’s not all, I also would need Sling, wouldn’t I?

Steven: Yeah.

Slashdot: That's more than $30 a month right there.

Steven: Yeah, it does add up, it sounds to me though like what you have is that first 12 month, that first year deal.

Slashdot: No.

Steven: No, got better than that, we’ll see if Verizon can keep that – given Verizon’s usual business practices, we’ll see, but you are quite right though, for some people it’s not really worth the money, if you’ve got a really good deal that’s good for you, that’s fine, it works for you, it does. But say all you really want is movies, I know that’s the case for a lot of people, and it doesn’t have to be the just out right now biggest movies. In that case something like Netflix does you well; if you really like classic movies, Hulu does you well; if you really want say, you do want some new movies, but you want old stuff too, then Amazon – particularly if you order a lot of stuff from Amazon anyway.

Slashdot: Prime, yeah.

Steven: You just go Amazon Prime and you get actually a pretty good selection of free movies. And if there's something you want that's on the pay side, it's $3.99, that’s not a big deal and if you are for some reason really stuck on Apple TV, you can also– everything on Apple, is pay, what a surprise. And generally speaking, anything that Apple has, Amazon will have and Amazon on a rental basis is almost always a lot cheaper. So, it’s something to keep in mind if you’re considering to buying an Apple TV.

Slashdot: I’m not.

Steven: Yeah, exactly. I’ve got all of these things and really, what I use Apple TV for is I just use it to post up off my media library here, because I made the mistake of committing to iTunes early on to do that and eventually I will convert it to something else.

Slashdot: However, however, let me ask you, this is a not quite on topic although it is

Steven: Right.

Slashdot: I didn’t think about it, but I have Chromecast.

Steven: Yes.

Slashdot: Like many, many other people. And I know the broadcast, the tab trick.

Steven: Yep.

Slashdot: So, I can literally, if it’s on my laptop, or on my Android device, I can have it on my TV, whatever it may be.

Steven: Yep. It’s great.

Slashdot: So, Amazon is always trying to sell me a Fire thingy.

Steven: Yes.

Slashdot: Now, should I buy that or just continue using the Hulu. I mean, not Hulu, God, it gets out of hand. Yeah, Chromecast, yeah.

Steven: Keep using the Chromecast. I’ve used the Fire Stick and it’s fine, but really the only thing it gives you is it lets you drop stuff from Amazon video directly to your thing. Well, you can also put it on your computer, you can zap it to the Chromecast.

Slashdot: Yeah.

Steven: Or if people ask me, I just want one gadget, I always tell them, just get a Roku. Roku 3 really is probably the best combination because then you can get pretty much everything except Apple TV. Now, a lot of stuff, you can’t get anywhere else. And you’re done. I mean, you don’t have to buy all these gadgets. So, if you’re going to just buy one device, get the Roku. Preferably, the Roku 3 again is what I recommend and if you do, so say you’re going to watch a lot of stuff on your computer, or you’re just doing stuff on your computer that you actually want to see on big screen like in our business we’re always watching video conferences from trade-shows or stuff like that and it’s a lot easier to watch that stuff on a real screen than on something small.

Slashdot: I don’t do that, frankly, because my work computers are in a separate room, office room and second, I’m looking at you right now on a 24-inch monitor that has higher resolution than my not-new 42-inch TV.

Steven: Yeah, it varies from person to person, which again means that’s actually again why Roku is my default recommendation because I mean these days, really big great computer displays are cheap.

Slashdot: Yeah.

Steven: I know lots of people – actually my daughter is one, she watches – she doesn’t have any of this stuff to post up on her television because she’s perfectly happy watching it on her large screen laptop.

Slashdot: We like it on the TV, only really where my wife and I both want to watch something and like we want to be comp-potatoes.

Steven: Right.

Slashdot: For a couch potato, we have to sit on the couch or if you’re an old guy like me, you have an easy chair.

Steven: Right.

Slashdot: And then the wifelays on the couch, so it’s traditional living room, plus we have great sound.

Steven: Yes.

Slashdot: But I don’t know – but so, you’re saying basically Roku and good internet.

Steven: Roku, good internet and pick – I mean I have pretty much all of the services because I review and I talk about them and all that jazz, but really again just in the movies, Netflix is fine, for foreign international films go ahead and add Hulu Plus to it. And then if you order a lot of stuff from Amazon, then you know it just go Amazon Prime and you get it for free, so what the heck. And you’re pretty much set. And again, you got a really good cheap cable television you know like you have, that’s fine, you don’t really need any of this stuff.

Slashdot: But if it goes away? If Verizon acts like Verizon

Steven: Put yourself safe there.

Slashdot: Yeah, but then all I have to do is go back to BrightHouse or over-the-air for a month or two.

Steven: Right.

Slashdot: And they’ll come, oh please come, please come, we’ll give you everything in the world under the sun.

Steven: Yeah. You can almost always make a deal. Actually that’s something that if you ever have a really bad cable bill or for DirecTV, whatever you’re using, always call them up and you don’t want to try cord-cutting, just give them a call and ask for a customer – usually, it’s a customer retention person.

Slashdot: Yes.

Steven: And if you don’t get the deal you want the first time, call them again, you’ll get somebody else, he probably will give you the deal that you want.

Slashdot: Up to a point.

Steven: Up to a point – I mean, yeah, sometimes they’re just not going to do it, but it’s surprisingly though how often that if you just talk to them or ask them, you can actually end up cutting at least 20%, 30% off your bill.

Slashdot: Well, maybe. But my friend, Matt, he hates Verizon. I dislike Verizon. Matt despises Verizon.

Steven: Yeah.

Slashdot: But the price and service quality difference of FIOS in Florida versus BrightHouse, they beat the heck out of them. So, Matt took the step of writing via snail mail, mister computer Science high marks graduate guy in the professional security programmer for financial companies, oh yeah, he wrote a letter on paper and put it in an envelope to the CEO of BrightHouse.

Steven: Right.

Slashdot: And basically said, can you give me a deal? FiOS is wiping you guys. And they said no, the $160 is what you get, and if you can get it from Verizon for $90 a month, knock yourself out.

Steven: No wonder BrightHouse is probably not going to be around for much longer.

Slashdot: No, it’s already sold. It’s sold. Actually so is FiOS.

Steven: Yeah.

Slashdot: So I have no idea what’s going to happen in the next year.

Steven: Yeah.

Slashdot: So does that make you happy knowing that you have lots to write about?

Steven: Right, it does actually. It does, I actually wish I had a full time gig writing about it because one, I am big TV and movie guy anyway and I mean not like someone who goes frame by frame through the 400 blows and so and something like that. I have friends who do that kind of thing, but on the – but I do like it, I like the technology behind it, I have been at this stuff since actually back in the early '90s and I saw the first real attempts at internet video and they were trying it on 56K lines, god help them.

Slashdot: God help them.

Steven: And bless them and

Slashdot: They had one thing, let’s not forget, the original Digital Express was on route 198 in Laurel on the same trunk as NSA.

Steven: Yes, they sure were and they had PSSC and they had PSI map right down the road. I think they had originally T3, big deal in those days. Life was great with Digital Express in the day but

Slashdot: Doug is a nice man, he is still one of my Facebook friends 20 years later. And I remember when they opened up, my friend Danny immediately called me and he was like Digital Express user number 20 or something.

Steven: Right.

Slashdot: I was under a 100.

Steven: Same here.

Slashdot: But then I couldn’t get on and I said, to hell with it and went to Primenet in Phoenix, which also didn’t take a credit card which I did not have then.

Steven: Yep, I’ve lost you. (Hangout connection problem)

Slashdot: Provided – how about now?

Steven: Yeah, you’re good.

Slashdot: Yeah, Primenet gave me both a good price and no credit card requirement, plus I got lynx and pine. Yeah, this is grandpa stuff, guys with grey beards.

Steven: Yes. When I was with Digital Express I actually I helped move some of their spot boxes into their very first spot which was over a Chinese restaurant in Greenbelt.

Slashdot: You were 301 area code.

Steven: Right.

Slashdot: And I heard that he had modems on that. I was in 410, and it wasn’t so good. But whatever, that’s history. Where do we go from here?

Steven: Well, from here? I think, the business side is going to be really interesting and I have talked about it, I like the content, I like just media, I like the technology, I find that endlessly fascinating. Business side, we’re going to see the big media companies getting direct because they are still trying, they still even now think they can do their same old Monopoly tricks and that’s not going to work, so you’ve got things like CBS is asking people to pay $5 a month in a few locations just to watch CBS. I happen to like CBS shows, Good Wife and so on, great show. But I would tell you that’s not going to work, I mean, people want a la carte television selection, can’t blame them, I mean, out of the hundreds of channels out there, how many do any of us really watch?

Slashdot: 20.

Steven: Yeah, the answer s around 20, 23. So, yeah, a la carte is great but charging people a la carte, it means at $5 a channel, 20 channels, that's $100 and that’s not going to fly. And so they need to rejigger their business models to figure out what to do and some companies like actually DISH TV is behind what’s the name of the company again, pardon me...

Slashdot: I think it's Sling box.

Steven: Yeah, there’s Sling TV. So they're satellite, but they see the future, so they are moving. But so many of the other companies aren’t and also one thing that really makes me wonder is what’s going to keep the local stations, over-the-air station,s in business? Sure they can get old content and run it, but old content is easy to find on the internet, you want to watch the episode The Simpsons from Season 2, no problem, it’s out, they are everywhere. You want to watch old movies? They are out there everywhere, but is the NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox and so on, are they going to keep supporting these companies, i.e. these little local stations? I don’t know. I don’t think so really, but you know I honestly don’t know how that one is going to work out. But I am watching it closely to see what kind of wheeling and dealing happens on the business side, because you can’t stop this talk, it's just too darn easy and for a lot of people a lot darn cheaper to go cord cutting.

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Cable Companies Hate Cord-Cutting, but It's Not Going Away (Video)

Comments Filter:
  • The videos are bad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ogar572 ( 531320 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @03:31PM (#49825291)
    Give me the transcript or just audio. The videos are mainly 2 people with headphones on talking to each other via the computer. And the person asking the questions seems like they are reading the questions for the first time.
    • by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @04:00PM (#49825613) Homepage Journal

      I agree with you 100%.

      Ever wonder *why* these videos are bad?

      It's because they don't use the medium properly. Videos of "people talking" adds nothing to the presentation of information.

      Add the fact that the viewer can read and scan text much faster than the video talks, and the fact that most people don't present well in the first place (vocal disfluencies such as "ahh... um... you know..." and so forth) and it makes for a lousy experience.

      For contrast, imagine an audio of the person talking while the video shows graphs and charts illustrating or bolstering the talking points, or showing the action being described (as in voiceover showing a 3-alarm fire in a datacenter), or showing an animation clarifying the speaker's voiced description.

      Use video in the right way and people will love you for it.

      ...or continue with what you currently do.

      (I need to point out that anyone can grab a camera and record someone talking for ten minutes. What makes Slashdot better than all the YouTube teenagers who do this for their HS project? You have the intent, time, and money to do this. Do it right, then learn to do it well.)

      • You're absolutely right. This calls to mind a recent video that has the elements you describe and manages to be informative and entertaining. This is how to do this type of video right [youtube.com].

        • by Roblimo ( 357 )

          Wow. I would *love* to have budget to turn out 23-minute scripted, animated videos. That would be GREAT!

        • If this video (style) is so great, why are the likes to dislikes just 3 to 1? (It can't be because people actually like Windows 8, and are thus thumbs-downing this video.)
      • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

        For contrast, imagine an audio of the person talking while the video shows graphs and charts illustrating or bolstering the talking points, or showing the action being described (as in voiceover showing a 3-alarm fire in a datacenter), or showing an animation clarifying the speaker's voiced description.

        Whoa there, bud. That sounds like proper use of Powerpoint you're implying there!

      • I like how of Steven's 78 replies in the conversation, 36 of them were some sort of single word affirmative answer (Yes, Yeah, Right, etc.). Add 8 more in there if you count affirmative answers with 1-4 more additional meaningless words added on.
      • by Roblimo ( 357 )

        These videos are "Meet the Press" style on purpose. They exist to let you see some of the people behind the software, stories, and hardware they (or their companies) make. Steven, for instance, is one of the world's more popular tech journalists. Next time you see his byline, you can mentally call up his image. You may not want to do that, but others obviously do; thousands of people watch /. videos.

        I agree with you about charts and graphs, up to a point. And people who have some sort of device or whatever

        • Robert Murray Wilson, talking about transparent superconductors [youtube.com] he's developed.

          Chris, from ClickSpring, talking about building a clock [youtube.com].

          Myfordboy showing how to cast aluminum [youtube.com] at home.

          Kevin Karsch et. al. rendering synthetic objects into legacy photographs [vimeo.com]

          It's no great effort to find interesting and informative videos on the net. If you have the time to tape someone talking, you have the time to seek out things that nerds might want to see.

          Also, there's really no feedback from the slashdot submission process.

          • by Roblimo ( 357 )

            "These same points were made back when Slashdot started video'ing people, to no great effect. Vinegar is needed to catch your attention. You have the perfect opportunity to use 'directed practice based on feedback' which would turn you into a world-class videographer in a couple of years."

            Thank you for your words of wisdom. If I want to do world-class videography, I will. But that is not the same as editing (and sometimes making) simple interview videos for a low hourly rate. And being Slashdot, I assure yo

        • by Pikoro ( 844299 )

          Could it be because nobody who uses slashdot comes here to watch videos? There's already a million sites out there with that stuff on it. We now have slashdot tv, video stories, and that stupid video bites section sitting in the middle of the page.

          Someone over there needs to figure out that nobody wants videos on here. None of the videos have any amount of comments on them at all.

          Open your eyes.

          Also, the fucking logon system is broken. Can't log in anymore. I hit the front page, login, it takes me to m

          • by Roblimo ( 357 )

            By "nobody" I think you mean you. Videos draw far fewer comments than text stories. This one, for example, has over 10K views and is still climbing steadily, vs. only 114 total comments.

            Your login hassles: try emailing feedback@slashdot.org - that ought to get you some help.Probably not with the 'fucking' logon system, but with the regular one...

      • Couldn't put it any more perfectly. What the fuck is the point of a video of someone talking? Especially when that person is ugly, uninteresting, and can't talk properly? Slashdot should know better.
  • Cables companies will primarily become internet providers and satellite companies will provide programming to the peeps in the boonies.

    Personally, I say "freaking awesome". Both industries treated their customers like crap for decades. Reap what you've sown you jackasses.
    • Re:It's obvious (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @04:09PM (#49825687)

      Cables companies will primarily become internet providers and satellite companies will provide programming to the peeps in the boonies. Personally, I say "freaking awesome". Both industries treated their customers like crap for decades. Reap what you've sown you jackasses.

      If you hated the old regime what till you see the new one. The new battle ground will be usage caps. Cable companies will start offering tiers of data. Want to stream video 24x7. No problem, just buy our gazzilion GB package at $200 per month. Oh, you want fast speeds? Upgrade to Speed plus for a $20 more. They will simply change the pricing to make money off of the pipe, not the content.

      Content companies need to buy into the new model as well. The really small channels very few people watch such as SciFi or F/X will see their revenue drop significantly and some will simply go under. The big guys, such as ESPN that gets something like $6 per subscriber will not want to have to try to get their current revenue from the people who actually watch the channel(s). More than likely, when all is said in done you'll see a variety of companies that bundle packages of channels and sell them as a bundle, such as SlingTV. Apple seems to be getting into the business as well and for premium content sellers such as HBO selling al la carte may be more viable because that is what they already do so it's more of a way to get more revenue by tapping into cord cutter stain changing a business model. As for the bundlers, that sound a a lot like, wait., a Cable Company. Except now they will compete with companies like SlingTV while still controlling the pipe and its pricing.

      Until Google or someone else offers an alternative pipe they have you where they want you and the hearts, minds, wallets will soon follow.

      • I read somewhere not long ago that the big networks negotiated high per-subscriber charges in the early days of cable that are still in effect, long after the networks have lost relevance. I don't know if that includes ESPN. (Probably not.) Point is, what the cable companies pay the networks may not be an accurate representation of actual viewership, as many of those contracts were negotiated long ago and are still in effect. (Or so I'm told.) I can actually see a situation where a cable/ISP might be g

        • The days of BROADCAST is over. That is the current model that is dying. The Cable Companies already know this (NetFlix duh), they are just trying to slow down their death.

          As speed of the Internet increases, it further eliminates the need for broadcasting anything. It used to be, congestion was at the consumer end (Dialup days), and th back haul could over subscribe. Now, the congestion is at the junction points between Tier 1 and Tier 2 peers. Comcast vs Netflix was just the first of many such collisions.


          • > In the end, you'll have cable or fiber, and pick the content/services you need/want at prices you're willing to pay, delivered exactly when you want.

            Like I said, the pieces are all there, but it's up to some provider to actually deliver the service. It's technically feasible to do what you describe. Whether it'll actually happen in a widespread fashion, unfortunately, remains to be seen.

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      Yep, I have this problem. In my old nest, I used to be able to get free TV with OTA. Not here due to small mountains/giant hills, trees, wrong side, etc. :(

  • by pla ( 258480 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @03:40PM (#49825401) Journal
    but running a text transcript that covers our 20+ minute conversation with SJVN. Is this is a good idea? Please let us know.

    YES, thank you!

    I can read all the transcripts I want at work, but unless the video starts with the Microsoft theme song and immediately proceeds to Mark Russanovich telling me how to make Windows its bitch, I'll pretty much never look at anything requiring sound.
    • Amen to this. I hate listening to videos on my work computer. Furthermore, I can read a transcript a lot faster than the people in the video can talk—and I absorb the meaning better as well.
      • It's also easier to reread something ambiguous or poorly worded to get the meaning as opposed to seeking back a few seconds.

    • by garnett ( 170732 )

      I'll read, but I won't watch. So YES, please include the transcripts for everything you can.

      • I'll go one step further. Forget video except as a link to the YouTube source of the transcript. I don't need my screen filled with ugly people trying to be "relevant". I don't need a big part of my browser occupied by a video that I really don't want to watch. I really don't.

    • by SysKoll ( 48967 )
      Hooray for transcripts! Thanks for providing this one.
    • I enjoyed the transcript! And, I wouldn't have watched the video. The transcript is much more approachable both as to when I read it and as to how much I read (or quickly skim). The comment about just having the YouTube link seems spot on.
  • Cable companies originally offered a larger seclection of channels which wre commercial free. I cut cable when they drove me nuts with time/life commercials and raised the reate from 12.95/mo. Haven't subscribed since. Netflix is eating their lunch for programming.

    • Cable companies originally offered a larger seclection of channels which wre commercial free.

      There are still a lot of them, but they're mostly upper-tier subscription (e.g. movie) channels. The basic cable channels have always had ads, except for PEG, which still don't. There was never anyone sitting at the head end cutting the commercials out of the OTA stations they were carrying, so all those ads have always been there.

      I cut cable when they drove me nuts with time/life commercials

      Those infomercials are put on by the content provider when they have empty time to fill, not the cable company.

  • Entitlement (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Livius ( 318358 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @03:53PM (#49825535)

    They thought cable guaranteed them an income without them having to provide any additional value, or even any value.

    They are slowly - very slowly - beginning to get a dim idea that that might no longer be the case.

    I do not feel sorry for them. I will continue to boycott them no matter how much they may pretend to change.

  • I used to pay Comcast $39.95 a month for Internet and TV service bundled for basic TV, which I barely used. So, I dropped the TV service which saved me all of $5.00. When I moved to New Jersey, Optimum Online now charges me $54.95 a month for Internet only. Thinks $119.95 for "Triple Play" is a bargain (I already get a year of Skype for $60 which works out to $5.00 a month), and I could get Netflix or Amazon Plus for much less for the differential between $59.95 and $119.95. If they don't want people to c
    • Triple Play = How to charge people $49.95 a month for low volume "VOICE" service, padding the profit margins. We cut everything but INTERNET. Comcast will be internet only here shortly, or it will die trying to stay the same as it is now.

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      You charge LESS to MORE users, not MORE to LES and LESS users.

      That's true if most of your costs are fixed infrastructure costs. But the big TV networks charge a royalty per user.

  • by grimmjeeper ( 2301232 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @04:00PM (#49825615) Homepage

    Video interviews are a pain in the keyster to watch. The more you can do to get rid of them, the better. Videos should only be used when you actually need to show the audience something visual. Watching a web cam pointed at someone's face for 20 minutes adds absolutely zero value whatsoever to the story. And cutting it down to 4 minutes doesn't necessarily add much value if I have to go and read the transcript anyway. If I have to read the transcript anyway, the video serves no purpose.

    Trouble is, transcripts of interviews aren't much better anyway. Reading an interview is a painful process. It wastes too much time because I have to sift through a bunch of conversation to glean the useful information out of the transcript. And far too often the signal to noise ratio in an interview isn't very high. I much prefer articles where a journalist takes the useful information out of the interview and presents it in a clear and concise article about the topic.

    So yeah, the more you can get rid of interviews on video, transcripts of conversation, etc. and replace them with well written articles, the better.

  • Seems it's time that the Cable Provider Lobbyists command Congress to enact the Affordable Cable TV Act which will require all US Citizens to purchase a Cable TV+Internet+Phone Bundle from the newly created National Cable Marketplace or face a Tax Penalty.

    Perhaps the RIAA and MPAA can follow suit with mandatory Music and Movie Purchase Quotas through Apple, Amazon and Walmart

  • Of the latest buzzword bingo - what are 'cord cutters'?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Steven J. Vaughan Nichols (known far and wide as SJVN)

    who the eff is SJVN? I dispute the assertion that he is known far and wide.

  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @04:08PM (#49825677)

    Been without TV for more than a decade now and have zero regrets. More time to waste on things that are actually fun. TV has gotten so bad, the only thing it does for me is getting my blood-pressure up on the rare occasions I am exposed to it.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      That's a shame for you. There has been some really good stuff on TV in the last decade. A lot of crap, sure, but a lot of good stuff too.

      Of course, since you aren't aware of this good stuff it's no wonder you have no regrets. To provide a useful opinion you would need to now go and watch some of the content produced over the last decade and decide if you then would regret having missed it. As someone who has seen that stuff, I can say that my life definitely was enriched by some of those shows.

  • ..and you can lose the video altogether for all I care.
    I'm unlikely to watch any internet video while browsing/surfing, especially "news".
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by Roblimo ( 357 )

      For all *you* care. But thousands of other people (and a growing number at that) watch the videos. Is it okay if we run a few video pieces for them? Please? Maybe three or four a week? We'd appreciate it. Thx

  • by scamper_22 ( 1073470 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @04:26PM (#49825815)

    I'm in Canada and I've been moving away from cable. I've managed to get the wife down to basic cable. We still have Internet from our cable provider though.

    Here's the thing though. The price of our internet has gone up. Even with Netflix, our Internet usage is barely 100 GB / month.

    It's almost like they want their $130-$150 a month for cable/internet/phone. It almost doesn't matter if you from one, they'll just jack up the rates of the other eventually.

    Such is the power of monopoly.

  • As the title says, they suck. Hate seeing this recent change at slashdot, the only change on any website that I frequent where I've actually taken the time to email the admin for feedback about anything. Love this site, but hate the videos. Give us a filter, where those of us who hate seeing that crap on the front page can weed it out by default.
  • Chances are, your cable company and your ISP are one and the same. I have Earthlink through Brighthouse and they just raised the bill by $2 last month. It's now up to $45.95/mo, for 15Mbps down/1Mbps up. It seems the more people cut cords, the more the cable companies will push back by raising prices on "Internet only" service. I'd be thrilled to tell them where to stick it and switch to a less expensive competitor, except there isn't one. AT&T is the only other local broadband provider (very slow

  • by Anonymous Coward

    People talk about cutting the cord cause cable it pricey. But then they turn around and get Netflix, Hulu, Amazon prime and maybe some others. Each of those have a monthly cost. When you start to add all of those together + your ISP it comes out to about the same amount you were paying for cable.

    • Not even close. In my case going from Dish Network to Comcast 105mbs cable internet my bill went from $160 to $65 even with all those add ons.
      • Switched from $130 a month for a triple bundle thing to Vonage ($18), internet only ($35), netflix+hulu ($16) for a total savings of $52 a month.

  • More and more cable companies are either requiring you to buy some sort of "basic cable" TV service or they are pricing things such that "internet + basic cable" is cheaper than just internet service.

    They are doing this so that they can artificially inflate the numbers of cable subscribers they have.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Which is a pretty blatant admission that cable TV is so bad they're willing to pay YOU to have it.

  • Cut cords all you want. As soon as it starts effecting their bottom line they'll just raise the isp rates to compensate. I can't believe this isn't more obvious to people.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      Cut cords all you want. As soon as it starts effecting their bottom line they'll just raise the isp rates to compensate. I can't believe this isn't more obvious to people.

      And why do you think Comcast gives you only 250GB a month?

      Cable companies know about cord cutting. Networks know about cord cutting (which is why they offer streaming services - because cord cutters using streaming can be forced to watch ads - no DVR-style ad skipping here!). Cable companies just make it harder - by limiting how much you t

      • And why do you think Comcast gives you only 250GB a month?

        well, at 250GB / month, you could stream netflix HD non-stop for around 7 days solid. seems pretty reasonable to me.

  • No, DICE. I will not watch your videos. I don't care how long (or short) they are.

  • we (customers) have been asking to eliminate bundling for years

    i hate that we are starting out on a bad foot with sling tv bundling channels...i wish they had at least attempted real a la carte pricing before going to this ship

  • With the demise of tvtorrents.com, I got tired of trying to find TV episodes online and went back to IPTV with a PVR. Sure there are other sites where I could have gotten the content, but tvtorrents.com had made it easy to follow a show instead of searching through a bunch of bogus torrents that you have to actually watch to know if you got a legit episode or not.

    The torrent sites are too full of fake crap nowadays to be worth the hassle. Well, maybe "fake" is too strong a word: shittily transcoded mig

    • Yep. I had just an antenna and was happy with it. And then I started following a local sports team. And for that reason alone I got cable TV. I would give it up tomorrow if I could just buy the games I wanted to watch a la carte. You can usually buy a special sports package for out of market games and then use a VPN to convince the servers you really are out of market, but I don't want to have to fool with that. Can't you just let me buy the games? Please????

      That is really the last reason to have cab

    • Try showrss.info A fantastic resource combined with Vuse torrent client and a Plex server an awesome combination. I get the latest episodes automatically downloaded and Plex decodes and pulls down the metadata and puts in a format that is just like Netflix and all I have to do is select what i want to watch.
  • another brilliant idea from the editors of Dice/Slashdot
  • Look, if you're going to do an interview, please try to stay on topic. You don't need to veer off into a discussion about some local wing restaurant, or some long extended rant about your local ISP choices, and how you decided to pick one versus the other.

    Nobody watches, listens to, or (in my case) reads an interview to see what the interviewer has to say about random topics. They watch/listen/read the interview to see what the interviewee has to say about the topic on hand.

    Maybe I read too much into the

  • Yes I and only I have had a revelation on how cable companies can gain audience shares. In a flash of inspiration it all came to me. Better programs and lower prices ! Wow they should pay me a fortune for diagnosing their problems.
  • Don't want them, don't watch them.

  • Frankly I don't give a shit about your videos. I watched one once and it was amateurish and painful.

    The transcript, that's what I want, and now you've provided it. Make the video as long or as short as you want, just keep the transcript.

  • my 86 YO father decides he doesn't need the cable company for anything but internet access.

    Just this week my father told me he wants to put antennas on two TVs, switch to prepaid cell phone only, and shut off the TV and phone service he gets from the cable company.

  • Nice improvement adding the transcript, please to keep.
  • I'm going to be a total asshole and say that this entire interview could have been put into a transcript format and done away with the video. I do not want to watch two doddering geezers make puntastic quips while one drones on through his dentures and the other is nasaling his way through the topic with the occasional grainy video.

I bet the human brain is a kludge. -- Marvin Minsky