Free Markets, Free People

Contradictions? See the US Government

Well apparently the ultimate RINO is restless and looking for a nail on which he can use his legislative hammer.

John McCain is going to release a bill that would dismantle cable as it’s currently constructed, Brenden Sasso at The Hill reports.

The legislation would force cable companies and satellite TV providers to give consumers an option to pick and choose which channels they get. This is called “à la carte programming,” and it’s long been a dream of consumers who only want a handful of channels.

While I’d certainly be fine with a la carte programming, it is none of the government’s business.  When someone finds a way to offer that, consumers will reward them.

Speaking of the government, you’d think another thing that they and McCain would be for would be a la carte health insurance.  You know, a dream of health care consumers.  Instead we get bundled health care with 300 things we don’t want but have to pay for because the government says so.

You’d think people like McCain, et al, would want to do something abou that wouldn’t you … instead of worrying about TV channels.


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9 Responses to Contradictions? See the US Government

  • Sirius Satellite Radio, under browbeating from the government and “consumer” groups, implemented A La Carte programming in 2008, at great cost, and virtually no one has signed up. A few thousand subscribers out of the now 23+ million subscribers to SiriusXM.
    I’d admit, SXM doesn’t exactly shout from the rooftops that they have A La Carte packages available, but it’s there if you look hard enough.
    This was done at great expense to SXM, you had to roll out radios that supported it, etc., and it was a pure creature of regulators and a few carping consumer advocates. No consumer demand at all.
    Someone please forward my comments to Sen. McCain

  • Gee, here is how this turns out.  A standard package of cable channels:  $99.99/month.  If you wish to buy individual channels then you can do so.  They’ll be $33.33/month with a minimum of three channels required.

  • I’m surprised nobody missed the obvious alternate headline … McCain Tries to Kill MSNBC

  • A lot of people look at a la carte as pay as you use.  I don’t think it will be structured that way.  You’ll buy channels and only the ‘good’ ones.  Except they will cost $5 or $10 a month.
    Also some people content that a la carte is more fair.  Well really not entirely.  The Cable company pays the same amount of money to run a wire to your house and maintain it and to keep the broadcast signals pumping, whether you use 3 hrs of TV or 90 hrs of TV a month.  So a portion of the cable cost should be the same no matter how many channels you get.  But it would be interesting just to split the content fees from the actual service fee.  I bet if people knew that, they would apply more pressure to their cable companies to drop channels they don’t care about.  And content providers would have to back off.
    If anything, I would be for the government mandating a content / service breakdown in their bill.  With the  content section broken down to the various channels.

  • I think the way they do it now is with filters in your nearby cable box, which is locked. What they would have to do is put appropriate filters in place for the bands of channels you don’t want.

    Those filters would be expensive, and many might be required for a given customer. For example, what if you want all the odd channels but not the evens? You would need filters to filter out 2, 4, 6, 8 10, . . . but pass 3, 5, 7, 9 . . . and then all those filters would have to be put in place by a field tech, and each filter has its insertion loss that it applies to the passband, so after you install all those filters, the ones recieved are attenuated and have crappy signals . . .

    And then you have to do that for whatever customer wants a custom package. Granted the even/odd example is worst case and unlikely, but my point is that the potential costs could be prohibitive.

    • That’s for analog cable.
      Now they could do ala carte with enough software since it’s all digital.   They merely treat all channels as premium.

      • They recently passed a law or ruling allowing broadcaster to require a set top box for all channels including the local OTA network channels.  So basically everything is going to require a stb.  And with that stb they can control each channel you can see remotely.
        A la carte could be where they want to go anyway.  Hence John McCain’s support.  Because they still control pricing.  Cut costs of the fluff channels few people watch and in the end charge the same amount.  Win-win.

      • Yeah, I suppose that would work if they require a set top box and use encrypted QAM.

        It wouldn’t work with clear QAM or ATSC.

  • Pay no attention to our sinking national ship and all those explosions that you feel underfoot, below-deck.
    LOOK everyone and how nicely we’re rearranging the deck chairs!  AND you even get to choose the color of the seat cushions!  Isn’t that great, how we are DOING SOMETHING in the world’s grating — er, um — greatest deliberative body!?
    Now, about your contribution to my reelection campaign fund ——–