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Old 08-02-2013, 05:07 AM   #121
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Well that is a convenient, universal reply to claims of bias!
Why do you find that notable? Are you surprised that there is a consumer tilt to an issue that affects consumers? The reality is that we've made our own beds. Blaming others is just noise. Given that you're serious about the concerns you've expressed, could you please express your concerns in operational terms, i.e., what you would have people here do, or what you would have government do, to make these companies you don't like operate differently? Thanks.
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Old 08-02-2013, 08:21 AM   #122
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Why do you find that notable? Are you surprised that there is a consumer tilt to an issue that affects consumers?
I explained that with my analogies. You counter my claim that it is not bias, by saying that is how bias works. It's circular. So I can't possibly have any claim that it's not bias, you cans shoot it down with that too-simple 'is-too-is-not -argument'.

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The reality is that we've made our own beds. Blaming others is just noise. Given that you're serious about the concerns you've expressed, could you please express your concerns in operational terms, i.e., what you would have people here do, or what you would have government do, to make these companies you don't like operate differently? Thanks.
I alluded to it, I'll give you specifics. The problem as I see it is monopoly/oligopoly status of these industries. What I want govt to do is restore competition in these areas, and then get out of the way and let the free market work. IMO, that would be far better than trying to micro-manage oligopolies with regs that they will work around faster than a govt can write them.

One example I gave in another thread - when they install cable in a neighborhood, install multiple lines and allow multiple companies to compete. The cost of a few more lines of co-ax is minimal compared to the cost of digging up and repairing roads to install one line. I use a point-to-point wireless for my internet - that should be offered as competition to cable in more places, but cable gets a monopoly advantage in most places.

One small step in mobile phones - break the connection between phones and carriers. None of this bundling of 2 year contracts to get a phone that locks you in with ETFs. Make it all ala-cart and month-by-month. Buy/rent/lease a phone, select a carrier - switch carriers on any month if they don't treat you right. Europe got wise and mandated standard chargers for cell phones (USB port charging). While this was done for enviro reasons (fewer scrapped chargers, you can reuse your old one on a new phone), it also cut down some 'inertia' for people to stick with the same phone supplier, making the market a bit more free.

Stuff like that.

-ERD50
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Old 08-02-2013, 08:42 AM   #123
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So I can't possibly have any claim that it's not bias
Sure you can... just present objective information showing that the companies routinely violate agreements they entered into. If there is such proof. Otherwise, then just accept that the criticisms are indeed consumer bias: Consumers wanting something that they aren't willing to pay the premium necessary to motivate business to provide them.

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I alluded to it, I'll give you specifics. The problem as I see it is monopoly/oligopoly status of these industries.
For some of them, that's the nature of the beast. The cost of stringing coax or fiber to everyone's home, for example, makes cable television and broadband something that either the public has to pay for itself (read: taxes) or subject itself to the ramifications of leaving that remarkably high cost up to those who choose to enter the marketplace (read: accepting the impact of regulation, or accepting the impact of oligopoly). I think the problem with what you're trying to defend is that it is aiming for that consumer's free lunch (not the the whole service would be free, but rather those aspects your complaining about would be remedied without consumers paying the premium for getting what they want), and that's just not reasonable.

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What I want govt to do is restore competition in these areas, and then get out of the way and let the free market work.
"Restoring competition" is not free market. So basically what I see you saying here is you want your cake and to eat it too. You literally cannot have it both ways.

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IMO, that would be far better than trying to micro-manage oligopolies with regs that they will work around faster than a govt can write them.
Again, the only practicable choices are the state paying for and owning the infrastructure, or private entities doing so. If the latter (which seems to be your choice), then the only practicable choices are to either heavily regulate the suppliers or lightly regulate the suppliers. If the latter (which seems to be your choices), then that means letting them structure their service so that they earn money as much as the market will bear, or regulating them and suffering the consequences of regulation, including loss of motivation to innovate, etc.

Side-question: Have you ever served on your municipality's cable contract oversight committee?

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One example I gave in another thread - when they install cable in a neighborhood, install multiple lines and allow multiple companies to compete.
What will you do to make that worth their effort? You cannot just order them to do it without it being regulation. Even with regulation, it'll have to be worthwhile for them (in other words, the pricing that you let them charge will have to justify the extra expense), or they will simply not serve that town (see recent news articles on deployment of rural broadband service).

Then talk about: Who's going to maintain those lines? How are you going to force them to without regulation? How are you going to force them to provide service quality to their competitors on par with the service they perform for themselves without regulation? And so on.

I'm all for your ideas. But call things what they are: Regulation.

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I use a point-to-point wireless for my internet - that should be offered as competition to cable in more places, but cable gets a monopoly advantage in most places.
What are you willing to pay to motivate other suppliers to make the investments necessary and the work necessary to secure the necessary licenses to operate?

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One small step in mobile phones - break the connection between phones and carriers.
Regulation.

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None of this bundling of 2 year contracts to get a phone that locks you in with ETFs.
Regulation.

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Make it all ala-cart and month-by-month.
Regulation.

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Europe got wise and mandated standard chargers for cell phones
Regulation.

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... making the market a bit more free.
Incorrect. ... making the market a bit less free. More regulated. Regulated in the consumers' favor. To placate consumer bias.

Again, I'm not opposed. Just call it what it actually is.
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Old 08-02-2013, 09:07 AM   #124
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"Restoring competition" is not free market. So basically what I see you saying here is you want your cake and to eat it too. You literally cannot have it both ways.

I'm all for your ideas. But call things what they are: Regulation.

Regulation.

Again, I'm not opposed. Just call it what it actually is.
I was going to reply to your other comments, but these straw man arguments are tiring.

I never said that I believe in some pure, black-white, wild-west, Somali-pirate version of 'free markets'. I'm pragmatic. I can accept that there are shades of gray (or has that phrase been co-opted?). I accept that sometimes, some regulations are needed to create a free-er market. I don't have a problem with some regulations. Even though I have a strong libertarian bent, I'll go so far as to say that in many areas, we don't have enough regulation (and are over-regulated in many other areas).

But in short form - I believe there are reasonable ways to implement each of my suggestions, and there are plenty of precedents that have worked just fine for all involved. But I'm not going to expend the effort detailing them when your replies are just straw-man take downs.

-ERD50
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Old 08-02-2013, 09:28 AM   #125
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I'm sorry you're dismissing what I've said out of hand because you're unwilling to take comments seriously that undercut the rhetoric you were using, but if you want to just drop it then we can.
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Old 08-02-2013, 09:30 AM   #126
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ziggy - check the netflix account settings - you can 'force it' to use a lower bandwidth,
Just curious, but what download speed does this lowering represent? I may switch to DSL by AT&T (3.0 MB/S max) and dump Comcast cable (no Uverse near me).
I don't recall. Go to your netflix settings and see for yourself, things might have changed since I did it. But I think you can expect a good Q picture if you get a steady >1.5Mbps?

I'm sure you could get more details from a netflix forum and search for DSL.


OK, I was curious and looked at mine:

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Good quality (up to 0.3 GB per hour)
Better quality (up to 0.7 GB per hour)
X Best quality (up to 1.0 GB per hour, or up to 2.3 GB per hour for HD)
I guess I reset it a while back to 'best' (non-HD though), if I got my decimals right, 'Better' - .7GB/hr is ~ 2Mbps; and "Best' - 1GB/hr is ~ 2.78Mbps. A while back, I was having trouble with latency, and my ISP made some changes to our system. Latency improved and it also sped up, so that's probably when I changed it to 'Best'.

Previously, Netflix would take a long time to buffer the high Q version, then a minute or two later would step back to the 'better' Q, and re-buffer all over again. By selecting 'better' in the account settings, it would not try the 'best', it would just go straight to 'better' - faster loading and was much more responsive. The pic Q from best to better was not a big deal for me.

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Old 08-02-2013, 09:31 AM   #127
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I'm sorry you're dismissing what I've said out of hand because you're unwilling to take comments seriously that undercut the rhetoric you were using, but if you want to just drop it then we can.
If you read what I wrote, you'd see that I am not 'dismissing it out of hand'. So that's a very good reason to drop it. Bye.

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Old 08-02-2013, 09:48 AM   #128
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Let's just agree to disagree about what you are and aren't dismissing out of hand, so we can truly just drop it.
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Old 08-02-2013, 10:08 AM   #129
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We went with antenna and Hulu Netflix back in feb. there are some downsides as it takes a bit longer to channel surf and to find movies etc on Hulu Netflix, so I'll give the options above a look. We will drop either Hulu or Netflix. I find I miss HGTV, but we get a few PBS stations and I fill in with others on my iPad. The big four stations programming is just too mean--all murder or sex or stupid reality. I also like the bbc shows. Doc Martin was very entertaining.
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Old 08-02-2013, 10:13 AM   #130
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I'm leery about Hulu, these days, because they appear to be losing a lot of key staff, and I suspect the impending sale of Hulu will result in losing the original programming of at least one of its current owner's networks.
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Old 08-02-2013, 10:51 AM   #131
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Off topic but couldn't resist: Here's a nice prepaid plan comparison for wireless carriers and a lot of other good info:

Quick Compare of Prepaid Cell Phone Plans | Prepaid Reviews
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Old 08-02-2013, 11:57 AM   #132
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And, back in the pay-TV front and some of the calls for "a la carte" channel pricing...

The push to unbundle your cable bill - Aug. 2, 2013
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Old 08-04-2013, 05:17 PM   #133
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Chromecast

I've been using Chromecast for a few days and am loving it. It's built in to Netflix and Youtube usage, my DD tells me that other video providers will be joining soon. If the use isn't built in you can still "cast" to the TV but you're basically just getting your computer screen on the TV then.
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Old 08-04-2013, 05:45 PM   #134
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I see Chromecast as a nice supplemental devise to me, but not anything that supplants. For someone in my situation, cutting the cord would not save much money. I have no access to OTA HD, would have to pay to upgrade existing Internet to get a good consistent streaming speed, pay for Hulu, and pay for Netflix, plus possibly risking being "throttled". On top of it, I still wouldn't get much of what I watch. Now if I had the attitude I will watch what I can get free streaming and deal with it, I could incur some savings but then I would not be satisfied.
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Old 08-06-2013, 08:22 PM   #135
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Saw this article, thought it was relevant:

Steep cable price hikes could soon make cord-cutting a reality - Aug. 6, 2013

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Cable subscribers are mad as hell and maybe -- just maybe -- they finally aren't going to take it anymore.

To consumers, it can feel like bills for cable, Internet and wireless just keep going up. And they're right [...].

Smithen's research showed the bill for triple-play jumped an incredible 20%, or about $46, since 2010, to a current average of more than $273 per month. [...]

When Macquarie asked consumers which service they would cut first if they had to save money, a whopping 76% said they would get rid of their pay-TV service. The remaining 24% were split evenly between broadband Internet and wireless phone service. [....]

"[Cable] is really the perfect lightning rod for consumer dissatisfaction," Olgeirson said. "It's the biggest part of your bill and the most consistent rate increase."
Plus, he added, it's tougher to replace your cell phone or Internet provider than it is to find an alternative for pay-TV, which faces a long list of semi-competitors: Netflix (NFLX), Hulu, Amazon (AMZN, Fortune 500) and many more. But he's not convinced they'll become "a significant threat to the [cable] subscriber base" over the long term.
[....]
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Old 08-06-2013, 08:41 PM   #136
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$273 a month? Well I would be mad as hell too. Do they get the Playboy channel and the girls crawl out of the tv and dance for you in the living room? I don't bundle, so my three singles total $151, thanks to my yearly price negotiations over the phone saving me $40.
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Old 08-06-2013, 09:01 PM   #137
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$273 a month? Well I would be mad as hell too. Do they get the Playboy channel and the girls crawl out of the tv and dance for you in the living room? I don't bundle, so my three singles total $151, thanks to my yearly price negotiations over the phone saving me $40.
Our bill was at that level last year with Comcast. We had 4 DVR's (only one HD) and the rented modem, plus the VOIP phone. Every bill I opened had a price increase for some item and we just about had it with them at that time. Between a steady stream of us returning the crappy DVR boxes (10 year technology) for more of the rebuilt(?) 10 year old boxes, I called and asked for price relief. No dice.

So we switched to Uverse and cut the bill in half. Shortly after we switched, Comcast called (several times) and asked if we would come back for a better deal than we had before we dumped them. Sick......
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Old 08-06-2013, 09:11 PM   #138
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The only reason I keep cable is it's the only way to watch my baseball team. I can't believe the American public actually enjoys the trash they put on these cable channels. So much so, that they have to DVR it, because they can handle missing an episode.
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Old 08-06-2013, 10:31 PM   #139
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$273 a month? Well I would be mad as hell too. Do they get the Playboy channel and the girls crawl out of the tv and dance for you in the living room?
Right, but for $273 a month, they'd need to do more than just dance. Hey, I think we're on to something. A new marketing strategy for Comcast. Your hookers are free for the first 6 months. But it's probably like you said earlier in the thread -- they disvalue customer longevity, so the new customers would get the hotties, but after a year, you'd be getting dancing grandmas.

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I don't bundle, so my three singles total $151, thanks to my yearly price negotiations over the phone saving me $40.
Yeah, I would call, say I'm leaving, and they'd give me the intro offer to get me to stay ... which would run out after a while, and then after I waited a few months, I'd call back and pretend to be leaving again, get the intro offer again ... rinse and repeat. Kind of a ridiculous little ritual.
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Old 08-06-2013, 10:43 PM   #140
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Right, but for $273 a month, they'd need to do more than just dance. Hey, I think we're on to something. A new marketing strategy for Comcast. Your hookers are free for the first 6 months. But it's probably like you said earlier in the thread -- they disvalue customer longevity, so the new customers would get the hotties, but after a year, you'd be getting dancing grandmas.

Yeah, I would call, say I'm leaving, and they'd give me the intro offer to get me to stay ... which would run out after a while, and then after I waited a few months, I'd call back and pretend to be leaving again, get the intro offer again ... rinse and repeat. Kind of a ridiculous little ritual.
The dancing grandmas would definitely be the last straw for me!
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