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Free TV an endangered species?
Old 12-29-2009, 09:45 AM   #1
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Free TV an endangered species?

Broadcasters' woes could spell trouble for free TV - Yahoo! News

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NEW YORK – For more than 60 years, TV stations have broadcast news, sports and entertainment for free and made their money by showing commercials. That might not work much longer.
The business model is unraveling at ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox and the local stations that carry the networks' programming. Cable TV and the Web have fractured the audience for free TV and siphoned its ad dollars. The recession has squeezed advertising further, forcing broadcasters to accelerate their push for new revenue to pay for programming.
IMO, shouldn't be surprising for anyone paying attention. The irony is that the recession that's being blamed has the potential to benefit free over-the-air (OTA) television if more people cut their cable as a cost-cutting move and realize that in the digital age they can get cable- and satellite-quality picture for no subscription fees.
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Old 12-29-2009, 10:42 AM   #2
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I'll be surprised if the Federal Gov't will allow that to happen. FCC I think would step in, many people depend on it. Also, the old "in case of emergency" scenerio would be the reason to keep this alive. I have little sympathy for radio and tv broadcasters.

Jim
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Old 12-29-2009, 10:49 AM   #3
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Actually, some within the FCC are also pushing for the eventual elimination of the free TV airwaves to repurpose them for other broadband and wireless applications. They see these airwaves as a potential cash cow.

I would agree that pulling the "free" lifeline away from lower-income families is a non-starter politically. My gut feeling is that this WILL happen eventually, but only after lawmakers figure out how to take some of the revenues they raise by leasing out the broadcast TV frequencies to provide free or subsidized "lifeline"-level cable, satellite or broadband for those who can't afford it today. That way they could save face by saying that no one has "lost" most of what they can get over the air today because of inability to pay.

The main losers would be those who could afford cable or satellite TV but choose to use only free OTA television. They might have to pay up or go without.
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Old 12-29-2009, 11:07 AM   #4
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This may be as difficult to pull off as it seems to be for newspaper/magazine publishers:

Adding Fees and Fences on Media Sites
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Old 12-29-2009, 12:31 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
The main losers would be those who could afford cable or satellite TV but choose to use only free OTA television. They might have to pay up or go without.
That's how I see it too Zig.

Right now, due to my inexplicable distaste for Comcast, we're looking at going OTA only here at the youbet household. We get 15 channels OTA, including 2 public broadcast channels and a 24 x 7 weather channel. The only real stopper is that access to some sports, which I enjoy, is available only on cable. Sports seems to have been a real win for the cable/satellite folks.

Our current package, extended basic, is about $67/mo with taxes and isn't an issue within the budget. But for reasons I can't explain, it just gauls me to write the check, especially for time periods when we were traveling and hardly watched anyway. We could switch to basic cable service, which provides about the same channels as OTA, for about $15/mo if having an antenna becomes an issue. But living in suburban Chicago where I can stand on my roof and see the TV antennas on the skyscrapers downtown, having an antenna is no issue.

I'd hate to see free OTA TV go but I suppose the writing is on the wall. Next to go I suppose will be free AM and FM radio. You'll have to subscribe to satellite delivery or go without.........
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Old 12-30-2009, 09:38 PM   #6
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I guess if they could charge for one time free air for filling up tire pressure, don't see why they can't make OTA free tv a thing of the past. I surely don't hope they charge though. I've dropped my cable about a year ago and just use the digital boxes for over the air TV. There were programs, I missed, but after awhile, I'm pretty much got over the "witdrawal". Even for sports, for baseball I enjoy listening to the radio broadcast. For football (which does feel like missing a lot by not watching), for my home team, it's on free tv and when on the road, I Slingbox the broadcast to my laptop.

The biggest disappointment I had when switching to OTA free tv only was getting a constant signal (like I had with cable). I did fix that problem by installing an outdoor antenna (for a friend) and for me, build my own indoor antenna which actually works better than ones I tried from stores.
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Old 12-30-2009, 09:50 PM   #7
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I'd miss free OTA TV, as this is all we get, or need.

The loss of broadcast TV would result in the further "boutiquization" of our information sources and a reduction in our society's common frame of reference regarding news events. That would be too bad--I think this is one of the major reasons for the increasingly divisive and uncivil tone of public discourse.
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:13 PM   #8
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The loss of broadcast TV would result in the further "boutiquization" of our information sources and a reduction in our society's common frame of reference regarding news events. That would be too bad--I think this is one of the major reasons for the increasingly divisive and uncivil tone of public discourse.
I happen to agree. I think that while the small-d "democratization" of media has given voice to a lot of alternative ideas and opinions -- a positive on its face, giving a voice to the previously voiceless -- it's also made it easy and convenient for people avoid having to think in an ideology outside their comfort zone. Right, left, authoritarian, libertarian, whatever -- you can find "media" through web sites, blogs, podcasts and such which filter the news and "analysis" (quotes intentional) to match your own world view -- everything makes your side look "right" and the other guys look evil or stupid or both.

And the more your opinions are reinforced by that sort of thing, the more certain and confident you can be that you are always right and the other side is always a bunch of malevolent and/or moronic fools.

I do think that is a significant factor in the increasing ideological balkanization of the nation, and it saddens me. The most unfortunate thing is that I see no way to put the genie back into the bottle.
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Old 12-31-2009, 01:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
I happen to agree. I think that while the small-d "democratization" of media has given voice to a lot of alternative ideas and opinions -- a positive on its face, giving a voice to the previously voiceless -- it's also made it easy and convenient for people avoid having to think in an ideology outside their comfort zone. Right, left, authoritarian, libertarian, whatever -- you can find "media" through web sites, blogs, podcasts and such which filter the news and "analysis" (quotes intentional) to match your own world view -- everything makes your side look "right" and the other guys look evil or stupid or both.

And the more your opinions are reinforced by that sort of thing, the more certain and confident you can be that you are always right and the other side is always a bunch of malevolent and/or moronic fools.

I do think that is a significant factor in the increasing ideological balkanization of the nation, and it saddens me. The most unfortunate thing is that I see no way to put the genie back into the bottle.
What he said.
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