In the past year we have seen many reports of cable and dish companies losing customers to streaming however many cable customers still want services that aren’t available from the big streaming distributors specifically Live Television and Sports.
Well it seems that the cable companies are noticing but don’t get your hopes up for a lower bill quite yet.
If you are a comcast customer you may have tried their streaming app that will allow you to watch your lineup when you are away from your home or through other devices when hooked into your home’s wifi or network.
I have tried it when I miss something and I want to see a buffer of a live show real quick i will login to a network’s stream. This is not quite the same but its still tied to my account. I don’t think it is anywhere near the same quality as the signal you get out of a cable box. Even though its scaled to HD the quality is very poor and the picture is not sharp.
Time Warner has also announced that they will follow the lead of Sling.tv that is part of Dish and offer smaller groups of networks that people can subscribe to and stream into their home.
The main idea is that these distributors are now moving to streaming. The packages they are going to offer may not be what you want but the next question is can you be on a comcast network and order television services from another cable tv provider like Time Warner or will there be limits placed on you that restrict your access.
Data Caps are the Way of the Future
Because so many sources will be providing what has been a bread and butter industry for Cable they are not going to let you do it for free.
If you have cable modem access at your home you should be interested to know that the data caps that are part of every package are now being enforced.
It use to be that only the consistently highest users that went well beyond their monthly transfer limits received notices but now even people with very expensive high speed plans are being restricted to data caps that could be completely used up in only the first few days of the month.
What can you do to fight this? You can’t the fact is that if you don’t agree with a provider’s restrictions they don’t have to provide you service. Although Cable is regulated by State Commissions they are not fully recognized as a Utility like your gas, water or electric even though some States require citizens to do business with them over the internet. But if you don’t have access to internet how are you suppose to do that?
It really is a mess we are in. The Cable Companies have replaced the phone companies in many areas as the new monopoly. I can’t even tell you how many people I know who say they can only get broadband from one provider. Either you are on FIOS or on a Cable Modem and their paths almost never cross. Even to the point you can’t even subscribe to older technologies like DSL in most places that are served by Cable TV Networks.
So, when is this going to change?
I wouldn’t expect it to change for the better. Although you may be able to receive content from many more sources you won’t be able to get to it without high speed broadband and that means speeds faster than 4G phone service. Don’t even get me started on how the Government says you have Broadband if you have Cell Service in your area and they won’t even consider enforcing competition in your area.
Data Caps will be set low enough for general internet use but for TV Streaming which can fill a 10mbit connection easily you can expect that you will be paying much more for that ability.
I can understand this to a point but when Comcast says they have 2 million subscribers to their charity internet service where the only cost is $10 home rental of the cable modem and that they get speeds that are 10mbit vs comcasts lowest internet plan of 3mbit for $50 a month that is just not reasonable.
Two million people is a lot of network use so Comcast must have their network built out more than enough to cover any amount of streaming the average house of 1 to even 5 tv sets can use in a given night.
I just find this all to be sad. I don’t think the industry needs to be regulated but what is happening now will most likely lead to it.
If regulation in the form of a Utility Commission is implemented I hope that many changes are made to compensate people who do not have access to more than one broadband choice. If you only have one choice you should pay less because that is a monopoly and that is when unfair tactics can harm the poor, the elderly on budgets and basically anyone with no choice but to pay what they are asking or go without.
At the very least minimum levels of service should be set where compensation is provided. If someone wants gigabit speed let them pay $300 to $500 a month… but if someone just wants basic service and TV is now going to an all streamed service… that is when minimum standards must be provided to allow free access to information from the source that the customer chooses to get it from.