À la carte TV myths

The controversy over à la carte cable and satellite programming keeps resurfacing. The basic problem is that cable prices keep rising, to the point where the basic level of digital cable is over $50 a month in many places. Prices have risen 40% in the last decade.

(As an aside, I’m amazed at the whiners in the UK who complain about paying £126.50 a year for a TV license that gets them the best premium programming from the US, as well as UK TV. I pay $588 a year to get a similar selection.)

Viewers find it galling to pay for a hundred channels when there are only a handful they watch on a regular basis. Hence there has been a campaign to get the FCC to rule that cable and satellite providers must offer the option of à la carte programming, where you can choose to subscribe to only the channels you actually want.

The cable and satellite companies don’t want to see that happen, as it would eat into their fat profits. Since the same companies own a lot of the mainstream media outlets, I’m constantly seeing astroturf coverage explaining why à la carte programming is impossible, would make your cable bills skyrocket, is tantamount to Communism, and so on.

This is my attempt to cut through a lot of the common bullshit spouted on the subject.

Prius humor (I can laugh now)

During the Great Prius Hunt, I joined several web forums to try and pick up leads and get advice. I noticed that a lot of the discussions ended up resembling the Monty Python “Four Yorkshiremen” sketch… SFGuy14: Lovely car, the Prius. Of course, it wasn’t easy to buy one. carguy30: No, and a lovely car because it’s hard to buy one. mpg55plus: I remember waiting 8 months for my dealer to get my Prius.

CD pricing

After a day of working from home, I had to get out of the computer room. I went to Harvard Square in search of a 2x mono 3.5mm jack to 1x stereo 3.5mm plug converter. I found one at Radio Shack, but it’s a blocky thing that won’t plug directly into the camcorder, so I need to either find a really short 3.5mm stereo headphone extension cable, or wire up my own converter.

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