Monday, September 22, 2008

The Tyranny of TV

As I watched the Cowboys beat the Packers last night (and more importantly, secured my win in my week 3 fantasy match up-Thank God for Jason Witten!), I saw a variation of the above notice in a disturbing news crawl. 

This is a dispute between Time Warner Cable in Austin and the Austin NBC affiliate KXAN. Of course, this is about money. Time Warner charges a fee to us to carry KXAN and doesn't cut the parent company of KXAN-LIN-TV a share of the profits. Here is the KXAN/LIN-TV side.

Now this is the same crap that is keeping  the NFL Network from being displayed on Time Warner Cable.

This is my opinion on this stuff. The Time Warner, NFL Network thing is all on the NFL Network. The NFL Network wants to part of premium sports packages. The problem with this is that the NFL Network won't offer the Sunday Ticket to cable providers-only to DirecTV, a satellite provider. So Time Warner, as well as Comcast, want to keep the NFL Network on the basic cable tier. I think this is fair, because the games are what people really want. NBA TV on Time Warner is in a separate sports tier, but they of NBA League Pass, So I could get all of the games.  

This leads into my problem with the Time Warner/LIN-TV issue. Of course, I could switch pay TV providers, but Time Warner has a monopoly in Austin. I can't get Grande Communications, a regional cable provider where I live. AT&T Uverse is not in my condo community. And I am sorry, satellite sucks. It does go out in the rain and the trees do block signals. I have satellite radio in my car. I know this happens and it has happened to bars with satellite I have gone to in Austin. So I can't easily switch to another system that carries KXAN, the NBC station. Here is some of the programing I can lose:

NFL Football Oct 5- Pittsburgh @ Jacksonville
Oct 12 - New England @ San Diego
Oct 19 - Seattle @ Tampa Bay
Nov 2 - New England @ Indy
Nov 9 - NY Giants @ Philadelphia
Nov 16 - Dallas @ Washington
Nov 23 - Indy @ San Diego
Nov 30 - Chicago @ Minnesota
Dec 7 - New England @ Seattle
Dec 14 - NY Giants @ Dallas
Dec 21 - San Diego @ Tampa Bay
January - Playoffs- Teams TBD
February 2 - Super Bowl
College Football Oct 4 - Stanford @ Notre Dame
Nov 1 - Pittsburgh @ Notre Dame
Nov 22 - Syracuse @ Notre Dame

Mondays at 8 PM

The Office 

Thursdays at 8 PM

Today Show 

Weekdays 7-9 AM

Tonight Show 

Weekdays 1035-1135 PM

Now, and could cover the shows, plus 30 Rock and SNL. But the football games and other sporting events will be a problem.

A solution would be have a service provide an a la carte system to programing. No pay TV service provider wants that, because it kills their monopoly. But you know what "monopoly" is going to be doing it? SiriusXM. (By the way, I don't consider Sirius-XM a monopoly. Between radio, HD Radio, webstreaming, podcasting, iPods and iPhones I can get just about every music choice and news choice I want.)

This was part of their merger deal with the FCC and why I was for it. The FCC wants to lead pay TV providers down the a la carte road. I think that would be good news and would hopefully give consumers more choice.