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Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by jilter, Jul 12, 2009.
Where would the fun be in that.
Yeah, this debate going on...
I don't care that the horse is dead already.
Just remember what the Mongols taught the Chinese, "When the horse dies, get off".
Not in my area. I have FIOS. Also, I have Clearwire in our area. And there's DSL. And 3G cell phone service.
Also, for streaming like that there is Hughesnet data service which should work.
Seems there are lots of choices. I don't have cable in any way. And I don't miss it. If you don't like those other choices, or for some odd reason have access to none of them, move.
First Bicker and I were talking about if cable held a monopoly or not, not about if there were choices in ISP's or not. The whole ISP thing is more of an if the ISP's are also providing Premium TV service wouldn't the have a vested interest that data services be high to discourage people moving off of there TV service and just get the shows they want off the internet for less money. And I am even assuming you are getting legal copies not stuff from Pirate Bay or something for free. They would have an interest in that I think.
Second, You are probably a statistical outlier to have so many choices for broadband ISP (FIOS and Clearwire are really not in all that many palces) so congrats to you there. Judging from that list of ISP's you probably live in one of the few areas that actually may have real competition in the Premium TV market as well. Your doing great there. Let me introduce you to the rest of the US that only has the choice off 1 cable company and Satellite (probably between 66% and 75% or more of us). Or even worse that only has the choice of Satellite because they live far on the fringes (probably 5%-10% as a guess). I'm sure many of us would really enjoy that choice.
As far as moving goes if I don't like the choices I have in this area. Lets see to get the same level of service as you the closest place is probably Baltimore and I really don't want to commute 900 miles one way to get to work and the traffic sucks up there. Besides I am not dissatisfied with my ISP for now, so why move. But thanks for your concern.
And moving isn't the point: The point is that we each have to accept responsibility for the limits on the choices we have that are based on the decisions we ourselves have made, rather than seeking to blame suppliers for the fact that we, by our own decisions and actions, have limited our own choices.
I really don't want to start this again about what constitutes a monopoly or not. I know how you feel about the issue you know how I feel about it. I was merely pointing out that our previous discussion had to due with cable companies not ISP's. Unless you want to talk about do the premium TV delivery people have a concern about competition from internet sources? If that is the case we could start a new thread. I also pointed out that even if we were talking about ISP's his case is pretty unusual to have that many choices. most peoplwe have a choice between their 1 cable company for cable modem, DSL from 1 or 2 phone providers and satlellites. Too have both FIOS and Clearwire as an alternative is pretty unusual.
The point I made was not specific to any scenario. I deliberately worded it to show how generically it applies:
You can (and I probably will) drop that line into a discussion about newspaper delivery, OTA television reception, automobile service centers -- essentially, everything where decisions the consumer makes, perhaps even seemingly unrelated decisions, end up limiting the choices that that consumer has with regard to some service offering.
For what its worth I don't think we disagree on the services you mentioned above. I can always get a different paper delivered (even from out of state if you don't mind it a few days later and paying for delivery, or use the internet), OTA TV Evereyone in the market has access to the same stations I can change channels if I don't like the show (and besides its free ), Auto service I can drive down the road to a different station, but a home can't move and certain other services must come to them (utilities like electric, water, gas, etc) we might a different view there, but I don't want to go there because it will just take us back to the whole monopoly thing again and I don't want to go there. Can we just agree politely to disagree and let it drop?
Although the Cable company (used to) be able to get around that before the digital broadcast. In our area, we had OTA both in analog and digital (and some of the digital in HD, and some not). Our SD OTA channels were: 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15 The Digital versions were 1806, 1808, etc.
What TW did to us users with cable cards is take ALL the analog channels and digitally simulcast them. Then they changed the cable card code so that you could ONLY receive the "digital" version of the analog OTA. Then they set ALL the channels to 0x02 (including the "analog" OTA).
The FCC regs aren't clear cut either way on whether that could be done, but since the digital transition, it's kinda moot now.
So right now, TWC has (for us) all channels at 0x02 except the HD local OTA broadcasts (and they had those set as 0x02 for about 2 weeks until I called and complained).
Personally I can't wait for Verizon to get here, but the franchising is a royal PITA here, so it may be a few more years.
Although perfectly true, this can be quite misleading, albeit not intentionally, I'm sure. First of all, nothing is necessarily bad, up to and including killing someone. More to the point WRT this topic, however, is the fact a particular real world monopoly or inherently monopolistic situation may not be bad is not the point. Dictatorships and monarchies are not necessarily bad, either. Indeed, the best of dictatorships or monarchies are better for the vast majority of their constituents than any democracy can reasonably hope to be. The problem is not that a good one cannot exist, it is that inevitably a really bad one is bound to come along, and when it does, there is nothing the constituents can do about it, unless they are willing to rise up en masse to destroy the insitu government. Actually, the same thing is true of a democracy (and the analogous market types), but it is just with a democracy it's relatively easy to overthrow the government. Just wait two to six years or so and toss them out on their keesters. A similar situation ostensibly holds for a monopoly or oligopoli vs. a free market. In a free market, the consumer simply dumps the company he deems less than desirable and chooses another, and a relatively small number of such rejections properly subjects the poorly performing company to extreme pressure to clean up their act or die. While a monopoly is not completely immune to market pressures, it is only going to respond to vast scale market pressures, and even then rather weakly. In a free market, any company whose price performance falls even a small amount below the maximum value for cost will wither and die in a hurry. Of course it is also true in a free market the consumer has a large, perhaps even a vast number of alternatives from which to choose whenever his first choice turns out to be a dud. In a monopoly, the only choices are to either take what the monopoly offers or do without.
The other issue is time. Although any new restricted government may be not only extremely effective in providing a good, well balanced environment for its citizens, as time goes by, inefficiency and special interest concerns are bound to start accumulating. By the same token, even if a monopoly is effective, efficient, and committed to providing a quality product to its customers, eventually the organization is bound to start accumulating people whose only concern is drawing a maximum paycheck for minimum labor. What starts out as a perfectly wonderful situation will sooner or later decompose into a mess, with no simple or moderately painless way to fix it.
All of which is really just a verbose way of saying that power inevitably corrupts. Of course it corrupts democracies and free markets, too, but the idea is the area of corruption is limited by the nature of the underlyuing infrastructure. With dictatorships, monarchies, monopolies, and oligopoliers, it is that much more difficult for anyone - particularly an individual citizen - to have any impact on developing (or fully developed) corruption. Again, that's the idea. How well it works in practice...
OTOH, no matter how effective or efficient a monarchy or dictatorship may be, and no matter how inexpensive or convenient a monopoly may be, I will take a democarcy and a free market, thank you.
How many CATV companies can you name which went bankrupt? In fact, there are few, if any, less risky investments on this planet than a CATV system. Now, although the notion seems almost ubiquitous, I am always puzzled why it is considered that a risk should guarantee a profit. By definition, if a profit is guaranteed, then it isn't a risk in the first place, yet time and time again I hear people say that XXXX should be protected from failure (usually by the government) because they have made an investment. The point here, however, is that it isn't even a risk in the first place. What it is, is a long term investment. Many people would say a very long term investment, although I do not consider it so. Basically, especially for a new CATV system, any investment is generally going to have to wait 10 - 20 years to see a return. Personally, I am going to be happy if any of my investments show a profit in less than 30 - 40 years, but that is another matter.
I think you know what you mean, but you've stated it rather badly. By definition any monopoly provides goods or services which only they can supply. No matter how bad a monopoly may be, it still is "the only game in town", and they still had to invest the money to create the infrastructure (or buy the infrastructure from someone else, which amounts to the same thing). What I think you are trying to say is a CATV company (or any utility company) must build a very expensive infrastructure which is capable of servicing effectively every indivdual in its service area, whether it does in fact provide that service or not to any particular individual. Unless some sort of cooperative plan is put in place, or the infrastructure is funded and maintained by public funds, then a second provider must spend just as much to build his infrastructure as the first provider, yet both are only likely to serve half the number of subscribers. This means if N is the number of providers in the area, then the costs to each individual consumer before provider profits is roughly equal to N times the cost of an identical franchse area with only 1 provider. The bottom line is in such a situation, the cost to the consumer may be much, much higher than the monopoly franchise. The upside is they may be able to enjoy much better service. Maybe. Multiple utility providers in an area provide both a literal and figurative rats-nest of transport problems. Take a look sometime at the photographs taken of the early days of electricity when many large cities had sometimes 7 or 8 power providers. The utility poles were not only a horrible, ugly mess, they were unsafe, as well. In the early days of telephone companies, some towns had two or more phone systems, and half or two thirds of the people could not talk to people on the other systems.
The bottom line? It may, repeat MAY, be true for utility companies such as power, telephone, and yes, CATV service the consumer is sometimes best served if there is only 1 landline based solution. At most, there probably needs to be only a very small handful. What soemone needs to explan to me is why anyone, no matter who, shoud be allowed to own and operate more than one franchise. It is not by definition a monopoly for one company to own a CATV system in every city in America, but it most certainly is a trust.
People keep saying this, but it is total nonsense. In fact, few things the average TV viewer consumes costs him more than OTA television. It's just that it doesn't cost him anyhing MORE to switch the channel, and he won't save any money by not watching the programs. He pays whether we wants to, or not. Indeed, he pays even if we doesn't have a TV.
I can't really comment about the rest of your post, but I can certainly name a pretty big cable operator which is currently under bankruptcy protection: Charter Communications. Recent reference here:
I should have phrased that better. "How many can you name that have filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy?", is what I should have asked. Even so, that's one out of a couple of thousand CATV companies that has gone bankrupt. As risk goes, it's way down the investment scale. Compare that to the percentage of telecommunications companies that have gone bankrupt. It's more than 99.9%. How many dotcoms out of 1000 have gone bankrupt? Restaurants? Retail outlets?
If you don't know of any way to have fun in a hotel room...
OTOH, I don't know if bicker is your preferred playmate, or not.
Sorry but I'm getting a bit punchy, I been pretty busy at work in addition to posting here. Maybe some of you saw some of the work I've been doing Nasa launched it today. Cool stuff. Enough self promotion.
Anyway I always learn a bit when you post. You got the gist of what I was trying to say. I was trying to cut and paste from the wiki on natural monopolies and in stringing it together with my thoughts didn't come out as smooth as I would have liked. One thing I don't think you considered in discussing how cable tv systems really are not a risky venture, When they were first coming out the idea of people paying cash up front for TV was very risky. IMO originally governments (State and local) saw a public benefit to cable. Better TV reception to a wider area meant better communication with the public in an emergency. We take it for granted now but I remeber when I was in 3rd or 4th grade my dad saying something to the effect why in the heck would anyone pay for TV (I know see your next post). It wasn't so much they wanted to guarantee a profit as it was it was the price to have someone else upgrade communication. I could be wrong but that's my feeling on it
Good question, I have no idea.
I guess you are technically right (I think this discussion has been around before also) better phrasing would have been "Besides It's already paid for and it wont cost any more or less." But that doesn't roll off the tongue as easy as, "Besides its free."
How about, "Besides, I'm already paying for it, so I may as well use it"? It's not only accurate, I admit it's a difficult argument for me to counter in terms of the real world. Most people dislike not making use of something for which they have paid, and I find it difficult to blame them.
'Way cool. Promote away, if you ask me.
Well,yes, but that was 60 years ago, and was only true for the first decade or so. With few, if any, exceptions, all the CATV plant in the U.S. has been built in the last 20 - 30 years, and the vast bulk of investments in the systems has been made in the last 15 years. The original startup investments have been paid off years ago.
Municipal, originally. Other than the FCC, state and federal agencies didn't really pay much attention one way or the other until somewhat more recently. Indeed, even as late as 1977, many large cities did not have CATV systems. It developed in small towns first, for a number of reasons. It also wasn't until the early 80s that there was a whole lot of competitive content available on CATV systems. The main attraction prior to that was superior reception, especially in mountainous areas where OTA reception was spotty at best. It also was great for towns too small to have their own TV stations and too far from the nearest big city to allow for reliable reception of "local" channels without purchasing large, ugly, expensive mast-mounted external antenna systems.
That was my reaction, too, when I first heard of CATV. I was about 13 or 14. At the time, there wasn't a great deal of contrent available, as I said, but also at the time I had not stopped to consider what OTA actually cost, since like many, I didn't see anyone paying the national netorks. It's still a problem today. Because people don't stop to think about from where the money comes to support the huge profits being raked in by the networks, they somehow think they aren't the ones paying for it.
No, you are correct. My statement was an offhand one concerning bailouts, subsidies, and government protections for businesses in general. In the case of landline based services, there is a very real physical limitation involved which strongly argues for and encourages a local monopoly. It's a really tough problem, make no mistake, and none of the solutions (at least none that I have seen, and I have seen quite a few) are terribly satisfactory from either an economic or a moral and philosophical standpoint. At the same time, the services which can be provided are highly desirable. It's a situation rife with opportunities for corruption and abuse of power.