The Spite of Comcast: HBO Go

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by wmcbrine, Aug 10, 2018.

  1. Oct 23, 2019 #81 of 109
    chiguy50

    chiguy50 Well-Known Member

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    Dunno, but it may become moot if the new bulk package I am negotiating for my HOA comes to fruition. It is slated to include two premium channels, which I have designated as HBO and Starz. If, as my sales rep avers, Comcast will no longer offer Starz (even as a premium add-on) by the end of this year, then we will replace it with Showtime. Obviously, there is no need for a promo on the individual subscriber account when the premium channel in question is already part of the bulk service.
     
  2. Oct 23, 2019 #82 of 109
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Why should it even need to be designated in the bulk agreement which is the second premium? Comcast charges $15 for HBO and $12 for all the others (except Epix, which is $6). Why couldn't the agreement say that each subscriber gets his/her choice of any two premium services and that they can be chosen when the agreement starts (or when a new tenant initiates services) and then switched out at any point after 1 year has passed? Does Comcast see it as too much hassle to allow individual tenants to choose their premiums?

    BTW, Comcast's new retail rate card here shows that customers can bundle any 3 or more premium services for $10 each, e.g. 3 for $30. Only Epix is excluded from that deal. This is now the only way to get a deal on premium channels under the new packaging/pricing system given that there aren't any core packages now, like Digital Premier, that include premiums.

    Lastly, I'll be really surprised if Comcast completely drops Starz and doesn't sell it even on an a la carte basis. I can understand Comcast's desire to switch out Starz and Starz Encore for the cheaper Epix and ScreenPix in the (now deprecated) packages that so many of their customers are on, in order to reduce Comcast's programming costs. As for dropping Starz as an a la carte service, hard to think that'll happen. It's gonna be bad enough for Starz just getting dropped from bundled packages but if Comcast drops them completely, that's gonna wreck them. Will definitely further drive down Lionsgate's stock price and probably precipitate some kind of corporate action (spin off or sale) one way or another.
     
  3. Oct 23, 2019 #83 of 109
    chiguy50

    chiguy50 Well-Known Member

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    Same reason a retail customer is not allowed this freedom. There is no account coding for "two premium channels at the subscriber's discretion." You have to choose the specific premium(s) when ordering (see the on-line check-out options, for example). You can then cancel or add specific premiums to your heart's content and you will only pay a pro rata fee based on the number of days that the subscription has been active. Obviously, bulk customers do not have this same latitude when it comes to the services under contract.

    We shall see how the contract is worded (if and when we get to that stage), but based on the options my rep has presented to me I am assuming that it will specify HBO and Starz. Of course, I have confirmed that we will have the option of choosing a different premium should Starz be dropped from Comcast's offerings and I have already informed him that we would then substitute SHO as the second premium.

    Right, that 3/4/5/6 premiums discount @$10 each has been available for a while now. I asked whether our folks could add a third premium to their individual subscriber accounts for the reduced rate of $10 on the basis of that retail discount offering. Unfortunately, he said we could not "tag-team" premiums between the bulk and individual accounts for purposes of qualifying for that price reduction. I figured as much, but it never hurts to ask.

    I don't expect it to happen but will not be surprised if it does. After all, isn't that what DISH did when it dropped HBO as of last November?
     
  4. Oct 24, 2019 #84 of 109
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    If Showtime, Starz, Cinemax, TMC and Hitz are all equally priced at $12 in Comcast's system (and they are), then why wouldn't their system allow individual customers to make equal-value switchouts? Is that just the way they do all bulk deals? "This is exactly what your representative negotiated for your property and this is exactly what you get."

    IDK, if I were one of your tenants, I wouldn't be happy about my money going to pay for premium channels you selected for me that I didn't even get to choose. Why not negotiate for a lower package price that doesn't include premiums and let residents spend the extra money on Netflix or Hulu or Disney+ (or on something other than TV)? I can kind of understand you including HBO, given it's popularity, but Starz?
     
  5. Oct 24, 2019 #85 of 109
    chiguy50

    chiguy50 Well-Known Member

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    The video content ("Preferred" plus "HBO & Starz") is stipulated in the contract. Substituting one premium for another requires a contract amendment.

    There is always a trade-off with these bulk arrangements. We can save our residents a bundle of cash by including for a small uptick in price what would otherwise be a $15 or $12 monthly charge. OTOH, as you say, the choice is made for the entire community AND we are obligated to pay every month for the term of the contract. It's a balancing act. I definitely want to include HBO; the second premium was meant to be a throw-in.;)

    BTW, I have agreed to substitute SHO for Starz in the proposal. My rep was told today that "it doesn't look good" for a favorable outcome to the negotiations with Lionsgate.
     
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  6. Oct 25, 2019 #86 of 109
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I think Showtime has slightly more subscribers than Starz. (If they don't know, they definitely will after this December!) So I'd think that would be more folks' choice as a second premium after HBO.
     
  7. Oct 25, 2019 #87 of 109
    chiguy50

    chiguy50 Well-Known Member

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    I like both services. Having had Starz included in my residential bundle with Blast! and Preferred for the past six months (@$50), I have been surprised at the number of quality movie titles I wind up recording or streaming from Starz. Lionsgate most definitely has a deep catalog. As for their incipient original programming, I find that much less inspiring. But there were more than a few movies I had had in my Netflix disc-by-mail queue that I wound up watching on Starz.

    But Showtime is a worthy substitute IMHO as far as the premium channel line-up goes.
     
  8. Oct 25, 2019 #88 of 109
    schatham

    schatham Well-Known Member

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    Trick for Epix app on Comcast. Their is no Tivo in the list, choose Xbox and it works.
     
  9. Oct 28, 2019 #89 of 109
    c-collins

    c-collins Member

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    I can confirm this works. I had to CTRL-F5 about 10 times but it eventually went through
     
  10. Nov 1, 2019 #90 of 109
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Well, Cord Cutters News is breaking the story today that, per their sources, Comcast is definitely dropping Starz completely at the end of the year. Won't even sell it a la carte any more. If you're on Comcast and want Starz, you'll need to subscribe to it via some streaming format (where it typically sells for $9, which is $3 less than Comcast charges).

    Comcast Is Dropping STARZ in December - Cord Cutters News

    Between this and all the behind-the-scenes drama that must be going on with carriage negotiations for HBO Max, alongside the launch today of Apple TV+, and the upcoming launches of Disney+ and then Peacock, it really feels like the whole pay TV biz is in flux right now.
     
  11. Nov 1, 2019 #91 of 109
    inaka

    inaka Well-Known Member

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    I just got the email from Comcast that Starz is gone as of December 10th:

    [​IMG]

    More nonsense from Comcast, especially when they've already dropped another premium channel previously, and I'm under contract.

    Such a scam when you sign up for a two year contact and they lock you in with an early termination fee if you cancel, but while under contact, they can take away premium channels from your lineup, and then say they still offer it, but it's an extra $12/mo or whatever. It's not right.
     
  12. Nov 1, 2019 #92 of 109
    zalusky

    zalusky Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    I just switched to the HBO and Showtime plan. I am watching more stuff on the streaming services and Cinemax/Starz was definitely lower on the list.

     
  13. Nov 1, 2019 #93 of 109
    inaka

    inaka Well-Known Member

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    I occasionally watch/watched movies on Cinemax and Starz.
    Taking premium channels away from packages I signed up for and am still under contact for is totally b.s. to me.

    Yes, I'm sure they have some legalize you agree to when you sign up that says they can change lineups, but premium channels? Total scam, IMO.

    Wait until Comcast removes both HBO and Showtime from your HBO and Showtime plan. I'm sure they have the right to do that too, and it would be equally scummy.
     
  14. Nov 1, 2019 #94 of 109
    zalusky

    zalusky Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    I get it and its usually hard to beat the package pricing at Comcast but it does look like they are closer to pushing me into cutting the video cord with them.
    We watch very little broadcast. My wife usually catches the late night shows. Cable wise its news channels and cooking shows. Even when we do watch HBO/Showtime its through an ATV streamer.
    The major content players are going direct.
     
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  15. Nov 1, 2019 #95 of 109
    morac

    morac Cat God

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    Comcast is only dropping some StarzEncore channels in my area, but leaving others. They are replacing the ones they drop with ScreenPix.

    Here's the link to the announcement I got:

    I don't subscribe to Starz, which is why I guess I'm not getting Epix.
     
  16. Nov 1, 2019 #96 of 109
    inaka

    inaka Well-Known Member

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    Is EPIX going to be like FLIX where the channel does even work on TiVo?

    When Comcast removed Cinemax from my cable lineup, they replaced it with FLEX, and that channel does not even work with any TiVo. I am assuming EPIX is going to be the exact same thing.

    Such a scam.
     
  17. Nov 1, 2019 #97 of 109
    humbb

    humbb Active Member

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    When Cinemax was removed from my plan, I checked my Comcast agreement and it said something to the effect that programming changes that affect the customer negatively permit contract cancellation without penalty. Sounds pretty subjective ... I can find the exact language if anyone is interested.
     
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  18. Nov 2, 2019 #98 of 109
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    I know these things can vary from one Comcast area to another but here in Nashville, a recent rate card of Comcast services has a footnote for EPIX that states: "Requires Limited Basic, HD Technology Fee and TV Box, CableCARD or compatible customer owned device with Xfinity Internet." Since it specifically lists CableCARD there, it looks like EPIX (at least the main EPIX channel that they currently carry) is a regular QAM channel, not an IPTV channel that can't be accessed by TiVo/CableCARD. So you should be good. (Although it remains to be seen whether their other channels, like EPIX 2, EPIX Hits, EPIX Drive-in, Screen Pix, etc., will be on QAM or IPTV.)

    As for Comcast replacing Cinemax in packages like Digital Premier, my understanding is that everywhere they did that this summer, they replaced it with their own on-demand movies service called Hitz, which is apparently pretty underwhelming and not at all a decent substitute for Cinemax, despite the fact that the package price stayed the same. Sounds like Hitz is just a bunch of older movies, nothing recent, and no original content. And like all of Comcast's on-demand content, it is not accessible by TiVo. (Get ready to experience the same thing in the spring when Comcast rolls out their new Peacock on-demand streaming service. It'll be free -- with ads -- for Comcast cable TV subs but will almost certainly not be accessible via TiVo.)

    And now they're going to switch out Starz for EPIX in those same packages. That's a much fairer trade than Cinemax for Hitz, although it's still true that Starz sells for $9-12 (depending on how you get it) while EPIX always sells for just $6.

    Maybe next spring, Comcast will upgrade the HBO subscription in those packages for HBO Max while still holding the price the same. Given that HBO Max will have over twice as much content as regular HBO (and, at least according to a story from the Wall Street Journal, will also include the library of Cinemax original series), that would go a long way in making up for the shortchanges that Digital Premier subscribers are experiencing this year.
     
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  19. Nov 2, 2019 #99 of 109
    inaka

    inaka Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for this info @NashGuy. Solid info and good to know that EPIX isn't like HITZ so that it could at least be seen on TiVo.

    That said, I think this is the nail in the coffin for me, and I have started the process to dump Comcast entirely in favor of youtube.tv.
    It'll take a bit to see if the migration works for me, but the writing is on the wall that my Comcast cable lineup will slowly change for the worse, and my Tivo is going to eventually be a door stop, so I may as well get used to another system that might work better for me.
     
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  20. Nov 2, 2019 #100 of 109
    zalusky

    zalusky Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    So what do people do to skip commercials if not through Tivo? Do any of the services have an ad free version of broadcast channels? That is what drives me away from broadcast. Lately they have taken to repeating the same commercials in the same block like the lame PGE go kit commercials.
     

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