TV in America 8 replies

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FileTrekker Über Admin

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#1 2 years ago

I am curious as I am not really in the loop and I am wondering some things, specifically;

What are the main ways to get TV now in America? I.e. in the UK it is either

- Freeview, free, over the air digital TV with limited channels - Sky TV, a satalite digital TV service or - Virgin, a cable digital TV service

What various offerings are available in the US these days? Are there free / over the air digital services to replace analogue transmissions? Is linear TV even all that popular now?

Also do you tend to get broadband bundled in with your TV provider or is it normally separate?


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RadioactiveLobster Forum Admin

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#2 2 years ago

Pretty much most places you can get basic local channels "off air" free with an antenna but with America being so large and diverse in terrain, some places can't. For example due to mountains/hills we only get 4 channels and if the weather gets bad even they go out.

We have two major national satellite TV services, DirecTV and Dish Network. Both aren't worth the money (and I say that as a former DirecTV employee) but they are really the only options if you want TV in some areas. Some times they are literally the only options.

There are several "national" cable companies but none that are everywhere (like DirecTV and Dish) due to various reasons.

Commiecast.....erm, I mean Comcast, Time Warner Cable, AT&T (which owns DirecTV) and Verizon are the biggest and there are dozens of smaller ones dotted around the country.

As for bundling, all of them try to sell you a bundle but depending on area it's not possible in all cases.

As Internet speeds improve over here, at least in some areas more and more people are ditching traditional cable/satellite and going with stuff like NetFlix and Amazon Prime. Sadly there are still way too many places where the Internet speeds just aren't up to par.

We can only have one Netflix stream going at a time in our house, one of the main reasons I haven't gotten something like SlingTV or Playstation Vue since our Internet just isn't fast enough to have even two people trying to stream HD quality TV at once.


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#3 2 years ago

What makes the satellite options inferior to cable?

Here, Sky and Virgin are pretty competitive in terms of features.


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RadioactiveLobster Forum Admin

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#4 2 years ago

Depends on what you mean by "inferior".

I personally don't think any of the pay tv services are worth the money they ask. Not by a long shot. Most of them start at $60 a month and that's the cheapest packages.

Each type of service have their issues. Satellite goes out in bad weather, etc...

It's not that they are not competitive, it's that they are all over priced and not worth it.


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GateCrusher420 VIP Member

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#5 2 years ago

I personally hate the way TV is delivered in the US.  I wish a provider would offer a pay-per-channel system.  I watch all of maybe...three or four channels tops?  I can count on one hand the shows I watch.  I currently use my girlfriends Netflix and I have a fair sized library of downloaded or ripped movies...so that's covered.  When I do eventually get my own place, I will only carry internet  as I can find a new episode of TV fairly easy by just doing a deep google search.  Everything else...I can either download it or Netflix/Hulu search it.  I see no need for a TV subscription unless it gives me a much better deal to bundle...

Continuing with what RAL posted, most all TV providers charge out the ass for a shit package.  A lot of them don't even provide channels that are worth a damn.  60 bucks for a base package, then another 10 for HBO, 6 for Starz, 10 for encore, etc.  Want to upgrade your sports options?  That's another 10-20 PER sport (NBA, MLB, NCAA), and that's only for that sport's respective season.  It gets expensive fast.  Then add in your internet package and possible land-line plan...it gets expensive fast.  

Off an option where I can pay four to five bucks per channel and also give me a catalogue of all the other channels you offer so I can add them on the fly or drop them...I'd be sold.  Take that and combine it with internet packages that offer speeds that don't cost an arm and a leg to use, you'd have a solid business plan.




Nittany Tiger Forum Mod

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#6 2 years ago

Rarely watch TV.  Get most of my entertainment from Youtube and video games.

Given the market structure of TV providers and their unwillingness to sell per-channel, it's much cheaper to buy broadband internet and go on-demand with a streaming service.  I think this is the future and TV will start to die out as it fails to compete with streaming services.

As people have stated above, internet speeds in the US need to catch up, as some places are still lagging behind, and lack of local competition in most places doesn't help those speeds go up.

Not to mention, TV in the states is bloated with ads since they're all privately-owned.  I know foreign people complain about the excessive amounts of ads on American TV.




Lindale Forum Mod

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#7 2 years ago

I only watch the BBC, Science channel, and Weather channel. There is no point in paying some package deal for 100 channels that I will never watch.

Most of the shows that are actually worth watching are on DVD, or the internet. I have watched Hustle on the internet, I frequently watch Star Trek on the internet, and I am sure Top Gear can be found on the internet as well. Or, you could very well pay the same price as the satellite or dish package deal, and buy the complete series of Hustle on DVD.

Nowadays, the telly is used much more for my PS2 than much of anything else.


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RadioactiveLobster Forum Admin

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#8 2 years ago

"GateCrusher420"I personally hate the way TV is delivered in the US.  I wish a provider would offer a pay-per-channel system.  I watch all of maybe...three or four channels tops?  I can count on one hand the shows I watch.  I currently use my girlfriends Netflix and I have a fair sized library of downloaded or ripped movies...so that's covered.  When I do eventually get my own place, I will only carry internet  as I can find a new episode of TV fairly easy by just doing a deep google search.  Everything else...I can either download it or Netflix/Hulu search it.  I see no need for a TV subscription unless it gives me a much better deal to bundle...

Continuing with what RAL posted, most all TV providers charge out the ass for a shit package.  A lot of them don't even provide channels that are worth a damn.  60 bucks for a base package, then another 10 for HBO, 6 for Starz, 10 for encore, etc.  Want to upgrade your sports options?  That's another 10-20 PER sport (NBA, MLB, NCAA), and that's only for that sport's respective season.  It gets expensive fast.  Then add in your internet package and possible land-line plan...it gets expensive fast.  

Off an option where I can pay four to five bucks per channel and also give me a catalogue of all the other channels you offer so I can add them on the fly or drop them...I'd be sold.  Take that and combine it with internet packages that offer speeds that don't cost an arm and a leg to use, you'd have a solid business plan.[/quote]

[quote="Nittany Tiger"]Rarely watch TV.  Get most of my entertainment from Youtube and video games.

Given the market structure of TV providers and their unwillingness to sell per-channel, it's much cheaper to buy broadband internet and go on-demand with a streaming service.  I think this is the future and TV will start to die out as it fails to compete with streaming services.

As people have stated above, internet speeds in the US need to catch up, as some places are still lagging behind, and lack of local competition in most places doesn't help those speeds go up.

Not to mention, TV in the states is bloated with ads since they're all privately-owned.  I know foreign people complain about the excessive amounts of ads on American TV.

Since I worked for a major TV provider I do know some info about this, though I can't go into too much detail as I did sign NDAs and what not.

It's not the decision of the tv provider to do that. If they could provide you just the channels you want they probably would. The problem is the channel owners.

For example, Discovery Communications, which owns Discovery Channel, TLC, OWN, Science Channel, ID, Animal Planet, etc... can specify in their agreement that if a customer gets channel X they must also get channels Y and Z with it. They can also specify that their channels must be in package level X and nothing lower.

That alone is the number 1 reason you do not see "Buy just the channels you want" TV services anywhere. The channel owners sell them in packages with restrictions.

Discovery Communications isn't going to allow you to buy just The Science Channel and Animal Planet without taking their other channels with it.

If they ever do, expect the per channel pricing to be a lot higher than it is now.


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Andron Taps Forum Mod

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#9 2 years ago

I just use Netflix and sometimes Hulu.  The price of both combined is around $15 a month and you get everything you would normally get, just short while after it was broadcast.  

Online streaming really seems to be doing away with the traditional model of home media by and large, but I guess we'll see how long Comcast and AT&T can milk the market.


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