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Monthly Archives: February 2013

A La Carte Cable TV Pricing Could Result from Lawsuit Win

Cablevision, a cable television provider, is tired of having to carry a bunch of channels that its subscribers don’t watch and don’t want to pay for. As a result, the company has filed a lawsuit against Viacom for “illegally forcing Cablevision to carry and pay for 14 lesser-watched ancillary networks.”

More from VentureBeat:

Right now, if cable TV providers want to offer subscribers MTV, Comedy Central, and Spike, it must bill their customers for MTV 2, VH1 Classic, Nick Jr., and a slew of other, less appealing channels. This practice — called bundling — enables Viacom to demand more money from companies like Cablevision. This isn’t the first time TV providers have pushed back at Viacom, either, as it participated in a very public pissing match with satellite service DirecTV last year.

Should Cablevision win, it could drastically change the pricing model to an “à la carte” system and abolish the current practice of bundled packages of channels (from multiple cable networks) that many of us have no choice but subscribe to each month. For instance, if you only watch HBO, Comedy Central, Science Channel, Discovery, and the History channel, you’d pay a monthly fee for each of them.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that bundled channel pricing will go away entirely, but we’d certainly get smaller bundles. Customers may find that Viacom will charge more for each channel, which could make a Viacom-specific bundled channel package more attractive. But at least that would be more of a choice than what consumers are currently getting.

Bundling generally works in the favor of content providers and not in favor of the cable companies and their subscribers. For example, to get ESPN on Charter Communications, you are also paying for ESPN2, ESPNews, and on occasion more networks than that, depending upon the package.

Putting an end to bundling could help save pay TV in the long run.

Glenn Beck Fighting to Get the Blaze on Satellite and Cable TV Systems

Former Fox News pundit and conservative media star Glenn Beck has begun his effort to get his new “libertarian” news channel, the Blaze, on satellite TV and cable TV systems such as DIRECTV, AT&T U-Verse, and Charter Communications. The channel is already carried by DISH Network. Beck is urging his millions of fans on the radio and on the internet to bombard their service providers in order to get the station included with their service.

More from Newsmax:

Beck is attempting to get TheBlaze’s fans to put pressure on their local carriers.

Meanwhile, Beck wrote a letter on the subject that appears on TheBlaze.com. “You probably pay good money every month to your TV provider for access to channels like MSNBC and Al Jazeera America — channels that you might not watch, or even agree with,” Beck says.

“Adding TheBlaze will ensure that you and your family have a source of news and analysis that you can trust and that doesn’t betray your values.”

He has a leg up over other TV channels looking to be carried by cable and satellite networks in that he has a dedicated audience of millions on the radio and Internet, The New York Times reports. He also has the assistance of Dish.

That Beck calls his station “libertarian” is misleading, as it will likely be an even more conservative version of Fox News catering to that sort of audience. But it has the chance to be quite popular, and it seems likely that providers will pick it up sooner rather than later in order to avoid a large number of his supporters defecting to DISH.

His attack on Al-Jazeera America is also misleading, as Al-Jazeera is a respected news source around the world. But since it comes from a Muslim part of the world, people will always have their prejudices. Those people are perfect for a new channel from Glenn Beck.

Sundance Channel to Carry Cable TV Rights for ‘Breaking Bad’ Off-Network

AMC’s Breaking Bad has a very loyal cult audience, and that audience has grown each season it has aired due to popularity on DVD and on streaming sites like Netflix. They are hoping to grow that audience even more with its final season by giving off-network rights to sister network the Sundance Channel, which will air back-to-back episodes from the first four seasons of the show on Monday nights beginning March 4.

More from Multichannel News:

The series will follow premiere episodes of Sundance Channel original series The Staircase: Last Chance which airs on March 4th and 11th; Top of the Lake which runs from March 18th to April 15th and Rectify which airs April 22nd through May 27th.

“Breaking Bad has become a benchmark for storytelling at its finest and we are proud to air this series as we embark on our own scripted programming with the upcoming debut of Rectify, which is produced by the same incredible team behind Breaking Bad,” said Sarah Barnett, Sundance Channel’s General Manager and Executive Vice President in a statement.  “We are looking forward to giving viewers another opportunity to catch up with what has been called TV’s best drama.”

The final eight episodes of Breaking Bad will air beginning sometime this summer, with longtime fans clamoring for new episodes after a cliffhanger ending that has kept them waiting for nearly a year by the time the next episodes air. Those who have not seen the show up to this point will be able to get caught up on Sundance Channel, which is good news, and with the DVDs for Season Five, which will be released shortly before the new season airs.

So get started this Monday. The Sundance Channel airs on 558 on DIRECTV.

Montana’s Congressional Delegation Fights to Expand Access to High Speed Internet

Montana’s two senators and one representative in the House of Representatives have teamed up to fight to increase access to high speed internet in the state, where many rural areas are still underserved and must depend on satellite internet to get anything resembling high speed access.

More from the press release announcing the fight:

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is helping to spread broadband internet access nationwide through its Connect America Fund. Broadband internet can transmit more information at faster speeds than traditional internet connections.

Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus, along with Representative Steve Daines, want the FCC to maximize broadband’s effectiveness in Montana by expanding it more quickly across the Big Sky State. They say the technology will strengthen the state’s economy.

“Continued investments in broadband infrastructure will boost economic development and promote innovation across rural parts of the country,” Tester, Baucus and Daines wrote. “Montana is one of the largest states in the country and this technology connects farmers and ranchers with markets all over the world and allows startups to become integral national companies.”

Tester, Baucus and Daines also say that broadband improves the ability of people living in rural areas to access telemedicine services and online education classes, increasing their access to health care and furthering their educations.

The FCC’s Connect America Fund, which was unveiled in 2011, aims to provide nearly 20 million rural American households with access to broadband connections by 2020.

Montana’s delegation does not often agree, as there are differences across party lines, but on this measure they are in full agreement that the state needs more access, as each day more and more business is done on the World Wide Web.

More on this as it develops at the TV, Internet and Phone Blog.

CenturyLink Moves into the Cable TV Business

According to AZCentral.com, a website bringing news to the state of Arizona, local phone provider CenturyLink is getting into the cable TV business in order to combat business lost as people move away from local, wired telephone service to cell phones.

More from AZCentral.com:

Officials at the company formerly known as Qwest Communications have realized that offerings other than traditional phone service represent their best hope for long-term success, said Ken McMahon, CenturyLink’s vice president and general manager for the Phoenix market.

“Owning the broadband connection to the home or the business is the future of our company,” McMahon said. “That’s where we’re developing all of our products and services.”

The new high-definition TV service, called Prism, will put CenturyLink in direct competition with cable-TV giant Cox Communications and satellite providers such as Dish Network and DirecTV.

The company already has been competing with Cox for several years as a provider of both telephone and broadband Internet service.

Prism is available to most residents of Chandler and Gilbert, McMahon said, and the service will continue to expand into other parts of the Phoenix area throughout this year and the next.

Introducing the TV service requires significant network upgrades, as well as opening retail centers, he said. The company opened its first storefront on Feb. 5 in Chandler, at 2780 W. Chandler Boulevard, Suite 5.

The Phoenix area is the ninth CenturyLink market to receive Prism service, McMahon said. Other markets in which the service is available include Las Vegas, Tallahassee, Fla., and Madison, Wis.

CenturyLink is offering six-month introductory prices of $40 a month for basic Prism service, $56 a month for expanded service and $99 a month for premium service that includes pay channels such as HBO.

McMahon said long-term pricing varies because of service-bundling discounts.

The Phoenix-area lineup is similar to that of Cox, he said, with about 280 available channels.

The service requires new technology provided by CenturyLink that includes a wireless router known as a residential gateway and a set-top box for each household TV. Both wired and wireless boxes are available, McMahon said.

McMahon said customers can learn more about the service by visiting seeprismtv.com or calling 480-722-0317.

More on this story as it develops at the TV, Internet and Phone Blog.

West Virginia Businesses and Residents See Improvement with High Speed Internet Access

Much of the state of West Virginia lags behind less rural portions of the nation when it comes to high speed internet access. But, according to the Exponent Telegram, some local areas are seeing improvements with the availability of faster mobile internet access expanding.

More from the Exponent Telegram:

Business consumers are seeing the greatest strides.

Frontier Communications recently announced enhanced speeds in several communities, including Clarksburg, Bridgeport, Salem, Bristol, West Milford, West Union, Grafton, Fairmont, Mannington, Philippi, Moatsville, Volga and Century.

Business users may have access to service of up to 40 Mbps, according to general manager Chip VanAlsburg.

The West Virginian Economic Development Authority also recently approved a $7 million loan to help Citynet LLC construct a 130-mile fiber-optic network that will interconnect Bridgeport, Clarksburg, Morgantown, Fairmont and Wheeling with high speed Internet service.

It is important for rural and outlying areas to gain the same access to high speed internet experienced in urban areas, as modern commerce and education both depend upon high speed internet to function. Something as simple as applying to a job online without high speed internet can take much longer, or become almost impossible, with the speeds required to send large amounts of information. Not to mention attempting to sell products online using dial-up; that is virtually impossible in this day and age. With dial-up even checking email can take much longer than it needs to, which slows down commerce in these fast-moving online times.

Many educational outlets too are unavailable to those without high speed internet. Many college courses require online coursework, which cannot be completed without a high speed internet connection.

It’s good to see that many West Virginia communities are becoming more connected. It’s only a matter of time before the whole state is up to speed.

DIRECTV Satellite TV Now Available from iElectronics.com

DIRECTV is the number one satellite television provider in the United States, serving many more customers than DISH Network and bringing more channels and more sports as the exclusive provider of the most popular sports package in the country, NFL SUNDAY TICKET.

St. Louis-based iElectronics.com is a consumer electronics retailer specializing in home entertainment. Now these two forces are combined, with iElectronics.com bringing people in the St. Louis Metro Area and beyond DIRECTV satellite TV.

Here are the main packages available from DIRECTV and iElectronics.com:

  • Entertainment: The DIRECTV Entertainment package features more than 140 channels, including all of your local channels, with many in high-definition. When you sign up you also get three free months of premium channels including HBO, Starz, Showtime and Cinemax.
  • Choice: Get everything you get with the Entertainment package and more, with more than 150 channels, even more in HD.
  • Choice XTRA: Choice XTRA is one of the most popular packages, with more than 210 channels, and all the premium channels for free for three months.
  • Choice Ultimate: Choice Ultimate brings you more than 225 channels.
  • Premier: Premier brings you nearly 300 channels, with even more in HD.

With DIRECTV you’ll also get access to DIRECTV Cinema, with Pay-Per-View movies before they’re out on DVD and with even better picture and sound than Blu-ray.

As mentioned before, DIRECTV is the only way to get access to every NFL game, every Sunday, with NFL SUNDAY TICKET. NFL SUNDAY TICKET is the most popular sports package in the country, giving you every out-of-market game, as well as, with NFL SUNDAY TICKET MAX, the RED ZONE CHANNEL, which gives you every scoring play from every game as they happen, a fast-paced way to watch all the games as they go on.

To get started with DIRECTV, contact iElectronics.com today.

Wildwood, MO Votes Unanimously to Extend High Speed Service to Rural Residents

Wildwood, MO is an outer lying suburb of St. Louis, MO. While much of the town is served by internet service providers like Charter Communications and AT&T U-Verse, some of the more rural parts of Wildwood are, as of yet, not served by any high speed internet provider beyond the rural satellite internet provider HughesNet.

That is about to change, as the Wildwood City Council voted unanimously on February 11 to purchase up to 16 utility poles to extend high speed internet service to its residents.

More from the Newsmagazine Network:

The installation of the poles is essential to receiving the signals from the two wireless Internet service providers, Bays-ET and Wisper ISP, from their backhaul locations, so as to distribute it to the participating households in the unserved areas of Wildwood.

Sixteen potential locations have been determined to be sufficient to meet the area’s needs.

Some councilmembers were concerned about making a decision about the purchase of the poles without knowing all of the details ahead of time.

“I get it. You want Internet. We want to give it to you,” Councilmember Tammy Shea (Ward 3) said. “But I think it’s reckless to go forward without a certain amount of detail.

She cited a specific example that could cause a conflict.

“You don’t want a pole because it’s going to block your aesthetic view while your neighbor wants Internet and is prevented from selling his home,” Shea said. “So we have to reconcile that.”

However, some residents said they just want the city to move forward and have the city work out the details later.

“The issue of who pays for the poles in the long term and other things like that are not necessary to be decided today to get us under way,” resident David Barry said. “What is needed is to get started toward what we desperately need, which is high-speed Internet access.”

Resident Jay Kappmeier said “there will always be another ‘I’ to dot and another ‘T’ to cross.”

“Meanwhile, you’ve got citizens out there doing without Internet,” Kappmeier said.

Sam Mulcahy, a student, said his entire physics textbook is online and he cannot access it without Internet.

“There are so many things that I can’t participate in because of this lack of Internet access,” Mulcahy said.

Other residents were uneasy about poles being installed on their property without their say in the matter. Josh Wagner said his parents bought their property more than 25 years ago and does not want their aesthetic view to be taken away from them.

“Everybody here lives in the woods, and we want to get away from the sight of telephone poles and street lights and such,” Wagner said. “We like to be tucked away.”

But Joe Vujnich, director of planning and parks, said the city is “not going to put a pole on your property if you don’t want it.”

An additional question debated among the Council consisted of the city’s recoupment, but Councilmember Colleen Rull (Ward 6) said the Rural Internet Access Committee “does not want anyone to be hung up on recoupment.”

“If moving this forward means that we need to put a recoupment model in place, I know the committee is on board to do that,” Rull said.

She made a motion to approve the purchase of the utility poles with an agreement that the Rural Internet Access Committee would come forward with a recoupment model or models to present to the city, and the Council approved.

Connection to high speed internet is important, and hopefully this measure moves quickly for the residents of Wildwood.

Charter Communications Available from iElectronics.com

Based in St. Louis, iElectronics.com is an online consumer electronics retailer with a local focus. At iElectronics.com, you can get everything from tablets and PCs to flat screen TVs with expert installation, as iElectronics.com employs a number of expert installers who can mount TVs on walls or above fireplaces.

Customers in Charter Communications service areas can also get the Charter Communications service from iElectronics.com. Charter Communications is a reliable cable television provider serving the St. Louis area and beyond, with service areas across the United States. All of Charter’s services are among the most affordable in the business, but the best deal available from Charter Communications is the Charter Triple Play, which features three services for just $89.97 per month, with each service at $29.99:

  • Charter Digital TV: Charter Digital TV is available in hi-definition or standard definition for the same monthly price, bringing you crystal clear picture and sound with all of your local channels, as well as more than 100 cable favorites. Premium channels can be added affordably, giving you all the programming you’re looking for at one low price.
  • Charter High Speed Internet: Charter High Speed Internet is now the flagship service for Charter Communications, bringing you speeds of up to 30 Mbps for downloads, which is ten times faster than standard DSL and five times faster than the closest competitor, AT&T U-Verse.
  • Charter Phone: Charter Phone is a digital phone service bringing you unlimited local and long distance calling for one monthly rate, allowing you to call anywhere locally, statewide, and across the United States without any alterations to your monthly bill, saving you up to 35% off of your phone bill from a standard phone provider.

Contact iElectronics.com today to get started with Charter Communications, or, if you’re outside of the Charter service area, consider DIRECTV satellite TV.

NBA All-Star Weekend to Air on Cable TV

The NBA’s All-Star Weekend celebration will be airing all over cable TV this weekend, with events on NBATV and TNT tonight, Saturday and Sunday. The action begins on Friday with the All-Star Celebrity game and the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, featuring the game’s hottest rookies and sophomores. Saturday holds the Slam Dunk Contest and the Skills Challenge, and Sunday brings the main event, the All-Star Game itself.

Here is the full schedule via SBNation:

FRIDAY, FEB. 15

All Times Eastern (ET)

10:30 a.m. | BBVA Rising Stars Challenge Practice | NBA TV
Noon | Basketball Hall of Fame announcement | NBA TV
12:30 p.m. | NBA GameTime: All-Star interviews | NBA TV
5 p.m. | The Beat | NBA TV
6 p.m. | The Jump | NBA TV
7 p.m. | Sprint NBA All-Star Celebrity Game | ESPN
9 p.m. | BBVA Rising Stars Challenge | TNT
11 p.m. | Inside The NBA | TNT
11:30 p.m. | NBA GameTime | NBA TV

SATURDAY, FEB. 16

All Times Eastern (ET)

Noon | East/West Practice & Player Interviews | NBA TV
3 p.m. | 2013 D-League All Star Game | NBA TV
D-League Dunk Contest at halftime
7 p.m. | Comissioner Stern news conference | NBA TV
7 p.m. | Open Court, All-Star | TNT
8 p.m. | TNT NBA Tip-Off | TNT
8:30 p.m. | NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by State Farm | TNT
2013 Sears Shooting Stars (1st Event)
2013 Taco Bell Skills Challenge (2nd Event)
2013 Foot Locker Three-Point Contest (3rd Event)
2013 Sprite Slam Dunk (4th Event)
11 p.m. | TNT NBA Special | TNT
12 a.m. | NBA TV All-Star Weekend presented by Kia | NBA TV

SUNDAY, FEB. 17

All times Eastern (ET)

1 p.m. | Legends Brunch | NBA TV
5 p.m. | NBA GameTime All-Star | NBA TV
6 p.m. | Sprint Pregame Concert | NBA TV
7 p.m. | TNT NBA Tip-Off | TNT
8 p.m. | NBA All-Star Game presented by Kia | TNT
11 p.m. | Inside the NBA | NBA TV

On DIRECTV, NBATV airs on channel 216, TNT on channel 245 and ESPN on channel 206.