THE $100 CABLE BILL - Complications Ensue
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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Damn it, all the shows people are talking about are on specialty channels. Three Moons over Milford on ABC Family, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia on FX, Brotherhood on Showtime. Everybody's got a tentpole show that demands you sign on. Meanwhile, on broadcast, there's the Battlestar refresher / clip show.

I have to choose between a $1200/year cable habit or stick with Zip.ca -- a mere $300/year mail-in DVD habit. (UPDATE: Though I finally had to terminate my membership.)

I would, on the other hand, happily pay a buck a show to watch what I want to watch. I just don't want to have to sign up for the Family Package solely to check out what happens when the Moon splits in three.

And I don't feel right pirating shows. I had the opportunity to watch Season Six of Sopranos pirated, but in the height of irony, I could not enjoy the experience. Somehow immorally watching horribly immoral people did not work for me. Go figure. Yet I had no real qualms watching a download of the show about the minister who has chats with Jesus. (Being as it was cancelled and all.)

Phooey.

Labels:

12 Comments:

It' Always Sunny in... is on Showcase or Bravo, on thursdays I believe. I think you get one or both with a medium cable package.

By Blogger blogwriter, at 12:48 PM  

To 'pirate a show' would mean you are ripping the video from the source and reselling it on the black market for personal profit.

I wouldn't feel comfortable doing that either. But I have no qualms about downloading a show or a film that I would otherwise have no access to (I don't have a tv or a schedule that allows me to watch tv on a corporate schedule).

And the marketers are aware of the power of torrents. For example, do you think Studio 60 was really leaked accidentally? The leaked pilot will nurture a buzz that no amount of traditional advertising could do.

Otherwise - great blog - keep it up!

By Blogger Matthew Forsythe, at 2:13 PM  

Most of those shows are on the iTunes store in the US. Dunno if they're on the iTunes Canada store, or if you have access to the US store (you need to charge it to a US bank account), but at least they're out there. For double that buck you said you'd gladly pay, which, while not bank breaking, might be a bit much for one episode.

http://thirdreel.livejournal.com/

By Blogger Andrew, at 3:35 PM  

Yah, two bucks is a buck too much.

And I'd want to be able to watch it at least computer-screen-sized. The Itunes are iPod sized, aren't they? Bit small if you ask me.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 4:26 PM  

If you took the time to add up all the shows you do watch, I bet it wouldn't be a whole hell of a lot cheaper.

Battlestar Galactica, Stargate Atlantis & SG-1, 24, Prison Break, Deadliest Catch, (this year Surface, Invasion, and Threshold).

That's 173+ episodes give or take for first-run shows, what about things you watch in syndication but think about?

Firefly on Sci Fi which I never got to see on Fox (including a couple of produced but never aired episodes) for another 10-12 say. Then there's the 8 parts of the Nightmares and Dreamscapes mini-series sitting on my DVR which I can make DVD's out of any time I please.

That's not counting the odd shows I'll watch on Discovery, History Channel, local news, national news, and roughly half the episodes of South Park, The Daily Show, and Colbert.

Already at $2 a pop that's $450 just for the first-run series. You're still gonna pay $40-60 a month for the broadband connection to download these things which piles another $480 on top of that $450, and what do you get?

I have the MLB baseball package so I can add another $140 for the year on top of that, and I'd be looking at about a grand per year..for substandard low resolution video...that is wrapped in DRM.

This is better how?

On prices: $2 per ep is what you're currently paying for the DVD box set on average, for big shows this is actually cheaper.

Matthew: You are breaking the law, regardless of how you describe it. It doesn't matter that you have no other way to get it (you do, it's called DVD), and it doesn't matter that you aren't redistributing it. You're copying something you have no legal right to do so.

By Blogger Paul William Tenny, at 9:48 PM  

Actually, I'm renting the DVD's from Zip. So that winds up being about 50-70 cents per episode.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 10:00 PM  

Paul, sometimes there is no other way to get it - the pilot for "Global Frequency", for example. In that case (and I'm stretching both the law and my feeble understanding of it here) some sort of compulsory license should kick in. In Canada (nice folks, crappy weather,) orphaned works are covered under their compulsory license scheme.

Of course, it's questionable whether a pilot commissioned by Warner Bros. would be considered orphaned.

Beyond that, I totally agree with you. People pour out their hearts and souls to create; others pay a great deal of money to make those visions manifest. These people need to be compensated. Some of us just want to be able to do it even when they refuse our money.

By Blogger R.A. Porter, at 10:57 PM  

Actually, the video files you buy on the iTunes store can be viewed on your computer, and the picture can be expanded to full-screen with okay quality. I can't imagine watching a whole TV show or movie on my iPod, which is why it struck me as an odd marketing move at first.

Of course, watching a show on my computer screen is also less than optimal, and not what I would choose for shows I'm really into. I can handle using YouTube to catch Canada's Next Top Model, but Battlestar Galactica has to be on the TV.

By Blogger Andrew, at 11:40 PM  

--- begin rant ---
when I go to the store, I don't have to buy three brands of toilet paper just to get a roll of charmin.

when I go to a bar, i don't have to order a martini, a shot of tequila, and a screwdriver just to get a pint of lager.

why do i have to pay for pat robertson's on-air prayers, foreign language news broadcasts, and facts of life marathons in order to watch an episode of Mythbusters?

--- end rant---

By Blogger albert braun, at 2:11 PM  

The pilot for "Three Moons over Milford" is available for free on iTunes, so you can try out the format *and* the show.

By Blogger Emily B. Langton, at 3:51 AM  

I haven't watched "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," but it's on FX, not Showtime or Bravo. Also haven't seen "Three Moons" but that's on ABC Family.
Scribe
I would pay for what you want and then get Tivo. It's all about writer expenses anyway.

By Blogger Scribe LA, at 11:42 AM  

Pirate it and then buy the DVD when that finally arrives? That's how I get around my conscience. It is not stealing because I am totally planning to pay for it later, yes.

By Blogger nadia*, at 12:29 AM  

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