Print 35 comment(s) - last by The Raven.. on Nov 8 at 11:25 AM

We don't need no stinkin' cable  (Source: Hulu)
Thousands of the lost customers did not move to alternate pay services like satellite

When the economy started go sour, millions of Americans and other people around the world started to look for ways to save money. Many companies providing home phone services noted that customers were leaving in favor of mobile phones only. The same thing has been happening with cable providers as well.

Cable companies have traditionally increased the cost of their TV services each year, often with no improvement in the offerings. As people start looking to save money, many are leaving cable providers. 
Gigaom reports that it has cobbled together the number of cable subscribers lost for four of the top five cable companies around the country for Q3 2010 and the number of folks leaving cable is growing.

According to the calculations 
Gigaom put together, about 500,000 cable subscribers walked away from cable firms in Q3. That number counts what major companies reported in their earnings reports. Comcast lost 275,000 basic cable subscribers alone. Time Warner lost 155,000, Charter Communications lost 63,800 subscribers, and Cablevision lost 24,500 subscribers.

The 500,000 number is in reality much less than the actual losses by cable companies overall when small regional carrier losses are figured in along with Cox Communications' losses. Cox is a private company and doesn’t report its subscriber losses, yet is the third largest provider in the country. Over the long haul, most customers that leave traditional cable TV providers have ended up as customers with satellite or IPTV firms with these firms reporting subscriber gains that offset the majority of losses in the cable industry.

Gigaom reports that over the last few quarters the number of subscribers lost from cable and gained at satellite and IPTV firms is not matching up. Many people are just walking away from paying for TV. This is getting easier to do with most major networks offering their programs online free and services like Hulu offering old shows for fans to watch.

Once Hulu Plus hits with more content and movies, many will opt to pay the expected $5 monthly for that rather than a cable bill averaging over $100 monthly.

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Cable still wins anyways
By Shig on 11/5/2010 10:13:13 AM , Rating: 4
They obviously know any smart person only wants internet. Through the internet you get relatively free phone and video services (Skype, Oomba, hulu, netflix, smartphone style apps, list goes on). If I want internet only it will cost as much as an entire 3 way package of voice, internet, and TV.

RE: Cable still wins anyways
By Shig on 11/5/2010 10:15:28 AM , Rating: 2
Ultimately as people realize they only need a smart phone with a data package, the cable companies will start doing massive mergers with the major telecoms.

Yeah, I'm pretty frightened of that.

RE: Cable still wins anyways
By Jedi2155 on 11/5/2010 6:37:34 PM , Rating: 5
Smart phones still cannot come close to matching the capabilities of a hard wired internet service...only really useful for web browsing.

RE: Cable still wins anyways
By sleepeeg3 on 11/5/2010 11:20:09 PM , Rating: 4
...or making phone calls...

RE: Cable still wins anyways
By Lazarus Dark on 11/6/2010 9:17:48 PM , Rating: 1
Actually... I find my android on verizon is the worst phone quality I've ever had.

but I only use 20 minutes of talk a month anyway (with no landline either), I mostly only use it for data/text/mms.

RE: Cable still wins anyways
By PAPutzback on 11/5/2010 10:24:27 AM , Rating: 2
The minimum 3 way package for me via Comcast is 99 a month. I have dropped to 10Mbit service and the most basic calbe package and now pay 65.

OR is your list of services included with your basic internet cost for the comparison to the 3 way.

RE: Cable still wins anyways
By vapore0n on 11/5/2010 1:39:04 PM , Rating: 2
You should have a talk with Comcast then.

My Comcast bill is $57 (with taxes) and this includes 20/4Mbps line and basic cable.

RE: Cable still wins anyways
By SSDMaster on 11/8/2010 8:01:42 AM , Rating: 2
I signed up for cable last week. $20/month for 6 months. Then $44 a month afterward.

It's the 12mb connection but I get 24.16 down and 4mb/s up. The reason I added the decimals is because its always the exact same download speed with my Motorola 6120 modem :)

And of course its Comcast.

RE: Cable still wins anyways
By Flunk on 11/5/2010 10:31:43 AM , Rating: 2
I just did that exact same thing. I was paying 59.99 for 12mb down/1mb up with 95GB a month. Now I'm paying 54.95 for service with the exact same speed and unlimited bandwidth. Guess who my old ISP was... the cable company of course.

RE: Cable still wins anyways
By marvdmartian on 11/5/2010 11:01:06 AM , Rating: 1
When I bought my house, back at the end of March, I called the cable company to have my cable internet switched over to the new address. Imagine my surprise when I found out that (due to all services coming in underground on my street) they don't offer service there!

So THAT'S why everyone on the street has dish antennas on their roof! ;)

I opted to go without any tv service whatsoever, for now, until I get all the remodeling I want to do out of the way. I'm happily hooked up with AT&T elite level DSL, which gives me about the same speed as my old TWC cable modem service gave me. Maybe some day I'll hook up with dish network, but it's going to be a ways down the road.

RE: Cable still wins anyways
By PAPutzback on 11/5/2010 11:06:14 AM , Rating: 2
I might take a look at AT&T uverse in the future if they open up the XBOX 360s to be extenders for their service. Otherwise when I priced it out it got crazy expensive once you started adding addition set top boxes.

I run 6 ATSC tuners now in my media center and 3 360s and I have too much to watch as it is. The only pay service I have is the lowest tier at Netflix. 11 bucks I think.

RE: Cable still wins anyways
By Shig on 11/5/2010 11:26:24 AM , Rating: 2
I have a bad habit of exagerating =D, right now I live with roommates and we all split the bill. I keep trying to convince them that we can take the package down without losing much, but they like the most expensive one. (220$ a month) I guess I'd pay as much if I was living on my own, no way I'm affording that in Chicago though :( But we do have a 50mbit connection :)

Hard headed people amirite.

RE: Cable still wins anyways
By Reclaimer77 on 11/5/2010 1:09:40 PM , Rating: 1
What cable company do you have? I have a shitty basic cable service, analog not even digital, and it's 60 bucks a month! Turning that off would NOT increase my other services that much.

The only reason I haven't fired their ass yet is because I love the NFL and there is no, legal, way to stream the games over my internet connection.

Living the Stream
By Mitch101 on 11/5/2010 10:01:24 AM , Rating: 2
I have a lot of confidence in this new tech. Streaming Netflix through the 360 is excellent I love it and having access to so many past TV series got me hooked into new ones. Now add Hulu+ early next year and I already have a dual HD tuner (HD Homerun for locals FREE) that I can stream from my PC to my HDTV. Since Hulu+ dropped the price to $5.00 a month this is a pretty killer combo of $15.00 for tons of movies and TV series on the cheap. Streaming appears to be a killer for the DVR so no more DVR fees either offsetting the cost of Streaming.

If stream services can get about a half dozen more of the popular channels like Nickelodeon, Discovery, Cartoon Network its lights our for my Satellite and $15.00 a month.

Now to find an internet connection that doesn't overcharge and limit bandwidth.

RE: Living the Stream
By Alphafox78 on 11/5/2010 10:18:55 AM , Rating: 2
Switched from Chater basic cable and internet to DSL and Dish network. Granted, I could have gone with just DSL and hulu but the wife overruled me! must have grays anatomy the second it is on!!! ...
OTA HD is a joke as like 2 stations tune in.

RE: Living the Stream
By The Raven on 11/5/2010 12:12:22 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm... we watch OTA HD and get plenty of stations. Certainly you get FOX CBS ABC NBC WB. We also get 2 weather channels (one is just a picture of the doppler in the area spinning around and the other has an actual weather person on it) 4 PBS channels (Regular, Kids, World and DIY or something like that) and now a movie channel (obscure stuff usually it seems, but I could see it being watchable when I am done with my neverending Netflix queue ;-) ) and 2 music video channels (rock and country). And that is not even counting the televangelist and spanish channels that I have blocked out (so if you are a bi-lingual bornagain then you get even more channels!!!).

If you haven't done a scan for new stuff in a while, I would recommend it, as they have been putting new stuff up incrementally.

So I don't see how you only get 2 channels. Maybe your antenna needs to be moved to a different part of the house or outside. Or maybe you need a powered antenna, like us. We are in an apartment and get great reception with the thing just above the door (inside) leading out to the veranda.

RE: Living the Stream
By tmouse on 11/5/2010 12:39:47 PM , Rating: 2
Depends where he lives. If you’re in or near a metropolitan center your golden. There are a lot of areas where there is virtually no OTA. Where I live there has never been any good OTA signal ever and I’m 60 miles north of NYC.

RE: Living the Stream
By diskoman69 on 11/5/2010 12:52:33 PM , Rating: 2
True, but for many in those areas you speak of cable isn't an option for them either; just satellite or OTA.

I know that OTA I am able to get 20 channels (counting subchannels with different programming). My wife & I actually lived this article for about 5 years, only recently going back to cable due to a business need for the internet speed they offered. It was cheaper to just get their bundle. Otherwise, we were just fine with OTA and Netflix. Youtube and Hulu just made it even easier as they matured.

RE: Living the Stream
By Mitch101 on 11/5/2010 1:51:05 PM , Rating: 2
Yea someone needs to go after cable companies charging a fee if your not a cable subscriber. It was $2.00 more for me to add lifeline cable service and get 26 channels of TV than to just order Internet. Im hoping the phone company can roll in something better than 3mb to compete some day.

I get about 8-12 primary channels with a cheap antenna 23 miles from the towers in the attic. Its not like the old days of static either you get a digital feed or not. Only if your signal is week does it get blocky but overall the picture is as good as DirectTv or Cable provides and Free once you have the equipment. Some are dupes like 2 NBC's between two city areas which only matters when talking about the news. I did it as a test and will probably invest in something better ensure a solid signal in bad weather.

RE: Living the Stream
By spamreader1 on 11/5/2010 5:27:13 PM , Rating: 2
I get 6 stations ota, (i guess that's really 2 channels, or 2 stations, and 6 channels? I'm still confused) with rabit ear antennae now after ditching cable. I just need a 75" tower + high gain antenna to pick up some 15 possibly 18 more stations in north Texas. and our cable service in this area is horibble, they make the comcasts of the world look like god send companies. (cableone...ever been cussed out by reporting a problem with reception or to fix an incorrect billing issue before?)

RE: Living the Stream
By The Raven on 11/8/2010 11:25:42 AM , Rating: 2
Well, he did say this:
OTA HD is a joke as like 2 stations tune in.

He didn't say "in my area".

Well that seems interesting considering that you have other cities around there that should get signals to you. do you have a powered tuner? Where do you have it positioned?

Check TitanTV to see what you SHOULD be picking up and then go from there. There are many ways to improve your signal if you are not aware of them. But you are definetley right that it makes a difference if you are close to a large metro area or in a valley or whatever.

Not a surprise
By Denigrate on 11/5/2010 10:02:27 AM , Rating: 2
Poor quality video combined with stupidly high prices will lead to customers looking at other options. Especially when the other options have better video quality combined with equal or better pricing.

RE: Not a surprise
By FITCamaro on 11/5/2010 12:43:58 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think Hulu or Netflix streaming matches the quality of cable or satellite TV. You're talking far more compression.

However I think the big factor is the economy. People are still losing their jobs or tightening their belts in preparation for losing them.

RE: Not a surprise
By Denigrate on 11/5/2010 2:03:38 PM , Rating: 2
The HD streaming I watch from Netflix is pretty darn close to the crap "HD" I received from the Cable company, and it costs me about 1/10th each month, plus I watch it on my schedule.

RE: Not a surprise
By kmmatney on 11/5/2010 12:50:09 PM , Rating: 2
yep. My "digital" cable was absolute crap, and was $50/mo. The picture was so garbled, it was hard to read the score sometimes in sporting events. My only option was to pay a lot more money for HD cable. So I now pay less ($35/mo) for DirectTV, and the picture is fantastic, with practically every channel we watch in High Def. So yes - better video quality at a lower cost.

I would love to ditch Comcast
By Heinrich on 11/5/2010 11:17:34 AM , Rating: 2
ESPN3 on my Xbox 360 as was released this week was one of the puzzles (Soccer in HD)

Next is Showtime (Dexter) AMC (Walking Dead) and HBO (Boardwalk Empire.)

I could buy blu-rays of Dexter and forget about Boardwalk Empire but I just loved Walking Dead.


RE: I would love to ditch Comcast
By The Raven on 11/5/2010 12:01:01 PM , Rating: 3
Netflix would take care of all of that. You just have to be patient enough to wait for them to come out on Bluray.

Full Stream Ahead
By gjk392 on 11/5/2010 11:15:54 AM , Rating: 2
I canceled my Dish service last month. My wife only misses Dr Phil in the afternoon when the kids are napping. Paying $65 a month was a waste when we only watched 7 channels anyway. I'm streaming Netflix to a soon the be hacked Apple TV.

RE: Full Stream Ahead
By kmmatney on 11/5/2010 12:44:13 PM , Rating: 2
I dropped Comcast cable, Internet, and Phone service recently and have been very happy. I now have High Def TV, an HD recorder, and am paying a lot less overall. My Qwest DSL does have a slower upload speed, but it hasn't had any noticeable effect.

Good riddance to over-priced cable. I'm saving $500 a year, and getting High-Def now.

Everyone I know with Dish network is paying a lot less than $65/mo.

People are switching to the internet only
By Reader11722 on 11/5/2010 3:39:14 PM , Rating: 2
Cable and MSM is dead because they lie and censor. This is all about limiting Free Speech. After all, censorship is everywhere. The gov’t (and their big business cronies) censor free speech, shut down dissent and ban the book “America Deceived II”. Free speech for all.
Last link (before Google Books bans it also]:

By Master Kenobi on 11/5/2010 7:25:47 PM , Rating: 2
You are aware that book is not worth the paper it is printed on and that it is not banned anywhere. Infact it can be found at the largest (and most popular) store in the world,

Cable company tricks
By Fracture on 11/5/2010 2:16:54 PM , Rating: 3
500,000 number is in reality much less than the actual losses by cable companies overall

There is another trick that the cable companies won't own up to using just so they can say their customer base isn't shrinking as fast as it is.

They will discount their internet services so long as the customer buys some cable package - ie, their $40-stand-alone-internet becomes $25 when you have the $12 basic cable. How long until we find out how many people are subscribing to the essentially worthless basic cable package just to get cheaper internet?

Netflix has an opportunity if they team with Google and provide an ISP+content service. They would CRUSH the market.

By PAPutzback on 11/5/2010 10:14:18 AM , Rating: 2
WE are already discussing this over here:

If people keep cancelling then they will have to lower prices or go the way of the Blockbuster.

But is it cheaper to lose Cable TV subscribers to their internet only services than to maintain the infrastructure for cable boxes?

By johnsonx on 11/5/2010 4:40:47 PM , Rating: 2
Now that broadcast TV is digital and mostly HD, there's less reason to pay for TV; it's easy to get a perfect picture that's FAR superior to the horribly over-compressed stream you get from the cable company. When broadcast TV was analog, it was so hard to get a good signal you pretty much had to pay for TV or have no TV at all.

I dropped DirecTV 2 years ago in favor of broadcast digital. I have an HTPC with 2 digital tuners, a simple antenna facing the broadcast towers 30 miles away, and along with Hulu Desktop and Netflix I have plenty to watch. I pay $9 a month for Netflix, and $20 per year for Schedules Direct tv guide data. That's it.

By Shadowmaster625 on 11/8/2010 8:36:42 AM , Rating: 2
They charge like $64 now for what used to be $40.

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