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Print 49 comment(s) - last by Oregonian2.. on May 29 at 8:07 PM

Last year Time Warner Sued DirecTV for false advertising; now it's time for Comcast to join the party

Competition in the cable and television industry is as fierce as it is in the IT industry. This week, two major television giants DirecTV and Comcast go up against each other in a case over false advertising. DirecTV filed a lawsuit against Comcast this week over an ad campaign that DirecTV claims is untrue.

According to the suit, DirecTV charges Comcast with not only false advertising but also deceptive business practices in print, radio and Internet ad campaigns. Comcast's advertisements make claim that satellite subscribers feel that Comcast's cable HDTV service provides higher quality images.

In a bold statement, one of Comcast's ads claim, "Comcast wins the HD Picture Challenge, Satellite customers agree: HD looks better with Comcast."

DirecTV representatives indicated that there's no substantial evidence for Comcast's claim that its service is better. "The magid survey upon which Comcast relies does not provide or sufficiently substantiate the propositions for which Comcast cites the survey," the suit said. "Comcast's advertising and promotional claims, including the aforementioned, are literally false."

Comcast representatives indicated that the company stands behind the results of its survey.

Late last year, Time Warner sued DirecTV for the same, claiming that DirecTV produced false ads. DirecTV produced ads claiming that people would not be able to watch certain NFL football games without subscribing to its services. The ads appeared in newspapers nationwide.



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Regulation
By drebo on 5/25/2007 4:53:05 PM , Rating: 4
Neither company provides all the bandwidth it can to its customers. They should both be fined and thrown in prison. Of course, in the US, cable and broadband companies are a legal monopoly. Perhaps some government regulation is in order. It might actually force the companies to actually provide a decent service. I pay $50/mo for a 5mbit cable connection. I can guarantee that Europe and South East Asia don't pay half that for twice the connection. Broadband companies fuck consumers over almost as much as the RIAA and MPAA.

I'd like to see the network all owned and operated by a single entity with government pressure to provide the absolute best service possible. Never going to happen, I know...but I can dream, right?




RE: Regulation
By mxzrider2 on 5/25/2007 5:13:34 PM , Rating: 3
i don't want government involvement in cable or broadband service. what i want is more companies striving for the effort. too bad where im at the little guy ( us cable.) sucks worse than comcast or direct tv. both of which are good to me at my two houses. ( i have both dtv and comcast.) i have direct tv where i cant get comcast. and one of the real reasons i have comcast in my house in town is because broadband was faster than dsl at the time i got got . just recently dsl cought up in my area.


RE: Regulation
By Newspapercrane on 5/25/2007 7:22:58 PM , Rating: 2
Where I'm at, we don't even have a little guy.

We can't get DSL in most parts (I live in one of the few parts of town where you can.) It's comcast, and direct TV, but due to buildings most of the southern sky is blocked. For our television service and broadband service, it's comcast, or nothing.


RE: Regulation
By jadedeath on 5/26/07, Rating: -1
RE: Regulation
By Oregonian2 on 5/25/2007 5:17:10 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Neither company provides all the bandwidth it can to its customers. They should both be fined and thrown in prison. Of course, in the US, cable and broadband companies are a legal monopoly.


Not entirely true. In some areas around here (and soon at my house) there will be three choices for TV service: Comcast cable, DirecTV (what we have) and Verizon FIOS TV services. The first two compete directly with one another now for TV service, and there will be FIOS later this year (I hope) at our house -- but FIOS already exists for large areas in my metro area (West suburbs of Portland). Not exactly a monopoly when one has three choices (in addition to broadcast-only). But in some areas there may be only DirecTV in which case they've a monopoly, and cable areas w/o south facing sky won't have the DirecTV option. Verizon's FIOS has a long way to go to cover the country, but they're spending astronomical amounts to install the fiber to expand.


RE: Regulation
By gradoman on 5/25/2007 5:24:33 PM , Rating: 2
We are getting something that we should have had in the 90s. Don't let them fool you, they received a lot of money, promised a better network and didn't deliver -- til 2006-2006, ooh Fiber Optic network, right to your door, whooop-ti-effing-do. Quite a few OTHER modern nations have had, and have, better service than we do.

For less, mind you.


RE: Regulation
By Samus on 5/25/2007 7:25:30 PM , Rating: 3
It's just like our [USA] automotive, cell phone, utility industry, etc. We are so far behind the rest of the world, sometimes it's hard to remember why America is so great :(


RE: Regulation
By eyebeeemmpawn on 5/26/2007 11:55:09 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah for Capitalism driving inovation!!! </sarc>


RE: Regulation
By alifbaa on 5/26/2007 10:13:32 PM , Rating: 3
Capitalism does drive innovation. Capitalism is why the internet, satellite, cable, and FIOS were all invented and mastered here, not anywhere else. Capitalism is the reason why "international" business standards organizations like IEEE are largely based in the US and are always dominated by US companies and interests. Capitalism is the reason why you have enough food in your belly to sit around on your computer and write idiotic posts about how capitalism doesn't work.

What harm's innovation is government regulation. It is government regulation which allowed the cable companies to ride roughshod over consumers throughout the 80's and 90's. It's government regulation which prevented local channels from being broadcast on satellite until only 4 years ago and still prevents you from choosing out of market local stations over your in market stations. It's government regulation which placed so many restrictions in the way of FIOS that it has taken so long for it to get where it is today.



RE: Regulation
By drebo on 5/27/2007 1:34:49 AM , Rating: 2
I think you need to modify your statement a little.

There's a very important word you left out.

Poor government regulation causes problems. Government regulation is harmful when it's controlled by people who are in the pockets of those they're supposed to be regulating.

Government regulation in and of itself is not a bad thing.


RE: Regulation
By Christopher1 on 5/27/2007 7:24:55 AM , Rating: 2
That is very true. Poor government regulation is what causes problems, usually because one of the big boys buys the government in order to make a legalized monopoly or close to it.

Government regulation is not a bad thing, unless they are trying to regulate things they should not get into: sexual activities, what people put into their own bodies, etc.


RE: Regulation
By Oregonian2 on 5/29/2007 7:33:55 PM , Rating: 2
Is government regulation ever done well? Does the government hire the best and the brightest administrators to intelligently lead the regulation of whatever field the particular group is regulating?

In any case, if someone is hired who intimately knows something about the industry being regulated they'll be accused of being "in the pocket" of that industry (whether they are or not). Hire someone who isn't like that, and they're incompetent due to ignorance and will do really stupid things out of that ignorance. Plus things will be done for political pressure reasons, not because they're the right things to do anyway. Especially if the incompetent one is hired.

So yes, government regulation is often necessary, but I can't say that it's done well "as a rule".


RE: Regulation
By fxnick on 5/26/07, Rating: -1
RE: Regulation
By theapparition on 5/29/2007 9:37:15 AM , Rating: 2
Sigh,
Sometimes, when your first, you don't always get the best things. Other counties benefit from your knowledge and initial mistakes.
American consumers are also rather slow to adopt change, so when pointing fingers, be sure to include yourself.


RE: Regulation
By Oregonian2 on 5/29/2007 7:59:31 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure what you're talking about. In terms of Verizon's FIOS, they're spending an incredible amount of money to build the network, and I've a number of friends who've had the service for quite a while (at least the internet service part, the video service is new) and they love it. Unless they use debt-financing to pay for it, they're going as absolutely fast as they can (read the quarterly financial stuff they put out as to their capex spending).

Unlike a lot of other countries, we're not a zillion people per square foot. The US is spread out a lot more than many places it costs quite a bit to install things -- plus Americans are rather frugal so getting people to pay for wowie zowie stuff at a high enough percentage to get the per-user costs down can be a problem (where places like Japan have higher acceptance for spendy nice things from things I've read). Not sure why Verizon is bringing FIOS to our part of the country (west suburbs of Portland) other than we're the state's high-tech area (Silicon Rain Forest) so the acceptance percentage may be good (and that we're a Verizon area for landline phone service, formerly a "GTE" area).

The problem isn't delivery, it's making a business case of being able to profit off of it (yes, I'm using the evil word "profit", but that's what makes things happen everywhere). It's not cheap to run that fiber under my neighborhood's streets to my house and all the others (most of whom may not pay anything at all for it), especially when cable is already installed. High density places are cheaper to deliver service, but, uh, sometimes high density housing in the U.S. isn't the kind that house middle to upper class folk who would pay for FIOS sort of services. Those who would most likely sign up for it tend to be be in spread out suburbs (I only say this statistically, there are high-rise places I know locally that are VERY spendy places). Of course, other areas may vary, I only speak of the cities that I've lived in over the years. I also know that some places in the US can be very spendy to have things installed due to government and union rules. If it can't be made to at least look profitable it won't get done.


RE: Regulation
By dmark07 on 5/25/2007 5:49:20 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds like you are stuck at a cable plant that is still using DOCSIS 1.x The max that you can get out of this specification is 10Mbps. Aside from the DOCSIS used you also need a very tight cable plant to sustain higher data transmission rates. Most cable companies are preparing for a jump to DOCSIS 3 in which multiple data streams can be tied together and speeds can be reached as fast as 160Mbps.


RE: Regulation
By drebo on 5/25/2007 6:17:34 PM , Rating: 3
That has nothing to do with it. I have Charter cable which is on DOCSIS 2. It's not a question of "can't" right now, it's a question of "don't want to". Cable companies simply don't supply as much bandwidth as they can. And, as it stands, there's nothing to make them. THAT is why regulation is needed.

US companies aren't going to do it on their own. That's not the nature of things. Hell, I work for an ISP. I know how it works. They sit and sit and watch their pocket-books grow fat. Only when someone complains loud enough will they ever do anything. And even then, it's minimal.


RE: Regulation
By dmark07 on 5/25/2007 6:34:25 PM , Rating: 1
I work for an ISP as well and in our situation it is an issue with the DOCSIS standard. If you are stuck at a lower speed then it is more than likely because your cable provider feels that they dont have the competition to warrant a spped boost either that or as I said earlier, your cable plant is not "tight" enough to sustain higher speeds. If you really want regulation on the cable companies so bad look at the push to cable card(meaning it is already there). For internet regulation, look at Ma Bell or the new AT&T as well as Verizon whose DSL speeds are sub-par compared to cable (unless they are utilizing Fiber to the home). I agree higher internet speeds would be great but place the blame equally.


RE: Regulation
By drebo on 5/25/2007 6:43:07 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
If you are stuck at a lower speed then it is more than likely because your cable provider feels that they dont have the competition to warrant a spped boost


And you don't have a problem with that?

Wow, you truely are a sucker for the crap the cable companies are spewing.

As for the DSL comparison, DSL has always offered the better deal. In my area (not to my residence, unfortunately), 3mbit DSL is available for less than 2/3rds the cost of 3mbit cable and less than half the cost of 5mbit cable. Slower? Maybe. Better deal? Without question.


RE: Regulation
By dmark07 on 5/25/2007 6:52:44 PM , Rating: 2
Every city and cable provider is different. Your cable provider must suck then. We are currently rolling out 35Mbps in newer subdivisions via Fiber to the Home. Everywhere else we have 10Mbps Premium and 8Mbps Standard. Lets see for a price comparison. DSL standard 1.5Mbps $19.99
6Mbps $59.99 Now for cable 8Mbps $39.99 10Mbps $49.99 As you can see in this area cable is the winner. In your case though, HAHA sucks to live there.


RE: Regulation
By drebo on 5/25/07, Rating: 0
RE: Regulation
By dmark07 on 5/25/2007 8:56:42 PM , Rating: 2
Well here you go:
Cable http://www.timewarnercable.com/sanantonio/products...
DSL
http://www.att.com/gen/general?pid=6431

Sorry AT&T are running Promos right now so it is $34.99 per month for 6Mbps.
Now if you are unhappy with cable, why do you still have it?


RE: Regulation
By jadedeath on 5/26/07, Rating: 0
RE: Regulation
By drebo on 5/27/2007 1:37:27 AM , Rating: 2
I have cable because I have no choice. I have Charter because I have no choice. End of story. If I had a choice, I would not have cable, because it is an absolutely horrible waste of money when compared with DSL. End of story.

I have no problem paying a fair price for a fair service. But, that is not the case anywhere in the US for any cable service.


RE: Regulation
By Christopher1 on 5/27/2007 7:27:18 AM , Rating: 2
That is true. Comcast with internet, cable and phone service is about $100 dollars a month.

That seems more than a little bit excessive to me, considering that cable internet and cable have been out so long now.


RE: Regulation
By Spivonious on 5/27/2007 10:45:57 AM , Rating: 2
Supply and Demand. As long as people still "have to have" cable the price won't come down.

And, there are still alternatives. Dial-up, DSL, FiOS for internet; antenna, satellite, FiOS for TV; cell-phone, Vonage, standard phone for phone.

It is possible to have tv (free), internet(9.95 dialup), and phone (pay as you go cell) for as little as $20 a month.


RE: Regulation
By arazok on 5/25/2007 6:28:51 PM , Rating: 2
Because we all know how well everything the government gets involved with turns out...

Actually, wait a minute... Doesn't the government already regulate cable operators?! Perhaps THATS the problem?!?! Eureka!


RE: Regulation
By knar on 5/25/2007 7:30:58 PM , Rating: 2
wow 50/month for 5mbit..jesus man...for once im happy to live in canada.....i get 20mbit for 60 a month with unlimited bandwidth (both up and down)


RE: Regulation
By drebo on 5/25/2007 7:49:08 PM , Rating: 2
You know, I wouldn't mind the high price if it were worth paying. As in, if it were the best possible connection. But it's not. Nowhere near it. I don't mind paying a premium for a premium service, but this certainly is not a premium service.

When I go to the car wash, I pay a little extra for the wax, because I know I'm getting a better deal. Where I live, cable internet (Charter, specifically) has a monoply on broadband. I know for an absolute fact that they are not using their network to its potential. Why not? Well, it sure as hell isn't for the benefit of their customers. It's because there's nothing forcing them to. They know their customers have no other choice, so they continue to rape them with ungodly rates. Not only that, but they nickel and dime customers as well. What broadband company charges a monthly fee for the modem? None I've ever worked with before, that's for damn sure.


RE: Regulation
By Spivonious on 5/27/2007 10:47:29 AM , Rating: 2
Here in PA I get 6Mbps with no bandwidth limits for $42.95/month. If I wasn't also a cable TV customer I think it goes up to $59.95/month.


RE: Regulation
By ira176 on 5/26/2007 4:23:36 AM , Rating: 2
Cable companies are truly monoplies, and instead of regulating them, my local governmental agency seems to have been bought off by this cable company. My city gets a "franchise fee", for allowing the cable company exclusive rights to provide cable to my city. So basically, no competition, besides Direct TV, and cable subscribers get to pay extra to the cable company, so that the cable company can pay the city the fee and rake in the profits.


RE: Regulation
By CyberInferno on 5/27/2007 5:02:10 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
I pay $50/mo for a 5mbit cable connection. I can guarantee that Europe and South East Asia don't pay half that for twice the connection. Broadband companies fuck consumers over almost as much as the RIAA and MPAA.

Here's an interesting article about how misleading prices of broadband in other places can be:
$10.85 per month broadband in China not such a hot deal: http://tinyurl.com/2g7kmp

It's all relative to how much money the average person makes.


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