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  1. LEGALLY, This requires me to either…


    Comment by plen — October 26, 2010 @ 1:14 pm

  2. I personally tend to blame Fox a little more since Cablevision offered to submit to binding arbitration and Fox refused. From what I’ve read, Fox is demanding a raise that will work out to about double what was previously paid–quite a hike.

    That’s not letting Cablevision off the hook, of course. They should be giving you a discount for not offering all the content that you expect.

    That being said, have you called Cablevision and asked for a reduced rate, and/or told them you’re looking into cancelling and getting DirectTV or whatever? Usually that tactic works for me. They’re not going to OFFER the discount, but if you ask, and you have a legitimate argument, they’ll often give it to you.

    Comment by Hunter — October 26, 2010 @ 1:15 pm

  3. DirecTV

    Comment by Andrew — October 26, 2010 @ 1:17 pm

  4. Be like everyone else and steal it from somewhere else.

    Comment by Ryan — October 26, 2010 @ 1:18 pm

  5. buy a ten dollar set of rabbit ears. works great. if it weren’t for all the sports that migrated to ESPN, TBS, TNT – you could drop Cablevision completely.

    Comment by jon — October 26, 2010 @ 1:18 pm

  6. Imagine the uproar if the Yankees made the Series

    Comment by Mike D — October 26, 2010 @ 1:20 pm

  7. Additionally, if you have a newer TV, I’m suprised you even need to go out and buy anything. I have a newish (approx. 3 years old) TV and it come with the tuner or antenna or what have you already included. I can switch from cable to air, and the air channels come in just fine.

    Comment by Hunter — October 26, 2010 @ 1:22 pm

  8. I’m sorry you did touch on that in your paragraph. Reply fail.

    However, I would still be suprised if you told them (politely) that you would either like a refund or you were cancelling your service to get Direct TV.

    Had a somewhat similar thing happen to our local cable service. I listened to the customer service rep, told her I understood her position, and in light of that, wished to cancel my cable service.

    Presto! I got a discount. (This might not work if you don’t actually intend to follow through–I did, as I was at the point I didn’t really care.)

    Comment by Hunter — October 26, 2010 @ 1:36 pm

  9. You can make a digital TV antenna basically for free using coat hangers … you might have to spend a couple bucks on a UHF/VHF transformer

    Comment by isavage30 — October 26, 2010 @ 1:37 pm

  10. I dropped my Cablevision subscription back in July. Switching over to over-the-air HDTV, combined with the package and, provided me with much of the programming I wanted to watch. I did this because Cablevision refused to negotiate the price of their “Triple Play.”

    Cablevision’s price had been $100 for three services: HDTV, Internet, and Phone. After my “promotional period” ran out, they jacked up the rate to $140. When I threatened to cancel my service, they said, “Go ahead,” knowing that they were the monopoly cable provider in my neck of the NY woods. So I quit.

    Fast-forward to September. Verizon FIOS finally becomes available in my area. Verizon offers me:

    – internet with a free wireless router;
    – 537 channels of cable, including 70 HD channels like MLB network, syfy, NFL network, etc.;
    – two cable boxes; and
    – a multiroom DVR that lets you record shows and watch them on either of the two boxes, in HD.

    The cost for all this? For the first 3 months it will be 65.98. For the second 3 months it will be 85.98. And for months 7-24 it will be 95.98. In the end, averaging the cost of service over 24 months (and accounting for $50 in free pizza I got from the FIOS sales rep), I’m getting HDTV and two DVRs for $60 less than what Cablevision wanted to charge me.

    The moral of the story? If you can possibly switch away from the monopoly cable provider in your area, do so immediately. Competition is good for consumers. Don’t be swayed by Cablevision’s advertising portraying FOX as the bad guy here.

    p.s. A week after I switched to Verizon, I got a letter from Cablevision offering me the the Triple Play for $100 as a “returning customer.” I promptly threw their mail in the garbage, where it belongs.

    Comment by scottdsimon — October 26, 2010 @ 1:44 pm

  11. That’s probably what one side or the other was counting on and now that side has lost leverage in the matter.

    Comment by chuckb — October 26, 2010 @ 1:56 pm

  12. Charter and Belo (CBS) had a spat like this over carrying the HD version of their channel. I’m going to have to side mostly with the cable companies on this one. Fox is already beaming their channel right to your house for free OTA – why should the cable company have to pay so much to carry it? Fox should want as many viewers as possible.

    Comment by John — October 26, 2010 @ 1:56 pm

  13. “Now I have to cut the same check as every month, only for a lower level of service.”

    With annual rate hikes you are constantly having to pay more for the same level of service.

    Comment by Gio — October 26, 2010 @ 1:59 pm

  14. “Not only that, but I have to spend between $25 and $50 on a digital TV antenna…”

    FWIW, a DTV antenna is no different from an analog TV antenna. You just need a UHF antenna (Fox’s digital station in NYC broadcasts at the equivalent of the old uhf ch44). Radioshack has ones as cheap as $5-$12. Or you can scurry around in your attic for the one you put there when you switched to cable 25 years ago.

    Comment by Erik — October 26, 2010 @ 2:04 pm

  15. Go to

    It’s not great quality. It’s a somewhat-delayed stream of live games, uploaded to the internet. But you know what? It’s passable, and it gets the job done. It’s how I watch the Jet games at college when they’re outside of regional coverage.

    The quality isn’t awful, by the way… Think YouTube of three years ago. You can tell what’s going on, for sure.

    It’s a temporary fix that beats switching your cable provider.

    Comment by Fortunatus — October 26, 2010 @ 2:09 pm

  16. A short, relevant article on carriers vs. content providers here:

    Comment by Kevin — October 26, 2010 @ 2:40 pm

  17. Cablevision will cease to exist pretty soon anyway. It’s too easy to get basic channels over the airwaves, TV shows you want on Hulu or iTunes and the sports you want with or something similar.

    Too bad Fox can’t cease to exist soon, too.

    Comment by mettle — October 26, 2010 @ 2:53 pm

  18. This is Option C. Cheaper and more rebellious!

    Comment by Nick Wheatley-Schaller — October 26, 2010 @ 2:55 pm

  19. Used this site to catch the first Giants/Phils game.

    The feed came from ESPN America, and during the commercial breaks they played nothing but Baseball history vignettes, player highlight shorts (from all sports), and old Sportscenter ads. Greatest 3 hours of TV I’ve ever watched.

    Comment by Nick — October 26, 2010 @ 2:57 pm

  20. Rather than being ticked at Cablevision, you should thank them for standing up to rising costs. If every provider just caves to Fox’s ridiculous demands for what they are already delivering for free, prices just go up. Why should Fox get anything when they are already beaming this for free over the public air waves?

    And no, I’m not a Cablevision employee, just a concerned consumer that has been watching our cable/satellite costs rise tremendously over the last few years as network providers continue to demand more and more in fees from the cable cos. All the while continuing to fill our programs with ads that are supposed to support their operations. The problem is that each time they raise their fees, the cable/satellite operator turns around and raises theres by just a little more.

    Your anger is mis-directed. It’s not Cablevision that wants to change the status quo, but Fox.

    Comment by whydidnt — October 26, 2010 @ 2:58 pm

  21. As someone said before, you can get crystal clear HD (better quality than cable) with just some clothes hangers, a piece of wood and a transformer. Cost under $5. Ditch the cable.
    As long as you don’t live way out in the sticks where you can’t get any reception.

    Comment by Omar Little — October 26, 2010 @ 3:09 pm

  22. You live in New York? Don’t believe the hype – you don’t need a special “digital” antenna. Any pair of bunny ears will do. ~$10 for crystal clear HD Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, and some other random things. I live in Brooklyn, buried in an apartment building, and I still get Fox HD on a regular bunny ear antenna hooked up to a one year old HDTV.

    Comment by Caleb — October 26, 2010 @ 3:14 pm

  23. good quality?

    Comment by Locke — October 26, 2010 @ 3:31 pm

  24. yarr avast the only option left is to man the high seas and let your pirate flag unfurl!


    Comment by Option C — October 26, 2010 @ 3:33 pm

  25. Absolutely. With the caveat that I occasionally have to move the antenna around between Fox and NBC, because the ideal location is different for each. Otherwise, it looks better than my friend’s TW cable. That, and I have a pair of ridiculous looking bunny ears sitting behind my HDTV.

    Comment by Caleb — October 26, 2010 @ 3:42 pm

  26. Additional caveat: Brooklyn is huge, and I have no idea where the signal is being broadcast from. I live pretty close to Manhattan, which may help things.

    Comment by Caleb — October 26, 2010 @ 3:43 pm

  27. I believe will also work, same type of website that streams a number of sporting events.

    Rangers in 6.

    Comment by Nostradamus — October 26, 2010 @ 3:58 pm

  28. Or You’re an idiot for paying these people who rape you over and over again. Welcome to the 90’s, bro.

    Comment by Josh Wexler — October 26, 2010 @ 4:07 pm

  29. Didn’t rabbit ears stop working about a year ago?

    Comment by Matt — October 26, 2010 @ 4:20 pm

  30. I’d add MLB to the folks to blame. In any case, all 3 (MLB, Fox, and Cablevision) are all simply interested in how much money they can make, not in the best interests of the viewer or the game.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t get cable and could only watch the NLCS, putting me in the exact opposite position of yours. As an A’s fan, I couldn’t watch a single A’s game all year (on TV)!

    Comment by Gabriel — October 26, 2010 @ 4:21 pm

  31. I live about 32 air miles away from NYC in New Jersey and I receive Fox 5 fine with rabbit ears. Better quality then Cablevision, because Cablevision would compress the feed.

    Comment by dp03 — October 26, 2010 @ 4:22 pm

  32. You could always buy for 9.99.

    That works too.

    Comment by Matt Defalco — October 26, 2010 @ 4:22 pm

  33. Where aren’t the supposed anti-trust laws imposed here?

    Comment by Roger A — October 26, 2010 @ 4:35 pm

  34. I echo your praises for, which I use frequently.

    Comment by Max — October 26, 2010 @ 4:40 pm

  35. Dish Network is having the same dispute with Fox and so far it is only affecting Fox Sports, FX and National Geographic but I have heard rumors of it spreading to Fox as well. As “compensation” they gave us all the other regional channels that are normally in their sports package and some random HD channels but for the most part it is nothing I care about.

    Comment by StLHugo — October 26, 2010 @ 5:10 pm

  36. Honest question, and I haven’t read the comments yet: if this goes on, why is anyone a Cablevision customer?

    Comment by philkid3 — October 26, 2010 @ 5:29 pm

  37. You know, fangraphs stays ahead of the game statistically, you would think that the writers would stay ahead with their live statistically too. In other words, they would know paying for cable is one of the worst decisions you can make financially. Most (if not all) of your shows can be watched online, streamed with fewer commercials. So you’re paying to watch shows at their times? How can you possibly justify paying for cable? Buying an antenna is smart because you have a one time fee for about the same cost of one month’s service of cable. Even if you only watch on saturdays and sundays you won’t be paying monthly (other than the electricity used).

    Comment by My echo and bunnymen — October 26, 2010 @ 5:34 pm

  38. P.S. The warning for the switch to digital was broadcast for well over a year, the only one to blame for not being prepared is yourself. They WERE giving away boxes for free when the switch occured.

    Comment by My echo and bunnymen — October 26, 2010 @ 5:36 pm

  39. The video at the beginning of this post is quite lulzy. It’s like watching a 3 minute political attack ad.

    Comment by Bryz — October 26, 2010 @ 5:52 pm

  40. TV disputes are annoying and becoming increasingly more common place, unfortunately.

    Even worse, all complaining to the companies in question does is result in both of them pointing fingers at each other. It seemed like at one point in the past the companies could hammer out a new contract before their old one expired so that there would be no programming interruption. These days, if a potential cutoff is looming, it’s almost guaranteed to happen.

    Comment by ThundaPC — October 26, 2010 @ 6:39 pm

  41. I want to know why Bud Selig hasn’t been involved in this. I searched a few days ago, and I can’t find one press release or statement from the commissioner on this. I remember when FOX did this somewhere right before the BCS bowls, and senators (yeah, of the United States) got involved.

    It’s Selig’s job to do what’s good for the game, and it’s appalling that MLB seems to have absolutely no leverage over FOX here. Come on, mediate some kind of delay. It’s Cliff Lee and Tim Lincecum!

    Comment by J Bravo — October 26, 2010 @ 6:51 pm

  42. Nope, I bought a $1.74 pair of rabbit ears from my local dollar store and they work great. I am in Brooklyn though.

    Comment by RJ — October 26, 2010 @ 7:04 pm

  43. “Dish Network is having the same dispute with Fox and so far it is only affecting Fox Sports, FX and National Geographic but I have heard rumors of it spreading to Fox as well.”

    MLB-TV is also not available on Dish

    Comment by rick p — October 26, 2010 @ 7:08 pm

  44. I can never feel sorry or sympathy for anyone that pays for TV and then bitches about not having money. I mean really, think about it.

    You pay for TV! haha!

    Comment by d240z71 — October 26, 2010 @ 7:14 pm

  45. It depends on whether your TV has an internal digital receiver. If it does, you only need the rabbit ears. If it doesn’t, you need the rabbit ears and a digital box.

    Comment by Bhaakon — October 26, 2010 @ 7:36 pm

  46. And thus Fox still wins in this debate, as they own DirecTV.

    Comment by Steven — October 26, 2010 @ 7:50 pm

  47. There’s been speculation that Cablevision is waiting to see what happens in the Dish Network-Fox dispute (I may have read this on Biz of Baseball, but don’t quote me on that). That’s been at an impasse for almost a month now, but it has only affected those cable networks. There has been the threat to pull the local FOX affiliates on November 1, and one would think that negotiations would be going on. Of course, there’s a different dynamic because of DirecTV. Part of me thinks Dish might have a legitimate case for anti-trust violations by Fox because of that dynamic, but I’m not a lawyer.

    Comment by Matt Mitchell — October 26, 2010 @ 8:12 pm

  48. “How can I recap a game I haven’t watched?”

    Ask Dave Cameron! (Sorry, that was too easy.)

    I can imagine it being very frustrating. At least you can write off the antenna as a business expense. That obviously doesn’t excuse Cablevision and Fox, though.

    Comment by WY — October 26, 2010 @ 8:13 pm

  49. Yeah, but Cablevision should be offering some type of refund. Cablevision is not holding up their end of the deal by not offering a service consumers are paying for.

    Comment by RKO36 — October 26, 2010 @ 9:02 pm

  50. As always with issues like this, I am 100% for the waterboarding of executives on both sides of this issue.

    Comment by Visnovsky — October 26, 2010 @ 9:41 pm

  51. Here’s a couple of options:

    If you have a digital t.v. you can watch over the air broadcasts with a standard t.v. antenna. This all depends how far you are from NYC. and where you live. You probably will need an amplified vhf/uhf antenna that run for about $30 dollars.

    If you have an analog t.v. you will need a digital converter box that cost about $30-50 dollars and an amplified vhf/uhf antenna for about $30 dollars.

    You can pay $9.99 and watch it live at on your computer.

    You can watch it on delay for free on on your computer.

    You can watch it on delay on cablevision, usually the next day on the mlb channel.

    Comment by John Q — October 26, 2010 @ 10:10 pm

  52. I could be wrong, but couldn’t you write this off as a business expense and just save the money in taxes?

    It is, after all, a business expense, right? You need to watch the World Series to properly do your job as a writer for FanGraphs.

    It wouldn’t solve the underlying problem, of course, but it’d make the antenna essentially free.

    Comment by Wondering — October 26, 2010 @ 10:40 pm

  53. You could also listen to the game on the radio.

    Comment by John Q — October 26, 2010 @ 10:51 pm

  54. Being able to write something off doesn’t mean its free. It just means that you don’t have to pay income tax on the money spent off of it.

    That means a $30 antenna costs $30, instead of the $50 worth of labor it costs to take home $30.

    Comment by Rich — October 26, 2010 @ 11:35 pm

  55. Monopoly capitalism at work.

    Comment by pft — October 26, 2010 @ 11:55 pm

  56. The Yankees and Phillies both in the playoffs is the reason Fox pulled this. Both the NYC and Philly areas are affected here, and they were betting on Cablevision caving in to get the World Series. Now that it’s Texas / San Fran, Fox has lost a ton of leverage.

    Comment by Ed — October 27, 2010 @ 12:49 am

  57. In the past, Cablevision has offered refunds after the issue was resolved. It’s a lot easier on the billing to handle it that way.

    Comment by Ed — October 27, 2010 @ 12:55 am

  58. 1) Cablevision is fighting against significant rate hikes here. Cable companies don’t normally pay to retransmit the broadcast channels. Fox is trying to get about $3/month per customer for the rights to transmit two broadcast channels. If Fox wins this, it’ll set a precedent. All other broadcast channels will demand the same treatment, and switching providers won’t help. It’s going to be really bad for everyone if Fox wins this.

    2) Cablevision has great internet service.

    3) Cablevision almost always gets a serviceman to your house the next day if there’s a problem

    Comment by Ed — October 27, 2010 @ 1:02 am

  59. “”I cut Cablevision a check every month for my cable service. In exchange, they deliver me the appropriate channel package. Fox is included in that package. Now I have to cut the same check as every month, only for a lower level of service. “”

    You pay by cheque?
    How do you have internet in the 1970s?

    Comment by Aussiedodger — October 27, 2010 @ 2:28 am

  60. 1) Checks are still used in the US for a fair number of things, especially rent payments.

    2) “Cut a check” is an expression, though you probably knew that.

    Comment by Alireza — October 27, 2010 @ 4:34 am

  61. Dish Network is having a similar dispute with FOX that took away FSN and FSNwest that provided local ports programming in the Los Angeles area and everywhere else Dish operates. I missed out on the last three regular games of the Angels baseball season. This began October 1, and nothing has happened to resolve the dispute. I have kept up with this story from various news sources and find they are not even talking.

    The only thing I have found out is all the other FOX stations will be pulled November 1, potentially blacking out the final games of the World Series. I could switch providers but it seems a pattern is developing with FOX that once their contract runs out with any cable provider, this increase in fee demands ensues, leading to programming being pulled. If you change cable or satellite companies today because of the dispute there is no guarantee your new company is going to be exempt from this situation down the road in the near future. I am sure this will probably be resolved by start of the baseball season next year but if not I will be forced to make the switch anyway.

    Comment by marshen — October 27, 2010 @ 4:52 am

  62. The biggest problem is local blackouts. If I could circumvent blackouts and just get for local games, I’d have ditched the cable TV ages ago.

    Comment by Jonathan — October 27, 2010 @ 9:17 am

  63. One thing to note about digital:

    Unlike analog, there’s generally no real variable in quality. If you can get it to come in at all, it’s going to come in in full HD quality, unlike analog where it might come in all fuzzy and snowy.

    Comment by Jonathan — October 27, 2010 @ 9:19 am

  64. Not everyone can get baseball that way. As a fan of the Red Sox, I’ve only got NESN for games and NESN does not broadcast OTA last I checked. Additionally, I’m shafted by local blackout restrictions if I wanted to switch to It’s a sad state of affairs.

    Comment by Jonathan — October 27, 2010 @ 9:23 am

  65. “That was a wicked cutter!…I assume…”

    Comment by Jonathan — October 27, 2010 @ 9:26 am

  66. To those suggesting watching the game online through – this is not an option by itself. You get raw camera feeds, not the broadcast feeds. This means you don’t have someone switching cameras for you to follow the action, and theer are no replays, zooms, etc. It is a piss poor way to watch a game, but could possibly be decent in addition to a radio broadcast.

    Comment by Drew — October 27, 2010 @ 11:00 am

  67. Hunter wrote: “I personally tend to blame Fox a little more since Cablevision offered to submit to binding arbitration and Fox refused.”

    Yeah, but the principles of binding arbitration are the same for them as they are in baseball – the arbitrator looks at precedent, and the more relevant precedent is whatever deal the other networks reached with Cablevision. In this case, Fox is looking to *set* precedent, not fall in line with it. If Fox thinks that the others accepted too little, then they have no reason to enter into a process that they know Cablevision will win.

    Comment by Neil — October 27, 2010 @ 1:06 pm

  68. False. DirecTV is a separate, publicly-traded company.

    Comment by DBA455 — October 27, 2010 @ 1:47 pm

  69. I understand your frustration, but I think your blame is a little off base. You signed up for Cablevision wihtout any guarantee that the line-up today would be the line-up tomorrow. If they failed to agree on a contract with HGTV you probably wouldn’t hae even noticed it disappear from your options. It’s a business and they can’t just suck up and fee hike just to placate their customers’ assumptions about what they should offer. Also, you have a choice, you don’t have to pay for less service, just terminate your subscription. It’s a service business not a utility. And if you have to blame anybody, Fox deserves more of your ire. You think they didn’t realize the timing of their fee increase? In fact, I have to give kudos to cablevision for standing up to the nasty Austrailian and his dirty ways of doing business. In the meantime, check out MLB’s companion coverage, it’s not bad, or go watch the game at a bar, you might have a good time.

    Comment by Train — October 27, 2010 @ 3:04 pm

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