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.
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.
I dropped my Cablevision subscription back in July. Switching over to over-the-air HDTV, combined with the MLB.tv package and ESPN3.com, 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
That’s probably what one side or the other was counting on and now that side has lost leverage in the matter.
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.
“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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
The video at the beginning of this post is quite lulzy. It’s like watching a 3 minute political attack ad.
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.
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!
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
“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.
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 mlb.com on your computer.
You can watch it on delay for free on fox.com on your computer.
You can watch it on delay on cablevision, usually the next day on the mlb channel.
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.
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
“”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
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.
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.
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 MLB.tv. It’s a sad state of affairs.
To those suggesting watching the game online through postseason.tv – 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.
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.
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.
Well put together article very knowledgable, is it possible, though, for you to head into more detail on this topic, I’d like to learn more and think it’d show up better in bing (where I found this article too) if you wrote more on this. Thanks