CinemaInternational

Aftermath: Are We in Serious Danger of Losing TCM?

43 posts in this topic

So, who has COMCAST?  certainly don't.  

Plus, the service I have didn't tell me SQUAT about anything I didn't ask them about.  B)

Plus too, I have FAR more wires going from my cable box to my STEREO RECEIVER and DVD/VHS player than from the box to the monitor.  From the cable box there's only ONE wire going there.

Sepiatone

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1 hour ago, Sepiatone said:

So, who has COMCAST?  certainly don't.  

Plus, the service I have didn't tell me SQUAT about anything I didn't ask them about.  B)

Plus too, I have FAR more wires going from my cable box to my STEREO RECEIVER and DVD/VHS player than from the box to the monitor.  From the cable box there's only ONE wire going there.

Sepiatone

S*c*r*e*w the service they are out to gouge you,

You obviously have internet you are here. Go to your nearest Best Buy, they have a Geek Squad. Tell them you just want to stream programs to your TV without spending a lot of money, tell them what you have and they can tell you what you need. It's not rocket science, they even make house calls.

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I don't have Comcast either.  I got tired of the price going up constantly.  I don't need a landline and my internet was much cheaper on its own.  I have Dish, which I realize some will consider that comparable to cable, but the satellite is much cheaper.  TCM is available in the top 2 tiers of programming.  I have the second to top tier, as the extra channels in the top tier aren't any that I watch.  I also have a 2 TB DVR.  It's more than $100/month cheaper than what we were paying with Comcast.

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1 hour ago, cigarjoe said:

S*c*r*e*w the service they are out to gouge you,

You obviously have internet you are here. Go to your nearest Best Buy, they have a Geek Squad. Tell them you just want to stream programs to your TV without spending a lot of money, tell them what you have and they can tell you what you need. It's not rocket science, they even make house calls.

Oh, sure.  THEY'LL tell me what I need, and without the slightest interest in gouging me either, eh?  :rolleyes:

Tell ya what.  If I ever develop an interest in such a thing I'll take it up with my daughter.  She'll have nothing to gain by making any suggestions of what needs purchasing and too, probably knows where I can get a better  deal than at Best Buy( which by my experience, is practically anywhere else.).  But, thanks for the advice anyway.  :)

Sepiatone

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And speaking of "losing TCM", this actually happened to me once a few years ago! Well sort'a anyway.

I had turned on my TV and punched in the channel number for it on my remote, but instead of seeing some great old B&W movie on it OR seeing and hearing Robert Osborne telling me about some actor or actress I was about to see in some great old B&W movie, OR of course seeing Ben and HIM telling me about some "ACKtor" or "ACKtress" I was about to see in some great old B&W movie, I got some kind'a channel that sells wristwatches instead! 

Turned out of course that my cable company had just switched some of their channel numbers around a bit, and TCM had been one of 'em.

(...and so I guess you might say I really DIDN'T "lose TCM", but instead had just "misplaced" it for a while)

;)

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Semi-related. 

https://www.streamingobserver.com/the-average-cable-bill-is-now-107-a-month/

THE AVERAGE CABLE BILL IS NOW $107 A MONTH, UP MORE THAN 50% SINCE 2010

The most common reason so many households are kicking their cable TV habit is the cost. Cable bills keep soaring ever higher, yet millions of households still pay ridiculous costs each month for hundreds of channels they’ll never watch, endless hours of commercials, and contracts with hidden fees. Despite the fact that streaming video has become the new norm for millions of households, some people seem to hang on to their cable subscriptions no matter what the cost. According to new data collected by consumer research firm Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG), the average cost households pay for cable is now up to $107 a month. How high will it go before more households decide to cut the cable for good?

The average cost of $107 a month is up 1% from last year, thanks in large part to increasing fees for things like regional sports licensing and taxes – fees which are often excluded from initial contracts and introductory pricing. While the 1% increase might not seem like much, the average price of cable has risen by over 50% since 2010, when cable bills were $71.24 a month at the time.

LRG’s data was gathered through a telephone survey of 1,152 households from throughout the United States. The research found that 78% of American households still subscribe to a paid TV subscription. That percentage is down from 86% in 2013, 87% in 2008, and 81% in 2004, but 78% is still a pretty high figure given how high cable costs continue to rise each year and how affordable streaming video services are in comparison.

Due to these ever-rising costs, more and more households are cutting the cable for good, taking advantage of streaming services that offer skinny bundles of popular channels at a fraction of the price, like Philo (starting at $16 a month) and Sling TV ($25+ a month). In a separate study, market research firm eMarketer found that the number of households cutting the cable has risen 32.8% this year. 33 million people are expected to cut the cable this year.

Still, the majority of households who hang on to their cable subscriptions say they do so because their internet and/or phone service is bundled along with pay TV. In some areas, particularly rural areas, these bundles are the only way to get high-speed internet or landline service.

Nevertheless, as more and more streaming services hit the market and the menu of cable cutting options with live TV continues to expand, it’s likely that the percentage of households cutting the cable once and for all will continue to rise. So why are cable companies continuing to raise prices in the face of a new competitor?

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On 10/30/2018 at 7:59 AM, cigarjoe said:

Go to your nearest Best Buy, they have a Geek Squad. Tell them you just want to stream programs to your TV without spending a lot of money, tell them what you have and they can tell you what you need. It's not rocket science, they even make house calls.

For which they will charge no more than $300! 

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59 minutes ago, sewhite2000 said:

For which they will charge no more than $300! 

For the home visit? That is a little steep. Alternative, just grab a neighborhood teenager they know quite a bit.

 

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I had Geek Squad expunge a virus from my computer one time. It was over $200. 

Yeah, those kids know how to do everything. Not sure if everything they know how to do is legal. I remember subbing for a high school tech class one time. The latest Spider-Man came out on a Friday, and these kids were watching it in the classroom on their computers the following Monday. I was actually less concerned about their goofing off in class than the feds breaking down the door. We're warned to report Internet piracy in every form of home entertainment we watch. And Spider-Man is not one of those arthouse films that they put in the theater for one weekend and then make it available on streaming. And this was before streaming, anyway. "There's no way that's legal," I told the kids. They just blinked at me. "Yes, it is," one of them said. Touche!

As for "grabbing a teenager", well, at my age, it would probably bring in the vice squad! ?

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2 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

I had Geek Squad expunge a virus from my computer one time. It was over $200. 

Yeah, those kids know how to do everything. Not sure if everything they know how to do is legal. I remember subbing for a high school tech class one time. The latest Spider-Man came out on a Friday, and these kids were watching it in the classroom on their computers the following Monday. I was actually less concerned about their goofing off in class than the feds breaking down the door. We're warned to report Internet piracy in every form of home entertainment we watch. And Spider-Man is not one of those arthouse films that they put in the theater for one weekend and then make it available on streaming. And this was before streaming, anyway. "There's no way that's legal," I told the kids. They just blinked at me. "Yes, it is," one of them said. Touche!

As for "grabbing a teenager", well, at my age, it would probably bring in the vice squad! ?

$200 for a virus?  For that kind of money, or maybe a little more if you include a small SSD hard drive, you could get an okay secondhand computer and load Linux Mint for free.  No more viruses.

To answer the OP question: No.  I DON'T expect that the TCM TV channel might be changed or discontinued.

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On 10/30/2018 at 7:50 AM, Sepiatone said:

So, who has COMCAST?  certainly don't.  

Anyone who lives in my freakin' town, where mountains block the big-city HD free-broadcast network affiliates thirty miles away.  ?

Of course, I don't watch TV on it anyway, I just have it as the only way of getting basic streaming-friendly Internet in the area of $40, and that by packing on one of their packages.  Anything, and literally anything else they offer, including getting to watch those thirty-mile-away stations in HD, starts at around $99/mo.  

☠️ (<- closest I could get to a "Pirates!" emoji)

On 10/30/2018 at 8:59 AM, cigarjoe said:

S*c*r*e*w the service they are out to gouge you,

You obviously have internet you are here. Go to your nearest Best Buy, they have a Geek Squad. Tell them you just want to stream programs to your TV without spending a lot of money, tell them what you have and they can tell you what you need. It's not rocket science, they even make house calls.

Seriously, with or without the "Tech For Dummies Who Like Spending Lots of Money To Admit It" assistance, it's so easy, it's embarrassing.

After all the low-tech ranting and raving at the cable companies and trend-media for "What's with this new streaming thing, anyway?", we will afterwards be happy to provide you with the iron-tipped boots necessary to kick yourself.  You may need some Geek/teenager help with "What is this 'Rau-Turr' you speak of?" (again, consult your provider's page for support), but anything after that can be picked up at Wal-Mart, let alone Best Buy.

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Sure, OK.

I remember reading about "pay TV" back in Jr, high(in a magazine article while waiting my turn at the dentist), and couldn't understand it at first.  The city I lived in(and still do) when CABLE first came 'round these parts( a Detroit suburb) didn't have a cable service until AFTER several surrounding suburbs got it. (that was 'bout '82).  

And right away it seemed, many people came up with ways to "bootleg" the premium channels( HBO, Showtime, TMC, etc.).  One way, since the "changer" wasn't a remote, but a small box with three rows of numbers( the channels) and a selector switch on the side of the rows, and a long wire connecting to the TV.  One method called for a person to choose the premium channel( by #) and place a pencil top eraser on it and wrap a rubber band over THAT, pressing the button only half-way down.  Later on, a neighbor fixed me up with attaching about three-four inches of speaker wire to a couple of junctures inside that box, and the other end to a $1.95 rheostat from RADIO SHACK, then hit the number of the channel you wanted and turn the dial on the rheostat until it came in.  At the time, the now defunct UNITED CABLE was charging $9.00 a month for "premium" channels. On TOP of the usual monthly fee.

Sepiatone

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10 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

Sure, OK.

I remember reading about "pay TV" back in Jr, high(in a magazine article while waiting my turn at the dentist), and couldn't understand it at first.  The city I lived in(and still do) when CABLE first came 'round these parts( a Detroit suburb) didn't have a cable service until AFTER several surrounding suburbs got it. (that was 'bout '82).  

And right away it seemed, many people came up with ways to "bootleg" the premium channels( HBO, Showtime, TMC, etc.).  One way, since the "changer" wasn't a remote, but a small box with three rows of numbers( the channels) and a selector switch on the side of the rows, and a long wire connecting to the TV.  One method called for a person to choose the premium channel( by #) and place a pencil top eraser on it and wrap a rubber band over THAT, pressing the button only half-way down.  Later on, a neighbor fixed me up with attaching about three-four inches of speaker wire to a couple of junctures inside that box, and the other end to a $1.95 rheostat from RADIO SHACK, then hit the number of the channel you wanted and turn the dial on the rheostat until it came in.  At the time, the now defunct UNITED CABLE was charging $9.00 a month for "premium" channels. On TOP of the usual monthly fee.

Sepiatone

It sounds as if the protection for pay channels on a variety of cable system boxes at that time may have been based on a simple resistive-capacitive modification of one of its circuit boards.  Possibly the keypad.  Anyhow easy enough for a tinkerer to figure out or imitate.  It would have been something that was easy to change out at the shop (a quick swap of a circuit board for instance).  As I recall to add a pay channel, you either had to take in your box or someone had to come to your house.  I do remember certain gray-market boxes being available through mail order in the back of certain magazines.  They presumably had these changes made beforehand (there weren't a lot of pay channels back then, so not much going on).

Today's digital serialization makes something like that nearly impossible for the average person.  My Directv receivers each have a "smart card" for authentication.  It looks just like a regular credit card with a chip, it slides into the receiver and just stays there. [Cable TV receivers have this too]

Directv sends out a digital beacon to all their customers, every half hour or so.  Each receiver gets the entire thing, but only reacts to directives that match its account number (on the inserted card).

Up until recently I had one whole house Directv Genie HR44 receiver/DVR and a couple Genie clients (these go into other rooms with other TV sets and they stream everything from that one receiver/dvr).  I dropped one of the whole-house clients and added an "owned" H25 receiver which I purchased from eBay, just a simple single-TV receiver, for reasons I won't get into here for the sake of brevity.  The day my receiver came in from eBay I did the changeout.  Within half an hour after my phone call to activate the newly arrived receiver and deactivate the one client, the HR44 gave me an error that said it is not authorized to have two clients paired to it - which one would should it deactivate?  I thought that was sort of interesting.

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9 hours ago, MovieCollectorOH said:

It sounds as if the protection for pay channels on a variety of cable system boxes at that time may have been based on a simple resistive-capacitive modification of one of its circuit boards.  Possibly the keypad.  Anyhow easy enough for a tinkerer to figure out or imitate.  It would have been something that was easy to change out at the shop (a quick swap of a circuit board for instance).  As I recall to add a pay channel, you either had to take in your box or someone had to come to your house.  I do remember certain gray-market boxes being available through mail order in the back of certain magazines.  They presumably had these changes made beforehand (there weren't a lot of pay channels back then, so not much going on).

Back in the early HDTV days of '08-'09, new flatscreen sets were "QAM compatible", meaning you could plug your cable (the actual cable, not the box) into the sets, get the HD affiliates along with all the basic channels, and pretty much tune them as "regular" TV channels on your TV remote.  One odd little tech-glitch I discovered was that a twenty-channel "blank" space was actually reserved for all the VOD movies that customers ordered, and with no box to block them, whatever anyone in town was ordering would show up on one of those channels whenever I surfed.  I might sit down on a Saturday night, turn on Ch. 20.7, notice "Oh, lookit that, someone decided to watch Spiderman 3...", and watch a few random minutes out of curiosity to see whether I wanted to check it out on disk.

Naturally, Comcast had to put a stop to that, and they soon sent installers to customers' houses to install "descrambling" cable boxes--that you could only view on Ch. 3, with their own cable-box remote--which also included only the 4:3 SD-upgraded network affiliates on the Basic service, and blocked all the local HDTV channels to the $99/mo.+ Premium Digital tiers.  And tack on the $5 extra box-rental fee, of course.

☠️☠️☠️  ?

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On 11/2/2018 at 9:43 PM, EricJ said:

Back in the early HDTV days of '08-'09, new flatscreen sets were "QAM compatible", meaning you could plug your cable (the actual cable, not the box) into the sets, get the HD affiliates along with all the basic channels, and pretty much tune them as "regular" TV channels on your TV remote.  One odd little tech-glitch I discovered was that a twenty-channel "blank" space was actually reserved for all the VOD movies that customers ordered, and with no box to block them, whatever anyone in town was ordering would show up on one of those channels whenever I surfed.  I might sit down on a Saturday night, turn on Ch. 20.7, notice "Oh, lookit that, someone decided to watch Spiderman 3...", and watch a few random minutes out of curiosity to see whether I wanted to check it out on disk.

Naturally, Comcast had to put a stop to that, and they soon sent installers to customers' houses to install "descrambling" cable boxes--that you could only view on Ch. 3, with their own cable-box remote--which also included only the 4:3 SD-upgraded network affiliates on the Basic service, and blocked all the local HDTV channels to the $99/mo.+ Premium Digital tiers.  And tack on the $5 extra box-rental fee, of course.

☠️☠️☠️  ?

That's pretty funny.  It sounds as if the Switched Digital Video node (group of households), or maybe even "non-switched", was behaving a bit like a "party line" before they apparently started further regulating it at device level.

In this pic, older analog cable TV, satellite TV, broadcast TV, and non-switched cable have everything available all at once, as is in the top image. 

Then in the bottom image there are various smaller groups of channels which are bound together, as is in the modern CATV SDV system.  The cable receiver itself actually sends a request to the cable plant when the viewer crosses over from one group of channels to the next.  Then the plant sends the receiver a different group of channels (sometimes these can be individual channels as well).  This is transparent to the viewer, who only sees a little bit more delay when changing between certain channels. 

The downside to that (and the reason I went from cable to satellite) was that a channel left unattended would eventually go blank.  That is, outside of power savings features, the cable plant would decide nobody was watching after a certain amount of time passed and no activity from the viewer.  Then it would disconnect the connection to my box and recycle it for someone else.  Totally unacceptable.  [Your cable system may vary]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Switched_video

Cable Switched video Network Diagram.png
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2 hours ago, MovieCollectorOH said:

The downside to that (and the reason I went from cable to satellite) was that a channel left unattended would eventually go blank.  That is, outside of power savings features, the cable plant would decide nobody was watching after a certain amount of time passed and no activity from the viewer.  Then it would disconnect the connection to my box and recycle it for someone else.  Totally unacceptable.  [Your cable system may vary]

I've also had some issues with switched digital on my cable provider.  In the early days of this they would let you watch a lesser-used channel for 3 hours, and then they would put a message on screen asking for confirmation requiring you to press the 'OK' button on the remote.  If there was no response, the cable company would switch your box to one of the 'main' channels currently being used.  That would play havoc with some of my longer movie recordings (sometimes I would like to record movies back-to-back).  I've also seen the box occasionally provide the wrong content as if they've mistakenly assigned the channel number to the wrong video stream.  Two weeks ago I tried to record the TCM Noir Alley movie and got the DIY Network instead.  Thankfully in that case I was able to catch the Sunday morning repeat.

Since Charter bought out Time Warner cable the 3-hour check seems to have gone away, so this is one good thing I can say about the new operators.

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8 hours ago, Hepburn Fan said:

Okay, I got curious and looked at Dish. Like Xfinity, you pay extra for TCM, and I found their prices to be similar to what I have. Then I dug a little deeper to find the Dish Flex Pack. It is kind of like what Sling TV does. Keep in mind, Dish owns Sling TV. 50 channels for $34.99. Numerous add-ons without commitment. 1 of those 50 channels is TCM! I'm jazzed.

https://www.mydish.com/flex-pack

EDIT: Extra fees for insurance and box rental. Starting to resemble cable.

I recently “downgraded” my DISH subscription to the Flex pack mostly to get TCM without buying into one of the top packages. I also pay for DVR and local channels so that adds about another $20 but still a relative bargain compared to the top tier packages. 

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7 hours ago, cmovieviewer said:

I've also had some issues with switched digital on my cable provider.  In the early days of this they would let you watch a lesser-used channel for 3 hours, and then they would put a message on screen asking for confirmation requiring you to press the 'OK' button on the remote.  If there was no response, the cable company would switch your box to one of the 'main' channels currently being used.  That would play havoc with some of my longer movie recordings (sometimes I would like to record movies back-to-back).  I've also seen the box occasionally provide the wrong content as if they've mistakenly assigned the channel number to the wrong video stream.  Two weeks ago I tried to record the TCM Noir Alley movie and got the DIY Network instead.  Thankfully in that case I was able to catch the Sunday morning repeat.

Since Charter bought out Time Warner cable the 3-hour check seems to have gone away, so this is one good thing I can say about the new operators.

Ex-freakin'-actly.  That issue.  http://moviecollectoroh.com/pics_to_hotlink_on_TCM/forum-banghead.gif

Those would be the SDV channels (not necessarily the least watched, but mostly the upper channels).

That was enough to drive me away from TW cable TV and to Satellite.  Fortunately, for the way I record things directly to a computer, it was a matter of a simple receiver/DVR switchout.  No lost recordings like you usually read about on here. 

I forget the initial reasons on why I went to Directv and not to Dish, but it may have been due to reported minor differences in picture quality back then.  4+ years later I still like it.  Okay I think I remember - at that time Dish had a reputation for hard-nosing their providers on pricing, resulting in temporary loss of certain networks here and there. 

Directv isn't perfect, it has its own issues, but it is clearly better than TW cable was in my area at that time.  The point where I left, I was far beyond just noticing and was into banging my head on the wall, just like you see in that emoji.

Okay, well I am glad to hear that worked itself out for you.  Very good...  It seemed to be a localized problem though, so others may have had different outcomes.  My take on it back then was that this might have been a deliberate attempt to alleviate network congestion problems.  There were also plenty of instances of "pixelation" and audio synch issues at the time - this is a symptom of dropped network packets.  This goes back to the picture I posted a few posts above, where a certain number of households must share a "node".  The more activity from local subscribers on a node, the more congested it gets, and the more dropped packets you have.  Since cable TV uses a private network variant of real-time streaming behind the scenes, it doesn't attempt to recover dropped packets as there is not enough time, so you must do without.  The only solution is to add more equipment and/or split up the node into smaller nodes.  Or just kick people off.  http://moviecollectoroh.com/pics_to_hotlink_on_TCM/forum-twisted.gif

I hadn't heard of the channel mis-assignment issue, like you describe.  A whole new can of worms.  Hopefully that stays at a minimum.

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