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whilst speaking with a relative at Thanksgiving, she informed me that her cable station, Comcast I believe, has decided to DROP TCM from their 'basic/family whatever they call it' lineup and MOVE it to the premium 'you'll pay dearly' package.

 

Well, now, isn't that nice?

 

Everybody taping all they want before TCM gets greedy? Cablevision is as greedy as they get, so I'm sure they're hatching a plan with the top execs at TCM as I type.

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Here in Cincinnati, it happened the other way around. TCM used to be part of a "family tier" which you had to pay extra for, but a few years ago Time Warner Cable did away with it and packaged TCM with the standard cable package, which saved me a TON of money.

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Here in Central Virginia, Comcast has three tiers for digital just like Dish Network, Digital, Digital Plus, and Digital Premier. Fox Movie Channel is on the Premier Tier with Encore, so in order to get FMC you have to also get and pay for the Encore channels, same as Dish Network. TCM was moved from Digital to the Basic analogue tier two years ago and so far it is still on the Basic tier.

 

Directv has both FMC and TCM on Total Choice and they do not decouple the Encore channels from Starz. I hope they keep with this practice because I would not like to be forced to get Encore like the other providers make us do.

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Lux, I switched from Comcast Cable 12 months ago and now I have DirecTV, but I use to record the music off of Comcast to my VCR then without any problem. Now I record XM music off of Directv to DVD all the time and I really enjoy it. Comcast could have installed Macrovision software to block any recording since I had them, if so then any hardware device with Macrovision reconizers installed will not record these music channels. Your DVR has it, thats why you can't use it but your VCR does not have it so it works. VCR's still have a use after all. I Hope someone who still has Comcast can explain and help your friend.

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You can call Comcast greedy, but don't blame TCM. Channels like TCM have to negotiate with each cable system and we're talking cents here not dollars. If you're paying $50 a month for cable, most likely TCM is only getting 25 or 30 cents of it.

 

A channel like TCM is good for the cable company because they can point to it and say "see what we have", and it doesn't cost them that much to carry it, but it also doesn't do much for the company's bottom line. With commercial networks, the cable companies share in the commercial revenues, usually being given time in each show to run their own commercials and keeping all the money. Of course, TCM can't do that because they don't run commercials (thank goodness).

 

More and more the cable companies are moving TCM and other lower revenue producing channels to a premium tier so that the subscribers have to pay a little more for them. This way they can increase their income without having to have a general rate increase. It also gives them the excuse that viewers have a choice. Viewers see it as greed, but they see it as good business.

 

I'm certainly not taking the cable companies side, but that's the way it is with big business.

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Good explanation, Markfp. I have been paying a fee for TCM since I got it some years ago and its well worth it especially since it is the one and only classic movie station of its kind on the tube today.

I continue to enjoy it and I don't take it for granted.

 

Mongo

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allieharding: Thanks for responding. Your remarks confirm my own convictions. I don’t think Comcast has changed since you left them. Cable companies operate pretty much the same and as you point out, they can bug the DVRs but they cannot do anything about the old and reliable VCRs that despite all new technologies are still designed to record whatever appears on the TV screen. Another way to record the music is to run a line from VCR and/or DVR to an independent stereo system, which is what I do as well, but the VCR is a nice way to do it because you can record hours of music while you are away from home. My friend is a fellow forumite on a music message board who posts frequently that she is forever scrambling to write down artists and titles as they come up and admitting that she misses a lot of stuff all the while lamenting that ComC is preventing her from recording the music. If there is some way that ComC is able to do this, I am unaware of it.

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Thanks, markfp2. I apologize to TCM...cents on the dollar? That is disgusting...but it confirms my opinion of cable companies, I despise them.

 

If this is true:

 

http://money.cnn.com/2005/11/29/technology/personaltech/fcc_cable.reut/index.htm?cnn=yes

 

perhaps their day has come.

 

Then again, the crooks probably have a very strong lobby.

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Glad I could help explain the situation with cable companies. Please understand, I don't have any "inside information", it's just that I do work in a television station and have read about this in the trade papers.

 

As for the "a la carte" pricing, I think this could be a disaster for all but the most popular channels. All the cable companies pay the channels "per subscriber". That means everyone who subscribes to cable is considered a subscriber to each channel they carry even if they don't watch a particular channel. Now ,lets say that this means that TCM, for example, has 50 million subscribers so the fact that that they are only getting paid pennies per subscriber adds up to enough to do all the good stuff they do and still make a decent profit for parent company Time-Warner.

 

Of those 50 million subscribers, how many are actually regular viewers of TCM? 5 million? 10 million? How many of those people would be willing to pay for TCM and how much? You can bet it wouldn't be pennies, but dollars. Personally, I'd pay whatever it takes to keep TCM going, but how many others would?

 

The most popular channels like ESPN, TNT, USA and others would do just fine because most everyone wants them, but what about The History Channel, Biography, C-SPAN, etc., etc.? Should televsion only be the most popular channels and only for those who can pay for them? I don't think so.

 

Those who are pushing for this say it's to "clean up" television, but that excuse just doesn't hold water. Every cable and satellite company has a way to block channels a subscriber doesn't want and all tv sets made in the last few years are required contain a "V-chip" which allows parents to do the same thing at home. If this actually comes to pass all it will do cause a lot of quality channels to go off the air and have you pay more for the ones that are left.

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Those who are pushing for this say it's to "clean up" television, but that excuse just doesn't hold water.

 

Yikes! Is the Parent's Television Council behind this? The folks who: a. don't know how to turn off a television set, and b. don't know how to control their own kids but want to censor everything for everyone?

 

Oh boy, this does indeed spell disaster.

 

It reminds me of the A&C skit: that's one for you and one for me, two for you and one, two for me, and so on.

 

So the way the greed mongers will do this: that's ten channels for ten dollars or two dollars each.

 

Yup, I can see it now. Well, hopefully it won't go through.

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