How does opting-out of cable channels work? Specifically in Northern CA.
October 28, 2004 4:52 PM   Subscribe

So I have read that new federal laws allow you to "opt-out" of channels you don't want that may be part of a cable television package. How does this work? Could I opt-out of all those annoying digital music channels, shopping channels, the news & foreign language & religious & sports channels I don't watch, etc? How much might they prorate my service if I were to do that? I'm thinking about signing up with Comcast in Northern CA for both internet & cable TV. I love my satellite, but my reception is suffering since the trees started getting bigger and bigger (not on my property and the city won't trim them and they are IMMENSE). And Surewest won't give us fiber optic until 2006.
posted by luriete to Media & Arts (3 answers total)
I don't believe that bill has made it out of committee yet. Trouble is the cable [and satellite] companies hate the idea. But the spin they put on it has some merit... Sure most people would keep the basics like CNN and so the price would be low, but most of the digital cable channels wouldn't last. There wouldn't be enough subscribers to make the DIY channel and speciality (narrowcasting) stations to survive.

To get IFC and BBCAmerica from my cable provider I have to get almost the top tier digital cable package. I only watch probably 10 channels but have to pay for 200. I'd love to get the channels I want to watch a la carte. And I'd pay $10 each for BBC and IFC but I'm what statisticians refer to as "an outlier". So I get the digital package and pay "just pennies" for all of the crap.

I imagine the bill will never become law just because the content transmitters like Comcast and TimeWarner, and the content providers like Disney and TimeWarner (again) will lobby hard to squelch it.
posted by birdherder at 5:25 PM on October 28, 2004

I think you might be confusing opting out with a la carte. You can opt out by asking your provider to turn off channels that you find offensive or would otherwise rather not recieve. You get no money back for this. There is a proposal to allow a la carte cable where you would only pay for the channels you wish to receive. birdherder has outlined some of the problems it is facing, but by all means contact your provder and your legislators to let them know you support it.

Oh, and don't most TV sets allow you to remove crappy stations from your lineup, the same way it doesn't make you go through all the stations with no programming?
posted by guidedbychris at 11:41 PM on October 28, 2004

If you love your satellite, you could postpone the inevitable with a bigger dish.

Or you could mount it on the top of an antenna mast. Attach a US Flag and remind people that tearing that "flagpole" down is like supporting terrorism. Be sure to hand out Rubik's cubes as party favours while you say this.
posted by shepd at 2:17 AM on October 29, 2004

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