Re "Cable TV, the right way," Opinion, May 23
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) says he's a certifiable sports nut and could never go without ESPN, so he wants to make it less expensive. In fact, he's willing to go up against "well-paid lobbyists" and seems to favor more regulation of the cable TV industry to keep the American people from being "ripped off."
Frankly, I find all this a bit self-serving, but then I've noticed that the problems with the best chance of being addressed are those that directly affect members of Congress.
I don't fly much, so I didn't lose a lot of sleep when there were too few air traffic controllers, resulting in widespread delays. But after jet-set congressmen shuddered at the idea of waiting at the airport, a solution was quickly found.
So if Social Security is underfunded, peg congressional salaries to the average Social Security recipient's monthly benefit and watch the dough roll in.
Kudos to McCain for introducing a bill to unbundle cable TV offerings.
Message to cable providers: Your paradigm is no longer acceptable, even to a fiftysomething non-techie. I cut the cable TV cord two years ago and stream from my PC to my TV. Besides the savings and empowering "pay as you go" feeling, I have discovered original programming and stream current shows from the networks' websites.
Cable providers will see further erosion of their hegemony if premium cable channels such as HBO allow us "streamers" to subscribe to their offerings without being a cable subscriber, as is now the case.
If McCain's bill doesn't hasten the inevitable, new technologies like Aereo and offerings from Amazon and Google will break the hegemony soon enough.
With all due respect, McCain doesn't go far enough. Yes, it is true that we have to buy channels we don't want, giving consumers little value and big bucks to the provider.
Competition between the cable TV companies might provide better service. Why should any city, including Los Angeles, give exclusive rights to any cable provider for entire neighborhoods? Just imagine if we had only one supermarket, one drugstore, one department store and one gas station. We'd become a "company town."
When it comes to cable TV, competition and choice in programming are the answer.
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