Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Rebooting with a Shout Out to Comcast
Having taking time away from Telefrieden I have seen how blogs often have much to offer than the short web links available from Twitter and Facebook entries. On the other hand blog take much more time and effort to get right, and I have lost confidence that they matter much. There’s just so much noise everywhere and so little truth.
But truth telling—or at least my sense of it—enervates. It’s quite difficult trying to set the record straight. I have found myself too much the winge, so as I reboot I’ll try to offer snapshots of the future rather than a reiteration of the often miserable present.
Toward that end I’ve got to praise Comcast for finding a way to convert (minor pun) terminal adapter leasing from a necessary evil into a profit center. Comcast recently received FCC authority to encrypt the basic tier thereby reducing the number of truck rolls and piracy. The FCC required Comcast to make available digital to analog converters, but did not specify the commercial terms for their lease. Comcast offered two free of charge for a few months and then slipped in a $1.99 rental fee.
I’m not sure how much the little Pace converters cost, but I’ll hazard to guess that Comcast will make money on a $1.99 lease. So very smart and capitalist of Comcast. But in doing so the company has all but encouraged me to rediscover off air, broadcast television free of the cable, at least for the supplemental television sets widely distributed in many homes.
The possibility exists that Comcast has contributed to consumers’ doubts about the value position of cable, particularly when companies like Comcast have no interest in cable ready, true two-way sets, operating without company-leased and controlled boxes. If I cannot justify a set top box, or converter lease for the third and fourth televisions in the house, I may reassess the lease and subscription for the first two sets. At least I know how to retrofit for the old standby of off air television reception. Hats off to Comcast for the nudge.