Monday, December 26, 2005

Cutting Costs?

I was intrigued with the FCC's proposal that the time had become ripe for the cable industry to start offering its channels "a la-carte:" That is; let the customer decides which cable channels they need and therefore, pay accordingly.

But why stop there?

I am inclined to believe the time has indeed come for the cablemeter. This handy device will sit alonside your gas, electric and water meter and measure your usage of bits and bytes; and since there is upstream and downstream movements of digits, the meter will occilate for your monthly totals.

This is better than buying channels, because one would simply get a cable box from his provider, which would have no restrictions built into it. If for instance, one want to watch Showtime, Cinemax or whatever tickles his fancy, then let the good times roll; you literaly pay for what you use!

This is a neat idea but it probably won't fly for a number of reasons:

01: Cable companies would themselves baulk at the idea.

They'll cite the increase cost of providing a detail bill as a hinderance but nothing would be further from the truth. If a customer could see what he's paying for, then he would be in a position to fine tune his digital consumption.

02: Cities and states would try to regulate rates; states especially, which would set the rates and then allow its citizens to control rate-increases through the lobbying process.

03: The MPIAA & to a lesser extent, its ugly twin, the RIAA would object. Their objection would be based on the people's freedom and right to record any show they so desire.

This is a short sighted idea of course because the cablemeter is the ultimate subscription idea for these folks.

04: The FCC would start micro-managing the cable industry. This is a bad idea, given the propensity for people to throw their weight around.

05: The big five news outlets would cry foul because they would further be relegated to the side lines.

Who needs Disney-ABC, MSNBC, Viacon-CBS, Fox & PMS-CNN at the same time?

Any of these outlets would do because they all show the same thing in a twenty minute cycle.

The above five points are not necessarily the end of objections but on the plus side, the idea of a cablemeter have very good appeal. The cablemeter is simply a device to measure usage of a service; that's all.

The internal box sitting on top of the television is another matter. It can be standardized and open to other manufacturers. In addition to having the usual stuff, this box can be enhanced with a built-in recorder, internet radio interface capability, built in DVD/CD player...

The possibilties are endless as I imagine the remote for one of these babies.

Sweet!

PS: It goes without saying that both C-Span channels would continue to be offered for free. We, the people need all the help that we can get to keep track of all the chincanery that our highly esteemed congress has up its sleeve!

1 Comments:

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2:37 AM  

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