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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 16, 2011 11:17 AM. The previous post in this blog was It isn't just Citizens United. The next post in this blog is Notes from the slop bucket. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gouge-finity TV

We just got our cable and internet bill, and it's up 5.37% over the previous month, for the same service. It's Comcraptastic!

Comments (27)

This is why we unplugged last spring.
500 channels and we actually watch 2 or 3. It just wasn't worth it; we a whole lot more these days.

I just noticed the same price increase. I'm switching to DirecTV. "Free" NFL pass with a new subscription.

Wow, that sucks. Unfortunately, its the only TV/Internet option I have.

I suspect it is because Comcast is going to have to pay a lot more to get broadcast rights to the NBA games this year.

We pray for the day when there is viable competition to Comcast--can't happen soon enough.

At some point I'm unplugging and switching to Roku. No sense in paying $100/month for stuff you can get for less than $20 online.

Have FiOS here. Still works great, no rate increases.

The biggest problem is having a cable regulatory agency that is basically a lapdog for Comcast and having no viable way to check rates or force Comcast to unbundle unwanted channels. They could save a ton of money just by stopping the barrage of junk mail I get each week pleading for me to sign up. If our regulators had a backbone they'd be clamping down on the advertising expense.

While I concur with not liking rate increases, I find the service, phone, data, and tv excellent. When the price overwhelms my perception of the value I will vote with my feet.

I'm ready to unplug the Cable TV as well. I've got the tier just above basic so I can get a few of the channels in the 40's and 50's range. The rest however, is junk. Anyone remember the days when one of the selling points to cable was the lack of commercials. Surf through the channels anytime of the day and half of them are broadcasting some commerical. I resent having to pay to watch someone try to sell me something.

Unfortunately I need the high speed internet for work.

I built a Home Theatre PC for use at home. Runs Hulu Desktop and streams my downloaded shows and backed up DVD's. Controlled via cheap remote, looks like another piece of A/V equipment.

It can record OTA HD content and perform DVR capabilities.

Add in my pictures and music (Pandora), plus weather, games, etc and it tells Comcast to take a hike.

Worked so well, I built 4 more for the rest of the house and my garage/shop. Cost a couple hundred all told thanks to recycling old PC parts.

I use Qwest for internet.

There are options out there. If you're interested, I can tell you how I built it and maybe help you build one for yourself.

Stefan

There is rarely anything worth watching on cable these days. TCM and couple other movie channels. I agree with PDXlexus..wasn't the point of cable to be commercial free?

Viable options ?
There are at least three, you can do as Stefan has and build a setup to stream media from the internet.
Or you can avail yourself of the two sat dish TV providers.

Hey, that sounds like the Lake Oswego Water Department! Same sewer service, more than double the price!

Re: "I'm switching to DirecTV."

Brendan,

Although DirecTV was sold by the respect-for-privacy-challenged Murdoch empire between 2006 and 2009, it has created problems of its own. You might find time to review some of them here:

"Washington State's Attorney General civil complaint

On December 14, 2009 the Washington Attorney General's office filed a civil complaint against this company seeking injunctive and other relief. The complaint was filed in the public interest when the Attorney General's office determined after a one year investigation by its Consumer Protection Division, that the company allegedly engaged in numerous repeated violations of the state’s Consumer Protection Act.

The complaint alleges unfair or deceptive practices which include, but are not limited to unclear disclosures concerning rebate terms and conditions, unclear and/or unfair advertising for use of the term 'free;' automatically extending contracts when customers require equipment repairs, upgrade equipment or move; failing to disclose finance terms and conditions that the company’s least expensive package of $29.99 per month is only available to customers who meet certain financing conditions and agree to have the costs automatically charged or debited. The suit also alleged that some cancellation fees accessed by the company were considered to be unfair, and that the company unfairly retained consumer deposits made to obtain services. Those who cancel service prior to the end of their contract lose part of the deposit and may also be charged cancellation fees.

The Attorney General’s Office is asking the court to compel DirecTV to change its business practices, impose civil penalties and provide restitution for consumers. The case is currently pending.

* Since these complaints have been filed, DirecTV's customer service support departments nationwide and abroad have been provided with clear directives to continue to disclose DirecTV's policies concerning lease agreements and consumer contractual obligations. All inquiring customers have the right to decline service with the company if not in agreement with these policies prior to activation. These disclosures are provided to consumers upon inquiry regarding new services, in order that the customer may submit to said agreements in compliance with DirecTV's policies. This information is also readily available on the company's website in the disclosure and agreement section listed below all packaged advertisements. All advertised pricing is based upon offers pending credit approval, which DirecTV maintains is the standard to obtain new service.

* Any credit not approved upon setting up a new account may be able to access an unapproved credit offer which maintains a customer may still have the ability to lease up to 2 standard receivers only and the package of their choosing. All existing terms and agreements apply upon activation of a new DirecTV account.

California class action lawsuit

In September 2008, consumers filed a class action lawsuit with the Los Angeles Superior Court to stop DirecTV's practice of charging early cancellation penalties to subscribers. The lawsuit claims that DirecTV fails to disclose the penalty to new customers or to existing customers who replace their equipment or add a new receiver, and that these practices are unlawful. In September 2009, a motion for a preliminary injunction was filed to block the company from automatically removing the fees from customers’ bank accounts or charging their credit card accounts without their prior knowledge and written consent until the lawsuit is resolved.

Telemarketing violations

In December 2005 the U.S. Federal Trade Commission imposed a $5.3 million penalty on DirecTV for its violations of federal telemarketing regulations. It was the largest civil penalty the FTC had ever announced in a case enforcing any consumer protection law.

Better Business Bureau Review

In August 2008, The Boston Globe reported that DirecTV received 20,000 complaints in less than three years to the Better Business Bureau on DirecTV slipping in cancellation fees.

As of June 2010, the Better Business Bureau gives DirecTV an F rating.

As of June 2010, the 36-month running count of complaints about DirecTV logged with the Better Business Bureau is 39,292, including 8,275 with a response of 'Full refund' or 'Partial refund', 15,519 with a response of 'Agreeing to perform according to their contract', 15,085 with a response of 'Refuse to adjust, relying on terms of agreement', and 405 with a response of 'Refusing to make an adjustment'."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DirecTV

There are at least three, you can do as Stefan has and build a setup to stream media from the internet.
Or you can avail yourself of the two sat dish TV providers.

Not where I am in Beav. What three are you talking about? The only cable providers I know of in the area are Comcast and Frontier FIOS. I rent, so satellite is out, and FIOS isnt available in my neighborhood.
So for regular, current shows I want to watch, the only option is Comcast for me.

And internet streaming...only 2 or 3 of the shows I like to watch are available online (legally).

Has a regulatory agency EVER refused a rate increase of a monopoly?

I know that I could probably save a few bucks by getting separate deals for phone, internet, and cable but the hassle of dealing with 3 separate entities and then having to constantly monitor if they still are the best deal is not worth it - YET

When I tried to get rid of my Comcast cable service, it made my Comcast internet service more expensive...so having a basic cable package, whether I want it or not, 'saves' me on my internet service. And I could not find better, cheaper alternatives for internet at my rental apartment...so I still have basic cable.

Alternative - Opt for basic basic basic cable (local and Discovery) and high-speed internet.

Sorry, add-on it's less than $45/month and you can get Netflix streaming for $8/month.

Boycott big media and other dealers in digital heroin... play a guitar, or Scrabble®.


I think you can now get the local TV station broadcasts in HD using an outdoor antenna. (What'll they think of next?) Because it's digital, you either get it (in which case the picture is nice and clear) or you don't. There are no in-betweens.

It's the same with all the telecoms. The one you hate most is the one that's lied to you and overbilled you most recently. Switch providers and after a while, you'll feel the same about the new one as you did about the old one.

I hung an outdoor antenna in my attic over twenty years ago and never needed cable service. It is still working great with all the local channels including HD. I get ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, FOX, ION, KNMT, KRCW, KPDX, along with all their affiliated non-HD channels like THIS, etc. More channels than I have time to watch.

I read that Comcast is expected to go under in the next couple years. Last year they lost over 400,000 mores customers than they gained. I recently switched to the "Bare Bones" cable, phone, internet which was supposed to save me about $35 per month. All they did was raise my mystery fee's and box rental so now I am paying almost the same per month for half the service.

Jack,

Did you paw through the envelope that your bill arrived in? I did (I refuse to be "green" when it comes to billing), and what I found was a blurb that says they're increasing internet speed. Probably to soften the rate hit.

As with all things Comcast, it isn't exactly an automatic boost, but it is noticeable. In case you recycled your blurb, here's what you need to do:

Shut down the computer.
Unplug the modem (and what they don't tell you to do is essential): Open the side-panel on the modem and remove the backup battery - otherwise, the capacitors won't discharge and the modem will retain its original configuration - meaning you end up with doodly-squat.

Wait a few minutes for the caps to discharge, then reverse everything: backup battery goes into its slot, cover-plate securedplug modem back in and wait for the indicators to light up (takes about a minute, though they claim it's only 30 seconds - it's not). Boot your system.

Download speed should be improved by at least 3 MB/sec - which may not seem like much, but it is noticeable.


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Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
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Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
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Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
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L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
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Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
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Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
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Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
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Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
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Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
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Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
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Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
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Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
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William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
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David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
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David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
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