Friday, August 23, 2013

The Great Non-Blackout of 2013

From Variety:
The current CBS blackout on Time Warner Cable systems in New York, L.A. and Dallas, now in its 21st day, is only the latest and highest-profile spat that illustrates a chronic problem with the current retransmission-consent system, American Cable Assn. prexy Matt Polka wrote in a letter Thursday to the Federal Communications Commission. 
“Without action by policymakers to change the laws governing these negotiations there will undoubtedly be many more blackouts,” Polka said in the letter to FCC interim chairman Mignon Clyburn. 
As a remedy, the ACA proposed that the FCC adopt a rule mandating that broadcasters and pay TV operators continue to offer a broadcast station’s signal to consumers after an existing retrans-consent agreement expires, while the terms of a new agreement are worked out. A cable or satellite operator would pay rates under the previous contract, with a retroactive “true-up” once a new deal is signed.
I don't know about New York and Dallas, but pretty much everybody in L.A. can still get CBS for free just like they always could. Channel 2 is one of the region's strongest signals. I know this from personal experience (with my TV and my laptop) and from visiting family and acquaintances who have switched to OTA. From Whittier to Santa Monica, from North Hollywood to Watts and Torrance and points in between, it's one of the easiest channels to pick up. Pretty much everybody in L.A. can not only get CBS, often using plain forty-year-old non-amplified rabbit ears; they can get a better picture than the one they're paying Time Warner for.

1 comment:

  1. In some ways I see my cable watching habits breaking into two groups. One are shows I want to watch in batches and without commercial interruptions -- that would be my Amazon habit. The other is random channel surfing -- and broadcast cable is fine for that (and a lot cheaper).