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An update on our plans to cut the Satellite TV cord:

I contacted Dish to cancel their service. Their web site doesn’t have a link for doing this, so I e-mailed them. They replied, asking me to speak with a customer service rep to, “finalize the cancellation request.”

This was a little bothersome.

I called and got the, “Why are you canceling?” routine. I explained nicely that we watch only five or six channels. “Which channels do you watch?” I deflected that line of questioning, and asked again to cancel the service. She offered a discount on our monthly bill. I said no thanks. She then had to speak to her manager.

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Here’s an update to my plans to cut the cord from our satellite (cable) TV habit.

The Channel Master equipment arrived a week after I ordered it. The installation was easy. The connection instructions for the antenna and DVR+ weren’t like Apple’s “It just works,” but they weren’t bad. (For example, I needing a Phillips screwdriver to attach the antenna’s four feet.) The DVR+ has a sleek profile — nicer than I expected. Ditto for the antenna. Read More


We have DISH for “cable” (satellite) television. It’s a reliable service with good equipment, and we’ve been happy with it. But in the last year, DISH’s price started gnawing at us. After some online research and talking to friends, we agreed to consider giving up satellite/cable broadcast TV altogether.

We researched our alternatives. Here’s what we plan to do.

The DISH status quo

We have DISH’s Top 200 package, HBO, Starz, and HD channels; and two DISH Hopper HD DVRs. We have two Hoppers for odd reasons that I won’t go into here — when we cut the cord, we’ll return to using just one receiver.

The “Top 200″ package was the smallest one that gave us the channels we wanted. Thank you, cable channel bundling! We wanted HBO, and Starz came with it for free but we never watch it.

For all this, we pay DISH $125.13 monthly, including all fees and taxes. $12.00 of that is for the second Hopper, so for a fair comparison to the cord-cutting alternative, our service with only one receiver would cost us $113.13 monthly.
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Yesterday on ReadWriteWeb, Mike Berkley penned an article about Comcast’s impending battle with Hulu. He also gave a succinct description of the TV Everywhere ecosystem. There have been other articles about TV Everywhere, but in the spirit of less is more, Berkley’s well-chosen few words nicely summarized it.

Without defending the specific plans of Comcast and Time Warner, technology will soon give rise to TV Everywhere or something like it. Here’s the television landscape of the near future:

comcast_hulu_oct09a

Maybe TV Everywhere won’t entirely succeed. Maybe the associations (i.e., the columns in this graphic) won’t have exactly these entities, or the payment systems won’t work quite as envisioned. It can be hard to forecast what consumers will or won’t accept, or precisely how money will change hands. Still, a new distribution model with this general shape is “duh” obvious. And every entity here will be happier with fewer hops between the content and consumer, because fewer hops means fewer slices in the money pie.

There’s a reason you don’t see any television affiliates, such as KOMO or KING, in the TV Everywhere ecosystem. It’s because television affiliates become road kill. They don’t have a place in this brave new world. And they have no allies. In fact, they’re already dead, but their fearless leaders don’t yet realize it.

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Clearing the mental attic of some odds and ends…

A little bird told me that Fisher Communications is up for sale. I have no idea if this is true. But interestingly, Fisher filed an 8-K on August 24, notifying the SEC of changes in its top executives’ Change of Control agreements. From its preamble:

The Board believes it is imperative to diminish the inevitable distraction of the Executive arising from the personal uncertainties and risks created by a pending or threatened Change of Control, to encourage the Executive’s full attention and dedication to the Company currently and in the event of any threatened or pending Change of Control, and to provide the Executive with reasonable compensation and benefit arrangements upon a Change of Control.

IANAL, but the document indicates that in the event of a change in control, Colleen Brown will receive 2x her annual salary plus any optional bonuses then in effect, and other execs will get 1x their annual salaries plus their optional bonuses. These terms are generous, in my experience.

If you know anything about this, drop me a line at john at seeknuance dot com. Or if you prefer, tack on a comment to this post.

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