A quick look at this New York Times list of streaming options for cord-cutters reveals that the con game that is your dreaded, overpriced cable and satellite television bundle is now attempting to resurrect itself on the medium that threatens its very extinction: streaming.
Sure, the monthly cost is cheaper (for now) but in some cases, not by much.
Dish Network’s Sling TV – $20 a month
CHANNELS: About 20 channels are available in the core package, including ESPN, TBS, the Disney Channel, AMC and TNT. Additional add-on packs are available for sports, lifestyle, children’s programming and news for an extra $5 a month each.
Sony’s PlayStation Vue – Starts at $49.99 a month
CHANNELS: More than 50 channels will be available in the starter package, which includes broadcast networks like CBS, Fox and NBC. Included cable networks will be USA, TBS, Fox News, Discovery, TNT, FX, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and MTV. (AMC will be available in April.) Other tiers, for an additional $10 or $20, will offer regional sports channels and entertainment networks.
Apple TV*- Likely $20-40 a month
CHANNELS: Apple is in talks to include broadcast networks ABC, CBS and FOX, along with a lineup of cable networks like ESPN and Discovery Channel. The total number of networks and exact offerings have yet to be determined.
Just as we saw with cable television, the buy-in is usually at an attractive price. Then the providers boil us frogs by slowly creeping the price right back up to $150 a month for a bunch of channels we do not watch.
The worst part is that this puts us right back in the position where we are subsidizing content we do not watch and — in the case of MSNBC, CNN, and MTV, etc. — subsidizing propaganda that relentlessly denigrates and attacks us.
Will Streamers fall for this?
This is going to depend on what Streamers are looking for. If it is just about the convenience of streaming (especially to devices) and having all your desired programs stored in the Cloud, probably so.
With the Streaming TV option, though, comes all the things we hate about cable television, and not just the cost. The biggie is commercials. Ad-wise, your streaming bundle will be no different than your cable bundle. It is still going to be 10 minutes of ads constantly interrupting every 20 minutes of content. Why would that change when the same cable channels are merely being made available through streaming?
Another major difference will be competition. Cable and satellite are the only game in town. The cost of both is pretty much the same. The business model is exactly the same: force us into high-priced packages that make us pay for networks we don’t watch.
These Apple and PlayStation and Sling bundles will not be the only game in town. There will always be Netflix and Amazon and other options to flee to.
Cable TV is socialism. Regardless of how much of the product we actually use, we all pay the same price. The result is that the masses (customers) are gouged why the elite few (Hollywood) get fabulously richer. This is only possible because of restricted competition.
Streaming is the free market; one that allows you to have limitless choices. In order to be a Streaming supplier, you do not need to build and maintain a costly cable or satellite infrastructure. The cable that could only supply one sources of television can no, through the Internet, supply limited sources.
Obviously, the left-wing content providers in Hollywood are going to do everything they can to move the bundle monopoly to streaming. Let’s just hope Americans don’t fall for this con a second time.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC