Frugal Friday: Taking Aim at Cable Companies
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Happy Friday everyone! I was reading an article that I found on the Washington Post earlier this week and wanted to pass along some of the info. to my readers. The article is related to the costs associated with having either Cable TV or Satellite TV. My desire is to not start a debate on the sense of paying for cable TV as it can be divisive in the PF blogosphere. Mrs. Frugal Rules and I have DirecTV and are not at the point of canceling it. Our bill is fairly low, on average, and there is no other way…right now to get the sports we like to watch without having some sort of TV package. We run a very tight ship otherwise and feel that it’s ok to have something you spend money on that you enjoy. That said, if we were to find someone that would offer us the ability to watch the sports we want without the cost of cable, we would definitely listen. Ok, end discussion on that as that’s not the purpose or intent of this post. The intent of today’s post is our rights as consumers and what we should have be able to access.
The new company featured in this article caught my attention. The article highlights a fairly new company, called Aereo, that’s aiming to further dilute the landscape of the television broadcasting industry. Aereo has been around for two years and is expanding their service to Washington DC and 21 other metro areas this summer. What they do is use antennas to capture the public airwaves and then deliver it into homes that have internet connections. Mind you, these are public airwaves that anyone with an antenna can try to capture. They are simply doing it on a grander scale and capturing broadcasts of all the major networks plus two dozen other channels. What they’re focusing on is local news and sporting events. Sporting events, from what I have seen, are one of the top reasons why many do not give up their cable packages, so this caught my eye right away. How much are they charging for all of this you say…packages start at a measly $10 per month! Not only is their pricing plan awesome, but they also give the capability to record programming and pause live action TV. The article goes on to state that Aereo’s vision is to develop a product that’ll allow consumers to pay for only what they want to watch…novel idea, I know! I read an article like this and I think to myself that if a company like this can take their idea to the greater marketplace it can be a win-win for the consumer…but does everyone think this way?
I think that many would champion a company like Aereo. They’re a startup that wants to bring a product to the masses and do it in a fairly frugal manner so all can win. Sadly, not all view it this way. What Aereo is running into is the massive television programming and distribution industry that is seeing a growing decline in people using its services. Ultimately, Aereo and companies like it make the fat cats in major media firms a little less fat. They have been sued by the likes of News Corp (the parent company of Fox) and others as being a content thief. This makes me, as a consumer, just shake my head. What Aereo is doing is simply bringing what’s already available on the public airwaves and giving the availability to deliver it to any home with an internet connection. I can understand, to a certain extent, media firms’ ire that they’ll be losing money. However, they should have adapted years ago in order to offer a better product. They see the growing popularity of services like Netflix or Hulu and see someone else come in on their turf and want it to stop. While the fat cats worry about losing more customers to further pad their bottom lines, we as consumers lose out when there are fewer options. Thankfully, several courts have seen the ridiculousness of the lawsuits and have found in Aereo’s favor. However the big boys have not stopped their dogged pursuit of Aereo. There is now banter that they might seek Congressional support, or simply become pay channels. At the end of the day, I see this as an issue bigger than if you should pay for cable TV or not. I view this as a consumer issue that we all should be concerned about, because if media firms can get Congressional aid/protection then we all have bigger issues.
Ok, on to more important things. There were some great blog posts this week. I always hate narrowing them down, but it has to be done. We had a crazy busy week so I did not get to as many blog posts as I would’ve liked, but was able to find some good ones out of what I read.
Blog Post of the Week
Time is Money – What Are You Sacrificing for Money? on Monster Piggy Bank
I absolutely loved this post by Glen. To quote Glen, “As I am getting older, it is becoming more and more apparent that my time is a valuable thing, it isn’t something that I can get a refund on if it doesn’t turn out the way I wanted it to – once it’s spent, it’s spent.” As I get older and experience more of life, I see myself thinking the same basic thing. You can almost always find more ways to either make or save money, but you can’t really make more time. By putting things off to “later in life” have you really considered when that will be or how it will look? If not, I encourage you to read Glen’s post.
Other Blog Posts That Ruled
How a 17 Year Old Prepares for Her Financial Future on Reach Financial Independence
Life, Money and Retirement: Skype Doesn’t Reach Heaven on Canadian Budget Binder
Proposal to Limit Retirement Account Balances: Good or Bad? on Money Life and More
What Apple Inc. Can Do With Its Cash Flow Problem on Critical Finance
Just Say Thank You! A Guide to Accepting Compliments on Student Debt Survivor
Face Retirement Head On on Retire By Forty
Odd Search Terms
Are penny stocks worth investing in? No, scratch off tickets offer much better return!
Best ways to sue a company and get rich…Pour hot coffee on yourself!
Can we buy fruit by the box at Wal-Mart…I wouldn’t advise it!
Cheap low cost frugal inexpensive bargain budget marked down savings thrifty…Apparently you’re not frugal with words!
How to console oneself after a stock market loss…Go spend a bunch of money (I kid, I kid)
I have $20,000 in savings and $5,000 cc debt…Pay that sucker off!
Why get rich quick…Because it’s so easy!
I’m trying to save money…Great! Now turn that trying into doing!
When does Wal-Mart deli stop selling chicken…I wasn’t aware that was ACTUALLY chicken!
What are your thoughts? Would you try out a company like Aereo if it were available in your area? Do you think they’re content thieves? Have a great weekend everyone!
Photo courtesy of: Popitz