Displaying either a remarkable lack of awareness about their current disadvantageous position, or a panicky, get-whatever-money-we-can-get-while-the-gettings-good mentality, cable companies are disingenuously declaring that a recent FCC ruling that would rise the price of your cable bill is a “win for consumers”.
The FCC Ruling
Put simply, the new FCC ruling allows cable companies to encrypt basic channel services. Where you were once able to watch your local news on your HDTV without a pricey cable bill by simply plugging the cable straight into your television, now you’ll need a set-top box or other similar equipment to unscramble those channels for you. In fact, you’ll need one set-top box per television.
The ruling does say that, for up to two years, cable providers must provide their customers with one or two complimentary set-top boxes, but these complimentary boxes need not be HD-compatible. Additionally, if you have more than two televisions, you’ll need to rent the extra boxes for the price of $10 a month each.
So how can the FCC and cable companies spin this as a win for consumers? Well, this ruling allows cable companies to activate or deactivate your service without having to send a cable guy over. Yes, that’s their whole sales pitch.
Does that sound like a weak premise for a ruling that will cost customers more money? Does it seem like cable companies are trying to hold you upside down and shake you until the changes falls out of your pockets?
What You Can Do
There are a handful of ways to circumvent the effects of this new rule (Lifehacker recommends a one-time, $35 investment in an indoor antenna, among other things), but we’re going to go with what we’ve been endlessly recommending on this blog: cut the cable cord. It’s that simple.
Streaming media devices like Rokus, Apple TVs, Boxees are making expensive cable packages obsolete. Why shell out over a hundred dollars a month (sometimes well over) when all that you need to do is buy a Roku once and fill it with cheap subscription service channels like Netflix, Fandor, Crackle, and Hulu Plus?
This is not a new idea anymore, and it’s the reason cable companies are trying to shake you down for an extra $20-$30 a month through inane rulings built on flimsy premises. Consumers have found a new way, and the cable companies are getting hysterical instead of adapting.
FlashRouters can help make this transition as smooth as possible for you. We offer the top streaming media devices from AppleTV to Rokus, as well as routers upgraded with DD-WRT or Tomato firmware to improve streaming media performance, either of which ensure a streaming media experience that is free of aggravating stalls and/or freezes. Act now before the FCC and cable companies find a new way to run up your bill.