Thursday, January 5, 2012

New year, higher cable rates

We can expect this every January: Another big increase from our only cable provider, BendBroadband.

A year ago, we signed up for their "special" promotion and got internet and the "essentials" TV package for $75 a month.

Well, the promotion just ended and our new bill is $92 and that's before the annual increase. No, it doesn't include HBO or telephone service.

Next month, the bill rises to $97.20. Only $2.72 of that goes for taxes and fees. The lion's share of that is TV at $48.49 per month. Wow.

In this economy, it makes no sense to keep pushing rates up because there are options available for TV service.

No. 1 is cut the cable TV portion, put up rabbit ears and enjoy high-definition TV, but with just a handful of channels. Supplement that by cranking up the laptop to watch The Colbert Report and The Daily Show.

No. 2: Scale back cable TV to the "limited" level, for about $23 a month, which is basically what you get with an antenna. Again, the laptop will be needed to watch the Comedy Central shows.

No. 3: Choose between Roku, Boxee or Blu-Ray DVD player with wi-fi. Too complicated.

No. 4: Go for the dish in satellite TV, but that brings in another level of cost and complexity that is really not worth it.

For us, it's either option  No. 1 or No. 2.

As we all know, no matter how many channels you have, it always seems as if there is nothing to watch on TV.

Cable companies don't offer a la carte service where TV viewers can choose the channels they want.

The internet does offer this flexibility and it is the direction in which all TV viewing is headed.

Unfortunately, it's all going to get more complicated until Apple or Google simplify this crazy world of TV. With Apple, you'll pay a premium. With Google, you won't.

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