Thursday, March 5, 2015

Cable rate hike: Push coming to shove

Ah, when life was simpler
As it does annually, BendBroadband jacked up its cable TV rates by $4 per month for the Essentials tier to $57.99 and upped its internet rate by $1 to $42.99 for the Bronze package.

So, for $5 more per month, or $100.98, we're "Keeping Up With the Kardashians," marveling at "Duck Dynasty," and praying with BYU-TV.

Yes, we do get Comedy Central, Turner Classic Movies and ESPN along with the Pac-12 Networks, but, really, there isn't much to watch on those 179 "channels" for $57.99 per month.

The alternatives out there, though, aren't great.

Satellite TV has a much lower introductory rate, but it takes forever just to change channels or figure out where they are. Plus, the internet that the satellite companies offer is DSL through the phone company. That's definitely a step backward.

The internet is far more important to my life than cable TV.

Streaming content from the internet is getting more attractive.

Yet, by getting rid of cable TV, I would have to pay the unbundled internet rate of $52.99 per month. That would only buy me download speeds of 15 Mbps. To get 25 Mbps, the rate jumps to $62.99 per month.

And then there is the problem of actually streaming content to my 15-year-old, 80-pound CRT television.

Most streaming devices, from Blu-Ray DVD players to Google Chromecast to Roku 3 to Apple TV, use either HDMI or USB connections, which my old TV does not have.

Okay, just get a new TV. They're so "cheap."  A Samsung 50-inch internet-ready, flat-screen TV goes for about $500.

But, that would mean I'd have to get rid of my current entertainment center because any new TV screen wouldn't fit in it.

Not a big deal, but then I have to find a place to put all the DVDs, VHS tapes and CDs that we've accumulated over the years. I'd also have to get a new stereo to be compatible with the TV. I've already boxed up my LPs and put them in the garage.

And, if we're going to go through all trouble of moving the entertainment center out of the den, we might as well get new carpet, which we haven't changed in decades.

I'd also have to buy a credenza on which to put the new TV.

Yes, streaming leads to a multitude of issues.

There is the Roku 2, which would connect to my current TV, and it costs about $65.

Of course, not all streaming content is free and we'd have to pay for some of the stuff out there. We're already paying for Netflix, which really doesn't have great content.

Or, we could just get out the rabbit ears again, dust off the digital converter box and hope that we can get a couple of channels over-the-air. However, we live in a section of Bend that doesn't get great reception.

Or, just forget TV. Life will go on without it.


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