Cable meters and tuning out our future
by Vegaman_Dan - 6/4/08 10:12 AM
In Reply to: Cable by the hour by Aeirlys
I've had cable service in the past that had cable meters that could detect if there was a television on and putting a draw on the system. If you had the TV on, you were billed like any other utility. If it was off, you saved money.
With over the air broadcasting, broadcasters only made money if they sold advertising. In order to sell advertising they had to provide viewers with content that they would want to tune in for. That was the only money involved.
With cable, there is no need for this. You are paying whether or not you view any broadcast at all. There really isn't any incentive for cable providers or broadcasters to provide anything worth watching since you're going to be paying for it regardless. The only real difference is which network gets the advertising dollars.
I would love to see cable meters and rate plans enforced. It would help in three critical areas:
1) Content would have to improved to make it worth watching TV again. If you only show drivel and I don't want to watch any of it, I just turn off the TV and don't pay a dime. Nobody makes any money unless they offer something worth watching.
2) Uptime: Currently if your cable goes down, the cable company will try to get out to you as soon as they can- in a day or two, maybe longer. There really isn't any need for them to come help you in a timely manner- you're paying for the service even if you aren't able to receive it. Treat it like the power company- you pay for what you use. Imagine if the power company decided to adopt the cable provider's model and started charging you a base amount of power they thought you would use even if you never turned on a light the entire time.
3) TV as a babysitter. We have an entire generation of people growing up today who know more about what is happening on American Idol than they do about the current presidential election (okay, so maybe even the two political parties don't know much about what is going on either, but the fact remains). Kids are placed in front of the television as a babysitter and don't really let their creativity grow from entertaining themselves or learning about the world about them.
We could all benefit from turning the TV off now and then, from financial savings to the enlightenment of our children.
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