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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

Changing channels on choices on cable

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Now here's an idea that should please virtually everyone. Well, maybe not the entire cable television industry but it would come as welcome news for the rest of us.

There are discussions under way in Congress that would force cable television providers to allow customers to pay for only the channels they want on cable instead of forcing them to buy "packages" of channels.

Parents with small children, for example, may want some selected cartoon channels or Discovery channel but want to exclude some "racy" channels. Sports fans may be interested in a host of sports-related channels but have absolutely no interest in fashion, cartoons or old movies. The options are endless.

Up until now, the cable industry has fought the a la carte idea for programming selection. They "package" programs that you want with others that you are forced to buy. That breeds resentment among consumers, it's costly and it often brings channels into your home that you simply don't want.

The driving force behind this change centers around parents who want to better monitor the viewing choices of their small children. I suspect there would be no better way than to allow parents the choice of which channels come into their homes.

Cable industry insiders fear that the a la carte move may doom some channels who attract a small audience and thus, attract small advertising. But if that's the result then so be it.

There are channels that I now receive - just like you - that don't offend me but I simply don't watch their programming. I don't resent the channels being on the air but they don't match my wants or needs and thus, I do resent having to pay for them. I think we're all in the same boat when it comes to that issue.

Congress seems determined, the FCC is slowly coming on-board and now the cable industry is resisting less than in the past. Who knows? Someday soon you may actually have the ability to select each and every channel that you want and pay for only those channels. It seems like such a common sense idea that you wonder why it hasn't happened before.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen