The High Cost of Cable and Satellite TV Service in the USA

Pay-TV, Cable, Satellite, Antenna
Satellite dish and antenna

In the past, all I needed to do find something to write about was check out a TV show or log onto Facebook, Twitter, or some blogs or news feeds online. But, anymore, I am finding  doing that to be more and more difficult, especially since every other post or TV news program that I see is either bashing Clinton, Trump, or their supporters  . So, today, I decided to look around to see if I could find something with a little more meat in it. That’s when I stumbled upon John Rampton’s, and some of his posts caught my eye. One of the first, published earlier this year was “Top 10 Alternatives to Cable.” Since I used to take phone calls for one of the biggest TV service providers in the USA, I wanted to voice my opinion about this as well.

One of the funniest lines that I saw in John’s blog was the first line; “Gone are the days of shelling out an average of $64 per month for a cable package full of junk that you’ll never watch.” John referenced this article about pay-TV price hikes outpacing inflation. I have a mid-range satellite TV package and only pay for one premium – HBO (which is their most expensive premium, but still). My channels alone, (including HBO) cost $99.89, and I chose this package, because it is the only one that includes all six channels that I watch.

Isn’t that sad – $99.89, just so that I can watch six channels? But, that’s not the half of it. Someone else in this house is a huge sports fan, so seasonally, those sports package charges add up as well (which is why he finally gave them up this year). Then, with my two HD/DVR receivers and the taxes included, my monthly bill comes to $150.00. If I drop my package down to their least expensive (which they don’t even advertise), but kept everything else the same, I’d be looking at about a $97.00 per month bill. And, if I remove one of my receivers, my bill will only be $7.00 less, regardless of the package.

Most of the people who called into my line were not young. Most of my callers were actually retirees who spent most of their lives only having to pay for electrical service and buy a television, an outdoor antenna, an indoor antenna, a wire hanger, a box of aluminum foil, a pair of pliers to watch their TVs. But even the cable and satellite bills for those who switched over before the digital conversion were never as high as they have been in recent years.

High Cost of Pay-TV

According to a 2014 article on The Motley Fool, the cost of cable TV has increased 188% since the mid-1990s. So, yes, whereas, we used to get free TV that we only had to pay for when we made a pledge to our local PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) station, we now have to pay for all of them, because the monthly content fees that each station charges to our service providers are trickled down to us (Oops! So sorry if you don’t like trickle-down economics. But, that’s the way the cookie crumbles). However, the good news now, as John Rampton mentioned on his blog, is that we are finally being enabled to “cut the cord.”

When my son turned 20 last December, I rented him an apartment and paid for his electric, water, Satellite TV, Internet, and phone service as a birthday/Christmas present until he could take over the payments a few months later. But, my son, who had always had a TV in his room, has never really liked or watched much TV. But, when he does watch a show or a movie, he prefers to watch it on the computer – which is how many people, including my younger callers, are “watching TV” these days. Many of my callers talked about the different streaming services, but most either craved old-fashioned TV or going completely à la carte’.

I think that I would honestly like that as well, because otherwise, as I mentioned earlier, I am paying $150.00 per month for Investigation Discovery, Destination America, Fox News, HBO On-Demand, CBS, and TNT (which won’t even matter once “Rizolli and Isles” goes off the air, but I digress). My boyfriend watches ESPN, MLB, NHL, NFL, and Game Show Network. So, most of that $150.00 is a lot of hard-earned money wasted just to be able to watch the approximately 14-21 hours of TV that we do watch each week. But, as the daughter of a (now deceased) newspaper journalist, editor, and photographer, I cannot stand to be without my Fox News. It isn’t that I won’t watch the other Cable News channels or local channels (when Presidential candidates are not campaigning). All news outlets have a bias. But, I just really don’t like them as much as I like Fox News.

I don’t like Spanish channels on my TV either. Even though there is no official language in the USA, our primary language is English – which just happens to be the official language of at least 33 of our states, and there are about 319 other languages (not including Klingon) spoken in the world as well. So, it really only makes sense to have English-speaking channels included in English-speaking packages here in the States – especially since I can’t get a Spanish-speaking satellite with English-speaking channels on it (but the Spanish speaking community can have their cake [separate satellite dish for Spanish programming] and eat it too [an English-speaking satellite with Spanish channels included]). Since they do not include Cherokee or anything else (other than Spanish) in English-speaking packages, they should not include Spanish in them either. After all, they are English-speaking packages, don’t you know?