If you were living in Massachusetts a few years back, you might remember that Comcast was offering what seemed to be a screaming deal: a $99 lock-in rate plan. I say "seemed to be," because Comcast's advertised $99 price didn't include the cost of renting equipment and the fact that, as we're talking about Comcast here, there were a number of additional fees that could (and often did) appear on a subscriber's bill at the end of the month, for reasons only Comcast understood.
Did I mention that escaping the rate plan set folks back $240 for killing their contract with the company early? No? Well, it totally did. The state's Attorney General, Maura Healey, felt that this was bullshit of the first order. Her office did something about it.
Comcast will cancel the debts of more than 20,000 customers and pay back $700,000 in Massachusetts as part of a settlement with the state’s Attorney General over deceptive advertising. Back in 2015 and early 2016, the cable giant advertised a $99 lock-in rate for plans that didn’t include equipment costs and had additional fees that could be jacked up at any time.
As part of Comcast's settlement with the state, they'll be forced to fork over refunds to anyone who paid the $240 early termination fee. They'll also be forced to forgive all outstanding unpaid early termination fees and related late fees that Massachusetts consumers incurred between January 2015 and March 2016. Comcast fully cooperated with the AG’s investigation. Read the rest
NOTE: The video has a strobe effect. Caution is advised if you are susceptible to seizures.
If you are of a certain age, you may remember the thrill of those fleeting moments of crystal clear video broadcast in a scrambled cable signal. If you're not of a certain age, now you can get a sense of the sufferings of your elders. Here's the scrambled pool scene from Fast Times at Ridgemont High from Tele1st in Chicago, but it could be from any 1980s motel. Read the rest
Current condition (via Mefi) is a website lurking in the airwaves and wires somewhere between teletext, those high-number cable channels that just play music and weather, and where the planes were in 19A0 or so. Read the rest
Silicon Valley has managed to break apart the long-locked cable TV bundle. On Thursday, The Federal Communications Commission okayed a proposal to let cable TV customers swap out their Comcast or TWC cable boxes for third-party boxes and applications.
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Naturally Apple's choice of optical audio-out cable is going to be a pain. Obviously, its not going to be one I'd just have around, that is not the Apple way! Rather than pay $30 plus at an Apple store or hifi audio boutique, this $6 cable does just fine for me.
If you want to use an Apple laptop or Airport Express as a streaming audio source, this cable will come in handy.
Monoprice 3-Feet Optical TosLink to Mini TosLink M/M 5.0mm OD Molded Cable via Amazon Read the rest
Charter Communications plans to acquire Time Warner Cable in a $78.7bn deal. The acquisition follows an earlier attempt by Comcast to buy TWC, a plan foiled by regulators worried about lack of competition in the market for high-speed internet.
The combined company will be the second-largest U.S. cable operator and the largest in Southern California. It will be the third-largest pay TV company in the U.S. behind Comcast and the planned AT&T-DirecTV. It would be the biggest player in such major markets as New York and L.A. Overall, the combined cable company would have 23.9 million total subscribers in 41 markets, compared with Comcast’s roughly 27 million customer relations as of the end of the first quarter.
Tl;dr together they will account for 34 percent of the US cable market, and still not be as big as that beast, Comcast, with 42 percent. Read the rest
Across the US, 31 communities have joined forces to make the dream of fast, affordable, and reliable gigabit-speed broadband a local reality. The Next Century Cities program, launched this week, hopes to defeat the forces holding broadband back. The 31 inaugural signatories are: Read the rest
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley and I have something in common—we both loathe the distinct lack of history present on The History Channel. Since January, the Senator has posted multiple complaints about this problem on his Twitter account. Reading them, I feel a kindred spirit. (Via Pourmecoffee) Read the rest
In this anti-cable TV campaign from the early 1970, theater operators agitate against the prospect of competition in their customers' own living rooms. The strategy: present its own prime product—movies for mature audiences—as something no-one would want to see at home. Brilliant!
"Monsters do have their place. In the zoo. In nightmares. In the deep. In your favorite horror movies. But not in your living troom, on your TV! Don't let pay TV be the monster in your living room. Pay TV and cable TV companies are seeking the right to charge you for the very programs that you now get free. If you want to stop pay TV and save free television ,sign the petition in the lobby of this theater. Let your lawmakers know how you feel in the fight against pay TV and cable TV."
[via J-walk] Read the rest