Is Apple out to kill cable television?

Apple Store“Last week I came to the realization that with Netflix and iTunes, I would be able to cut out the $50 portion of my cable TV bill and ditch the 80 or so channels I never watch, including 3 shopping channels, 3 sports channels, 6 family channels, numerous foreign language channels, and one Lifetime Channel for Women that my fiance tortures me with. Farewell Melissa Gilbert, Rachael Ray, and Paula Deen! You are thus banished from my home,” Alan Graham blogs for ZDNet.

Graham writes, “I’m currently interested in about 6 shows, all of which it turns out I can get on iTunes. Plus, Netflix handles all of my movie needs. If I’m generous with my iTunes figures, it adds up to about $300 in purchases each year, versus the $600 I pay for all of the ‘variety’ that Comcast provides me. The old model of just piping junk into my home simply doesn’t make sense to me anymore.”

Graham writes, “I called Comcast and asked to disconnect the cable television part of my bill and just keep my high speed internet. They were very nice and said, no problem. They would be happy to do that.”

“Oh yeah…btw…we also have to cut your 6Mbps connection down to 3Mbps, and we’re gonna have to charge you more money for it. Or, we can offer you basic cable and you get to keep your high speed connection for just $64.”

Graham writes, “So wait, you are giving me the choice of charging me more money for less features, or charging me more money and giving me less value? I guess I’ll take what I don’t want…to keep what I do want. Thank goodness for deregulation!”

Graham writes, “Of course as long as companies like Comcast own the pipes, don’t expect any of this to change. But this experience got me thinking about Net Neutrality. What I wonder is, as services like iTunes, Joost, Netflix, and others begin to make greater inroads into the Comcast cash cow, and as the telecoms begin to provide cable tv options as well, will they be choking off the value of competing services by slowing down the pipes?”

Graham writes, “This seems like an anti-competitive tactic and is something we need to start looking closely at now. iTunes may be a juggernaut at the moment, but they can’t compete with Comcast and other cable/telecom companies, if they start choking off the connection. And that’s not just bad for Apple, Google, or Yahoo!, it hurts every other company out there, especially the smaller ones.”

More in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “BB” for the heads up.]

Tour of Apple’s new Apple TV (3:58):

Related articles:
ZDNet’s Graham: Apple TV hits a number of sweet spots, poised to make a big impact – January 25, 2007
RUMOR: Apple TV sales blowing away Apple’s internal expectations – January 25, 2007
Steve Jobs: Apple TV is the ‘DVD player for the 21st century’ – January 22, 2007
Apple TV beats out iPod, hits top spot on Apple Store sales chart – January 19, 2007
Report: first batch of 100,000 Apple TVs to ship this month – January 11, 2007
Steve Jobs moves to control the living room with Apple TV – January 10, 2007
Analyst Bajarin: Apple’s iPhone and Apple TV are industry game changers – January 09, 2007
Apple premieres Apple TV: movies, TV shows, music & photos on your big screen TV – January 09, 2007


  1. Congress voted yes to net neutrality not two weeks ago, so hopefully, Comcast should not be allowed to pull shit like this in the future.

    Also, I believe part of that bill stated that cable/satellite operators can no longer require that you use their set-top boxes. Instead, they may be required to provide a card of some sort that you can stick into any old set-top box (tivo, appleTV, etc) that would then authorize the box to decode cable/sat signals.

    Assuming I’m right about the details, and assuming it gets signed into law, this would be a very good thing indeed.

  2. The author must be a little myopic. All he had to do was say that he was going to get his video from satellite, and his internet from the telco and Comcast would have caved. I don’t have cable so it doesn’t matter to me, but a close friend does and that is what she did. She ended up with basic cable at $24.95 and high speed for $14.95 (Time Warner) with the prices good for the next 12 months.

  3. Hmmm. Good thing Google has a satellite network that they currently use only to power Google Earth. I bet that could provide a whole new high speed network. Isn’t the guy from Google on Apple’s board?

  4. I too took the no cable route. Netflix provides a great deal of content and much of it is collections of past TV programing. I had to go with a DSL provided over a land line, so, in a way I had to pick my poison. I took a land phone line and a DSL provider over a cable connection. In Seattle, and hopefully in many other places as well, there is a third, wireless internet feed option getting underway. We will see where that goes.

  5. Ditching cable TV certainly means you could go for satellite or DSL.

    Hopefully we will get more choices in the future. We currently pay over $110 for cable TV and internet, which is way too much. More competition the better for the end user.

  6. What Alan Graham said…might as well be me. I’m doing exactly the same thing. My Comcast bill went through the roof when I decided I wanted their HD. No more! Near DVD quality will have to do, for now.

    What Comcast offers in HD in my area is pitiful. Doesn’t even include the major networks.

  7. From: Gregg Thurman

    The author must be a little myopic. All he had to do was say that he was going to get his video from satellite, and his internet from the telco and Comcast would have caved.

    Yes, he could do that. But that’s beside the point. The point is, when he asks for a lesser set of services he should not be overcharged in order to punish him for not wanting cable tv.

    Why should he have to LIE to the telco, in order to get the just services *HE* wants?


    Apple offers the whole next season of LOST for $100, before a single episode is shown on network TV. I garauntee there would be thousands of people plopping down the money.

    possibilities folks… possibilities.

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