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Looks like web TV is going to be as expensive as cable — unless you use an antenna

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Web-based TV services were supposed to cater to cord cutters and others looking for alternatives to the expensive cable bundle. Now it looks like as if these services are going to be just as pricey as cable. The New York Post reported Sunday that Sony is looking at a $60 to $80 price tag for its TV service, which is supposed to launch before the end of the year, according to the paper.

And [company]Dish[/company]’s internet TV service, which is likely going to be called Nutv, may not be that much cheaper — at least not if you want access to local channels as well. Dish is looking to offer broadcast channels like ABC and NBC for an extra fee on top of the basic subscription price, according to a Variety report.

Breaking out broadcast channels as a separate tier could help Dish to still cater to price-conscious consumers willing to go the extra mile: The company may offer cable channels like Comedy Central as part of its streaming service, and ask consumers to instead get an antenna capable of receiving broadcast channels like NBC for free if they don’t want to pay extra for these local channels. Dish has already struck deals with Disney, A+E Networks and Scripps Networks, and is reportedly targeting a monthly subscription fee of $30 or less.

It’s unclear how much a premium local channels would represent, and whether broadcasters are even willing to split up their networks in this way. Traditionally, broadcasters have tied together broadcast and networks to big bundles, forcing cable operators to include everything in their line-up.

The same kind of carriage bundles seem to now also affect Sony’s TV service. [company]Sony[/company] recently announced a deal with Viacom that will add a total 22 networks to the online service. This includes sought-after networks like Comedy Central and MTV, but also less-desirable properties like VH1 Soul, BET Gospel and Palladia. It’s no surprise that Sony will have to charge consumers a lot if it buys similar bundles from other programmers — but you have to wonder why consumers would want to give their money to Sony as opposed to Comcast or Charter if lineup and price are virtually indistinguishable.

9 Responses to “Looks like web TV is going to be as expensive as cable — unless you use an antenna”

  1. Mike Hammett

    The Dish offering certainly looks enticing. I wonder if that will be available for sercice providers to wholesale. I really hate Dish and DirecTV now competing with ISPs, but there’s little else that’s viable for us to bundle without spending a fortune.

  2. This isn’t a service which cord cutters will subscribe to. More than 95% of all households are served by the Big 6 OTA TV networks: ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS, and the CW, and a majority of Americans live in markets with another 15-25 networks broadcasting on the subchannels. Add a Roku and a subscription to Netflix, along with a Vudu account for season passes and other content not on Netflix, plus all the free content and you’ve got very cheap, very content rich viewing options.

    Everyone cries about sports, but with OTA, plus MLB.TV’s free game of the day, plus free ESPN3 (if you select an ISP who is a participating provider), plus free NFL Now and you have a lot of sports viewing for no additional cost. If you want more, you can subscribe to the streaming services offered by MLB, NBA, NHL, and MLS.

    This will be a grand fail at the price Sony wants and likely even at the price Dish wants.

  3. I think it’s a mistake to assume cord cutters are cheap. You often encounter that opinion, but I’m a cord cutter not because I’m cheap, but because I have too much self respect to pay for cable. How little must a person think of themselves to pay to watch commercials? It’s insane. I pay for Netflix, Amazon Prime, and HBO Go (through my brother). I also buy a handful of TV shows a year. I rent (and go to) movies as well. I only watch 1 or 2 shows a night, and 1 or 2 movies a weekend, so I’m not constantly watching video. But when I do watch it, what insanity would need to possess me to PAY TO WATCH COMMERCIALS. I feel like we should be doing interventions for these people and evaluate their feelings of self-worth.

  4. ohioCritic

    Get an HD indoor antenna (Terk) and low end cable/non-HD package. Get an Apple TV which has apps for many networks and will provide HD viewing with a cable account. It should run about $50 if you cannot live without cable.

  5. Ryan Michael Downey

    30 plus an antenna is quite a bit more affordable then a $90.00 bill for cable. I like what I see fro Dish so far. I hope they actually follow up on that offer.

  6. Donald William Gillies

    We need to deregulate TV channels provider fees at the wholesale level. No more of this “I agree to pay $x only if you agree to charge all my competitors $2x” BS any more!! Several technically viable TV transmission systems have failed because they were charged 5x or 10x more than what the entrenched and highly-crooked Cable TV providers have cornered the market on !!!

    • You must mean we need to regulate the wholesale market of TV channels? This is happening because there is no regulation of that aspect, at least not to force channel providers to sell to all distributors.