Comcast

HBO Go, Netflix, and The Beginning of The End?

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Who would have thought that Game of Thrones would save the future of mass media consumption in America?

Cord cutting, or the act of cancelling cable TV, is not just for broke twenty-somethings anymore. It’s gone mainstream. Recent studies show that educated, employed consumers make up most of the people choosing to cut ties with the cable box.

With the economy still struggling to keep us all afloat, people all over have been searching for ways to trim their budget and cable companies are quickly becoming first on the list. While cable providers still run the whole show off an infrastructure that is decades old and a technology that was new back when Seinfeld was still on NBC, consumers have just accepted their inordinately high cable bills. Providers have moved the pieces around the board for the last thirty years putting themselves in this position. Millions of people rely on their services for home entertainment, and they have reaped billions in the meantime. Just look at Comcast sitting up there on top of the world, owning a once-great broadcast channel and makin’ movies.. Awww… Aren’t they cute when they try to look as popular as Disney?

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This all started with the Telecommunications Reform Act of 1996. Where corporate lobbying and political corruption joined forces to sell us one of the biggest pieces of garbage legislation this country has ever seen. We’ve been eating it by the spoonful ever since. I don’t think the Act is the first time corporations have joined forces with the government to defraud the American people, but passing a law that supposedly promotes mass media diversity and air wave independence seemed like a great idea at the time.

Maybe I was just younger then, but I don’t remember always feeling like I’m getting fleeced from the moment I get up in the morning til the time I drop off at night.

Hindsight being 20/20, they basically all lied. Surprise! What the Act was supposed to do was make it possible for consumers to have more entertainment choices because all these independent cable/internet/phone providers were going to start up out of the woodwork, and Fiscal Nirvana was on its way. What really happened was it cleared the way for any company to buy any media outlet anywhere. Mergers, acquisitions, and twenty years later, there are four companies that provide comparable phone service. Three companies that own all of the radio stations. Two corporations that sell comparable cable services… And just one mega-conglomerate that owns the tap on high-speed broadband internet. These providers got us all hooked with the promise of freedom, then they created arbitrary price structures and manufactured obsolescence right into the system. With things like cable boxes, yearly cell phone model updates, and higher-definition picture quality, consumers just keep paying and paying. Not only are we thereby dependent on these monopolies to provide us the very things that make modern life modern, but they are free to charge us whatever they want for it. The only recourse we have is to stop using the services they know we’ve become dependent on.

So much for fostering a free and independent media market.

People are catching on, and the Comcasts of the world are living on borrowed time. Every time a budget-concerned consumer has to shell out more than they’re willing to for a “luxury” like internet or television, an anti-corporate angel gets its wings. The internet has accomplished one thing if has anything else, and that is to give a previously scattered and jumbled crowd of voices one giant megaphone with which to bitch in unison.

The collective kvetch might just save us all.

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Enter Game of Thrones, the wildly popular HBO series based on George R.R. Martin’s fantasy novels. On the air for four seasons now, Game of Thrones holds the special prize of being the most pirated show ever. The solitary fact that Game of Thrones is watched by millions of viewers that don’t pay for the right to do so has caught the attention of HBO execs who see a potential goldmine of opportunity there.

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Ever since Netflix began offering it’s cheap, reliable streaming service a few years ago for $8 a month, the company that started by sending DVDs to your mailbox quickly has transformed into a multimedia powerhouse. Watching one company rise from sending discs in envelopes into a critically-acclaimed entertainment studio in under a decade has other corporations scrambling for a piece of the pie. However, the major setback has always been the deals that cable companies struck with production studios and television channels. While there has always been an outcry for a stand-alone HBO Go app, the company wouldn’t risk losing the choice deals it has with packaged-channel providers.

Until now.

As of last week, HBO announced that in 2015, it will start offering access to its HBO Go app for a monthly fee, instead of making it exclusively available to cable customers, as it is now. I would like to believe that this is the beginning of the end that sparked when Netflix offered it’s first streaming service. I would like to believe that from here, cable companies will have to find another way to line their pockets while their customers jump ship for more and more stand alone products like Netflix and HBO Go.

The simple truth is that the Comcasts of the world rely on laziness. They rely on the fact that Americans want a shiny, reliable package. But as modern life gets busier and busier, and our time becomes more and more valuable to us, having a cable package that offers 700 channels of crap versus the one thing consumers want to watch at any given moment… Well that’s just insane.

When we cut the cord in our house two years ago we thought that getting to watch out favorite shows would be a hassle. Guess what happened? The opposite, it got easier. Without 700 channels of crap to distract us, we only watch the shows and movies that we want to watch. While it does take the always enjoyable “what’s this random movie/show?” scenario out of our daily life, paying another $50-75 a month to Comcast to watch a handful of hours of television a week is just crazy. That is, until all these new stand alone services start adding up to more than a cable package of course, but I’m just cynical like that.

Watching shows and movies across a handful of devices and consoles might not be as simple as picking up one remote and pushing buttons, but I’m not so lazy that I won’t spend a few moments setting up a show online to save myself a chunk of cash.

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I see a future where there are no set-top boxes where you have to skip page after page of programming you don’t want to watch to find the one thing you do. I see a future where you sit down at your television, queue up the next show you want to watch from your HBO Go or your FX Now app, and start watching on your home theater all seamlessly integrated. I see a future where cable companies that used to gorge themselves on the trough of our uninformed spending now have to fight for every dollar we choose to give them. I see a future where deregulation has actually created opportunity, instead of taking choices away from us.

Do I actually think that Digital Cable is going anywhere? No, there are way too many lazy people and Luddites out there to make that happen anytime soon. But at least I’ll be able to watch the next season of Game of Thrones by paying the studio that created it instead of some cable company that packaged it with 10,000 cooking shows and singing competitions.

Comcast’s $2 Billion-a-Year Secret

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How would you like to earn a $300-400 return on a $70 investment, give or take a few dollars? Let me ask you something else, are you happy with your internet provider? If you’re like millions of Americans who use Xfinity/Comcast’s high-speed internet, chances are you’re not.

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What if I told you that sending a message to Comcast is as easy as driving to the local big box store and making a simple phone call? Intrigued?

Let me explain:

Comcast is the big brother of cable providers, especially here in the Northwest. If you want digital cable and high-speed internet without a dish, you’ve pretty much got no other choice. While supposedly their conglomerate is not big enough to warrant an anti-trust fine, Comcast is a monopoly in the true sense of the word. They have a lock and key on the internet above 30mps speeds, and if you want to get that high-speed bandwidth, at some point you have to go through Comcast.

IMG_0481But what does getting internet from Comcast entail? For those already customers, we know this story front and back. The phone calls, the technician appointments, the service call windows that last all day and the guy shows up early anyway because another job was cancelled and you’ve got to go get the kids from school… Then there’s the equipment. With any internet package, you need a modem to translate that signal from the cable line into Netflix or Call of Duty or Cat Videos.

When you think about it, equipment rentals are the bread and butter of Comcast’s quarterly income. Think about the last time you looked at your Comcast bill. They have a piece of equipment for each service they provide. Whether you want digital cable (which means you pay at least $10 a month for a set-top box), or phone (which takes a different huge, expensive modem) or just plain-old high-speed internet, Comcast is going to charge you a monthly fee for renting that equipment… That’s just to get the service you’re paying for already.

I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t make any sense to charge customers a certain price for a certain service, and then turn around and say, “We’re going to need another $25 a month to allow your TV/computer to receive that service.”

In my book, that’s called “The Ol Okie-Doke.”

The truth is that these huge “providers’ get away with this kind of behavior all the time. They laugh in the face of government regulation because they pay lobbyists a lot of money to make sure congress keeps passing legislation that helps companies like Xfinity/Comcast grow even more powerful. Because seriously, when was the last time a Senator worried about his internet bill? The people that have the power to make decisions about whether huge multi-national conglomerates are not fleecing the rest of the 99% just don’t think about these kind of things… Not because they’re bent, corrupt stooges, but because they’ve never had to sit down and decide whether they can afford to keep INTERNET or not.

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The way to send a message to Comcast, and get a return on your investment, somewhere in the vicinity of 11% is simple. Most of the equipment you rent from Comcast is specific to the service they’re selling, for instance you can’t just go buy a set-top cable box and expect 700 channels. You have to “rent” Comcast’s.

This isn’t so for internet.

Last Saturday night, when our internet died, panic gripped the Toomb household. We’d been having issues for a while, with dropped signals and spotty connectivity… But we figured it was just the fact that we’ve got a house full of people that are constantly plugged in. We are bandwidth hogs. From high definition multiplayer video games to streaming HD movies and tv shows, we cut the cable cord almost two years ago and get all our entertainment through the internet. Therefore we rely on every drop of juice we can squeeze out of that connection. That plus the fact that my wife and I both work from home, when the internet goes out in our household, alarm bells go off and a ticking clock starts... The ever-constant pressure to get the network back up before Monday hits.

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I spend most of the night troubleshooting with the friendly Comcast operator before he confirmed my suspicions by letting me know the modem was dead and I needed to take it in to the nearest Comcast office to swap it out for a new one. That and take the opportunity to tell me how he can save me such and such by switching to whatever.

That’s when I realized that I could just go out and just buy a new modem and have Comcast register it over the phone… And it hit me… I’m paying $8 a month for nothing. I’ve had a Comcast account in my name since 2002, a fairly long-term customer. At $8 a month for 12 years, that’s a cool $1,152 I’ve paid in rental fees for a modem alone.

It actually makes me cringe.

If you figure the average lifespan of a modem is 3-5 years, I could have bought 3 brand new from the store and saved myself $989 in the mean time. This time I didn’t hesitate. I looked up the exact same model that Comcast rents now and found it for $69 at Walmart. That $69 will save me $315 if the modem only lasts 4 years, and $411 if it hangs in there for 5.

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Comcast has something like 22 million customers, and at $8 a month, modem rentals are a $2 billion a year business. That’s $2,000,000,000, with 9 zeros. Imagine if every person that pays that $8 a month took their next paycheck and bought a comparable $60-80 cable modem. When was the last time you heard about a company losing $2 billion a year and not get shaken to the foundation?

The only way to let Comcast know that we are unhappy with this system is to do just that.

The numbers don’t lie, if any company lost $2 billion in profits, their stockholders would be screaming for their heads, holding pitchforks and torches high. I don’t know about you, but I personally think Comcast has a little pitchforkin’ coming. I mean, seriously, if $8 a month is worth two billion a year, imagine what they make from HD DVR boxes that they charge upwards of $15-20, and that’s just for one television. If you’re crazy like me and want high definition on the various high definition televisions in the house, you’re shelling out rental fees like nobody’s business. So go ahead, grab your pitchfork…

Here is the modem I bought, I’m not being paid to recommend it, there are just a boat load of options and this one is a good, solid bet that is compatible with Comcast’s system.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Motorola-SB6121-SURFboard-DOCSIS-3.0-Cable-Modem/20742485

 

Sports Desk: Oregon Sports Fans are Forced Into Ordering Comcast

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Simply put, Oregon sports fans are forced into ordering Comcast. If you want to watch everything Oregon Ducks, Oregon State Beavers and Portland Trail Blazers, you really have no say in what provider to sign with.

This is in no way an endorsement for Comcast, in fact it’s quite the opposite. I hate that Comcast has a monopoly on Oregon sports coverage. I don’t think anyone likes monopolies. It’s a break in the system.

But in order to be a full-fledge, up-to-date, Ducks and/or Beaver/Blazers fan, you have to have Pac-12 Networks and CSNNW. There’s no two-ways about it. Both of these networks bring you analysis and insider information, but most importantly they’re bringing you actual games.

Multiple Oregon football games will be broadcast live on the Pac-12 Network with the Cal and Colorado games. That’s not even including Spring Games (like last year’s) and mid-week previews/recaps.

The Pac-12 Network, along with Comcast also has deals with Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, and Bright House Networks. But that’s still hundreds of thousands of Oregon sports fans who are without this service. The main one, of course, being Direct TV.

Take a look at this campaign telling you to drop Direct TV:

Of course, the University of Oregon is just a pawn of a much bigger system. The Pac-12 Network has been on a crusade to disembowel Direct TV, and really any provider who hasn’t yet signed up with their network. Here’s a quote from their anti-Direct TV campaign:

[gn_quote style=”1″]“We realize this is affecting many of our fans, and we share their frustration,” said Pac-12 Networks President Lydia Murphy-Stephans. “We built the Pac-12 Networks to give fans unprecedented access to their favorite teams and sports on TV, and with just two weeks before the fall sports schedule begins DirecTV continues to deny them that access.”[/gn_quote]

You can read the full campaign HERE.

But the other part of this is CSNNW. I’m really not a fan of the network, and I really don’t put much value into their coverage team, but like the Pac-12 Network they offer live broadcasts that are too valuable not to have. And the only other cable provider with CSNNW is Charter Cable, who recently picked up CSNNW, but does not have Pac-12 Network.

CSNNW will air quite a few Ducks and Beavers basketball and baseball games over the upcoming calendar year. They’ll have the insight and analysis portions of it as well, including their daily deal with 1080 the Fan as they air Primetime With Isaac and Suke.

From the prospective of being a Ducks fan, you have to have Comcast.

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Blazers Coverage
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And if you’re a Blazers fan, it’s even worse! CSNNW broadcasts the vast majority of Trail Blazers games, and have a deal that goes into the 2017 season. In fact, CSNNW broadcasts 60 of the team’s 82 (73%) regular season games. KGW broadcasts 16 and only a handful are picked up by national broadcasts. So the deal with Charter Cable is now even more important to Oregon sports fans.

“The agreement also means Charter subscribers will have access to Comcast SportsNet’s other programming, including Oregon and Oregon State pregame and postgame events,” Allan Brettman of the Oregonian wrote. “Comcast SportsNet will be available on expanded basic digital service on channel 427 and in HD on channel 827.

“But two key satellite companies in the region — Direct TV and Dish Network –remain out of the Comcast SportsNet network fold, meaning many customers still won’t have an option to see games.”

But still Direct TV is holding out on making any sort of deals with Comcast.

“It’s unlikely we would come to an agreement any time soon,” DirecTV spokesman Robert Mercer said about getting CSNNW coverage.

So Direct TV and Dish Network are obviously out of the question. You can sign up with Time Warner and miss out on a huge portion of coverage, but it seems pretty clear what Oregon sports fans should and will ultimately go with down the road.

Now… I’m not saying that Oregon sports fans should drop whatever provider they have and switch to Comcast. That’d be ludicrous. Many fans are in contracts for the foreseeable future with huge penalties for cancelation. It’s all dependent on how important all the coverage Comcast provides is to you.

But if you’re looking for a provider down the road, unfortunately your hands are tied. There’s only one option, and that’s really unfortunate.

Comment below, like EDN Sports on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @EDN_Sports 

Cutting the Cable: Week 2

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Cutting the Cable Cord: Week 2

Well here we are, 8 days after turning all of our cable boxes in anpoltergeistd telling Comcast to take their $130 cable bundles and shove em… And I’ll be Mayan’d… The world didn’t friggin end! Yet.

The true cord-cutters test will come this Sunday evening when we have friends over to watch the Walking Dead and we’re able to pull it off without a hitch. On the other hand, I am starting to believe that I was only afraid of losing cable because cable wanted me to be afraid of losing it. With the set up we have going now, and thanks to some late-night homework on my part, I believe I’m more than prepared for any of my family’s audio/video entertainment needs.

house-of-cards-posterThe name of the game in cord-cutting is cover your bases. You know there is a show you like and you know when it’s on and what channel, there are ways to get those shows as early as 15 minutes after they air. There’s the standards, like Netflix, which has become the cord-cutters banner for streaming media. Seriously, they have about two-thirds of any TV show, movie, or cartoon you could ever want to watch… for $8 a month. Sold. The most exciting thing about Netflix is their original programming. We watched House of Cards a few weeks ago, and it was exceptionally compulsive television. Produced and directed by David Fincher, one of the most talented filmmakers on the planet, Netflix made the bold move of releasing the entire season at once. They plan on doing the same thing for their next original show, the resurrected Arrested Development. However, besides original programming, they don’t add newer content ever… So Netflix is really good for a video library of all the old stuff you love and maybe want to watch or catch up on… But new episodes of Breaking Bad won’t be on until a year after they air.

Then there is Amazon Instant Video. I’m not 100%, but I think these guys get most their new episodes the next day, in full HD (except for HBO, and I’ll talk about that later). Although I have not tried it yet, this is a great option. I hear Hulu Plus is good, but no AMC, no money from me. I can get it elsewhere. Then there is iTunes… but with Apple, I love their technology but I hate dealing with them in any way, shape, or form. I’m sure I’m missing a few others, but only because I want to get to the meat and potatoes of my point here.

xbmc1My point is XBMC, which I find amusing because it comes from the Xbox which I’ve never owned, and often bashed for its lameness. If I wanted a Wii or an Xbox I’d buy one, but I’m a serious gamer. XBMC is a FREE multi-media player that runs on your computer and organizes all of your movies, shows, music, games, all in one place… and then you plug in your TV as your monitor and GO! I took an “old” Dell Optiplex 960, while not the best machine, still has a few cores to work with, and I simply ran an HDMI cord from the back of the PC to our plasma screen in the living room. Then I tucked it out of the way, turned it on, and let it know where my audio and video files were. Then it sprang to life.

XB uses online databases and scans your library, then throws it all together in a nice user-friendly format that’s completely customizable. You don’t like the way the cross-media bar looks or works? Change it. There are websites full of skins for it, and all of them have individual settings you can adjust to make it how you want it. Then the features! It allows you to use “add-ons” that let you access all manner of live tv, streaming video, all from sites like Hulu, Amazon, Comedy Central, any place that has their shows online for free, you can watch through XB. Instead of going to ABC.com to watch Once Upon a Time, it serves it for you. There are also add-ons that link to material that is slightly less than legally streamed, but it’s not against the law per se to watch, depending on your morality stance and your patience with non-HD content. I tried one for academic purposes only and watched the latest episode of The Americans 15 minutes after it aired on cable. Whoever is streaming these shows is on the ball.

xbmc-ios-remoteThen there’s the remote. Guess what? It’s an app. It’s a really cool app. It not only has the remote as a touch-screen on your phone but it allows you to browse your library on your phone as well. Want to watch a movie? Pull up your XBMC remote, look through your library, then hit “play.” It’s that easy. Oh, and did I mention Air Play? WITHOUT APPLE TV. Yes that means all you suckers who paid hundreds for your fancy little boxes got just that… Fancy little boxes. I can be looking at the IMDB app on my phone, see a trailer I want to watch, and throw it up to the TV from anywhere in my house. If I’m watching or listening to something on my phone I want to put on the plasma screen I tap one button. I love it.

There’s also a nice little app called Splashtop 2 for the iPhone and iPad that will stream any (wirelessly) connected computer to either device. I’ve had this awesome app for a year now, it lets me play Eve Online while I’m not sitting at my computer. It lets me control the Dell from the couch… Or the shower for that matter. So if XB dies I just open Splashtop, start it up again, and go! I’m still working out the kinks, but so far it’s worked fairly seamlessly. We tried it again last night for academic purposes, we chose a cool add-on program called “Navi-X” that hosts a ton of streaming content. There are a few dedicated genre playlists that people have created, and of course we found ourselves looking through the Sci-Fi movies. There was practically every popular contemporary science fiction movie in that list. My wife had never seen Solaris with George Clooney and Natascha McElhone (Karen from Californication), so we gave it a shot. The best part? All of them are 720p, high-def streams!

photo-3Well technology wouldn’t be technology without a few hiccups, and of course 10 minutes into the movie it stopped and we couldn’t get it started again. So with a little ingenuity I was able to find a copy within minutes and we were back up and running… And that seems to be the way it is without cable. Cable is a product, served up for a specific reason and has been updated, perfected, and worked on for decades. It’s designed to bring you TV and movies seamlessly, and it does. The issue is that mega-corporations that truly don’t care about anything other than the bottom line supply that product. All of this new technology is only a few years old, there are still a million bugs to work out, so it’s expected that not everything is going to work 100% of the time… But it better come Walking Dead time I tell you!

game-of-thrones-season-3-posters-jaime1Game of Thrones starts next weekend, and I’m curious as to how soon I’ll be able to get HD episodes from Amazon… Since HBO wants everyone to use their HBO Go app now, and you can only use that if you have a current cable package with an HBO subscription. Why doesn’t HBO simply make their Go app a stand alone product? Some of us can’t afford to fork over hundreds a month just to get one show! I’d gladly pay HBO a flat fee a month to be able to watch their brilliant programming… But they are so in deep with their cable company partners they can’t even rock the boat without fear of losing what? Their bottom line. I think they could more than cover their losses by making HBO Go a subscription-based service, and bring it to the millions out there who have to pirate Game of Thrones because they is no other way to watch it.

Long story long, between the PS3 and the XBMC, I think we’re covered. I can get any show just a few hours after it airs, live TV broadcasts, March Madness, and tons of other stuff. So far, cutting the cable has worked okay, however it has only soured me even more for the cable companies. It’s not a jealousy thing either, it’s a have-and-have-nots thing. If we could occupy Time Warner I think it would be a great idea… But what are the options? Pirate movies? Oooo, that’ll show em. Protest? That only gives them more ammunition. I suppose grass-roots legislation, but I’m fairly sure they’ve got their backs covered on that one.

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Cutting The Cable

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Cutting the Cable Cord: Day 1

cable_cordHow much is your cable bill? How about when you let it slide for a few weeks? Ever pick it apart and read the fine print? Now let me ask you this: Do you know what Stockholm Syndrome is?

You know, the one where the hostages lose their minds and start to feel a bond with the kidnappers? It’s like the story of the frog in the pot. The water’s warm, it keeps getting warmer, it feels great and relaxing, and then it’s frog soup.

Well this analogy can be used for anything in our society today, from the inability of our government to function on even the basest levels, to the Doritos Cool Ranch Taco at Taco Bell, the water is boiling… and we’re too relaxed to notice we’re about to be soup… But I’m talking about cable television.

infographic-cutting-the-cableWho knows this game? Your bill is too high so you call up Comcast and say you need to cut back some services and possibly switch to Dish… The representative pretends he or she hasn’t played this game every 5 minutes for the last 5 years and gives you free HBO for six months and a boost on your internet speed… and maybe if you’re lucky will cut your bill down enough to make you feel like you’re empowered, like Comcast really cares about your business and wants to keep you as a customer.

I played this game for over 10 years and I can’t do it anymore. So as of today, as painful as it might be, my family has “cut the cord.” I turned in all of our cable boxes and gave up the charade of cable television. After literally months of back and forth, pros and cons, and swearing “this’ll be the week…”, tonight we are free. We can watch whatever we want without the constraints of “the guide.”

Let’s face it Comcast, “the guide” is the same crappy blue boxes you implemented 20 years ago. I’ve been staring at the same unresponsive menus and horrible interface for the better part of my adult life. Well, all of it actually… And yes I know that says something about my lifestyle, but I assure you, I do all things in moderation… ESPECIALLY moderation. While they might have added HDTV programming and On Demand (which now completely sucks because there and commercials and you can’t fast forward) to the mix, it’s still the same 25-year-old technology they’re selling us as next year’s model.

the-cable-guy-tbi-1Our last bill from Comcast was $601.00. That’s six hundred dollars, and that’s not a typo. That was also the last straw. Yes, it is three months worth of bills cause of their stupid bill-in-advance system, but still… $600??!! We had an HD-DVR in the living room, an HD box collecting dust, and an old black Motorola doing the same… Plus HBO (half price) and Showtime (half price) and a myriad of shit channels we don’t EVER watch. So I packed them in the trunk, went down and took a number in line, and stood there watching Netflix on my iPhone just to say “**** you Comcast.” It would have been a much more satisfying experience if the dude at the counter hadn’t been so damn cool. So that plus internet works out to $200 a month. That’s $2400 a year. Are you beginning to see the water bubbling?

We’ve got 2 PS3s, 1 Sony Blu-Ray, a Wii, a half dozen i-devices, and an HDTV antennae. We’ve also ordered the Boxee, which will be here Tuesday. It uses an internal HDTV antennae to record live TV, DVR-style, and stores it on a server without a limit to how much you store. Did you say no-limit cloud storage? We’ve got Amazon Prime, we’ve got Netflix, and we’ve got resourcefulness.

amazzzonI’ll admit, it was a little overwhelming. Simply because cable has been such a part of my life, especially HBO and lately AMC, but now I can just BUY those episodes when the day they air anyway. Then I’ll own it! In the next month, two of my favorite shows return, and even if I have to pay $40 for an HD season of Game of Thrones, $40 for Mad Men, $40 for True Blood, etc… That’s still less than one #$%& Comcast payment! And it’s a cost that’s spread out over a few months, and lets me add my favorite shows to my video library!

It’s time to change the channel from cable television… To boldly go where no one has gone before and all that… Huzzah!

To be continued…

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January 17 – Local Morning Headlines

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Headlines

Was Terry Fuichantie's killing a hit to prevent his testimony? Police think it likely.
  • Springfield won’t challenge Comcast’s decision to close customer center 

    City officials won’t challenge Comcast’s decision to close its only customer service center in Springfield, despite a clause in the city’s franchise agreement with the cable giant that states that Comcast “shall maintain an offi…
  • County planning $2 million remake of covered bridge 

    It’s the second-longest covered bridge in Oregon and one of the most photographed in the state. Now Goodpasture Covered Bridge is getting a much-needed tune-up, Lane County said. The county will soon begin a $2 million project to fortify and straight…
  • Oregon Marine Board may rethink Waldo Lake motorboat ban 

    A state agency may reconsider its ban on motorboats on Waldo Lake, a clear and deep body of water in the Cascade Range about 40 miles southwest of Bend.
  • Police ID victim of fatal crash near Veneta 

    State police this morning identified the victim of a fatal Sunday evening crash west of Veneta as 52-year-old Edward Jay Bray of Eugene. Bray was headed east on Highway 126 when an oncoming 1998 Ford Expedition lost control on the icy road a…
  • Rental cars arrive on campus following ASUO efforts 

    Last year, ASUO teamed up with Zipcar and Zimride, and as of last week, the program is now fully operational. With the use of Zimride’s Zipcar, students can rent a car for $7 an hour or $66 a day, a fee that covers gas, insurance and parking. The…

Tim Chuey Weather:

 We could see more snow accumulation today that will cause problems for drivers. Monday was a holiday, but will today be a snow day? I wouldn’t skip doing your homework, you still have a fair chance that school will be open.

High: 52
Low: 30
Rain: rain, possibly snow

Advisories: A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM TODAY FOR THE NORTH OREGON COAST,  THE SOUTH OREGON COAST, AND THE SOUTH WILLAMETTE VALLEY.  A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 PM TODAY FOR   THE NORTH CASCADE FOOTHILLS, THE CASCADE FOOTHILLS OF LANE COUNTY, THE NORTHERN OREGON CASCADES, AND THE CASCADES OF LANE COUNTY. A WINTER STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FROM THIS EVENING THROUGH WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON FOR THE CASCADE FOOTHILLS OF LANE COUNTY.

An upper level low pressure trough (“U” shape on yellow line) will be moving through and a weak surface lowand frontal system pushes southward into Oregon for another chance for snow. It will turn back to just rain by Wednesday except for the mountains. Mt. Ashland is counting on this new storm to improve the  snow conditions so they plan to open Thursday. Hoodoo is open (as usual closed Wednesdays). Willamette Pass was open on a very limited basis for the long Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend. Please check their web sites for the latest details and updates as the new storms could improve the snowpack for skiing.

Forecast for the Southern and lower Mid Willamette Valley including Eugene-Springfield and Albany-Corvallis: Mostly cloudy with rain or snow showers today (1-3 in. of snow possible, 0.50 in. of rain possible), rain or snow this evening, snow late tonight (2-4 in. of snow possible, 0.50 in. of rain possible), rain or snow Wednesday AM, rain (0.60 in. of rain possible), heavy at times, and windy (S 10-15 mph increasing to S 20-30 mph in the afternoon) in the afternoon, rain (wind: S 20-30 mph decreasing to S 15-20 mph late) and windy (wind: S 20-30 mph decreasing to S 15-20 mph late) Wednesday night, then mostly cloudy with rain Thursday and Thursday night highs 40-52 lows 30-43. Mostly cloudy with rain Friday through Monday highs 52-44 warming to near 48 Monday lows 40-34. (seasonal averages high 47 low 34)

Because weather forecasting is a combination of science, intuition, and timing there can be no absolute guarantees that individual forecasts will be 100% accurate. Nature is in a constant state of flux and sudden unexpected weather events can happen.

Keep Current on the Weather: timchueyweather4u.com

Thanksgiving Morning Headlines

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Headlines

  • Eugene Police Investigating a Shooting off Echo Hollow Road
    Police responded to a shooting early this morning off Echo Hollow Road in west Eugene. Details are still unclear, but police say there is one victim and that the gunshot wound may be self-inflicted. Police say there was a group of…
  • Car Catches on Fires Outside of Home
    Fire crews responded to a burning car in the Gateway area Wednesday afternoon. Firefighters say the woman pulled up to her house and her car began to smoke. Then it caught on fire and the flames consumed the car. Crews were called to the h…
  • Former employee files suit against restaurant owners
    A former longtime employee has filed a $357,000 lawsuit against the owners of south Eugene’s Tasty Thai restaurant, accusing them of malicious prosecution by falsely accusing her of “large-scale thefts and embezzlement.” As a result, Sunantha Bar…
  • Comcast raising TV and internet rates
    For the second time this year Comcast is raising the price for television and Internet services.
  • Cougar Kills Horse 

    A Pleasant Hill resident says a huge cougar killed one her horses. The attack took place at a home on Wheeler Road about two weeks ago. State trappers say cougars are common in the area. There was also a cougar spotted near t…
  • Driver Arrested After High-Speed Chase near Creswell 

    An Oregon State Police trooper arrested a man for allegedly driving more than 100 miles per hour on I-5 near Creswell. On Tuesday at about 10:16 p.m., the trooper pulled over Mohad S.R. Banat, 43, of California after he detected hi…
  • Shoppers Asked to “Stuff the Party Bus” for Foster Kids
    When you’re out there shopping on Black Friday, don’t forget about all the kids who might not get gifts this Christmas. A Monster party bus will be parked on the corner of Harlow Road and Gateway Street in Springfield from 4 a.m. to 4 p.m….

Tim Chuey Weather:

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and keep dry. It will be a wet day.

High: 48
Low: 36
Rain: 50%

Advisories: A HIGH WIND WARNING IS IN EFFECT FROM 10 AM  THROUGH 7 PM THURSDAY EVENING FOR THE NORTH AND CENTRAL OREGON COAST. A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT FROM 2 PM THURSDAY UNTIL 7 AM FRIDAY FOR THE NORTH OREGON CASCADES AND THE CASCADES OF LANE COUNTY.

A strong upper air trough of low pressure (“U” shape in the jet stream is setting up along the Oregon coast keeping the moisture level up.  A frontal system pushed into Oregon bringing colder air south producing falling temperatures and falling snow levels as another frontal system moves through over the weekend and there may be some new snow in the mountains for the skiers (Hoodoo will open Friday and Willamette Pass ski area hopes to open the season this Friday as long as they get enough additional snow. Check their websites for updates).

Forecast for the Southern and lower Mid Willamette Valley including Eugene-Springfield and Albany-Corvallis: Cloudy with patchy fog and a slight (20%) chance of AM rain, rain (0.25 in. of rain possible) Thursday afternoon (Thanksgiving Day), rain Thursday evening, showers late Thursday night (0.50 in. of rain possible), mostly cloudy with a slight (20%) chance of showers Friday AM, mostly cloudy Friday afternoon and night, cloudy Saturday, then mostly cloudy Saturday night lows 36-40 cooling to 34 Friday night and up to near 40 Saturday night highs 48-45. Mostly cloudy with rain likely (60%) Sunday, showers likely (60%) Sunday night, a mix of clouds and sun with a slight (20%) chance of showers Monday, partly cloudy Monday night, a mix of clouds and sun Tuesday, mostly cloudy with a (30%) chance of rain Tuesday night, then a good (50%) chance of rain Wednesday highs 52-48 lows 38-35. (seasonal averages high 50 low 37)

Because weather forecasting is a combination of science, intuition, and timing there can be no absolute guarantees that individual forecasts will be 100% accurate. Nature is in a constant state of flux and sudden unexpected weather events can happen.

Keep Current on the Weather: timchueyweather4u.com

July 29 – Morning Headlines

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Morning Headlines

Listen to the Morning Headlines:
Morning Headlines with Steve Kaye

Headlines

 

  • Thieves using ‘car for sale’ advertisements to steal cars
    A warning from Eugene Police for drivers across Western Oregon selling cars: thieves are taking advantage of “for sale” advertisements and stealing cars by gaining sellers trust.
  • Three People Rescued from Willamette River
    Crews rescued two men and a woman from the  Willamette River Thursday afternoon after their inflatable raft got stuck in a strainer.   It happened just after 5 p.m. up the river from the B Street boat launch.   The rafters were …
  • Lane County Might Have to Pay Back Comcast
    Several counties in Oregon might be forced to return millions of dollars in taxes to Comcast this fall if the cable company wins a property tax appeal.   Lane County is on that list and would have to return $1…
  • Theraputic pool to shut, at least temporarily
    Short of cash, the nonprofit Tamarack Wellness Center in south Eugene is shutting its theraputic swimming pool for the first time in the pool’s 32 years. But advocates hope the closure will be temporary. The center is closing the pool and adjoining s…
  • UO puts historic newspapers online
    More than 180,000 pages from 18 Oregon newspapers now available online through the University of Oregon newly launched website Historic Oregon Newspapers

 

Tim Chuey Weather:

A really nice weekend ahead, but cooler temperatures will be back very soon.

high pressure ridge has brought back the sunshine and warms us up again. Another low pressure trough and a weak cold front will move down by the end of the the weekend for another round of clouds and cooling Sunday and Monday.

Forecast for the Southern and lower Mid Willamette Valley including Eugene-Springfield and Albany-Corvallis: Partly cloudy this AM, mostly sunny and a bit warmer in the afternoon, mostly clear tonight, partly cloudy Saturday AM, mostly sunny in the afternoon, then partly cloudy Saturday night through Sunday night highs 86-80 lows 48-53. Mostly sunny Monday AM, then partly cloudy Monday afternoon through Thursday highs 83-80 lows 48-54. (seasonal averages high 83 low 52)

The Pollen forecast for the Eugene/Springfield Area is for weeds and trees to be Low, and Grass to be Moderate. Mold will be Moderate.The grass pollen season is pretty much over. (Provided by Allergy and Asthma Research Group)

Because weather forecasting is a combination of science, intuition, and timing there can be no absolute guarantees that individual forecasts will be 100% accurate. Nature is in a constant state of flux and sudden unexpected weather events can happen.

Keep Current on the Weather: timchueyweather4u.com

 

The salt water pool at Tamarack is the only one of it's kind in Lane County.