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Piracy Television

TV Show Piracy Soars After CBS Blackout 314

Posted by Soulskill
from the almost-as-if-these-things-are-related dept.
TorrentFreak reports that piracy rates of the television show Under the Dome shot up by more than a third last weekend, even though official ratings dropped. What caused the increase? On Friday, three million subscribers to Time Warner's cable TV service lost access to CBS programming, the network on which Under the Dome airs. The article says this provides compelling evidence that the availability of a show is a key factor in the decision to pirate it. "To find out whether download rates in the affected markets increased, we monitored U.S. BitTorrent downloads of last week's episode as well as the one that aired this Monday following the blackout. The data from these two samples show that in Los Angeles, New York City, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit and Pittsburgh, relatively more people downloaded the latest episode, an indication that customers are turning to unauthorized channels to get the show. With hundreds of thousands of downloads Under The Dome is one of the most pirated TV-shows at the moment. Of all sampled downloaders in the U.S. 10.9% came from the blackout regions for last week's episode, and this increased to 14.6% for Monday's episode, a 34% increase. In New York City, one of the largest affected markets, the relative piracy rate more than doubled from 1.3% of all U.S. downloads last week to 3% for the episode that aired after the blackout."
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TV Show Piracy Soars After CBS Blackout

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @06:43PM (#44503527)

    Is that you can get that night's episode hours before it airs on CBS, without commercials. I'm not sure where else it's airing (maybe Canada) that shows it early.

    • by Vanderhoth (1582661) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @06:54PM (#44503657)
      My wife and I watch it at 9:00 PM Atlantic time. I thought it was on Global, but the Global site says it's on at 10:00 PM Eastern time, that's 11 for us. part of the reason I pirate a lot of the shows we watch is because most don't come on until 11 our time and staying up until midnight knowing I have to get up at five the next day to look after our 2 year old or go to work just doesn't work. It sucks paying $150 a month for basic cable and internet and all the stuff you want to see is on after you go to bed. Under the dome is one of the only shows we watch on cable because it's actually on at a decent hour.
      • I'm curious.. why not record the shows that come on at a time that is inconvenient for you?

        I realize that the line between recording the show and downloading it for purposes of watching later is rather blurry, but since you didn't mention it while it's the first thing that comes to my mind (and I'm from an area where you need a separate recorder.. quite unlike the directv box I've got access to right here which has it built-in, along with search options, etc.), I can't help but ask.

        • by Vanderhoth (1582661) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @07:24PM (#44503905)
          This comes off sounding angry at your question, but I'm not, I'm mad at the cable company for making me pay for service and then nickel and diming me in to oblivion.

          Mainly because the cable company wants another $15/mo to rent a DVR, which they only rent to you if you get the premium digital channels another $30/mo. I'm already paying $150/mo for internet and cable. Cable that I don't watch because everything I want to see is on after 11. Sometimes we'll stay up to watch something that's on at 10, but that's still pushing the envelope for us. We're both earlier risers and prefer to be in bed and asleep by 9:30.

          So I'm not going to pay another $45/mo on top of $150 to get more channels I don't watch just so I can record the stuff I've already paid for that's on too late for me to see when I can download them the next day while I'm at work anyway. I have Sickbeard setup to get the shows I want when they become available. I only went that far because my wife's download list, which includes a lot of shows we don't get at all in Canada, was getting too long so I setup Sickbeard and she can add the stuff she wants to it.
          • I'm already paying $150/mo for internet and cable.

            This is why I refuse to buy into cable. Yet I still catch all my favorite shows. Cable provider logic is pretty messed up.

          • Can't you stream shows from the website?

            • by Vanderhoth (1582661) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @08:39PM (#44504539)
              Some stuff we can. A lot of the time I get "Content not available in your region" some times I even get it when trying to stream from Canadian sites. There are undoubtly 1001 ways I could aviod pirating, but I've already paid for the show on cable so I should be able to access it however is most convienent for me. I shouldn't have to spend extra time or money just to watch stuff I paid for already.
          • I'm curious.. why not record the shows that come on at a time that is inconvenient for you?

            I'm mad at the cable company for making me pay for service and then nickel and diming me in to oblivion. ...

            Not to state the obvious, but ever thought of a MythTV system? Sure you have to buy/build your own system, but I did it with an outdated 1GHz system w/2GB RAM bought for $50 from work plus 250GB disk and 2 analog capture cards on Ubuntu. Schedules Direct service is ~$20/year. Been up and running since Jan 2007. Much better than any DVR from a cable co.

            • I do have a MythTV set up, not for cable but for free to air.

              I still download shows rather than watching them on TV.
              A) Australia so we are always behind the US.
              B) The ads on TV are atrocious. They should be ashamed of some of the crap they run.
              C) Sickbeard is even simpler than the EPG.

        • by robot256 (1635039) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @07:25PM (#44503911)
          Because all the consumer A/V equipment can only record in SD even if it gets HD input. 99% of people would rather download an HD rip than own an illegal HDMI decoder. Plus popular torrents can be completed in minutes or seconds on any computer, while setting up a recording system takes effort and maintenance and equipment they might not own.
          • I believe the Viewsat 9000HD, which is chiefly a satellite receiver, will receive OTA signals. With an added USB hard drive, it is supposed to record them. I don't imagine the interface will be as nice as MythTV, but a commercial product does exist.

        • by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @07:43PM (#44504065)

          I used to record shows... or try to.

          You have to, without question, use the cable company's box. No other box will work. Let's put aside the question of cost, and further, let's assume that it costs me $0 for cable service including the box.

          The DVR that my provider game me would start and stop at a few minutes before or after a show. It couldn't be predicted, but about 10% of the time I'd miss the start or the end of the show.

          Sometimes I wouldn't get any sound on the recording. That was about once a week. It's tricky at best to watch a show without sound.

          Other times the recording would be pixelated. Sometimes it was for a second, sometimes it was for a few minutes. Not really a deal-killer.

          About once every couple of months the DVR would erase every recording I'd ever made. So if I hadn't had a chance to watch a show, I could never watch it.

          It was pretty bad and the cable company gave me a $100 a month credit for a year to compensate me for their crappy system. Now let's get rid of that cost assumption -- it wasn't $0, it is close to $100 a month to get a box that doesn't record and an encrypted feed that gives up. I'd guess that about 25%-35% of the time the show was unwatchably corrupted or just gone. (There were no problems watching a show "live", just when recording.)

          Which meant I had to rent the shows... ooh, wait, there's no rental place that has them.
          Okay, I can buy the DVD... oh, it won't be out for a year and I'd have to buy the whole season for $150...
          Does the library have a copy to loan me? No.

          There is one alternative...

          I've never had a problem when renting from the famous Swedish library. Never once have I had a bad video, missing audio, or anything else. What you have is a free system that provides error-free and convenient watching of shows. The other option is expensive, error-ridden, and a pain in the ass.

          • by pavon (30274)

            You have to, without question, use the cable company's box. No other box will work.

            Most 3rd party DVRs and VCRs these days have IR output capability, so they can change the channel on the cable box and then record the output. You still have to use the cable box as a tuner, but you can record using anything after that.

            • You have to, without question, use the cable company's box. No other box will work.

              Most 3rd party DVRs and VCRs these days have IR output capability, so they can change the channel on the cable box and then record the output. You still have to use the cable box as a tuner, but you can record using anything after that.

              In addition, a digital capture card on a MythTV (or Windows Media) system can record un-encrypted HD. I have a MythTV system with 2 analog cards - which to be honest if perfectly fine for watching 99% of broadcast TV - and my TV has a digital tuner if I want to watch the 4-5 network channels that are carried QAM over the cable (Cox in Virginia).

              I only subscribe to analog channels + the few un-encrypted digital channels provided and have no cable co set-top box or DVR and I do pretty well. Perhaps other

              • by Rich0 (548339)

                As long as they don't set the copy-once flag cablecard is another option. I got a cablecard tuner and I can record 3 shows in HD simultaneously on any channel except for the premiums, which I don't subscribe to.

                The video is just mpeg - no DRM/etc, and the metadata is just stored in a DB. If I want I can back it up or whatever. Maybe once a year something really bizarre happens and I get a somewhat corrupt show, in which case mplayer can play must about anything when it isn't encrypted - they're just mpeg

          • by thaylin (555395)
            No you dont, you can buy your own box, such as Tivo. You will have to rent a $5 card, but you dont have to use their DVR
          • by jedidiah (1196)

            > You have to, without question, use the cable company's box. No other box will work.

            That is a really stupid lie. Ever since the PVR became available to the public, these devices have been able to record off of cable by manipulating the cable provider's decoder box.

            There is no real reason to use the shovelware PVR if you don't want.

          • by dgatwood (11270) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @10:00PM (#44505061) Journal

            I've never had a problem when renting from the famous Swedish library. Never once have I had a bad video, missing audio, or anything else. What you have is a free system that provides error-free and convenient watching of shows. The other option is expensive, error-ridden, and a pain in the ass.

            You know, the funny part of this whole story will be when CBS removes their blockade and people continue to pirate it because the user experience is better. My prediction is that CBS's current execs will be looking for work in a few months, canned by a furious board of directors after delivering a catastrophic loss in advertising revenue in their desperate attempt to squeeze blood out of a turnip.

            My parents watch one of CBS's daytime soaps. Watching it on TV is a pain because they're not always home, and they don't have any sort of DVR, so they watch it online. Problem is, CBS's web player is the worst piece of dingo turd I've ever seen. After about 50% of the commercial breaks, it fails to come back to the show, and just hangs there with a black screen. Sometimes a few minutes later, if you leave it sitting there, the audio comes back with no video. Either way, it lobotomizes itself. If you reload the page, you get to sit through the same set of commercials all over again. And they usually show just three or four ads over and over, often showing a single ad more than once during a single commercial break. It is by far the worst TV viewing experience I've ever had—even worse than watching it on cable.

            And because CBS doesn't make their shows available through real digital delivery channels like Hulu or iTunes, there's no way to watch their shows that isn't horribly painful and clogged with tedious commercials. Frankly, I can't imagine what's going through the heads of the people at CBS. I really can't. I don't see how it is possible for anyone to be so utterly clueless about the needs and desires of their audience, and I can't imagine them retaining that audience for much longer if they continue to be so bad at digital delivery.

  • It's only piracy in the teams being able to sue some one.

  • Q.E.D. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jxander (2605655) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @06:48PM (#44503597)

    This means that those "new" pirates had the capacity to pirate all along, but chose not to.

    People are quite willing to pay for services such as television, but given the absence of legal means to do so, they will turn to illegal means.

    Increase the legal avenues to access media and piracy will decrease accordingly.

    • Re:Q.E.D. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by penix1 (722987) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @06:52PM (#44503633) Homepage

      Although you may be correct, the real telling will be how many return to cable after getting the shows illegally without the advertising. Once the forbidden fruit is bitten, they may like it and never return...

      • Re:Q.E.D. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by roc97007 (608802) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @06:59PM (#44503705) Journal

        Although you may be correct, the real telling will be how many return to cable after getting the shows illegally without the advertising. Once the forbidden fruit is bitten, they may like it and never return...

        Yet another reason to provide a good enough service at a reasonable price from the very beginning, so that people never have a reason to explore illegal avenues.

        • Re:Q.E.D. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @07:08PM (#44503779)

          That's why DRM created more copyright infringements than anything else.

          People buy something, they notice that it doesn't work the way they're used to (like, say, that you're able to time and medium shift the content), get upset, get told that there are "other ways" to get said content, notice that those "other ways" are not only more convenient but also free and a new "pirate" is born.

          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            Not just that they notice that it doesn't work the way they're used to, but that the pirated version is usually superior to the paid version. Take DVDs, a five dollar movie from WalMart often has unskippable trailers and always have warnings not to pirate even though they paid for the damned thing so the stupid warning isn't needed anyway. Then somebody gives them a burned DVD and it doesn't have all that control freak bullshit and tells them about TPB. It's only five bucks for the WalMart DVD, but hell...

          • That's why DRM created more copyright infringements than anything else.

            Not exactly. People are ditching cable TV in record numbers because it's exactly like regular TV. Originally, cable TV promised no advertisements for a small fee, and better selection. But over time, advertising crept in. Now, over 1/3rd of programming is advertising. When you include video overlays into programming content, it's closer to 50%. Piracy, on the other hand, has no advertising. It has cut away all the bullshit and serves you just what you want to see, and only that. No mandatory trailers. No un

            • Re:Q.E.D. (Score:4, Informative)

              by Obfuscant (592200) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @08:42PM (#44504563)

              Originally, cable TV promised no advertisements for a small fee,

              I don't know why this canard keeps popping up, but it's simply not true.

              Cable TV started as MATV -- master antenna TV, or CATV -- community antenna TV. Communities (or apartment buildings) that had poor reception (or didn't allow antennas in the case of apartments) put up a central antenna and fed the received broadcast signals to the users via cable. That's the "original" cable TV, and there was NEVER a promise of "no ads". It was simply broadcast TV with an antenna better than any one individual had.

              Cable companies started popping up to provide this service. Why should an apartment manager deal with this when he can hire someone to do it for him? One big tower with a lot of antennas and one cable distribution plant is more cost effective than every building with one. Early cable companies provided up to 12 channels of service, using the VHF tuners in the customer's own TV. Those channels were what the head end antennas picked up OTA. With ads. For a fee.

              The next step was the "pay TV" side of cable, now that you had a system to distribute the signals and control who got them. (A short-lived encrypted-via-broadcast system appeared, but this was expensive and died out.) Those pay services made the promise of "no ads" because they were subscriber supported and could afford it. HBO was a premiere player here. But alongside the pay services were the newly forming cable-only networks, distributed by the same satellite systems that the big pay services were using, and those have (almost) always had ads. (It was so uncommon that I cannot recall which ones were ad-free to start with, but I'm thinking Disney was.)

              So no, there was never a promise of "no ads" by cable TV companies. That's just ridiculous. They formed to carry the broadcast signals originally, and those broadcast signals have always had ads. The pay services distributed by cable may promise "no ads" but cable as a whole has never ever ever made that promise. It can't. The promise cable made was diversity by being able to carry more networks than OTA ever coould. The secondary promise, now often forgot, is the ability of cable to carry local origination -- channels specific to each community, at a finer grained level than broadcast has. PEG -- public, education, and government -- access is the result of that.

              But over time, advertising crept in.

              That 'over time' period was at the beginning of TV itself, which followed the appearance of ads on radio.

              Piracy, on the other hand, has no advertising. It has cut away all the bullshit and serves you just what you want to see, and only that. No mandatory trailers. No unskippable advertisements. No FBI warnings. Just the content, nothing more, nothing else, nothing less.

              The only DVDs for which this hasn't been true have been the very few cheap crap DVDs from Alpha that aren't rippable. Otherwise, I've yet to be forced to watch trailers or ads. The trailers and ads are different titles from the content on every DVD I've seen.

              See, pirated material is currently the only way to get HD material without advertising.

              I'm watching Curse of the Pink Panther as I write this, in HD, from a DVD I bought from the local grocery store for $3. No ads. No FBI warnings. They aren't pirated, even though they look very much like it. They're "pre-watched". For a few dollars more I could buy the official DVD and still have no ads. Piracy may be one means of achieving this, but it certainly isn't the only means.

              Considering we've had the technology to do this since the mid-80s, that says a lot about the mentality of content providers.

              Yes. They want money to pay for providing programming, and instead of charging you by view they're charging advertisers. Now, many of the on-demand programs I watch allow fast forwarding through the ads, and many of them have a lot fewer ads to start with. Some annoying ones do disable the fast forward and even have the same ads as the original distribution, but that's a relatively new thing from what I've seen.

          • by mcrbids (148650)

            That's why DRM created more copyright infringements than anything else.

            Really?

            Tell that to Netflix? It's all 100% DRM and at $8/month is demonstrably reducing the piracy rate.

        • by Obfuscant (592200)

          Yet another reason to provide a good enough service at a reasonable price from the very beginning, so that people never have a reason to explore illegal avenues.

          Those who pirated the episode due to the "blackout" apparently thought that the Time Warner price was reasonable, since they were getting the program via cable prior.

          If you are referring to CBS providing the program for a reasonable price, then you need to remember that it is one person (Time Warner) making that decision, not the market as a whole.

          Perhaps what we should take from this is that CBS is cutting its own throat by making their product more expensive. The drop in ratings will convert to a drop

          • by roc97007 (608802)

            I'd say that the price is demonstrably good enough, because people were paying it. It's the blackout, which to users (who don't care about faceless companies pissing on each other) falls under the category of "not good enough service". If you can't watch the show (especially after paying for the channel) that's not good service. So, to see the show, other means must be sought.

      • We'll be able to study that next week if we so choose.

      • Re:Q.E.D. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by wierd_w (1375923) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @07:35PM (#44503995)

        This goes well with an assertion I have held about piracy for years.

        It goes something like this:

        Producers control supply, and have a "target" price they wish to meet. This could be perfectly sensible, or it could be inflated in a fashion that would make even the debiers diamond cartel blush. Does not matter. They control the supply, and have a target price.

        Because they control supply, they restrict the supply until demand for the product permits them to reach that target.

        Piracy happens when:

        The hidden and intrinsic costs of piracy are less than the inflationary costs induced by restricting supply, via puncturing the producer's stranglehold over the supply.

        Thus, piracy rate is a fundemental feature of the modern information economy. It shows, without bias, how artificially stacked the target price is against what the natural market price is. It is every bit as useful as tracking wages, tracking unemployment, or tracking free time.

        The problem, is that you whave whole sections of the economy that are propped up by the wholesale control over supply. Without being propped up above the true market ideal price, and enforced via artificial scarcity, the product is simply not profitable to produce. (At least in some circumstances.) The market really does not fucking care about that. The price is inflated, and piracy rate consistently indicates that fact.

        Piracy, being a fundemental feature of the information economy, (owing to the nearly free cost of duplication and distribution that can be employed), should not be seen as "the boogey man" of content producers. They would be much better served to simply accept piracy to be as inevitable as a rainy day is, and instead focus on how their business can cope with the presense of piracy in the market.

        Again, piracy occurs when the implicit and explicit costs of piracy are less than the costs of legal purchase. Those costs are NOT all monetary.

        1) downloading a bulk pack of episodes takes time.
        2) the download saturates the download pipe, preventing the downloader from doing other things, like playing games online.
        3) the download could be broken, encoded poorly, be in the wrong language, have hardcooked subtitles in chinese, etc.
        4) the download could contain malicious software
        5) you could be sued for many millions of dollars per file downloaded.

        People are willing to put up with a pretty significant amount of crap, if the inconvenience cost of the legal distribution method is less inconvenient than the illegal method.

        This is why there was a HUGE reduction in "illegal MP3 activity" when iTunes hit the stage, and went DRM-free. While iTunes is FAAR from perfect, and clearly does not nor is meant to, service everyone-- it does present a significantly "easier" and "cheaper" alternative to the illegal alternatives, that is usually much safer as well. (Some argument can be made about the quality and nature of the iTunes client software that are noteworthy in that dept, but this is slashdot, and I am sure you already know.)

        Likewise, when Netflix came on the scene, there was a HUGE reduction in illegal movie activity.

        The reason, in both instances: the cost of the legal offering came down significantly, both in terms of monetary value, and in terms of inconvenience. They both presented an option that was "simply better."

        The inconvenience costs of the pirate distribution system are endemic, and can't easily or sensibly be removed. Some pirate distribution systems have tried to deal with that problem through exclusivity, like demonoid, but that only compartmentalizes the problem, and imposes another inconvenience to the pirate distribution model-- namely, now you also have to be invited to pirate, rather than simply participate. (If you can become a member to the sanitized secret pirate social club, the benefits become obvious, but the initial obstacle cannot be less than the trouble associated with the consequences of working with the rabble they keep out. Virus whores, porn re

        • by fractoid (1076465) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @08:21PM (#44504381) Homepage

          Good post.

          If there were a Netflix-style online streaming/viewing service that offered legitimate downloads, full HD, no ads, allowing you to sign up for individual cable TV channels, that was actually available outside the U.S. ... hell, I'd buy it.

          The problem as I see it is that the cable TV industry is still working on the same premise that the recording industry was working on 20 years ago. Take a couple of hits, bundle a whole lot of useless crap in with it, then make people pay for the crap they don't want in order to get to the good stuff. I don't think they quite understand how much bigger the market has become in those 20 years. They can afford to drop the sale price by 50-80%, cut out the bundling, cut out the advertising. If that will get them a significant market share, the sheer volume will make up for it.

          • You do understand that it's the content providers that insist that, for example, if you want to carry ESPN down your wires, you also have to accept these other 50 channels of crap? And they need to be bundled together? Not always, but IME most of the time anyone is bitching about the cable company you should just substitute "content owner" (which granted sometimes the same parent corporation owns both). Cable companies should get chewed out for crappy set top box software, noisy lines, and back office se

            • by fractoid (1076465)
              Fair enough. I don't know much about the internal structure of the pay-TV industry so I'm happy for you to substitute in the appropriate agency where I've said "the cable TV industry". :)

              I wonder if the same also applied to CDs back before services like iTunes? Was it actually the bands (and not the production companies) forcing their other 7 or 8 tracks of self-indulgent crap on us as their price for letting us hear their one good song?
              • by Weedlekin (836313)

                I wonder if the same also applied to CDs back before services like iTunes? Was it actually the bands (and not the production companies) forcing their other 7 or 8 tracks of self-indulgent crap on us as their price for letting us hear their one good song?

                I don't know how things work today, but when I was a session musician from the late 1970s until the mid 1980s, standard artist contracts obliged them to produce around 50 minutes of new recorded material each year. This doesn't sound like much, but up and coming artists had heavy touring and promotional schedules, so they often had difficulty finding enough time to write, arrange, and record 50 minutes of music (which could take several months just to record). That's why so many acts had a brilliant debut a

      • by jxander (2605655)

        Very true. And it's a problem that will only increase.

        I imagine a lot of the new eyepatches and peg legs were handed out to people who had never even considered piracy before. Maybe they'd heard of it, but figured it was too hard, too techy, or whatever. That is, until their show gets hit. Then it's time to get googling and figure this out. Now that genie is out, and more people realize how easy is it (or so I've been told *ahem*)

        As time goes on, more and more people will get a taste for this, and th

    • This means that those "new" pirates had the capacity to pirate all along, but chose not to.

      People are quite willing to pay for services such as television, but given the absence of legal means to do so, they will turn to illegal means.

      Increase the legal avenues to access media and piracy will decrease accordingly.

      Give me television shows that I can download, without restriction, and that have no commercials and no shit plastered all over the screen (network logos, ads for other upcoming shows, etc) and I might actually be interested in paying for that. Otherwise, fuck you.

    • by fractoid (1076465)

      People are quite willing to pay for services such as television, but given the absence of legal means to do so, they will turn to illegal means.

      I think people are missing the point a little when they say "see, people pay for this show." These people pay for their cable TV subscription once a month but then the individual shows are "free", just like (from my point of view) I pay my internet subscription and after that anything I download is "free." There is no incremental cost of watching a show once you have your subscription.

      For me, at least, it's more about effort factor. If you already have a cable subscription then it's more effort to torrent i

  • by dirk (87083) <dirk@one.net> on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @06:52PM (#44503629) Homepage

    Another reason the torrent numbers probably wen up is that CBS also blocked TW customers from accessing their shows from the CBS website. If a TW customer went to the CBS website to try and watch a show, they weren't able to. So any money they could have made from that was gone as well. So really, CBS actually pushed people who would go through the next legitimate channel further down the line. Sure, they could possibly buy it from Amazon or iTunes, but at a dollar per show, that is a pretty hefty price for a show you will watch once and then delete.

  • Yarrr! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @06:53PM (#44503651) Homepage Journal
    Avast ye buccaneers! They've cut ourrr access! Batten down the hatches and farrrrr up the bittorrent! We be settin' sail for the commercial-free waters of internet piracy, global warmin' be damned! Yarrr!
  • by porges (58715)

    I'm in the Boston area, and I don't think we even have TWC around here. It's mostly Comcast with some RCN and Verizon.

  • Well, DUH! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @07:15PM (#44503835)

    What do you expect?

    Let's face it, for most people simply turning on the TV is more convenient than downloading a show and then figuring out a way how to watch it sensibly on their computer equipment. They easily and willingly accept ads as the price for that convenience. Remember that they're not technical people like most on here, they want something that "just works", and they don't consider watching shows on their computer or connecting it to a TV very convenient.

    But if they have a favorite show, especially if it's a show that spans a longer story arc and doesn't just consist of self contained episodes, they will go that extra mile to compensate if their cable provider drops the ball. And no, you may rest assured that they're not happy about it, far from it. It was most likely a hassle for them to get that show, they had quite a bit of "expense" (in terms of time and 'nerves') to get their show back.

    It's actually even likely that they will not continue this policy despite the ads. It's simply more convenient for them to just switch on the TV, grab a box of chips and sprawl out on the couch rather than tinkering and toying with the computer to get that.

    • by tepples (727027)

      they don't consider watching shows on their computer or connecting it to a TV very convenient.

      Only because they haven't met hairyfeet, who works in a computer store building home theater PCs for a living. At this point, it's as easy as buying a PC, connecting HDMI out to HDMI in, and pairing a Bluetooth thumb keyboard with trackball.

  • by markdavis (642305) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @07:15PM (#44503837)

    The sad part is that "Under the Dome" really does SUCK. I am hooked and want to know what is happening, but the whole "drama" part is so horrible, I am fast forwarding through at least half of each show now.

    And no, I don't pirate the video, it is on Cox.

    • by dmbasso (1052166)

      And Junior gets the award for worst character ever. But he has huge competition from the characters in Falling Skies, where cheap appeals to emotion are the norm.

      IMHO, the best sci-fi series airing now is Continuum.

    • It's pretty awful. The pilot opened up with some scraggly-bearded mangina burying a body, and we're supposed to think he's a *good guy*. It goes downhill from there. None of the characters I saw were sympathetic in any way. I tried to watch the second episode and gave up after a few minutes. Not worth pirating, indeed.
    • It will be classic Steven king
      Goes on and on and just ends. Like a m. Night shylan movie

    • by Richy_T (111409)

      I watched episode 1. That was enough.

    • For a moment, I wanted to tell you I think you are totally wrong, but then I remembered...I'm only up to episode 3 so far. Up to this point, it seems like a really good show, to me at least. Hopefully I don't agree with you once I'm caught up, but unfortunately I could see you being right. The show reminds me quite a bit of Jericho. I loved that show initially. I loved how it showed people being isolated and falling back to low tech, and how the people come together to survive the emergency. That was really

    • by PPH (736903)

      I've been watching. I wanted to see how many episodes it would take for someone to figure out where the geographic center of the sphere was and go see if anything was there of any interest.

      It would have been funny if there was a big box with a disconnect switch sitting there. And the townspeople would be saying, "What? We put up with how many weeks of this shit and we could have just turned it off?"

    • by Drethon (1445051)
      I read the book summary on Wikipedia after I watched the first episode. Seemed like something that would make a good movie but would be hard pressed to fill a TV series...
  • Is it still pirating when it is distributed for free?

    yaaaarr?
  • My family has had TWC for several decades, although we don't use them for our Internet service. As soon as we learned that they'd dropped CBS, we called one of their competitors and signed up with them. We were told that normally, they'd be able to have a tech out to make the switch in two or three days. Right now, it's taking about eleven days because they're so backed up with TWC customers bailing because of this. This sounds like the typical decision MBAs make when they get the chance: raise the shor
    • You are aware that TWC pays CBS to put their over the air broadcasts on their wire, and that this fight was precipitated by CBS demanding a large increase in that fee?

      • Are you aware that this isn't the first time that TWC threatened to drop CBS? And, where I am, they've also dropped a popular independent channel that has broadcast rights to several local major-league sports teams, just because it's also affiliated with the local CBS station? I don't know all of the ins and outs, but I do know that where I live we're pretty much dependent on cable if we want to watch TV.
  • History of nonsense (Score:5, Informative)

    by BenJeremy (181303) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @07:57PM (#44504177)

    Pre-1996:
    TV Stations: Broadcast all day long... what's that, Cable company?
    Cable company (10% of TV viewers): We are going to carry your station in our market, bringing you to some new viewers.
    TV Stations: (SHRUG) OK, go for it. More viewers means more ratings! More ratings means more advertising revenue!

    1996:
    Federal Government: Here you go, Broadcast stations, you can now demand payment for being carried on a cable provider! with The Telecommunications Act of 1996
    Cable Companies: WTF?
    Federal Government: The free ride is over
    TV Stations: Hmmmm... free money, we like that!

    Post-1996:
    TV Stations: GIMME, GIMME, GIMME, GIMME, GIMME, GIMME, GIMME, GIMME, GIMME, GIMME!
    Cable Companies: It's not worth THAT much for us to caryr you. How about we start whittling down the network affiliates to a single, small local-market station

    (time passes)

    TV Stations: Our ratings our down, we are losing ratings to cable stations - it's all the cable company's fault! Raise the rates!!
    Cable Companies (now 95% of the viewers): Geez, not this again, this is ridiculous, we're outta here. Goodbye, CBS.

    (Sometime in the next decade):
    TV Stations: Where did all our viewers go? Doesn't anybody have antennas? Why does the FCC want to narrow the broadcast spectrum to "auction valuable unused frequencies"? Hey Cable Company, want to carry us at a slightly discounted rate?
    Cable Companies: (Chirp Chirp Chirp)

    ----------- At least that's the way I see it. Where does CBS think those viewers will come from? Will they magically sprout an ATSC TV antenna out of their collective asses and start receiving OTA signals again? Over 90% of their viewers no longer HAVE antennas and don't care. They can PIRATE your programs and why feel guilty??!? They got the programs for "free" before.

    GREED is the ultimate downfall of broadcast networks. Cable providers do OTA broadcasters a SERVICE by providing access to large numbers of viewers, which in turn incereases ratings, which, in turn, increases revenues. There was NEVER a need to double dip by demanding cable companies pay a fee.

    • I have already commented in this thread and so can't use my mod points, but I would mod you if I could. Great post.

  • Why aren't piracy numbers included in the ratings?

    If they are able to quantify them that precisely, they should be included in the ratings numbers, since what you care about is how many people watch the show. If you know how many people watch the show, then you know what markets to target, and the value of a commercial on the show as an influencer.

    Companies such as Reckitt Benckiser (Lysol) already advertise on the pirate sites, as do other major U.S. Companies, as well as the American Red Cross (I'm told)

    • by EvilSS (557649)
      No, what they care about is how many people may watch the ads. Shows are bait to attract product (viewers) that the networks sell to their customers (advertisers). The cost of the ads are based on how many views are expected to go for the bait (watch the show) and see the ads in the process.

      Now, networks would love it if they could do what you suggest, but the advertisers would not accept it. The networks are still fighting to get advertisers on board with DVR (live plus...) ratings, and trying hard to
  • Really? Why would they do that when they can just seed them on bittorrent?
  • by SternisheFan (2529412) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @08:47PM (#44504595)
    I haven't watched tv in years, sounds like I'm not missing anything that special. CBS isn't on an overly expensive cable subscription? This makes no difference to my life whatsoever. Cable was commercial free, now they have got people used to paying for commercial tv, and I never saw the sense to that. My library has lots of DVDs of good (and bad) movies and tv shows, for when I need a fix of boob-tube viewing, which is rarer and rarer lately. Real life beckons, and I'll be damned if I'll be spending (wasting) my remaining years on this planet sitting zombie-like in front of a screen, bitching about how my cable company doesn't carry a channel that has little to offer. Breaking the tv habit is quite freeing, and I doubt I'll ever go back to that world. There's too much other great things to actually 'do' in life.
  • One thought that a friend of mine had...

    There's a site in New York City that streams live TV called Aereo. They've fought the fight in court and have come out ahead.

    It would be interesting to see TWC set up a site like this to stream, say, KCBS from an antenna located in the Los Angeles area to TWC cable boxes in the Los Angeles area, WCBS from an antenna located in the New York City area to TWC cable boxes in New York City, etc.

    Hey, if Aereo can do it and not have to pay the stations, why shouldn't Time-W

    • Ehh, who needs mod points.

      That's a good idea. The problem is implementation cost. Aereo has a dedicated antenna and DVR per customer. This is because it's illegal to make more than one copy of the signal received. They also play other fun technical/legal games to make sure they stay on the correct side of the law. Even then they're being sued by almost everyone.

      Cable companies hate the idea of Aereo. The service is a cord cutter's dream. Many local TV stations don't do online streaming. If all someo

  • I suggested to TWC that they allow CBS to charge whatever they want to subscribed users, adding only a $0.10/month handling fee for collecting the money. If CBS think they deserve a premium rate, treat them like one.

    Personally, I haven't watched "broadcast" television for years (decades?) unless the parent company of the cable channel that handles F1 (was Fox, now NBC) moves a few races to the broadcast channel.

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