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Old 02-27-2009, 02:27 PM   #1
Jeebizz
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Question Better off owning your equipment?


Since most people have digital tv in some form, as well as broadband services I am interested in your opinion. Normally since one signs up for one of these services, if you are on dsl or cable, your isp supplies the modem for you, at an extra charge of usually $5 (at least thats how it is here in the states). Same goes for TV. If you use the SD receivers, you are charged $5 per receiver, and around $8 or so for an HD receiver.


So at this point if one stays on these types of services for long periods of time (years), the cost adds up quite significantly. I don't even know if I have the option to supply my own equipment, but I have seriously thought about it, especially during these economic times. I think I would be better off owning my own tv-receiver and modem. Particularly the receivers, since there are 4. So thats an extra $20 ontop of the current tv bill each month


So how many here, actually have their own modem or even receiver (sat, cable, fibre) And how would you go about buying the DCT receivers? I don't remember any place where you can buy the digital receivers that the cable/fibre co. supply you with only by leasing. Plus at this point here in the states, when the digitally switch FINALLY happens in June, I see no reason why they should charge for the SD receivers. Since SD programming will be offered freely. I could still see them charging a bit for the HD stuff, but its not like I even have an HD tv, so what do I care...

Thoughts, rants, whatever I'm interested to know....
 
Old 02-27-2009, 02:46 PM   #2
MS3FGX
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Quote:
So at this point if one stays on these types of services for long periods of time (years), the cost adds up quite significantly.
Well...that is sort of the point. You pay for the hardware over the long term rather than up front. Your service provider had to buy the receivers you are using, so by charging you a few dollars per month they are able to recoup the hardware cost without hitting you with a painfully large bill at the beginning of the contract.

It is the same concept with cell phones. A cell phone costs hundreds of dollars, but the carrier will give it to you for $50 or so with the promise you will pay them for service over the next 2 years.

Even if you were allowed to provide your own equipment (which I am pretty sure no provider is going to let you do anyway), and find a supplier for it (which I am equally sure you could never do, at least not with proprietary services like FiOS) you wouldn't save any money. The providers buy them by the thousands, you are going to just buy one; the cost would be astronomical.

To go back to the cell phone analogy, look into the retail price on some new phones. The retail on my phone was over $700, but I got it for $150 with a two year contract. Even if I was then spared the admittedly high service charges they hit me with (like $5 per month for mobile email on top of the $15 for 3G Internet access), it would take much longer than 2 years for me to recover the cost of the hardware.

As for the issue of the DTV switch over, I think you might have the wrong idea there. When the US moves completely to digital broadcast (incidentally, even though the cut off is in June, most stations have already switched), it is still going to be the same over-the-air broadcast as always, just digital instead of analog. You won't get all the channels you do with a pay cable service, just the few local channels. Even the most basic pay TV service is going to provide you with many many more channels than what will be available for free broadcast.
 
Old 02-27-2009, 02:59 PM   #3
Jeebizz
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Well even for the FiOS modem, I have been on the manufacturer's site and the price wasn't very much (actiontec device). The only thing is I haven't seen any place where to buy the receivers (provided by Motorola), so I guess thats just something a consumer cannot buy, since it is only provided in bulk.

But the thing is, even 10 years ago when I was on satellite, I wasn't charged for the equipment, but at the same time after my term was up, I was able to keep the equipment. Hell, the dish is still on my roof, and we still have the three receivers.

Same with cellphones, after the term is up the provider never asks for the phone back, at least mine doesn't. My term for verizon is up, and of course I have the option of having a new phone, but I don't want one. Mine still works, and since it is now MINE, its even better. I guess I just don't understand why it can't be like that for the tv.


My idea wasn't totally free programming by the way. Even if I am on a basic local service through their services, I would have to pay them, thats fine, I just don't want to pay anymore for the receiver itself. That was the idea I was trying to convey.
 
Old 02-27-2009, 03:53 PM   #4
MS3FGX
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They don't ask for the phone back because you have already repaid the cost of the hardware to them through the two years of monthly fees. If you want to cancel before you have paid the two year contract, that is when they charge you with an early cancellation to recover the cost of the hardware. Keep in mind that the retail price it would cost you to buy the phone is considerably higher than what it cost the carrier to buy it; again, it is an issue of volume. So if they are selling you a phone for $30 - $50, they losing money up front (even with their volume discounts) but at the end of two years it is more than made up for.

It is interesting that you mention early satellite TV service though, as that is almost what you are looking for now. Back when satellite TV first came out, you actually could use your own receivers and dishes. In fact, there was little standardization and control over the satellite TV system originally, you could just go buy a dish and a receiver and get free TV if you wanted (the cost of the hardware was exceptionally high at the time, of course). It wasn't until later on that things started to get a little more organized with DirecTV in 1994.

In the end, the difference is really just in perception. Either the company charges you a reduced hardware fee at the start of the contract and supplements this with a promise to pay monthly fees (like a cell phone), or the company doesn't charge you up front for the hardware and instead tacks a few dollars on per month for the duration of the contract. You are still paying for hardware either way.

But realistically, how would you even know what you were paying for? Instead of charging you the $5 per month fee for the box, what if the cable company simply raised the price of their packages by $5 a month? Would you be able to tell the difference? Would you still be worried about paying for the hardware if the bill didn't specifically print out that you are being charged for it monthly?

Last edited by MS3FGX; 02-27-2009 at 03:54 PM.
 
Old 02-27-2009, 04:01 PM   #5
ErV
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeebizz View Post
Thoughts, rants, whatever I'm interested to know....
Can't say much about TV-specific stuff, because I don't watch TV at all, but I think that regular monthly costs should be eliminated when possible, because they decrease your monthly income (or they should be counter-balanced with extra monthly income). However, in some situations purchasing equipment just to remove few extra bucks from the bill will be counter-productive, i.e. if equipment is too costly and you are not planning to use service for long time. I recommend you to think how long you are going to use service with extra cost of equipment, calculate total amount of money you would have to pay as "extra" payment for hardware given by service provider, then compare it with cost of hardware you would have to pay if you bought hardware yourself. For example, if you are going to use HD service for month then terminate service, purchasing your own receiver will be a waste of money (plus you'll get extra junk hardware). But if you are going to use service for a few years AND service provider won't ever terminate extra monthly payment for hardware, then, of course, purchasing your own receiver will be better idea. Just calculate costs, compare, and you'll find out which is better.
 
Old 02-27-2009, 04:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MS3FGX

It is interesting that you mention early satellite TV service though, as that is almost what you are looking for now. Back when satellite TV first came out, you actually could use your own receivers and dishes. In fact, there was little standardization and control over the satellite TV system originally, you could just go buy a dish and a receiver and get free TV if you wanted (the cost of the hardware was exceptionally high at the time, of course). It wasn't until later on that things started to get a little more organized with DirecTV in 1994.
I was only speaking about DirecTV which I had back in `96 until ~2001. Since I never did have an analogue dish, plus that wouldn't exactly be placed on top of my roof, but in my backyard: See BUDs. I always thought those were really cool, because you can give your own coordinates and stuff and pick up anything, but that was a non-ku band, just a c-band analogue dish mostly. If you did want a list of coordinates to pickup channels without hunting, then yes you would have to go through some kind of provider that would keep you updated with the latest transponder settings, coordinates, etc. at a monthly fee of course. You obviously can't do that with digital, since it is a static dish and the services are encrypted. Hell I don't think you can even use the old style dishes anymore.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MS3FGX

But realistically, how would you even know what you were paying for? Instead of charging you the $5 per month fee for the box, what if the cable company simply raised the price of their packages by $5 a month? Would you be able to tell the difference? Would you still be worried about paying for the hardware if the bill didn't specifically print out that you are being charged for it monthly?
But why only the cable companies then? Whats to stop the phone companies from doing the same thing, even if you choose to keep your old mobile phone after you renew your contract? I guess I am just not quite getting it since after a certain amount of years being with the tv service, at $5 per month, the device would have already been payed for it's value. *sigh*

Last edited by Jeebizz; 02-27-2009 at 04:11 PM.
 
Old 02-27-2009, 04:23 PM   #7
anomie
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Originally Posted by Jeebizz
So how many here, actually have their own modem or even receiver (sat, cable, fibre)
I have a modem that was supplied by my ISP when I signed up for their DSL service. (i.e. I don't rent the modem.)

As for cable television, my wife and I sold our tv / dvd player years ago. The thought of actually paying a company a recurring fee so that I can sit on my bottom and watch 55% braindead programming + 40% commercials is unbelievable to me.

When I have free time, there are a couple shows I watch on my laptop -- usually I get the bittorent for the episode I'd like to see.
 
Old 02-28-2009, 04:12 PM   #8
MS3FGX
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As for cable television, my wife and I sold our tv / dvd player years ago. The thought of actually paying a company a recurring fee so that I can sit on my bottom and watch 55% braindead programming + 40% commercials is unbelievable to me.
Not sure I understand the logic there...why not just watch DVDs? Why sell the TV and DVD player because you don't want to pay for TV service? You could still use it without paying a monthly fee.

Quote:
But why only the cable companies then? Whats to stop the phone companies from doing the same thing, even if you choose to keep your old mobile phone after you renew your contract?
Some carriers do. I know that in the US, Sprint allows you to pay for your phone in small monthly installments rather than all up front.
 
Old 03-01-2009, 10:05 PM   #9
anomie
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Originally Posted by MS3FGX
Not sure I understand the logic there...why not just watch DVDs? Why sell the TV and DVD player because you don't want to pay for TV service? You could still use it without paying a monthly fee.
I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that this is a sincere query. The logic is easy to understand if you can imagine dumping cable having something of a domino effect.

You're free to keep your tv and dvd player if you'd like.
 
Old 03-02-2009, 07:16 AM   #10
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I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that this is a sincere query. The logic is easy to understand if you can imagine dumping cable having something of a domino effect.
To each his own, but that looks a little over the top to me. In the US we can still receive local network channels for free in digital. Good for news and limited entertainment.

However, I also see that that probably did get you off your duff (which many of us should do more) and onto doing other, more beneficial things.
 
Old 03-02-2009, 07:34 AM   #11
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As far as the owning of your equipment, I think that the relatively nominal $5 is not that much when you do consider that if the equipment dies you just return it to the carrier and they give you a new one.
 
Old 03-02-2009, 09:46 AM   #12
MS3FGX
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The logic is easy to understand if you can imagine dumping cable having something of a domino effect.
It isn't that I don't agree with the dislike of what is currently broadcast on television; I haven't "watched TV" in years, it is all inane filler. But even still, this summer I bought a new 1080p TV so I can watch Blurays and stream content from NetFlix. Most of what is broadcast currently is garbage, but that idea that nothing of any worth has ever been put onto film is just ridiculous.

It is like saying you don't have a need for word processing software in your house, so you got rid of your computer. It is just one thing the computer/TV is capable of, it doesn't make sense to dump the whole thing because you are no longer interested in a single facet of it's capabilities.

But like SlowCoder said, to each his own.
 
  


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