The local cable provider for Anniston and Calhoun County, Cable One, is about to make some big changes. The first change is something I like. Before, they had a 50 GB cap on internet usage each month. For each GB will went over, you were charged an extra fee. Starting now, the cap has gone up to 300 GB. For just about everybody, that means you will never get close to the cap now unless you stream and download stuff 24/7. Everyone on Cable One already gets a 50 Mbps plan. But Cable One is also now offering a 60 and 70 Mbps plan as well. The only thing I would love to change is the 2 Mbps upload speed. Sitting here uploading my videos and pictures here on Geek Alabama can be a pain at times with that slow speed.
But after talking with several people here in the Anniston area, this new internet plan is the only thing they are satisfied with at Cable One. Cable One is now running commercials and sending out information to customers about the change to all digital technology. Cable One will soon turn off all analog signals on their cable system and will be digital only. Traditionally, you could hook up your cable line right to your TV and get many channels. But with digital technology, you will need a TV with a CableCARD, a TV connected through a CableCARD device, or a TV with a Motorola receiver or DVR, which I already have. Many people have already gotten this flyer from Cable One in the mail.
The FCC recently changed policies where TV providers can encrypt all channels if they choose to do so. The old rules required cable companies to provide basic channels with no encryption. Cable One says digital technology compresses video signals so they take up less frequency space enabling more channels to occupy the space that normally would be occupied by a single channel. This means Cable One can add more channels like more HD channels. Cable One can also provide better picture technology, new entertainment options, and faster internet speeds.
This is where some people start hating on Cable One. When the cable signal goes all digital, you can not simply hook up your TV to the cable line and start watching TV. All Cable One customers who don’t have a digital TV box or DVR will be required to get two all digital devices called the ADD-Vantage to watch any TV. If you need more than two, each additional one will cost $5 a month. This is where many people are not happy about Cable One. Seriously, if you have four TV’s in your house, to enable cable services on all TV’s, you will have to pay an extra $10 a month. Some say this is the cable company ripping you off.
Cable One here in Anniston already has a small lineup of HD channels. Believe it or not, some of the most popular cable channels don’t have the HD feed available. For one, I wish Cable One would provide AMC HD. Yep, my mom has dish and can get the AMC HD feed. Trying to watch The Walking Dead in that small letterbox format sucks. I wish Cable One would also add the HD feeds from Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Bravo, The Hub, Science Channel, Comedy Central, CNN, HLN, MSNBC, CNBC, Lifetime, ESPN U, ESPNEWS, NFL Network, NBC Sports Network, Disney XD, and more! I even wonder if Cable One will add the SEC Network when it launches in August 2014? If it doesn’t launch around here and fans must miss the Alabama and Auburn football games, Cable One will receive a rash of hate phone calls.
As of right now, I must get the services from Cable One because of Geek Alabama. I need the high speed internet to write posts, upload photos and videos, and to livestream through Google Hangouts. The costs for internet is around $60 a month. I also get TV with a DVR so I can record the shows I miss when I am out covering events. My total cable bill is around $120 a month. I know I could go to Netflix / Hulu Plus / Amazon Instant Video route but after you add the monthly costs for those services along with the internet and local channel bill, it averages out to around $100 a month. Yes in Alabama, you must have access to local channels for severe weather coverage. So for now, I will continue to get internet and cable TV through Cable One. I would not want to get internet and TV services like this guy does.
For the many customers on the Cable One system for which I have spoken too, everyone hopes the cable company will add all available HD channels! And also Cable One would make more people happy if they decide to drop their $5 a month all-digital device fee to watch TV. Geek Alabama will keep up with the changes happening at Cable One. Some people here in Anniston have suggested that Calhoun County find a new franchise agreement with a new cable company. I wonder if it will get to that point? Cable is going to have to change their ways or they will become a thing of the past as many people will watch their shows through the internet.
- Time Warner Cable reportedly paying producers to keep TV off the web (theverge.com)
- How big cable uses its muscles to prevent online competition (gigaom.com)
- Are the cable TV walls about to crumble? (lostremote.com)