Tech Talk Tuesday: Cutting the Cord

Updated: Tuesday, March 18 2014, 08:30 AM MDT
Tech Talk Tuesday: Cutting the Cord story image

By Lonnie Valencia

Television - The glowing entertainment hub of almost every living room here in the borderland.  For some, it’s the crowning jewel of the whole house- the high tech pearl we show off.  We brag about its size, we drool over every radiating pixels of clarity, and we can't get enough of the entertainment it brings into our homes.  All that wonderful programming television has displayed for us over the years is secretly hiding a brawl that is taking place behind the scenes.  In today’s Tech Talk, I’ll tell you who’s fighting, what they are fighting for, and why you’ll decide who wins.  Get ready because here comes the bell! Ding! Ding!



Television isn't going anywhere, but the companies providing you the programming are threatening to pull the plug.   Companies like Walt Disney Co. (DIS)’s ABC, 21st Century Fox Inc. (FOX), Comcast Corp. (CMCSA)’s NBCUniversal and CBS Corp. (CBS) are front and center in a coming U.S. Supreme Court hearing.  They're fighting to block a company called Aereo from selling live television programming over the internet. Now why is this a big deal? Two reasons!

One... Aereo is using little antennas to capture the broadcaster's (ABC, FOX, CBS) signals and resending it through the internet to their customers for profit. Normally when that happens you pay a retransmission fee.  Time Warner and Comcast cable companies pay a ton of money nation wide for that privilege, but Aereo has found a loophole of sorts. They say since they don’t rebroadcast it and their signal only goes to the individuals that subscribes, the fee doesn’t apply to them. So far two courts have agreed with them and they are very confident going into the hearing with the U.S. Supreme Court. If Aereo wins again then the  broadcasters ( ABC, FOX, CBS) will have a hard time keeping cable and satellite providers from using the same loophole to get out of paying their retransmission fees. This means broadcasters will loose millions of dollars just because of one company’s creative out of the box thinking.

Two... Some broadcasters have already threatened to pull the plug if things don't go their way. In other words, they would abandon the airways and charge for their network online. Other companies like Netflix have shown that their internet model can work and make money, so why can’t broadcasters do the same with their programming? This would stop Aereo from "stealing" their stuff for free and change the way we view programming forever. If that turns out to be the case, I guess I'll see my shows like Bones, The Following, and American Idol, streaming off my computer screen in the future.

So much fighting is going on to provide you (the consumer) with the signal to entertain you it makes my head spin. From millions of people cutting their own cord and switching to internet only services to the rise of companies like Hulu.  And now this court case all have television as we know it on the ropes of change.  Until the judges come out with a decision we will all just be stuck waiting. What do you think is the future of television? Would you like to see the change if broadcasters left for the internet?  Let me know in the comment section below.  As always we would love your feedback/suggestions for this or our next edition, so feel free to send your comments to our resident Tech Guy Lonnie Valencia.



Tech Talk Tuesday: Cutting the Cord
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