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FCC Nixes Decades-Old NFL Blackout Rule

But 5-0 vote against regulation doesn't necessarily mean all blackouts will end

(Newser) - Football fans may still experience occasional blackouts of local NFL games on TV—but it won't be because of the FCC anymore. In a unanimous 5-0 vote today, the commission repealed a law that has been in place since 1975 to prevent cable and satellite television providers from showing... More »

In Iran, Fight Brews Over Blocked Broadcasts

Tehran blocking foreign broadcasts while sending out its own

(Newser) - Should Iran be allowed to use Western satellites to broadcast its state-run TV channels to dozens of countries while it continues to jam Persian language-channels from abroad? Human rights activists, who complain that Iran has stepped up censorship of channels such as the BBC and the Voice of America in... More »

Have Cable or Dish? You Pay $100 'Sports Tax'

... even if you hate sports: NYT analysis

(Newser) - The NFL's hefty new contract with TV networks—as in $27 billion over nine years—prompts the New York Times to look into the booming business of sports on TV. The takeaway stat: Anyone with cable or satellite is paying what amounts to an annual "sports tax" of... More »

Satellite, Cable TV Customers Flee in Record Numbers

Combined figure hits 580K in second quarter

(Newser) - Sign of the times: The six biggest satellite and cable TV companies lost a combined 580,000 customers in the second quarter, which Bloomberg calls a record high. Take your pick of reasons: rising prices, increased online competition from the likes of Netflix, a lousy economy, the slump in home... More »

Top Complaints About Satellite TV

Watch the fine print on introductory offers, termination fees

(Newser) - It's almost enough to make you miss the old rabbit-ear antenna. The Consumerist rounds up the five most common complaints from satellite TV subscribers to the Better Business Bureau:
  • Early termination fees: They're sometimes as high as $600, with consumers complaining that they were misled or unaware of the policy.
... More »

TV Viewers Migrate to Web

Americans are more and more likely to have watched shows online

(Newser) - More and more Americans are watching television exclusively online and ditching their cable or satellite service. One-quarter of families have tuned in online, and 25% of those viewers have watched a full-length show on a computer—a 67% jump just since 2007. “The idea that you come home and... More »

Cable, Satellite Providers Push Pay-Per-View Porn

(Newser) - Times are tough, and for cable and satellite TV companies, that means—more porn. Comcast is following DirecTV's lead and ramping up advertising for adult pay-per-view channels, reports Advertising Age. The spots will generally run on guy channels such as Spike TV and ESPN in the wee hours. Meanwhile, the... More »

7% Not Ready for Digital TV Switch

With switch due Feb. 17, estimated 7% aren't prepared; feds' coupon program shaky

(Newser) - With US television’s transition from analog to digital broadcasting less than two months away, officials are worried that consumers still don’t have the signal-converter box, the Wall Street Journal reports. An estimated 7% aren’t prepared, and Congress, which authorized $1.34 billion for coupons to help consumers... More »

Saudi Judge: Kill Offending Broadcasters

Sheik urges fatwa on owners of channels with 'corrupt beliefs'

(Newser) - The highest judge in Saudi Arabia says “it is permissible” to murder owners of satellite TV networks that broadcast questionable material during Ramadan, the Guardian reports. When a caller to his radio show asked about channels featuring “bad programs,” Sheik Saleh al-Lihedan responded, “What does the... More »

Hi-Def Fans Allege Low Blow

Cable's compression of HD signals water down the product, connoisseurs say

(Newser) - TV enthusiasts are miffed that high-definition channels aren't looking as good as they should on expensive home-theater systems, the AP reports. Without much spare bandwidth, compressing the signal is cheaper for the cable companies than increasing capacity. "They have to figure out a way to deliver more HD content... More »

DirecTV to Get With Times, Add On-Demand

Satellite service will combine DVR, web streaming to deliver it

(Newser) - Challenged by cable and phone-company competitors, DirecTV will offer video-on-demand for the first time, a combination of DVR and broadband-connected content with significant limitations. Because the biggest satellite-TV provider doesn’t use terrestrial connections, it’s been long unable to offer instant play options. Its new plan will store some... More »

Liberty Looks to Leverage DirecTV Deal

In for a tough battle with better positioned telcos, cable companies

(Newser) - Closing Liberty Media’s $12 billion deal for a 41% share of DirecTV took more than a year, but positioning the satellite-TV service to rival telcos and cable companies offering triple-play packages of TV, phone, and broadband could be a bigger test, reports the Wall Street Journal today. The deal... More »

Getting the Word Out on Digital TV

Broadcasters kick off $697 million campaign

(Newser) - What's on TV? Soon, it will be an unprecedented $697 million campaign to get the word out on the upcoming switch to digital broadcasting. Starting February 18, 2009, viewers without a digital set or special converter box won't be able to watch TV. The upcoming educational campaign "may be... More »

Dish Network Parent Buys Slingbox

EchoStar will own brand that puts TV on your PC

(Newser) - EchoStar Communications, owner of the Dish Network, has agreed to acquire the maker of the Slingbox for $380 million. The satellite TV provider should close on the deal to buy Sling Media by year’s end, the AP reports. The Slingbox allows any Internet-connected computer to receive standard TV signals. More »

Cubans Ignore Static on Illegal TV

Even committed commies crave US satellite shows despite Castro ban

(Newser) - Cubans are turning to black-market satellite TV to watch soap operas, US news and music videos, and even the Chicago White Sox—in defiance of a national ban on the programs, the Christian Science Monitor reports. "If there is censorship, there is business," said one  provider who faces... More »

Google Scores First Deal to Serve TV Commercials

Automated system allows advertisers to buy and track commercials

(Newser) - Drunk with its success at dominating the internet ad business, Google wants to start serving up TV commercials, too. The first company to sign up is EchoStar Communications, a satellite TV provider which will announce today a deal with Google to broker commercials across its 125 TV channels. More »

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