questionsare the days of cheap video streaming numbered?

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How can we keep our costs low?

* Get a decent TV antenna. Over-the-air video streaming is 100% free.
* Avoid "purchasing" cloud-based digital video content. It may seem like a great idea now, but may end up being expensive to watch your own videos.

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Yes, unfortunately, cheap streaming is going to go away.

Amazon will eventually split up the instant streaming and the shipping or significantly increase the price. They have been experimenting with the $1 MP3's for quite a while now.

I love Netflix, but they seem to be getting a lot of hate lately.

Hulu's business model is a bit strange. The free streaming I expect to go away soon.

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I've been worried about this for some time now. I remember just two years ago my Cable Internet/TV Bill was around $90 a month and that was expensive. Just last month my TV/ISP (since I'm no longer under contract) bumped it up to $135 a month. That's a $45 increase and I'm not getting any more channels or internet speed. I called to complain and got it lowered by $15. I'm still considering dropping it, we have Netflix and the only thing I really use cable for are the TV shows that I can watch when they're released, and Baseball games which I can watch at a bar a 5 minute walk away.

What I'm concerned with is if cable companies have slowly but surely raised their prices for the past decade I see Netflix and other streaming companies doing the same.

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There's a reason wireless data caps are there. You can't add more people cheaply - you essentially have to build more towers. Everyone on the same tower is sharing the same few frequencies, and each phone or device gets a small slice of time.

With a dedicated cable, you can fit many hundreds of people on a fiber-backed node with absolutely massive bandwidth. And if that every fills up, you can just run fiber to the home and have an unimaginable amount of capacity.

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@omnichad: The "free" bandwidth only goes so far as your local provider. When you're streaming content from a remote server you're using 3rd-party backbone bandwidth that your ISP has to pay for.

It's still relatively cheap compared to wireless, but as your ISP's bandwidth to the outside world increases, your rates will increase.

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@eraten: Its especially frustrating when they will quickly drop your monthly bill ($180/yr!) just for calling in and complaining. It makes it seem like they were just seeing what they could get away with. The more people will pay, the more they will charge!

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@samstag: If you had any idea how VERY cheap that is (unless you're a very small ISP), then you'd know that this is no concern. The major cable operators like Comcast and Charter and many phone companies own their own backbones over a fairly wide area as well.

The home subscriber's price has very little relation to the cost of the external bandwidth. Most of it is paying for local infrastructure and whatever money they can get out of a customer due to having a monopoly.

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@samstag: I live on the lower slope of the last, littlest Rocky mountain, and all the local TV stations and most of the radio stations are at the top. I'm in the broadcast shadow; they are all shouting way over my head. I can only get a couple of US radio stations (only one of them tolerable) and no TV. I dropped my satellite dish in favor of spending the money on faster DSL and have been happy with the trade-off, although every month AT&T sends me threat letters about overage fees. I write them back and ask if I can buy more capacity. They never answer, but they also haven't charged me an overage fee yet. If they ever do I will press the point on whether I can buy a plan with more capacity.

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@omnichad: That's interesting. Unfortunately I don't think that reality will keep them from using bandwidth costs as an excuse to raise rates.

@moondrake: Move to Dallas. I'm getting 57 OTA channels out here. It's 90% crap, just like a cable package, but it's all free.

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@samstag: LOL. We had a ranch in Aubrey near Denton before we moved here. That was back in the days when we just had the Big Three, plus the black and white LA channels on UHF with their Saturday afternoon monster movie marathons. I loved the ranch and the horses, but I like where I am at just fine. If Hulu and the network websites give out on me, I have tens of thousands of hours of movies, TV and anime on DVD. As long as the electricity holds out, I am good to go for video.

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It sounds like streaming willl become more expensive, but if more and more people are "cutting the cable", shouldn't that make cable companies lower their prices to compete?

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It is not going to last. The current "cord cutters" are relying very heavily on video streaming which, frankly, doesn't scale well. As the current models become more popular lower bandwidth caps will be instated, or more and more people will bump up against them (3.6 GB per HD movie), or 1.8 GB per hour (more or less) . If you have 4 people in the household, you will hit the 250 GB limit.

I don't know what the system will end up as, but what we have now won't last.

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as long as filesharing is alive, they can't start charging TOO much for streaming. I've been watching the majority of my tv shows via my computer for nearly a decade, and will happily go back to bittorrent for tv shows if streaming becomes expensive.

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@jsimsace: I don't think so. Most of the cable companies are also ISP's so they will just increase the cost of the Internet service.