Cable TV Programming Costs Reduced - When cable companies raise their rates they usually blame the high costs to them of the various channels they carry. One of the most significant changes in the cable TV industry lately has been the less aggressive pricing of programmers. Cable rates have gone up nearly three times the overall inflation rate since l996, creating problems between the cable companies and programmers as well as between the cable services and their customers. ESPN is the most expensive cable channel, costing more than $2 a month per subscriber. Some cable firms have begun to offer a la carte pricing - letting users select and pay for only those channels they want.
Only 8000 Subscribe to Cablevisions VOOM - The new HDTV-centered satellite service competing with DISH Systems and DirecTV (and surprisingly launched by a wired cable TV firm) has started out very slowly. By the end of last month only 8000 subscribers had signed up for VOOM's greatly expanded HDTV programming offerings, in spite of a big advertising effort.
Expenses for Cable Companies to Switch to DTV - It is not just consumers who have to invest in a brand new digital TV or terrestrial stations who have to spend millions on new transmitters and equipment to broadcast DTV, but also the cable firms who are being hit hard by the expense of making the switch to digital video. Comcast, for example, announced that to bring digital and hi-def programming and other cable services to their DTV subscribers may cost them as much as $2 billion.
Analog Camcorder and Still Camera Markets Shrink - If you need to replace your old analog 8mm, VHS-C camcorder or film still camera, now is the time to do it, because digital camcorders and digital still cameras are taking over the consumer market. Just as the VCR is being replaced by DVD recorders, the old analog cameras are being replaced by DVD camcorders, miniDV and a dizzying variety of digital still cameras - the most expensive and multi-pixeled vying with the top 35mm film cameras for resolution and picture quality. There is even a miniDV now equipped for surround sound.