Too Good To be True Usually Is

Over the past 15 years my wife and I have been unemployed at the same time, had to borrow money from parents and ended up working in situations we would rather not just to pull through. Faced with bills for the basics like electricity, food, and gas we looked at a $140.00 bill for U-Verse TV and decided there were cheaper ways to kill an evening. Luckily it happened just as Hulu and Netflix were coming into their own as services.

Streaming options were never supposed to be all things to all people. The various streaming services have slowly grown from being a grab bag of material to becoming more and more specific in their reach and audience. There is more to take in than there ever was before, but unfortunately, it is spread out over numerous sources. HBO Now has exclusives, Showtime has exclusives, Hulu and Netflix have exclusives and so on. It is what leads to the debates as to whether streaming can replace cable as far as expense goes.

Because there is a market for jumbo selection packages paired with a disinterest in paying enough to support the rights fees needed to provide the content, a number of companies have emerged to fill in the gap. They promise access to hundreds, even thousands of cable channels from the US and around the world calling themselves IPTV providers. Often they also advertise access to pay-per-view events, every single pro Sports contest and more. All for 50 dollars a year or less.

I’m going to be real with you folks. Any package that promises that level of content for pennies on the dollar is totally nefarious. And to buy into such a deal simply because there is a website promoting it or because someone on Facebook says it’s ok is intentionally pulling the wool over one’s own eyes. And I think anybody reading this knows it.

I’ve had a number of conversations with people at all levels of this issue from executives at streaming providers right down to those who promote the offending services. The nicest way to describe what is going on from the side of people to pay to fund this form of piracy is that they think they have been fooled because they want to believe. But its kind of like a kid reasoning that because a parent says don’t eat before dinner that it’s ok to “drink” a milkshake. After all, the guy at the fair said it’s ok. And why would someone at a pop up stand that will disappear into the wind in 4 days tell me something that is not true? Would you buy a car in the same circumstance? How about a baby crib? Of course not. But when it comes to TV people are so frustrated by big companies taking advantage of them through extra fees and constantly rising prices they figure what the hell? It’s magic beans people. But these magic beans don’t grow into a beanstalk. They enrich people who steal from hard working people. You might not think Comcast deserves your money, but some Jerk on YouTube doesn’t either. regular working people produce the content that is being stolen and redistributed so that thieves can cash checks and they are doing it with the willing help of consumers.

We all know, for instance, that the NFL commands billion dollar contracts from networks to show their games one at a time on each of their affiliate stations. Why would you be able to pay $7.00 per year and watch every NFL game on TV every week? How could you possibly receive HBO, Showtime, Starz, and every Netflix original TV show in that same package? It’s not nice to say this but I’m going to. Don’t be naive.

Some TV services cost too much. They don’t provide the value of the cost. But the solution is to continue to push for content worth paying for and support services that work to provide it. I wish I could drive a Tesla and stay at the Grand Floridian at Disney World every Christmas. But I settle for a Carolla and day trips to the beach with a sprinkling of Busch Gardens or Carowinds. I’d like to fly first class but I fly Southwest. Nobody really watches all of the content on any given package. Who could even watch a 10th of on what’s Netflix? There are ways to watch most of what is out there legitimately without overpaying for cable or supporting digital piracy. And we will continue to help you learn how.