Monday, June 17, 2013
Back in 2008, I wrote a little piece called ‘The Economics of Pay TV for the Time Poor’ that put the lie to the hundreds of hours of amazing television promised to us by subscription TV services like Foxtel: nobody actually has that many hours to watch television.
Well, it’s been a few years, technology has changed a little, so I thought I’d give it a 2013 update:
- Foxtel’s full premium package with all the bells and whistles costs about $133.
- For the meagre sum of $20 per month, I’ve been able to increase the monthly data cap for my internet account from a modest 50GB to 200GB.
- With the average two-hour-and-15-minute movie in high-definition being about 4GB in size, that means I can watch as many as 50 movie downloads a month, or 37 more movies per month than what I’m able to watch right now. With the way my days work out on an average month, I’ll be lucky if I can get through 15. That leaves another 34 hours of TV shows I could download per month, from The Walking Dead to Mad Men.
- For less than $10 per month, I can legitimately sign up with Hulu and Netflix and get 98 per cent of the content being offered by Foxtel.
- The remaining two per cent are locally produced reality shows that I don’t care for and (and this is a big one) Game of Thrones, which Foxtel has sneakily negotiated exclusive rights for. As of 2014, you won’t even be able to get it on iTunes. That said, I’ve read the books, the Red Wedding has already been shown and there isn’t much more to look forward to, so it’s already past its best… but I digress…
- The sports that matter are all on free-to-air. Even the NFL.
- Anyone with a skerrick of networking know-how can stream a downloaded Full HD movie with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound from a computer to a large home theatre set-up.
So, to summarise, I can pay 75 per cent less and still get 98 per cent of what I was getting anyway.
I’ve already cancelled half the channels while I sort out a few things for the kids to watch. The lady on the phone immediately offered to waive the charge for the movies package for three months, as though 20 year-old movies hold any appeal. She also pleaded the virtues of Foxtel On Demand, which is basically iTunes but with a subscription fee. You could tell from the way she gave up without a fight that I was probably the thousandth person to tell her that.
This has been a long time coming. I’m glad to be catching up with the techno-gentry at last.