Digital cable has a great deal of promise but in many ways it has failed to deliver. A decade ago as people were starting to transition from analog cell phones to digital cell phones in the states, many people rightly recognized that the digital phones were not as powerful or as good as their reliable analog phones.
The two phones ran on different systems and the chopped down nature of digital made the early sound quality sound rougher and in general the service was not as good. The technology was really good for the carriers because they could now quadruple the number of calls that an antenna could carry from say 1,000 to 4,000.
Digital cable is supposed to deliver more channels to cable subscribers, just like digital cellular antennas could handle more calls. The problem is that the digital packets often times get chopped up and don’t always make it back together again.
This week I have been watching the digital cable channel lottery as I watch one channel after the next fall victim to pixelation. Its usually either Fox News or CNN and sometimes a few others, but this week it seems to be rotating through about two dozen channels through out the day.
If I am going to pay for 500 channels of nothing on I expect them to be clear and crisp and well watchable!
This isn’t the case and at times it is almost worthless to have a 24 hour news channel that you can not hear or see more than half of the time. I currently have Comcast, but used to have a different problem with Dish, called rain storms that wiped out all of the channels for a couple hours every few days out of the month.
Until the cable companies can figure out that I do not need 100 more channels of nothing on, but I do want the first 500 or at least the first 100 to be viewable with some reliability, I am going to be very tempted to jump ship and take the first alternate option that comes along, just like we all learned to jump ship with our wireless carriers a decade ago, until we developed a cellular churn culture.
The cable companies are likely to learn very soon that digital TV can lead to a subscriber churn culture as well.