Consumer Reports published an item about a lawsuit Comcast settled recently with the Massachusetts attorney general. The cable provider agreed to refund $700,000 in overcharges and cancel debts of 20,000 customers. It seems Comcast’s advertising neglected to disclose fees that typically increased the price of multi-year packages by 40%. Unhappy customers were required to pay as much as $240 to cancel or change a subscription.

An estimated 25 million subscribers broke free from their pay-tv service this year, a 33% increase over 2017.

Who doesn’t hate their cable or satellite television provider? The cable and satellite companies force customers to pay for unwanted channels to get the channels they do want. Because they sold only package deals. The television providers refused to remove their blinders; they thought they could resist a la carte pricing forever. Although they also provide Internet service – and lobby against net neutrality – they didn’t see the Internet would soon wreck their business model.

That consumer hatred is turning to gold for Joe Bingochea, president of Channel Master. The seventy-year-old company has doubled the size of its Arizona factory to meet surging demand. Its product? Television antennas.

Internet television allows viewers to subscribe to only channels they want. They don’t need to pay for ESPN2 to get HBO; they only pay for the HBO channel. And they’ve learned what mom and dad knew: the local stations, including major network affiliates and PBS, broadcast their programming for free. All one needs is an antenna to grab the signal from the atmosphere.

Which explains why Joe Bingochea is so happy. After years in the doldrums, his company’s products are in demand again. Channel Master also offers DVRs that work with antennas, because today’s viewers are accustomed to watching what they want when they want. For less than a hundred bucks, a person can become an ex-customer of the pay-TV companies.

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  1. Comcast is a monopoly in our area of Portland. The only thing going for it is it provides much better customer service but you pay for it.

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