Wow, it sure was fun to watch the Rose Bowl on a 4.5 inch screen this afternoon.
That's the only way I could see the game -- via the Internet -- thanks to the hugely frustrating standoff between the DISH satellite TV network and Fisher Communications, which owns several ABC stations in the northwest, including Portland's KATU.
Like I said before, curses on both DISH and Fisher. And I know a lot of other DISH subscribers feel the same way.
I've asked representatives of both companies to give me the details of this contract dispute. How much was DISH paying previously to rebroadcast local ABC stations? How much is DISH willing to pay now? How much is Fisher asking?
George left a seemingly knowledgeable comment on my first post which said in part:
This has a ring of truth to it. But when I wrote the KATU general manager (John Tamerlano), asking the questions above, all I got emailed to me was a form letter. Excerpt:
OK, that also sounds believable. So I've come to be more pissed off at DISH than Fisher.
I've told the head guy at DISH that I'd be happy to send him a couple of bucks to pay for a year's worth of getting KATU at a higher rate if he'd get a contract approved. For less than the cost of a latte, I'd like to be able to watch Lost, Dancing With the Stars, and other favorite ABC shows.
For a while I seriously considered switching to DirecTV. But then I realized that while I'd be making a point to DISH, I'd also be causing myself television-watching grief.
It's complicated to switch satellite services. We've got over fifty hours of saved-up shows to watch on our DISH DVR. I like the DISH equipment (especially the 30 second skip feature) and the programming.
The only thing I don't like is not getting our local ABC station.
However, we've found that the KGW news is more enjoyable to watch than KATU's, so that's no loss. And if KATU is still off the DISH lineup when the new season of Lost starts, we can watch via the Internet (and probably on our television set, once I figure out how to connect my MacBook to it).
So I've decided to stick with DISH. There's no guarantee that DirecTV won't get into a similar contract pissing match and cut off some other channel that we like.
That almost happened recently with the Time Warner Cable system. Viacom was on the verge of pulling the plug on a bunch of channels, including (gasp!) Comedy Central.
If we lost The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, our lives would barely be worth living. Fortunately for Time Warner subscribers, the shutoff was averted at the last moment.
I still think DISH owes me something, though, for making me watch the Rose Bowl on a 4.5 inch laptop window rather than the 42 inch LCD television we got recently.
Tomorrow I'm going to try to suck a HD DVR receiver upgrade out of DISH's greedy little hands. Having them waive the $10 a month fee for getting a bunch more HD channels on our current programming package also would be a nice gesture.