Jericho Rescued by Comcast? – But at What Cost…

Published 6 years ago by , Updated February 26th, 2013 at 7:06 am,

JerichoONcomcast p2 Jericho Rescued by Comcast?   But at What Cost...Not only does Comcast bring you all your favorite television programming over the cable-ways, they also make deals that could possibly save some of your favorite programming for additional life on the airways.

Much like the DirecTV / NBC deal that’s resurrecting Friday Night Lights (FNL) for a third season, Comcast and CBS are in talks to bring Jericho back to viewers. This particular tidbit is provided by anonymous “insiders” and it makes for an interesting tidbit, but I’m not sure we can hold our breath on this one yet. It’s too early to tell if these new business models are really going to pay off.

As an example of “these new business models”, let me touch on the Friday Night Lights scenario. Apparently NBC got enough mini-footballs in the mail from FNL fans to consider a resurrection of sorts, and probably helped illuminate the way for the DirecTV – NBC deal being brokered.


The deal is this: NBC’s deal with DirecTV would keep Friday Night Lights on the air for a third season, first airing on DirecTV, then later on in “repeats” on NBC. In turn, DirecTV helps defray production costs of the show for the right to air FNL first. This keeps the show afloat, and the reruns are then played over on NBC. Everyone wins… if this works out.

The premise that Comcast might rescue Jericho is a double-edged sword.

For Jericho fans like Vic, having it back on the air would be nice… if they bring all the original pieces back together. But Comcast has some detracting issues behind the scenes that worry me.

During a public FCC hearing in Boston regarding internet freedoms, Comcast bused in its own crowd of paid seat warmers, in an effort to keep vocal participants out of the meeting. Comcast for all its cleverness eventually fessed up to the dirty deed, after the fact and after the short term damage was done.

That deed got my collar up a bit, but then in mid 2007 Comcast decided that certain customers who used their high speed internet connection too much would be cut off or limited due to some unwritten bandwidth limit. Comcast claimed users who hoarded bandwidth ruined it for others.

Being caught in THAT cookie jar, Comcast has agreed to stop slowing down or blocking uploads on BitTorrent by the end of this year (why take so long to flip a switch Comcast?).

But wait, I’m not done – previously, HD quality programming was fed to the customer unabated, but earlier this month it’s been reported that Comcast is compressing their HDTV transmission to make room for more channels.

More channels???? Oh goodie, more things to mindlessly flip past to get to Sci-Fi. The deal with compressing channels gets a little technical, but in a nutshell, Comcast allocated two HD channels per 38.8Mbps QAM, (QAM? Eh?) a QAM being a bandwidth type of transmission for one channel I think. To add more channels, Comcast is now squeezing three HD channels into each 38.8Mbps QAM, degrading the bandwidth for the three channels, and this will be applied to not only new channels but to existing channels as well.

Some of the channels that have added compression, grouped by QAM are (Discovery Channel, SciFi, USA), (Cinemax, HBO, TLC) to name a few.

The AV Science reference link has some image comparisons so you can see the differences these folks are reporting and seeing.

So my questions are many. From a company, Comcast, who is in some heated battles with other content providers, still had their profits climb by 54% in the 4th quarter of last year, or $602 million. *crickets* .. wow.

So why do we get zinged with poor quality product, with what I presume will be no discount for the degraded service so they can make a few million more?

Obviously in their fight to ‘stay afloat’ with competing business, they’re looking at different avenues like the talks mentioned about Jericho, but at what cost to the viewer or subscriber? They obviously have interesting tactics ready to be deployed as their track record suggests, but when does it stop? When do we get a fair shake at the product we expect for what we pay for?

So at what cost do we get Jericho, if this deal happens? Fuzzier images, higher monthly rates and seat warmers to help you watch the show and boost the ratings for them.

OK, I’m done ranting.

[Homework assignment completed: Quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) is a method of combining two amplitude-modulated (AM) signals into a single channel. (Like that helped.) ]

Sources: NYTimes, Save The Internet, ALLisp.info, DVice, AV Science, Detroit News

TAGS: jericho

9 Comments

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  1. i am with you on this bruce,
    I am not sure the costs are worth the renewal of ANY cancelled show.
    but we will see.

  2. Wow what a great article Bruce it started with a Jericho renewal and ended in bandwidth specs. I’m diggin your style!
    (Vic is the KING of film reviewers but your recent posts have allways seemed to please!).Cheers Bruce!

    The short answer to your post (IMO) is that bandwidth manipulation IS occuring (due to volume/loss at this time) and the long delay in correcting it is due to the time it takes to fortify areas that still have no imbedded fiberOptics and also the time it takes to upgrade the CO’s (central offices) with new equipment. (There is a bandwidth shortage going on under the radar).
    .
    Late this year the expansion in bandwidth will occur in many ways…(IMO)
    The G3 network will overtake the EDGE network in faster bit-rate over bandwith resulting in a new way to watch tv and movies on your NEW handheld devices. Early next year your going to see a whole NEW gen of blackberries and i-phones. At the same time the overall bandwidth will increase in size. Comcast will survive. (Jericho season3!!).
    (I think?).

    That’s the plan I’ve heard,
    In 3 years you will see a new internet called th GRID or somthing like that. It will be the fastest internet possible with second-long downloads of mass media.
    So get ready gang…….to become part of the collective.

  3. Thanks Gary and 790. Glad you guys like my spin on things. (Spin is the operative word.. I get spun up about something and awaaay I go!)

    If faster bandwidth is coming, then hoorah and what you say 790 makes sense! And maybe Comcast is ahead of the curve, but I still think they play dirty at times, especially when they’re cutting into my Sci-Fi channel bandwidth.. urg, arg.

  4. Is Comcast a subsidiary of Jennings and Rall? Learned about from this blog. Comcast gouges its customers like crazy. I still have analog cable due to their sky high prices. Though I do have access to “other peoples” on Demand courtesy of my new LCD TV with QAM tuner!

  5. Bruce, because of Comcast’s shenanigans, I am unable to watch Flyers, Phillies or 76′ers games even though I live in the Philadelphia area. Why? Because I have DirecTV, and Comcast forbids DirecTV from carrying Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia…which broadcasts over 99% of the aforementioned teams’ games. Comcast does this in an effort to force Philadelphia-area sports fans to pay inflated prices for its cable service.

    Do some searching on this issue; there’s a lot out there. Worse yet, the FCC cut a deal with Comcast that allows them to continue to hold Philadelphia sports fans hostage…even though they’re not allowed to do the same thing in any other cities. Just here in Philly. Lovely. Imagine the gov’t telling the mob that they’re allowed to do anything they want, so long as they keep their crimes confined to NJ and NJ only.

    I’m sure other “Jericho” fans will call treason on this, but I would rather “Jericho” not come back at all than be brought back by Comcast. I trust Comcast like I trust the IRS.

  6. Let it die, keep it dead, no more! evermore no more!

    SEASON ONE SPOILER WARNING

    When Mr Green died, there was a real strong tender scene between usually-feuding brothers Jake and Eric.

    Fitting, because that’s when the series really died. I’m all for TV dramas killing off main characters, but losing Mr & Mrs Green took the gravitas of the show.

  7. As much as I want Jericho back, I would never switch to Comcast. I left them for a reason, poor reception, bad service and higher prices every year. I will stick to DirectTV.

  8. Teresa the fcc and the mob are the same group….

  9. Here is a link that explains the Comcast-Flyers debacle I spoke of earlier:

    http://consumerist.com/377591/directv-%252B-nhl-center-ice-%252B-comcastsportsnet%E2%80%94no-hockey-games-for-you-to-watch

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