With Internet TV, cable wins even if it loses

Americans, little by little, are cutting the proverbial cord on cable television. But that doesn't mean they're breaking up with their cable companies.

In addition to controlling most of the paid TV market in the U.S., cable companies are also poised to dominate the broadband market. This means that even when people drop their pricey cable TV packages, they're still likely to pay the cable company for access to the Internet, which is used to deliver the video streams to their TVs. For cable operators, it's a "heads we win; tails we win" situation.

Neil Smit, president of Comcast's cable division, said, "If over-the-top comes into being, there is more consumption of online video. We feel very good about our capacity. That is one of the reasons we have invested so heavily in DOCSIS 3 (the cable technology that allows operators to provide download broadband speeds up to 160Mbps). We feel that that big pipe into the house is important and we will continue to invest in speed increases like that, like DOCSIS 3. We think it's an important component and the consumers continue to consume more bandwidth."

So what does that mean for average consumers? For those of us left behind with traditional cable services, it could well mean that the cable companies increase fees in order to pay for the contracts they have with content producers like the TV networks. For those who do leave cable TV, there's a very good chance they're paying the same provider for a different service -- broadband access.


With Internet TV, cable wins even if it loses