An interview with my DVR (his name is Leonardo — after the Ninja Turtle, not DiCaprio in case you were wondering), confirms that despite regularly watching up to 30 different scripted television shows a week, I am only using a handful of the channels currently offered to me by my cable provider. Should a new bill from Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain pass, Leonardo might be recording my favorites from a far smaller batch of networks.
McCain’s proposed legislation, called The Television Consumer Freedom Act, aims to establish a television environment in which cable television customers only pay for the channels they choose.
By current practices, certain companies — like Disney and NBC Universal — sell their channels in bundles, thus charging cable operators for lower-profile channels, an expense that is then passed on to consumers. McCain’s proposal would seek to remedy that by forcing networks to unbundle channels and encourage cable operators to do the same. (What’s in it for them? Incentives around licensing.)
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