Sun, Apr 06, 2003 - Page 8 News List

Letter:

Sorry excuse for service

I couldn't hold my emotions in any longer after reading your article on cable TV rules ("Lawmakers hold up cable-TV rules," March 14, page 4). For nearly eight years, I've been a victim of Taichung's awfully managed cable TV system. If I want to watch anything other than the monotonous terrestrial stations, I've got to pay full price for 88 channels of mostly garbage. This is a "hostage situation." I'd gladly pay half for one-fourth of the channels I currently receive, but there is no in-between, and it is ridiculous.

Let's talk about cable service. The signal is poor on a normal day. If it's raining, don't count on getting a steady signal at all on several channels. If there's a typhoon, you can forget about it altogether. And if you follow the news in the Chinese-language press, you'd know that if you try to get anything done about it, you'll be given lame excuses at best, or have your building's service cut off entirely at worst.

And the obnoxious, intrusive ads! You can't possibly have missed those nerve-wracking DigiVision ads with the giant eyeball and the whining child -- you know, the ones that are plopped on top of other commercials and often even cover most of CNN's weather roundup. I'm quite curious about the legality of such behavior.

In addition, there are the ubiquitous local ads for the clean and quiet luxury homes which always seem to be "next to the Art Museum." Their volume levels are nearly twice that of the regular programming! These commercials are the epitome of low class!

Not much has changed for months, but one thing that has -- besides the most recent rearranging of the stations along the dial -- is an increase in the amount of garbage on the idiot box. We've now got the "boob channel," the "butt channel," the "lose weight via Photoshop" channel, the "grimacing English" channel, the "increase your height" channel, the "Chinese herbal Viagra" channel, the "watch me stuff food in my mouth while I talk" channels, the "superstition" channels, a few channels of "bad subtitles," several channels of "poorly dubbed, heavy breathing, cheap Korean soap operas," a plethora of "pointing at charts" channels, a whole shipload of "yellow journalism/political rumor-mongering" channels, ad nauseum, ad infinitum.

Just why are certain politicians so interested in amending the cable TV rules? Removing a price ceiling does not "create the flexibility for service providers to charge different fees for different services." It only allows them to increase the price of something that is already way overpriced.

A news organization such as the Taipei Times, with its valuable resources, should be able to discover without too much difficulty where the vested interests lie with regard to this situation. These politicians' interests obviously lie far from those of the cable TV customers.

Andrew Hokanson

Taichung City

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