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Sick and Tired of the Cable-TV Bundle: Media Reader Mail

Stocks in this article: TWC CBS VZ CMCSA

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - A surge of reader comments for a story about cutting-the-cord on pay-TV made clear what we all know: a lot of people are sick-and-tired of having to pay $120 or more per month for hundreds of TV channels that they never watch.

To make things worse, some of the most popular channels are suddenly removed because a couple of companies with market capitalizations exceeding $30 billion can't agree on how to divide the profits from their industry-created business model.

Both Time Warner Cable (TWX) and CBS (CBS) were roundly criticized by readers for their four-week-old dispute that has led to a blackout of the networks' channels for subscribers of the pay-TV service in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas.

Rob Tentoy wrote that "CBS wants more money from Time Warner to air their programming. Time Warner won't pay more so CBS won't let them air it. Time Warner sucks, but they are in a no win situation... pay more to CBS (which means subscribers pay more) or not have CBS. Either way, customers get angry and leave."

A ticked-off reader named Roger Johnson added that "The straw that broke the camels back, CBS blocked us from accessing their website because TWC provides my broadband access so I can not even access their shows through internet. So screw you CBS I will get used to not seeing your shows except in syndication. And secondly screw you too TWC for starting this mess to begin with."

In other words, a plague on both their houses.

At issue is the amount of money Time Warner Cable is willing to pay CBS to carry the network's programming. As the comments made clear, it's hard to claim that either company is doing anything but what their shareholders want them to do: extract the best deal possible while doing as little damage as possible to their "relationship" with customers.

But the relationship may be fraying, raising interest, albeit at the margins, for cord-cutting, rejecting the pay-TV bundle altogether. Many readers relayed how they're piecing together their own a la carte television viewing using simple technology -- a TV "rabbit ears" antennae available at most electronics stores -- and a variety of online offerings.

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