WSLS (Channel 10), the NBC affiliate in Roanoke, disappeared from the TV screens of Dish Satellite customers in Floyd County and elsewhere in the area Tuesday because of a contract dispute between Dish and Media General, the media giant that owns the TV station.
At issue are “retransmission fees,” the amount that cable and satellite TV providers must pay to carry programming from local channels. Dish claims Media General wants too much money from an increased fee. Media General claims Dish won’t pay a competitive rate.
Many television watchers in the county get WSLS and other area channels through DirecTV, Dish or the Citizens analog cable or IPTV service.
Some still pull in the signal the old-fashioned way — through outside antennas or even “rabbit ears” on top of the set.
And an ever-increasing number of TV watchers are bagging the expensive cable or satellite services and watching movies or TV series reruns through online services like Netflix or Hulu.
Consider this: TV service from Citizens ranges from 13.95 a month (analog, non-HD local channels) to $59.95 a month (basic satellite channels). Start adding “premium” movie channels and the cost can reach $100 or more a month. Same for services like DirecTV or Dish.
DirectTV and Disch offers “start-up” rates but the services still start at around $60 a month and add up quickly if you add HD service, additional TVs and premium channels.
Netflix costs $7.95 a month for up to two computers or Internet-ready TV connections like AppleTV ($99 one time cost).