According to pieces of paper crumpled in rage, futile nastygrams to “DoNotReply” inboxes, and leading consumer-advocate periodical Consumer Reports, Americans will pay more for pay TV in 2017. Factoring in inflation, programming costs, and the expense of maintaining Kafkaesque torture devices disguised as customer-service hotlines (“Para Español, oprima dos. For a bodily inscription describing the crime for which we have already found you guilty, press star”), this is a bit of a “water is wet” situation. But as Consumer Reports’ rundown of eight major providers details, AT&T, Kabletown, et al. are finding some creative ways of masking those fee increases, like the $5 Dish Networks bump that failed to get evened out by a $5-per-month cut, or the $3 that’s being paid by commitmentphobic Verizon customers who refuse to suck it up and wed the big red check mark for a predetermined amount of time. Cablevision, Cox, and AT&T-owned DirecTV are also represented in the survey, though Charter, which gobbled up Time Warner’s cable operation last May, is not. In a particularly rich twist, Charter did not respond to Consumer Reports’ requests—but if they leave their name and phone number, Charter will hold their place in the queue and call them back when the next representative is available.
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