If you like to get your fix of football along with a side of turkey on Thanksgiving, you might be disappointed this year.
As it stands right now, Dish Network subscribers won’t get to see CBS’ broadcast of the traditional Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving game.
The reason? A fee dispute between Dish and CBS has the latter’s channel going dark on the satellite TV provider’s network.
Contract dispute may nix the NFL on Turkey Day for millions
CBS has been dropped from the Dish Network roster now that an overnight deadline has passed without the two companies reaching an agreement on renewed carriage terms, Reuters reports.
Some three million Dish subscriber in 18 cities are finding CBS has gone dark for them.
CBS says Dish is choosing to harm customers when it could be making a good faith effort to negotiate a new contract. Dish, meanwhile, says it is “regrettable and unnecessary that CBS is bringing its greed in to the homes of millions of families this Thanksgiving.”
While the two duke it out, the average TV consumer who just wants to watch football is left scratching his or her head — trying to figure out what went wrong.
Here’s a simple explanation: Programmers typically push through costs on the cable and satellite companies that can be as high as four times the rate of inflation. They just expect the pay TV operators to push the increase through onto the consumer.
For a long time that was how it worked. But now with more cord-cutters and “cord nevers” out there — the latter being young people who would never think about paying a cable or satellite bill — things have changed.
“Subscriber numbers are dropping, particularly among those who are 30 or younger because technology has changed the equation,” money expert Clark Howard says.
“More and more people are saying, ‘Why do I need to pay between $80 and $150 a month for pay TV when I can get some content for free on my laptop, tablet or smart phone?'”
How to watch the big game if CBS is still blacked out
The good news is that should the CBS/Dish blackout drag on into the holiday, you have options to see the big game when Dallas takes on the Los Angeles Chargers at 4:30 p.m. ET on Nov. 23.
Your first line of defense should probably be an antenna for free over-the-air TV. “Rabbit ears” typically cost anywhere from $10 to $40 and give you unlimited free access to your favorite local channels in high definition, with superior picture quality. Just plug in your address at AntennaWeb.org to see which type of antenna is best for your needs.
Beyond that, if you’re feeling peeved that you’re paying for channels you’re not getting because of programming blackouts or simple service interruptions, you have options as well.
To put a little jingle back in your pocket on occasions like this, you might consider using Trim. It’s a personal assistant that saves you money by automatically contacting AT&T, Time Warner, RCN and other major providers when there’s an outage and requesting a refund on your behalf.
Meanwhile, if you’re tired of paying a high cable or satellite bill altogether, there are numerous opportunities to cut your costs.
Many of them you’re probably familiar with — including Netflix, Hulu, Sling, et al. — but others you may not have heard of. For example, Untangle.tv will build you a custom package for a low price depending on your viewing preferences.
And let’s not forget another way to save money on your pay TV bill: Simply call your existing provider up and ask them about streamlined programming packages at a lower price than you’re already paying.