Here’s one of the reasons why so many people want Apple (or Netflix or someone) to break the stranglehold the cable and satellite companies have on us:

My DishTV account jumped US$20 in one month. I didn’t order any extra channels, but evidently some appeared anyway — and we were billed. It seems to be part of what I consider a scam. For a short period, you’re have access to some channels beyond the basic package (such as HBO and Showtime) for free. But if you don’t specifically tell Dish TV that you don’t want them, the channels continue past the free period, and you’re billed. 

I did battle with Dish TV over this, something I hoped wouldn’t occur. I switched to Dish after Comcast raised my cable TV bill about 150% in 24 months.

Currently, I subscribe to Dish TV’s “America’s Top 120” package. Of those 120 channels, there’s maybe 20 that my family watches. I’d love to be able to pay only for those channels, not the other 100 we never tune into.

There are rumors that Apple will come out with its own HDTV (the rumored “iTV”) and will bring to the TV market than in letting customers subscribe to particular channels or shows of their choosing. Apple already offers several TV programs as subscriptions through iTunes, allowing you to purchase both single episodes and entire seasons.

Of course, you have to wait for the show to be broadcast before it’s available to download. Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu thinks Apple wants to move to live streaming of the programming, just like what customers get through their cable or satellite provider.

Does even Apple have the clout to bust the programming package model? I’m dubious, but hopeful.

If someone doesn’t, before long the Sellers household may join those that ditch Comcast/Dish TV/DirecTV/all the others and use a combination of an HDTV antenna, Netflix, Hulu and the Internet to watch TV and movies.

— Dennis Sellers