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Rising Cable, Satellite Rates Give Consumers Chance To Seek Out Alternatives

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Cable television and satellite TV providers are jacking up their customer bills in 2018.

"They're raising rates because they have got to be more competitive with the content that they buy," says Point Park University Prof. Paige Beal.

"And because that content -- sports in particular -- is more expensive for them to buy right now, they're passing that along to the consumer," she told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Friday.

Beal worked in the cable TV business for a decade and now teaches at Point Park. She says the cost of buying that content, including live sporting events, has been skyrocketing.

"[It's] a very competitive environment where you have a multiple of competitors -- Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Amazon, as well as all the networks -- competing for good content," she says.

To pay for that content, cable and satellite providers are charging more -- Comcast up 2.2 percent, DirecTV up $8 month, and Verizon still debating its hike.

But price hikes come just as consumers are dropping cable service.

"It's a crazy time for this to be happening because there are so many options for people," Beal said.

Here's the problem for those cable companies if they keep raising rates on us.

There are lots of alternatives out there, and young people in particular have discovered them. You can get the same video content cheaper through your mobile device, or on your iPad, laptop, or even computer.

Beal says consumers are quickly getting fed up with the cable and satellite companies.

"So the opportunities for consumers to say, 'That's it, I'm not paying anymore for that cable bill, I'm going to cut the cord, as it were, and I'm just going to use Netflix and I'm going to use my over-the-air digital antenna, and I can pretty much get everything I need,'" she says.

And if your cable or satellite provider raises rates, bargain for a lower rate.

"Don't rollover," says Beal. "These different cable and satellite companies are going to negotiate with you."

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