The actual cable channels are to blame as well as Comcast. First off a cable channel like The Learning Channel is not really an edcational channel like it was in the past , TruTV is not a court room channel, The Weather Channel is not an actual weather forcast channel even Food Network is not a real cooking network. All these channel have other entertainment and reality programming that is cheap to produce and therefore they can demand that the cable company pays more for subscriber to carry their service, when the cost goes up Comcast and others can do one of two things 1) raise our monthy rates and with the economy they would loose customers so they 2) move these channels to high tiers like Preferred. Basically we pay more if we choose say Starter or Economy and get less programming options. It is the greed of the cable channel knowing they can force the cable company like Comcast to change a higher fee and Comcast for playing this game and as the subscribers we loose sort of a bait and switch after the fact and I am sure there are more channel switching planned for the rest of 2012 then a rate increase in 2013.
This response is spot-on. Content providers have gotten greedier, and figured out that they can play hardball for increased per-subscriber retransmission fees from cable and satellite companies.
The sports cable networks were the pioneers in this area. Thanks to the reality that many sports fans are akin to heroin junkies - they must have their fix no matter what it costs - and the rather cold calculation by cable/satellite operators that they do not dare risk the reputational damage of having ESPN, ESPN2, Root Sports, NBCSports or other sports channels terminate carriage on Comcast......all of us are forced to pay for ever increasing fees in a "take it or leave it" one-size-fits-all Digital Starter service tier.
One wishes that Comcast could push the sports channels - where per-subscriber monthly fees are reportedly as high as $5/month - into the Digital Preferred tier or better yet into dedicated "Sports Packages", since that would allow Digital Starter pricing to soften and for non-sports channels to be added into this service tier that have been crowded out by the outrageous fees charged for jock-centric programming.