Unbundling cable can keep Hollywood out of the house

Thank you for your Dec. 14 editorial, "Letting Hollywood into the home." This seems such a mundane topic, but never has an editorial moved me like this one.

My family subscribes to basic cable, which means we miss out on our two favorite channels: Home & Garden, and Food. But just when my defenses soften, and I consider taking cable to the next level, I get a chance to channel surf at a relative's house or a hotel. I am appalled at the hideous violence that even a momentary pause shows as I search the channels. The carnage plays on cable 24/7.

I don't want channels carrying this violent material in my home, and following your call to action, I am going to start lobbying my representatives to direct the FCC to change the way the cable industry sells services.

I want the freedom to select those channels worthy of being a guest in my home. I don't invite just anyone into my home, and I will pay only for those channels deserving the focal point in my den that television now gets. Subscribing to individual channels would be a great way to let the market know what we really want.
Michael R. Benning
Wayne, Pa.

One happy medium between today's cable programming bundles and pure a la carte programming could be to offer subscribers tiers of completely self-selected bundles. For example, a basic bundle could start at any 20 channels, then any 30, any 40, and so on. Subscribers could add or subtract any channel the same way they can now order premium programming, such as HBO, and still stay in the same tier.

But the American family's quest to rid their TVs of smut will prove far more difficult. In order to achieve true consumer control, the FCC will have to let go of the cable industry's must-carry rules.

I think broadcasters are some of the worst offenders when it comes to sex, violence, and just plain bad programming on television.

Any a la carte scheme will be useless if subscribers are forced to allow broadcast TV into their homes.
Anil K. Singh
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Regional cooperation is making gains

The Dec. 14 article, "Asian nations seek to chart new directions - without US," shows a welcome change in the dynamics of world politics. It highlights the ascendancy of regional cooperation over superpower domination.

It is time countries in Asia came together on their own to discuss improving trade, tourism, and cultural relations. Meetings like this would contribute to more vibrant economies, and consequently more peaceful relations among regional summit member countries.
Avi Sabavala
Vadodara, India

Basketball softens images of US in Iran

As the founder of a local law school's basketball league and an Iranian-American, I was happy to read the Dec. 15 article, "On the parquet, 'Great Satan' plays for 'Axis of Evil,' " about US basketball players serving as unofficial ambassadors in Iran.

Just as the Harlem Globetrotters presented a softer side of the United States around the world, these players are showing Iranians that America is not the "Great Satan."

As trite as it may sound, no media or propaganda outlet can counter a one-on-one relationship between two decent human beings.
Matthew Mehdi Rafat
San Jose, Calif.

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