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Report: Few Would Switch Off Cable, Sat TV

Only one in eight consumers are interested in switching from the satellite or cable provider they now patronize, according to a new study by Forrester Research.

That study -- which tries to gauge the impact of the entry of telephone companies into the market -- predicted that current video providers won't feel the “heat” from competition from Verizon Communications’ and AT&T’s video products until 2009.

That's based on the hurdles those companies still face, including: the buildout of their infrastructures; gaining franchises, whether local or statewide; and the challenge of marketing a product locally instead of with splashy national campaigns that would also reach ineligible consumers.

Those polled regarding their intent to switch included nonsubscribers, analog-only and digital subscribers and satellite customers. The highest intent to switch was demonstrated by analog customers, who said price was the No. 1 reason why they would consider switching. But digital subscribers appeared vulnerable, too: 70% who said they might switch said their current cable package was too expensive.

The other four top reasons to switch: to get more channels, to purchase bundled services, to get better picture and sound or to access more premium services.

Those who switch also expect advanced features from their new provider. Tops on their wish list: the ability to skip commercials; followed by the ability to tape and watch two shows simultaneously; and better sound.

Consumers are least interested in tools to play games on their TVs, to pull up statistics during sporting events or to access more information on advertisers, according to the study.

The report predicted that telephone companies won't penetrate 10 million homes with subscription TV until 2011.