If you watch just a few channels, "a la carte" would have to be cheaper. But I estimate that I watch about 30 channels regularly, and about 50 within any month. At just $3.00 per channel, I'd be paying $150 per month, and that's WAY more than I pay now for 200+ channels.
In the C-band days a programmer offered virtually every channel ala carte but also offered tiers just like today - at a discount. You could buy one or more tiers or one or more individual channels. The subscriptions were all handled by computer so the only "complication" was for the programmer to set up the subscription list on the web site.
And a la carte would be more complicated for the cable companies to adminster, so it would be more EXPENSIVE to administer,
See above. As everything is automated and all cable boxes are now addressable there is no added complication. Each channel still has to be accounted for by subscription and also needs to be included or excluded in each of the tiers. Virtually no change from today except for individual channel pricing - but they already know what the channel is costing them and all they need to calculate is the kicker.
So I have to say to those that watch just a few channels - put a big-ass antenna on your roof, or watch shows on the internet, and stop bitching.
The problem is, of course, that most cable channels are not available OTA. I would gladly pay a monthly charge for Turner Classic Movies but that's about the only one. It would also be nice if OTA customers could somehow subscribe to some of the specialty sports channels. There is money to be made there and it will be filled eventually.