I broke out in laughter when I read the part about DirecTV standing up for the customers. This isn't about protecting the customers... it's about DTV trying to leverage down the price that Time Warner is asking. They're using the add-on option as leverage to do that.
That said, I don't really see how this is any different than a run of the mill situation we see half a dozen times a year with one channel or another. I do believe a la carte is coming at some point, but it won't happen until congress stops taking lobbyist money from the industry to keep the FCC regulations as such that MVPDs can't force these packages on consumers. Even when we do eventually get it, as others have mentioned, it's not likely to be the cost-cutting measure people talk about. The price per channel will go way up and most people will not save much (if any) money.