You may have seen the ads on TV.  Or maybe had a flyer fall on the floor when reading the newspaper.  Or maybe like me, it is the wrapper to the city bus.  Any way you look at it, Time Warner Cable wants its subscribers back and they are flooding the market with ads to make their case.  But is their service really better?  Here is my take:

I have been a subscriber to TWC since its inception way back when the local cable company was known as Public Cable.  A few years later, the company was bought out and features and channels accelerated.  Back in the mid 1970’s, there were about 40 channels, which consisted of 3 PBS stations (only 2 survive today), 2 Boston channels (neither shown locally anymore), and a French-Canadian station (no longer available – I really miss the late night free porn).  Today there are about 400 channels available on just about anything that anybody would ever want.  However, most of the channels are premium priced and really not worth it.  So how do the services compare.  First a look at the alternatives:

  • Satellite services.  With either Dish or DirecTV, you sacrifice either channels or HD quality of programs.  They may be cheap, but long term not if there are certain channels you want.  The only plus to these services are the DVRs have capability of recording more than 2 channels at once.  Expect to see that with TWC in a few years.  Of course, I can’t forget the satellite dish itself, which must be pointed to the southern hemisphere.  Where I live, this would have to be sitting smack in the front yard.  Not a great idea either.
  • Digital tuner with outside antenna.  Welcome to the 1960’s.  The idea of putting an antenna on the roof and using a digital tuner box would result in receiving a total of half of the stations available locally.  Certainly not a good choice either.
  • Just using the tuners built into the TVs.  Only 1 TV in our house would receive anything at all because it is the only one with a digital tuner built-in.  Unfortunately, that TV would only get a total of 1 channel without help.  This is the worse solution of all.

 

Now that TWC seems to be the only logical choice, what about the services they offer themselves?  Are they worth it?

  • Cable TVWith all the problems with their Navigator software and frequent reboots, the quality of service has dropped dramatically over the last couple of years.  What worked 2 years ago is broken now and seems that TWC has not plans on fixing any of their problems as they are in denial that the problems even exist.
  • Home Phone.  Since I don’t have this service, I can’t really comment on it, but from people I know who have had it in the past say the quality isn’t the greatest.  My issue with having my phone service with TWC is that the service probably is no more reliable than their cable service.  Nobody should have service that bad.
  • Internet.  About a month ago, TWC sent an email stating that they had increased their speed by 50%.  However, my tests have shown that the speed has actually decreased by about 10%.  The reason for this may be that I have my own modem or it could be the shared connection that cable suffers from.  Either way, TWC could make some REAL speed upgrades so that the service would be much better.

 

Overall the $50 million spent is not worth the price of trying to get customers back that they have previously lost.  To make matters worse, apparently starting in March, the company is going to start nickel and diming people with charging even for the cable remote.  This is really going too far as far as I concerned.

In conclusion, if you have a service that is not TWC and you are happy with it, don’t switch.  If you had it in the past and miss some of the features, then it may be worth the risk.  Buyer beware on this one!

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