Epix Failure for Time Warner

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Last week, I got the postcard.

 

Minutes ago, I got the email.

 

They both said the same thing:  the channel Epix was coming March 18 on channel 1101 locally.

 

Well, two things were wrong with that information.  The first is that it didn’t start as promised on the 18th and it certainly wasn’t on channel 1101.  It actually appears in the range of channels 594-599.

 

Was the wrong information given purposely or was it just a huge oversight?  I believe the former to be more of the case than the latter.  While this channel has been long coming for many (not me however), I find that hiding it certainly is not what should really be done.

 

As far as I can tell, this new series of channels is about the same as the comparable other movie channels out there.  This series of channels offers no wow factor to the otherwise overwhelming number of movie channels already available.

 

While Time Warner says that there will be a 3 month free preview period, no mention has been given as to how much this channel will cost.  Given how much the bill will increase in the next month, this channel should be free forever.

 

I highly doubt that I will pay for another unwatched movie channel.

 

On another front, TWC sneaked in another downgrade to their system a couple of nights ago (version 7.2_0.11).

 

This new version has eliminated the alphabetical option to the guide, so searching a channel by its name is no longer possible.  This just adds insult to injury as it has been less than a month since most of the channels have been moved around.  Are they trying to tick everybody off?

 

Overall, between the Epix problem and the navigator update, TWC has once again proven their incompetence.

 

We can only hope that things will get better when the merger with Comcast happens.  It can’t get any worse.

 

Is Time Warner Cable $50 Million Better?

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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!

iCarly is iGone and My iAwards

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We have finally seen the end of iCarly.  The episode entitled “iGoodbye” was the last show of the series.  Personally, I felt that this episode was neither the best episode nor nowhere near the worst episode of the series.  However, for those wanting to flashback through the years were treated with some interesting scenes as well as some reminiscent lines from the years.  I would rate this episode a 7 and overall I would rate the series a 7 as well.  The series had many high points, but it also had some episodes that absolutely dragged.  Many of the episodes were uneven and the finale was no exception.  Sure, it was great to see Carly’s dad finally, but what about characters like Socko and Sam’s dad?  These characters were mentioned several times over the years but were never shown.

One thing that bothered me most about this series was the sexual overtone of the show.  In the final show, Ms. Briggs “pointy boobs” were discussed, which is hardly a good family topic.  Over the years, we saw the “Talking Bra” character and in one episode Spencer took the door sign off Freddie’s apartment and showed it to the gang and it looked like a certain male organ (Freddie lived in apartment “8=D”(as the sign says)).  Of course, boobs always played a part in the show.  In the episode “iMeet Fred”, Freddie points to a couple of girl’s shirts, one who is large chested, and he says “I see you girls like Fred”.  If you watch his eyes, he is got his fixated on the large chested girl.  Seconds later the 2 girls bring Freddie down and when he stands up he says “Thank you” as the girls strut prominently away.  All I can say is “Thank you” Dan Schneider for this sexy scene.  In the episode “iBalls”, Freddie and the viewing audience gets quite an eyeful of Sam’s (Jennette McCurdy) oversized boobs in a tight orange sweater.  Talk about a ratings booster.  It was quite obvious that because the episode was all about 3D that having Sam’s boobs be huge and quite out there was not a mistake in any way.  I keep reminding myself that this is supposed to be “family viewing”, not some slutty late night show on Cinemax.  It is all this type of conversation and appearances that make the show more adult oriented than kid-friendly.  I knocked the series down 1 point because of this.  Mind you that my rating of a 7 for the series is for the younger viewers and for adults I prefer to call it a ratings pass as the enjoyment for adults is limited by how much toleration parents and adults have toward the sexual content.  Personally, I would give the adult content an 8, which means that there is a fair amount of questionable content in the show.  Compared to other shows produced by Dan Schneider, this show had a very high level of sexual content.  Maybe that is why the show lasted longer than most of live action shows on Nickelodeon.

Now I wish to present my own iCarly Awards.  These are my opinions alone, however I will accept comments on the opinions of others. Here we go:

  • Best Episode:  iFight Shelby Marx” and “iParty with Victorious” (tie).  These 2 episodes had 1 thing in common:  Victoria Justice.  Ironically both of these episodes stood out as being my personal best episodes.  The ‘iParty” episode must have been so good that they had aired an extended 2 hour version of the episode, which was even better than the 1 ½ hour version.  The “iFight” episode was so good that it got its own DVD release.  Somebody must really have had the same ideas that I had about these shows.
  • Worst Episode:  “iHalloween” and “iChristmas” (tie).  Nothing is worse than having to put up with holiday episodes that are both sad and funny at the same time.  Thankfully, we only had to put up with them once a year.
  • Best Guest Star:  Emma Stone.  She played an obsessed fan in the episode of “iFind Spencer Friends” and was falling all over the place to get herself in pictures with the iCarly gang.  She even went into the men’s bathroom to get a picture with Gibby.  A hilarious scene-stealer and wonderful comedy bit.  If the movie career doesn’t work out for Emma she certainly has a future in TV comedy.  You gotta love that girl.
  • Worst Guest Star:  Jack Black.  In the episode of ‘iStart a Fan War”, Jack plays a nemesis to Spencer and battles him in a boring battle of odd words and strange fighting.  The only redeeming value of this episode was the appearance of characters from “Zoey 101” and “Drake and Josh” at a forum to discuss the iCarly web show, which turned into an out-and-out brawl over the discussion of who Freddie was in love with.  Of course right through the final episode it is still unknown if Freddie wanted Carly or Sam.  I guess that is one battle that will never end.
  • Best Extended Special Episode:  “iPsycho” and “iStill Psycho” (tie).  Nothing was better than crazy Nora trapping the iCarly gang, not once but in 2 episodes.  If only she made an appearance in the finale and trap them forever, then that would have been entertaining.
  • Worst Extended Special Episode:  ‘iGo to Japan”.  Not only was this episode not filmed in Japan, it should never have been filmed at all.  Not funny and too long at 1 ½ hour in length.  Disney’s “Shake It Up” did a recent Japan episode that was a ½ hour shorter and many times funnier.
  • Best Character Skit:  The cowboy and the Farm girl who thought the cowboy’s mustache was a squirrel.  Just the title alone brings giggles.
  • Worst Character Skit:  Baggles – a big bag of yogurt with a sinus problem.  Introduced in the “iBalls” episode previously mentioned, the only plus side was watching Sam squeeze this garbage bag while the camera pans down upon her cleavage.  Sick character and icky camera shot as well.

So as we pass iCarly into the history books, let’s keep in mind that this show was still fairly entertaining despite its sexual overtones.  Unfortunately, the show Victorious will be ending after this season as well, however it was a much different show, as I will explain after the series ends.  Until then let’s enjoy what we have left!