Feeling the New Pain from Time Warner

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This week Time Warner Cable upgraded (downgraded?) their lineup here in New England.

 

This was not a minor reshuffle.

 

Consider it more of throwing multiple decks of cards up in the air and having them land wherever.  Then take this deck and put them together not by decks but by card rank instead.  Then take a few of these small packs and stack them and deal them out as any card game at all.

 

No matter what you will either make people angry, win every time, or nobody win ever.

 

Unfortunately, with TWC we got the latter answer.

 

Yes, once again TWC screwed up with its new improved lineup.

 

Certainly, everything is fine up to channel 99.  Most of these channels haven’t changed in years and some have never changed since cable was introduced to the area nearly 40 years ago.

 

Beyond channel 99, good luck.

 

While the channels are grouped by types such as news, kids, sports, etc., the logic of the grouping within each group is horrible.  Forget alphabetical order or any order at all, the stations seemed to be assigned their number positions totally at random.  This makes it even more difficult to figure out what channel you are looking for.

 

Of course, you could read the small foldout card that was mailed to you to see what channel you are looking for.  Again, good luck for that as the print is so small that it is almost impossible to read especially for those with old tired eyes like mine.

 

Then there are the local channels.  Forget about putting them in numerical order by their station id unless you think 8 come numerically before 6.  Did these people graduate kindergarten?

 

We also have the continued problem with standard definition vs. high-definition.  Now it seems that it is completely an all-or-nothing option.  I can’t tell you how many times I have had to change the resolution manually just to see the picture properly the way I want.  If you need to read about how to fix the resolution, search for “high definition resolution” on this blog.

 

Finally, there is the remote control.  Many of the buttons no longer point to the right resources when a button is pushed.  Many of the channels that existed before now just give information to turn to a different channel to learn how to program the remote to set it to the right channel.

 

Seriously.

 

Should the customer need to do so much work for so little benefit.  I think they should have kept the stations pointed to by the remote alone.  Given that we are paying for remotes now, then this should have been a given.

 

Last but not least, TWC wants to raise their rates by about 14% next month.

 

So let’s summarize:

 

  • Fewer choices for channels
  • Mixed up order for channel
  • Remotes that point to the wrong channel
  • Higher bills next month

 

Isn’t it time that TWC was sold to Comcast?  It can’t get worse but it may improve.

 

We can only hope.

 

 

 

 

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Time Warner Cable Kicks Standard Definition to the Curb?

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Well, last night Time Warner Cable (TWC) did yet another bonehead thing.

 

For the second night in a row a little after 3am, the cable boxes in my house rebooted.  Thinking that this was just another quick reboot that happens every Monday night, I thought nothing much until I started tuning into the low end channels that I usually tune in to.

 

I turned on to the Disney Channel (the standard definition version) and noticed that the description said DISNHD and the box indicated a higher than 480p resolution.  The picture was also a widescreen picture, not the standard cropped picture that I was used to for the channel.

 

It appears something was wrong.

 

So I checked the local ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and CW channels.

 

All were the same widescreen HD channels on the low numbers.

 

This isn’t good I thought as using these low numbers with a DVR will chew up as much space as their comparable HD station number.

 

Of course, I didn’t have the AutoHD feature enabled and checking the program guide proved that all the local stations along with many of the other cable channels were replaced by their HD counterparts on the lower cable numbers.

 

So the real question now is:  does TWC plan on changing how it stores programs on customer’s DVRs to compensate for this channel change.

 

What makes matters worse is that today I received a letter in the mail stating that TWC plans on changing their entire lineup above channel 99.  However, this doesn’t answer the question if the lower end channels will remain HD channels or return them back to the standard definition to save DVR space on shows that I don’t care about.

 

Certainly I don’t believe that I am not alone not happy about either of these changes.  After all, the channel numbers have been the same for many years and changing them now is neither logical nor practical.  The only plus side to this change is that it would allow for more of the same types of channels to be added (or subtracted)  at a future date.

 

I hope this HD conversion is just temporary as the new lineup is supposed to kick in in a few weeks. But until then, it looks like continued cable hell from everybody’s most hated cable company.

2013 and 2014 Predictions

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For those of you who don’t read my other blog, I make annual predictions of what I expect for the New Year.  This year I am moving my predictions to this blog as I feel it is much more appropriate here.

 

Let’s see how last year fared:

  • JCPenney will be out of business by year’s end.  The revamped store format just won’t work  (this didn’t happen yet)
  • Sears will spin off Kmart to survive on its own.  It won’t work and Kmart will inevitably die off.  (didn’t happen despite closing several Kmart stores including the one I have previously shopped at in Portsmouth, NH)
  • Another mass shooting brings the U.S. government to ban all automatic and semi-automatic weapons no matter what the NRA says. (shootings happened, but no ban)
  • Chicago murders will top 750 by year’s end.  (nowhere near that number which is good news)
  • Kim Kardashian aborts her baby after public break-up with Kanye West much against her family’s wishes. (didn’t happen)
  • Ali Lohan, Lindsay’s younger sister, will join her older sister for a Playboy layout. (didn’t happen, but Lindsay did appear nude in an NC-17 film)
  • A major earthquake will strike in Alaska disrupting the oil pipeline in the area.  It will be disrupted for at least 4 weeks and gas will go up to at least $4/gallon again. (earthquake never happened)
  • Simon Cowell calls Demi Lovato his “new Paula” as he decides to keep her for another season of “X Factor”.  Unfortunately, Mario Lopez will be running solo as another Kardashian sees herself out of a job.  (mostly correct, but Lovato is gone for the 4th season)
  •  “American Idol” will have a female winner for the first time in a few years.  However, the drama between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey increases as the weeks go on causing both to storm off the show for at least 2 episodes.  Replacement judges are called in to fill in until the two return.  (female winner yes, however the fireworks kept both on the show)
  • Beyoncé will have a wardrobe malfunction on the Super Bowl.  However, she won’t even realize it happened.  (no wardrobe malfunction, but we question whether she performed her songs live)
  • Nickelodeon cancels Big Time Rush, but the show is picked up by Disney Channel for a fall schedule addition.  (cancelled and broken up – no future for any show)
  • Hilary and Haylie Duff will return for a TV movie in 2013.  More than likely to air on ABC Family channel(Haylie had a Christmas movie, but Hilary nowhere to be found)
  • And finally my former want-to-be girlfriend Tanya will return to Maine wanting to get a real relationship going after her stint in California didn’t quite work out  not calling her because I misplaced her phone number.  (I will have more to say about this in my other blog at a future date—all I can say is that it didn’t end the way I ever thought it would)

Overall, I did better than last year.  I got 2 ½ correct.  Let’s see what the crystal ball has up its sleeve for this year.

  • Justin Bieber will go to jail.
  • Kim Kardashian will admit that “Baby North” really never existed and that her pregnancy was fake.
  • Kim Kardashian will marry and divorce Kanye West all within the year.
  • RadioShack will be out of business.
  • JCPenney will be out of business.
  • Kmart will be out of business.
  • Amanda Bynes returns to TV in a new comedy show, but will also do an interview with Oprah describing the last few years.
  • Time Warner Cable will be sold and broken up into pieces leaving smaller markets such as where I live without any providers at all.  This means that many small independent cable operators will start up after many years.
  • Lady Gaga will do a Playboy layout proving that he/she is dual gendered leaving many fans disgusted.
  • Nickelodeon will scrap “Sam & Cat” and Dan Schneider will leave the network and produce shows for rival Disney.
  • Hilary Duff will divorce and sister Haylie will marry.
  • ABCFamily cancels that horrible “The Vineyard” and “Twisted”.
  • Fox News fires Karl Rove after making offensive statements that the network hates.

I predict out of this year’s 13 that at least 3 of them will be true.  We will find out a year from now.

 

 

Time Warner Cable Small Upgrade, Big Ad Missteps

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In my other blog, I write about the scams that companies like Staples produce and have produced.  Now it seems that Time Warner Cable are becoming liars and scammers as well.

However, before I discuss that, let me say that last night TWC pushed through a mini update to their navigator system.  Not much changed with this minor upgrade except that DVR Compensation is now gone.  I am very thankful for that because this feature was more confusing than helpful.  In case you never heard of it, the feature basically controlled how far the DVR would advance when going from fast-forward to play.  The choices were normal, more, less, and none.  No indication was ever given how much time these times actually were which led to the confusion of this awkward feature.  I will not miss this feature whatsoever.  However, now going from fast-forward to play could either be a sudden change or put your position a little further ahead from where you want it.  I have seen both of these scenarios happen in the last few hours since this update.  It also appears that the phantom recording bug has been fixed as well.

 

Now onto the scams and lies:

Besides being nickel and dimed to death with charges for modems, cable boxes, and now even the simple remote control, it seem that TWC has now introduced some misleading and false advertising.

The first television ad features Emily VanCamp from the ABC show “Revenge”.  It is promoting the “Start Over” feature of their system.  The problem is that ABC television DOES NOT SUPPORT the “Start Over” feature and neither do any of the other major networks.  In fact, only a handful of cable channels support this feature.

Another ad touts the “Look Back” feature.  However, like the previously mentioned feature, it only works on some cable channels, but their website states that NBC supports it, but here in Maine it is not supported.  In fact, many of the channels on this list don’t have the feature enabled.  Is this a scam or just misinformation? It could be possibly a little of both or maybe jumping ahead in anticipation of future support.  I don’t think TWC should announce features until they have been firmly implemented because changes seem to put TWC further behind the competition all the time.

 

So, overall is TWC working in the best interest of the customer?  My answer as with Staples is overwhelmingly NO!  What should be real isn’t in any way real, but instead is based on speculation on hopes that the customer won’t notice the difference.  problem is that this customer knows the difference and is getting good at spotting the scams.

 

 

 

TWC & SiriusXM Kicks Off Stations

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Almost as soon as I wrote my last post and Time Warner Cable has dropped yet another channel.  CurrentTV, which just hours before sold to Al-Jazeera, the big oil company which has links to terrorist activities.  Anybody who doesn’t believe there is a connection between the removal of this channel and the selling of it is just an idiot.

Yet, this now makes 2 channels gone and NO price reduction from TWC.  How many more channels are going to disappear just because the channel doesn’t fit TWC’s political agenda?  It’s apparent that TWC only cares about profit and cares nothing at all about content.

On another front, SiriusXM has removed Fox Talk News from their satellite radio lineup.  Apparently, the satellite service has the same sort of agenda as TWC.  Since both Fox News and CurrentTV could be considered extremes of the media spectrum, it is no surprise that both of these channels have disappeared from the respective sources.  If I were a subscriber to SiriusXM, I would be extremely angry of the removal of Fox News because I watch their news and stock channels on a regular basis.

Both TWC and SiriusXM need to be big boys and return their channels to their respective sources, otherwise their subscribers may start disappearing when they are charged the same price for fewer choices.  It’s sad that these companies think they can restrict our 1st Amendment rights.  Let’s hope these companies wise up very soon.