Monday, December 28, 2009

An exercise in how NOT to make friends: Time Warner Cable Austin

Let's face it:  Time Warner Cable in Austin has not done a great job of keeping customers happy in recent times.  From the KXAN/LIN TV debacle to the continual removal of channels from non-converter-equipped homes (highlighted by what used to be called KLRU2), Time Warner has developed a habit of cutting services for those not willing to kowtow to Time Warner's demand to rent a converter box for the newly raised price of $7.99 a month.

So you'll understand if I am not surprised by Time Warner's latest staring match, this time with KTBC/Fox.  I don't need to write much about this, as pretty much everyone else has already covered it, from the Statesman to Jim McNabb (who writes much better media-related stuff than I do) to the Austin Business Journal.  Both sides have websites up denigrating the other party.  Fox's website is full of testimonials from people promising to dump Time Warner if they drop Fox, and Time Warner's site proudly states that a vast majority of their 500,000 unique visitors told them to "get tough" with Fox.  (The site does not state whether all 500,000 visitors voted.  I sure didn't.  Mrs. Snowed asked me to click "roll over", and the site's response was "are you sure?"  Nice push-polling, Time Warner.)

(I will point out, and you can see here for confirmation, that I did correctly predict the exact date that the KXAN issue would resolve.  I am not currently making predictions regarding the Fox issue.  I also don't know the winning lotto numbers or whatever else you might want to know; otherwise, I wouldn't be begging people to hit the tip jar.  It's right there on the right of this page, you know...)

So with the potential loss of the Fox stations hanging over their heads, what does Time Warner propose to do next?  Well, first of all, they raised their prices again (my basic went up from 16.95 (my information last year saying 19.95 was erroneous) to 19.99, and I've already mentioned the converter price going up a dollar a month as well), and on top of that, they are back to their old games of moving channels to digital only (see note below).  On the chopping block for those without converters* this time are:  ABC Family, CMT, Oxygen, Style, and TruTV.  No date is given for the changeover.

Yes, I know Time Warner Cable is a business, and I further know that transmitting channels only via their digital package is much more economical for them.  That doesn't mean I have to like how basic/standard cable customers are treated by TWC.  As I've said before, about the only thing keeping me with them is WGN America.  If WGN ever gets pulled, I may finally dump Time Warner, as I've only been threatening for over a year.

But before I forget, there is a silver lining:  Time Warner has heard your agonizing, and to show you their appreciation, do they have a deal for you!  (Warning:  NSFW/language.)

*The page linked says customers can also use a "CableCARD-equipped Unidirectional Digital Cable Product", which, as far as I know, for most people, means absolutely nothing.  Is your set so equipped?  Neither is mine.**

**Of course, non of my sets are even HD-ready.  Have I mentioned I have a tip jar?

Edit: The Time Warner PDF page linked above is updated every so often, and so the channels listed are no longer shown at that link.


Holy said...
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