Tag Archives: Time Warner Cable

The #SOTU and Fun With Time Warner Cable

29 Jan

I watched the State of the Union last night but honestly didn’t stick with it all the way to the end. I heard President Obama identify a lot of problems and propose a bunch of solutions, but it’s doubtful that this year will be any better than the previous five, as far as “Washington gets things done” is concerned. Obama threatened to throw his weight around a bit rather than sit back and watch the House Republicans and tea party block, bully, and bullshit, but it doesn’t matter because they still think in their darkest hearts that the President is a “socialist dictator“. (What they really mean is that they have no idea what a “socialist dictator” is.) 

The state of the union is conflicted right now, and it’s because we don’t have a House of Commons anymore, but two Houses of Lords. We’re being led by the noses by a pack of wild millionaires and billionaires, few of whom know or care about real solutions to real problems. Of course, the so-called “tea party” is nothing more than the willing lumpenprole army for monied interests, so we can’t even get “tea party” right. 

What I did at the end of my day yesterday was give myself a raise of $110/month. 

Until yesterday, I had been paying Time Warner Cable almost $200 per month for two DVRs, digital channels, turbo high-speed internet, and HBO. On Facebook, Kevin Purdy wrote about his experience cutting his monthly expenses by, among other things, cutting out cable to its bare minimum. I called Time Warner and discussed with three reps during one call about reducing my monthly bill to under $100. You’d have thought I had called about partitioning Europe or drilling down the details of the Dayton Accords. 

As it was, I yesterday unceremoniously relinquished two DVR units with associated cords and remotes at the Time Warner office downtown. I have retained high-speed internet at about $60/month (it gets cheaper when you add bundles!), and channels 1-22 (which, given the digital signals the TV reads without a cable box, is not precisely accurate). No more 24-hour mind-numbing cable news. No more HBO. No more Travel Channel or Duck Dynasty or Pawn Stars or Storage Wars. I have local channels and a decent internet signal. 

And with that, I pay Hulu Plus about $8.00/month and I pay Netflix another $8.00/month. I have access on Hulu to almost every basic cable show I enjoy (South Park, Daily Show, Colbert), back episodes of Family Guy and the like, and loads of British comedies and series, which I enjoy. 

With the PBS App on my Apple TV, I am well into season 3 of Sherlock, which WNED has put on hold until February. With Vevo the kids and I can watch actual music videos. With iTunes, I can buy or rent movies that the streaming services don’t have. But they have a lot. If I have a hankering for 24-hour news, Apple TV has Sky from the UK. If I need the Weather Channel, it’s on Apple TV. Hulu has Spongebob for the kids, and I’ve been binge-watching Peep Show and That Mitchell and Webb Look on Netflix and Hulu, respectively. 

Channels “1-22” costs about $19/month. If I wanted some of basic cable, (channels 23 – 98) I’d need to rent a box and pay another $56/month. That’s ok. 

$110 in my pocket every month is well worth it.  Now, if only I could bump my unlimited family plan for 3 smartphones and 6 GB of data down from the $220/month it is now. 

Channels 4 and 23 Back on TW Cable

29 Oct

Really? I had no idea. I had just gotten used to pretending that those channels simply didn’t exist anymore. I guess this means I can watch Survivor tomorrow and Amazing Race on Sunday, as well as the Bills game.

It’s about time, and just as I suspected, it happened before it could adversely affect November sweeps.

In the first full week of the standoff, Channel 4 averaged a 3.1 rating for the 6 p.m. newscast, meaning that 3.1 percent of the 637,000 TV households in the area were tuned in. That’s compared with the 9.2 percent of the households watching in the last full week Channel 4 was on cable.

Channel 4 registered a 4.6 rating at 11 p.m., compared with 11.9 the last full week on cable.

WIVB: Afterthought Now?

21 Oct

WIVB’s parent company couldn’t have picked a dumber time of year to get into a standoff with the largest cable provider in Western New York. The initial shock of Channel 4’s and Channel 23’s absence has long worn off, and now I just make do without Survivor, Amazing Race, the Channel 4 News, 60 Minutes, and the Bills.

Election season offers low-hanging advertisement fruit for any TV station, and Channel 4 is left in its own self-inflicted lurch. Add to that the fact that the parties appear to be deadlocked, and November sweeps is fast approaching, if LIN Television doesn’t come to its senses, it will find itself in ever-more-dire financial straits.

For the 10:00 news, I’ve switched to Channel 2 on cable channel 8, and I now watch 7 News far more often than I used to – right around the time Channel 2’s Mary Friona tests some product, or when the self-promotion of the red coated cadre becomes too much to stomach.

Channel 4 probably thought that people hate the cable company and would figuratively burn it to the ground if CBS programming was taken away. It wasn’t. FIOS is only in a small handful of local communities, and I wouldn’t stick a dish on my house or lock myself into a dish contract for anything. Especially given the brazenness of this:

LIN TV has formed a marketing and promotional partnership with DISH Network to encourage consumers to switch to DISH Network if a LIN TV local station signal has the potential to become unavailable or is removed from a cable system. The parties jointly market LIN TV’s availability on DISH Network so viewers will have the opportunity to continue watching their favorite local news and programming.

I’m not about to try the rabbit ears route, and find I can enjoy the Bills either at a local establishment or on 103.3 the Edge. (Speaking of which – Shredd & Ragan are a more amusing, far saner afternoon drive choice than the guy I used to listen to in the afternoon, who now rails on and on about Obama being an anti-American socialist).

So, Channel 4 and LIN Television, you look kind of stupid at this point, and the standoff is hurting you a hell of a lot more than it’s hurting Time Warner. Do you back off, return your signal to the cable company and simply admit defeat, or do you send your ratings into the tank come November, and start laying people off because advertisers have flocked to other stations or sued you for breach of contract for your unilateral decision to block the ads from the eyeballs of almost 1/2 of Erie County households?

LIN closed at $5.09 per share on October 1st, and fell to $4.29 on October 2nd – the day the retransmission agreement with Time Warner expired. The next day it was down to $3.80. Today it’s trading at $2.96. That’s against a 52-week high of $14.95, financial meltdown notwithstanding.

The economy’s rough enough as it is – why make it tougher?