Time Warner Cable Keeps Making My Favorite Channels Digital Exclusives

Don is one of the old-school holdouts who refuses to upgrade to digital cable, and says Time Warner Cable is making him suffer for the choice. The provider took BBC America off his programming level and moved it to a digital tier.

He writes:

We here in Nebraska just received word that we have lost BBC America from our cable channel lineup as it is being moved to Time Warner’s “Digital Tier” channel 223. What this means is that in order to watch BBCA we have to rent a digital cable box for each of our televisions (four at the moment) at $7.50 per month each. These boxes do not include HD or DVR, as those types are much more expensive to rent. Time Warner’s customer service had no explanation, and are truly sorry for our inconvenience. There is no new channel taking BBCA’s place – it will now be home so the SyFy Wrestling Network (SWN) which we already had before.

Otherwise, they just moved the TV Guide channel around and stopped broadcasting it on two different basic-tier channels at once.

If you’re sticking with non-digital cable, which channels do you miss the most? If you’ve made the move, what was your breaking point that forced you to upgrade?

Comments

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  1. Thyme for an edit button says:

    My mom finally moved to digital cable. The breaking point was losing the TV Guide channel since that showed what was on when she was watching TV each night.

    Me? I am sticking with no cable. Too expensive.

    • wkm001 says:

      The irony is, after going digital you typically get an electronic guide and no longer need the TV Guide channel.

    • Fallom says:

      Watching the descent of the TV Guide channel was hilarious. It be just the listings with a tiny window for advertisements, but now it literally only shows two channels at once and is dominated by a gigantic advertisement.

  2. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    I cut the cord from cable over 2 years ago, but I really do miss BBC America. What I do watch though I can easily find on the internet, and I don’t have to wait the extra 2 or 3 weeks to see the blue box :D

    Regardless, I really wish that cable companies would get on the game and start doing AlaCarte channels.
    I just discovered my newly-rented house has a Dish Network dish attached, but we aren’t customers. I don’t want to pay $59.95 a month (refuse to go on contract) so I can watch 3 channels.

    • full.tang.halo says:

      Already going threw blue box withdraw….

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      No shit. We have a pretty expensive Directv package ALL BECAUSE he wants the military channel… we are probably paying $15 a month (if not more) just for that channel because he refuses to let me drop the package… I’d love A la Carte channel purchases. Too bad its too hard of a concept for them to conceive.

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        Yeah, same here. It’s BBC America, Military and History/ Science channels.

        We get cable from exactly 1 company to our house or either satellite company. All 3 options require something above the base package to get the channels we want to watch. We don’t need 800 channels..

      • Tongsy says:

        A la carte channels are NOT POSSIBLE with the channel permission systems they have in place. It’s just not feasible

        Plus, they make more money by putting the 4 channels you want in separate packages.

        • Bohemian says:

          Big dish providers still do ala carte. Though some of their offerings are in small packages. Like if you want HGTV you have to buy a packages of all the Scripps channels (foodTV, DIY, etc).

          We watch about 5 total channels. I would love to be able to get them only for a reasonable price. Cable pricing is a scam and the feds need to crack down on the games they play with the tier system.

      • TouchMyMonkey says:

        You can probably get it a la carte, but it’ll cost you $19.95/mo. That’s the problem with a la carte. Yes, you can probably get it, but no, it probably isn’t worth it.

      • JMILLER says:

        If it went ala carte there would be no such thing as the military channel

    • eigenvector says:

      A la carte wouldn’t be necessary (if it were economically feasible) if cable and satellite companies would actually give us decent package choices. With most cable companies, we get a choice of about 12 channels, about 70 channels, or about 250 (which may as well be 250,000 because channel surfing becomes frustrating and tiring and I couldn’t even tell you what channels there are that high up). The notion that we actually get to have a reasonable choice is a stretch. Cable companies are their own worst enemies.

    • dizzy says:

      Even when I had BBCA, I couldn’t handle that few week wait.

      I just turned to my favorite “free online rental service”. Those things are amazing! How can they give you all that for free! ;)

  3. backinpgh says:

    We went with basic only for a while, till they filtered all the ClearQAM channels. Ugh.

    • greatgoogly says:

      For some reason I thought the cable companies are not supposed to filter out or block the Clear QAM channels. Who is your carrier? I have Charter and still get the digital/HD versions of the major (FOX, CBS, NBC, ABC affiliates) local broadcast channels.

      • Battlehork says:

        Well, THAT stuff should be open. However, I got nearly every channel on Expanded Basic in ClearQAM for almost two years with just internet service. Now it’s only locals and a handful of other channels that you can get that way.

    • SwoonOMatic says:

      HD Clear QAM is the ONLY reason I subscribe to cable. I live in one of those areas that has no television reception. (In a valley between no mountains.) Comcast is truly a life-line cable service for me. I have just basic basic (The only non-broadcast channel I get is C-SPAN and Public Access) If they stopped the Clear QAM HD broadcast channels, I would just cancel it.

      I have a clear qam tuner in my PC and don’t want to deal with a set top box of any kind.

  4. LaziestManOnMars says:

    This reminds me of working in a music store 10 years ago, when cassettes were finally being phased out. Old people would come in and complain that they could not get the new releases on tape, and how it was this HUGE conspiracy to get them to buy CD players. They called it “that new technology”, even though CD’s/Laserdiscs have been around since the mid-70’s.

    That being said, you signed a contract with Time Warner for them to continue to provide service to the analog boxes they rent, so I feel they have a responsibility to continue to provide service, or deliver some kind of compensation. I know what it’s like to have cable to only watch one or two channels, if not shows.

    • Jimmy says:

      you beat me to the Cassette tape punch. I love when people complain because they want things to never change and technology to never evolve.

      I didn’t see anything about a contract though. Most cable companies don’t make you sign one just satellite.

      • Clyde Barrow says:

        I have considered it an “open-ended” contract in which the cable company can change any piece it feels. As for us? We can cancel for a large fee. lol.

    • redskull says:

      Mid 1970s? LaserDisc, maybe, but the CD wasn’t introduced to the American market until 1982.

    • wkm001 says:

      Not exactly apples and apples. Buying a CD gave you better quality audio and the media lasts longer. Most digital cable channels come from analog sources so they don’t look better. The only real difference is that it costs the consumer more to watch the same stuff.

      I say go a-la-cart. Let me pay for the channels I want to watch. Pretty sure that is a pipe dream.

      • LaziestManOnMars says:

        To the elderly and the luddites, it’s the same thing – change. People would argue that they missed the hiss, because it added to the music.

        • SwoonOMatic says:

          I know a guy that insists vinyl being amplified through a tube amplifier is the way music is supposed to be listened to.

    • kompeitou says:

      What if you had to rent that CD player for $7.50 a month for as long as you wanted to listen to that CD? Even if the CD player only cost $50 and you end up renting it for 2 years? The cable company does not let you buy the cable card or the box… you have to rent it.

      Cable companies moving channels to digital tier is all about $$$. They want more people to rent those cable cards and signing up for the more expensive tiers. So, instead of paying $25 for, say, 30 channels… now you pay $25 for 29 channels… and you can bet in 3 months they will be moving another channel to digital and probably increasing your fees along with it.

  5. sufreak says:

    I’m moving my way towards cable free…hopefully I can convince the wife by year end. Already got a cable free proof of concept up and running.

    • TheSpatulaOfLove says:

      Please share details about your proof of concept. I have pitched this idea to my wife, however I got a filthy scowl when I mentioned the idea.

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        There’s several ways to do it, depending on what shows you watch and how you plan to consume them. The hardest part being that you’ll get most of your content online, delayed behind your standard schedule, and its tricky to get it onto your TV.

        I’m never home to watch my shows anyway so I don’t mind the extra day or so delay in getting them online via Hulu or other means.

        It is absolutely indispensible to have some sort of networked media player attached to your tv, though. We use a PS3, and I also have a Roku box for Netflix.

      • sufreak says:

        I have an older AMD Althon x64 PC. I bought a Video card with DVI out, got an DVI to HDMI cable.
        First I was using Windows Media center, now I am using XBMC.

        I use a couple websites to make it very easy to get the shows I need. I get everything the night it airs, or the next day, with almost no exception.
        I download it all on my primary computer, then transfer it to the media center.
        http://lifehacker.com/5595586/set-up-a-fully-automated-torrent+seeding-media-center

        Just a few suggestions there. If you want, I’ll happily provide what I’m doing in a less public setting.

        • moyawyvern says:

          Thanks for the tips. I just went cable free, but I don’t want my tv to go to waste. I will look into your suggestions. Now I just have to figure out what kinds of connections my analog but awesome (and too heavy to unload) Sony Wega has so I can set something like this up.

      • Keith is checking the Best Buy receipt of a breastfeeding mother (for tips!) says:

        LOL I’m imagining my wife’s “filthy scowl” right now, what a great description.

      • sufreak says:

        you can email me at dkreifus at y!. I’ll be happy to share what I do

      • SunnyLea says:

        I can recommend Playon.tv

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      We pulled the plug about a year ago and never looked back. Between Netflix (streaming on our Roku and DVDs) and OTA programming, there’s plenty to watch. We’re also saving a bundle in the process.

  6. GMFish says:

    SyFy Wrestling Network

    That’s a joke right? Apparently not.

    It’s getting harder and harder to distinguish between reality and satire.

    • tamaracks says:

      Well, it’s a joke in that it’s not *actually* called that, to my knowledge… but they do play a lot of wrestling on there in addition to the scifi content. And don’t get me started on that stupid name… “SyFy”

      • Bix says:

        One hour a week is a lot?

        • S says:

          It is when it has nothing to do with science fiction, runs over several minutes into the show following it, and alienates people who would otherwise watch the channel. Not that I watch much these days anyway since there’s a shit ton of woo-woo crap on there. Ghost Hunters, Destination Truth, Mary Knows Best, and Fact or Faked should be on the Astrology Channel or some other nonsense crap channel. Maybe Lifetime or Oxygen would take those shows and relocate the wrestling to SOAP, since it really is just a soap opera for guidos.

        • JoeDawson says:

          In October they are getting WWE Smackdown… which is 2 hours… and might just be the most watch program on the network

      • Fallom says:

        The SyFy name isn’t an issue, it was a legal dilemma that made them do it, not a Gen X Extreme trend.

        However, their choice in programming is just insane. Without BSG, the channel is a joke.

  7. smo0 says:

    I’m sticking with the “No TV” thing and using the internet….

  8. Travis Tubbs says:

    That has been slowing happening with Comcast here in Houston. Last year, Comcast dropped Cartoon Network/[adult swim] from their analog signal. More recently, they removed AMC and SyFy. Obviously, this will be a continuing trend and more and more channels being removed.

    Comcast does include one digital set-top box, one digital-to-analog converter (for basic cable channels), and one CableCard with their subscription fee, but that would only cover two TVs at most (do TVs even come with CableCard slots anymore?), whereas most households have more TVs than that.

    For me, I won’t be forced to upgrade. I’ll be forced to over-the-air channels and Internet TV, which will most likely be available in much easier to access methods soon.

  9. dolemite says:

    Comcast just made my Cartoon Network a digital channel :(

  10. denros says:

    45 bucks a month was already too much to pay for cable, no way in hell I was going to fork over another cent for 90% more of the same crap on digital. My tipping point was when they took away my science channel. Congratulations time warner, you just lost me for GOOD when that happened.

  11. Mike says:

    I begrudgingly pay Time Warner for internet access, but the first company that comes to my area with a better deal I am jumping ship. But it makes me sick to my stomach when I see how much digital cable costs. My wife and I don’t even own a TV anymore.

  12. mbz32190 says:

    OP is lucky he can even still get channels on analog. Here, Comcast “upgraded” the entire area, forcing converter boxes on every TV if you wanted to watch any channel other than the locals/public access/etc. (Now they were nice and provided two basic converters, and an OnDemand/Guide Box for free–although I’m sure I’m paying for it somewhere).

  13. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    Analog really uses up a lot of spectrum they need for Internet, HD, etc. I don’t blame Time Warner for this.

    However charging $7.50/mo for a $50 box is insane!

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      The “using up spectrum” argument is bullshit. The whole reason that OTA transmissions went digital is because the FCC wanted to make a buck by selling off the bands.

      • adamstew says:

        False. This is only true for over-the-air (OTA) transmissions. The cable companies are free to However, the benefits of digital-only are still the same whether you’re talking about cable-tv or OTA-tv.

        Digital transmissions allow the cable company to fit up to 10 SD channels or 2-3 HD channels in the same space as 1 analog cable channel.

        They are likely moving good old fashioned analog cable channels to digital because then it frees up that channel’s spectrum to add HD channels, which is the big thing that cable companies are pushing right now.

    • Jack Doe says:

      Not quite this. My area, TWC’s doing the same thing with ShopNBC and the Style network. I’ve been told it’s the final step to getting DOCSIS 3.0 implemented in my area (yay, 50mb internet without FIOS!) Anyway, I bitched about it and they gave me a stripped down converter at no cost for 24 months. Not sure what I’ll do after then.

  14. Jason Litka says:

    This has nothing to do with screwing the hold-outs and everything to do with offering a better selection to people living in this millennium.

    Analog channels eat a massive amount of bandwidth. Providers have a choice between a single analog feed, 8-12 digital SD feeds, or 2-3 HD feeds per channel. Providers eliminating the analog feeds should be congratulated, not condemned.

    • jeffrapp says:

      Yes. And, as a fellow (to the OP) Nebraskan and TWC subscriber, I am glad they are making the switch. Did they move BBC America to the Digital Tier? Yes. Are they also adding about 15 new HD channels to our lineup this month – Yes.

      While I realize that the OP doesn’t have the Digital Tier, I personally feel that freeing up bandwidth and gaining new HD channels far outweighs the moving (not loss) of a channel that, in all seriousness, probably doesn’t have a lot of viewers in Nebraska.

    • IThinkThereforeIAm says:

      Are you sure?
      Then how is it that instead of watching the 60-something channels you get through analog cable for (last time I checked about $5 through your association) you’ll have to pay probably about $40-50 for the same channels (we are not talking about HD, just SD digital, which is not an iota better in quality). And, if you happen to have multiple TVs you’ll need to rent multiple boxes from your ATV company to the tune of $5-$9 per month)?
      I think it’s just a thinly (if at all) veiled push customer to pay more for the same.

      I would happily sign up for digital cable ONCE they make it that they decode the signal BEFORE it enters my house (or at least before it’s split into the multiple outlets), and I can watch it on my digital capable TV sets all over the house.

      • NeverLetMeDown says:

        “Then how is it that instead of watching the 60-something channels you get through analog cable for (last time I checked about $5 through your association)”

        Well, that’s very unusual, and must be part of some special deal where the development subsidizes the rate or has a group buy. That 60-something channel analog cable package is typically $50-55.

        • Gstump says:

          you can get analog cable for $5 i wanna live where you do. here its like $60 or some shit. I kinda hope they switch it all to digital soon as I don’t have an analog tuner (ceton)

  15. ogremustcrush says:

    And this is why I, and much of the rest of my generation, will never buy bloody cable. The companies just keep trying to make basic (non-digital) cable less and less attractive, while they charge far more (per tv box charges…) to watch the exact same channels on digital cable (even though it costs them less to operate.) By the time you have the channels you expect to have on a cable service (ie all the stuff that was on basic cable 10 years ago) you’re paying $90/mo unless you only have a single tv. If you actually want one of the purported benefits of digital cable – more channels, the price is in the triple digits. I personally will stick with Netflix, Hulu, and other online video sources, – I hate those bloody cable box interfaces anyway.

  16. spazztastic says:

    I have an HD-DVR from TWC, and the rental is the same price as a non-HD box.

    • Das G says:

      For the first one maybe. I called just last week to price an additional converter box. The HD Digital box was $11/mo, and for an additional HD-DVR box, they wanted a whopping $21.50/mo. It’s highway robbery.

  17. AnonymousCoward says:

    I didn’t know there was anything worth watching on BBCA anymore. Last time I checked, it was all bloody reality shows. I prefer my reality shows with an American accent, thanks.

    • Speak says:

      They have Star Trek: Next Generation on every night a 8pm, something the SWN no longer has. And of course the only real reason to watch BBCA: Top Gear!

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      Doctor Who! O_O

    • moyawyvern says:

      I miss BBCAmerica, but my Doctor Who dvds and Top Gear on Netflix will have to do. I do miss Kim and Aggie, though, as long as I remembered to not watch during lunch.

  18. vitajex says:

    SyFy Wrestling Network (SWN)

    or as it’s known in the UK, BBC3.

  19. Mknzybsofh says:

    The only reason I even have a TV is to play games on my PS3. I to use Hulu and Redbox. I quit Netflix after they screwed me over, I wont go into it is over and done with ages ago. I /MAY/ go back to cable if they ever offer ala cart service.

  20. wrbwrx says:

    I decided to move on to Netflix and keep basic analog cable (Comcast Internet is same price w/ or w/o cable included). I also use PlayOn media server and torrents hooked up to my pc/xbox360.

    TV is not as bad if you are watching specific programs on your schedule and without commercials and not mindlessly channel surfing.

  21. Beeker26 says:

    Aren’t cable companies going to be allowed to kill their analog signal altogether next year? Or maybe 2012? Then renting a box won’t be optional. Like others I dumped cable TV many years ago.

  22. Speak says:

    A few months ago my local cable company removed the BBCA from their analog cable, but kept in the free (with a digital TV & full analog) digital spectrum (this is the lowest digital tier if no analog is bought, but costs more for the digital version). Within the past week I thought I had lost the BBCA for good because there was nothing on the digital channel where BBCA was. I re-scanned my list (5th time this year) and found it was moved.
    One of the channels that the company removed a while ago and put in a higher (non-basic) tier is Boomerang. I miss all the classic cartoons and watching actual cartoons, not live action shows on a CARTOON Network.

  23. chucklebuck says:

    We have non-digital cable, the most basic Basic plan (it’s about $11 a month). Our TV has a QAM tuner, so we get HD local major broadcast network channels and a few random non-HD channels. This has been our setup for about 5 years now. I don’t miss anything enough really not to wait for it on Netflix, Hulu, etc.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      If we had an $11 month option, I’d probably still have cable. The cheapest package, even with the discounts from having cable internet, still run about $25/month and over $30 if you include taxes. It’s really not worth that much when I can get 90% of it for free OTA.

      I can get unlimited streaming on my Roku and 3 DVDs at a time with Netflix for that much.

      • chucklebuck says:

        I tried an HD antenna once but the signal was unreliable. Could just be that it was a crappy antenna, but the $11 a month option is low enough that I don’t yet feel like trying again.

  24. meltingcube says:

    Brighthouse here in Orlando is doing the same thing. Each week its a new channel that they are taking away. And are they lowering the price due to this? Of course not. They expect us to pay for a cable box for each TV (6 of them) in order to get these channels. It’s ridiculous and I’m already planning to drop cable completely. The cable companies just seem to ignore that there is competition out there, and screwing their customers is not the way to keep us using cable.

  25. JasonR says:

    Call Time Warner and play them some choice chips from everyone’s favorite BBC America program:
    http://www.bbcamerica.com/shows/topgear/soundboard.jsp

    Tell them it’s from Captain Slow (to adopt digital cable).

  26. scurvycapn says:

    BBC America on analog? I moved into a TWC market six years ago and it’s been digital only here from the start.

    I remember when I had cable in a very small town. Even in the late 90s, cable at my house only consisted of channels 2-13, 22-35. The premiums such as Disney, Showtime, and HBO were scattered between 14-21. I think we paid just as much (if not more) than people here pay for channels 2-78 here on TWC. It’s all about where you live. I remember paying $9.95 for TWC DVR while a co-worker living in a nearby city was paying $14.95. It’s funny how much it ranges market to market.

  27. Southern says:

    I too am STRONGLY against having to pay the cable/satellite type companies (including U-Verse) a “box fee” for every TV in the house. I have 5 in mine, and I just REFUSE to pay an extra $30 a month for the priviledge of being able to watch programming on all of them.

    Now if they were to sell the boxes (for a reasonable price), I wouldn’t be against buying them for a one-time fee.. but that would cut into their profit magin, wouldn’t it? I think they rely on these “rentals” for a large part of their revenue (mainly because this fee doesn’t have to be passed on to the content providers).

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      I think they rely on these “rentals” for a large part of their revenue (mainly because this fee doesn’t have to be passed on to the content providers).

      The content providers get paid on a $/sub/month basis – doesn’t matter what Time Warner Cable is charging, Disney’s still getting $4+/sub/month for ESPN.

      • Southern says:

        Exactly.. Which means that Disney gets paid $4 a month for my subscription, regardless of whether I watch that channel on 1 TV, or 5 TVs – yet Time Warner, Comcast, and all the rest of them get up to an extra $7 a month for each TV I have connected.

    • johnva says:

      That was the whole point of CableCards…so that you wouldn’t need to rent a whole “box”.

      Anyway, you can buy a TiVo and get CableCards. They can charge you for the CableCards, but it will probably be much cheaper.

  28. dreamfish says:

    One option, if you either don’t mind watching TV on your computer or have means to connect the video output to your existing TV, is to buy a VPN subscription that makes your internet connection look like it’s in the UK. Then you may be able to watch BBC programmes on iPlayer (though connection speed may be and issue).

  29. dush says:

    Wait, you sign up for certain channels with your service and then they can just take them away? More reasons not to start paying for cable.

  30. mdovell says:

    You don’t need digital cable to get listings. There are some dvd players with hard drives with VCR + that get listings for free. There’s even still some listings in newspapers…

    I’ve dropped a paychannel but I have hd…

    analog cable for the most part dies out in 2012….first ppv’s and pay channels were switched…gradually more will.

    If you get cable just for basic channels just get a converter box or a hdtv..over the air hdtv is pretty decent. If you pay even $10 a month a box will pay for itself in a half year.

  31. bigd738778 says:

    Don’t care. TW is a pay company. Cable is not a charity. If you want the channel you have to pay extra to get it since it is not an over the air signal that is provided free. I don’t think it’s fair that most car compaines charge to much for their cars but I can either pay more or get what I can afford. Wow society sucks the stupid too much sometimes.

  32. Keith is checking the Best Buy receipt of a breastfeeding mother (for tips!) says:

    While I certainly agree and sympathize that it’s uncool for cable companies to arbitrarily charge more for all things digital/HD than the old analog signal, this is just the march of technological progress at work. All analog airwave signals will be gone soon, by federal mandate. At that point, analog transmission across cable will be the ONLY analog component left in the entire TV “supply chain.”

    Analog is the past, digital is the future- simple as that. I’m not necessarily arguing that this is an IMPROVEMENT, just that it is what it is.

    I spend about $100/month for stupid cable, and will ditch it in a heartbeat as soon as a cheap/free alternative is sufficiently user friendly for my non-technical family. So far Roku/XBMC/etc. isn’t quite there yet.

  33. psm321 says:

    Be glad they’re not moving completely to digital like Comcast

  34. common_sense84 says:

    SyFy Wrestling Network (SWN)

    Haha.

  35. coren says:

    Hahaha a Syfy wrestling channel?

    I didn’t realize the barrel had that many bottoms to scrape

  36. vastrightwing says:

    Learn to do without. Sure cable is a nice luxury but you don’t need it. There is plenty to do without it. The faster people realize they’re being ripped off, the sooner the price will go down. But no, people think they have to have their cable. Fine. Now pay the price and STFU!

  37. ellemdee says:

    My parents recently dropped Comcast because they’d had enough of their channel-sniping shenanigans. They switched to WOW, who still offer all of their favorite channels on regular non-digital cable.

    I have non-digital cable and the only I channel I miss is the TV Guide channel, which WOW removed with the last couple years. My parents finally jumped to digital because of this just to get the digital channel guide. Of course, their TVs are on almost 24 hours a day, so they get a lot more use out of their cable than I do. I just watch less TV now, since It’s annoying to have to either flip channels or check the online listings to see what’s on. I also loathe the thought of having to hook yet another box up to each TV (and having another remote) and having to pay each month to rent the boxes just to be able to actually watch all of the channels I’d be paying for.

    The cable companies have been very successful at convincing people that they need digital cable or high def broadcasts or 100 channels of 60’s latin instrumental lullabies, but the benefits of digital cable would be minimal to me and not worth the huge difference in price (once box rental fees were taken into account). The one thing I would love to have is a DVR, but I don’t want it enough to double my cable bill.

  38. kcvaliant says:

    Can’t you just go buy a digital box at bestbuy or a digital to analog one?? Or is it moving tiers to the 200s stopping you from viewing it??

  39. brinks says:

    I held out and held out and held out…

    and finally the price came down to the point where it was only a couple of dollars more a month for digital AND I got a ton of new channels. They pretty much forced me to get it…by making it a way better deal.

    If you live in a market that’s served by WOW (Wide Open West), get it. Maybe it’s because they’re still pretty small and still give a s*** about their customers, but they have done right by me for a decade or so (after I left Time Warner because they were overpriced douches).

  40. JoeTheDragon says:

    Comcast chicago land just did this same stuff but there free box does not get CSN+ the over flow of CSN to get it you need to pay about $8 per tv to view it.

    Why can’t we buy the box?

  41. XTREME TOW says:

    My apartment complex includes Basic Cable in the rent. Expanded packages and Internet are extra and the tenant needs to contact Cox Cable on their own. When I moved in 5 years ago, there were 78 analog channels, last year they cut that to 60, two months ago, 30. They call this an “Upgrade”? The Basic Digital Service is available for free if I buy a Digital TV, or a converter. All the ‘dude’ channels are gone: History, Military, Speed, National Geographic, Science, Golf, etc. I know, I know, just buy a stupid converter!

    Getting ‘Cable Internet’ was a REAL CHALLENGE! Since this apartment complex includes Basic Cable in the rent, explaining to the Cox Cable CSR’s I don’t have a “Customer Account Number”, and I don’t want cable-TV service because I already have Basic Cable-TV Service; I just want Internet, nothing else. “No, I do not need to rent a Cable-Modem, because I already bought my own last week.” I told the CSR. Her response? “If you don’t rent a Modem, how are you going to connect your computer to the cable to get Internet? That’s just silly. Sir, do you know what you are doing?” I was at a loss for words, and just hung up. The following week I went into their offices in person with the Owners Manual and receipt for my Modem. After refusing to let them have a credit card number (too many problems with them severely overbilling me 20 years ago!) I walked out 35 minutes later with a cash receipt for my first 3 months of Internet service. All it took was convincing the supervisor that if he didn’t tell me the name of HIS supervisor, I would eventually find out who he was anyways, and I would only be more of a pain when I did. He instructed the CSR to creat a new account, Internet only. She acted like I just ask her to dig a ditch or something. Tapping those buttons on the keyboard was SO-O-O MUCH WORK!

  42. Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

    Maybe this is just me being Canadian, where the cable/satellite companies must offer any digital channel a-la-carte–subject to some stupid rules that prohibit you from subscribing to only American channels without subscribing to Canadian channels as well–and give you the option to buy the set-top box/DVR, but that’s just me, I guess. Though the analog cable pickings are slim up here as well, some channels are protected from being shifted to a digital tier (i.e. local channels, any channel that isn’t “premium” [e.g. our Movie Network] that was analog before digital cable came around in 2001.) The only reason why I’ve got a basic HD box is because I want HD channels. You’ll never get those through analog cable. And yes, there’s literally nothing on clearQAM up here, except a few audio channels they haven’t figured out how to encrypt yet.

  43. anduin says:

    My parents subscribe to satellite for which they pay something like $50 or $60. I only ever watch like 10 channels on the 300 or so channels they get. Worst of all is the shows I want to watch are all over the place and honestly it’s just easier to load up a site and watch the show there, even if it may be in lower quality. I’m not really picky when it comes to HD vs SD, HD may look cleaner but if I need to endure commercials and wait then I’ll the worse quality.

  44. soj4life says:

    all of my non over the air channels are through my comcast digital converter now, i hate it because it kills the functionality of my tivos.

  45. watchout5 says:

    Oh oh, I got around this when Comcast kept doing it. Cancel cable, buy a VPN and download everything. It’s cheaper, faster, on your time, no commercials and you’re protected against any attempt to hide content from you. I would have rather paid a small monthly fee for the 2 or 3 channels I wanted, but hey, this way I don’t have to support everything I hate!

  46. bben says:

    Years ago the Cable companies sold us on being able to watch TV with NO COMMERCIALS because you paid directly. And on being able to have a channel dedicated to just what you wanted to watch. (MTV, A&E, History Chan etc) now we pay more to watch the commercials – a dozen or more channels of ‘infomercials’, MTV has inane shows instead of music videos, Arts & Entertainment (A&E) has dropped any arts and entertainment in favor of their ‘non reality’ shows, (remember when they showed live music, opera and symphonies?) History Channel is moving away from history and is now showing their own non reality non history crap. And sports? We were promised we would be able to watch any game on dedicated channels for that team – so the teams signed contracts with the major networks to prevent that and black out the game if the hugely overpriced tickets for the stadium 190 miles away are not sold out and wonder why their sports are loosing fans.

    When called by my local independent cable co and asked why I was canceling (they were offering me a ‘special’ deal to re up) I explained that I was paying more to see less of what I wanted to see. It kind of confused them as they kept insisting they have over 200 channels and their must be something In their line up I wanted to see. I haven’t missed the cable at all. I can get 9 over the air stations (6 more than when I was a kid) I have ‘piped’ my computer to the big screen TV and can watch as many – if not more – games. And any TV shows I really want to see. And it all costs me $55 LESS a month than the cheapest digital service they offer.

  47. lihtox says:

    Call them and tell them you are thinking about dropping cable entirely, and tell them why. Maybe they’ll toss in one or two digital converters for free. If not, then at least you will add your voice in protest to the move, and they might reconsider doing it next time.

  48. SwoonOMatic says:

    If the cable company really wanted to make their customers happy, they would devise a cable box that sat at the entrance to your house that THEY control. Send all of the signals to that box encrypted. The box would decrypt the free channels or the channels you paid for and stream to your televisions via clear QAM.

    You could use your own remote control program your TIVO, Computer, etc to record the content, etc. You wouldn’t need devices or cable-cards throughout your house. But they have no interest in making customers happy – just making money.

    Maybe a municipal or cooperative cable company could do this.

  49. wackydan says:

    My cable bill has gone from $99 per month to $113 per month in 6 years… and I now have two less channels. I don’t rent boxes, just get the regular cable + internet.

    I’m holding onto my old tube tv as it works… but also because when I get a new tv I will have to upgrade to HD service and for that simple yet forced change have to pay more to Time warner for the HD service itself… which is utter BS.

    I’ve looked into direct tv and dish network, but their packages come out about the same as I’m paying now when you factor in the rental cost of the tuners per T.V.

    No win situation here.