Time Warner Cable: You're Not Getting HD Because FOX Stopped Broadcasting It

Reader Dave has graciously shared with us a tragic series of emails he sent to Time Warner Cable, the highlight of which comes when he tells them about the time that he called in because the New York City FOX affiliate wasn’t working (he wanted to watch the NY Football Giants) and was told that FOX 5 had decided to stop broadcasting in HD.

Dave framed his complaint as a fan letter to the Verizon guy, begging for FiOS. He writes to TWC and Verizon:

Dear FIOS guy-

I’m in dire straights and desperately need your help. I live in Edgewater, NJ (07020) and I have a full-blown Time Warner Cable inflicted football emergency.

In my time with Time Warner Cable I have suffered through a TV picture that looks like it’s made of Legos. I have been booted off of my internet network (and subsequent fragfest/video game session) innumerable times. I have had technicians come over to my home to fix a problem, only to introduce a new one that’s not readily apparent until after they’ve left. All the while, I’ve patiently waited for Verizon to roll FIOS out in my neighborhood. However, I can no longer sit idly by and suffer the injustice and indignity of Time Warner Cable’s craptastic service.

For the past three weeks FOX HD has gone blank on me right around the start of Sunday’s NFL action. I have had their technicians out and had the cable box replaced, all to no avail. Their customer service reps literally have no clue. The first woman that I spoke to this Sunday insisted to me that the game was blacked out — despite the fact that the NY Giants have not been blacked out in the local area (I live 20 minutes from the home stadium)-um-EVAH or the fact that the game was transmitted in HD to Cablevision and Direct TV customers in NJ or the fact that the game was available on non-HD FOX. Apparently, this blackout only applied to people with good television sets, which makes sense because one can only fully realize just how bad the picture is on Time Warner Cable until you get a good TV.

I have even had two different TWC CSRs insist to me that the reason I lost FOX HD is because FOX has stopped transmitting an HD signal. I kid you not. They are claiming that the flagship affiliate for FOX in NYC, home to the Super Bowl champion NY Giants who are in the midst of an 11-1 season, in the biggest football TV audience in the country just decided to cut its HD broadcast. Needless to say the SVP of Communications for Fox Sports and the VP of Engineering and Operations at FOX 5 NY were extremely surprised to hear this (and none to pleased that TWC’s reps were lying about the problem and placing the blame with FOX.)

Normally I never attribute someone’s actions to malice when sheer incompetence will do (especially where Time Warner Cable is concerned), but I have another theory. I think there’s a rogue Eagles fan over at Time Warner Cable. In what will likely be a non-playoff season for Philly a little resentment of the success that the NY Giants have experienced thus far this year and last has to be expected. A little schadenfreude goes a long way these days.

The NFL season is now ¾ over. The playoffs are quickly approaching. I know you guys are close; the main office is in the next town over. I NEED you to fast-track my development (of over 500 units) for FIOS installation. Please, help me FIOS Guy, you’re my only hope.

Well, Dave, the Eagles did make the playoffs, but never mind that. It’s still a better theory than “FOX doesn’t broadcast HD in New York.” TWC responded to his email, but his cable woes didn’t end.

Dave writes to TWC:

I just wanted to touch base with you to let you know that TWC’s services continue to be an EPIC FAILURE. While the problem detailed in my previous email has been resolved (no, FOX 5 NY had not stopped transmitting an HD signal, as I was told by multiple TWC CSRs…rather, it was faulty wiring/installation on TWC’s part), your services continue to disappoint.

Your TV service is horrible. HD channels constantly pixelate, freeze and cut audio. Sometimes to the point where it becomes unwatchable. This is not a problem with any of the wiring or equipment in my home, as verified by your own technical staff. This is a known problem with your feed from NY (again, as relayed to me by your technical staff.) I have this problem, my neighbor in my development has the same problem. Even my buddy who lives in Manhattan and uses a cable card on your service has this problem (so, clearly, the problem does not even lie with the cable boxes; it is all your bad signal.) Yeah, HD is free on TWC…and apparently, you get what you pay for.

Your internet service is equally as bad. I can be surfing online and watch as my signal drops from 54Mbps, down to the 40’s, 30’s, 20’s, 10’s and finally disconnect. Then it starts to cycle back up. I am sick and tired of having streaming video freeze and getting kicked off of online game sessions because of your sub-standard product. Once again, your technicians have been over every inch of wiring in my home. The problem does NOT originate in my home.

You should also know that TWC was not the only one to reply to my original email about your craptastic services and products. Verizon contacted me about my interest in bringing FIOS to my development of 600 units. Guess what? It turns out that they had fiber running right across the front of my development. I have since put them in direct contact with my management office. A site survey of the property has already been completed and efforts are underway to finish the final paperwork for the fiber upgrade.

Prepare yourselves to loose a whole bunch of customers this spring and summer…all due to TWC’s incompetence and inability to provide decent products and services to their paying customers.

After that TWC replied with an entirely blank email, after which Dave gave up and forwarded the whole chain to us.

Well, it’s good to see that TWC Executive Customer Service is just as incompetent as your 1st Level Customer Service. You people can’t even reply to an email correctly.

You had no problem clicking ‘reply’ and no problem clicking ‘send’, but you forgot about the little buttons on your keyboard with all of the letters on them. You see, letters make words, words make sentences and sentences make paragraphs, which convey meaning. Unfortunately, your reply to me was completely devoid of any of those things.

Thanks, Dave. Good luck with your forthcoming FiOS installation. Keep your fire extinguisher handy.