Time Warner Cable Customers Unable To Access TV Apps After Charter Merger

Image courtesy of Photo Nut 2011

It’s been nearly a year since Charter officially acquired Time Warner Cable, but TWC customers — now “Time Warner Spectrum” — say they are no longer able to access an array of TV apps that require their pay-TV logins.

As you almost certainly know, most TV networks now have some sort of app for viewing videos on phones, tablets, or web-connected TVs. Most of these apps require that the user authenticate their accounts by logging in through their pay-TV providers.

Even after the merger with Charter, Time Warner Cable customers were able to use their old login info to access these apps. But that all changed recently when TWC became TW Spectrum.

Consumerist reader Josh says he ran into the issue about a month ago when trying to determine if he could get rid of his DVR and instead just use the apps for channels he was already paying for.

“I assumed it was just the one app I tried,” Josh says, “but as I tried more and reached around, it looked to have been an issue for other people for at least a year.”

Josh says that when he attempted to log in to each of the apps — including ABC, Fox, FX, Freeform, and others — he found that TW Spectrum wasn’t listed as a provider.

“Neither is just ‘TWC’ or ‘Time Warner Cable.’” he tells Consumerist. “However, ‘Charter Spectrum’ is, but our logins do not work.”

“There are a very large number of TV providers that are allowed to authenticate, from the smallest regional ones to the big players,” he says. “However, we are left completely in the cold.”

Unsure of what this meant, Josh did a bit of searching online, finding that others ran into the same issue.

In fact, a Time Warner Cable forum shows several other users have been denied access to apps from Freeform, CNN, ABC, Disney, and others.

“When I go to CNN and try and watch live video it wants me to log in,” user jfields wrote on the forum in December. “There are tons of providers, probably close to 100, but Time Warner is missing. Why? How can you have 15 million customers and not have agreements with major companies like CNN?”

A post from four months ago shows similar issues.

“Now that you all are Spectrum, when are Time Warner customers going to be able to use the ABC app?” poster bmarie writes. “Charter customers have access to it and now that we’re all one company Time Warner customers should as well.”

Another user wrote in Sept. 2016 that after the merger between TWC and Charter he lost access to the TCM app.

“Now that TWC BHN and Charter are all one ‘big happy family,’ why can’t I sign in to the TCM mobile app, or the Watch TCM web site using my login and selecting Spectrum as my provider?” the poster notes. 

A moderator for TWC, which has posted that the problem is solved, writes in response that customers would have to “wait until Charter and TWC are fully one system.”

“It takes time for two companies to join together,” the moderator writes. “Most changes are expected to be coming sometime in 2017 to 2018.”

Waiting up to two years seems like a long time for cable customers, who are already paying for features they can’t actually use.

A rep for Time Warner Cable/Charter reiterated to Consumerist that the provider is still working to fully integrate the two companies.

The company also notes that not every app is authenticated for use by Time Warner Cable’s legacy customers — those with packages prior to the merger.

For example, TWC isn’t a provider for ABC, FreeForm or Turner apps, meaning the apps aren’t an option for customers with a legacy TWC package.

A full list of available TWC apps can be found on the company’s website. A full list of authenticated apps are also available to customers with a Spectrum or Bright House package.

Additionally, it’s possible that some users may be having individual issues when it comes to logging in to the dedicated apps.

While customers will apparently just have to wait it out, Josh tells Consumerist it’s still annoying.

“This is very frustrating for anyone looking to cut some costs,” he says.