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Ever the contrarian… switching to cable

April 6, 2011

Never let it be said that I am one to follow the crowd. While everyone I know is dropping the cable company (or talking about it), I just signed up with Time Warner.

My setup for the past few years consisted of Dish for satellite TV, Verizon / Frontier Communications for land line voice and Time Warner Cable for broadband. The total bill ran ~$140 per month. A few weeks ago, Time Warner Cable called and offered a triple play package with faster internet service and a better channel lineup for $15 less per month.

Initially I was reluctant, but I’m already married to Time Warner for internet access. You would think that Research Triangle Park, North Carolina – surrounded by Duke, UNC & NC State – would be blanketed by fiber. It may be somewhere. But where I live DSL tops out at 3MB/s and FiOS isn’t available. Since I work from home and do a lot of video, audio and web conferencing – not surprising given my role in IBM’s Unified Communications and Collaboration business – high speed broad band is a requirement. Once you lock that part of the puzzle into place, the triple play package made some sense.

So a week into it, the experience has not been all that good. It has some pluses. We have many more channels, a number of kids channels we didn’t get with Dish and the internet was pushing 25 MB/s over the weekend. However…

  • We ordered a whole house DVR. This includes one main box and several playback devices for secondary TVs. The installer gave us a Cisco main box and Samsung playback boxes. Apparently, this was a mistake as the different brands are not compatible. We haven’t been able to use the secondary TV’s to watch any recorded content.
  • Which might not be that big a deal if we could use the DVR on the main TV. That has been unable to play any recorded content without first resetting the Cisco box each time.
  • And I have to say that Dish spoiled us. The Dish DVR let us pause, rewind, fast forward live TV from any TV in the house. It also let us record live TV or set timers from any TV. None of that is possible with the Time Warner whole house DVR. All timers have to be set on the main TV and you can only rewind, pause & fast forward recorded content. (Assuming you have compatible playback devices.)

My wife is on the verge of telling them to take the whole thing back. They’re coming to fix the box situation tomorrow. We’ll have to see how this shakes out.

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From → Electronics, Life, TV

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