Last year, my husband and were notified that Time Warner had purchased our cable company. We were a bit anxious to see how things would change. In the long run, their have been some things we really appreciate about Time Warner Digital Cable, while other things have been very frustrating.
What’s Great About Time Warner Digital Cable
One of the first things that we really came to love about Time Warner Digital Cable was the price. As “new” customers, we were given a great introductory rate that doesn’t really increase much after the introduction period. We found the price to be reasonable, particularly for what it includes. Our favorite part is that we were able to add DVR to our digital cable service (the generic version of TiVo) for just about $10 more a month, and we didn’t pay anything for the equipment, because- unlike TiVo- we don’t own it.
The channel options that Time Warner offers are really unique and practical. They give you your basic channels for one price, and then you can add additional channel “tiers” for $5 more a month. We added one channel tier that includes the Sundance channel, among other things. There are also premium channel tiers for $10 extra per month. I like this option because it gives you tiers of several premium channels, instead of just one, and the price is really pretty reasonable, especially considering the fact that you get those channels for movies OnDemand too.
Since we have come to this topic, let me talk a little bit about the wonderful world of OnDemand. You may have seen some of the corny OnDemand commercials on T.V., talking about how people “used” to go to the video store, but now there is OnDemand. (Yeah, I know, it’s corny). Anyhow, I always thought that the only thing that OnDemand was good for was free movies, in the watch it when you want style of pay-per-view. While the free movies are awesome, there are some other neat things that I have found in the OnDemand section.
Exercise Programs: Yes, that’s right, just like the workout DVDs you can buy in the stores! If you click on the “Sports and Fitness” section, then on “Exercise TV,” you will find a whole bunch of different workout programs! They have everything from abs workouts to belly dancing workouts to cardio and more. Plus, they have all different lengths, so if you only have 8 minutes to workout, you can do a short workout to tone your abs, or a quick cardio. It also works like the OnDemand movies with the “stop” and “pause” functions, in case you need to get a drink or take care of a child. This has been my favorite OnDemand discovery so far.
Karaoke by Oxygen: If you go to the “TV picks” section, the go down to the Oxygen network, one of the options is “Oh! Karaoke!” I was so surprised at the huge selection of music available to do karaoke to. I can’t wait to have a bunch of friends over for drinks and cable karaoke.
International TV: There are all sorts of movies in different languages available that even come with subtitles. If your high school student is taking French or Italian, he/she could probably get extra credit by watching one of these movies and reporting on it. My younger sister is trying to learn Italian and has enjoyed watching the Italian films.
Having experience surfing through other digital cable channel guides, such as Cox, I find that the Time Warner Digital Cable menu is particularly great. The way that the information is displayed is easy to access and aesthetically pleasing. This may not seem like a big thing, but when I am using a TV that doesn’t have this digital guide, I always realize how much I miss it.
The digital cable music stations (which can be accessed by pressing the “music” button on your remote) are really awesome. We don’t like listening to the radio much at home, since we don’t get many stations and end up listening to mostly commercials on the ones that we do get, but we have really enjoyed listening to the music channels on digital cable. The variety of musical genres is awesome, and better than that, there are no commercials. One day we might be in the mood for reggae, while another day we listen to all show tunes. My infant son likes it when I turn on the classical channels. During December, we tuned to “Sounds of the Season” which had a huge variety of Christmas music. This was a nice change from the few Christmas CDs we have, and we really enjoyed having the holiday images popping up on the screen. It was like an additional Christmas decoration in our living room.
While this is really not something unique to Time Warner Digital Cable, I must say that DVR has really revolutionized my TV watching. I cannot describe how great it is to be able to fast forward through all the lame commercials, and how nice it is to still be able to watch my favorite shows without planning my night around the times they are on. Plus, I set series recordings for shows that we really like, so if we are out and end up running late, I don’t have to worry about missing the first few minutes of my favorite shows. I also like to record shows like “Sesame Street” and “The Backyardigans” for my son, so he can watch them at a time that works for us.
What’s NOT So Great About Time Warner Digital Cable
My husband and I have noticed that it is unfortunately rather frequent that the image gets frozen or scrambled. It is usually is not for long, but it is disruptive. While this is not a really big deal, it is frustrating and it is not something that we experienced with basic cable, or with our prior digital cable service.
For some annoying reason, there are sound issues. Occasionally, the sound will just cut out completely on one channel. We will be in the middle of watching something, and then the sound will suddenly cut out and we won’t be able to get it back for a long time. It will usually be isolated to one channel at a time, but it is really annoying to lose the sound on something when you are in the middle of watching it.
Incorrect Guide Information
I don’t think that this is completely Time Warner’s fault, but I have noticed that the information they have in the guide is not always correct. This is particularly true on MTV and their affiliate channels. There have been several times that I have set something to record on DVR, based on the information given in the digital cable channel guide, only to find that I have recorded a completely different show than what the guide told me I was recording.
Really, this is the sum of the problems that we have experienced with Time Warner Digital Cable, so overall, I would say that we are pretty satisfied with our service.