Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hasta Nunca Time Warner Cable

Last week, I think it was last Thursday at about 2:30 PM, our cable went out. NY1's anchor-person just froze mid-word, and the other channels were a dirty slate color with no action. We tried the usual tricks: turning off the boob-tube, shutting the whole system down, checking out the set-up options, watching the re-boot screen and hoping the little buttons that show progress would light up...they didn't.

All that didn't work, so we broke down and called Time-Warner Customer Service. After several questions and attempts to get us to use the "automated system" to solve the problem, the person at the other end of the line (that sounded so far away it could not have been local) said that we needed to get another "box" to fix what was ailing our connection.

My husband went to the TWC office down on 5th Avenue in the 20's (woohoo! super-local!) and exchanged our five-year-old TW box for a brand new one. Nothing changed. Same problems, same results to all the "tricks."

Instead of television, we watched Edith Piaf struggle with fame in "La Vie en Rose" - excellent film, by the way - and we eventually got through to TWC customer service again. This time, the representative said that there was no cable signal coming from (to?) our site. He said it wasn't the box, and that we probably hadn't needed to exchange the old one. Aggravating, no? Basically, the customer service was non-existent, and the people on the phone were less than helpful or sympathetic. I mean, fewer customers and more people who use the automated system = fewer jobs in TWC customer service, doesn't it? You'd think the reps would be a little more eager to be helpful. At least that's what I'd think.

So, this weekend, we made the leap. We cancelled our cable, and we bought an antenna (although it looks more like an iBook). The antenna was $59, so in the end we'll be saving a lot of money. I, however, am also happy about breaking the addiction to brain-deadening shows like Curb Appeal, Whose Wedding is it Anyway?, How Do I Look?, and re-runs of CSI and Charmed that I've already seen twice. I'd rarely watch an entire show, and it often turned into background noise for cooking or cleaning up. Having these shows on also made grading papers feel less like work, but it would make the "feels less like work" take a lot longer.

Now I can settle into my less brain-numbing addiction to Brian Lehrer and Leonard Lopate. The channels we get still take care of the basic television needs like some reality (Amazing Race) without giving us too much (seeing Kat Cora beat out a challenger chef AGAIN) about topics my husband always wonders why I care about. We don't own a home, so why watch those renovation shows? I am the least fashionable person within an eight mile radius, so why do I care about how someone from Chicago spends $5000 on clothes in NYC? We purposely kept our wedding (relatively) simple (go City Hall!), so why do I want to watch people get married who needed a wedding coordinator to make it happen?

I don't know. I have a problem, and admitting it is the first step. However, now I don't need to worry so much about it! We only get ten or so channels, and two of them aren't even real channels; they just give running weather and news and other fun facts. Without the monthly cable bill, we save cash. And without the cable, I save brain cells and time.

I highly recommend the change to those who are still cable/satellite subscribers. So far - several whole days - it's been lovely. Of course, my husband has already talked about satellite, but I'm hoping we stick with the simplicity of truly basic television. Maybe I can visit someone with cable to see a re-run of Iron Chef America or What Not to Wear?


avrobie said...

What are you using for internet?

Cindy J said...

We too are getting ready to cancel our cable and internet with Time Warner for the same reasons. I've had a tech out here five times in the past 6 months and my internet still goes out at least once a day. We are switching to DSL hopefully.

wannabe grower said...

Just so you know, it's no picnic on the other side. We have direct TV (satellite) and we lose signal every time the wind blows. Usually coinciding with the climactic moment of the season finale, natch. It's worst with the hi-def, and so can often have temporary reprieve if we switch to lo-def, but even the lo-def signal gets lost in the bigger storms. Just the kind of weather that inspires curling up on the couch.

BestViewInBrooklyn said...

avrobie: We have DSL, and we considering going to that 3-1 package before this whole event.

wannabe grower: I know. I've heard crazy things about satellite. Right now, WNET goes all crazy once in a while, but that's it. It's nice not to have to pay anyone for terrible service now. :)

Carla said...

Hey, won't you be forced to subscribe to cable again come February though? The Cablevision technician was just at my place today and I was going to get an antenna and forget about cable. But he said that once the Feb switch happened, I wouldn't get any signal and it was best to stick with cable. (So I got basic cable).

BestViewInBrooklyn said...

Hi Carla,

Actually, no! All you need is the proper antenna. Most of the channels in NYC have already switched over anyway. The only channels we've had problems with are the two WNET channels...which stinks because it's my favorite set of channels. (Yup, I'm THAT kind of person.) Giving the tech the benefit of the doubt, maybe your television is the "old" kind? Otherwise, the tech was just making sure to keep a subscriber.

If you love TBS and some of those types of channels, you'd want basic cable anyway.