Thursday, May 26, 2005

Time Warner vs. Grande

Last night, a sales rep from Time Warner came by and said he could get me a digital cable/phone/high-speed Internet package for $99. That monthly rate would be good for two years, but I could disconnect at any time. I’m still not sure about installation fees. Taxes and fees would push it up a bit, but I imagine it would still be less than the $150 I’m now paying Grande Communications.

I switched from Time Warner to Grande last year because their package was a little cheaper and I liked the idea of switching to an upstart company headquartered just down the road in San Marcos. As it turns out, the cost savings has been negated by rate hikes, my reception of local channels (particularly KTBC) is poor and the high digital channels block up on me half the time.

Grande tells me it’s because I’m running the signal through a TiVo DVR, but I never had this problem with Time Warner. Bypassing TiVo doesn’t fix things and I’ve spoken with several other Grande subscribers who also get a crappy signal from KTBC. Now Grande’s telling me I’ll have to pay for service visits if the technician arbitrarily blames my equipment for the problems. Needless to say, I’m no longer quite so enthused about supporting the little guy.

I’m still not sure about going back to Time Warner, though. It feels a bit like returning to the dark side, and part of me just wants to cut cable out of my life altogether. Anyone have any thoughts or experiences related to this ongoing cable conundrum?


Kat said...

We've got problems with weird "skips" in reception on high digital channels, too -- and this is a straight-to-box hookup. Interesting to learn that we're not alone. I think I'll put this question to the neighborhood e-mail list.
I'm skeptical of Time Warner's special offers -- there always seems to be a time limit, and it ends up feeling all bait-and-switch. (I do miss the radar channel, though. Ch. 24 is bitey.)
Dropping cable altogether, and just Netflixing our entertainment, seems idyllic -- but then Luke loves baseball, and Six Feet Under's about to start again on HBO, and the kid likes Noggin, and what if there's a line of storms headed in from the northwest?
I'm afraid that my TV-free dream is sort of like my desire to live in a minimalist mid-century environment. I'd need a clone: so one of us could be elegant and Zen, and the other could watch Lifetime TV movies and collect all sorts of junk.

Anonymous said...

I'm speaking from the perspective of someone who works in TV but never watches it, so you have to take what I say with the proverbial grain of salt, I suppose.

It all depends on what you use it for. If you use it more for high-speed digital cable internet, surely there's some other corporate giant who could take your money and do a good job.

If you're addicted to certain programs you can only get on cable or digital cable TV, then you're damned if you do etc. If you look at your TV viewing habits and decide that the only shows you watch are on regular broadcast (as Georgina and I did a few years ago), then you may realize you don't really need cable TV. You should have seen us cancelling Time Warner. They couldn't believe it. Each rep Georgina spoke to couldn't conceive of a consumer for whom TV was not the focal point of his or her life. It took us three tries before they finally did as we asked and disconnected us.

If it was me, the only thing I'd really be concerned with would be loss of the high-speed 'net connection. But if that's important to you - and as a writer who publishes, it's got to be - you'll have to do some research and figure out who will best serve your needs, whether "little guy" or "corporate ogre." But you know that already.


Greg said...

Kat, "skipping" is the perfect term for what happens with Grande's KTBC signal, though mine also fuzzes up sometime.

I don't think I'll actually go through with cutting the cable because it would nullify my investment in TiVo. That said, it does seem like more than half of what I watch is "Seinfeld" reruns on KTBC. I'd miss Cartoon Network's Boomerang (old cartoons) if I switched back to TW, but I agree with your assessment of Grande's sub-par weather radar.

Kat said...

"You should have seen us cancelling Time Warner. They couldn't believe it."
HA! Exactly. Breaking up with Time Warner was just like dumping a bad relationship: "This is such a surprise to us. If we'd known you were unhappy, we would have tried to do something. Can we do anything to change your mind?"
Fortunately, I have no friends in common with Time Warner, so when I showed up with Grande, it wasn't too awkward...

Greg said...

I think Grande actually had a TV spot where women "dumped" Time Warner and the poor techicians were left sitting in their trucks crying.

Jennifer LaSuprema said...

I have Grande's ten-dollar cable feed that exists solely to support my internet connection. I get locals, access, CSPAN2 & WGN, but in the end, my TV is really just Netflix's monitor.

Last year I upgraded for the NBA playoffs. That rocked.

I can't bring myself to do business w/ TW. I also boycott Wal-Mart. I continue, however, to patronize both Target & Old Navy. Makes no good sense, but it feels right.

jennifer said...

I'm stuck in SBC hell! I have had the same email account for 9 years and so am loathe to change providers, but having DSL means I can't afford cable of any kind, so all I get is Fox and WB and the rest is fuzzy. I'm curious about the 10 dollar Grande connection, but then I'd have to give up my beloved email address. They have some crazy package with satellite tv, but I'm pretty sure my picky landlordls won't let me have a dishh outside my apt. What's a girl to do?

Dermott said...

don't have cable. stop. would watch snoop dogg's teledrizzle and like all day otherwise. stop. have netflix. stop. love netflix. stop.

Wes said...

It may not be an option for you, but I would recommend satellite and DSL. It may or may not not be the cheapest option, but atleast you arnt giving money to a cable company. Dont believe the hype, satellite works in the rain.