Back with Time Warner (and Busted HD)

Y and I decided to drop Time Warner a few years ago to help save on our monthly bills and to reduce how much media we consumed while studying for our PhD exams. Now, we both have some breathing room and we can use TV, news, and movies in our respective research.

For Y, we were hopeful that we could get some Taiwanese tv channels into the house so that she could keep up with the conversation there regarding Chinese, Taiwanese, and American relations. Unfortunately, it seemed like Dish Network was the only option for that, and as I’ve written about before, we cannot get Dish Network at the house we currently live at due to tree cover.

We thought about it, and we decided that we would go back to Time Warner’s basic cable service with HD so that we could get some of the educational channels we lacked and news service channels we could not get by the aerial.

It was advantageous that school at Kent State was cancelled today, because our installation was also scheduled for today. An ernest installer named Dennis helped get the cable TV service setup after installing a new coax line and removing the band filter that they placed on the line when we only purchased their cable Internet service. We received a new Samsung cable receiver box for the service, and we have been back on cable TV service since around lunchtime.

Unfortunately, there is a problem. We receive standard definition (SD) stations without any trouble, but many high definition (HD) broadcasts of those SD stations are listed as “currently unavailable” and “try again later.” We pay for both versions of the channels, but we cannot access the better quality HD versions all of the time. We have tried going back to these channels or choosing to try again, with success about 1/10 of the time.

I have looked online [google search results here], and it seems like the problem lies in signal strength–particularly in the wires around the house and the intervention of splitters. It also doesn’t look like a problem that a vast majority of users encounter. Instead, it seems like a smaller percentage of customers who complain about this problem, and fewer still that actually get Time Warner to do anything about it.

Why can’t a company that reports profits and pays a dividend to shareholders about five days ago [read on the WSJ here], save a little bit of that money and invest it back into the company so that no one has these kinds of issues. It could mean that better equipment is required. It could mean that technicians are better trained to check for these problems during installation. It could mean doing away with service fee costs when the problem is one created or never resolved during installation. It could come in some other form, but however it manifests, the table should be turned back in favor of the customer rather than the shareholder. If all customers pay for a service, they should receive the full benefits covered by that service before dividends are paid in the other direction.

We have had issues with Time Warner’s service before [read here about our trouble with our Internet service], but those issues were resolved after repeatedly calling and IMing their customer service and spending more time than I believe we should chat or talk with them. I am going to go out and see if there are any egregious problems with the outside wiring when the weather is a little more merciful, but I am afraid that we will have to complain repeatedly until the Time Warner leviathan slowly moves.

Published by Jason W. Ellis

I am an Associate Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology. Also, I coordinate the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, which holds more than 600 linear feet of magazines, anthologies, novels, and research publications.