Good news and bad news for Time Warner Cable customers in Southwest Ohio.
The good: The cable company is making upgrades for the future to bring more digital channels and on-demand content, and even faster high-speed internet.
The bad: The upgrades could cost the average customer about $10 a month, or another $120 a year. But there are some ways to avoid it.
End of Analog Era
By June 1st, Time Warner will "cut the cord" on its old analog cable service in the Cincinnati area. It is following the lead of Comcast and other cable companies that long ago moved away from analog.
So to open up more bandwith space on its cable lines, Time Warner will stop sending separate analog signals for much of its programming, and switch to digital-only service.
It cut out analog signals for some customers during the Dancing With the Stars finale, and they report their scrreens going blank, with a slate coming up saying "this channel is now digital only."( 9 on Your Side had nothing to do with this switch)
This means that every TV in your home will require a mini set-top box (also called a mini adaptor) to see content.
You will no longer be able to simply plug a cable into a kitchen TV, and watch Channels 2 through 80 with the TV's original remote.
Free Boxes For Now
For the first 1 - 2 years, depending on your package, Time Warner will supply up to 3 mini set-top boxes free of charge.
But after that promotional period, you will have to pay $3.25 a month to rent each mini-box.
Many customers have a main TV in their living or family room with digital cable and DVR, but their kitchen and bedroom and home office TV's tend to still be using the analog signal (at no extra charge).
So if you have 3 extra TV's, you will have to pay another $10 a month, or $120 a year.
Call Time Warner or visit their website to reserve your mini-boxes. Note: if you want Time Warner to come to your house and install them for you, you may have to pay a $39 installation fee.
How to Avoid Mini Box Fee
However, you don't have to pay the rental fee, if you have a Samsung Smart TV, Roku Box, XBox One, or XBox 360.
You can download the TWC app onto those devices and avoid the mini-box rental fees. CLICK HERE to learn how to download the free app.
Or check out my report on ways of cutting your cable bill, without losing cable and internet entirely.
Not a Quick Setup
Several customers have emailed 9 On Your Side, complaining that setting up the boxes is not quick and easy.
Once you plug it in, you have to call Time Warner, and they will "ping" your box to activate it. Sometimes that is not enough, and a phone rep will have to walk you through a reboot and reset process.
One customer says he spent over an hour on the phone with Time Warner to get his mini box properly set up and activated.
Or Use Antenna Only
Finally, you could take those extra TV's off cable entirely, and hook up a rabbit ears antenna to watch your local TV channels.
Then you have no mini box to worry about, and no rental fees.
Only one problem: you won't be able to fall asleep to House Hunters on HGTV. I don't know about you, but I can't fall asleep anymore if House Hunters is not playing on the bedroom TV.
As always, don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.“
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