So long Time Warner Cable, hello DIRECTV

So long Time Warner Cable, hello DIRECTV

Summary: With a move pending in two weeks, my wife and I had to confront a bunch of issues - renovating the new apartment, finding movers, and of course the most important one of all - deciding whether or not to stick with Time Warner Cable, or make the jump to satellite.

TOPICS: Hardware, Mobility

With a move pending in two weeks, my wife and I had to confront a bunch of issues - renovating the new apartment, finding movers, and of course the most important one of all - deciding whether or not to stick with Time Warner Cable, or make the jump to satellite.

DexterCurrently we pay Time Warner about $155 a month for cable plus broadband service, which includes an HD-DVR (that freezes far more often than it should), and to be honest, more premiums than we ever use - in reality we just watch HBO and Showtime (Dexter is as close to must-see TV as we have in our house). Even if we dropped the premiums we didn't want, we would still be paying around $140 a month. And for that $140, we would only be getting about 25 stations in HD.

Because we're old school, we still have Verizon for phone, which is another $60 or so a month, so for TV, broadband, and telephone, we're paying about $200 a month.

So before simply making the call to Time Warner to simply transfer our service to our new address, I thought it would be a good time to see what the other options were. And while I liked the idea of a single bill for all of our services, I had more interest in getting good service, and good value - if that meant two or three bills a month, then so be it.

First up was Verizon, but not only is our Brooklyn, NY neighborhood still not wired for FIOS, we can't even get DSL - pathetic.

directtv_hd_dvr.jpgMy next call was to DIRECTV. Now sure, I've read George Ou's recent posts about the poor image quality of their "HD-lite" service, but I still wanted to see what they were offering. [Until now, I had avoided satellite because I liked the idea of video-on-demand, and because I couldn't imagine life without NY1, a local all-news station that's exclusively on Time Warner Cable only available through Time Warner Cable and Cablevision. In reality, we hardly ever use VOD, and as for NY1 -- well, life always has trade-offs, and I can always stream the audio from their website if I get really desperate.] The bottom line: For our first 12 months, we could pay $49.99 a month for virtually every station we receive today (it would go up to $69.99 a month after the first 12 months). On top of that, we would need to buy a $99 HD-DVR ($199, plus a $100 rebate), which at least on the surface, appears to blow away our current Scientific Atlanta box from Time Warner. HBO (and virtually every other premium movie channel) would be free for the first three months, while Showtime would remain free for the first year. As a new customer, installation would be free, and last, but certainly not least, DIRECTV offers more than 90 channels in HD.

Of course, DIRECTV doesn't offer Internet service or phone directly, so if we decided to make the switch to satellite we needed to figure out those pieces of the puzzle. Fortunately, we were able to qualify as a new customer with Time Warner for phone and Internet, so we can get 12 months of Road Runner service for $29.99 a month, plus Time Warner's digital phone service for roughly $40 a month (with the first three months free).

So, the bottom line: A combination of DIRECTV for television, plus Time Warner for Internet and phone, would cost (not including taxes, or the $99 HD DVR box) roughly:

  • First three months: $80
  • Months nine though 12: $135
  • Year two: $165

So, concerns about HD quality aside, we're taking the plunge and welcoming DIRECTV and Time Warner Digital Phone to our lives. Our new world begins February 9, and within a few days of that, I'll weigh back in whether or not we're seeing a major drop-offs in HD quality with DIRECTV. Of course, if we've backed the wrong horse with DIRECTV, we're screwed - customers who buy the HD-DVR box are signing up for a two-year commitment. But it's hard to imagine Verizon will have FIOS - with FIOS TV - ready before, say, 2020, so I'm not that concerned.

Topics: Hardware, Mobility


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • Correction

    [i]I couldn?t imagine life without NY1, a local all-news station that?s exclusively on Time Warner Cable[/u]

    Cablevision also carries NY1, and you are right, it blows all other news networks out of the water, if you ask me.
    • Jose, you are correct...

      It used to be a TW-only station, but they now have a distribution agreement with Cablevision too. Thanks for the heads-up.
  • RE: So long Time Warner Cable, hello DIRECTTV

    Verizon Fios is worth waiting for so don't get so connected to DirectTV-- they offer lots of hd and verizon will sweeten the deal with bundles for internet, phone and more if you are so inclined. Reception is quite good and program variety is great.

    Verizon DSL (snooze) bad choice. Don't go there.

    Be glad you didn't go with the other satellite provider-- Dish. more problems than it is worth. Direct was REALLY Good but their package is pretty good but when you get Fios, make the switch. Also you don't want satellite phone service.
    Charter on the other hand does have a huge bundle for phone/ internet/cable tv with DVR.. worth looking at too after the first year or so.

    good luck
  • Delighted with DirecTV - you now have tons of HD

    DirecTV really made a huge leap in HD content in 2007. I am very happy with their service here in Dallas and have them for nearly 8 years.
    I use DSL-elite (ATT) and also very happy with their service after a bad start in 2002. So far I am delighted with this combination.

    All I watch now is HD - marvelous. Forget George Ou and his pixel peeping analysis if satellite HD is better than cable HD. Its a crock that has been thoroughly dismissed as BS.
    • You should read this.

      Is there a reason why you cut down the resolution?
      [I]We spend a huge amount of resources to optimize our transmission and the configuration we have today is the configuration that is the best video quality for the consumer,[/I

      Bafflespeak, saying nothing, while sounding great. I say if you are shaving the bit rate, come clean. If that's how you offer so many HD channels, at least give the consumer the eyes open option.

      I'll take true HD resolution, but you may not care. It isn't BS either,

      Have you ever heard of the term HD Lite?

      What do you think of that term?
      [I]I don't know what it means.[/I]

      Yes, and Clinton never had sexual relations with ML, and the cigarrette lobby believe nicotine is not addictive. Give everyone a break.


      P.S. I am very happy with 8 Mbit/sec + HD + regular cable channels for $114/month. Vonage for phone.
      • Yes, I had read it prior, thanks

        It is a good article but I stand by my point that most people are not pixel peepers for video. I'm a photography enthusiast and understand that is mostly true for images, but video? I don't think so.

        Case in point. A study shows 30% of people found DirecTV BETTER than cable and nearly 30% could not tell the difference. My guess is a fair amount of the balance GUESSED right. If you have to freeze a video frame to measure its quality, then, well you get the picture.
        What the article also says is that the compression/decompression stops , unpredictable quality of the source video all play a role. Bottom line for me is. DirecTV looks GREAT and vastly superior to what I had before so, mission accomplished.
  • Optimum Online

    If you're lucky enough to live where Optimum Online serves cable in Brooklyn, then you can get 15MBit internet for $29.99 and 30MBit internet for $45 (promotional first six months, slight increase after). I have it and it is tremendously faster than the Time Warner at my friends' place. DirecTV is what I have for HD and aside from a few glitchy channels -- oftentimes CNNHD, Discovery HD -- it's been fine.

    • Totally agree

      I moved from Brooklyn and had TW to Westchester and now have Cablevision. It's way faster and their support is better too.
  • GolTV on DirecTV, not Time Warner

    At least DirecTV has GolTV. Time Warner is the only cable company not to offer GolTV.
  • RE: So long Time Warner Cable, hello DIRECTTV

    Die wreck TV sucks! Reception drops every time there is moisture in the air. The wait time on their support line is 35.5 years. They charge out the ass for their service AND they take away channels without telling you or reducing your bill. I said it before and I'll say it again, "DirecTV SUCKS!"
  • RE: So long Time Warner Cable, hello DIRECTTV

    I found this to be the most informative, and therefore
    helpful, thread/review yet. I've spent the better part of the
    day trying to weigh my options and have been mostly
    frustrated. I can't stand TWC. Sure I'm used to it, having
    been a subscriber for the past 10years easy- but they have
    the worst service. In their last 'upgrade' they moved around
    all my channels and I lost functionality of my dvr. I decided
    to go fios after all I read.... lo and behold I can't. Who
    would've guessed smack dab in the middle of the largest
    burrough in NYC was not a great place for connectivity. So
    here I am in the same situation having to split up my
    services. My final outcome, Direct tv hd dvr / roadrunner
    internet/ and screw the phone I'll stick to my cell.
    Thank you