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marcindublin's profile

Guru

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417 Messages

Sunday, May 31st, 2015 3:14 PM

Decades TV

So yell at me if you like, but I have to voice a concern.

 

This spring brings us yet another network that U-Verse customers will never see because they chose to bring it to the country through digital subchannels rather than a national cable feed. In this case, the network is "Decades TV" which is an appropriate title since it feels like Decades since Uverse has expanded its programming choices in any meaningful way.

 

Now, as a free market capitalist, I get that AT&T has run some calculation that customers don't care about digital subchannels enough to switch to alternative providers but at some point, between the price increases, the failure to keep up with technology, the lack of meaningful on-demand programming, the lack of somewhat universal channels like Hallmark and NHL and yes, the stubborness when it comes to digital subchannels, eventually, the pain point will be reached and customers will start taking advantage of sweetheart offers to switch.

 

So far as I can tell, in Columbus, Time Warner's high end offering is competitive in every way - More channels, a better DVR solution (recording 6 simultaneous shows), the "Start Over" feature, faster Internet and on and on. Inertia is a powerful force, but it's not *that* powerful. Here's hoping that AT*T recognizes the competitive threat and starts reacting with new functionality that is more meaningful than pretty screen saver pictures and a new font for the guide.

 

https://www.timewarnercable.com/en/about-us/press/twc-rolls-out-enhanced-dvr-coh.html

 

 

 

 

Expert

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20.4K Messages

9 years ago

@marcindublin   If you think it'll be better/cheaper, go for it.  You're a long time Uverse user, but you have to do what you have to.

 

For me here in metro Detroit, no salellite (trees) and Comcrap does not have some HD channels I watch and many of Uverse HD channels are only in SD on Infinity.   This is a deal killer for me. Smiley LOL

 

Chris
__________________________________________________________

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I Call It Like I See It, Simply a U-verse user, nothing more

Guru

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417 Messages

9 years ago

Chris, I get it, but I hope AT*T doesn't miss the point.

 

I don't want  to switch. Switching is a lot of work. AT*T knows this and is relying on inertia to cash-cow the Uverse service. My point to AT*T is that there is a pain point where subscribers will leave in large numbers creating somewhat of a death spiral. For some, it's the loss of FS1. For others, it's Hallmark, for some, it's the lack of services like the NHL Center-Ice or MLB extra innings and for still others, it's the lack of reasonable on-demand programming.

 

Once you get into the death spiral, it becomes harder to justify investment in the service, thus contributing to the death spiral and eventually, the sale or shuttering of the service.

 

When I switched to Uverse, there was literally no competition between what AT*T offered and what Time Warner offered. Objectively, Time Warner has turned that around. This note is intended to articulate this to AT&T employees who we know lurk on these boards. I can't say I've reached my personal pain point just yet, but I know others who have and as the differences between Time Warner and U-Verse in Columbus continue to accelerate, defections in this market will increase, especially given the promotional deals available through TWC and (apparently) not available through AT*T any more even after calling retentions.

 

As for me, my yearly discounts expire in a few months and at that time, unless something changes, TWC will be offering about 20% more stuff I care about at around half the price, at least for the promotional period. That might be worth the hassle...

Guru

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622 Messages

9 years ago

I'm not going to yell at all, but if CBS wants to provide Decades TV to its affiliates through a subchannel, the way NBC provides Universal Sports and Fox appears to be providing BuzzrTV (which premieres June 1, if I heard right), don't expect AT&T to suddenly "see the light" concerning including digital subchannels.  I have a feeling the reason AT&T doesn't carry them is, there are just so many of them, and each one is limited to a particular region - the San Francisco area has 66 of them, including 11 belonging to a single channel (and these don't include the *.1 "main" channels).

 

Scholar

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223 Messages

9 years ago

I got a roof antenna in addition to AT&T U-verse, problem solved.

Guru

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417 Messages

9 years ago

Costamesaguy, Sure, you can get all types of technology to make up for U-Verse shortcomings. 

 

You can watch digital subchannels through a rooftop antenna. 

 

You can get NHL gamecenter or an MLB app to make up for the lack of NHL Center Ice or MLB Extra Innings. 

 

You can pay for Hulu or iTunes to watch current current season shows you missed, or get them off network websites. 

 

You can get Showtime Extra, Netflix or HBO GO to make up for AT*T not having a reasonable on-demand offering. 

 

And on and on. 

 

The point, again, is that with competitive alternative offerings in Columbus, I don't have to do any of these things - I just have to use the same STB that I use for normal TV watching, pay the same monthly fee and not have the hassle of using different methodologies for different programming like you are advocating I do with U-Verse. 

 

It's my hope here to get the AT*T lurkers on the board to understand the precarious position they are in. Sure, for one customer to tell another customer that you can watch a given channel with a roof antenna makes perfect sense, but when it's the official position of the cable TV provider that you have to also have a roof antenna and 4 or 5 other services to achieve a complete solution, the cable TV provider is heading for trouble. 

 

ACE - Professor

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5.9K Messages

9 years ago

The nature of the pay TV market is to offer promotions to get customers and then raise the rates. If you find a better deal then by all means switch providers. The only way I know to get all the sub channels is to use an over the air antenna.

ACE - Professor

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7.8K Messages

9 years ago

Just curious, but how does TW offer six shows recorded at a time? Is that six per box and do the boxes have the ability to communicate with each other so that if I record a show downstairs, I can watch it upstairs?

 

Last I checked, and I admit it was a while ago, it was two tuners in a box and the boxes did not have communication abilities...so if I wanted to watch a show downstairs that I recorded upstairs, I'd have to physically move the box.

 

 

As far as their customer service, I hear it leaves something to be desired. I know several Crew fans who refuse to switch to Time Warner (who has the contract to show Crew games on their TWCSN channel) just because of their less-than-stellar customer service. It seems that TW has been on "autopilot" ever since the Comcast stuff started, if not before. As a result, these guys are blacked out of seeing most Crew games and have resorted to either IP-trickery with the league's streaming package or not watching games at all...and these aren't casual fans, either, but guys who would go on road trips and spend lots of money supporting the club.

 

I checked into their boxes and for me to get with them what I have with AT&T (two boxes then, now three), it would be $30-$40 just for two DVRs...and that's without the digital service, premium channels, etc.

Guru

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417 Messages

9 years ago

BBB, I think this is the technology recently announced for Columbus: 

 

http://hometheaterreview.com/time-warner-cable-introduces-six-tuner-dvr-to-some-markets/

 

You are right to be skeptical as there are many, many warning indicators in various chat rooms, however, we are at least seeing a spark of innovation from TWC whereas Uverse has been absolutely stagnant for years now. Worse than that, we've seen (from my perspective) significant service declines with the loss of NHL and Hallmark while new channel additions are few and far between. Other than wireless STB's, I can't recall a significant advancement in the U-Verse technology since pioneering whole house DVR. 

 

I get that the grass will always be greener, but when a company goes from technology leader to technology laggard in a few short years, it may be time for a wake up call which is all I was trying to do with this thread. 

Master

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9.8K Messages

9 years ago


@That Don Guy wrote:

I'm not going to yell at all, but if CBS wants to provide Decades TV to its affiliates through a subchannel, the way NBC provides Universal Sports and Fox appears to be providing BuzzrTV (which premieres June 1, if I heard right), don't expect AT&T to suddenly "see the light" concerning including digital subchannels.  I have a feeling the reason AT&T doesn't carry them is, there are just so many of them, and each one is limited to a particular region - the San Francisco area has 66 of them, including 11 belonging to a single channel (and these don't include the *.1 "main" channels).

 


@That Don Guy - Universal sports is now a full on cable channel and is no longer on NBC station's subchannels.  Of course, like MAVTv, we ain't getting it.

 

@marcindublin I don't think that I'm violating any rules or giving away trade secrets but once in a great while ACEs can pick the brain of various managers within AT&T.  Not too long ago, a TV manager visited us for an online Q&A.  I asked about the DTV subchannels.  I just didn't get a "no" from him, I gut something along the lines of an "absolutely not," to U-Verse offering them.  I did make several case points and he seemed more affable but I think that was to silence me, lol.  I will say that I did see a slide last year where U-Verse was considering adding "additional local channels, possibly up to 30, in some markets."  That could only be these DTV subs.  I, however, would not hold my breath.  You could do the channel request thing but I would recommend that you send a private message to the escalation team at AT&T Customer Care, and someone will get in touch with you.

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