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post #1 of 685 Old 10-07-2006, 02:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello,

Some of you may already be familiar with me as the Director of Marketing for Video Services in the South Carolina Division of Time Warner Cable. As of November 1, 2006 I will transition to a new responsibility as Director of Video Product Management in the corporate office in Stamford, CT. In this new role I will be concentrating on our new interactive programming guide (Mystro Digital Navigator), SDV, Digital Simulcast, HD and other associated video product developments.

I am starting a new thread with the specific thought to receive customer input on what consumers would like to see TWC provide through the video product. I will be posting questions and looking for input that can help us shape our video product development.

Here are a couple of topics I will not respond to:

* specific questions concerning programming launches

* specific questions as to why one Division of TWC may have a channel that another Division may not

* specific requests for service assistance

* postings which have the sole purpose of denigrating TWC


Please also know that while I'm inviting your opinion, I am offering ZERO promises that something you suggest may ever end up on our video offerings.

I look forward to a productive partnership!

Diana Smith
Director of Marketing for Video Services
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post #2 of 685 Old 10-07-2006, 02:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Question 1 - Interactive Program Guide -

What do you like about guides you have experienced? What do you hate? Describe aspects or functionality that would be part of your perfect IPG?

Diana Smith
Director of Marketing for Video Services
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post #3 of 685 Old 10-07-2006, 02:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Question 2 - HD - NOT PROGRAMMING

Any ideas of how you want to consume your HD from a cable operator?

Diana Smith
Director of Marketing for Video Services
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post #4 of 685 Old 10-07-2006, 04:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DianaTWCSC View Post

Question 1 - Interactive Program Guide -

What do you like about guides you have experienced? What do you hate? Describe aspects or functionality that would be part of your perfect IPG?


first, thank you for this.
It really shows that TWC cares, also congrats on the new position.

1. One thing that I find annoying about my guide is the fact that the aspect ratio is tailored for a 4x3 TV.
My very old Pioneer box used to stretch the guide on a 16x9 TV and the newer SA boxes just displays the guide in 4x3 on a 16x9 TV.

2. Another thing that bothers me is when guide info disappears.
When I let the info in the guide load for the week it seems to sometimes disappear if I go back into the guide at a later time.

3. I wish the guide went further than 7 days.

thanks

Email Melinda Witmer at TWC Corporate, the SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT & CHIEF PROGRAMMING OFFICER if you want more HD Channels!!!
Melinda.Witmer@twcable.com
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post #5 of 685 Old 10-07-2006, 05:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DianaTWCSC View Post

Question 2 - HD - NOT PROGRAMMING

Any ideas of how you want to consume your HD from a cable operator?

I would love to see TWC expand the VoD offerings to include HD repeats of network and premium programming.

However, the most important thing to me is that the HD be full resolution and full bandwidth. Last year, the HD from TWC LA was pristine. As they employed rate shaping, the PQ dropped. There are instances now, where certain channels briefly break up into an MPEG artifacting mess. I'm hoping that Switched Digital Video will put an end to the lowered PQ caused by rate shaping.

Does SDV eliminate the need for rate shaping? Or is rate shaping still utilized alongside SDV?
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post #6 of 685 Old 10-07-2006, 05:22 PM
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TiVo's IPG allows you to see what's on a channel for the next 8 hours or so without scrolling. The current TWC guide only gives you about 3 hours before having to scroll.
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post #7 of 685 Old 10-07-2006, 05:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacksonian View Post

TiVo's IPG allows you to see what's on a channel for the next 8 hours or so without scrolling. The current TWC guide only gives you about 3 hours before having to scroll.

I get about 5 channels by 90ish minutes. (iGuide) BUT, I'm used to MOXI and ANY grid is better than none!

I figure when whatever comes and supports HD more screen real estate will mean more grid.

Great to have corporate support in these forums, MoxiGuy was our hero over there until he left as Digeo started to shrink.

Important! Do not kill the ability to at least hack a 30 second jump, better yet officially add it! The TW remote supposedly will control a DVD player, HOW without chapter skip buttons? That's where skip and replay should have been assigned, but no buttons.

I'm from Adelphia West Los Angeles, now TWC.

Joe in West Los Angeles, CA
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post #8 of 685 Old 10-07-2006, 05:39 PM
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While I think the IPG on the 8300HD DVR is pretty good, I'd really like for it to download at least 14 days worth of advance programming. It should always have 14 days in memory so the "to do" list would show everything to be recorded in the next 14 days. When traveling, it's nice to be able to delete certain shows from the to-do list so that you don't exceed capacity and lose shows before you return.

Also, the ability to have a Tivo-like favorites list that will automatically record shows when they appear on the guide would be great. I try to catch a lot of the premieres of new shows in the Fall, and right now, the only option I have to record them is to remember to find it within 7 days of the premier. If you could just have a favorite list that would allow you to record anything with the name "Studio 60" in the title, it would be much appreciated.

Finally, I'd like to see the ability to have the DVR remember what episodes were recorded in the last 30 days, so if a show repeated, and you have the "season pass" set to record repeats, it wouldn't record the same show twice in a 30-day period.

Thanks for soliciting our feedback!

--Jayhawk
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post #9 of 685 Old 10-07-2006, 05:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyHDTV View Post

first, thank you for this.
It really shows that TWC cares, also congrats on the new position.

1. One thing that I find annoying about my guide is the fact that the aspect ratio is tailored for a 4x3 TV.
My very old Pioneer box used to stretch the guide on a 16x9 TV and the newer SA boxes just displays the guide in 4x3 on a 16x9 TV.

2. Another thing that bothers me is when guide info disappears.
When I let the info in the guide load for the week it seems to sometimes disappear if I go back into the guide at a later time.

3. I wish the guide went further than 7 days.

thanks

1. Good stuff - thanks

2. Not quite sure I'm following you on when it disappears - sounds more buggy than actual program with your reference to "sometimes disappears"

3. I'll have to arm wrestle the engineering types for that - the more it goes out the more memory required in the unit, the more it can impact latency of other applications. But, I agree - the more time the more customer friendly and that's what I'm after here.

Diana Smith
Director of Marketing for Video Services
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post #10 of 685 Old 10-07-2006, 05:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc Alexander View Post

I would love to see TWC expand the VoD offerings to include HD repeats of network and premium programming.

However, the most important thing to me is that the HD be full resolution and full bandwidth. Last year, the HD from TWC LA was pristine. As they employed rate shaping, the PQ dropped. There are instances now, where certain channels briefly break up into an MPEG artifacting mess. I'm hoping that Switched Digital Video will put an end to the lowered PQ caused by rate shaping.

Does SDV eliminate the need for rate shaping? Or is rate shaping still utilized alongside SDV?

1. I'm pretty darn sure that's part of our standard programming negotiation now

2. very true - if you don't have bandwidth, you have to make a hard choice between more channels not all entirely full resolution or add the programming by sacrificing some quality. As far as I know SDV should eliminate rate shaping, but I'll confirm with engineers before I carve it in stone.

Diana Smith
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post #11 of 685 Old 10-07-2006, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacksonian View Post

TiVo's IPG allows you to see what's on a channel for the next 8 hours or so without scrolling. The current TWC guide only gives you about 3 hours before having to scroll.

Interesting - one of the first things I plan to do is get more familiar with other guides out there. In my current role I frequently hear people speak of the Tivo guide benefits, but honestly I've never really gotten to play with it...

Maybe they'll let me expense one

Diana Smith
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post #12 of 685 Old 10-07-2006, 05:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe221 View Post

I get about 5 channels by 90ish minutes. (iGuide) BUT, I'm used to MOXI and ANY grid is better than none!

I figure when whatever comes and supports HD more screen real estate will mean more grid.

Great to have corporate support in these forums, MoxiGuy was our hero over there until he left as Digeo started to shrink.

Important! Do not kill the ability to at least hack a 30 second jump, better yet officially add it! The TW remote supposedly will control a DVD player, HOW without chapter skip buttons? That's where skip and replay should have been assigned, but no buttons.

I'm from Adelphia West Los Angeles, now TWC.

I've spent one afternoon playing with iGuide with our Adelphia acquisition in Hilton Head - there was some interesting aspects to it.

Interesting point on the HD screen size in relations to grid timeframe...

30 second jump decision was handed down from Time Warner Inc based upon our the persausive argument of our cousins at Turner Networks. - BUT, I will raise your point on chapter skip and see what I can find out. The new guide has a new remote, but I've only been on one very short call about it so I really don't have a good grasp of all the features built in.

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post #13 of 685 Old 10-07-2006, 05:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DianaTWCSC View Post

Interesting - one of the first things I plan to do is get more familiar with other guides out there. In my current role I frequently hear people speak of the Tivo guide benefits, but honestly I've never really gotten to play with it...

Maybe they'll let me expense one

TiVos have gotten quite inexpensive (save the Series 3) Many are free with the subscription. I'm a ReplayTV user and that interface is also quite good and not as intrusive as TiVo. Emulating (with out violating) either would be a great improvement. Just stay away from Moxi.

Joe in West Los Angeles, CA
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post #14 of 685 Old 10-07-2006, 05:57 PM
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Diana,
I know a lot of folks get tired of hearing about TiVo, but it really is the iPod of DVR's when it comes to ease of use and being intuitive. I just gave back my SA8300 and paid $800 for a TiVo S3. That's how much that interface means to me and a lot of other people. I'd be glad to give that money to TWC if they could come up with something comparable.
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post #15 of 685 Old 10-07-2006, 05:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jayhawk View Post

While I think the IPG on the 8300HD DVR is pretty good, I'd really like for it to download at least 14 days worth of advance programming. It should always have 14 days in memory so the "to do" list would show everything to be recorded in the next 14 days. When traveling, it's nice to be able to delete certain shows from the to-do list so that you don't exceed capacity and lose shows before you return.

Also, the ability to have a Tivo-like favorites list that will automatically record shows when they appear on the guide would be great. I try to catch a lot of the premieres of new shows in the Fall, and right now, the only option I have to record them is to remember to find it within 7 days of the premier. If you could just have a favorite list that would allow you to record anything with the name "Studio 60" in the title, it would be much appreciated.

Finally, I'd like to see the ability to have the DVR remember what episodes were recorded in the last 30 days, so if a show repeated, and you have the "season pass" set to record repeats, it wouldn't record the same show twice in a 30-day period.

Thanks for soliciting our feedback!


DVR upgrade 1.2 is out there and it includes first run on this channel in this time flag. I couldn't begin to guess why your area hasn't downloaded yet, but I know some MSO's have not.


And you might as well know now - I went to Illinois and I hate Kansas.

Diana Smith
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post #16 of 685 Old 10-07-2006, 05:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe221 View Post

TiVos have gotten quite inexpensive (save the Series 3) Many are free with the subscription. I'm a ReplayTV user and that interface is also quite good and not as intrusive as TiVo. Emulating (with out violating) either would be a great improvement. Just stay away from Moxi.


Looks like I need to hang out in a CE store for a couple of days. Thanks,

Diana Smith
Director of Marketing for Video Services
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post #17 of 685 Old 10-07-2006, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacksonian View Post

Diana,
I know a lot of folks get tired of hearing about TiVo, but it really is the iPod of DVR's when it comes to ease of use and being intuitive. I just gave back my SA8300 and paid $800 for a TiVo S3. That's how much that interface means to me and a lot of other people. I'd be glad to give that money to TWC if they could come up with something comparable.

Happily we are working on it and since your part of Eastern Carolina Division, you should see Digital Navigator sooner than SARA divisions out there.

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post #18 of 685 Old 10-07-2006, 06:01 PM - Thread Starter
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FYI - I'm headed on a three-day vacation (was to be the entire week, but with the upcoming move... that got cut back).

Please keep 'em coming, but know that I will not be looking at the internet until late Tuesday at the earliest.

Thanks!

Diana Smith
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post #19 of 685 Old 10-07-2006, 06:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DianaTWCSC View Post


30 second jump decision was handed down from Time Warner Inc based upon our the persausive argument of our cousins at Turner Networks.

If that argument was to eliminate 30 second skip, I'd argue it could be a VERY motivating factor in finding an alternative service that supports it. Be careful what is decided by execs motivated by false reasoning, you might wind up losing more than you gain. It's amazing what motivated customers do. Remember, the sheep won't leave, they don't know, most everyone here does know. That's your elite base. They don't like being inconvienienced and are capable of alternate decisions.

Joe in West Los Angeles, CA
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post #20 of 685 Old 10-07-2006, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DianaTWCSC View Post

FYI - I'm headed on a three-day vacation (was to be the entire week, but with the upcoming move... that got cut back).

Please keep 'em coming, but know that I will not be looking at the internet until late Tuesday at the earliest.

Thanks!

Have a happy vacation and thanks for being here!

Joe in West Los Angeles, CA
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post #21 of 685 Old 10-07-2006, 06:04 PM
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Thanks for asking Diana, I'd have 2 suggestions:

1. Please take a hard look at the analog tier and see what channels you can move to the digital tier to free more space for High Definition programming. It would be nice to move some of those multiple home shopping channels into the digital tier for example.

2. Here in Houston we have 3 1080i HD channels sharing 621mhz, HD-Net, HD-Net Movies and TNT-HD. They are choked for bandwidth and the macroblocking is awful. Please give the HD channels the bandwidth they need to look good.

When you consider that subscribers are paying extra for the HD-Plus tier that HD-Net is a part, they should look much better than they do.

"We did not have business relations with that company, Fuh Yuan."
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post #22 of 685 Old 10-07-2006, 06:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DianaTWCSC View Post

Question 2 - HD - NOT PROGRAMMING

Any ideas of how you want to consume your HD from a cable operator?


I also dislike the fact that their is rate shapping, but I rather have it then lose HD channels.

I know your not settled in yet at your new post but if you did know and was allowed to, could you give an ETA for when SDV would arrive at TWC's various divisions?
like NYC???

Email Melinda Witmer at TWC Corporate, the SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT & CHIEF PROGRAMMING OFFICER if you want more HD Channels!!!
Melinda.Witmer@twcable.com
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post #23 of 685 Old 10-07-2006, 07:35 PM
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I have used the Comcast Moto 6412 with iGuide and the Dish ViP 622 and now am stuck with the SA 8300HD with SARA from Time Warner.

The SA/SARA combo is by far the worst of the three and I am really looking forward to the new software. The things I'd like to see are (I know some of them are out of your control):

1. Full HD

2. All my local channels in HD (currently there are no deals for Fox or CBS here in Hawaii)

3. A 30-second skip button (please!)

4. The ability to see future airings of an episode when you hit "info" (this is great when you come to a show halfway through and want to record a future episode)

5. Better channel groupings in the guide. The way our channel listing is set up now is awful since you have to skip over dozens of channels that you either don't get or don't want while scrolling through the guide (main network at one end, good cable nets somewhere in the middle, and HD channels at the end, all intermixed with random PPV, VOD, foreign, and radio channels)

6. The ability to setup a favorites list so you can scroll through a guide of only the channels you want to see

7. Free HBO on-demand for people who subscribe to HBO (having to pay extra is ridiculous)

8. Ability to stop a DVR recording and come back to it later at the same point where you stopped

9. The ability to access the DVR from a second TV

10. More recording space

11. A QUICK RELEASE NATIONWIDE (or at least let me beta test one here in Hawaii)

Thanks or seeking our input!
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post #24 of 685 Old 10-07-2006, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by DeathRay View Post


7. Free HBO on-demand for people who subscribe to HBO (having to pay extra is ridiculous)

Given at this point I have free HBO OD with HBO and the same for Sho, why is it different for you? Starz is the only channel wanting extra for their VOD, F them. If I subscribed to a channel that wants more for their VOD, I'd write a nice but firm note to the powers that be. Regional mgr, HBO marketing, TWC President etc telling them exactly why you were canceling that service. Vote with your $$$. Is it a Hawaii thing, are you folks out there being taken for a ride?

Joe in West Los Angeles, CA
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post #25 of 685 Old 10-07-2006, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by DianaTWCSC View Post

DVR upgrade 1.2 is out there and it includes first run on this channel in this time flag. I couldn't begin to guess why your area hasn't downloaded yet, but I know some MSO's have not.

i think what he was referring to is a little different. on my ReplayTV i can input via remote any term, say "Diana Smith", and should there be a program at any time in the future with that in the title or description it will record it for me.

another feature that i miss is "find all episodes." sometimes you want to know if something will be repeated in the next week and this comes in handy if you have a scheduling conflict.
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post #26 of 685 Old 10-07-2006, 09:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DianaTWCSC View Post

Interesting - one of the first things I plan to do is get more familiar with other guides out there. In my current role I frequently hear people speak of the Tivo guide benefits, but honestly I've never really gotten to play with it...

Maybe they'll let me expense one

Go to TitanTV.com (free registration required) and look around. It is vastly superior to the guide that TWC uses. There are far too many programs on TWC's cable guide listed as "30 minutes" or "60 minutes" or some generic description that is used repeatedly for the program (e.g. so and so searches for food) that tells absolutely nothing about the particular episode. TitanTV, in most cases, also identifies a show as being a new episode or rerun and allows you to find a rebroadcast of a show that you may have missed for one reason or another...including when the cable does not work or the 8300HD fails to record a program or the signal is unviewable...which happen all too often, but that is another subject.

The guide most definitely needs to provide information further iinto the future for programming when you may be away. Internet access to the DVR would be highly useful as well.

Slightly off topic, but getting arid of Scientific Atlanta would be a good start for a DVR that works better. These things are just way too buggy.

Edit: This touches on hardware that affects the guide as much as anything, but second generation cable card specs supposedly provide for bi-directional communication which, I am told, is necessary for the guides to operate. I have to believe that TWC has enough economic "clout" to get these things manufactured if they want to do so. Consumers want them even if VOD capability is lost...yes, I know that TWC does not like the prospect of losing VOD, but people actually want to be able to use cable cards for SageTV or even MS MediaCenter boxes which they would purchase on their own which would not be restricted to the two channel limitation of the SA 8000/8300 boxes. TWC has several conflicting interests as both content provider and cable operator, but it should be clear by now that customers want more and better capabilities than are currently offered with the SA boxes and (first generation) current cable cards.

This comment is not intended to "bash" TWC, but the image quality of SD transmissions is sufficiently inconsistent as to make many people wonder whether it is worth the effort to even try HD TV on the cable. I hope that there are people placing emphasis on improving this situation.

Thanks for taking the time to create and follow this thread!
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post #27 of 685 Old 10-07-2006, 10:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe221 View Post

Given at this point I have free HBO OD with HBO and the same for Sho, why is it different for you? Starz is the only channel wanting extra for their VOD, F them. If I subscribed to a channel that wants more for their VOD, I'd write a nice but firm note to the powers that be. Regional mgr, HBO marketing, TWC President etc telling them exactly why you were canceling that service. Vote with your $$$. Is it a Hawaii thing, are you folks out there being taken for a ride?

Actually I think it is the other way around. Starz wants TW to let people have their OD for free i they subscribe to the channe but TW wants to charge extra for it. I'm not sure if it is a Hawaii thing or nationwide but here you have t pay extra for the OD for the premium channels -- but if you pay the fee for HBO OD you also get SHO OD included if you subscribe to SHO.

Stupid.
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post #28 of 685 Old 10-07-2006, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by DeathRay View Post

Actually I think it is the other way around. Starz wants TW to let people have their OD for free i they subscribe to the channe but TW wants to charge extra for it. I'm not sure if it is a Hawaii thing or nationwide but here you have t pay extra for the OD for the premium channels -- but if you pay the fee for HBO OD you also get SHO OD included if you subscribe to SHO.

Stupid.

Wow, maybe I get them because I'm coming from Adelphia? but we had NFL too, that didn't last.

Joe in West Los Angeles, CA
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post #29 of 685 Old 10-08-2006, 12:16 AM
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Western Ohio here. I don't know if this would be something you could be helpful with or not but I know here, at least, we seem to be kept in the dark on if any new services are coming to the area. For example, digital simulcast, start over enabled programming, and the new navigator. I understand some if not all of this is still in the test phases.and we may not recieve them for quite awhile but for the amount of money we pay for services we should be kept more in the light of when stuff is going on instead of just being sent a letter a week after an upgrade. Thanks for reading.
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post #30 of 685 Old 10-08-2006, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Ronin1 View Post

The guide most definitely needs to provide information further iinto the future for programming when you may be away. Internet access to the DVR would be highly useful as well.

Slightly off topic, but gettin arid of Scientific Atlanta would be a good start for a DVR that works better. These things are just way too buggy.

THANK YOU!! I knew I was forgetting something. Internet access would be a savior. I can't tell you how many times I've been at work and wanted to record something that would be on before I got home. This is a huge feature!

Regarding non-SA DVR's, do you have any examples? I'm only familiar with the first couple of Tivo models, and then the SA models through TWC. What do other carriers use, and more importantly, what's better about them???

Thanks!

--Jayhawk
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