Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Time Warner Battles Against Cable Cards

The 1996 Telcom Act  ruled that cable companies must separate encryption functions from basic decoding functions of set-top boxes. That means consumers shouldn’t be required to rent expensive set-top boxes to view cable channels and opens the possibility for many digital TV innovations.  Unfortunately, some cable companies continue to fight.

As a TiVo fanactic, I just ordered the newest Series 3 HD TiVo which was released today. The new Series3 includes dual cable cards and the abilty to record HD video with THX sound quality.
The new TiVo is CableCARD certified but Time Warner has found other ways to discourage CableCARD use.  I wont need to rent my TW HD-DVR but a  new Time Warner restriction comes at the same time as my new TiVo Series 3 arrives.

    August 21, 2006

    Dear Valued Customer,

    We would like to thank you for choosing Time Warner Cable to provide your cable services as we are proud to bring you cutting edge, state-of-the-art video as well as voice and data products.  

    As you are aware, the current CableCARD technology enables access only to our "one-way" programming services.  In order to receive "two-way" programming services such as On Demand programming, the Interactive Program Guide, and more, you must have a digital set-top box.  For your review, we have enclosed a brochure that describes the differences in the capabilities of CableCARD-enabled devices and digital cable boxes.    

    As part of our ongoing upgrade to digital programming, Time Warner Cable will be moving "alternate time zone" channels of our premium feeds to a two-way, switched digital technology.  Premium programming services like HBO, Showtime and Starz often offer multiple channels that show the same programming in different time zones.  In the future, those alternative time zone channels will be available only to customers with two-way digital boxes.

    Please note that as early as September 15, 2006, the following channels will no longer be available:

    Channel # Channel Name Channel # Channel Name
    115 Disney West 747 Showtime 2 West
    708 HBO West 748 Showtime 3 West
    709 HBO Premium West 749 Showtime Extreme West
    710 HBO Signature West 750 Showtime Beyond West
    711 HBO Family West 754 Showtime Next West
    712 HBO Comedy West 755 Showtime Family West
    713 HBO Zone West 756 Showtime Women West
    714 HBO Latino West 763 The Movie Channel West
    725 Cinemax West 764 The Movie Channel 2 West
    726 MoreMax West 776 Starz West
    727 ActionMax West 777 Starz 5 Cinema West
    728 ThrillerMax West 788 Encore West
    746 Showtime West

    If you would like to continue to receive alternative time zone or any of the other digital "two-way" channels or services we offer after September 15, 2006, please contact us at 1.866.321.CABLE.  We will be able to provide you with a digital cable box that will give you access to all of Time Warner Cable's programming and features.  

    We thank you again for choosing Time Warner Cable.

Thanks to Zatz Not Funny, Engadget and PVRBlog  for their continued coverage.

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Anonymous Bob Bledsoe said...

Time-Warner will continue to fight CabeCards because it cuts into revenue. Like all monopolies they will bilk customers until their greed is stopped by competition or the govt. Personally, I hope they are indicted convicted and punished. Get a Dish if you're smart.

2:06 PM  

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