Legacy TWC Customer in NE Ohio asks: Should I change to Spectrum now?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by LYKUNO, Sep 4, 2018.

  1. Sep 4, 2018 #1 of 29
    LYKUNO

    LYKUNO Member

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    Jan 6, 2014
    Ohio

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    Hello! My wife and I have had TWC cable TV and Internet for 15-ish years, but didn't get into TiVo's until 2010. We currently have a 4-tuner and a 6-tuner Roamio and one TiVo Mini. We have gone through the changes in TWCs technologies, e.g., SDV rollout requiring Tuning Adaptors and have upgraded our TWC internet from single digit speeds to our current TWC "Extreme" offer - 30/5Mb. For TV, we subscribe to a promotional bundle offer that includes "Starter TV, Standard TV and Variety Pass" and a second promo for Showtime. All together, the cost of TV and Internet, including all fees and charges is ~$162 per month.

    We have been told by a TWC/Spectrum customer service rep that our promotional deal will end sometime in 2019, and the TWC prices will go up (or possibly we'll be forced to transition to a Spectrum TV and Internet plan at that time). We were advised that if we switched to Spectrum now, and selected their "Silver" TV plan, we would get all the channels we get now and additional ones, plus the premium Showtime, Cinemax and HBO channels. For the internet, we would get Spectrum's standard 100/10Mb service. There would no longer be any "promo prices" and the total charge would actually be a few dollars less than we're currently paying.

    We do have a few concerns, since we learned long ago that you can't always trust what cable company reps tell you. We downloaded the Spectrum TV Residential Services and Rates document for our area and under the section labeled "Miscellaneous Charges (Per Month)" it shows a "Broadcast TV Service Charge" of $8.85 (which "applies to Basic Service and all additional TV services"). We already have a charge like that on TWC so not a show stopper. But the next item in this section shows "Whole House Wire Maintenance" at $4.99. Does this mean we would have to pay Spectrum $4.99 per month for wire inside our house that we own and maintain ourselves? I worked in telephony for 42 years and inside wire was deregulated (in 1981!) and customer-owned. Are current Spectrum customers seeing this $4.99 charge on their bills every month?

    I understand that Spectrum provides an internet cable modem at no charge, but can I continue to use my own 100Mb-capable DOCSIS-3 cable modem? I don't need or want Spectrum to provide a WiFi option with their cable modem, which would add an additional $5/month to the internet cost.

    Aside from these questions, we're curious if fellow TiVo enthusiasts here have made the switch from legacy TWC to Spectrum and have encountered unexpected issues with the conversion. For example, have there been problems with channel numbering or the channel guides? I assume we would have to reselect our channel choices and likely have to recreate our list of OnePass selections. What other tasks would be required after we decide to give Spectrum the authorization to migrate us from our TWC service to the Spectrum service?

    We thought we might simply wait to switch until next year when our promos expire. On the other hand, if we can get more (more internet speed, more channels including HBO and Cinemax) for roughly the same price, then what does waiting buy us? Oh, and at the time of switchover, would we be charged a $49.99 one time charge to "Move Transfer of Spectrum Service(s)"?

    Looking forward to comments from the group regarding the Pros and Cons! Thanks in advance for your input!
     
  2. Sep 4, 2018 #2 of 29
    samsauce29

    samsauce29 Active Member TCF Club

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    Erie, PA
    I'm in the NEO region and switched over a while ago with no issues. I don't remember any issues with different channel numbers or resetting any one passes, but you should definitely doublecheck that the TWC channels you watch are included in the Spectrum package that you plan to use. There were at least a few differences back then.

    They should be able to tell you your exact bill including all taxes and fees. I was able to retain a $10 credit (each) for video and internet, so the overall bill was similar to TWC pricing.
     
  3. Sep 4, 2018 #3 of 29
    mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

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    Drop the wire maint. service if you want to avoid the fee. Bogus broadcast fee is indeed on everyone’s bill and the main reason I cut the cord. I got DirecTV NOW and haven’t missed Spectrum one bit. My TV bill went from $100 down to $40.

    No need to redo your one passes. They’re smart enough to follow the new lineup.
     
  4. Sep 5, 2018 #4 of 29
    dave13077

    dave13077 Member

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    So you no longer use your Tivo(s)?
     
  5. Sep 5, 2018 #5 of 29
    tatergator1

    tatergator1 Well-Known Member

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    Unless there's something really awkward about how TWC transitioned to Spectrum during Charter merger in NE Ohio, you're already a Spectrum customer, just getting service under a grandfathered TWC rate plan. There should be no transfer fees or otherwise. You'll have the $8.85 Broadcast Fee, and probably a $2.70 "Sports Fee". CableCards are $2.50 each with Spectrum, Tuning Adapters are free, you should be able to continue using your owned modem at no charge. You should just be changing your rate plan with Spectrum. CableCards, Tuning Adapters, Modems, etc. should continue to work without issue.
     
  6. Sep 5, 2018 #6 of 29
    mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

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    I still use Tivo for OTA which is about 90% of my viewing. No way I'm paying a $9 "broadcast fee" for stuff I get for free with an antenna. When they raised that fee a few years ago, that was the last straw for me.
     
  7. Sep 5, 2018 #7 of 29
    rassi

    rassi Member

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    NE Ohio
    My wife and I are also in NE Ohio and still on a legacy TW plan. If you do change over, I'd be interested to hear how things go, especially regarding cablecards and Tuning Adapters, because I had heard some stories (not sure from where) that there were issues with Spectrum and Tuning Adapters. I know when I had an issue with one of our tuning adapters and tried calling the regular tech support, they wanted to roll a truck. Eventually I called the old 800 number I had for Tuning Adapter support and they fixed things pretty easily.
     
  8. Sep 5, 2018 #8 of 29
    dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    I'm on Spectrum, formerly TWC, in SW Ohio. I switched from my legacy TWC plan 1.5 years ago. Some observations:

    1. Yes you can keep using your own cable modem but you won't continue to get the $10/mo credit for it. Spectrum wants you to use their furnished modem and will not support any problems with your modem -- or that they choose to blame on your modem.

    2. For years on TWC they would raise my bill by about 30% each year. I would call in and their customer retention people would give me a new one-year promotional rate that was roughly no increase.

    3. My first year rate on Spectrum was about the same as my previous TWC rate. But after that they raised the rate about 20% and this time there was no reduction even after several phone calls and threatening to drop cable. To add insult to injury their minimum internet service (100 Mbps) is $75/mo and I would have lost a $10/month bundle credit on that. I had free-trialed PlayStation VUE and for $50/mo. ("core pkg") I could get TV roughly equivalent to what I had on Spectrum. Doing the math, there is almost no net savings by dropping cable. And the PS VUE DVR functionality is no where near as good as a TiVo. So I swallowed the $131/mo Spectrum bill -- FOR NOW (If they hit me with another huge increase, I will drop cable).

    What my experience illustrates is: As long as good broadband Internet is a local monopoly, you are going to pay through the nose for TV+internet no matter how you get it.
     
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  9. Sep 5, 2018 #9 of 29
    arewhy

    arewhy Member

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    Dec 29, 2015
    San Diego
    I was very similar circumstances as you. I had two Tivos with cable cards, supplied my own cable modem and wireless router. I was on an old TWC bundle that was expiring. I switched to the Spectrum Gold bundle and they increased my internet speed from 15/5 to 100/10. There was almost zero issues with the switch, I started receiving the new channels while I was on the phone. Temporarily lost internet connectivity shortly after the call but that was quickly resolved when I called support. I'm actually paying about $10 less than I was before!
     
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  10. LYKUNO

    LYKUNO Member

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    Jan 6, 2014
    Ohio
    Thanks all for sharing your experiences and insight. I've just pulled the Spectrum Rate Cards for both TV and Internet Services for my specific address. I noticed that the web page header had a statement reading: "Did you sign up for TV services before 5/2/2017? I've had service from TWC since 2003 so clicked on the associated "Click Here" link and printed out the rate information. (Note, there was a separate statement reading: "If you are a Charter customer, click here to access Broadband service rate and performance metric information applicable to the service offering you subscribe to." Since we've never been on Charter service, that choice is not applicable for our service.)

    Here are the options we would consider for our Spectrum TV & Broadband and the monthly charges:
    1. SPECTRUM SILVER (Includes Spectrum Select, Digi Tier 1, HBO, Cinemax and Showtime. $84.99
    2. CableCARD (rate includes $1.00 Secure Connection). Note: CableCARD customers with TiVo equipment will also need a Tuning Adapter for access to SDV digital channels. No monthly recurring charge for TAs. Quantity of 2 Cable Cards required at $2.00 per month each. $4.00
    3. (Miscellaneous Charge per month) Broadcast TV Service Charge. Note: The Broadcast TV Surcharge reflects charges assessed to Charter by broadcast TV stations. It applies to Basic Service and all additional TV services. $8.85
    4. (Miscellaneous Charge per month) Whole House Wire Maintenance. $4.99. Note that this line item is not identified as an optional choice. Additionally, in the footnotes, there is the following text: "Certain limitations apply to the Wire Maintenance Plan, such as the exclusion of repairs to alarm/electrical/twisted pair wiring, customer-caused damage or abuse, and alterations to Charter equipment. Please contact Charter for more information about the Wire Maintenance Plan." I do not want to pay a monthly charge of $4.99 for wire maintenance!
    5. Spectrum month-to-month Broadband Service: Spectrum Internet 100/10 with Spectrum TV. $54.99
    6. Optional modem or gateway lease - Charter equipment included with service (Customers may use their own modem or gateway - Click here for our policy). No Charge. Here is the link addressing Spectrum's policy for the cable modems. I plan to use my existing Motorola DOCSIS 3 SB6141 modem.
    Summary: Without including the $4.99 charge for wire maintenance, the monthly total for the above is $158.83, including an estimated $6 to cover Taxes, Fees and Misc Charges. My current bill is $161.89.

    My next step will be to contact a Spectrum sales rep and ask about the wire maintenance charge and whether there are any promos in any of the pricing that are going to disappear a year from when I agree to switch. I know there are no guarantees, but having been through the same yearly pricing increases that @dlfl experienced, I would really like some stability in Spectrum's pricing, rather than unexpected surprises in my bills.

    Lastly, I thought about making the switch over a year ago but the Spectrum agent I spoke to at that time was clearly uninformed about TiVo and insisted I needed to get a digital adaptor for each of my TVs and at least one of their cable boxes. Hopefully the next discussion I have with them will be more successful.

    I'll update this post as things progress (or not!).
     
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  11. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    @LYKUNO

    Why not let Spectrum furnish the modem? They have to support it and can't blame any problems on yours. The Ubee modem they provide me is an 8-channel bonding modem same as the SB6141. The one thing about Spectrum that I have no complaint about is the 100 Mbps internet. The SB6141 might be worth a little on eBay although the SB6183 has been out a long time.
     
  12. LYKUNO

    LYKUNO Member

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    Jan 6, 2014
    Ohio
    You're right. My modem has in use for quite a while (hence the Motorola name instead of Arris), so it does make sense to get a new one at no additional cost. And as you mention, Spectrum has to support it. I assume it comes in a self-installation kit though maybe not. I'd really prefer to do my own installation if possible.

    It will be interesting to experience 100Mb internet, even though 30Mb seems adequate for my needs.
     
  13. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Dayton OH
    I had the same exact situation although my owned modem was only an SB6121 which bonds only 4 download channels -- thus upgrading to the free Spectrum modem was a no-brainer. I was also at 30 Mbps and was quite happy with that, although in general I think it would eventually have been too little.

    They shipped the modem to me and installation was quite simple. I can't remember whether the instructions were shipped or I read them from a Spectrum web page. IIRC it amounted simply to noting the serial number and MAC number of the modem and calling a phone number. I've still got the SB6121 sitting around -- it's outdated enough that the effort to sell and ship it is more than it's worth.
     
  14. ohboy710

    ohboy710 Member

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    Jun 30, 2008
    WOW, $158 is ridiculous. Do you have any other options? I dumped them a few months ago because with Time Warner I was about $100, then Spectrum bumped it up to $119, and then after a year it was going up more.. so I said goodbye. In addition, those Tuning Adapters are junk - I went through 4 of them in the past few years! Good luck!
     
  15. mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

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    Cheapest Spectrum deal I ever got was "Choice" for about $30 plus internet for $55 with bundle discount for a total of about $85. The Choice plan was all my locals plus 10 a la carte cable channels of my Choice and HBO, which is all I needed. I absolutely loved it except for that broadcast tv fee.

    With DirecTV NOW and OTA in place of cable, I've got way more channels for about the same price. And I'm able to share it with a second household, saving me another $100 or so (what I was paying for satellite at the other place).
     
  16. LYKUNO

    LYKUNO Member

    39
    17
    Jan 6, 2014
    Ohio
    I do have other options, e.g., AT&TU-Verse, but my lifetime TiVos are not compatible. I'm in a semi-rural town so OTA is not an option. Besides, the wife is a TiVo junkie and doesn't want a non-TiVo solution.

    As far as the cost, I have a TWC bundle that is close (in number of channels) to the Spectrum Silver option. The only premium channels I have are Showtime. With the 30/5Mb upgrade from the standard internet TWC offer, the minimal cost of the cable cards, and the myriad of fees, taxes and surcharges, I'm at the $158/month level.

    I like that Spectrum has no contracts and their Silver option includes free HD channels, and additionally the option includes three premiums: Showtime, HBO and Cinemax (which I believe would have run me $45/month with TWC).

    Thanks @dlfl for the confirmation that I can self-install the Spectrum-provided cable model. I haven't decided for certain when I'll make the switch. I will probably do a bit more research first.

    And finally, on a related note, I was over at a neighbor's home this afternoon and the subject of TWC/Spectrum came up. The lady of the house was looking at her August bill and had some questions about it. They have 3 TVs in the house. Two of them had the new mini set-top boxes that were required when TWC converted the area to all digital earlier this year (ending the era of being able to connect TVs directly to the cable companies coax). The bill's line item for these "HD Set-Top Boxes" showed a $0.00 amount. According to the Spectrum letter that announced the conversion, one of these devices would be free for the first year. Apparently the neighbor was given 2 at no charge. I let them know they'll likely see a charge of $6.99 each for these units when they reach their 1st anniversary of service date. The also have a Spectrum Samsung DVR that is billing $12.99 per month. They got this unit in the past year when their old TWC-vintage (non-DVR) cable box was acting up. They took the old box to the local TWC/Spectrum store and exchanged it for the new Samsung DVR unit. However, as I reviewed their August 2018 bill, I noticed there as also a line item for a "Set-Top Box" with a monthly charge of $11.75. I looked at their account on-line and in the equipment inventory section, there was a reference to this non-connected vintage box, with a serial number for it. A related dialog box stated the unit was not activated and something to the effect that if not in use, it should be returned to have it removed from billing. Somehow they never noticed this old box was still being billed. They definitely don't have it anywhere in their house, so they're going to visit the local store tomorrow and try to get the discrepancy resolved. Hopefully they aren't going to be gigged for an unreturned/lost box charge in addition to having paid a monthly charge for many months on a device they no longer have.
     
  17. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    When you return anything to Spectrum get a receipt for it! Many people have been burned by their sloppy record keeping.
     
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  18. samsauce29

    samsauce29 Active Member TCF Club

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    Definitely. Grab the receipt, snap a pic, and load it up to Google Drive! It's the only way to combat such things.
     
  19. steelersruleman

    steelersruleman Member

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    15
    Aug 29, 2014
    NW Pennsylvania
    I am in NW Pennsylvania, and I also have SPECTRUM. I currently have Spectrum TV SELECT, and DIGITAL TIER's 1 and 2 for TV. and the 100/10 ISP. I have 2 STB's(1 currently free until March 2019), and a Tuning Adapter with Cable Card all for just under $148/month.

    As you can see, no premiums(HBO/Showtime/etc...).

    You and your wife should get your heads together and ask yourselves "What channels do we ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY CANNOT live without?"

    You DO NOT need to KEEP the premium channels offered in a NEW package. You can keep all of the other channels and DROP all of the premiums attached to the Silver package, if you want, for a little cheaper cost. ALWAYS as that of the Spectrum Rep. Many people believe they HAVE TO take the premiums with the package. Not true.

    Next, go to SPECTRUM's CHANNEL LINEUP page for your area. By typing in your address, you should be able to find your channel lineup, and the different tiers(levels) available. And put the list in DECENDING CHANNEL # ORDER. This make the list LOOK LIKE your channel lineup. This makes it easier on you because it puts the channels in an order you will be used too(Do NOT put it in order of channel NAME)

    Digital Tier 1 covers MOST(not all) that people watch. Digital Tier 2 is MORE geared toward SPORTS channels(NFL REDZONE, all the Fox SPORTS channels, etc...), but it does have an OCCASIONAL channel in there that people like. Looks them over. They can be placed in the CHANNNEL LINEUP page separately/easily to show you what you get with each TIER.

    Each Tier, at least for me, is $12/month with SPECTRUM TV SELECT. So, as you can see, you can cut costs here too, if you want(hence the point I made about getting together with the wife and finding out what it is you CANNOT live without, channel wise).

    Lastly, see if NE Ohio OFFERS the Spectrum CHOICE package in this area. This would be your biggest savings as you would get all the local broadcast channels, plus 10 A la Carte channels. You may find that they offer all the channels you want in that A la carte set up.

    But the Spectrum Rep WILL NOT OFFER IT. You have to ask and find out. It is a dirty little secret that Spectrum does not want to get aout right now that they offer this. They may not even admit it exists unless you threaten to cancel. Which you may want to try.

    Stick with your own modem. If it works fine, don't fiddle with it and get saddled with an additional $5/month. Kind of Dumb IMHO.

    P.S. This is the Spectrum phone # 866-532-2598 that you should call if you have ANY problems in the future with your Cable Card/Tuning Adapter/TIVO.

    That phone number goes DIRECTLY to the people at Spectrum who HANDLE those problems EXCLUSIVELY. Nothing else. THAT is the phone number to use. It is known as the TWC CableCard HELP DESK.
     
    mdavej likes this.
  20. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    @steelersruleman

    Spectrum must be different in PA than in OH, where you don't save anything by furnishing your own modem -- unless you're talking about a legacy TWC plan.
     

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