I am absolutely furious at Time Warner Cable. Last Thursday, I received an "upgrade" from the passport system to the mystro/navigator system. I did not ask for this upgrade--I woke up and found that it had been implemented. First of all, this changeover damaged my cable box and it isn't working properly. For one thing, every time I change my main channel, my secondary channel (picture in picture) also changes. And sometimes, a channel won't rewind all the way to the beginning of a show even when I tuned into that channel before the program began. If I swap out my cable box for a new one, then I will lose the 50-60 hours of saved DVR movies and shows that I have been accumulating for the past few years. And I'm not going to do that. It's obvious that TWC doesn't care about their customers. If they did, they would provide a way for us to transfer our DVR shows from one box to another. This isn't rocket science. Some systems have a removable card in the back of the box that can transfer information from one box to another. Many cable providers already offer this service. But I guess those are the providers that actually care about their customers. TWC is not in that category. Aside from the fact that my cable box has not worked properly since the changeover, I cannot express how angry I am with the new "upgraded" service. In truth, this isn't an upgrade--it's a downgrade. The old system was far superior to the new one. Here are just a few examples of why the new system is not nearly as good:
*My picture-in-picture has only one size. Under the old system, it had two sizes.
*The fast-forward and rewind speeds for DVR viewing are noticeably slower than before. Obviously TWC did this intentionally as a concession to the TV networks and the advertising industry because advertisers don't like people scanning through commercials at high speed.
*The program guide is much less user-friendly now. With the old system, it was easy for me to find out if a particular program was playing again that week. All I had to do was locate that program on the guide and press the red "C" button to find all future showings of that program. But the "C" button has been eliminated from the new system. Now, all shows have to be searched for manually by typing them in on the search keyboard. This is much more time consuming. TWC has eliminated a very important feature from the search mechanism. Why?
*With the old system, I could search for an actor, a country or any word (like "Woodstock" or "basketball") and get a list of all the week's shows containing that word. Now, there is no more word search capability. Shows can only be searched for by title. That is absolutely horrible. What if I want to find all the movies with Cary Grant or Barbara Stanwyck? I can't search for them by name. How could TWC have possibly thought it was a good idea to eliminate this feature?
*The guide itself gives much less information than before. The old guide would list 3, 4 or 5 actors in each film, along with the director, the country of origin (if other than the U.S.) and a decent description of the show. The new guide lists only 1 or 2 actors (often none), no director and no country of origin. The film description is poor and doesn't provide me with enough information to decide if I want to watch the film. Also, under the old guide, we were given the actual lengths of movies. Now, the guide only indicates how much time is allotted for the film. For example, if a 1:48 movie is allotted 2 hours by HBO, the guide lists the time as 2 hours. That is not acceptable. And the new guide doesn't even tell us if a movie is a comedy, drama, romance, etc. We used to be given this information with the old guide.
*Other listings are incomplete. For example, live Yankee games (and other live sporting events) are listed as "new", not "live". The rebroadcasts are also listed as "new". Considering that the YES network often shows repeats of Yankee games, how are we supposed to know which games are live and which are rebroadcasts? It's clear that TWC came up with the "live" designation as a favor to their friends at the networks. By not listing a show as "live", they don't have to later list it as a repeat. The networks hate seeing their shows listed as "repeat" or "rebroadcast", so TWC is once again helping their buddies at the networks, while screwing over their customers.
*The digital clock on the guide shows only hours and minutes. Under the old guide, it displayed hours/minutes/seconds. Displaying seconds is very valuable in many cases, but obviously TWC doesn't care what the customers want.
*On Demand programs no longer tell us until what date they will be playing. HBO and other pay-cable networks only place shows on demand for a limited time (usually about a month, but times vary). If I want to watch 10 episodes of "The Sopranos" on HBO On Demand, it's important for me to know how many weeks I have to watch them. If I watch 7 episodes and then HBO changes their OD lineup, I'm screwed. Obviously, TWC isn't concerned with this.
*The status bar that pops up when I press "info" has much less information than before. Previously, when I was watching a live show on a DVR delay, the status bar would tell me where the show was relative to live time. For example, if it was 7:00 PM and I was watching on a 30-minute delay, the indicator arrow would read "6:30" so I knew I was on a half-hour delay. Now there is no indication of where I am in relation to live time. Doesn't TWC understand how valuable that information was? If I don't know how much of a delay I'm on, how can I plan my activities? If I'm on a 30-minute delay, I have time to pause the show and go out to Starbucks. If I'm only on a 15-minute delay, I don't have enough time for Starbucks (surprising, since they're on every corner). How can I know how much delay time I have if there is no indicator on the status bar? What were they thinking when they eliminated that feature?
This is only a partial listing of why the new system is MUCH, MUCH WORSE than the old system. Since I've only had mystro for a few days, I'm sure I haven't discovered all the reasons the passport system was better. So in reality, this "upgrade" is a "downgrade". I'm paying almost $100 a month for my cable, and they have the nerve to do this to me? I can't wait to find an alternative to Time Warner.
UPDATE (3/16/10)--In January, Time Warner raised their rates by 7%! So in the space of six months, they downgraded service AND raised their rates.