Approximately 13 months ago, Time Warner Cable of New York City unceremoniously changed over from the Passport operating system to the Mystro operating system. Time Warner customers were not consulted on this change, we were simply forced to accept it. Unfortunately, this change represented a significant downgrade in service (for details, see my 8/18/09 blog "I Hate Time Warner Cable" at http://nightly-daily.blogspot.com/2009/08/i-hate-time-warner.html). The following January, Time Warner raised their rates by 7%. So within the space of five months, they downgraded their service and raised their rates.
Now they're at it again. One of the channels on the Time Warner cable system is Prime Time On Demand (Time Warner channel 1009). This is where viewers can go to watch new prime time shows a day or two after they initially air on the networks. It includes shows from CBS, NBC, FX, USA, Discovery, Bravo, AMC and a few others (ABC and Fox do not currently participate). As is the case with all on-demand shows, viewers can use the fast-forward, pause and rewind features on their remote controls (I'm not sure if these features are available to all viewers, or just to viewers who have a DVR cable box). This week, I watched a number of on-demand shows, and I noticed that all of the NBC OD shows began with a message stating that fast-forward has been disabled (this was only the case with NBC--the fast-forward function remained usable for all other network on-demand shows). Obviously, NBC wants fast-forward disabled in order to prevent viewers from zipping through all the promos for their crappy new Fall shows. This is a shitty thing for NBC to do, but it's hardly surprising. Of all the networks, NBC is the sleaziest when it comes to self-promotion. They will do anything to try to attract viewers, no matter how desperate. And disabling fast-forward is just one bullet in their arsenal. But NBC is not completely to blame. After all, they don't have the power to unilaterally disable the fast-forward mechanism on Time Warner's cable system. All NBC can do is make the request of Time Warner. Time Warner were the ones who agreed to do it. This is outrageous. Like many Time Warner subscribers, I pay good money each month for my cable service and I expect to get what I pay for. One of the things I pay for is fast-forwarding for on-demand programs. But Time Warner doesn't care about us. Time Warner only cares about serving the networks. This is a horrible thing for Time Warner to do to their customers. The appropriate response from Time Warner to NBC should have been, "We're sorry, but we can't do that to our customers. One of the features our customers enjoy is fast-forwarding for on-demand programs, and we're not going to disable that feature just so your Fall season promos get seen. If you no longer want to carry NBC shows on our Prime Time On Demand channel, we understand. But we won't inconvenience our customers by depriving them of a regular feature they enjoy." Obviously, Time Warner didn't say that to NBC. Instead, they said, "Sure. No problem. We can do that." They acquiesced like the French Vichy government did with the Nazis during World War II. Did it even occur to Time Warner to stand up for their customers instead of caving in to NBC? I doubt it. Time Warner and NBC are two scumbags who deserve each other, like a pimp and a whore. Unfortunately, the customers are the ones who suffer. I can only wonder what features Time Warner will decide to remove from their system next. This is why I hate Time Warner. This is why everyone hates Time Warner.