Basic cable increasing by 42%

I got my latest cable bill today. It was nice to see it lower since I canceled HBO now that the Big Love season is over (and, of course, The Sopranos before that).

Anyway, the bill included their annual (at least) list of upcoming price increases. Last time, I don’t think there were any significant increases, though they did move some costs around (decreasing the cost of the converter box and increasing the programming costs by a similar amount). This time, most of the changes are fairly minimal, at least in dollar amounts. The only changes listed are:

Service Old Price New Price Increase Percent
Digital Cable $61.30 $63.30 $2.00 3.26%
Basic Cable $10.50 $14.95 $4.45 42.38%
Digital Tier $0.95 $2.95 $2.00 210.53%
Sports Pak $2.50 $4.50 $2.00 80%

It also mentions that bundle packages will not have a price increase — and boy do they push those bundles.

The increase for Digital Cable is probably on par with previous increases and isn’t particularly out of line with inflation — and they’ve probably added some channels over the last year. Digital Tier, combined with Digital Navigator (currently $7.00 and not changing) is the difference between Standard Cable ($53.35) and Digital Cable, so that $2.00 increase is really the same increase. I guess that’s just in case you want to skip the Navigator to save $7.00.

I think Sports Pak had only four or five channels when it was introduced and it is now nine channels, so I suppose that $2.00 increase is at least vaguely reasonable, but I don’t have it and I’ll leave the final judgment of that to those who do.

That leaves the Basic Cable increase. There have been no substantive changes to Basic Cable as far as I know, still 23 channels. It does include the local HD channels (which this price change sheet actually spells out quite clearly in a departure from previous materials that could give the impression that Digital Cable was required) but they’ve been included all along. And they still haven’t added CW in HD.

I dropped Digital Cable a couple of years ago when I determined that the additional ~$40/month was not justified by the little bit of non-local-HD channels that we would watch. Even so, I do have the HD DVR, which means that in addition to the $10.50 for Basic Cable, I also pay $7.00 for Digital Navigator, $6.99 for the Converter and $9.95 for the DVR service, for a total (before taxes and fees) of $34.44. Digital Cable already includes Digital Navigator, but the Converter and DVR service are still extra charges, so that comes out to $78.24. With the new prices, those totals are $38.89 and $80.24, so at least I still save about $40/month.

This does push me that much closer to being able to justify the cost of a TiVo HD and a directional antenna. My criteria has pretty much been that it needs to cost less than two years worth of savings (since the Time Warner box can be replaced or upgraded for free). It would be a fairly easy criteria to meet if it weren’t for the fact that the TiVo has it’s only monthly cost that must be included in the calculation.

Well would you look at that, I hadn’t realized that the price on the TiVo HD had come down — only $300 now. Add $300 for three years of service prepaid and we’re at $600 — that’s less than 16 months worth of my cable bill (though it doesn’t include the antenna). Hallelujah! It’s time to switch! I can get rid of this crappy Scientific Atlanta DVR! Thank you, Time Warner, for an increase that was large enough to override my complacency. I could even keep just Basic Cable and use the TiVo as the DVR and basically break even, but saving about $350 over two years is probably worth the cost and effort of getting a directional antenna (which I think I can just put in the attic).

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  1. #1 by Ren on September 13, 2007 - 10:51 pm

    TTL with the TiVo Wireless G USB Network Adapter ($60) and the Philips PHDTV1 Digital HDTV-UHF Indoor Antenna ($30) comes to $742.36, which is about 19 months at my new Time Warner price. I could probably get a cheaper antenna, but they say that other network adapters don’t work (or aren’t supported, I don’t recall which).

    I believe I can hook this antenna into my existing coax cable somewhere and thereby get signal at all of the other TVs in my house, correct?

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  2. #2 by Wayne on September 14, 2007 - 11:24 am

    I have no idea to your questions. Our bill for internet (turbo road runner), phone and cable is a lot. But I guess it’s managable. I like our cable package(s), although on-demand has a hard time getting better than 60% uptime in my experience. I like the recording, the guide, the ability to record 2 shows at once, etc. I like how easy it is. I especially like turbo road runner – 10MB down and 1MB up. It really makes a difference for work-at-home. And the phone service is so-so – I really think they should do more for voicemail access and notification services. I want web access to voicemail. I want email notification to voicemail.

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  3. #3 by Ren on September 14, 2007 - 10:39 pm

    I’m a bit surprised that you find the turbo to be such a boon. I now get 6MB down .5MB up from standard RR. If the turbo were reasonably priced a la carte, I might get it just for the increased up speed, but that just for my server, not for working from home — I find the current speed to work fine for that.

    As far as the DVR features go, I have a DVR from TW for something like five years now, and a Replay for several years before that. I’ve also used other peoples TiVo’s on occasion. When I first got the DVR from TW, the killer feature was the two tuners. Later, this became fairly standard and I was tempted to move to a TiVo, but then I got an HD TV. Since then, the killer feature has been recording HD. All along, the recording and the guide have been sub-par.

    My TiVo HD is scheduled to arrive on Monday. 🙂

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  4. #4 by Wayne on September 15, 2007 - 6:20 am

    Ignorance is bliss, and I’m quite happy.

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  5. #5 by Ren on September 15, 2007 - 7:10 am

    Truer words may never have been written.

    🙂

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  1. Ren’s Journal » Blog Archive » Got my TiVo HD

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