Time Warner Cable
Time Warner Cable is another company with competitive prices and decent quality service. The standard service offers around 20 channels for $19.99 a month. There are also a 70 channel and 200 channel options for reasonable but less competitive prices. However, prices are always changing with different offers, bundles, and limited time deals. Unfortunately, consumer reviews from many sources like Yelp are generally negative, many of which complain about unhelpful and complacent customer service. Although, some consumers say that the service is dependable and has good prices, especially if you take advantage of bundles. Another disadvantage that you have with Time Warner is its lack of national availability. Many southern and northwestern states have no access to the service.
Setting up service with Time Warner Cable is a fairly simple process. Once you have selected your desired services for your package, a technician will arrive at your residence within a week's time. One bonus for those with less than stellar credit is that there is a way around having Time Warner Cable check your credit upon ordering your service. By default, Time Warner does check your credit, but if you set up automatic, recurring payments, the company will bypass a credit check. You can set this up while setting up your account online, over the phone or via the company's online chat.
One thing to be aware of is that Time Warner Cable does charge a setup fee. This fee is not to be confused with an installation fee. If your home is already cable-ready, Time Warner Cable will send you the equipment and instructions to set service up yourself. However, if you do want or need a technician to set services up for you there is an additional charge which varies depending on your location.
The set-up fee is $14.95 which is smaller than other companies who charge installation fees, but there are still a number of providers who don't charge an installation fee at all. So while the fee is relatively small, you should be aware if this to avoid any surprises. And if you do need a technician to come out, expect to pay an additional fee on top of that.
In addition, there is an additional fee for the equipment. So expect to pay about $8 per month for your cable box and an additional $8 per month for a modem if you opt to bundle internet service. Also, if you need Wifi in addition to your modem, the price creeps up to about $13.95 per month. However, if you order certain packages, the fee for WIFI will be waived.
But one thing to note is that if you order Time Warner Cable's highest tiered package, all of the introductory fees as well as the equipment fees are waived.
Time Warner Cable does offer HD service, however, you should again to pay a bit extra for it. Again, it isn't uncommon for a provider to charge a bit extra for HD TV, but there are a few companies out there who do offer free HD service. But if you do opt for HD service, Time Warner offers a plethora of channels that you will have to look forward to.
While Time Warner Cable does charge for some things you can get free from other providers, there are some nice perks to ordering their service. For instance, if you choose to bundle internet with your service, Time Warner Cable offers up to 30 e-mail accounts with 5 GB of storage. However, the 30 e-mail accounts are for higher tiered accounts. But if you order a simpler package you can still expect at least five e-mail accounts.
Additionally, they also offer McAfee Internet Security Suite free of charge. The full suite includes antivirus, anti-spam and a firewall, so it's a pretty good deal.
Also, if you opt for a DVR, Time Warner Cable offers on-demand as well as DVR in up to four rooms which can all record simultaneously.
Lastly, if you have order Time Warner Cable, you have free access to a number of the company's free hotspots around your city. The places in which you can take advantage of this are numerous but varied. But again, it is a nice perk to have.
Plans and Packages
Time Warner Cable offers four different packages which should satisfy most needs. We'll go over the Double Plays first.
TV + Extreme Internet I: For $44.99 for 12 months, this package offers high-speed internet and more than 20 channels, and Watch TV On The Go via Time Warner's app.
TV + Extreme Internet II: For $64.99 for the first year, you get free home WIFI, more than 20 channels (with a number of them in HD) and Time Warner Cable hotspot access.
TV + Extreme Internet III: For $89.99 for the first year, you get free home WIFI, more than 200 channels and access to Time Warner Cable's hotspots.
For $89.99, Time Warner Cable offers their highest speed internet, cable which includes all of the premium channels and waives their installation and equipment fees.
While it is pretty clear that Time Warner Cable has made their highest-tiered, and most expensive, package by far the best bargains, it is hard to deny that they aren't strong offers. While the lower tiered packages appear to be a bit overpriced for what they offer, the Triple Play, for example, is certainly competitively priced.
This is where Time Warner Cable suffers the most. While it is fairly common for cable providers to have weaker customer service reviews compared to other companies, Time Warner's are dismal by any standard. While the company does offer 24/7 phone service as well as an online chat feature, many customers complain about a lack of responsiveness and helpfulness once they do get in contact with representatives.
Verdict - Good
The value of Time Warner Cable is pretty good if you consider its quality picture, dependability, and affordable prices. However, its unavailability and poor customer service bring it down as a national service.