by pat howard

THE FRIDAY FIVE | Things I’m digging about cable

In The Friday Five on October 9, 2009 at 12:11 pm

I’ve looked askance at cable television for many years, especially after jumping on the satellite bandwagon half a decade ago. As noted here, I recently signed up with Charter, and given the quantity of horror stories I’ve heard from other customers past and present, I’ve been waiting for the sky to fall down. In the meantime, I’ve discovered some things I actually enjoy about my service.

Maximizing my HDTV
I know this was going to happen either way, but man do things look snazzy in HD. I found the chunk of HD channels (which could stand to be expanded), and I love that the black bars disappear and the way it makes the colors pop.

Music Choice
I’ve swapped Sirius XM digital music channels for Music Choice. No more annoying Sirius XM deejays interrupting the music! Plus, Music Choice boasts totally unflattering images of artists along with hilarious non-sequitur collections of facts about them. Highly entertaining, especially since I’d memorized the rotation on XM Coffeehouse.

On Demand
I’ve watched more music videos in two weeks than in the previous two years. Despite its frustrating playback controls and asinine menu, the cable On Demand selection is vast and entertaining. On Demand also includes programs from channels I don’t subscribe to, which is a nice way of adding value and potentially enticing folks to sample and add new channels to their package.

Simple, easy DVR
I told Charter where they could shove their Moxi, and now I have a Motorola HD DVR, the kind that’s just a cable box with a DVR. But it looks and functions a lot like the DirecTV model I just ditched, so there hasn’t been much of a learning curve. It’s easy to sort my recordings list by date, title, or channel. And it separates future recordings day-by-day, which is surprisingly helpful.

Package pricing
I haggled with the Charter salesperson and got a bundle including DVR, a decent package, Showtime, and my existing Internet service for under $100 per month. It’s not fire sale pricing, but I’m pleased considering previous offers were well north of a C-note.

It’s not all sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows. But I’m pleased enough with the service so far to settle in for a while. Rest assured that I won’t be shy about any issues that come up, which they hopefully won’t.


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