Sunday, October 27, 2013

Insights - Cable TV reaches a new low - By Michelle Libby

Time Warner Cable has reached a new low in my book, when Tuesday night I turned to channel 7 to watch my town council meeting only to be told that I would have to rent/buy the digital cable box to get my local access channel back. “Want your channel back?” the screen said. Umm. Yeah. I do. 

My family is probably one of the only hold outs who still pay for basic cable (no cable box). It has twenty-one channels, one of which is the illusive channel 7. That really was the only reason we hadn’t got completely to antenna TV. 

I realize that I can watch the town council and school board meetings on my computer streaming live, but I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to watch a bigger screen from the comfort of my couch.
Why has this happened? 

According to town manager Tony Plante, “Time Warner unilaterally decided to relocate TV-7 to another channel, presumably as part of their switch to digital service to free up bandwidth for other channels, yet that slot remains empty and people whose televisions do not have digital tuners, or who don’t pay the additional cost of the digital box, now cannot get local access on cable.”

Local access has become less access to our community because a corporation has decided that people who don’t pay for extra fees and services don’t deserve to know what’s going on with their community.
TV-7 has begun adding content to its line-up. Shows about our schools and our town. With the election just around the corner, Speak Out will host shows with the candidates…if I don’t pony up to TWC, then I’m out of luck when it comes to those shows. 

“We have asked TWC to put information up on channel 7 advising people with digitally-tuned televisions where they can find Windham’s local access channel, but we were told they can’t do it because of the way the slide is distributed to systems around the state,” said Plante.

What’s a TWC subscriber to do? Watch out Radio Shack, I expect that a bunch of people will be in to get antennas for their TVs.

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