Thursday, August 17, 2006

Charter Cable TV in Medford Oregon Upsets Customers

In a move that is sure to make more enemies than friends Charter Cable TV in Medford Oregon reshuffled their TV channel lineup. The cable TV company sells it's TV channel lineup in various tiers or groupings of channels. The first tier is called "Basic" and the second tier is called "Expanded Basic" The first is the least expensive and up until the change included all the local over the air channels ( local affiliates for ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and PBS etc) it ALSO included ,TBS, FOX NEWS,Northwest Cable News, MTV, The Hallmark Channel, The Discovery Channel and The Learning Channel. With the reshuffel ALL of the above non over the air channels were lost to upper tiers which cost more. In addition Charter Cable TV raised the rates of the "Basic" tier. So now for "Basic" cable TV, their customers are getting channels they could get over the air plus HSN, QVC, and C-Span 1 & 2 and some public access channels. So the poor folks, and most of them are poor, will pay more for less. If that was not bad enough Charter Cable TV failed to send out new listings of the new channel lineup to their customers before the change took place. In today's Medford Mail Tribune their excuse was they got lost "held up" between the printer and the post office. People have been calling the cable company, TV and radio stations and the newspaper with their complaints. The announced reason for the change was to group channels together so that all the news or sports channels would be numerically next to each other which is a good idea but it looks like a their ulterior motive was to raise more revenue. Anyone who knows me know I am a Capitalist who believes in Free Enterprise but this kind of action gives Capitalist a bad name. Satellite TV anyone! To read the Medford Mail Tribune's news story on the change click on the title above for a link.

As a side bar, I read about the change in the newspaper the Saturday before the change and went to Charter's web site to see if I could get the new channel lineup. No, they just had the old one as they do today two days after the change. Fortunately I have a friend who is even more obsessive than I am who stopped by Charter's office here in Medford and got a photocopy of the new channel lineup and emailed me a copy, the guy put it on spreadsheet. I then had to re program the channel labels ( names of channels) on my new big screen TV (see previous post) so for example when I go to FOX NEWS on new channel #61 it says "FOXNEWS" and not "HGTV" the old channel 61.