In Orange County, Time Warner’s digital cable package includes 200 channels, on-demand video and one special tier of channels (movies, variety, sports, etc.) for $50.95. This is the published rate, not a special promotion. You will need to rent a digital cable box for $6/month.
Basic analog cable, which is $55.50 to $58 per month depending on what city you live in, offers much less. That number shrunk this week as Time Warner moved some of these analog channels (ABC Family, The Weather Channel, TruTV) to digital to make room for more digital services for the majority of its customers. Time Warner has said that 80 percent of its Southern California customers are digital subscribers.
|Time Warner prices||Basic Cable||Digital Cable|
|Garden Grove (feed)||$56.00||$50.95|
|Huntington Beach (Adelphia)||$56.00||$50.95|
|La Habra Heights||$57.00||$50.95|
You can check the cost of both services by city on the chart on the left. You can also see Time Warner’s pricing page per city to get complete details here: Time Warner Cable TV prices by city.
This topic came up a few times this week among readers. One reader pointed out that digital is cheaper than analog. I also heard from Gregorio A., who complained about losing some channels as Time Warner switched some channels around this week. As an analog subscriber, he paid around $54 a month to get channels 2 to 98.
That’s a lot to pay for such limited channels. I asked him why he didn’t switch to digital service, which could be a few dollars cheaper. He didn’t know why.
“I guess there was a time when I believed digital cable was more expensive and I never followed up after that,” he replied.
He called Time Warner, got the $6 digital box rental free for a year and will now get twice as many channels for less than what he paid for analog cable. Even after a year, he’ll still pay about the same as he did for analog cable, which tends to be about $5 to $7 more per month.
Is this what all analog readers should do? You may find a better deal with satellite TV service but if you prefer cable and digital is cheaper, why not switch? Just pay close attention to any add-on charges, like the digital box and remote rental.
One thing to note about Time Warner’s monthly bill: Everything is going up in January 2010 (see earlier story: “Time Warner 2010 price hikes mostly affect those who order the least.”) Digital cable will cost $2 more, or $52.99, while the box rental jumps $1.54 more to $7.85. At the same time, basic cable is going up about $1.
Digital is certainly what Time Warner is pushing. One analog channel occupies the same space as about 12 standard digital channels or about 3 HD channels. If the company could convince analog cable subscribers to switch to digital, that would free up a lot of space in the cable going to each customer’s house and allow the company to offer more HD channels and other digital content.
That’s probably why Time Warner is keeping the price of digital cable lower than analog.
By comparison, Cox Communications offers basic cable for $50.99, while digital cable is nearly $12 more per month, at $62.49. Cox happens to be running a promotion right now and is offering digital cable for $52.49 for six months.
Recent Time Warner stories:
For more on TV services, see the following links:
|* Time Warner Cable
* Cox Cable
* Verizon FiOS
* AT&T U-verse
* Dish Network
* Web TV
* All TV