I hate change and I love numbers.
My love of the status quo is one reason I’ve been covering television for more than 30 years rather than finding something else to annoy me.
My love of numbers is illustrated by the fact that I memorize the phone numbers of all my friends and family members (I have a lot of friends, honest).
I also had memorized the numbers of all the channels on Time Warner Cable that I usually watch.
Now that you know how much I hate change, you’re probably not surprised that I’m having a little trouble adjusting to the new Time Warner Channel lineup.
It isn’t easy erasing all the numbers in my head and substituting new numbers. The same thing happens if a friend changes his phone number. I usually call the old one in my head before realizing my mistake.
So I was surprised to have read a Time Warner spokesman’s comment last week about the reaction in other markets to the Time Warner changes.
“The reception has been fantastic,” said Time Warner’s Scott Pryzwansky. “Typically, people don’t watch a certain channel as much as a certain program. By grouping together channels that offer similar content on them, navigation is simpler and easier.”
I guess I’m not typical. Navigation hasn’t been simpler and easier for me.
During the first week after Time Warner made the switch, I kept hitting the 700 channels looking for the local affiliates and the cable channels I regularly watch as I did before the switch.
That takes me to sports packages that I don’t have that are now in the 700s. I usually laugh at myself and think how much funnier it would have been if Time Warner had made the 700 tier the adult tier instead of the sports tier. I would have loved to have written about the outrage.
As it is, a reader with a preteen daughter informed me he is upset at how graphic the synopsis of the programs on the adult tier on 1800 and above are on the channel guide.
The guy is right. Some adults might laugh at the provocative titles loaded with double-entendres, but I get the reader’s point. He asked for advice on how to shield his daughter. Another reader advised me that the titles can be avoided if you program your favorite channels in a certain way. If you are interested, you should call Time Warner and ask about the procedure.
But I digress. Once I instinctively hit the 700 tier in error, I quickly realized that my TV world has changed. If I’m looking for a local network affiliate, I hit Channel 2, Channel 4, or Channel 7 on the under 100 standard definition tier that I never used before and am immediately sent to their high definition channels.
Time Warner calls the practice AutoHD and it has been a godsend so far. I’ve given up using the 1200 tier, where all the network affiliates also are in HD because I’m finding it tough to wrap my mind around the idea that Channel 7 is on 1200, Channel 2 is on 1203 and Channel 4 is on 1209.
At least WUTV is on Channel 1206, which is pretty similar to its old place on 706. WNED, which used to be on 703, isn’t so fortunate. It is on 1221. So I just hit Channel 3 for WNED and AutoHD sends me there.
Like most people, I knew where my favorite channels were in the 700 tier and I found it easier to find ESPN, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, AMC, USA Network and HBO on that tier than I do now trying to remember that ESPN is on the 300 tier with all sports channels. CNN and Fox News are on the 200 tier with all news channels, and HBO is on the 500 tier with all the premium channels.
It also used to be easier to find those channels on the Time Warner’s channel guide, which only allows you to see a few channels before you move the remote to see more. It isn’t as easy finding them when you have to jump from the 200 tier to the 300 or 500 tiers.
After a few frustrating days, I decided to make all the channels in the different groupings my “favorites” on the theory that I wouldn’t have to take a tier test every time I want to change a channel. I was wrong. I picked 36 “favorites” and so far it takes me a long time to find the one I am looking for
I’m sure I’ll eventually adapt, probably by forgetting all about the tiers and just trying to memorize the under 100 channels I watch and relying totally on AutoHD.
There have been other disappointments.
There are some cable channels that don’t fit one genre. Time Warner should know that because Time Warner owns some of the channels. I’m talking about TBS and TNT, which are in the life and style tier although they also carry sports.
Similarly, some of NBC’s cable channels – MSNBC and CNBC – are on the news & info tier even though they will likely carry Olympic competition in February.
The CTV and CBC affiliates out of Toronto are carried both in the standard definition tier under channel 100 and on the 1200 tier where American networks are carried in HD. But the 1200 tier isn’t all in HD and the Canadian channels are among those that still show the standard definition feed.
Time Warner has been promising for years that the Canadian channels will eventually be in HD. It would be nice if it happened in time for Canadian coverage of the Sochi Olympics.
But I wouldn’t bet on it. I figure I’ll have adjusted and be writing that the new Time Warner channel lineup is “fantastic” well before we see “Hockey Night in Canada” in HD on Time Warner.
And then Time Warner probably will either be sold as rumored or change its lineup again to annoy me.