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Mar
16

Time Warner Remapping Channels in Charlotte

Shelby_Clover_Gastonia Time Warner Cable recently sent a notice to all customers in the Charlotte area notifying them of a massive channel remapping for digital channels (.pdf) . Time Warner is grouping all digital channels into logical categories in the alignment, and assigning them numbers above 100. All local programming will appear the 100’s, Kids & Family in the lower 200’s, Learning & Discovery in the upper 200’s, etc. The beauty here is that ESPN appears on 500, ESPN 2 on 501, ESPNU on 502, and other ESPNs follow on adjacent channels.

Perhaps the best aspect of the move is that all HD channels will appear on a channel that is 1000 higher than its SD counterpart. TNT is on 301, so the TND-HD is on 1301. Local ABC is on 110, so the HD version is on 1100.

The analog channels, while they still exist, will still be found below channel 100, and will not require a converter box. However there will be a day down the road where those enormous bandwith hogs will be shut off to accommodate more services, and every subscriber will require a converter box of some sort to tune channels. (Digital channels are brought to you in encrypted QAM, unencrypted QAM, and SDV. Old TVs cannot tune these types of channels. So when you tune to ESPN SD with on “31” on your TV – no box – you are tuning the analog version of the channel). It seems that TWC’s logical lineup is a move to get customers accustomed to using these 3- and 4-digit channels, making the removal of those 1- and 2-digit channels down the road go unnoticed.

…and certainly we have this move coming to Raleigh, as all recent TWC moves in Charlotte have been directly mirrored here.

  • todd

    I like the logical setup of grouping the channels into genres, but that also presents one negative. In the current setup, I know that my subscription plan pretty much goes from channel 2 to channel 135. I don’t have access to ESPNU or FSC or NHL or HBO etc, but all of those are above my browsing range.
    With the new grouped scheme, will all of those channels that I don’t subscribe to just appear in the middle of my guide? “Ooh! That show looks good! Oh wait, I don’t get channel 260. I get channel 259 and 263, but not 260 or 261. Crap.”
    Will TWC be smart enough to remove or at least gray-out the titles on the channels I don’t pay for?

  • http://www.danamccall.com Dana

    No, they will not start greying out unsubscribed data in the guide. Currently the guide data shows all data for all channels (of COURSE they want you to know what you are missing!), and I don’t see that changing.

    I use Windows Media Center with CableCARD and one of the great features is the ability to customize the guide. I can remove unsubscribed channels from the guide, which means that those programs won’t show up in search results, too. You can also renumber any channel you want, so if one wants to do away with Charlotte’s 1000s tier, they can just remap the HD channels to the number where the SD channel is.

  • http://jonathanhawkins.net Jonathan

    After moving to Charlotte and getting a Time Warner box, I have found one thing that really annoys me that hasn’t yet made it to the Raleigh area. On TWC in Raleigh I could set it so that all of my favorite channels appeared grouped together at the start of the guide. I never even had to see the other channels. That option is gone now here. All you can do is hit the favorites button to slowly skip to your favorites. Frustrating.

    (first world problems…)

  • RaleighRob

    On one hand I’m not looking forward to having to re-learn my favorite channels if this comes to Raleigh. But on the other hand, the logical numbering would be refreshing compared to the mostly-random way it is now. And the idea of simply adding a 1 before the number to get the HD version is really spiffy, when you think about it.

  • OTB & lovin’ it

    Spiffy is the word! We’re really tired of searching for the schedule, or sloooowly scrolling through the channels. I’m looking forward to this change.

  • MikeB

    This numbering system is similar to what U-Verse has been using the last couple years. Really handy when jumping around from HD to non-HD to get at the obscure or low-tier channel versions that aren’t yet available in HD yet (or if you are non-HD elsewhere in the house).

  • Rollcage

    Jonathan,
    The sort by favorites option was removed on all Time Warner Navigator boxes across the country around November 2009. No one would ever tell me why they removed it, but presumably it was to make customers more readily accept the new guide changes (as implemented in Charlotte).

    • http://www.danamccall.com Dana

      I always thought the favorites behavior was strange. While it made sense to cluster the favorites before “0” together so adjacent navigation was easy, there was one annoyance with this. When one was viewing the guide and typed in the exact channel number of one of the favorites, the guide would jump to the existence of the channel below 0. If I wanted to see whether the game was on ESPN or some adjacent channel, and only ESPN was a favorite of these, I would type in 289 and would be looking at ESPN along with the major network favorites of mine. It’s been over a year since I used that guide regularly. It DID leave an instance of the favorite in the normal guide, right? (like it didn’t completely move ESPN away from the 288/290 neighborhood??)

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