Time Warner Cable Review: Internet, Television, and Home Phone Services
Time Warner Cable has more than just cable services to offer these days, including broadband Internet services. The fact that broadband Internet access is still available through Time Warner Cable may come as a surprise to some considering the fact that Time Warner actually spun both AOL and Time Warner Cable out, leaving nothing connecting the two. Apparently Time Warner Cable will be on the receiving end of at least a sizable portion of Time Warner’s formerly substantial network infrastructure. In fact, Time Warner Cable’s broadband offerings are a great place to start exploring what Time Warner Cable has to offer.
Road Runner: High Speed Internet:
Time Warner Cable’s Road Runner service claims to be up to 13 times the speed of regular DSL at the time of this writing, and chances are good that such claims will increase with technological advances and improvements to infrastructure. At present, there are three tiers of broadband speed on tap: Road Runner Basic, Road Runner Standard, and Road Runner Turbo, all of which are provided via Time Warner Cable’s extensive coaxial network. Road Runner Basic currently offers 1.5 Mbps download and 384 Kbps upload speeds, while Road Runner Standard offers 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload speeds. Road Runner Turbo ups the ante with 15 Mbps download and 2 Mbps upload transfer speeds. Time Warner Cable even offers a wireless router/cable-modem to customers who opt for their Wireless Home Networking service, though customers who have sufficient technical skill can manage their own network without interference from Time Warner.
Bandwidth Usage Caps
New Road Runner/Time Warner Cable customers in at least four different markets have reported that Time Warner Cable has changed their unlimited bandwidth policy to a plan with usage caps. The highest usage cap is reported to be 40 GB per month, which is almost nothing compared to the 250 GB per month that archrival Comcast has to offer. 1 Whether this practice will continue or not is anyone’s guess at this point, but there are also complaints of bandwidth throttling. These complaints seem aimed directly at iTunes and NetFlix, which both deliver media content online and thus may be considered rivals of Time Warner. Whether or not these claims are true, the result of angry customers who are trying to download at peak usage hours, or the result of a clever smear campaign is uncertain at this time.
Integrated Features with Road Runner
Time Warner’s Road Runner service comes with an integrated webmail account, 500 MB of web-accessible storage, parental controls, and a security suite. The webmail account is nothing new, but it does offer those people on the go a chance to access their e-mail from anywhere in the world. 500 MB of storage is fairly paltry by many standards, but should be more than enough for a good portion of the general populace. After all 500 MB is dozens of large PowerPoint presentations or hundreds of even the most complex Excel files. Road Runner’s Parental Controls are nothing special or extraordinary; instead, they are nothing but standard web filters, access controls, and reports. Access control and web filters can be found in most modern operating systems, but such reports may come in handy in some situations. The security suite currently consists of anti-virus software, an anti-spyware package, a firewall, and a spam guard. All of these additional components included with Roadrunner are reputed to be updated frequently.
Time Warner Cable Digital Television:
The heart of any cable service is their selection of channels and related services. Time Warner Cable offers HD-capable DVRs that can pause and rewind live HDTV. Additionally, there are different guides and menu systems available, some of which are quite visually appealing in their own right. Not only are some of the menu systems quite striking, many of them come in both English and Spanish. There are literally dozens of HD channels offered via Time Warner Cable’s network, and the list continues to grow on a nearly daily basis. While it is true that many of the channels associated with premium groups are in HD, while some core offerings remain SD at the time of this writing, that situation is likely to change in the future.
Extensive Parental Controls:
The on-screen guides and HD programming are both a blessing and a curse for those who have children or might be offended by certain content. Luckily, Time Warner Cable includes a fairly robust parental filter that allows content to be blocked based not only on the rating but also on why it earned that rating. For example, if suggestive themes are not something that parents want to explain to children then that can be blocked independently of shows blocked via rating. This may allow for shows with mild violence to play while shows earning the same rating for language or romantic themes are blocked. Alternatively, individual programs can be blocked by name or by channel. MTV at one in the morning will never be a problem again! The only down side to this type of filtering is that not all shows are rated, and there are more than a couple complaints about improperly rated shows. There are many reasons why ratings may be incorrect, so it would seem likely that at least some of the horror stories floating around forums on the web are accurate but the motives behind them are probably less nefarious than those provided by angry customers who missed 5 minutes of their favorite show.
Time Warner Cable On Demand:
Time Warner Cable also offers an on demand service. On demand services used to be relegated to sporting events and new releases, both of which Time Warner Cable offers, but now also include the ability to catch up on specific shows. This can be useful in situations where life requires one to miss the latest episodes in their favorite television series for a few weeks running, or discovers a show mid-season and wants to watch the plot unfold from square one.
Time Warner Home Phone:
A VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service that can replace a standard landline telephone is also available, and comes complete with unlimited calls within the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. All the popular phone features are available: private listing, second lines, 3-way calling, speed dialing, voice mail, call forwarding, caller ID blocking, and of the obligatory support for caller ID. Caller ID support does come with a unique twist: incoming calls can be displayed on any active television, which can be ideal for those who are hearing impaired or have a roommate who likes to turn the volume on their stereo up to 10. Call history can also be found online, though customers do need to log in for security reasons prior to accessing their call histories.
Time Warner Cable Bundles:
Pricing and availability of Time Warner Cable’s offerings will vary by region, and there are large portions of the country that Time Warner Cable simply does not service. One of the best ways to save is to bundle, and Time Warner Cable offers an attractive bundle that they refer to as the Triple Play. The Triple play includes broadband, digital cable, and VoIP services at a reduced price.
Contact Time Warner
Contact Time Warner Cable to establish service or make changes to your existing service by calling their toll-free customer service number at: 1-888-892-2253. See our company contact information for a comprehensive list of customer service telephone numbers.
1Bandwith limitations with Comcast are only in some areas.↩