[mythtv-users] Switching to WOW (Wide Open West), a Report

Alex Halovanic halovanic at gmail.com
Thu Apr 28 01:56:37 UTC 2011

Hey all,

After the recent thread on WOW committing to unencrypted QAM for basic
digital cable, I decided to take the plunge and switch to them from Time
Warner.  TWC had been slowly moving individual channels to digital one at a
time and offering a "free" DTA for the next year or so, after which I assume
they'd make me pay for the privilege of using an extra outlet and remote.
Luckily that also gave me a way to get out of their 2 year Price Lock [with]
Guarantee[d Massive Fees](TM) 6 months early since the channel removals
changed the contract terms.  By contrast, WOW has been switching about 20
channels at once each month and launching new HD content a few days

The experience ordering and installing with WOW was quite pleasant.  The rep
was friendly, knew what Linux was (he told me Linux users always apologize
for not being able to give a straight answer to "what version of Windows are
you running?"; Apple users can get indignant.) and even asked me if I was
bringing my own cable modem to the install.  The installer understood my
bizarre "single jack split 5 ways behind the TV" setup and volunteered to
lay down a fresh cable drop outside in the rain rather than using the older

Since I received the service three days before the second phase of their
digital transition, I was in a unique position to scan for new channels
twice in one week.  I noticed that from the first digital switchover to the
second, they added all of the channel callsigns which made it easier to
setup in Myth's Channel Scanner.  All of the program IDs matched the channel
guide numbers anyway, so it wasn't too hard to line them up with Schedules
Direct.  At this point, I'm only receiving about a dozen channels as
analog-only.  One issue I noticed is that I had to set "always use quick
tuning" for the second batch of digital channels to function, but not the
first.  I haven't retested yet to see if this was a temporary hiccup during
the transition.

Of course, years of messing about with MythTV has utterly ruined me for
enjoying TV without examining the picture quality critically.  It was a bit
of an adjustment going from analog over a PVR-500 (where the picture is
somewhat fuzzy, but relatively free of compression artifacts) to a pure
digital 480i signal shared with multiple channels (where the opposite is
true).  After a few days of getting used to it, I think the picture is an
improvement.  One good thing about sharing digital channels is my HDHomerun
effectively gains extra tuners (depending on what I'm recording).

Have I also mentioned that WOW doesn't lock me into a contract, and gives me
2x the Internet speeds for less money?  Now I'm just eagerly awaiting the
HDHomerun Prime so I can rent a cablecard and subscribe to the basic HD

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