Local News

Time Warner Customers Face Waiting List For HDTV Converters

Posted January 17, 2007

An estimated 300 cable customers in the Triangle have HDTV sets, but can’t watch high-definition programming. For the second year in a row, Time Warner Cable has run out of converter boxes because of high holiday demand.

"I can't count how many I've sold. There's been so many, you can't keep up with them," said Justin Summers, a salesperson at Garner TV and Appliances.

The store has been selling HDTV sets like crazy. "You can't get enough of a great picture," said Summers.

Cable customers need a converter box to fully enjoy the high-definition programming. Right now, Time Warner officials said the company doesn't have enough to go around.

"We have short wait-list for customers who want one, and we are trying our best to fill that demand as best we can," said Brad Phillips, vice president of public affairs for Time Warner Cable.

Time Warner officials said they couldn’t have anticipated the increased demand for HDTVs. They said requests for boxes have increased more than 100 percent over last year.

"It's not unusual for us to get a request for 250 to 300 per day," Phillips said.

Time Warner is working with Scientific Data, the company that makes the converter boxes, to get them to Raleigh as quickly as possible, officials said. They hope to fill all requests within the next three to four weeks.

At Garner TV and Appliances, Summers said they've received a few complaints from customers who buy HDTVs but can't see HD signals, but it hasn't hurt sales.

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  • traemyers Jan 18, 2007


    1. WRAL was incorrect when they stated that Garner TV has recieved complaints from customers. This was taken totaly out of context.
    2. DirecTV has been out of HD DVRs for several months and they have limited availability today.

  • info234 Jan 18, 2007

    If your TV has a CABLECARD slot - definately go with it. TWC will BEG AND TRY to talk you out of it, but the CABLE card will give you the BEST PICTURE and you will not have to worry about screwed up screen stretching either. If you have trouble you can also call RDU TWC President TOM ADAMS's office at 919-573-7022.

    DO NOT accept any hassle from these people - most of their reps do not even have a good understanding of HDTV and do not understand how the CABLE CARD works. If you have any problem, call Tom Adams at his office and they will be sure to take care of your problem

    1000's of items for sale in the RDU Triangle

  • mrivers Jan 18, 2007

    Time Warner had this same problem 2 years ago as well. A firend of mine had to wait a couple of weeks before he got his box. Yes, TWC should have anticipated the influx of High Def buyers this year and every year, but every buyer should do their research and know what they are buying and what additional equipment they will need before purchasing any TV.
    I believe the deadline was moved to 2008 for all stations to switch their broadcast to HD, but it may have been moved to 2011. Not sure since they have pushed it back so many times. TWC should have been better prepared for this. For the most part I have been very pleased with the progress time warner has made in customer service and product. Although, I do believe they should broadcast at the highest level (1080p)and wish they had more channels in HD, but that may be the broadcast companies problem, not TWC.

  • DurhamDude Jan 18, 2007

    Hopefully the executives at Time Warner are reading this or hearing about all the coverage they are getting about not meeting customer expectations and realize they need to do whatever it takes to get these HD receivers and HD DVR receivers to these customers to avoid lost revenue/customer base due to customers going to the competition. When you spend a lot of money to get one of these TV's you want to see that HD content when you hook it up.

  • jeffreywheeler Jan 18, 2007

    I totally disagree with the comments above. I have had Time Warner, Dish and Directv within the last 2 years. The pricing packages are virtually the same. You have to pay for an HD package with all 3 providers. I live outside the triangle and Dish Network and Directv are unable to offer my local channels in HD. All the HD Channels that are offered by Directc and Dish are also offered by Time Warner. My Directv has went out more in the last 6 months than my Time Warner did in 3 years. I also had a service call for Directv within the first 4 months and there was a $70 cost for them just to come out. In my 3 years with Time Warner I had one service call and no charge. I also called Directv for an HD DVR, they said it would cost $400 just to lease it. No such cost with Time Warner. Give me Time Warner anyday.

  • kiljadn Jan 18, 2007

    Way to go TWC. How can you not predict the proliferation of HDTVs? Go into any electronics store, what do you see? HDTV. HDTV. HDTV. I swear to god, the people in charge of that company are a bunch of idiots. Not to mention the fact that theycan't seem to figure out the HD lineup that their customers demand. Where is ESPN2HD? Where is HBOHD? ESPNU?

    How do they get away with ripping off the populace with their super high costs, and still not offer what the consumer wants?

    Oh, that's right - complete and utter public apathy.

  • shad7 Jan 18, 2007

    Just as an FYI to all, TWC will provide you the HD box for FREE. The box is the same cost as any digital cable box and you get all the local channel HD versions plus a handful like TNT-HD. There is no additional charge for this. But like others mentioned, just get an antenna for your house and pull in the local HD channels w/o a box.

  • ru4real3333 Jan 18, 2007

    the internal converter is true for over the air hidef but if you want espn or hbo you'll have to wait or switch to dish network!

  • LTL Jan 18, 2007

    How about going down to Brighthouse in Fla. which TWC cable owns and get a few hundred boxes.Its a shame that Comcast gives their customers the box for no charge

  • Longshanks Jan 18, 2007

    Most new HDTV sets have converters built in. Some older ones don't. I have DLP, and all DLP sets have built in HD conversion. If you don't have a converter built in, you need a box. Your TV needs a converter to switch the over the air signal to HDTV. I use an over the air antenna for my local channel HDTV (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX), and my Dish Network box is HDTV/DVR, so it has a converter built in for the other HDTV channels in my subscription. Bottom line is, if you have an HDTV with a built in coverter, and you have cable coming into your house, you don't need an HDTV converter box. Time Warner is a big ripoff. I know....I had it for a year. They only have a few HDTV channels anyway, compared to about 30 or so with satellite. If you own an HDTV, satellite TV is the way to go. Forget about Time Warner and go with either Dish Network or DirectTV. Both are digital feed (not analog to digital like cable), and the HD content is better quality and for less money.