When I moved into West Philadelphia, I was forced to choose Time Warner Cable as my provider. It was not a happy decision, but it was a necessary one, because I am a big sports fan. Unfortunately, for many sports fans in the city of Philadelphia, the only way to watch most of the games of Philadelphia Phillies, Flyers or Sixers is to get digital cable.
The reason is because Comcast, owner of Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia and, therefore, broadcaster of the vast majority of the above-mentioned teams games, took advantage of a legal loophole to restrict distribution of that channel to only hardwire cable providers. This means no Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia via satellite. So, I, like many in this city, was forced to pick a hardwire cable provider to match up with my DISH service.
When comparing Time Warner Cable and DISH Network, it is best to begin with their similarities. Both Time Warner Cable and DISH Network deliver high quality digital performance. Both Time Warner Cable and DISH Network each offer multiple packages including premium networks. Both Time Warner Cable and DISH Network each offer Digital Video Recording, known as DVR, as well High-Definition programming.
Nevertheless, there are many differences. The first is the price. Whereas DISH Network’s all-inclusive package, the “America’s Everything Pak,” costs $89.99, Time Warner Cable’s all-inclusive equivalent, the Total Digital Premium, costs $101.95, almost $12 more. Mind you, both of these prices are simply for “one receiver.” It does not include fees for setting up independent programming on more than one TV in the home.
This is another situation where DISH Network has a distinct advantage over Time Warner Cable. DISH Network charges just $4.99 for each additional receiver. Time Warner Cable, on the other hand, charges up to $7.71 for each additional digital converter box, almost double of DISH Network’s current price.
Time Warner did offer a nice student discount special, where you could get almost 150 channels plus 11 screens of HBO for just $49.95. That happens to be the same price as DISH Network’s “America’s Top 180” programming package, which does not include any premium networks.
Another advantage DISH Network has over Time Warner Cable is especially significant for sports fans. DISH Network offers the DISH Network Multi Sport package, which allows the customer access to over 25 regional sports networks located around the country. The importance of the Multi Sport package is that a customer can watch many different teams in different sports play from the local perspective.
For example, an NBA fan in Philadelphia can watch the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Miami Heat, the Chicago Bulls and over 20 other teams play without actually needing to buy NBA League Pass. This package is also included in DISH Network’s “America’s Everything Pak, ” as well as the aforementioned “America’s Top 180.”
A Time Warner Cable customer, on the other hand, would have to subscribe to the NBA League Pass to receive the same access. That is a service that costs $189 for the entire NBA Season, a charge that would be in addition to your normal cable bill. DISH Network does in fact offer NBA League Pass for any interested consumer at the same price, however, with the Multi Sport package, I found it to be almost redundant.
Time Warner Cable is not without its benefits however. One aspect I liked was the On Demand service. For those who do not know, this service allows the customer to pick a show or movie from a handful of networks and watch it at any time, day or night. The other plus with that service is that it also has the usual VCR functions with it, meaning you can stop, pause, rewind or fast-forward that above-mentioned show at will. DISH Network is still working on trying to offer something similar, but to date, they have nothing close to what Time Warner Cable already has in place. This service is included with all of their Digital Cable packages as well.
In the end, this, like many things in this world, comes down to personal preference. For me, I highly enjoyed Time Warner Cable’s On Demand. Although not as complete as Comcast’s version, Time Warner Cable’s On Demand got some mileage during those dry periods when you have hundreds of channels and “nothing’s on.”
On the other hand, I also liked DISH Network for its Multi Sport and its economical cost effectiveness when compared to Time Warner once you get into multiple premium networks and/or multiple rooms. The only thing missing from DISH right now is Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia and an On Demand option. If DISH Network had been able to offer those two things in addition to their already great price, I would have been happy to completely kiss Time Warner Cable goodbye for good. Instead, I was stuck with both.