Do you believe in ghosts?

I have to! They’re on channels 4 and 6 on my TV. Anyone have experience with ghosting on cable? I absolutely dread calling Time Warner. It would be more fun to photograph my appendix.


  1. Not coincidentally, now that AT&T is competing with them, I’ve found that Time Warner’s customer service line doesn’t insist you hold for an hour or wait for a callback any more.

    Further, while you’re on the phone I’d suggest you ask this question:

    “Now that AT&T is providing alternative services, what sort of rate cuts or specials are you offering to retain customers like me?”

    That simple question got my rates slashed by over $200 per year…


  2. I worry that I’m opening a can of worms, though. We currently have two phone lines with AT&T, long distance is still with MCI (but rarely used), and regular cable.

    There’s been a pushed by the younger members of the household to go to digital cable and dvr, but so far I’ve resisted. Also, I’m not wild about digital phone because we’re subject to power outages at certain times of the year.

    I kind of like living in my cave. I don’t like the ghosts that are here with me, though, so I guess I’m gonna call.

  3. I couldn’t stand dealing with Time Warner, so I switched to Dish (which is what AT&T actually is).
    In December I bought a HDTV and couldn’t figure out what Dish offered in HD, so I switched to Directv because they were offering a good promo and their website is so clear to understand. I think that Direct is more expensive than Dish, but I think we’re getting more HD channels and so far like everything about it other than the picture goes out in big storms.

    We also get NFL and Brewers games that I don’t think you get on Time Warner and you don’t get the Brewers on Dish.

    I also switched my internet to AT&T DSL. The service isn’t as fast at my price ($24.95/mo) but I don’t download movies or music, and it’s almost instantaneous for surfing.

  4. El gato,

    Good switch!

    Dish Network would be fine, except you need two satellite dishes now to get all the HD channels you’re offered. That’s because Milwaukee locals are on a different satellite than everything else.

    I recently switched to Directv, and yes – there’s a significant amount of HD channels available.

    If you’re getting a HDTV, Time Warner Cable should be concerned – since that should lead to one customer saying adios.

    TWC only offers roughly 20 HD channels, while Directv sits on nearly 100.

  5. BrkfldDad says:

    Check all your cable connections as far back as you can to the telephone pole. When installed right, there should be a run from the top of the pole, all the way into your house with no splices. When we’ve had ghost problems, it’s been a bad connection. Outside connections (i.e. not installed correctly) can be subject to weather and corrosion. Inside connections aren’t likely to go bad, but it can happen. Problem is that the cable itself when exposed by a bad connection acts as a VHF/UHF antenna. It captures the ‘over the air’ signals and transmits them into the TV. Since they are on a different frequency range than the cable signal is, you get two pictures (ghosting) for the price of one!

  6. Dan, you need to go to the website and look at the various packages and costs. The more channels you get, the more HD you will get as part of the package. One thing that I think is a great deal is the $4.99 extra Directv HD Extra Pack that includes MGMHD, HDNET Movies, Universal HD, MHD, and Smithsonian HD. Somehow the movies, some of which are 40 years old, are digitized and made HD. Smithsonian has spectacular HD programming!

    One thing you will be impressed with is how much more friendly the satellite websites are compared to Time Warner which likes to keep costs and services secret online.

  7. I agree with everything you’ve said, and I might add that I think it’s a bit more expensive once you’re off of the promo.

  8. I’ve noticed with Dish that the Guide runs smoothly and the channel changing is also pretty decent. With Directv I’ve been experiencing a really slow guide on my HD DVR.

    So far, the regular Directv HD receiver seems to move the guide pretty good and channel changing is fine. I don’t know what it is, but the HD DVR really goes sluggish.

    I currently have the Total Choice Plus with HD DVR and will be paying $72.99 + 5.99 for protection plan + $4.99 for the lease of one extra receiver + $25.00 for HBO and Starz when the three month freebie of Showtime and Starz expires.

    I’ll also note that Dish has more premiums, and TWC has the most. Unfortunately with TWC, HD premiums are basically non-existent. Directv needs to work on acquiring more premium networks, especially in the Cinemax realm. There’s no way I’d be paying $11/mo for 3 channels!

  9. You got me there, Dan. I’m thinking of the same thing. I’ve got all the parts to build a media machine, so I guess it’s time to get busy. I don’t have HD, so that’s not the big deal. It’s the idea of skipping commercials that gets me!

    I don’t watch much regular TV either, but I think I’d really miss CNBC.


    Sounds like you need a cable box, and remember the networks are not broadcasting all that much in HD. They are digital, but not HD. I like to watch O’Reilly, Beck, and Dobbs which are not on the main networks. My wife likes Style, HGTV, Food, etc. Additionally the Animal Planet, TLC, Discovery, etc. are favorites. So, we need to pop for the price. I don’t have a DVR but we just got a Samsung Blu-Ray/HD DVD player and subscribe to Netflix, so we get about 8 movies a month of our choosing for $9.50. Can’t beat that!

  11. Well it depends on what you want in your home, Dan.

    I mean to get the channels El gato mentioned, I don’t think one needs to go much farther than the Choice Xtra + HD Access for $40/mo.

    My family just enjoys some premium networks and we have 2 HDTVs at home and need receivers for both of them. I guess it would be more horrendous if we added the extra $5.99 for 5 more HD networks, but we don’t want to go there until they add more networks.

    If anyone’s interested, Directv has CNBC+HD, Fox Business HD, CNN HD, and hopefully will land FNC HD. FNC HD will launch May 1st.

    Cindy, you definitely need a HDTV! 🙂

  12. CNN HD is fantastic and FNC better come on with HD or I don’t watch it much more. I found a new 40″ LCD HDTV at in their warehouse store for $812.00 delivered. It was brand new and supposedly had the carton damaged. It was selling at Circuit City for $1299 on sale, so I jumped at it.

    HD is so fantastic that we are watching much more TV than we used to because it’s so great. You can count the blades of grass on a football game, or Brett Favre’s whiskers!

    The technology keeps advancing though. The DVD player I got plays 1080p but the TV only handles 1080i, so I’m sure the current model TV plays 1080p which is supposedly even better. Electronics keep improving and getting cheaper, so you just have to take the plunge!

  13. I agree with you 100% El gato. I think we need for technology subjects to talk about, Cindy! I like agreeing with people!!

    The current HD situation is rather interesting, to be honest. Networks are actually energetic about going HD asap. Basically, they’re buying into the fuel satellite companies are using to grab customers.

    It’s very fun at times to see the bickering and the back-and-forth go on between Dish and Directv. It’ll hopefully be a positive for customers.

    Example: I recently switched to Directv from Dish because of Directv’s HD offerings. Call me stupid if you must, but in doing so I dropped a free installation of a 2nd satellite dish on my house, 2 free receivers, and 3 free months of programming.

    OK, yes, I was stupid…but the free 3 months only came after I got Directv installed, so it’s not technically my fault!

    Thanks to this blog, I also came to realize that if I would have waited 2 weeks, I could have got HBO free for 3 months on Directv. When I contacted their CSR via e-mail, I was told that no matter what the circumstance, I can’t get what the new newcomers are getting. To me, that’s really poor customer service, and a big bummer for me. 🙁

  14. Be ready to have your mind blown away: shop for your electronics on and feel the SAVINGS in your wallet. They’re reliable, quick and oh so cheap!