SYRACUSE -- Got all the channel numbers on your Time Warner Cable lineup memorized? At least your favorites, anyway? Well, come June 18, you can forget all those numbers. Time Warner says it's completely reorganizing its digital cable channel numbers for Syracuse and surrounding areas.
The cable giant has been sending letters to subscribers, announcing the changes on one side, and listing the new lineup on the other. Here at CNYTVNews.com HQ in Syracuse, that letter arrived today.
The letter explains, "when you asked for an easier way to search for channels, we delivered by reorganizing our lineup by category. Starting June 18, 2013, finding your favorite networks will be easier than ever."
For customers who don't use a cable box, Time Warner says analog channels 1-99 will remain unchanged. That's probably for the best, considering different parts of Central New York have different numbers. For example, the lineup within the City of Syracuse differs from the lineup in the suburbs, and the lineup in Oswego, and the lineup covering Oneida and Rome.
But all of Central New York has a nearly-identical lineup for digital channels. (With the exception of local broadcast stations -- viewers in Syracuse only get Syracuse market stations, viewers east of Rome only get Utica market stations, and viewers between approximately Canastota and Rome get broadcast stations from both markets.)
The cable company says it's organizing the channels by category. That's similar to the way channels are offered in the Time Warner Cable "app" available free to the cable company's subscribers who use Roku brand media players within their homes.
To clarify -- as far as we can tell, no channels are being dropped or added. You'll still get all the same channels in your current level of service. Time Warner is simply assigning new numbers to the channels.
Here's a cluster-by-cluster rundown of where channels will be located in the new lineup:
Time Warner says the new lineup will not only group similar channels together, but it will eliminate the need for viewers to know the difference between a particular network's standard definition (SD) and high definition (HD) channel numbers.
For example, if you want to watch Syracuse CBS affiliate WTVH, there are currently several different channel numbers:
When the new channel lineups take effect, WTVH will be offered on channel 102 (in the Entertainment cluster) and channel 1205 (in the Local Programming cluster). SD cable boxes will show the SD feed, and HD boxes will show the HD feed (if available), even though they both use the same channel number.
But... if you have a TV connected to cable, without a cable box, you'll still need to remember the "old" analog number between 1 and 99. Or, for local broadcast channels, just use the over-the-air number. For example, tuning to 9.2 on a digital TV without a cable box will get you WSYR-TV's MeTV feed on 9.2 just as you'd get with an antenna.
A brief selection of channel numbers -- where they are now, and where they'll be after June 18:
|Channel Name||Current SD #||Current HD #||New # as of 6/18/13|
|WSTM-TV 3 (NBC)||4||863||104 or 1215|
|WTVH-TV 5 (CBS)||5||855||102 or 1205|
|WSYR-TV 9 (ABC)||9||889||101 or 1200|
|WCNY-TV 24 (PBS)||11||853||1270|
|WSYT (Fox 68)||8||868||1210|
|truTV||52 or 91||884||116|
Although Time Warner's letter included the full lineup, it also said the list would be posted online at twc.com/mychannels -- but when we clicked from that page to the actual channel listing, nothing appeared.
Update 6/12: The second link in the sentence above will not work if you click it directly. You need to click the first link, then click the "new channel lineup" link from there (kind of an odd glitch, no?). Once that page loads, you'll see June 18 is the new lineup rollout date for Syracuse (city and suburbs), Oswego, Fulton, Auburn and the Rome/Oneida systems. June 20 is when Boonville in Oneida County gets its new lineup, along with systems in Jefferson and Lewis Counties. On June 25, the new channel lineups hit Utica, Ithaca, Hamilton and Old Forge.
Time Warner says in its letter, and on its website, that your scheduled DVR recordings will automatically update to the new channel numbers, but the company says it "does encourage customers to review all scheduled recordings after the change."
What do you think of Time Warner's plan to shuffle the channel numbers? Do you think the "genre clustering" strategy makes sense, and will help you find certain channels? Or are you upset that you'll have to relearn the numbers you've known for years? Share your comments below, using either your Facebook account or your free CNYRadio.com/CNYTVNews.com user login.