It's been nearly 24 hours since Time Warner Cable took over the former Adelphia systems in Northeast Ohio, along with the Cleveland area's Comcast systems. And the changes nearly all seem to have settled in.
HDTV customers, while losing NFL Network, gained TNT-HD and the digital/HD feed of UPN/My Network TV affiliate WUAB/43. Thrown in with that, as well, is WUAB's "The Tube" music video subchannel.
By the way, we're noticing a lag between video and audio on upconverted SD programming on the digital/HD feed of WUAB, and from feedback, we're not the only ones. It makes "19 Action News at 10" look like a badly dubbed Japanese movie. We'd tend to blame Reserve Square on this one.
TWC's new lineup cards also indicate PBS affiliate WNEO/WEAO in HD, but the Kent-based public TV outlet has yet to return its HDTV feed to the air...so it's no surprise that it is not in the actual lineup yet.
On the new TWC systems' digital cable side, customers are also getting C-SPAN 3 and the youth-oriented Current, along with NBA TV. Like the HD side, NFL Network is also gone in the standard digital lineup.
But...now...with a message.
TWC's put up a banner on both channels 178 and 778, which the cable guide has helpfully renamed "TWCM" (message, we presume) and wiped out the NFL Network's guide information.
The banner is the latest indication that the cable operator is digging in its heels in a well-publicized dispute with the NFL Network.
"NFLGetReal.com" pushes subscribers to demand that the network accede to TWC's wish to put it on a special sports tier, where the cable operator could theoretically charge more to make up for whatever the network is charging...a higher per-subscriber fee reportedly in the 90 cent range.
It's the latest cable/TV industry "information" site - remember when Cox Cable locally started up the "MakeThemPlayFair.com" site when negotiations were bogging down with SportsTime Ohio?
On the other hand, the NFL Network folks aren't sitting idle, either.
Broadcasting and Cable reports that the NFL Network has filed with the Federal Communications Commission, asking the FCC to force TWC to rescind its removal of the channel late last night on systems it acquired from the two other operators.
The hook? The NFL says TWC violated a required 30 day notice in pulling the channels. Time Warner says the NFL Network's negotiating position meant the carriage was "beyond their control", and that gave them the out from the 30 day rule.
And instead of negotiating, the sports giant and the media giant are spending millions on advertising to position themselves. It doesn't make a lot of sense to us, especially when those millions may be used to, oh, we don't know, come to a better agreement...
Back in Cleveland, the Plain Dealer reports that TWC's introduction at a press conference - complete with Looney Tunes characters - promised $100 million in local improvements to the merged systems in the coming 18 months. We assume at least a large chunk of that will be involved in offering services such as Time Warner's "DigitalPhone" to the former Adelphia and Comcast customers...