There must be 50 ways to leave Time Warner

If you're fed up with rising rates and a lack of help from Time Warner – or any cable/Internet provider in Maine, for that matter – here are some things you might want to try.

Story by Ray Routhier/staff reporter, interactive by Christian MilNeil/online producer
Get it over the air, Blair.

Try getting your TV stations from an over-the-air signal for free, like we did back in the day. With all broadcasters using digital signals, the picture quality can be good, though the signal is still often dependent on weather and your location.

View a detailed map of antenna locations to see what signals broadcast near you.

Plug in your antenna, Jenna.

You’d be surprised how many channels you can get for free by using a $75 indoor-outdoor antenna or a combination of antennas. Many people in Greater Portland find they can get the local ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, FOX and CW stations over the air, plus a few extras, like PBS World and the rerun channel MeTV.

Find out which antenna or antennas you might need to get specific stations in your area at antennaweb.org. Find out which channels are available over the air in your area, and what the channel numbers are, at titantv.com.

Play hard to get, Rhett.

Stories abound of customers complaining to Time Warner and ending up with a discount, so it's probably worth a try. Time Warner says a majority of its Maine customers are enjoying “promotional pricing” so they admit they give different prices to different customers. Consumer Reports magazine advises that, based on responses from more than 50,000 of its subscribers, negotiating with your cable or Internet provider or threatening to leave can lower your bill.

Just make a switch, Mitch.

If you don’t feel like negotiating, switch to a satellite TV provider and get their promotional rate for a year, often as low as $20 or $30 a month. Then switch back to cable and get their promotional rate for a year, also sometimes as low as $20 a month for basic low-tier channel packages.

The Roku Internet video set-top box (AP photo).

Heard about Hulu, Lou?

Explore the TV-watching options on the Internet. You can often go to a network’s website and watch shows there, but maybe not when they’re brand new. Streaming services such as Hulu and Netflix are worth checking out too. For about $75, you can get a TV “smart box” (Roku is a well-known brand) that allows you to stream Internet video services on your TV.

Links:
Roku.com | Hulu.com

Cite the law, Ma.

The next time your cable TV goes out for six hours or more, go to your provider and ask for a refund. And tell them it’s the law. Specifically, it’s a Maine statute found under the heading “Title 30-A: 3010. Consumer rights and protection relating to cable television service.” The first part of the statute says that if cable television service is interupted “for six or more consecutive hours in a 30-day period” the provider will, “upon request,” grant the subscriber a “pro rata credit” or rebate. But it’s not automatic – you have to ask.