What's the best cable company/ISP in NYC?
September 24, 2009 10:24 AM   Subscribe

Moving to NYC and have my choice of cable companies. Which one should I choose to minimize stress and annoyance?

My new building doesn't have an agreement with any particular cable company, so I can use whatever I want. Satellite is out, though, so I'm looking for a company that can provide me with cable (HD is important) and internet.

I've heard nothing but terrible things about TimeWarner, so I'm wondering if there's some other company out there that's good. Or, if you've had positive experiences with TW, let me know those too!

(Apologies if this has been answered before. I tried searching and only came up with options for other large cities, not NY.)
posted by soonertbone to Technology (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I've had good experiences with Time Warner. I've also had bad experiences with Time Warner. I do think their customer service has improed over the years, but they started from a pretty awful state.

Honestly I don't think any cable company is going to drive you to ecstasy: customer service is expensive and they're essentially selling a commodity.
posted by dfriedman at 10:28 AM on September 24, 2009

I've had a lot of positive experience (as well as friends) with Optimum Online and their iO TV service. Brooklyn resident here, FYI.
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:43 AM on September 24, 2009

It really depends on what part of NYC you're apartment is in.

Manhattan: dominated by Time Warner but Verizon is making inroads into the more expensive parts of the island (UES, UWS). RCN has a very limited presence in Manhattan.

Brooklyn: Mostly Time-Warner but as you move outwards towards Queens, Cablevision has a presnce (Flatbush, East New York, Brownsville). Verizon is starting to get some foothold-again in the tonier parts of the borough.

Queens: Time Warner and RCN. Not sure of Verizon's presence.

Bronx: Time Warner mostly.

Staten Island: This is not part of NYC. It probably should succeed and become its own state.

So there's no real solid answer. You're going to have to call each company and give them your address (there are some online tools you can use also) to see if service is offered at your apartment.

As far as quality goes: they're all pretty bad, but Verizon FIOS is the best of bad when it comes to cable (particularly HD) quality. Service is universally bad. Cablevision really likes to pull bullshit billing tricks. They all charge way too much for service--even basic cable.

Verizon has the best broadband. Time Warner tends to be oversold in many parts of the city and the shared nature of cable broadband really degrades the broadband speeds.
posted by mrbarrett.com at 10:49 AM on September 24, 2009

Secede, not succeed.

Apologies for the pedantics.
posted by dfriedman at 10:55 AM on September 24, 2009

For the record: I've had a decent time with both Cablevision and Verizon. Verizon does have the best picture quality, thought not as good as satellite. Then again, it works during heavy rain. :)

I just switched to VZ (on price point), and one benefit is that their cable modem includes a wireless router, so you don't need to buy your own. The big downside to Verizon is their customer service. The sale and install will be a breeze. If you find that there's something incorrect on your bill, you're in for a world of suck getting it straightened out.
posted by Citrus at 10:57 AM on September 24, 2009

In my experience, Verizon's broadband tends to be horribly slow at times (we've just come off of three days of spotty service on our home network where my connection kept consistently dropping and overall slowness abound) while Optimum (Cablevision) has usually had steady rates and minimal downtime. Customer service was always helpful.

Essentially, cable is full of YMMV.
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:58 AM on September 24, 2009

I'm in Brooklyn, near Prospect Park. Back in the day when we had rabbit ears on our tv, we used Verizon for the internet - problem was it seriously lagged at times. We eventually switched over to a Cablevision package deal, which lead to more reliable internet speeds and we finally got cable tv! Downside to Cablevision - they do NOT have BBC America! LAME. They have BBC World News but that's not what I'm interested in. That is the only gripe I have about them - that and once their package deal was over with (6 months to a year after signing on with them) the price of basic cable + HBO became outrageous.
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 11:19 AM on September 24, 2009

Best answer: Following on what mrbarrett.com said - you don't have a choice between cable companies - Time Warner serves part of the city, Cablevision serves the other part, and RCN serves a few buildings exclusively here and there. Doesn't matter whether your building is wired up or not.

Your only choice will be between the cable company and Verizon, and Verizon may or may not offer FiOS in your area - if so, they'll just try and sell you a package of DSL + Dish.

From what I've heard anecdotally, FiOS is the way to go if you have it as an option.

You'll learn that like cellphone providers, they all suck in their own unique ways.
posted by swngnmonk at 11:55 AM on September 24, 2009

I used to like Optimum Online (when I lived in BK & the BX) because I got VHI Soul. Now I'm in Queens and get weird community access channels on Time Warner. Really I think all cable providers suck. They'll just rob you any which way so go with the one that is cheapest.
posted by mokeydraws at 12:19 PM on September 24, 2009

I've had no problems with Time Warner over the past few years, although I don't use any of their On Demand or HD channel offerings. The first year introductory rate is good, but expect the bill to climb month by month once that is done.
posted by greenland at 12:29 PM on September 24, 2009

Best answer: Haven't had any problems with Time Warner here, but I know that once FIOS is available in my building, I am switching over. I wouldn't get their "broadband" DSL if my life depended on it, though. I've never seen DSL that wasn't absolutely horrible and useless (in Montreal, NYC, and NJ).
posted by Grither at 12:49 PM on September 24, 2009

Best answer: As others have noted, because of cable franchising you don't have much of a choice between cable providers, but one provider will serve your neighborhood. If you can get Verizon FIOS, that's probably the best choice. If you can't, I've had no problems with Time Warner in Manhattan or Brooklyn.
posted by andrewraff at 1:03 PM on September 24, 2009

Best answer: Yeah, if FIOS is available in the neighborhood, you want Verizon. If not, there's little difference between FIOS-less Verizon and Time Warner.

(I've had and hated both. The choices in NY are all sort of nasty horrible customer service companies.)
posted by rokusan at 1:16 PM on September 24, 2009

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