Time Warner Security
NOTICE: Since May 2016, TWC has officially merged with Charter Communications.
Rumor is spreading that they may actually get rid of their home security and automation services. The future seems to be very unstable for Time Warner alarm services.
It is common knowledge that TWC is mostly known for their cable TV and broadband internet services. However, they are joining the ranks of many other large cable providers and are now offering a wide range of “smart” home security plans and even some home automation services that are professionally monitored and installed. They give their customers access to some pretty advanced technology, 24/7 safety monitoring and even video surveillance.
Time Warner has quite a long history in the TV and cable industry and they are hoping to do the same with their new home protection services. They were actually founded all the way back in 1964 and are headquartered in Austin Texas. I usually don’t recommend providers who are new to the game but the company as a whole has been around for almost 50 years and certainly knows what their doing.
The Time Warner Cable division was officially created back in 1989 when Time Inc. and Warner Cable merged. They then entered the home security and automation game in 2011 and finally introduced their Intelligent Home alarm services in 2013. The IntelligentHome package is currently not available as a stand-alone service from TWC, they only offer bundling the packages with pre-existing TV and cable services. They feature availability in 29 different states which makes them the second largest cable provider in the nation.
Although they do boast an A BBB rating, they are widely thought to have relatively poor customer satisfaction. This is not uncommon for cable companies that have started offering a home security service to their customers. DIRECTV and Comcast have almost the exact same problem.
Protection & Equipment Offered
They use high-tech full color touch-screen control panels, 100% wireless monitoring, and all the common basic alarm sensors. Their unique motion sensor has custom technology to help reduce the amount of false alarms and is backed by their patented 4-D technology. They also offer pet-immune motion detectors, glass break sensors, wireless smoke sensors, and more. They use a broadband connection for this service but if your internet or power go out you will be glad to know that you are still protected by a battery backup and a cellular communication.
The touchscreen really is the holy grail of this system as it can do more than just control your alarm setup. It is also capable of things like telling you the weather outside, the daily news, or you can even use it as a digital picture frame. The screen uses a smartphone like display featuring familiar app icons to help you easily navigate and control your entire home.
They will let you buy your equipment in a package or a la carte style. Buying your equipment a la carte is going to be more expensive, but it provides you with the ability to create a custom setup and avoid paying for devices and sensors that you don’t need.
- The Control Panel – The main control panel is an all-in-one 7 inch wireless touch-screen that is fully equipped with a 24-hour battery life back up. It uses your Wi-Fi as the primary method of communication and features a cellular back up. It is also equipped with Z-Wave or Zigbee technology for your home automation devices.
- Door/Window Contacts – LED status lights that indicate when they are correctly paired and activated.
- Motion Detectors – Can detect movement up to 35 feet.
- Glass Break Sensors – Easily protect areas with a large amount of breakable glass windows.
- Smoke Detector – Uses both smoke and heat detection.
- Carbon Monoxide – Uses the Z-Wave technology to detect harmful levels of carbon monoxide.
- Key Chain Remote – Convenient key-fob with a 60 foot range to arm and disarm your system.
- Water Sensor – Get early warning detection of any floods or water leaks in your home.
- Smart Appliance Module – Control any attached appliances with this module using your computer or mobile device.
- Remote thermostat – Remotely manage and program your thermostat to control the temperature of your home even when your away.
- Indoor/outdoor camera – Weather resistant IR Night vision capable of VGA resolution (640 x 480). The camera is wireless but it does need a power source.
Your home will be monitored by their very own 5 Diamond rated Emergency Response Center. Let’s review so far:
- Broadband communication with cellular and battery backup
- Free professional installation
- Does require you to have existing TWC services like cable
- UL Certified 24/7 Safety Monitoring
- Can use compatible, pre-existing alarm equipment
- 100% wireless
Different Plans & Packages
Inital costs: For the initial installation and activation you should expect to pay around $99-$250. Depending on certain promotions and other variables the startup fee’s can vary quite a bit. Always make sure you closely look over the contract terms you will be agreeing too. If you are receiving a ‘free installation’ you should expect to get an activation fee instead. Protect America‘s setup is one of the only companies that actually has no hidden startup fees.
Monitoring fee: Expect to pay around $39.99 – $79.99 per month for the average package with mobile app control and enough equipment to cover and protect your entire home. They may also lure you in with promotional pricing so keep an eye out to see if your monthly fee changes in the future.
There are 5 different equipment packages that you may choose from with TWC:
Basic Security Package – $99.99
This is their entry level package. It includes the main touchscreen panel and 2 door or window sensors. You are also able to choose between a motion sensor or a glass break sensor.
Basic + Video View Package – $149.99
Includes everything above from the previous package as well as an indoor/outdoor surveillance camera.
Basic Energy Package – $149.99
This also includes everything mentioned above as well as some of their smart home automation features such as their remote thermostat.
Video View & Energy Package – $199.99
This plan combines the best parts of the previously mentioned packages. It includes the main touchscreen, the motion or glass break sensor, 2 door/window sensors, a smart thermostat, and the indoor/outdoor surveillance camera.
Upgrade Package – $149.99
If you already own alarm equipment from another company, this is the right package for you. Along with the main control panel, they will allow you to transfer your current protection service to TWC if you own a similar, compatible setup. The equipment they use is provided by SMC, as opposed to the more popular brands like Honeywell or GE that is used by most of the top-rated alarm companies.
Their additional add-on devices are generally priced higher than their competition with additional door sensors costing around $70 and motion sensors topping out at $100. It is also clearly stated in your contract that you do not own any of the equipment in your package and must return it if you no longer use their protection services.
While they do offer a wide variety of equipment in their pre-existing packages you can always add more equipment later with their a la carte approach. Here are some prices:
Second loud siren – $99
Extra keypad remote – $79
Window or door sensor – $69
Motion sensor – $99
Glass break sensor – $99
Smoke detector – $99
Carbon dioxide detector – $99
Flood and water sensors – $59
New customers are actually subject to receiving credit checks that could qualify them for free equipment with a $99 professional installation. Existing customers can also get the installation done at no extra charge. None of the above mentioned packages offer a DIY installation so there really is no way of escaping installation fee for new customers. Customers will also have to schedule an appointment for the actual tech to come out to your home and setup your system.
All monitoring features a back-up means of communication and notifies both the homeowner and emergency personnel in the event of an triggered alarm. In addition to the professional monitoring, homeowners also have the ability to monitor their own home with the remote capabilities found in the mobile app.
- You must already be a broadband customer
It is mandatory that you are an existing member of Time Warner’s High Speed Cable (or HSD) service to be eligible for their IntelligentHome offering. If at any time you cancel your standard level broadband or fail to maintain a good standing in your account, they have the right to suspend or terminate your IntelligentHome service.
- Responsibilities with your equipment
The TWC equipment belongs to them and must be returned if you choose to cease your protection for any reason at all. They will not test or inspect any alarm system other than the system that they installed for you. You are held accountable for determining whether your non-TWC equipment complies with building codes and fire safety requirements in your local area.
You are also solely responsible for determining what equipment will best meet your needs at home. They can not be held responsible for any choices or decisions you make when you are customizing or choosing which equipment you need for your setup. You are also required to notify them of any problems with your IntelligentHome service as quickly as possible.
- No Guarantee and Limited Liability
If for any reason, the equipment or our broadband communication is unable to transfer data due to a power outage or something similar, their alarm service may not work correctly or work at all. Time Warner is not held liable for such events.
- Contract and Early Termination
They require all customers to agree to an 18-month contract agreement. Customers are also required to use their internet services in conjunction with their security equipment to ensure everything functions properly.
There will be an early-termination fee assessed for customers who decide to suspend their service before the contract ends. This usually consists of you having to pay the total cost when adding up how many months are left on your contract agreement.
Home Automation Features
With their smart home automation you have the ability to remotely control your lights, temperature, and small appliances from any smartphone or compatible smart device. Recently, they have even added support for smart locks. They currently only support the Kwikset 914 Smart-Code Remote Door Lock. They do not sell this directly, but it can easily be found online or at a local BestBuy store.
They also offer some video surveillance in their more expensive packages. While the cameras resolution might leave a little something more to be desired, the fact that you can utilize both inside and outside camera’s is awesome. You can live-stream surveillance footage and even capture any video clips you want. The mobile app allows you to view this from anywhere in the world.
These smart home features can be controlled through their mobile app or by logging into your IntelligentHome account on their web portal. You can customize any and all of your system settings as well as setting up rules for your system to run automatically throughout the day. For example, you may have your system turn off the lights when motion is detected in any room you choose or even capture and see a picture of your kids when they arrive home from school or work.
Remote Thermostat – $125
Lamp Adapter – $49
Smart appliance plug – $49
Indoor/outdoor surveillance camera – $149
Time Warner Cable IntelligentHome vs. Comcast Xfinity vs. AT&T Digital Life vs Cox Homelife
While all these companies are relatively new players in the home security and home automation industry, Comcast was actually the first one to enter back in 2009. They were then followed by ATT’s Digital Life and TWC who both introduced their plans between 2011 and 2013.
Comcast offers a longer return period of 30 days compared to the 14-day trial offered by Time Warner.
However, with just an 18 month agreement being required, TWC features the shortest length in regards to your contract. These other companies offer a minimum of a 2-year long contract.
Unlike TWC, AT&T’s alarm service is available as a stand alone and does not require that you bundle your package or even be an existing customer.
Customer Service & Support
Time Warner, like almost all other large cable companies, is known for their terrible customer service complaints. In a recent survey by DSL Reports, customers actually voted AT&T as the provider with the worst customer service and TWC was a close second.
Another huge issue is the fact that your home security is tied to your broadband internet service. You literally cannot change your internet service provider without having to pay an early termination fee. This basically means you will need to buy out the rest of your remaining contract value depending on how many months you have left.
If you are already an existing customer and want a professional home security installation, then I do recommend giving them a shot. The feature-packed main touchscreen will help you control all of your systems features and gives you access to a handful of useful safety apps. The touch-screen really is unique and is definitely one of the best selling points for their systems. However, the monthly monitoring fees, initial startup costs and equipment are usually more expensive than many other companies out there.
These are just some things to be mindful of before committing to any home safety system. While bundling services and getting a cheaper combined monthly bill may be tempting for some, there are certainly other providers capable of competing with their equipment and prices all while offering a much higher-rated customer service experience.