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CABLE TV CHANNELS, BILLS GO UP VIEWERS SEE SHIFTS AT TIME WARNER.

Byline: Jesse Hiestand Staff Writer

The new year is bringing a major channel reshuffling, some new stations and a rate increase to customers of Time Warner Communications's cable service, the company said Tuesday.

The company serving about 125,000 households in the west San Fernando Valley and 23,000 in Santa Clarita, said 27 of the 81 channels available on its analog service are being moved into groupings such as sports, news, shopping and Spanish-language programming.

``We're hoping to make it more customer-friendly, so people can find what they're looking for,'' said John Trierweiler, vice president of marketing and sales. ``That, unfortunately, will confuse people in the short term but the overall clustering of products together will be worth it for the customer.''

The company shifted about 10 channels this time last year.

Three new channels are being added to basic analog service - TV Land, Court TV and shopping station Valuevision.

Analog cable TV rates went up 5 percent starting Jan. 1, while digital cable service rose by about $1. In both cases, the rate hikes were blamed on a dramatic increase in programming costs, Trierweiler said.

``We essentially have to pass it on,'' he said.

AT&T Broadband, the nation's largest cable provider, separately announced Tuesday that it is raising cable prices on average by 4.8 percent for its customers nationwide, including those in the Los Angeles area, to offset rising costs of programming (mainly sports), technical upgrades and investments in customer service. Such fees will rise by 10 percent this year, the company said.

Customers of Time Warner's digital cable service will get 20 new channels, including BBC America, Lifetime Movies, MTV2 and Tech TV. Digital cable costs more than analog but offers up to about 250 channels with improved picture quality and interactive features, and is intended to compete with such satellite services as DirectTV, Trierweiler said.

These additions were only expected to bring slight changes to the channel lineup on digital cable, he said.

Also on Tuesday, Santa Monica-based Adelphia Communications said it has assumed operation of cable systems previously owned by Comcast Cable of Philadelphia.

About 375,000 former Comcast customers in more than 30 communities in Southern California will now be served by Adelphia, one of the nation's largest cable operators.

Those communities include Palmdale, Lancaster and other parts of northern Los Angeles County; the Ventura County communities of Oxnard, Port Hueneme and Simi Valley; as well as numerous locations in the Inland Empire and Orange County.

Adelphia plans no immediate changes in its cable service but wants to expand service in coming months.

``Adelphia will be able to bring our new customers not only additional cable television channels, but also advanced telecommunications services,'' said William J. Rosendahl, regional vice president, in a statement.

Those new services include expanded programming of the company's digital cable as well as high-speed Internet access, long distance telephone, paging and more.

The change of ownership was part of a larger swap of cable systems between Comcast and, in separate deals, Adelphia and AT&T.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 3, 2001
Words:507
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