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Michael S. Willner spent his entire career in the cable television industry. He co-founded Insight Communications in 1985 and served as its CEO, a director and vice chairman of the board until the company was sold to Time Warner Cable in February, 2012.

As a young boy in Miami, Florida, Michael had a fascination with the television business at a very early age. He often rode his bicycle to the local NBC affiliate after school where the staff allowed him to help out in the studio while they produced and aired a live children's puppet show and the local news. Michael began his career in 1974 as the program director and news reporter for a small suburban New York cable system after graduating from the Boston University College of Communications. Soon after, he shifted his focus to general management and eventually became the chief operating officer of Vision Cable Communications, a cable company owned by a division of Newhouse Newspapers.

After starting Insight Communications, Michael quickly developed his hands-on style of management as CEO. He is a firm believer in open, honest communication. He personally ensured that employees and customers were always well-informed and had input and influence over important Company decisions. This commitment led to a secondary career - that of a leading man in a number of Insight television commercials in which he comfortably played himself with a great sense of self-deprecating humor.

Michael also became very active in industry affairs and has been one of cable's most active and effective ambassadors on Capitol Hill, testifying regularly before Congress on industry issues and pending legislation. He has served two consecutive terms as chairman of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), the cable industry's trade lobby and currently served on its executive committee for many years. Michael also served as chairman of the board of the Cable Center from 2007 through 2011. He served on the executive committee of CableLabs; on the board of directors of C-SPAN, and the Walter Kaitz Foundation.

A recipient of the NCTA's 2004 Vanguard Award for Distinguished Leadership and a 2005 inductee into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame, Michael has yet to achieve his greatest goal of winning an Emmy for his leading role in Insight's commercials.

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RideMan

Rumor has it that Columbus is going all digital soon...

It's this simple: I have six digital tuners with more on the way. There will be no CATV boxes in my house. If Insight gives me my classic tier via QAM, I'll be happy. Classic tier in HD via QAM where available, and I'll be ecstatic. Same broadcast repeater only via QAM and everything else scrambled as its now, and I'm calling WideOpenWest, which already offers the classic tier equivalent via QAM. The only reason I haven't jumped ship yet is that right now I'm okay with my nine analog tuners.

jordan

No updates on boxless solution for Lexington and NKY, how sad...

Jared

I agree with Paul. Well said.

Paul

Insight has just about worn out its welcome with this household. It has gotten to the point that my wife is asking me on a regular basis why we are still paying this company for service. She used to roll her eyes at me when I pointed out the absurdity of the "The Most HD for Free" ads which stated "we don't charge a $10 HD access fee like the satellite companies" when Insight was charging $10 for the first DVR and $15 for the second... or I could get my QAM HD channels which were more sparse than the OTA options in this area. Really... the most HD for free... the irresponsibility of this ad campaign should have resulted in firings... instead it resulted in posters touting this at HQ!!!

Now that we have a splitter and an A/B switch hooked up to the wife's TV so that she can jump through a bunch of hoops everytime that she wants to avoid the minibox and watch her shows in HD she has started to get it. The only thing holding me back right now is a monsterous tree in my front yard that will need to be severely trimmed to guarantee the flawless satellite connection that my other family members have enjoyed for years. Since I have several telescopic boom forklifts at my disposal, this problem will obviously be resolved in the spring. I will also be helping some of my neighbors out in this regard as well.

Who is really swallowing this line? Insight thinks they have to test and see if a market is willing to use the tuner built into their TV to watch programming versus a box? Read that last sentence again very slowly and think about what everyone you know with cable has been doing for the last twenty years. Insight is either lying, or they have absolutely no idea what has been going on in the households they service for years... WOW!!! I personally have been dying to add another electronic component to my system that takes another electric recepticle along with another remote to watch, actually... less programming than I had six months ago!!!!!!

I am not an idiot but insight has been treating me like one for years. For at least six years I have been asking insight when they would get a cheaper option for an HD box on a second TV without a DVR. I have asked multiple field techs, phone reps, the girls at the counter of several local offices about this and the reponse is always about how they are working vey hard on this.

Motorola has had their lineup of boxes on their website for years. For every HD/DVR box they make the exact same box without the DVR and just as an HD tuner. In all their wisdom, Insight has not been able to deliver these boxes to their customers for all these years.
If Insight wanted to take care of their customers and make themselves a much better option than the satelite comanies they have had the chance for YEARS to do so and it would have been cheap, revenue generating, and easy on the consumer. Instead they have chosen to act as if every TV made these days doesn't see HD and we will still pretend that there is only (maybe) 1 HDTV in the house and the rest are all 13" $60 kitchen counter specials. Who here really thinks that the future is every channel in HD all the time? Duh? What else would it be? Let's start treating HD like the new standard (that's what everybody is shooting in) and maybe we will win our customers over for our OBVIOUS... wait for it... yeap, the word fits: INSIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!! Or they can just keep on playing catch up to the satellite companies and scratch their heads as they wonder why they lose the battle.

Frustrated in NKY

Please bring QAM tuning to NKY! You guys are missing a serious market segment here. If there's no difference between sat and cable, why would anyone pick one service over the other? Having the ability to attach as many TVs as in your household without having a box on each TV is a huge reason why I stick with cable.

Jonathan

I hate the boxes here in NKY, please give us this QAM option. I want my HD back without paying for those awful DVR's. Give your customer's options.

Why am I paying more to lose HD channels??

BC

I hope the "boxless" solution is retrofitted in Lexington. I have the mini-box on an old analog set in the bedroom and it is an unsightly mess. I'm replacing it this week with a new digital set and would love to get rid of the box. If Turner Classic Movies were on the Classic tier, I would probably get rid of the digital box on the living room set as well.

Mike

Dropped off the mini-boxes and my old STB (hasn't been used in years) at the Lexington office this week and canceled all digital services. Very little attempt to get me to keep more services.

I did inform them that I might consider upgrading if/when a boxless solution came to Lexington. The person at the counter mis-informed me that such was not possible and "every cable company, everyone across the country needs at least a mini-box". They seemed incredulous when I told them about Louisville and that I read about it on their own boss's web site.

Ron

I am so happy with the "boxless" scenario!
I have a DVR on my main TV but really do not want to hassle with boxes & remotes on my other sets!

Thanks for taking this approach!

RH - Louisville

Love the boxless solution! Thank you for making it an option! Client focused offering options like this will help build your brnad loyalty and create lifetime customers.

Han Solo

If insight is indeed going to Clear QAM for at least basic cable, I SALUTE them for being a cable company that has a little common sense.

The ONE ADVANTAGE that cableTV has over satellite is that you don't need boxes on every TV, you can just plug the TV in and it works.

It seems like it would be insane for Cable to give up their one competitive advantage over other providers when a perfectly good digital standard+highdef standard exists QAM that is supported in nearly every single TV made in the last 5-10 years.

They should have done this YEARS ago, and went to QAM. They could have dropped all the analog channels a long long time ago.

I know talking from various people at work that if we were forced in Louisville to have to have a box for every TV, that most people would just drop cable, or go satellite. After all, if you HAVE to get a box on every TV why not go to satellite and get one that has more features and more channels for the same price as what insight charges for extended basic?

brad

I would also strongly support this for in Northern Kentucky. To be honest this would be crazy great for me. The extra remote to keep track of for my 5 boxes is kind of a pain and drives the wife nuts. At first the company had to send someone out to the house since I needed 5 minis but then changed its mind to allow you to request 5 and do self install.

I also know for a fact that a friend of mine dropped insight due to the need of boxes (and the refusal of the service people to allow self install at the time) this would go a long way to winning him back over.

Mike

Steve,

Interestingly I just tried that, explained the quality/convenience issues with their mini-boxes, informed them that I might be willing to hold on to my service if there were any hope of options other than STB's or the mini-boxes, or no increase in the monthly cost, and they made NO attempt whatsoever to retain me as a cable customer - just told me to bring whatever boxes I have in and they'd gladly terminate the service.

Perhaps I could have made more noise and gotten something out of it, but I have no interest in playing the part of the a**hole customer and don't feel like I'm the one who should bend over backwards to retain their services.

WAY TO GO, Insight and Insight Customer Service. Congratulations.

Steve Huff

Mike,

If they told you your rates are going up because it's been a year - you can rebundle, of course you have to complain and then they will tell you for a $25 "rebundling fee" you can get the intro prices again. Stupid but at least it's cheaper.

-Steve

Al

Michael,

I would like to strongly request this feature in NKY as well. If the mini boxes were required for the 100 HD channels, that would be one thing. The fact that we actually lost our local HD channels by transitioning to the mini box seems like a step backwards. Forcing people to pay an extra $16 per month for each HD DVR just to watch local HD channels will drive more people to satellite. Thank you for considering the change.

John Butler

PLEASE implement this in Lexington. I hate the idea of an extra box attached to my TV and I'm so tired of the endless marketing to get me to get a digital box. I get notices in the mail and calls urging me to get a box several times a week. It's annoying.

I would be much more likely to stay with Insight if you provided this no box solution. It would be enough of an incentive to keep me from jumping ship.

Richard

Mike,

Why is there such a delay in your postings. AS of Sunday night, the only current post was from Weds. Then I bring up your page today and see posts from Thursday and Friday. But ironicaly all the comments were made today.

Mike

Lexington. Lexington. Do this in Lexington. Like, YESTERDAY. Please.

All of the actual Insight techs I have spoken with - and every tech-savvy Insight customer I know - has boggled at why this wasn't the FIRST solution instead of the last.

After installing my parents mini-boxes there was no way I was going to use them at home. I've been holding on to my cable subscription in the hope that this would happen or the HDHomeRun Prime would be released. Then today I get a notice that my "introductory" cable rate is going up to full rate -- after what has been a net LOSS of service over the past six months. You can be sure THAT won't happen without a frank discussion with customer service and retention first.

Recent and current frustrations aside, you guys know this was and is the right thing to do. All you really need to do is remove that "pilot" label and implement this immediately in all markets. Kudos for finally heading down that road.

guru2121

i have been able to recieve the local channels in HD for years now without the need of a box. Will we now be able to recieve all HD channels without a box?

Craig

I feel this is a very nice option to offer customers. If you do decided to go with this option in other areas will those channels eventually be encrypted, resulting in the need for a box?

Brad

I just have to say THANK YOU!

This is a great solution for many of us and I hope to see it in NKY in the near future.

Mike

Fantastic! Digital signal straight to the TV...just the way it should be :)

Pat

Brilliant, simple and simply brilliant! I say this without sarcasm. I saw the additional QAM stations in late November and was encouraged. Now that it is official, even if under trial, I am excited. I was worried that I was going to have to get boxes for the under the cabinet (digital) TVs. This works for me. Thanks!

James

Maybe Insight has figured out that the cost of all those miniboxes like they distributed in Lexington just isn't worth it. Since the mini boxes only have an analog output, not a direct composite output, to the tv, the picture quality stinks.

MIchael61

I'd love to see the upgrades along with the box-less option in Columbus. I have a TV in office I only intermittently watch and that option would be perfect for it.

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