Problems with Showtime Anytime via Charter

posted by Jeremiah Small Monday, August 04, 2014

Showtime Anytime vs HBO Go

I am a recent Charter cable TV subscriber (although I have been a Charter internet subscriber for over a decade). I subscribe to HBO and Cinemax, which gives me the HBO Go and Max Go on-demand options, both which work flawlessly for me.
I also subscribe to Showtime, which gives me the Showtime Anytime on-demand option. This has been nothing but a headache so far.
Unlike the two Go apps, Showtime Anytime requires that you register before your Charter login will give you access to their premium content. This in and of itself is annoying, but what makes it far worse is that in all the places where they tell you about this registration requirement, they provide no hyperlink to aid you in figuring out where/what exactly they are asking for, and so far, I have never been able to login.
The login process, in short (detailed screenshots below), involves two different Showtime web sites (sho.com and showtimeanytime.com) which seem to be very loosely integrated at best, plus the authentication handoff to the charter web site, which upon successful authentication, returns me to the showtimeanytime.com domain only to inevitably be shown this error:
Error: The Primary Account holder for this account must register for Showtime Anytime first.

Charter Support

As best I can ascertain, via meager online resources and very poorly informed help from Charter support, the most important thing is that you use the Charter "HoH" (Head of Household) email address for logging into Showtime Anytime.
Here is the Charter support article about Showtime Anytime: www.myaccount.charter.com/customers/support.aspx?supportarticleid=3351
It is frustratingly vague about the Showtime-specific details. For example, it doesn't include any reference to the fact that you will be required to "register for Showtime Anytime", much less a link to the registration page, or other useful specifics.
In case you are trying to piece this together yourself, as best I can tell, where Showtime's error message refers to "Primary Account holder for this account", what they are referring to in Charter vernacular is the "HoH (Head of Household)" email account. This was a bit hard for me to figure out at first, because there is a completely different account used for billing purposes. The HoH account is a charter.net email address (this is the one you need). Your billing account logs you into charter.com (this is not what you want), although, confusingly enough, you can actually manage your Charter email accounts, including the HoH one, from the myaccount.charter.com interface

Two Separate Showtime Sites

Now comes the really frustrating part: trying to navigate the Showtime websites. As best I can tell, sho.com is managed by a completely separate team from the showtimeanytime.com team, and they essentially have no meaningful integration. This is evident from the first click on the sho.com homepage. If you click the link for Showtime Anytime, it takes you to a sho.com page, which contains the actual link to showtimeanytime.com. It's a bit disorienting at first, but okay. See following two screenshots:

Showtime Anytime Login

Okay, so here we are on showtimeanytime.com. If you click Log In here, it puts you through the same type of login process you may have come to expect from HBO Go. Essentially it asks you to pick your cable provider, and then it hands you off to your cable providers authentication portal, you authenticate, and if successful, you get redirected back to showtimeanytime.com. This actually all works exactly as you might expect. See the next four screenshots:

Error: Must Register for Showtime Anytime First

Once I have successfully authenticated on the Charter site, regardless of which browser or mobile client I use, I get the same vague error message shown here, along with a screenshot from Chrome on Mavericks, and the iOS 7 app.
Error: The Primary Account holder for this account must register for Showtime Anytime first.

Registration Mystery

As far as I can tell, I've jumped through all the correct registration hoops. I created several different accounts on the annoyingly long and intrusive Showtime registration page, and finally have settled on one that is based on my Charter HoH account, but all to no avail. I still always get the annoyingly ambiguous and unhelpful message from Showtime, "The Primary Account holder for this account must register for Showtime Anytime first."

9 Comments:

At 12:45 AM, Anonymous Alvin said...

Great post. This was very descriptive. I also had the exact same issue you had. Down to the "T". I am not sure if you were able to fix it. But this is what I did and it worked for me. I went into my Charter accounts and changed my HOH email to one of my secondary emails. Then I switched the HOH email back to the original one. After that I was able to log into Showtime Anytime and it asked me to fill out my name and register my account. Hope this helps.

 
At 9:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm having the same problem as well. Driving me nuts. Tried to switch the HoH to no avail though :( Hopefully someone will find a solution.

 
At 12:05 PM, Blogger Kathleen Arman said...

Exact same problem here. Except I have been a showtime subscriber for several years and had been using showtime anytime with no problems ever since it was first made available to charter customers and so I already had a showtime account set up. But now all of a sudden the only way to get the app to work is if you register for a brand new showtime account AS YOU LOG INTO THE APP because it does not provide the option to log in as an existing user. To me this is the key issue! I successfully logged in this morning by creating a new showtime account using my husband's email. Then when I clicked on manage devices from within the showtime anytime app it showed all of the devices that I had previously used to access showtime anytime, including my phone. it showed I was logged into both my original account and the one I created under my husband's email on the same device. Either way, in what world has there ever been a website or app that didn't offer as an option to sign in to an existing account??????!!!!!

 
At 7:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To any casual hacker it looks like the showtimeanytime cable provider login script does not support charter.net login field for ZIP code. It only provides the first two fields, not the required third:

CHARTER LOGIN HELP EXCERPT:

"Zip code verification is required for login through Charter.net. This is another layer of security for Charter customers, helping ensure that email access is protected. Hackers may attempt to hijack email addresses and use them for spamming. Requiring zip code verification in addition to a password, helps keep hackers out. Charter is committed to maintaining your privacy, and this additional login credential through charter.net is just one more way to ensure its protection."

Somebody at showtimeanytime should fix their script.

 
At 4:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm having the same problem and have called Charter twice now to get it resolved. The rep said tonight that the problem may be related to a new system that they've implemented that handles the authentication. No idea if that is correct. In any case, DEMAND A CREDIT from Charter for this problem. Their first response will be, "We don't provide credits for free services." Respond by reminding them that you are paying for Showtime, that access to the Showtime Anytime service is "not a free service," and that if it were, Charter would not require you to pay for Showtime in order to gain access the Showtime Anytime content. I was able to get a $10 credit for my 7+ days of frustration. The only way to get this resolved is to make Charter and Showtime share the pain that we customers are feeling.

 
At 12:11 AM, Anonymous LALawyer said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to create this extremely relevant and helpful post. I was forced off the plank into the same ocean of misinformation that you described. Although, at some time, I know somebody registered for this stupid account, as my customary user name was "already in use." So I added two letters to the front of it and now I am DONE!!! Roku is added and now I am too tired to watch the d@m&!# channel. But, again, your time, effort and work product will save many a device from being hurled to floor or wall in abject misery and frustration. Thanks, LALawyer, (now also known as NOLALawyer thanks to Showtime)

 
At 7:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi everybody, I had the exact same problem and this was how I fixed it. I logged in to showtime anytime from a browser and I went to manage devices, turns out I had reached the max (5 devices) allowed, so I deleted all my old phones and tablets. Once I did that I could now access the app from my new tablet and phone. I hope this helps.

 
At 5:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had same issue. I went to showtime website and registered. then went to showtimeanytime and created a new account and then went to the showtime anytime app and it worked after putting in user ID/password for charter.

 
At 7:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Same issue, but this helped a great deal!!! Thanks so much.

 

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