Just about every way in which the coronavirus has affected the world has been negative – however, many homebound Spectrum customers in Guilford County and in other parts of the Spectrum service area across the country are learning that there’s one perk of the crisis.

Two excellent movie channels are completely free for the last part of March and for most of April.

Charter Communications Inc. – Spectrum’s parent company – sent out an email this week to customers notifying them that Spectrum is providing the Showtime and Epix premium channels at no charge to Spectrum TV customers who don’t already get those.  While Spectrum seems to have notified many, if not all, customers by email, many people didn’t read it – because who reads emails from the cable company even if that email somehow makes it through the spam filter? So most customers appear to be learning about the freebies through word of mouth.

The free access to both movie channels lasts through Sunday, April 19.

Normally, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal – however, at a time when every person and every family is stuck at home for days on end with nothing to do, it’s a very nice thing to be able to enjoy, for free, some excellent programing such as the highly acclaimed motion pictures Green Book and The Upside, and the popular new Epix series War of the Worlds.

Tom Montemagno, the executive vice president of programming acquisition for Charter, stated that the company is trying to give the public some extra entertainment during the crisis.

“We hope that by expanding these programming options it will provide even more hours of entertainment for our customers in these challenging times,” he stated in a press release. “The highly-popular original entertainment programming and movies on these networks will be of great interest to a large cross-section of our customers.”

The motivating factor probably isn’t all generosity: The giant cable company no doubt hopes the free trial will lead to more subscribers down the road.

Frances Patterson, a Spectrum customer in Chapel Hill, who is also the mother of a Rhino Times writer, said she was absolutely thrilled to discover that the two movie channels were free for the next few weeks.

“I have called all my friends and told them,” she said. “I don’t think people know about it.”

She also said that she had written an email to Spectrum expressing her profound gratitude.

Charter is also offering free Spectrum customers broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 or college students who don’t already have a Spectrum broadband subscription. It has also opened up its public Wi-Fi hotspots to everyone.

Across the country, there are over 29 million customers in 41 states getting service under the Spectrum brand.