Comcast Drops "West Coast" Feeds On The East Coast?

Reader Steve says Comcast has dropped the west coast feeds on his premium channels without telling him about it. Now his sadness can not be quantified.

Steve writes:

First, we had to call twice to have our digital box reauthorized to receive the premium channels we weren’t receiving prior to the new package. Then this morning I discover that Comcast is no longer carrying (or outright blocking) all the West coast feeds of the premium channels. I often watch or record something on one of these West coast channels if I miss something on the Eastern feed, or if I want to record two programs on the DVR during a time period when something on Showtime is on.

The Rep said that because Comcast now offers so much OnDemand, we could watch those films on OnDemand instead of the West coast feeds. Not true–the OnDemand services don’t offer all the films or programs available on the premium channels themselves.

This change made me angry. What makes me even angrier is that there was no notice from Comcast as to the change at all. We DID get mailings over the summer about additional OnDemand services, and that Turner Classic Movies would not be available unless you also purchased the Sports/Entertainment package. But no notice of losing West coast feeds. So, I guess we’re getting half the service for the same price. (OK. I admit that we’re getting a deal what with adding the Digital Voice service and a new package at a lower price for a year.)

If we could change to satellite, we would do it today–we can’t because trees in a protected wetland block the signal.

This isn’t the biggest consumer problem in the world; just another example of a monopoly not giving a crap about customers.

Poor Steve. West coast feeds are useful! Anyone else notice their west coast feeds missing? Do you care?

(Photo:cmorran123)

Comments

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  1. B says:

    What’s a west coast feed? Is it something to do with “live television?”

  2. phypennwl says:

    I got notice in the mail of their intention to get rid of the West Coast feed. I think I got it in May or June. I’m surprised I even read it, but I definitely remember getting the notice and thinking, “Eh, oh well.”

  3. Murph1908 says:

    Uh oh. I am going to check as soon as I get home.

    Against my better judgment, I switched back to Comcast after a nightmare with DirecTV.

    Then, they dropped the NFL Network. Not a big deal, Thursday Night Football is stupid anyway.

    But if they dropped my HBOP, I’ll not be happy. I too record those on my TiVo at 11:00PM or later, when they don’t conflict with my regularly scheduled programming.

    Also, it’s a treat to notice a movie is on HBO, but you missed an hour of it, and know you can catch it from the start later.

    Oh well, this was just the interim provider until FiOS comes along anyway.

  4. bonzombiekitty says:

    @B:

    For premium channels like HBO, there’s a “West Coast” Channel which shows whatever is being shown in western US time zones. It’s pretty much whatever was on the normal channel three hours ago. It’s good for people that don’t come home until late and such.

  5. ThomFabian says:

    @B:
    Basically its the Showtime/HBO whatever feed that is shown on the west coast. It is 3 hours behind the East Coast feed. Thus HBO says a movie will start at 7PM. If you happen to live on the East Coast you can watch it at 7 or 10 local time(if you get the west coast feeds). Similarly if you live on the West coast you can watch it at 4 or 7 local time if you have access to the East Coast feeds.

  6. VA_White says:

    I just turned off my cable today. It’s made me kind of dizzy but we are going cable/satellite free at my house from now until whenever.

    I kept my high speed and a basic landline and my bill dropped $118 off the bat. After I cancel TiVo, I’ll be saving a total of $131 a month.

    Scary but I think it will do our family some good. Suck it, Cox Communications.

  7. Shadowman615 says:

    Oh really? I didn’t notice they were missing. Sure, I liked having those — a great way to get a second chance to watch a movie if you missed the starting time.

    I suppose this might be one way to boost DVR sales?

  8. B says:

    @Shadowman615: That and on-demand, two things Comcast is pushing.

  9. trecool95 says:

    Comcasts on-demand is garbage though. In regards to HBO, they haven’t even added Flight of the Conchords yet.

  10. renilyn says:

    Though I am in no way on Comcast’s “side”-the undersanding is that they are doing this so that there is “room” for more channels. *shrug*

  11. ptkdude says:

    Comcast dropped the west coast feeds for most premium channels in Atlanta back in May when the increased their rates. Again. For the 4th year in a row.

    This is how they notified their customers here. They sent out a mailer with the new pricing and the channel lineup. The west coast feeds were missing from the lineup. Other than that, there was no mention that they were dropping the west coast feeds.

  12. create says:

    yes, it is fcc mandated that notice be delivered of any channel cancellations 30days prior to canceling those channels so that the customers have opportunity to cancel service.

    usually a mail out is sent, and usually local paper adverts are taken out to notify people.

  13. Youthier says:

    @B: A great use of the west coast feed was when I was trapped in a babysitting job somewhat against my will a few years ago. Nick would show Jimmy Neutron marathons, they would end, and then we would flip to Nick’s West Coast feed and the kids would watch them all over again.

  14. unchi says:

    @ptkdude: yeah, i got no real notice about them dropping west coast feeds (like a mail in my box) in ATL.

  15. theblackdog says:

    Crap like this from the cable companies is why Bittorrent and YouTube are so popular for getting and watching TV episodes.

  16. theblackdog says:

    This is why Bittorrent and YouTube are becoming so popular to watch TV.

  17. arkenhill says:

    The most likely reason they are removing the West Coast feeds is to free up bandwidth for new HD channels. The launch of the new DirecTV sat with it supposed capacity of 100 national HD channels is really putting the hurt on cable companies.

  18. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    Kill your TV. Read a book. I stopped watching TV about 8 years ago & don’t miss it even a little bit.

  19. The Stork says:

    As much as I hate sticking up for Comcast, this is a logical move to free up more bandwidth to expand high def offerings. Afterall, it isn’t eliminating original content; all the channels are is the same programming as another delayed three hours. The West Coast feeds were only started to keep west coasters from having to watch prime time three hours early, not so east coasters had a replay option.

    Could they have been more upfront about dropping them? Perhaps. But it’s not like you’re losing programming. Just an option that we’ve become spoiled by having in the first place.

  20. Clobberella says:

    I’m on the west coast and I still have both feeds. If they’re trying to make room for other channels I wonder why they would drop the west from the east but not the other way around? What about people in Mountain and Central?

  21. bohemian says:

    We watch the west coast feeds all the time. We frequently miss the start of movies on the main channels because we are on central time. I would be ticked if they did away with the west coast feeds.

    They can ditch some of the useless channels like the five religious channels or one of the 14 sport channels we never watch.

    I really wish cable would go ala carte.

  22. ZapBranigan says:

    West Coast feeds are pretty stupid. With DVR’s & On Demand you should be able to catch it.
    Plus all those premium channels repeat their programming so often if you miss it, you can just record it tomorrow when it’s on.
    They definitely should have given you advance notice.

  23. krom says:

    We had the reverse problem with our old cable provider (locked into because our apt complex had a contract). Living on the West coast, they provided us with East Coast feeds. Which meant Adult Swim and other cable/premium late night fare started around dinnertime.

  24. allstarecho says:

    Dumbass should check his mail more often or read it closer. Everyone got a notice in the mail. They didn’t just pick and choose who to send it to. I got mine, as did alot of others. I hate the change and I hate Comcast (We had TimeWarner until they swapped markets), but to their defense, they did inform everyone.

  25. dscosson says:

    Well, that’s unfortunate, but in an age where cablecos. have to use their bandwidth as efficiently as possible to compete with DBS and now traditional telcos which are laying fibre, every bit of bandwidth counts. I’m sure Comcast did some usage studies and determined the number of customers that regularly viewed those channels did not merit the use of bandwidth.

  26. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    …to compete…?? They don’t care about DBS and FIOS, they only care about your money. When they cut my west coast feeds, they better cut my bill as well.
    Like Murph1908 says, only a placeholder until FIOS comes to town.

  27. Buran says:

    Why not get a DVR? Then it doesn’t matter when stuf airs.

  28. kenboy says:

    Buran, it completely matters, even with a DVR, if you’ve got three shows and only two tuners at a given time. It doesn’t happen that often to me, but it does occasionally come up where I end up needing to record something off HBO West because there are two other things on during its “normal” air time.

    I also record Spongebob and the like for my five year old, and it’s REALLY convenient to record that stuff around 11 pm, so it doesn’t conflict with whatever I’m trying to watch or record in prime time.

  29. vr4z06gt says:

    [publicservice.vermont.gov] here is a link to the article requiring WRITTEN communication about the change with at least 30 days notice. Its on page 5 subsection B for the lazy

  30. gc3160thtuk says you got your humor in my sarcasm and you say you got your sarcasm in my humor says:

    yes west coast feeds matter. It pissed me off when Charter dropped some west coast feeds such as HBO Zone West and HBO Comedy West. However since the remaining Zone and Comedy channels are not labeled East Coast Feeds I think this may have been a change on the part of HBO. Not sure though.

  31. Havok154 says:

    I better be getting boomerang now that they have a couple open channels.

  32. WestMassGuy says:

    I work for a cable company ( daggers start flying ) and live in another cable companies service area. My girlfriend was surprised after I moved in when I showed her all the notices that are sent out on or with her cable bill. I know we sent out a particular notice about checks converting to EFT for about 5 months and when the change happened people were still surprised. Even better was the notices telling people that our bill format would be changing. When we did change it people complained that they did not get their bill. They had been tossing out the bills in the new format.

  33. erica.blog says:

    @Clobberella: We east-coasters think all things west of the Mississippi are either a myth, or there to inconvenience us ;-)

    I don’t understand why they would need room for more channels — how many Food, DIY, Animal, Sports, Movies, and Other Things Appealing to Niche Markets channels do they really NEED?

  34. Saboth says:

    Ah cable companies…shooting yourself in the feet left and right. People wonder why time spent television watching has dwindled in years, and assume it is because the content sucks. Nope, it’s because cable companies raise their rates, offer fewer services, don’t care what the consumer wants or needs. I’ll stick to my online gaming, where I am in control.

  35. WNW says:

    “If we could change to satellite, we would do it today–we can’t because trees in a protected wetland block the signal.”

    Ummmm…trees shouldn’t be able to block a satellite signal. I pointed mine at a freaking hillside and I still got reception just fine.

  36. MostNutsEver says:

    @trecool95: Maybe thats a problem with your local Comcast affiliate, because I have Flight of the Conchords on my OnDemand.

  37. Sir Winston Thriller says:

    WNW says:
    Ummmm…trees shouldn’t be able to block a satellite signal. I pointed mine at a freaking hillside and I still got reception just fine.

    This is very tall and very lush old growth forest in the path of the signal. The DirectTV installed came out and could only get a marginal signal.

  38. killavanilla says:

    Typical Comcast crap.
    Don’t you folks see what is happening here?
    They are nickle and diming us to death, and doing so by offering less for the same money.
    I lost NFL network unless I pony up for the $7.99 sports/entertainment package that includes NFL network and 7 other channels I never cared about.
    NFL network was one of my personal favorites, so it pissed me off.
    I called to complain and asked the person why they didn’t notify me. They said that they did via a message sent to my box. Now, I’ve been getting those stupid messages for years – they are almost entirely ads for new channel offerings or features. I ignore all of them.
    Had I known about the upcoming changes, I likely would have already switched to directTv. Now I have to shop the deal now.
    So pissed.
    Yes, today it was HBO west feed.
    Yesterday it was NFL network.
    So I am getting less for the same money. Thanks Comcast! How Comcastic of you!
    I expect to be off of their little teet within a month.
    It might be time for a EEB and a nasty featurette by consumerist about Comcast screwing their customers.
    I would happily pay $1 a month extra for NFL network, but absolutely refuse to pay $7.99 for 8 channels, 7 of which are genuine crap to me (oln, fox movies, BET Jazz????? Really?)

  39. EveWasFramed says:

    My husband was extremely disappointed that the West Coast feeds were dropped and then just around the same time the NFL Channel was removed from our package as well, without any notification that we were aware of. Personally, I can’t stand football so I’m not shedding any tears for the loss, but I am mad as hell that they’re removing channels from the lineup and not reducing my monthly bill. We’ll be switching to a satellite provider shortly. I just wrote them a long angry letter, that I’m sure will be promptly ignored. Lovely!

  40. Dish Network. I still keep my NFL Channel and West Coast premium channel feeds. I’d be pissed if I did not.