Cablevision Blatantly Lies To Subscribers As The FCC Twiddles Its Thumbs

Update: Cablevision responds.

Cablevision is lying to customers by claiming that the FCC will require all subscribers to upgrade to digital cable boxes in 2009. Digital cable boxes cost $6.50 per month, plus an extra $10.95 for digital service. Cablevision recently sent a letter to all boxless subscribers threatening to cut several channels unless they forked out a bundle of extra cash for digital service. When one of our family member called for an explanation, Cablevision shirked responsibility and placed the blame squarely on some crazy new FCC mandate. We called shenanigans and decided to call back and record our chats with several customer service representatives. Inside, the recordings of Cablevision lies and the FCC’s flaccid response.

Before we get to the recordings, let’s look at Cablevision’s fairly innocuous letter:

http://consumermediallc.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/the_letter_-thumb.jpg?w=494&h=636class=

Here’s the deal: Cablevision—not the FCC—has decided to move several channels to their digital tier. To keep receiving the channels, customer will need to upgrade to digital service with a digital box. Customers who don’t pony up for the service lose the channels.

40 million American families don’t use a digital cable box. Assuming all cable companies use Cablevision’s rates, operators stand to pick up an extra $698,000,000 per month by convincing all 40 million families to shell out an extra $17.45 for digital service. That small piece of change is worth more than the yearly GDP of several small nations.

Cablevision is well within its bounds to charge whatever it wants for service. They can tell us we need a cable box, and that service will now cost $300 per month. That’s a freedom afforded by the market. What they can’t do is cowardly hide behind the FCC and blame their money-grubbing on the government. Let’s listen as they try to do just that:

We spoke with four representatives, each of whom blamed the FCC for forcing us to upgrade to digital cable. We asked one representative how this information was conveyed to the CSRs, and she explained that Cablevision had specifically trained them to point to the FCC.

Let’s be perfectly clear: the FCC decision has absolutely nothing to do with the channels Cablevision is taking away, nor does it require anyone to upgrade to a digital cable box.

Don’t believe us? Let’s see if we can find someone to refute Cablevision…. Maybe Cablevision is up to the task?

http://consumermediallc.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/the_truth_comes_out%21-thumb.jpg?w=494&h=570

Looks like they know the truth after all. The transition to digital television will have no affect on Cablevision’s service.

We spoke with two representative at the FCC who claim that several cable companies have engaged in similar deceitful and fraudulent actions. According to the representatives, the Commission is powerless to take action. One even defended the cable companies, saying:

“Most of [the cable companies] are blaming it on the FCC. It’s easier for us to take it. We have broad shoulders, you know? We’re the ones who have to explain it to all the consumers anyway when they find the 800 number and then they start calling and asking us: “why is my cable company doing this to me? I want to file a complaint.”

Unfortunately, there are no mandates for good customer service. I wish there was! I would really like there for to be a mandate that says: “I’m sorry, but people on the phone at my cable company have to be nice to me and they have to tell me the truth.” I wish there was, but there’s not.

A mandate for good customer service couldn’t be enforced by the 82nd-airborne, but lying? Regulated companies should not be allowed to lie to their customers.

Thankfully, the bespectacled bossman helming the FCC takes a different view. Chairman Kevin Martin recently slammed retailers for lying about the digital transition, dishing out several million dollars worth of fines to Sears, Best Buy and Walmart. Why can cable companies lie, but not retailers?

We know that Chairman Martin is a good guy who likes consumers. Let’s go back and listen to the sweet consumer-protecting swan song he sung so graciously in our defense last year:

If the cable companies had their way, you, your mother and father, or your next door neighbor could go to sleep one night after watching their favorite channel and wake up the next morning to a dark fuzzy screen. This is because the cable operators believe that it is appropriate for them to choose which stations analog cable customers should be able watch. It is not acceptable as a policy matter or as a legal matter.

Kevvy was announcing that cable companies would be required to carry broadcast channels (CBS, NBC, ABC, etc…) until 2012, and not Travel Planet or RAI, which Cablevision is preparing to yank. The Chairman did, however, explicitly endorse our right to enjoy cable service without a box, and Cablevision’s right to require us to rent one:

…the Commission is not forcing consumers to purchase or lease a set top box to continue watching their favorite channels. This decision lies in the hands of the cable company. They can avoid the need for new boxes bychoosing to downconvert the digital signal into analog at their headend. This downconversion would permit analog cable subscribers to continue watching broadcast television just as they do today without disruption.

This isn’t the first time Cablevision has used the DTV transition to beat customers like cash-spewing pinatas. The cable giant was previously caught sending letters to prospective customers telling them that TV would disappear in 2009 unless they started paying $240 per year, despite the availability of $20 converter boxes that will keep the Price Is Right up and running.

Cablevision is clearly engaged in a pattern of deception and fraud. The FCC has a responsibility to investigate and admonish Cablevision for their abusive conduct. Predatory upseling simply cannot be tolerated in a responsibly regulated marketplace.

PREVIOUSLY: Cablevision Uses Digital TV Transition To Upsell Basic Cable
Sears, Best Buy, Wal-Mart And Others Fined For Not Warning Consumers About Analog Obsolescence
FCC Takes Action To Prevent Cable Companies From Dropping Digital Broadcast Networks From Analog Cable

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. Buran says:

    Just an informative note: you can also, if you wish, use a CableCard box (usually, a Tivo HD or Series 3) to receive digital channels.

    TiVos can’t do switched digital video, though, so check with your provider and ask if they use SDV for channels you may want before buying.

  2. TiVo has claimed updates to the TivoHD will allow SDV with an adapter.

  3. HalOfBorg says:

    Don’t you just want to reach out and slap them? Just sitting there, blaming the FCC because THEY want more of your money – for SAME service. LESS really, if you need a converter box for each TV!

  4. sean.thor says:

    Yet another reason I can’t wait for more cable companies to move into the Southern CT area. I have been force-fed the “Optimum” Network for over three years now. Verizon is slowly inching their way in but Cablevision keeps throwing up walls. I know its a lesser of two evils, but I would rather have the lesser evil that gave me better picture and faster internet!

  5. Megladon says:

    It sounds like, atleast in the first recording, that the woman was fed this info and wouldnt know the truth from what she was being paid to read. I’m not saying that makes it right but it didnt sound like she even knew what the truth was.

    PS: how about making my comments show, my replys arnt any worse then what half the other people posting have wrote.

  6. Buran says:

    @rainmkr: Yeah. Hoping that if I ever do have to deal with SDV, the adapters will be available.

  7. Zaeyde says:

    Time Warner recently changed HBO, which we are paying for, from channel 3 to channel 113. Unfortunately, we don’t have digital, and therefore cannot receive that channel.

    Time Warner Cable informed us that the only way to do it would be to upgrade to a digital box and then pay even more for HBO.

    This is going to cost us at least $20 more a month for the same thing.

  8. Gorky says:

    @Zaeyde:

    Most cable companies are moving premium channels and PPV channels to digital only tiers. Probably the biggest reason is that “descrambler boxes” that people always bought on the black market dont work on digital channels. Its MUCH harder to get free HBO and PPV on digital cable.

  9. Back home (North Jersey), Cablevision is our only option. My parents don’t have a digital cable box, but they do watch some of these channels. I suggested taking the opportunity to leave Cablevision without an ETF, but like I said there’s no alternative. In fact, my parents insist we don’t even have a commitment and wouldn’t have to worry about an ETF anyway. There’s just no one else around.

    I’m not about to let Optimum walk all over us just because they have a local monopoly. Anyone know a way to keep these channels without having to pay an extra monthly fee? I see a few comments about TiVo, but don’t they charge monthly? Is there some digital cable box we can just buy and keep the same exact service/fee that we have now?

    Ideally, I’d like a solution that doesn’t involve any extra monthly fee at all, but if we must pay something then I’d rather it go to a third party.

  10. Pro-Pain says:

    As long as the FCC is getting money they don’t give a shit. Really.

  11. CommonInterest says:

    This happened in my community as well, hidden on the Comcast bill was a notice that MSNBC and a few others were being put on the digital tier due to the transition required by the FCC.

    My first step was to contact Comcast and ask if there was going to be a discount on my cable bill due to the service reduction we were all experiencing. I was gleefully told no, but offered several different digital packages.

    Next step was to email my local government cable representative, a member of the board that oversees the cable contracts, because I’ve heard these people are fairly responsive. Four months later I’m still waiting for a response.

  12. GearheadGeek says:

    Another reason the cable companies want to move channels to digital-only tiers is to free up bandwidth. They can carry several digital channels in the same bandwidth required by a single analog channel, so it allows them to increase the number of channels they carry without having to upgrade their physical plant.

    If they weren’t morons, they could make the case to consumers that what they’re doing is increasing the total number of channels they offer, but it’s easier to blame the gub’mint.

    Re: switched digital… the barrier to switched-digital for cable-card devices won’t last, because cable companies are required to use cable-cards in their OWN new set-top boxes now, so there won’t be a technological barrier to switched-digital, though Scientific Atlanta may continue to try to make it proprietary as long as they can.

  13. attackgypsy says:

    Doesn’t surprise me that Cablevision is doing this. They like to play fast and loose with the rules, especially labor rules.

  14. gig says:

    I am so glad you reported this as I have had Cablevision for years and have received so much conflicting information as to what exactly will happen in February 2009, and what exactly I have to do. I don’t really have to do anything it seems.

    Frankly, I could live without those channels although I would miss Cops. Now if they mess with TVLand then I will be ticked.

    I wonder if they will change their mind on this now that they have been been outed. I doubt it.

    Verizon is putting up fiberoptic cables in my neighborhood as we speak. I wonder if all the cable companies are going to do something similar.

    Shame on them. I am glad I am now informed. Thank you.

  15. blowjustinup says:

    All I see here is a couple of sales reps who don’t know anything about this saying what needs to be said to sell service and get commission..

    The ONLY reason you’ll need a converter box for, is if you currently view channels OVER THE AIR THROUGH AN ANTENNA.

    Switching channels to digital is inevitable. It is to better the service that is provided by the cable company. They will all be switched eventually, so get over it.

  16. Concerned_Citizen says:

    Why don’t they mandate 4 free boxes with any account? It ridiculous that they are getting away with this per tv pricing model.

  17. tech1935 says:

    I do custom audio/video installation for a local Chicago known electronic & appliance store. The amount of backwards information on this issue is asstonishing. Every customer that asks me seems to have a different understanding of it, quite a few installers here are under the impression that all analog channels threw any basic cable company provided line thats plugged straight into a tv is going to stop working. I’ve tried to shed some light on the fact that the entire thing seems fishy, and there is no reason for the companies to discontinue the analog cable lines but it always ends in arguments. Likely one of the many reasons I don’t have a cable box or a tuner.

    An important note regarding cable card. If your running an HDTV cable card with Comcast, RCN, WOW, or Time Warner it can only run at a MAX of resolution of 720P.

  18. MonkeySwitch says:

    This is exactly why I don’t pay for cable. The bill is just a money-sucker. There is noting that comes on TV that I can’t find online, and I can run audio/video cables to my television.

    Of course, the internet companies will start something similar soon, and then what will I do?? :(

  19. KogeLiz says:

    Nicely written!

    Yeah, I wouldn’t really expect someone in a call center to know exactly what’s going on.

    I wonder what the higher-ups would say about this article!

  20. WraithSama says:

    It’s bad enough that cable companies have little monopolies going on in city markets. Yes, I have the option to switch to satellite, but frankly, I don’t want a TV solution that can be defeated by a cloud. My in-laws have DirecTV and every time it storms their signal gets fuzzy or goes out altogether. Some competition between cable companies in city markets would benefit the consumer, I think.

  21. Carencey says:

    @WraithSama: heh, that’s why all those “Cable Competes” ads that were on the Consumerist earlier this week were driving me up the wall…those are industry ads designed to convince consumers that cable companies compete with telcos, so they shouldn’t have to compete with one another.

  22. gig says:

    @blowjustinup:

    Well you don’t have to yell. I think it is crystal clear that most people don’t need a digital converter. The point is not that things are changing but that this company used deceit to make more money from an item that people do not need to purchase. And they wrongly put the blame on the Feds.

    Half the population remembers when they had no cable and had to actually change the channel manually. Trust me, they don’t care about digital signal. They don’t want to buy a new TV and they don’t want to pay a small mortgage to watch TV. And this is going to be a problem for the cable companies. The channels that pay to be on their system will not be offered to people who don’t pay the ransom, the advertisers will have less viewers and then what?

    What is so great about digital? I am not being facetious, I really want to know. Honestly, I can’t tell the difference except maybe it is a little more distinct of a picture which I really can live without.

  23. TPK says:

    This is an excellent post, one that needs much more exposure. I hope some of the mainstream media picks it up.

    I don’t want to ever convert to a digital cable box, because then my DVR will no longer be able to record two different channels while I am away.

    Whatever happened to the days when companies were more concerned about meeting the customer’s needs than lying to cheat them out of their money?

  24. linoth says:

    *scratches head*
    Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but what you’re describing is Cablevision engaging in deceptive business practices and fraud. In fact, those were exactly what you called it.

    From http://www.cxrlarus.com/assets/glossary.html:
    “[The FCC is the] United States government agency that supervises, licenses and controls electronic and electromagnetic transmission standards.”

    So what exactly can they do about underhanded business practices? Now, the FTC… that’s another matter.

    Consumerist – Barking up the wrong tree way too much these days.

  25. catterly says:

    All these bad stories regarding television service recently remind me of more reasons why I don’t own a television.

  26. acasto says:

    Wow… you guys have really been on the ball here lately with the big breaks! Keep up the good work!

  27. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    Blaming the FCC is slimy, but dumping analog stations makes a lot of sense. The cable companies have limited bandwidth and consumers (like me) are demanding HD.

    Unfortunately the cable companies can’t keep consumers like me and people whom can stand digital cable boxes happy at the same time.

    I am anxiously awaiting the TiVo SDV resolver and a decent selection of HD channels. In the interim I get my HD over the air and my SD channels from DirecTv. I want more, but a DVR that isn’t TiVo isn’t an option.

  28. danseuse322 says:

    If you like TV, great. If you want to spend 100-200 a month for cable and TiVo and other stuff, that is your business. But the answer is simple–if you don’t want to pay it, don’t. Cable is NOT a utility and nowhere in the US Requirements to be Entertained does it say someone needs a 1200-3000 television. Seriously, it’s JUST entertainment. But I guess that is why gas is 3.45 a gallon. People complain but they still drive. I have no sympathy whatsoever for anyone thinks they HAVE to watch TV to be happy. Yeah, I will get blasted for that but I can’t believe the level of complaints over nonessentials.

  29. bnpederson says:

    Actually Comcast is claiming something along these lines as well. I recently downgraded my service from the premium digital package to extended basic with no box and the CSRs all claimed I would lose channels in three months or so due to the switchover to digital. Granted theirs only costs $1 more per month and I had to call them before they gave the lie but it’s still money I don’t want to pay out and others shouldn’t be tricked onto paying.

  30. mferrari says:

    I could only make it through the first call because I was so annoyed at the lies that they told. Over the air (OTA) broadcasts will be the only ones effected by the transition in ’09. Cable companies are fed digital broadcasts, but have been allowed to convert that broadcast to analog before giving it to customers. There is no date set for when they will no longer be allowed to do this (as far as I know). It is definitely past the OTA conversion date, though. But, cable companies lie all the time. I see Comcast commercials boating the fact that by the end of this year they will have over 500 HD channels, despite the fact that it is impossible to transmit that much data over a coax wire.

  31. philipbarrett2003 says:

    @danseuse322

    Amen brother! It’s not clean, running water, it’s not heat & light, it’s f***ing crappy TV. The supplier can charge what the hell they like & you have 2 choices; pay up or give it up.

  32. angelcake says:

    Isn’t this illegal? Especially if you signed up for the cableplan that included these channels for no extra charge?

    I hate Cablevision. First they take Soapnet and make it box required and now all of these stations. They’re going to keep doing it until all that’s left is the few broadcast stations.

    I haven’t gotten a letter like this yet and wonder if maybe its only sent to certain customers since I have televisions with both Digital boxes and ones without.

  33. cotr says:

    comcast moved Cartoon Network to Digital and has no moved G4. you have to have a digital box which costs more.

  34. james1844 says:

    Guys,

    Good for you for investigating this.

    Its a shame that the FCC is not being more aggressive with their oversight.

    Best,

    James

  35. tweemo says:

    “Cablevision feigned responsibility and placed the blame squarely on some crazy new FCC mandate. “

    This sentence isn’t making sense to me. Are you sure “feigned” means what you think it means?

  36. CrackerJaX says:

    I too have had a similar situation with Comcast locally. For years they’ve given us basic cable + HBO for free at work (government offices get free basic cable for the right to sell in the area) but since they moved HBO over to digital, all we have is the BBC. I tried to explain to the other guys that demanding that the local government buy digital boxes for every TV in the building isn’t going to work.

    On a similar note, what happens when there is a complete digital shift. Does the cable company give one digital box per office or have to give us like 30 digital boxes, 1 for each connected TV? This per-TV pricing model gets tough for the government.

    One cable company in Tampa, FL is giving free converter boxes to all county offices after they moved PBS and public access to digital. Oh, and a $150,000 advertising bribe.

    Article link:

    [www2.tbo.com]

  37. bnpederson says:

    @tweemo:
    Inconceivable!

  38. dragonfire81 says:

    Fines don’t scare huge corporations. If they can make more money by lying to customers and paying the subsequent token fines than being honest, they’ve no reason to be honest.

  39. pecheckler says:

    The year is 2008 for God’s sake; this is getting ridiculous.
    Embrace technology.
    The amount of bandwidth consumed on Cable provider networks over analog continues to degrade my current and future digital services.

    While I agree with the consumers who buy enter-level services, it is also unfair to the consumers who want the latest and greatest technologies in their home.

    Take a neighborhood with 40 people cable customers. 30 with digital boxes, mostly HDTVs, and 10 old-fasion analog subscribers.

    Those 10 analog subscribers are consuming more bandwidth than the 30 people with hundreds more channels and larger monthly bills.

    If those 10 customers were to switch upward to digital than the Cable company could drop analog all together. Which would intern allow those 40 customers to receive all channels 100% digital. Allowing for room for many new channels, in 100% full high definition with NO COMPRESSION!

  40. Reason #35 to cut off cable completely. Thanks CableVision!

  41. Concerned_Citizen says:

    @pecheckler: You forget that in doing so, you now have to pay 7 bucks per tv. So 45 bucks for cable, 10 bucks for digital, and 7 bucks times 6 tvs. That makes your upgrade to digital an extra 52 dollars a month. Upgrading to digital will more than double people’s cable bills. Then any future increase in box rental will effect you six fold. Until our government bans equipment rental fees, digital cable is a scam.

  42. SuffolkHouse says:

    This is a good report – thanks consumerist!

  43. einstoch says:

    With Verizon FiOS, they sent me a letter a few weeks ago telling me that they were converting from analog to digital and that anyone without a set top box would need a digital adapter. Verizon is offering these adapters for free with no monthly service charge and they receive every single channel that you would normally receive with a set top box for free. Now that’s great service.

  44. Easy fix, cancel your cable. My family has lived cable free for a decade.

  45. techman01 says:

    Verizon Fios TV will be given digital adapters for FREE to ppl who don’t want a converter box so they can still watch their basic tv. Why can’t Cablevision do that?

  46. jonnyobrien says:

    These are the same assholes who own the Knicks. And play that stupid reggaeton commercial on NYC TV all the damn time.

    Verizon sucks, but I’d rather have FIOS out here on Long Island and suck it up rather tha give the Dolans another dime to ruin a once proud sports city.

    Cablevison rots from the top. How else do you explain Isiah Thomas being in charge for so long?

  47. dildofsky says:

    The reason that cable companies are moving channels to the digital tier is to reclaim bandwidth for more HD content and faster internet speeds. Analog spectrum is very inefficient — you can get about 3 HD channels out of the spectrum used by 1 analog channel. Since there is a growing demand for HD, and more competition from FiOS and DirecTV, they feel that reclaiming bandwidth makes more sense than devoting it to the analog service that contributes relatively low revenue.

    The move to digital is because of market demand for HD and faster streaming speeds, not a FCC mandate. Cablevision should be explaining thsi to customers, but the FCC is an easier boogeyman to blame the issue on. However, I believe that reclaiming analog is the right call. It’s called technological advancement.

  48. majortom1981 says:

    I hate this site for this reason. Instead of checking dslreports to see if the complaints are warranted they go and post an uninformed story.

    First off cablevision is doing this to add room for more channels . You can get about 4-6 hd channels for the price of removing one analog channel.

    Also If you did your research (like all GOOD journalist should) you would see that people will be getting one free cablebox for one year.

    So please stop with the bad journalism. IT makes this site look pretty horrible.

  49. stacye says:

    @majortom1981: I guess you missed the point of the story. It’s not whether this change is good or bad, it’s the fact that they LIED about it.

  50. healthdog says:

    Kudos to The Consumerist for a great story!

  51. Buran says:

    @AustinTXProgrammer: Does your cable company put the channels you want on SDV? If not, go with a CableCard TiVo.

  52. Buran says:

    @johnarlington: Last I checked you can’t get Discovery, Animal Planet, TLC, Science Channel, History, History International, and Sci-Fi via antenna in either SD or HD.

    The only channels that I like that I can get OTA are PBS and CBS.

  53. GearheadGeek says:

    @CrackerJaX: Sorry this is slightly off the main topic, but you opened the door. Why the HELL would you need to watch HBO or anything else but POSSIBLY the news while you’re on the clock at your local-government office? I think the problem there is not with your local cable franchise but with your feeling that it’s okay to watch HBO while you’re being paid to work for the government.

  54. GiltProto says:

    I dropped my Cablevision around 1990ish when the raised the monthly basic rate from $10 to $13 and I’ve never looked back. Call me a Luddite for having only rabbit ears since then but just imagine how much money has remained in my pocket! I figure it’s at least $4k and probably a lot more.)

  55. CrackerJaX says:

    @GearheadGeek: A fair question. I work at a fire station where we’ll be there for between 24 and 48 hours straight. We’re responsible for station upkeep, making sure all equipment is stocked and ready to go, and such. So sometimes when all the station duties are done we need some entertainment.
    I personally don’t use the TVs much. I watch Hulu for my TV, which is why this change doesn’t affect me.

  56. GearheadGeek says:

    @CrackerJaX: Ah… valid exception. My partner is a paramedic and worked for a rural service before he started med school… some of the stations were slow enough that they got LOTS of TV time in a shift. I never think of the station as a “government office” though, since no one hates firemen and paramedics like they do “city hall.” I was thinking of more “office” sorts of government facilities.

  57. Jamie Beckland says:

    If the goal is to free up bandwidth by eliminating analog channels, then wouldn’t we expect to see a decrease in the cable bill?

    If cable companies offered more service for less money, I bet they would see a huge increase in the uptake of digital cable.

    If this were perceived as a net benefit to the customer (plus the chance to upsell them with 100s more channels in the future, faster internet, etc), people would jump on it.

    Why charge extra for something that is making the company’s work easier and more profitable?

    It would be like banks charging to use the ATM….oh wait…

  58. cablevisionmustdie.com says:

    Not for nothing but by asking a rep details questions will get you nowhere ask to speak to a manager. The reps are called into a meeting and given little information and then a what if list : ( what if the customer questions this ____ Respond by saying ___ ) and that’s it. A call center manager on the other hand is the one you should speak to not even a supervisor could help you on that one. And please don’t not get the cable card until the make it a two way cable card. You will see more tech then a dispatcher trust me.

  59. cablevisionmustdie.com says:

    @majortom1981:
    Not all the reps tell the customers that not only that If a customer has an old Sony box (which Cablevision has discontinued its contract with them) they can have a free install and one box for free for 1 year If you have a Sony box and it gives you just ask for a new SA box Most reps dont read the kdb

  60. cablevisionmustdie.com says:

    @Concerned_Citizen: You have to vote on issue liek this in your town hall meeting Things like it cable customers get a free box or prepaid postage for returning a reomte is up to you to vote A town in NJ now charges tax on the cablvision phone service

  61. Sidnicious says:

    It doesn’t bother me that Cablevision is going all-digital: everyone’s doing it, fine. I’m a bit annoyed that the FCC did not require all new television equipment to be sold digital-ready several years ago… whatever.

    It’s that to continue service without losing channels, subscribers are having to pay a minimum of $17.45 a month, probably $30, $40, or more. The near-$7 rental charge for the boxes? Rediculous! Customers will have paid it off after just a few months. Switching to a new service plan is even more silly, because the whole point of the digital transition is that DIGITAL CABLE IS NO LONGER A SPECIAL SERVICE, and shouldn’t cost extra!

    Verizon, for instance, is going all-digital with existing plans and the converter boxes are totally free. Regardless of your opinion of Verizon, that’s not a bad model for switching your subscriber base over.

  62. packetscan says:

    At this point i’m pulling my fuggin hair out.
    The older boxes do not conform to the DTV 2009 Mandate..

    So but that in your conspiracy theory and smoke it.. By the way this process has been going on for years to get people with older boxes or with sets that don’t have a digitial converter the correct gear so that on feb 2009 everything does’n’t literally go dark.

    I though the consumerist were techies.
    Guess not.

  63. @AustinTXProgrammer: They have tons of HD channels sitting on stand by /voom Since everyone does not like hd karaoke they have to figure out what channels to put up Best bet is to call the company and ask them to flag/place notes on your account and code it under hot topic that way when they run the reports it will be picked up and they ( cablevision ) will look to see what you called about

  64. BigElectricCat says:

    @Pro-Pain:

    What money is that, exactly?

  65. blowjustinup says:

    @Isabelle15:

    The company didn’t lie. The sales representative either didn’t know what they were talking about, or was trying to sell them something to make a bit more money in commission.

    I work for cablevision. They’re calling this the Cablevision Digital Migration (Bandwidth Reclamation). They admit that it is a cablevision initiative that is NOT imposed by the FCC. It is an effort to remove duplicated analog feeds of channels they offer in digital.

    They just don’t want the same thing playing on 2 different channels.

    This was sent out in an email to EVERY employee of cablevision. Whether they choose to read it, and whether everyone understands it, well that’s not in my hands.

  66. @blowjustinup wrote, “The company didn’t lie. ” Wrong.
    The company did lie. It lied to the poor CSRs who are their faces to the customers, in order that the CSRs would unintentionally lie to Family Cable customers calling in response to the notice. The CSR I just spoke to had the same false information, and I sympathetically told her so. I do not want cable boxes, being very happy with TiVo (including having just upgraded my kids’ TiVo to handle hundreds of hours after recently signing up for Family Cable in the first place), and Cablevision should be honest to both customers and CSRs about what’s really going on. {ProfJonathan}

  67. JerseyJerry1701 says:

    Morris County,NJ residents have had a history of being lied to by Cablevision. Cablevision has historically taken channels away (but not lower the bill from those lost channels). Oh sure Morris County has “allowed” Verizon to come in to give Cablevision “competition” but I say REALLY ram it Cablevision…open the cable market in Morris (and anywhere else Cablevision is) to ALL cable companies with the provision, provide BETTER channels and service for less than Cablevision does. My mom who lives in Essex County has Comcast, so do most of my relatives and they laugh at Cablevision when Mr. Dolan has these “brain farts” he calls ideas about “better service”.
    They don’t go through this with Comcast…EVER. Hey Cablevision/IO…still think you’re The Best…YOU AIN’T. How do you spell relief…Cablevision contract: T-E-R-M-I-N-A-T-E-D.

    JerseyJerry1701

  68. Gregwi says:

    Any technicians/engineers know if the blue screens reading: “An iO Digital Cable Box is now required to view this channel.” are consuming the same bandwidth as would the regularly scheduled analog broadcast?
    If these blue screens are being used to force us away from analog, then this is crazy and probably ILLEGAL and definatly crooked. I doubt that these blue screens being broadcast are reclaiming any bandwidth. Maybe some audio bandwidth? but definatly not the video.
    I am tempted to fire up my spectrum analyzer and check these bastards…

  69. EFIGGY says:

    Cablevision or “Cable Crap” is the absolute worst cable company in the entire history oF telecommunications, bar none…

    I work For Time Warner Cable overseeing sales activity in our primary company payment center in New York City and I sadly reFerred many cable subscribers to Cablevision when they were not in our service Foot print thinking they were just like us… what a mistake!

    Cablevision’s internet is great, give the devil its due because Optimum Online is great and the 15 mbps they give subs is awesome… Optimum Voice sucks and the core service Optimum Video is just horrible! I actually watch less TV now that I pay For it then I did when I had courtesy For Free, which just goes to show that Cable Crap’s channel lineup is terrible or that I am an idiot For paying For this crap!

    I recently moved to New Jersey where my cable services provider is Cable Crap and I was pretty happy because I thought they were similar to Time Warner.. boy, was I wrong!

    Cable Crap has lied to me, insulted me and my intelligence, and ripped me oFF on pricing/promotions. They are just a terrible company. Regarding the young lady who posted above claiming she works For Cablevision, I know two Cablevision employees and they outright admit the company lies to customers all the time regarding billing, promotions, etc… so you have clearly been drinking the company kool-aid too long to know whats right and wrong. Cablevision does not even trust their customer service reps to do anything, they are simply there are gloriFied receptionists and transFer the calls to sales or whatever other department Cablevision trusts to do their credits and rectiFications. IF you look at the way Cablevision handles business dissagreemtns with Best Buy, Time Warner Cable, ABC, and other companies, the way they lie and treat customers is their corporate culture so I believe most CSRs who are teling subs that they require a digital converter to obtain programming in 2009 due to the digital transition really believe that to be the truth as Cablevision more than likely trains them to say that and believe that to be the truth, scumbags!

    The digital transition has nothing to do with subs being required to obtain a digital converter. The reason cable companies want it to happen is to conserve bandwidth, carry more channels to increase revenue For the company, and to bundle customers onto triple and quad play packages. Any company claiming that you need a cable converter or worst yet a digital converter is Full oF crap (Cable Crap) because only over the air broadcast (non-cable or non-satellite customers) users will be TV-less in 2009 but everyone else will be ok to go no matter what channel package or converter they have or utilize…

    Figgy

  70. heystupid says:

    both of these cablevision representatives are dumb and have no idea what they are talking about, I am a sales rep for cablevision, and they are moving analog channels to digital to clear up bandwith so we can add more channels. For every 1 analog channel that goes digital, it clears up space to add 4 more channels. So if you can multiply if 10 analog channels go digital then you got 40 more channels in your cable package. This transition has nothing at all to do with what the FCC is doing next February. Cablevision is the only company that gives out 1 free box, having tv is a luxury, if you want it you have to pay for it, if not then put a big antenna on your roof and enjoy channels 2-13. Later stupid.

  71. Anonymous says:

    This is what just happened to me. I have 4 televisions and one box. Of course the TV with the box gets all the channels in my package. My other TV’s got a nice range of channel. Last week my box would not work. I called Cablevision and they said I needed a new box. Yesterday a new box was installed and now I have lost many favorite channels for the TV’s without boxes. The problem to me is how this was handled. I received no warning. I am definitely looking for another service. Michael

  72. fcastro says:

    Mfer’s we just got the slicing of the channels today in NJ. I was contemplating jumping to FIOS but needed a box for every tv so cable was the cheapest bet, but now thats no longer the case.