Comcast "Upgrades" Signal, Drives Loyal Customer To DirecTV

The cable television business model is, in essence, very simple. We consumers pay the cable company. They zap programming to our eyeballs, and we send them money. One longtime customer was happy to exchange about $60 every month for access to a little bit of TV. Then Comcast transitioned to a digital signal, and everything just went to hell.

Nominally, my cable bill is $59 a month. For this price, I faithfully mail checks to Comcast and they allow me to see a few local channels, a little CNN, Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. No HBO, no HD, nothing really exciting. The price seems high, but I like to watch a little television and I like to avoid hassle.

Things went well for ten years. Then Comcast decided to force a digital “upgrade” upon all customers.

I was told that I would need a few digital converter boxes, and I ordered them online.

I was given a date by which to have them installed. Imagine my surprise when Comcast turned off the channels and all I could watch was C-Span prior to that date. C-Span is exciting, but not quite as exciting as Animal Planet. There may have been a couple of other dreadful channels available to me but the point is – the cable I was accustomed to watching (and still paying $59 for) was turned off.

So, I began connecting the 12″ by 24″ ancient-looking digital converter boxes. Only two worked. The one I saved for last – the one in the room I watch the most TV – was an electronic brick. Nothing would cause the cable box to activate. Online help was useless.

I called Comcast customer service two nights in a row and got nowhere. Eventually someone called me and said she would walk me through a troubleshooting process. Before I could touch a thing she said “wait, I can see from here that the problem is with the box, there’s nothing we can do.” Well, it was really, really charming to have my dinner interrupted so Comcast could tell me they were wasting our mutual time with a useless phone call. She suggested I visit the local office and pick up a new box if I did not want to wait a week to have one shipped to my house and abandoned on my porch. (Incidentally – this representative gave me two different last names for herself; if they’re going to invent a name for interacting with the public, consistency would be nice.)

When the weekend came (a week without cable – by my reckoning, I’ve wasted $15) I waited in a very long line. I exchanged the cable box I had for an even larger and uglier box. (If I had wanted to have to use boxes to access television, I would have gone to DirectTV or Dish years ago – and I still intend to.)

I took the box home and activated it according to the instructions on the packaging – and the activation failed. Of course! What was I thinking? A few activation attempts later (and with a switch from telephone-based activation to online activation), I finally had a few channels.

I had terrible functionality – changing channels required a several-second lag between pressing the remote control buttons and the picture onscreen actually changing. And, even better – when I turned off the TV, the video disappeared but the audio lingered for a few seconds. It was almost like having a haunted TV – it was cute for Halloween, but it became old.

So, at long last, I had video and audio on my primary TV with which to enjoy the few shows I have time to watch. To the extent that “enjoying TV” involves never changing channels, or waiting extremely patiently as the cable box tries to catch up to my channel-changing requests.

Happily ever after? In no way, means or shape. Comcast sent my bill with a $19.95 Change of Service Fee tacked on, as a token of their appreciation for my patience at dealing with the utterly crapulent service issues of the past month. An extra twenty bucks, which I assume I do owe them for the many evenings I spent curled up with a warm laptop, logged onto my account, parsing explanations of my problem into extremely small words for the benefit of their offshore customer service representatives. I mean, a movie in the theaters costs nearly half that, and you only get two hours of entertainment; I spent at least ten hours on The Great Digital Bait and Switch and my cost breaks down to an expense of only $2 per hour. Comcast cable – what a fantastic entertainment value!

I called customer service and asked why I was assessed a $20 fee, when I had made no request to them for a change in cable; they simply asked me to make changes to accommodate their system and I complied. I was told the fee was because a technician had been dispatched to upgrade me. I don’t remember having a visitor at my house at 9:00 that first night – surely I would have noticed. Then, I was told that the technician had to make a change on their system to allow me to receive digital services. Since I was being involuntarily upgraded, the very least Comcast could have done would have been to make this clear in advance that my bill was going to go up 33%. I mean, $65 (after taxes) for a little bit of cable TV went to $85 without warning. Isn’t that a little bit unpleasant?

Customer service told me the $20 fee was unchangeable. I asked to speak with a supervisor, and I was assured that I would receive a call back that night. Shocker – zero calls! Comcast, very exactly, did not keep their word. They simply said whatever was necessary to get me off of the line and to keep the volume at their call center down.

I’ve spent the past hour on DirectTV’s website, designing my ideal cable package. And it really is ideal – I can get whole-house DVR service, where I can record my shows in one place and watch them on any TV in the house. And my friends, all happy DirectTV subscribers, have been showing me how I can use my cell phone to send instructions to the DVR – that way, I can update my show-recording information when I’m away from home. And it’s going to cost me a lot less. It’s a shame it took a decade for me to realize what a mistake I was making with Comcast…

Oh, and “We_Can_help@comcast.com”? You really can’t and don’t. Not when your version of helping requires me to be at my house in front of my TV between the hours of 8 and 5, and my job requires me to be elsewhere. I can’t afford to miss work just to babysit the television.

Price hikes, fees for the price hikes, and phantom technicians: some upgrade. Baffling. If even the much-vaunted Twitter team can’t help, things are horribly, horribly wrong in Comcastlandia.

No Value in Comcast [atwhatpricetv] (Thanks, Josh!)

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  1. TuxthePenguin says:

    DirectTV is great and all… until you have problems. Then you get to wait for them because you can’t just up and cancel like most cable plans. You’re locked into a contract with them.

    You’ve just gone from one evil to another evil. At least you’ll get more cookies from the new evil.

    • dpeters11 says:

      I don’t know about Comcast, but the benefit with Dish and DirecTV is that there are very strong user communities out there, that generally can at least get the problem narrowed down if not solved pretty quickly.

      And with cable, sure you can cancel without a contract, but what are your other options? Satellite, Internet, over the air or maybe the phone company. Most people don’t have access to multiple cable companies.

    • Griking says:

      I also never had to have a tree removed from my yard in order to get reception from a cable company.

      The grass isn’t always greener people.

    • balthisar says:

      I recently switched from DirecTV to Dish, and guess what? I didn’t have a contract with DirecTV. I’d been with them since 1997. I also don’t have a contract with AT&T né Cingular. Sure, I now have a contract with Dish, but who the hell cares? My track record with companies typically goes long, long past short, little, two-year contracts.

      (I had no problems with DirecTV; the switch was because Dish had a *lot* more foreign language channels that I need for other household members.)

  2. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    This is precisely why we got rid of cable. Direct TV is a great service. We did have them for quite a while. Our price ended up going waaay up after a while though. Now, we just hook a laptop up to our TV and stream. We also use Netflix streaming.

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      I’m facing that price increase next month. I’m tempted to pay them the termination fees and go online too. I have to sell the wife though. It seems like we watch OTA channels mostly anyways. I do have 1.5 dozen episodes from SyFy I haven’t had a chance to watch recorded…

    • Kevin411 says:

      I just left DirecTV because I can’t get their HD service due to trees blocking the satellite view (that don’t block the old satellites). Otherwise, I’ve been happy enough with them and without Comcast for 10+ years. I now have Apple TV, which streams tons of Netflix OD programming I enjoy ($9 a month), an OTA antenna for all the local and network shows (free), and access to iTunes movie and tv rentals (PPV) and my own libraries (free). Plus, my BluRay player is online with YouTube (free), Amazon On Demand (PPV) and Hulu (free) or HuluPlus ($10) if we decide we need it. All-in-all for our viewing habits, we just cut the cost in half while upgrading to HD programming. (Total equipment investment under $300 including AppleTV, BluRay, cables and antenna.)

      Bonus: AT&T wanted $47 for their residential top-tier Fast Access 6.0 internet service only (I dropped the landline!). I asked on the phone if there were any new customer discounts or anything I could look into and she said I could commit for a year and get it for $25 a month (unadvertised deal!). I now have a consistent 5500 kbps download speed to fuel the system, which is faster and cheaper than I used to pay. Combined with dropping satellite, I’m paying at least $60 less per month for internet and TV, and both are improved.

      Goodbye, big boys…until you buy out Netflix or something awful like that.

  3. robocop is bleeding says:

    I’m starting to get a bit fed up with Comcast as well. Our Comcast TiVo box is starting to not record programs “for an unknown reason” with a disturbing regularity. This does not go over well with my wife. We have a 4 month old and her window to watch her theoretically recorded shows is pretty small – Imagine her despair when she finds out her show didn’t even record!

    Oh, and there is a $70 phantom charge on my account that nobody has been able to explain to me.

  4. Jimmy60 says:

    Many people, when first switching from analog to digital, complain about the slow channel changes. It’s just the nature of digital. A digital signal is just a stream of ones and zeros. The receiver has to find a starting point to synchronize with. This can take some time although most boxes change quite quickly.

    • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

      “Several seconds” is excessive for that. Sometimes my channel changes take a second or two, but it sounds like his wait is unusual, and in need of fixing.

    • EarlNowak says:

      My tivo (Series 3) can change digital channels in half a second. It’s basically imperceptible.

      The problem is the required comcast digital boxes are cheaply made, with cheap software, so it takes time to lock on to the carrier. A well made digital tuner doesn’t need several seconds.

      • cluberti says:

        Agreed. I have a Series 4 TiVo and the only delay with the cablecard+tuning adapter setup is when switching to or between premium channels (Showtime, movie channels, etc). Otherwise, the change is less than half a second, which is faster than the cable box from Time Warner the TiVo replaced.

      • erinpac says:

        Perhaps some of it is whatever encoding they are using? For a few local channels which are digital and not encrypted the change is barely slower than analog.
        For 99% of the channels that are encrypted now, it takes at least 10 seconds to change channels, and then the audio comes in another 10-20 seconds after that. It’s enough that I needed to change all my recordings to start 5 minutes earlier so the garbage at the start is no loss.

        However, the OP is about par for the course. It took me about 3 months to get my channels working again after the “upgrade” and I lost On Demand entirely and still have a few less channels than before, at a higher price with the charge for equipment. Comcast sucks.
        I wish there was another viable option for internet here; no point in moving the TV if I can’t change that.

    • Alvis says:

      I don’t think you’re fully grasping the issue.

      I can change channels with my OTA HDTV setup with zero delay – it’s not inherent to digital transmission.

  5. psikic says:

    “When the weekend came (a week without cable – by my reckoning, I’ve wasted $15) I waited in a very long line.”

    I guess I missed something. Why wouldn’t the OP have moved one of the boxes from a secondary TV to the primary TV, so he/she could watch TV, and then worry about replacing the broken box in his/her spare time? How can you say you have a week without cable when you had two TVs that worked?

    • JoeTheDragon says:

      The secondary comcast boxes suck and they get less channels then the full starter line up. And in the chicago area they don’t even get old analog channels like CSN +.

      We_Can_help@comcast.com was not able to fix that no they just wanted you to call up and pay more for the full sized boxes.

  6. wrbwrx says:

    Comcastic! xfinity! Craptacular!

  7. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    Your DirecTV bill may be small now – just wait. Your 1 year special pricing will run out with 1 year left in your contract. And don’t forget it will cost you another 5-10% more every year – much like Comcrap.

    BTW, if *their* equipment breaks, *You* will have to pay to get *their* defective product fixed or replaced. And Direct may find it convenient at that time to extend your contract another 1-2 years, without your knowlege, request or approval.

    • webweazel says:

      I’m curious…. Can you buy a dish and boxes for satellite online, like eBay or something, and install it yourself? Then tell them to take the contract and shove it and just pay for the service feed? Is this possible?
      How would one go about figuring out what models/brands/types of equipment to buy?

  8. PSUSkier says:

    Holy crap! Comcast actually had a loyal customer still?! Everyone, please remove your hats and hold a moment of silence for the loss of the final loyal Comcast customer. The Mass Exodus is complete.

  9. DanRydell says:

    OP sounds like a drama queen. I’m sure they’ll NEVER have a problem with DirecTV.

  10. TechnicallySpeaking says:

    tl;dr

  11. milrtime83 says:

    Is it just me, or is that story about 10 paragraphs longer than it needs to be?

    I’m also wondering how much more the whole-house DVR DirecTV service is going to cost.

    • thor79 says:

      According to the website, $20/month. that is probably a base fee with an extra fee tacked on for additional receivers beyond a minimum.

      • NeverLetMeDown says:

        Whole home DVR costs $10/month ($3 more than regular DVR). You also pay $5 for each additional box. So, for whole home DVR in four rooms, you pay (4-1)*5+10=$25. To get DVR in one room, and non-DVR in all of the others, you’d pay (4-1)*5+7=$22.

  12. larsdad says:

    I swore years ago that I would never, ever, got back to cable, and I haven’t (this was TWC mind you, but there are rotten to the core as well). We’ve had DirectTV for years and couldn’t be happier…kudos for the switch!!!

  13. Brunette Bookworm says:

    I switched to Dish Network and have more channels and pay half of what I was paying with Comcast. I had the same problem with an older box where you would push remote buttons and nothing would happen right away…then all the buttons you pushed because you thought it wasn’t working would kick in. The ever-increasing costs and the fact that my sound would go out for a few seconds all the time was annoying me. Comcast said it was a problem with my line but other people I talked to in my town but not near me had the same problem with their sound going out so I think it was more than just “my line”.

    The refund for the rest of my Comcast bill more than paid for my first month of Dish.

  14. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I’m with him – the converter box thing with Comcast is 1980s technology. The remote signal is terrible with slow reaction time. The functionality is laughable.

    Comcast doesn’t want my business.

  15. cashxx says:

    I had comcast for years going through college and stuff and had it transferred into my name after roomies moved out and it started at $75 a month for 2 HD and Digital Preferred package I think.

    In about 3 years or so it went up to $105. My one bedroom rent was going from $640 to $700. So I said the hell with this, I dropped comcast and bought a house and now I am paying Dish $65 and my mortgage is $749.

    But now Dish is doing the same thing, my bill was up to $95 and I got online and pushed it down to there basic package after looking at the channels I watch. My bill now is at $65 I think.

    But they are all a bunch of crooks, I don’t know if its the networks causing this or what. But its such a pain to get one channel you really want you have to get the best package they offer. The charging of the rent of the boxes, I’d rather buy the box out for $200 instead of paying a rent for it for 10 years. Or set a price for the box and charge me to rent the box until its paid for, that would probably be the best plan.

    Charging for HD is stupid, did people get charged going from b/w to color?? Dish doesn’t charge for it if you sign for 2 years, but if you are already a customer you have two options. One: Sign up for another 2 years
    Two: Pay a one time fee of $99

    I wish someone would come out with a cable company and just blow all these guys out of the water. Everyone around here thought it would be Verizon coming in with FIOS but all they are doing is matching the prices and doing marketing saying we are better. Same old story again!

  16. Keep talking...I'm listening says:

    I never thought I would be a fan for re-regulation…but deregulation has been a disaster for the cable and airline industries.

  17. FatLynn says:

    I pay Comcast $8.95/month, and when they went to digital signals, I lost most of my channels, but I will keep my plan and just enjoy ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX.

    • mcs328 says:

      You pay 8.95/month to get those channels that are already free, in HD and digital OTA? Does comcast have a better signal then if you switched to regular rabbit ears?

      • louiedog says:

        That is an excellent question. Unless you live far, far away from where they broadcast from, or have obstructions, a person is likely to get much better quality using an antenna than they are from highly compressed cable/satellite channels. A good antenna including mounting hardware (assuming you’re installing it outside) will pay for itself quickly if you’re currently only paying for the broadcast networks.

        • Speak says:

          I live less than 50 miles from 2 different sources of on-air TV (1 north, 1 south), but since the digital switch I can’t get any of them. The old analog signals had no issue with range and the hills between me & the source, even with rabbit ears inside I could get several channels. The only digital signals I can get is from a local small city’s independent channel and the local PBS. If I had a 200ft antenna, then I could pull in the signals from the cities further away. Of course an antenna this size would require zoning changes for my property. This is the only reason I still have cable in my house.

    • barty says:

      Here’s the irony of ironies….

      Comcrap in our area still offers analog service, albeit at no price advantage to digital cable. I guess as part of their recent tier restructuring, we lost a couple of channels on digital cable, ESPN being one of them. Interestingly enough, we still get it on analog cable. I unplugged the converter box, and on top of getting all of the channels I paid for again, I also get about half a dozen channels in HD that I would have had to pay a premium for to get with digital cable! Absolutely ridiculous!

      TV service has just become such an absolute crock over the past 15 years as the FCC, FTC, and SEC have turned a blind eye to all of these cable company mergers that have destroyed competition in the market.

  18. davidsco says:

    SOMEONE has to pay for their advertising. It’s Comcastic!

  19. Jozef says:

    Comcast has forced me to switch to digital, too, and I found that it decreased my TV viewing habits from an average of 2 hours per day to about 20 minutes. As the customer profiled, I also had to go through the ordeal of finding my box not working, having to go to the store, wait in line forever, and get another box. That one, however, did work. At this point, it’s the nature of digital that drives me away from my TV:

    1. The channel changes take about a second or two. Compared with instant changes on analog, that’s a whole lot of time, and totally detrimental to channel surfing.

    2. Even when watching a channel, at irregular intervals I get a “buffering” effect – the screen and sound freeze, then the screen goes dark and gets restored after a second or two. That’s a lot of time when watching sports, and very annoying when it happens about once every two minutes.

    3. Because I cannot channel surf anymore, I actually have to make an informed decision what to watch. For that, the digital TV listing is perfect. It also lets me find out that there’s absolutely nothing on TV. Often, I turn the TV, browse through the listings, find that there’s nothing I’d be interested in (as far as the program description goes), turn off the TV and go do something useful.

    If I didn’t have Comcast Internet that I’ve been relatively happy with, I’d cancel my TV service altogether. Now it serves just to get a cheaper TV/Internet bundle.

  20. lehrdude says:

    I guest Comcast just doesn’t like holding on to their customers…

    Comcast’s contract with my HOA is expiring at the end of the year. I’m happy with the service that I have been receiving for the last 8 years and decided to give them a call before I met with AT&T UVerse who is taking over the bulk contract in my community to see if there was anything that they could do for me to keep me with Comcast so I didn’t have to switch my Cable/Phone/Internet.

    The Customer Service agent told me that he didn’t know what to do, and I would need to speak to a manager who would call me back…I never got the call. I ended up calling AT&T (which I wasn’t even planning on doing if Comcast made any kind of offer to me) and ended up with a fantastic package with 3 times as much as I am getting now, for less money.

    Buh-Bye Comcast…

  21. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Epicly written.

  22. HalOfBorg says:

    I had much the same reactions. I’ve watched cable TV for what – 40+ years now? And it’s always been so easy. Want to watch 4? Switch to 4. 7? That’s on 5. And so on, but they were like that for EVER and it was EASY.

    Now you gotta do THIS and THAT just to watch TV.

    Got problems? The simplest thing I can suggest is – if you got old splitters – get rid of them. Go to comcast office and get new ones. My numerous problems all but vanished once I did that. Went from pain in the ass to one small error, once so far.

  23. Macgyver says:

    First off, it is the government that is shutting of analog, so you can’t blame Comcast for that, and they been telling people about going digital for almost a year. They did not force him to upgrade.

    If the 2 other boxes were working, why didn’t he just hook one of them up to him primary TV, and then deal with the broken one later?

    Sounds like they gave him the regular cable box. They have a digital converter box that is just a little bigger then the WD live.
    That’s the thing that I hate about the boxes. Why the hell do they have to be that damn big for?

    And, “I’ve spent the past hour on DirectTV’s website, designing my ideal cable package.” DirecTV is satellite, not cable.

    • Alvis says:

      Since when is the government telling private cable systems how to modulate their signals?

      • cluberti says:

        http://www.dtv.gov/consumercorner.html

        “…Congress mandated June 12, 2009 (extended from February 17, 2009) as the last day for full-power television stations in the U.S. to broadcast in analog. Before June 12, 2009, broadcast stations in all U.S. markets were transmitting in both analog and digital. Since June 13, 2009, all full-power U.S. TV stations have been transmitting in digital only.”

        It *is* being mandated by the government.

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      “First off, it is the government that is shutting of analog, so you can’t blame Comcast for that, and they been telling people about going digital for almost a year. They did not force him to upgrade.”

      Two entirely different things. The gov’t shut off analog BROADCAST (i.e. with an antenna) TV. Comcast could certainly continue to deliver cable in analog if it wanted to (by converting those digital broadcast feeds to analog), but it’s choosing to switch all (or almost all) the channels to digital (and hence all the customers) because analog takes up a huge amount of space per channel on Comcast’s system, and they need the room for HD, On-Demand, and Internet capacity.

    • duderonomy says:

      The government forced a switch over-the-air broadcast from analog to digital. They have no domain over cable tv signaling. They’re also not giving all your tax money to welfare queens, planning a merger with the UN, or looking to make the Christian religion illegal.

    • erinpac says:

      Comcast isn’t the same as the over the air digital conversion. Did you not see the hundreds of commercials saying this wouldn’t affect you if you had cable (not that they weren’t going to change things anyhow)? Plus the government certainly didn’t add in the system they are using with the large quality loss and problems with the encryption. Nobody told them even basic channels would have to have a box – they took that opportunity as an excuse.

    • psm321 says:

      As everyone else already told you, this is blatantly untrue. The govt only mandated a switch for OTA broadcast. Comcast chose to go to the stupid digital stuff themselves

  24. Gravitational Eddy says:

    I guess the consumer is finally getting wise to the rip-off.
    Cable TV’s big beef right now is that while some industry analyists are saying that customers are leaving because of rate increases, others aren’t saying anything.
    “Top Five Cable Ops See 500,000+ Cord Cutters
    All pay TV carriers combined see miniscule growth”
    Karl Bode’s piece on BroadbandReports.com is very enlightening. He info’s that cable companies are paying firms like JD Powers and Neilsen for information on customer satifaction (survey type stuff) and those companies are saying “everything’s good to go!” while customers are steadily leaving in larger and larger groups, leaving smaller and smaller profit pools to divide up.

    Kinda sounds like the honeymoon is over, Hollywood. No more free ride on the backs of the consumers. Better have a bonafide “hit” before you drag up how much it will cost to the advertisers.

    forgive me if I rave on here…..

    How about some programming we actually want to pay for?
    No more “real life” reality shows, no more “talent shows on ice” crapola.
    And I don’t care WHO you get to dance onscreen, I ain’t paying any more money for that garbage, even if they dance naked. ( wait…I might actually pay for that.)
    And please, don’t even try to tempt me with another “show” about survivor types that have to do a scripted “task” …
    I’d like to see some of these people on these shows actually bleed to death.
    Now that’s entertainment.

  25. Dr.Wang says:

    And she thinks DirecTv is going to screw her over less than Comcast? All Satellite is really, is cable TV from the sky. Same old crappy service. Same bad value. Same annual rate hikes, same billing errors, same hidden fees, same high rates for 200 channels of nothing to watch, paying to watch commercials, all round bad experience.

    The only winning move is not to play. Shut off cable TV and get high speed internet, about 9mpbs or faster, get Netflix, watch TV online, and install a decent TV antenna.

  26. mstrmike says:

    I’m a Comcast customer, after we were traded to them from Time Warner. I use a cable box in my living room and I use an old cable ready analog set in my bedroom. With the analog signal I can receive some of the channels I enjoy, but it is getting “improved” every few months by dropping channels on the analog lineup. They’re whittling away channels like MSNBC, Cartoon Network, and others to open up extra bandwidth on the digital side. They haven’t announced the full changeover yet, but it is as inevitable as the annual rate increase.
    One thing that gave a moments hope a few years ago was the legislation that was supposed to allow you to buy your own cable box. Evidently the only time they’re willing to do that is after your box has been stolen or destroyed in a fire.
    Competition is supposed to be the magic key that will drIve down prices and increase options for the consumer, but whenever a real competitor might rear their head, they get bought out. Everyone is allowed to protect their turf, with consumers paying the way.

  27. louiedog says:

    I had nothing but great service from Comcast for years. Except for one bad cable modem that died after a year (these things happen), I had no problems. They were always great on the phone, they came the day after I ordered service, let me talk them into keeping my introductory rate several times, were quick to come back out when I moved, waived all install fees, etc.

    I attribute it all to my old local office. When I moved across the country the new people were awful. I moved in and called to ask about setting up service. It took 10+ minutes just to get the info I wanted because the sleazy guy on the phone kept trying to sell me on service and upgrades that I didn’t want. Finally I was able to get him to tell me how quickly I could get an appointment for an install in my already wired building. The answer was over two weeks. Two weeks to have someone deliver a box and connect a cable in the basement of my building. My neighbors already had cable. In fact, I watched a Comcast install happen while I was moving in. It took 5 minutes. I could understand two weeks if I needed them to wire a house for the first time and they needed a couple of hours, but that wasn’t the case.

    I went with the DSL provider. I was online two days later and am paying a fraction of what I would have been because I picked up a Netflix subscription and use Hulu for current season TV.

  28. Starfury says:

    I had analog Comast for years and they were slowly dropping channels from the line up and pushing for digital ($20/mo more) so we dumped them for Dish. Haven’t had a problem with them at all and pay same for 3x the channels that Comcast would give us.

  29. yzerman says:

    It would be really nice if the major networks & sports just got together and got behind online TV so we could cut this BS out and stop having to go through comcast, direct TV, etc.. as their service is horrible and I just want to do what I can do with Hulu.

  30. jparishMN says:

    I have been having similar problems with Comcast myself. I got rid of Comcast a couple years ago, because they kept giving me defective DVRs (3 actually…had to return all three myself). They even scheduled a service appointment but did not show up. So I gave up Comcast, but still had the basic cable package for free through my condo association. About a month ago, Comcast informed us we needed these stupid boxes in order to continue getting service. They informed us that they were going to have a community install for the entire building, but we could go ahead of time and get the boxes ourselves and install them ourselves. I attempted to do this, but of course the main box in my living room would not activate, despite repeated attempts calling Comcast “customer service.” So I decided to wait until the community install, and let them install it. I got home last night, and of course the new box they “installed” was not working. They didn’t even bother checking to make sure it was working before they left. So I got on the phone with Comcast last night and spent an hour and a half spinning my wheels. They even hung up on me once, they transferred me 5 times at one point without telling the person they were transferring me to what the issue was (so I had to explain the situation over and over). I even got lectured by someone in their “business and commercial” division because of my short temper by the point (why they transferred me to business and commercial I still don’t understand). I finally got a local repair tech who scheduled a service appointment for this Saturday.

    To say that Comcast is one screwed up company is obvious.

  31. rndmnmbr says:

    I cut the cable completely. Tore down my Dish Network dish, did not put up an antenna. Picked my TV up, drove to Goodwill, made a donation.

    I’ve got enough media to hold my attention forever, even without movies and TV. What little television offers that I care about I can torrent and watch on my very nice 30″ monitor. It’s just not worth the price.

  32. Kingsley says:

    That was an entertaining read. I’m facing this exact thing from Comcast, so we shall see. I have a legacy analog system that isn’t much but I’ve been happy with it, like “atwhatpricetv”.

    I have no other dish/directTV options in my apartment building. I might up and quit. (My internet is from the phone company.)

  33. Kingsley says:

    That was an entertaining read. I’m facing this exact thing from Comcast, so we shall see. I have a legacy analog system that isn’t much but I’ve been happy with it, like “atwhatpricetv”.

    I have no other dish/directTV options in my apartment building. I might up and quit. (My internet is from the phone company.)

  34. canaguy says:

    Sounds like so many ‘customer service’ stories that are happening over and over……I have never accepted the logic of paying so much more which makes us work more hours to use less entertainment, less often.
    Here in Vancouver, BC area, the cable provider is keeping pace with service so far…….but the at a cost that is getting ridiculously high.
    I’m up to $65 for full cable and $35 for fast internet. HDTV is much more, as is extra specialty channels.

  35. canaguy says:

    Sounds like so many ‘customer service’ stories that are happening over and over……I have never accepted the logic of paying so much more which makes us work more hours to use less entertainment, less often.
    Here in Vancouver, BC area, the cable provider is keeping pace with service so far…….but the at a cost that is getting ridiculously high.
    I’m up to $65 for full cable and $35 for fast internet. HDTV is much more, as is extra specialty channels. But with the internet comes great savings……..Netflix, etc and cheap VOIP telephone access ($9/month)

  36. BlkSwanPres says:

    Don’t do direc, go Dish Network

  37. CoachTabe says:

    When Comcast switched to all-digital, we also had to go the converter box route. We received two small boxes – like 4″ x 4″. The first one worked perfectly after setup. The second one required a phone call that lasted about 90 seconds after which it worked perfectly. The channel-surfing on those TVs is very fast and at no time did we lose any channels. Seemed very easy to me, no drama at all.

  38. duncanblackthorne says:

    The OP’s story is not unique, it’s pretty much the same thing I went through with Comcast. I have TiVo, so it just complicated matters, I wasn’t even sure either box would work with TiVo so I ordered the standard box and one of the DTA’s. I went through two of the standard boxes, neither worked, ended up with the DTA, and Comcast tried to charge the daylights out of me for things I was told I wouldn’t be charged for. Luckily I kept printouts and letters sent to me and forced them to reverse the extra charges. However Comcast can’t find it’s ass with both hands, they still tried to make me buy one of the boxes that didn’t work because they claimed they never received it back — even though I used their own shipping boxes and UPS return labels to send them back! Comcast sucks, if I had another choice I’d change in a heartbeat, but until I move elsewhere I have no other choices. Feels bad, man.

  39. CPC says:

    Comcast, Xfinity, or whatever the heck they are now, is all digital now locally. Everywhere I go, restaurants, gyms, bars, etc, the old analog TVs have a little converter box hooked up. Even some new HDTVs have a digital converter box! These people don’t realize how much they’re being ripped off. The only good thing about it is that their nice big HDTVs are in HD now, instead of stretched-out, blurry analog. Of course, I’ve been digital forever with DirecTV and my antenna.

  40. combs1945 says:

    I am fed up with comcast. I pay $145 to have internet and I own 2 tivos. I’m pulling the plug and paying $60 for their ripoff internet and going to stream everything via a media center pc. I’m going to save $1000 a year. I don’t understand why we have to pay $1000 extra a year for them to advertise to us? Where did this model go wrong? I only want to pay for what I eat, I don’s need 5000 calories a day I only need 1200. I don’t need a cafateria plan.