This past summer, Time Warner Cable introduced a new DVR service to subscribers. The New York Observer noted at the time that some of the changes–namely the “Start Over” feature that lets you watch something from the beginning even if you just switched to it–were nice. At least one customer, however, doesn’t agree. In fact, now that he’s given the revamped service a 4-month trial run, he’s ready to list the problems with it, some of which sound suspiciously anti-consumer. [More]
TiVo may not have treated Lee right, taking him for granted and unfairly billing him while cutting off his lifetime service. Maybe it even slept around with cocktail waitresses and D-list reality show stars. But TiVo stopped dragging its feet once Lee told us his story. [More]
Lee’s TiVo saga is enough to scare you off from gift cards and lifetime service subscriptions from the company. It’s a long, not easily summarized tale, but as things stand now, Lee is without service, stuck with an unwarranted $97.64 charge and has a gift card that won’t work. [More]
Over a year ago, Michael didn’t want TiVo service anymore, and he called them to cancel. This would have been a perfectly reasonable request. The problem, he tells Consumerist, is that TiVo refuses to acknowledge his multiple cancellations, and now won’t let him call and try canceling again until he pays the balance that has accrued since his credit card expired.
Reader Tim is canceling TiVO and going with the Comcast DVR and was presented with a retention deal that he was able to resist. Why? Because $299.99 – $100 doesn’t equal $249.99.
TiVo customers have a few different choices when paying for their service plans. The one that’s gamble of sorts is the “lifetime” plan, which includes service for the entire life of your device and currently costs $399. Lifetime service is technically transferable when a TiVo is replaced under warranty, but Nate discovered a new feature: a new $150 fee to transfer service from the original DVR to the replacement.
Sam emailed us with a complaint about TiVo: he says the customer service rep wants to charge him $50 to repair a defective HDMI port on his 5-month-old TiVo HD DVR. Sam can’t understand why he’d have to pay an additional, uncategorized fee when his box is still under warranty. We checked out the warranty details and called TiVo, and it looks like it’s a flat fee (the TiVo rep we spoke with said it was $49) that covers the cost of replacing the unit entirely—in other words, TiVo isn’t going to repair just the port and send it back to you. Note that this only covers boxes outside the first 90 days. If you’re still in the first 90 day window, replacement is free.
A bunch of different technological options to help you eliminate cable — from Apple TV and the XBOX 360 to just hooking a computer to your flat screen. [CNET]
Feature Films For Families—the company that’s been phone-spamming random people over the past few weeks—follows no man’s law! The nonprofit Smart Television Alliance, which works to educate parents on how to improve the television experience for kids*, discovered that the company was using its name without permission.
Reader Mike reports he got screwed buying a used TiVo off eBay. It turned out 1) It would need a new $20 access card for DirecTV to activate it and 2) DirecTV wouldn’t authorize sending a new access card because the box was linked to a defaulted account. The lesson Mike says he learned is that, “If anyone plans on buying any used DirectTV equipment make sure you call DirectTV with the Serial Number and RID number off the unit BEFORE you purchase it to make sure it’s not coming from a defaulted account. If not, you chance buying an electronic brick.” This is true when buying other used electronic service items with service contracts linked to them, like cellphones.
In the era of sports Tivoing, Starbucks baristas are powerless to avoid having the game ruined by thoughtless, chatty customers… or are they? Apparently, one Boston-area barista is fighting back. Do think this worked?
When Dean recorded HBO’s new Tom Hanks-produced miniseries “John Adams”—which is not a pay-per-view or on-demand program—he was surprised to see it was flagged by Tivo’s Macrovision software, which controls how many times you may watch a program and how long you can store it before it’s automatically deleted. Now the question is, was this a mistake on the part of HBO or Dean’s cable provider Comcast? Or—considering HBO’s infamous anti-consumer stance on time-shifted programming—is it the beginning of a sneaky “back-door” approach to locking down all their content, something Tivo’s own people said would probably not happen when they added Macrovision to their recorders in 2004?
Tivo has announced that E-Trade’s talking, trading, barfing baby was the most watched ad by Tivo subscribers during the Super Bowl, followed by the Pepsi spot where Justin Timberlake got hit in the crotch, followed by the Doritos ad where a giant mouse wailed on a man eating chips. Tivo “sampled 10,000 households using anonymous, second-by-second audience measurement data” to come up with the rankings.
TiVo says that you will soon have the privilege of paying Comcast an extra $2.95 a month for TiVo service (on top of what you already pay for a DVR).
“We are very excited by the emphasis that Comcast has placed on this product within its organization and their plans to aggressively market it at a $2.95 up-charge as well as through packaged bundles and win-back offers,” Rogers said. “Further, we are pleased with Comcast’s plans to promote and market the value of the TiVo experience, which will leverage many of their marketing assets including cross-channel TV.”
Now you don’t need to get special tender loving escalation to enjoy the same solution as Charlie of Charter Decides To Care That Reader Can’t Watch Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares fame. Reader Mangopants had the same problem where he couldn’t watch a specific channel. He writes, “After 5 months, 60+ calls to Charter (not exaggerating) and 3 visits from technicians I finally got a supervisor visit this site and read this article and the related problem article – she sent a “CCV Hit” to my box – fixed the problem right up!” A little Googling shows it’s the reset code for premium channels and it’s not just for Charter, “CCV Hit” works for other with other cable companies and on other DVRs.
Most companies with recurring services have a group of shiny sphincters known as the retention department, but doing battle with them and knowing how they operate can get your monthly bill reduced. They’re also sometimes called the “saves” department, because they’re supposed to “save” you from leaving for another company. Here’s how Jonathan recently turned the Tivo retention department to his advantage:..
NBC makes many of its popular shows available online in streaming media, which means that fans can watch episodes on their computers. Under the new NBC service, called NBC Direct, consumers will be able to download, for no fee, NBC programs like “Heroes,” “The Office” and “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” on the night that they are broadcast and keep them for seven days. They would also be able to subscribe to shows, guaranteeing delivery each week.