Comcast Says Lightning Caused Emergency Alert System To Show QVC

Remember Jim? His Comcast cable box randomly responded to the emergency alert system (EAS) by tuning in to QVC. According to a source inside Comcast, rogue lightning strikes set off the EAS, even though there wasn’t an emergency. Two things happen when the EAS activates: the cable box switches to a local channel, and Comcast replaces the local programming with an alert. In Jim’s case, the box switched to the emergency channel—which happened to be QVC—but since there wasn’t an emergency, there was no special broadcast. So what can you do next time your cable box independently declares an emergency?

Call it in!

If they have digital cable and their box flips channels on it’s own for no reason (or says EAS on the front, if they have a model of box with an LED on the front), or if the channel randomly changes for no reason, they can call in and say hey, my EAS doesn’t work, and we can try and correlate an issue with the local video engineering folks.

Most people don’t bother to call the company, but that’s the first step towards fixing any Comcast problem. If that still doesn’t resolve the issue, then contact our Tipline, the FCC, or start tweeting—but always call first.

PREVIOUSLY: Comcast: In Case Of Emergency, Remain Calm, Watch QVC
(Photo: Elsie esq.)

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.