Trilogy Of Set-Top Terror: Cable Box Horror Stories From Consumerist Readers

Robert S. Donovan

Earlier this week, we asked readers to send in their tales of set-top woe when dealing with their cable and satellite providers. We’ve already received a number of emails and we’re just beginning to sort through them, but here are a couple that caught our eye.

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Do You Have A Cable Box Horror Story? Tell Us All About It

Ryusaisei

Between the FCC’s efforts to reform the set-top box market and the cable industry’s thinly veiled threats of litigation — not to mention divided opinions on the issue on Capitol Hill — the old cable box is a big topic of conversation these days. And while much of the focus has been on the billions of dollars the cable and satellite companies make from monthly lease fees on these devices, we’d like to hear from people who have had to go toe-to-toe with their pay-TV provider over their set-top boxes. [More]

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White House Also Thinks Your Cable Box Rental Fees Stink, Supports FCC’s Plan

The FCC has said it, studies have shown it, even our own bill guides have proven it: you’re paying tons of money every month, on top of your regular bill, to rent your cable box. And you know who thinks that sucks? President Obama and his top advisors, that’s who.

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geetargeek

FCC Votes To Increase Competition For Set-Top Box Market

The FCC voted today to consider chairman Tom Wheeler’s new proposal for shaking up the set-top box market by, well, creating an actual competitive market that consumers have the option to use.

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New TiVo Bolt Will Let You Skip Some Ad Breaks With Push Of A Button (For $150/Year)

New TiVo Bolt Will Let You Skip Some Ad Breaks With Push Of A Button (For $150/Year)

TiVo’s new Bolt DVR has some neat-sounding functions — the ability to skip ad breaks at the press of a button [big asterisk] or speed up what you’re watching by 30% without screwing with the audio — and it’s also 4K compatible and provides an all-in-one portal for access to streaming services like Netflix and Amazon. But it does so, not just at a hefty retail price, but with a subscription requirement that might turn potential customers away. [More]

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Cable Industry Claims Next Generation Of Set-Top Boxes Won’t Use More Electricity Than Refrigerators

Billions of dollars are spent every year providing power to the nation’s cable boxes, much of it consumed when the boxes aren’t being actively used. A group of 15 cable companies and box manufacturers have agreed to changes that will — eventually — save around $1.5 billion each year in electric bills, but some say it’s all just a lot of hot air. [More]

You'll Take The Cable Box Comcast Gives You And You'll Like It

You'll Take The Cable Box Comcast Gives You And You'll Like It

Nancy wants to put a small TV in her kitchen, but there isn’t room for a full ginormous cable box. That’s okay, though: her cable provider, Comcast, makes a special mini box for tiny televisions in tight spaces. The problem is that if you want one, you have to just cross your fingers and hope that the installer happens to have one in their truck that day. You can’t order it, and you can’t even show up at a local Kabletown outpost to pick one up: there’s no guarantee they’ll have one. No, you have to use what your installer shows up with. And you’ll have to like it.

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Cable Boxes Slurp More Electricity Than Refrigerators

Cable Boxes Slurp More Electricity Than Refrigerators

The biggest energy hog in your house is probably sitting right under your TV. That little ol’ set-top box could be using up more electricity in your house than your refrigerator or central air conditioning, according to a new study by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

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Cable Company Asks For Cable Boxes From Alabama Tornado Victims Before Reconsidering

Cable Company Asks For Cable Boxes From Alabama Tornado Victims Before Reconsidering

After tornadoes swept through Alabama last month, killing hundreds of people and ravaging homes, cable company Charter Communications showed its priorities by asking victims to look around for their cable boxes so they could return them, lest they face hefty fines. The cable company later changed course and decided to credit victims for lost or damaged equipment.

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Comcast Charges $2 For You To Deliver Their Cable
Boxes

Comcast Charges $2 For You To Deliver Their Cable Boxes

Comcast may have sent you a shiny new digital cable box for free, but that doesn’t mean that you can give it back for free. If you want to de-clutter your house and bring your box back, you’re going to have to pay up. An anonymous reader tells the Consumerist phone tipline that Comcast charged him $1.99 to take his spare cable boxes off his hands.

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Time Warner Cable: Thanks For Ordering Cable, But We Won't
Have HD Boxes Until June

Time Warner Cable: Thanks For Ordering Cable, But We Won't Have HD Boxes Until June

Reader CJ decided to order cable after not having it for several years. Turns out Time Warner Cable in LA is out of HD cable boxes… until June.

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This Mediacom Cable Box Comes With Invisible Roommate Who Keeps Ordering Porn

This Mediacom Cable Box Comes With Invisible Roommate Who Keeps Ordering Porn

Lesley lives alone, and says that despite what any Mediacom CSRs may think, she hasn’t been consistently ordering adult movies for the past three months.

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Indie Flicks Now Come To Cable Boxes As Soon As They Hit Theaters

Indie Flicks Now Come To Cable Boxes As Soon As They Hit Theaters

It used to be Steven Soderbergh who could get away with bringing indie films to cable on-demand services on their theatrical opening day

Subscriber Sues Comcast For Requiring Customers To Rent Cable Boxes

Subscriber Sues Comcast For Requiring Customers To Rent Cable Boxes

Hate renting set-top boxes from Comcast? So does one San Francisco Comcast subscriber. He’s suing, claiming that the rental fees are far in excess of what the boxes would be worth on the open market.

Comcast: Fire Destroyed Your Cable Box? Pay Up.

Comcast: Fire Destroyed Your Cable Box? Pay Up.

Here’s one more thing to worry about when a fire destroys your home — Comcast.

Man Files Antitrust Suit Against Time Warner Over Forced Cable Box Rentals

Man Files Antitrust Suit Against Time Warner Over Forced Cable Box Rentals

Matthew Meeds of Fairway, Kansas, doesn’t want to pay Time Warner Cable a monthly rental fee for his cable box—he’d rather own one outright. He’s filed suit against the cable provider and its parent company, Time Warner, Inc., accusing them of establishing an illegal tying arrangement by making the box rental a condition of the subscription agreement. He’s seeking class-action status for all TWC premium customers in Kansas.