Tags: comcast

Babylon 5

Two Hanukkahs ago, I had bought my sister's family all 5 seasons of Babylon 5 because they were on sale at Worst Buy for $19.95 per season. After a lot of hassles (including the fact that several weren't in, then came in but they didn't call me to tell me they were in, then informing me of their arrival 2 months after Hanukkah), I got them for a total of $90.

Over the past five weeks, I've re-watched the entire series. It had its moments back then. It still is pretty good now.

That being said, I'm going to finish watching The Prisoner and then get into the M. Appeal episodes of The Avengers. After that, since I just found the converter box for my TV, I may look into seeing if I can get the converter box to work with my TV so I can rid myself of the lack of service called Comcast.

Comcast, part 4

Somehow I'd been reminded of the fact that I had not heard back from corporate with regards to the channels which didn't have the "we're being converted to digital" crawl back through September, so I decided to try sending a note to the person in Philadelphia and local "customer service" to find out why I'd not heard anything about the two missing channels. This morning, while making breakfast, I got a call from a Ms. Callahan (sorry if the spelling is incorrect, I'm using the spelling made famous by a bar in song and story). I explained the whole rigamarole again, and she promised me I'd hear something by the end of business Tuesday.

This evening, while listening to A Prairie Home Companion, Ms. Callahan called back and told me that I was never supposed to have had the channels above 28, including Weather and TBS, which were the two I'd complained about. She offered me the $29.95 for six months deal to get expanded basic cable, after which time the rate would jump to $57.75. Thank you no, I said, but at least I got an answer where corporate couldn't give me one after nearly six months.

Oh well, I guess there'll be a lot of stuff I'll be missing. I'm almost at the point now where I might be better off disconnecting the cable service, but I'd lose a few things like NBC and CBS. I guess I could switch and see some of the stuff I'd be missing on the computer......

And I do have all those DVDs I've not watched yet...........

Thank you for having the professionalism to get back to me as quickly as you did, Ms. Callahan.

Comcast, Part 3

True to its word, Comcast completed the conversion of all the channels above 28 to digital today. However, I found a problem with their conversion. See, for the past 4 months, at irregular intervals, you'd see a "crawl" in red at the top of the screen which warned that this channel (or that channel) would be going digital and would no longer be part of the limited basic package I was getting (which, as I'd explained before, went from $8.95 a month to the now $20.95 + tax I'm paying). However, two of the channels did not have the crawl going on them - The Weather Channel and TBS (aka Channel 17 for those who get it on its normal channel). Well, imagine my surprise when I found that all the channels were gone, including Weather and TBS. When I called Comcast to complain about this, I was told that they were indeed converted to digital, at which point I asked, "Then why wasn't the display put on these channels?" No answer.

Now get this: in order to get back the second PBS channel here in town (Public Broadcasting System, a free channel, supposedly), I'd have to get a "free" converter box and for the one channel pay an additional $4.00 a month (for a FREE channel!). Now, if I wanted to maintain the channels I've been getting since something like 2002, I'd have to jump to about $30.00/month now, and to $73.00/month in six months. Thank you, but NO! What this means for me is that I will not find out if either of the Voltaggio brothers or the Atlanta chef win Top Chef tomorrow (unless I can convince my sister to record it on her TiVo for me), no more of The Closer on TV (thank goodness it's available online), etc., I won't go through the whole litany.

I told the customer service representative and his supervisor, both of whom were pleasant, that I was not happy with the fact that I finally lost all the channels (and why couldn't they digitize some of the channels I find offensive, like the ones that say that in order to go to heaven I must become an apostate to my faith and follow someone's cult, or how about HSN and QVC, both of which I still get?), but that I was unhappy with the violation of the Truth in Advertising Act (in that The Weather Channel and TBS, which never indicated their upcoming conversion to digital, were converted). I also told the supervisor to contact Corporate Customer Service, as this would be put up online.

What this means is that I'll finally start watching all 40+ seasons of Dr. Who which was put on the 500gb external hard drive I bought from someone who'd fallen on hard financial times, plus if I wanted to, I could watch all 10 seasons of Stargate: SG-1.

update: it turns out that the season finale of Top Chef will be in two parts, and my sister will tape them both on her DVR. I'll see them the last day of Hanukkah.

Comcast, Part 2

Well, after the first debacle, I got home today to find the two decoder boxes I was supposed to get. After almost 3 hours on and off with tech support, it was determined that I didn't even need the danged things because I had not requested an upgrade out of basic basic cable. What happened is that evidently for the last lustrum plus, I was getting channels I wasn't supposed to get, which basically was everything about 27. It seems that Comcast had somehow incorrectly programmed me to get those extra channels, from which I learned the joys of Kaga Takeshi, Chen Kenichi, Michiba Rokusaburo, Nakamura Konmei, Morimoto Masaharu, Kobayashi Katsuyo and the like, the Science Fiction Channel (who had used me to advertise it back when it first got started, even though I did not have cable access when it started), Top Chef, the reruns of the Law & Order franchisees I enjoy, The Closer, The 4400, the list goes on and on. Hey, it's not my fault. I thought Comcast was being (dare I say it?) nice.

Well, what it turns out will happen is that as of September 15, 2009, I will be going back to limited basic, which is what I thought I had the last lustrum plus, which means, in New York terms, I'll be getting 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 and 28 (which is what I had back in NY up until our move in 1972). I will only get one public broadcasting channel (which will have to give me my Antiques Roadshow fix). I guess I'll start watching all those DVDs I got (can you say "The Prisoner" and "M. Appeal"?), plus the 40+ seasons of Dr. Who I was given on an external hard drive for my computer.

The funny thing is, Comcast tried to do the right thing after the debacle of a few nights ago with the bogus busted cable box, only for me to find out tonight that I don't need a cable decoder box because I'm not supposed to have the extra channels I've been getting the past lustrum plus. Well, someone is going to pick up three not-so-secret decoder boxes from me sometime in the next week, and as of September 15, I'll be paying for what I should've been getting all along. What does that mean? Well, when The Closer returns, I'll watch it on TNT's website. I won't find out what happens with shows like Iron Chef America or Top Chef. If there are any new oh wow shows on the upper channels, I won't know about them. I'll be getting broadcast TV and that's it. Either that or I'll ask my sister to record my stuff on her TV and load it from a DVR to a VHS (I think they still use VHS).

After all of this, with something like 5 hours on the phone with Comcast, I'm still not happy with Comcast. However, here in Atlanta, if you want TV reception, you have to have cable or dish, and right now, cable is still cheaper for me than any of the dishes.

I'm beginning to not like Comcast!

For the last few weeks, at times during shows on the upper channels, I've been getting a scroll at the bottom of the screen which says I need a digital converter box before September 15 in order to keep getting my signal. Well, after 2 telephone calls to Comcast, one where I was told that I was going to be losing all channels about 27 (which include Food, TNT, and others where I get to see some shows I like) and that if I wanted to keep them, I'd have to get a more expensive plan for either 1 year for $29.95 a month, then $55.75 a month afterwards, or a more expensive plan for 2 years for $29.95 a month, then $39.95 a month afterwards. On the second call, I was told "No, that isn't so." However, I will still need a converter box for each of the 2 TVs in the apartment. Oh, and we're going to give you more channels, to which I said that I just wanted the ones they've been giving me for the past lustrum as part of my basic cable package.

Well, arrangements were made to get the the converter boxes, and they were supposed to arrive today, but to my surprise, only ONE box came. So after dinner, I sat down and started by calling Comcast and ask where's my other converter? There were supposed to be two converters. And then I said I might as well try to install the one you did send. First, it's impossible to read the back of the converter box because the back is silver and the "writing" on the back indicating which connection is which is in, you guessed it, SILVER. Then, I put the cables in the wrong spot, thinking that the antenna out to box in would be where it was on the VCR or the TV but NO, it's the other connection, and it took ten minutes to figure that out.

Well, after putting the correct cable in the correct jack, the TV showed a wonderful shade of black on channel 3 instead of seeing what I guess I should have seen. I tried connecting the cable box directly to the VCR (which leads into the TV) and then directly into the TV (which would cause me to have to go purchase more cables to connect the VCR to the converter box, and if you consider that the DVD plays through the VCR into the TV........). No luck. You see, after nearly 50 minutes on the phone with a technician, it was determined that I was sent a bogus, busted converter box! Now I have to try to arrange for a technician to come and get the bogus busted box while I wait for another shipment of converter boxes.

I am not happy

I presently have cable service with Comcast because here in Atlanta, if you don't have cable, you get one, maybe two channels. I have had the basic cable service now for about 10 years, and have seen the price jump from $8.95 a month to $23.00 a month right now. Well, while watching the Food Network this afternoon, I saw a scroll at the bottom of the screen saying that I would no longer have the upper channels as part of my basic service as of September 15 unless I converted my basic service to digital. Well, I called the phone number on the scroll and found out that my service would increase to $55.75 a month. Then, after waiting over 35 minutes to talk to someone in "video tech support," I hung up and called again. What Comcast is now saying is that I can get a plan that will increase my present price by 50% for 1 year, then have the price jump to $55.75 a month afterwards, or I can get a plan that will increase my present price by 50% for 2 years, then have the price jump to $39.95 a month afterwards. Basically, I'm losing every channel above channel 27 (which was the TV Guide channel until that was taken away). The customer service rep on the second call was empathetic, but said my choice was either to take ABC/CBS/NBC/FOX/PBS (only one of the 2 channels) plus QVC, HSN, and several channels belonging to cults who want me to become an apostate to my faith and become a follower of their brand of Christianity, or to pay more and keep channels like Weather, TLC, TNT, Food, SyFy (which needs to do a more realistic name change, like back to the Sci-Fi Channel), etc. As of right now, I'm ready to lose the channels.

The other bad thing is that I was told that for this reduced service, I would still be paying the same $23.00 a month. I asked, "Why should I pay for reduced service?!" This was similar to what I did with AT&T when they told me I was losing my access to newsgroups (like rec.music.filk) in exchange for "wonderful increased service" (all of which I already had through Yahoo). AT&T had a problem with me saying that I NEEDED access to my newsgroups because that is how I'm keeping up with a lot of people around the world. When AT&T told me that they had checked with their customers and found out this is what they wanted, I asked AT&T, "When did you check with ME?" When AT&T couldn't answer, the powers that be reduced my monthly internet access rate from $42.95 to $18.95 (for a period of six months, but that will get extended when I call back in 5 months and go through this whole rigamarole again).