Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Waiting. . . for Comcast

Comcast is sending out a supervisor to check the wiring in the building I live in. This is a major improvement in their service, and it only took three and a half years.

I talked to them Sunday about this, after the CW was freezing and changing the sound levels drastically, at random while I tried to watch Legend of the Seeker. It's entirely possible that this was really the network, and not Comcast, but this is the first time they didn't insist it was the network and not them. They seem to have changed their approach to dealing with problems on the phone and are now actually dealing with problems on the phone. Before, calling them only got you excuses for why it wasn't their fault, and therefore, they didn't have to fix anything.

Monday night, I called them on the phone after the DVR forgot that I had told it to record three programs that night, I reprogrammed it to record those three shows, and it recorded two of them and failed to record the third until I manually started it recording, and then stopped 1/4 of the way through and gave me a black screen, then displayed a notice that "This DVR is NOT authorized to operate on Comcast" and then, turned itself off! I requested that they bring along a new DVR to replace the hopeless, waste of space and money  that they had given me.

Now, I'm not so sure that I want to replace it.

Yes, it stops part way through a show and claims that it's the end of the program, and then fights with me not to show the rest, even though it's recorded the rest. Yes, it has erased some shows that I wanted to keep. Yes, it fails to show me the some (sometimes all) information in the digital TV guide, thus making it difficult to impossible to record shows. Yes, even though it usually shows me some guide information, it never shows it all. Yes, it turns itself off at random during recording a show but usually turns itself back on after a few minutes and records the rest so that you have a few minutes that aren't recorded at all. And much more.

But it malfunctioned from the very beginning. It's just as bad now as it was when I first got it.

So, the question is, do I want to trade a malfunctioning DVR that's got lots of stuff I want to watch on the hard drive (including some shows I haven't seen) for a malfunctioning DVR with nothing on the hard drive. And I should take into consideration that there's nothing to watch on TV tonight that's worth tuning in for, except In Plain Sight and Jeopardy.

Especially considering that the woman at the counter at Comcast told me that when they get DVRs that are returned because they're malfunctioning, they wipe the hard drive and give them out to the next customer who asks for one. I was flabbergasted! I'm not surprised that they do that, but I am surprised that they let customers know that they do it!

There's no Comcast truck outside yet. They always park it where it's going to block traffic until they leave, which makes it visible from my window. He's got one hour left of the time frame they told me he would arrive. And I still haven't decided.

I bought a "TiVo" from an independent manufacturer on Amazon, and I've discovered that some TiVos have severe connectivity problems, and the one I bought is one of them. All of the ways I can connect this one will mean I can only watch or record one show at a time.

I discovered that the TiVo people are having a sale on their boxes. They are introducing their new, "Premier" series of TiVos, and they really want to get rid of all the older boxes so they can charge more for the new ones.

I was all excited last night, because a refurbished lowest end TiVo only costs $50. But I had a problem ordering it online, and I called them.

Their representative explained to me that the lowest priced one was essentially the same box I already have, and has all the connectivity problems of that box. The one I already have has a DVD recorder/player in it, though, and I'm planning on connecting it later today to see if I can get the DVD recorder/player to work to at least play DVDs.

The TiVo box that will do what I thought the other one would do costs $100 (refurbished). So, I'm thinking about getting that one next month when I have some money, unless they've sold out of them by then.

Still no repairman. I'm still trying to decide if I want to replace the malfunctioning DVR with a different malfunctioning DVR.

Hope you're having a better day than I am.


  1. Hi Johann,

    Sorry about the troubles you are experiencing with our DVR. Does the 3 three shows you were trying to record start at the same time? Also, do you have a dual tuner DVR? We'll be happy to look not this for you.

    I also wanted to clarify, we only circulate the converters if they in good condition, clear the shows that were recorded, cleaned and wrapped in plastic. I am sorry if our rep provided inaccurate information.

    Please contact us if you need further assistance,


    Mark Casem
    Comcast Corp.
    National Customer Operations

  2. I too had 5 refurbished DVRs...they work for a few months and freeze, then stop working. Repeated calls to the reps and signals sent to the box..over and over. I just picked one up today and it froze recording and playing back, so they said to return it. This seems to be a problem. Can't they get new DVRs especially for that price per month? Not sure what to do.

  3. A Comcast rep told us one thing, and another rep another. When the networks they pick up have problems with sound or timing of their shows (some start 5 or 10 mins past the hour), one rep told me Comcast will work with the network. Another rep told me there is nothing that can be done. I called the Network themselves and they told me only Comcast can call and fix this. We need reps to be on the same page as I still don't know the answer to this.