Comcast, Oh How I Hate Thee

Album Cover: The Bends

"All your insides fall to pieces; you just sit there wishing you could still make love."
Radiohead / High and Dry

Posted on July 22, 2007 9:58 PM in Television
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

It isn't just Comcast's ad campaigns that suck. Since moving into our new home back in February, we've been relying on Comcast for our Internet connectivity and cable television. While the Internet connectivity has just worked (thank goodness), our cable television experience with them has been nothing short of abysmal.

Ever since February, we've had at least 10-15 channels that we just can't watch. They're either so pixelated that they're impossible to watch, or they just show up as nothing more than a black screen. About a month ago I finally decided to call them up and have them send out a technician to try and figure out what was going on. The guy who showed up was nice and seemed to be more than qualified to solve the problem. He proceeded to replace every cable running underneath our house, examine both the main outlets inside the house and eventually come to the conclusion that the signal being sent into our home is perfect. He recommended we trade in our slightly older Motorola 3412 DVR for a different box. Only a few days later, I drove to the local Comcast office and traded our box in for a newer Motorola 3416 model with an HDMI connection.

It's been nice having the newer model, simply because it has more hard drive space and it seems a bit snappier. The sound quality is noticeably better, too, probably because of the aforementioned HDMI connection. However, not only did the new box not solve our pixelated/all-black channel problem, but it has been crashing a lot more often than did the older box (which is saying something).

The fact that I'm even mentioning "crashing" when talking about my cable box seems absolutely absurd to me. Before switching to Comcast we had DirecTV. We had to have it when we moved into our old apartment downtown, and we stuck with it through two rented houses after that. Not once over the course of that time did our box ever crash, nor did we really have any problems with our television service whatsoever, that I can remember.

The only reason I switched to Comcast is that I was going to be using them for cable Internet for the first time, and they offered a pretty decent deal when you combined services. It also wasn't going to cost me much at all to add HD channels, whereas it would have cost me an arm and a leg to switch to HD through DirecTV (I needed all new hardware, had to give up our trusty DirecTV-TiVo box, etc.).

Luckily for me, the people at DirecTV were nice enough to put my account on hold through the end of next month in order to give me time to evaluate Comcast and decide if I'd want to go back to them. That was smart thinking on their part, especially since they mentioned at the time that my longevity as a DirecTV customer warranted some deals on upgrading my hardware and my programming package.

Something tells me I'll be switching back in a month or so. My only fear is that DirecTV's HD quality isn't quite as good as Comcast's, because I've heard they compress it quite a bit. Even if they do, it's probably still worth switching back. I just can't take the crashing and missed recordings (due to the pixelated/all-black channel problem) anymore.

Comcast sucks.

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