Comcast Episode Three: Revenge of the Box

Another week and still the high signal issues persist. I figured that since the tech that came out Saturday was one that had been there before and managed to get me fixed back then, I would see some satisfaction. I was wrong. While attempting to watch Good Eats last night I got frozen frames, pixelated video, trilling sound…the full Max Headroom treatment…that culminated in a nice box in the middle of the screen once again informing me that I needed to subscribe if I wanted to watch Food Network. Come on guys, it can’t be that hard to fix a signal problem.

So there I was, on the phone with Comcast yet again. The lady was really nice. I can’t commend their phone reps enough for their great personalities. She couldn’t find my ticket but informed me she was unable to see any that have been escalated. She tried to get someone on the phone from escalation but they wouldn’t answer. This is another area where I have to give kudos. She didn’t just transfer me to their queue and move on to the next caller. She placed me on hold and tried to get them on the phone before handing me off. That failed, though. We settled for an email to her manager and to the escalation team about the problem.

Today’s agenda will include calling Sid and negotiating a reduction in my last bill since I spent roughly 75% of my actual television watching time with either no service or unusable service. I shouldn’t pay for something I just cannot use. Besides, I doubt my tiny little bill will put them out of business if they credit it. As of my writing this, I still have not heard back from the escalation department even though I was assured they would contact me before now. So here’s the lesson boys and girls: Comcast has a great customer service department if you only account for the people that answer the phone when you first call in. Anything after that is a gamble that will most likely end in tears.

Now you may be wondering why I’m still fighting this after all my ranting. I have a daughter that loves Cartoon Network and Nick. If it weren’t for me leaving her TV desolate, I would have dropped Comcast like a bad habit long ago over this. That was then. Now she’s just going to have to get used to the idea of watching DVDs or reading books. I’ve been patient. I’ve been nice. I’ve really tried to work it out and Comcast’s customer service has appeared to sincerely attempt to fix my problems. Their tech support obviously has other plans.

The other part of my dilemma is that even with extensive use of Google, I am unable to find a well written blueprint for replacing a set-top box and cable television with a PC and broadband. This will be my next endeavor. There needs to be a simple and concise article written on the ways you can substitute internet television for cable. I’m thinking a modular blueprint so you can add or skip sections based on what you actually want to do with it. I want to get my normal shows on my HDTV, use the HTPC as my DVD player, home theater amp (5.1 surround), and set-top box. The ability to stream media from my iMac and/or Vista laptop will be a bonus.