Looking at Cable TV options

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Kurt Ullman wrote:

What y'all talkin 'bout feller? Us peeple in th South noe how tuh speek 'merican.
TDD
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Red Green wrote:

My name is George and I would very much to be liking to be helping you today sir. What for may I ask is the problems you are having this fine day?
TDD
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wrote:

Here's what I hate - although I understand why they do it...
Customer Service Rep: Hi, this is Todd. How may I provide exceptional service today?
Me: I'm having trouble with my remote control.
CSR: I see. I understand that you are having trouble with your remote control. I am sorry to hear that. I am sure that we can help you with the trouble you are having with your remote control. In order for me to help you with the trouble you are having with your remote control, can you please tell me what trouble you are having with your remote control?
Me: The volume control button sticks.
CSR: I'm sorry to hear that the trouble you are having with your remote control is that the volume control button on your remote control is sticking. Before I transfer you to a technical support specialist, is there anything else I can help you with besides the trouble you are having with your remote control which is that the volume control button is sticking on your remote control?
Me: No. Thank you.
CSR: You're welcome. I hope you have are satified with the help I have given you regarding the trouble you are having with your remote control which is that the volume control button is sticking on your remote control. I'll transfer you now.
... Music and commercials for products and services are heard...
Tech Support: Hi, this is Lori, how may I provide exceptional service today?
Me: I'm having trouble with my remote control.
Tech: I see. I understand that you are having trouble with your remote control. I am sorry to hear that. I am sure that we can help you with the trouble you are having with your remote control. In order for me to help you with the trouble you are having with your remote control, can you please tell me what trouble you are having with your remote control?
Me: The volume control button sticks.
Tech: I'm sorry to hear that the trouble you are having with your remote control is that the volume control button on your remote control is sticking. I think the best way to help you with trouble you are having with your remote control which is that the volume control button is sticking on your remote control is to send you a new remote control. Will that be a satisfactory way to eliminate the trouble you are having with your remote control which is that the volume control button on your remote control is sticking?
Me: Yes, that will be fine. Thank you.
Tech: You're welcome. I hope you have are satisfied with the help I have given you regarding the trouble you are having with your remote control which is that the volume control button is sticking on your remote control. Is there anything else I can help you with besides shipping out a replacement remote control which will hopefully eliminate the trouble you are having with your remote control which is that the volume control button on your remote control is sticking.
Me: Uh...sorry, could you repeat that?
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DerbyDad03 wrote:

(snip)
the trouble you are having with your remote control which is

Stop it, y'all. I'm cringing in remembered pain. I had to deal with Indian call centers twice this week.
Standard disclaimer- nothing against the individuals way over there answering the phone. They are all very nice, and I can handle that British they speak rather than proper 'Murrican english. I can even handle the fake western names. The stupid script they have to follow tries my patience, but having a help desk at my office I understand how all that works. But the accents stretch the limits of my patience. Having to spell out everything makes a simple task take 3 times as long. Maybe if they had real phone lines instead of crappy VOIP for the international leg, it would be better.
-- aem sends...
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news:64fb1910-c21b-4390-9441-

DD,
If that's all you've had to put up with you're doing well!
Normally you have to struggle through a series of inane questions like:
Have you tried the remote on another cable box?
Have you tried power-cycling the cable box? And the other one you tried it on?
Have you tried replacing the batteries? What brand of batteries are you using? Are they out-of-date?
Have you tried cleaning the battery terminals?
Have you tried cleaning the batteries?
Have you tried cleaning your fingers?
Have you tried cleaning the table the remote is stored on?
Have you tried plugging the cable box into another outlet?
Have you tried reversing the AC plug on the cable box?
Have you tried the cable box on another TV?
How is the cable box connected to your TV? Have you tried a different connection?
What brand is your TV? Have you tried a different one?
Have you tried cleaning your TV?
Have you tried holding the remote differently?
Have you cleaned the remote?
Have you cleaned the volume button? What did you clean it with?
Are there any bright lights on in the room? Is the sun hitting the cable box or the remote or the TV?
Have you tried using an IR sensor and protocol analyzer to check the data coming from the remote?
Have you tried buying an injection-molding machine and making a new housing for the remote?
Have you tried buying an injection-molding machine and making new buttons for the remote?
...all in a desperate (and lengthy) effort to avoid sending you another $5 remote control*.
;^)
Eric Law
*Actually a lot of this is based in truth. On more than one occasion, I've watched techs argue with Dell support for over half an hour to get a fan replaced! Not some expensive exotic fan, just standard case fans on desktop PCs.
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I get 12 to 15 routinely with Comcast, and it will burst to over 18.
They switched me to business class Internet after I complained about their recent digital conversion, trouble getting activated, billing for premium channels, etc. You get mad enough and Comcast will make deals to ameliorate you.
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Directv.
Grossly oversimplified answer to grossly oversimplified question ;^)
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desgnr wrote:

We presently have satellite TV. I am contemplating doing without TV. News? I'll buy a Sunday newspaper now and then, and otherwise watch the sky for storm clouds, smoke and/or fire. Let me know when they pass healthcare reform. :o)
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On Wed, 11 Nov 2009 12:27:56 -0500, " snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net"

I have not had cable TV nor satellite in over 20 years and don't miss it at all. I get faster/better news on the Internet and (free) radio. Yeah, I got to know when they pass the health reform too, I'm not buying it, maybe leaving to somewhere else with more freedom.
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desgnr wrote:

Some cable companies are better than others, but few places in the US have a choice, so Comcast probably is the only one to consider. The only choices -- AFAIK -- for satellite are DirecTV and Dish. Depending on where you are, you might be able to get Verizon's FIOS or AT&T's UVerse.
Not all channels are available on all systems. so look at the channels each offers, and the price (both the initial price and the price after the promotional period).
We have DirecTV, but our Internet connection is via Charter's cable service.
Very occasionally we have lost our satellite signal because of a storm, but our cable connection has gone out from time to time too, when somebody has dug up a cable or for some other reason.
Somebody complained about having to buy a whole "bundle" of channels and wanted to be able to pay for individual channels. CableVision in NY had (has?) that option for some channels, but two cost about as much as the bundle of five. It's like the newspaper: they don't give me the option of a reduced-price edition without the sports and gardening sections.
Perce
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re: "CableVision in NY had (has?) that option for some channels, but two cost about as much as the bundle of five."
That's because they want to sell bundles. It's easier and more cost effective for them so if they can discourage the "one offs" by charging more, they will - as long as the "regulators" let them.
As a waitress in NYC once explained to me:
"Look, we crank out hundreds of burger platters with fries every lunch hour. They're lined up in the kitchen as we speak just waiting for me to pick 'em up and bring 'em out. If you want to mess up the flow by ordering your burger on a whole wheat bun and substitute onion rings for the fries, well, that's gonna cost you. It ain't the price of the food that matters, it's the work flow in the kitchen."
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If you need internet access, Comcast is blazingly fast, the satellite companies all partner with the local telco and provide DSL.
If it were not for the excellent Internet access I get, I would probably opt for satellite, but I need a real fast Internet and I added phone to get the triple play bundle.
Comcast recently went all digital with all channels except those you can get locally with an antenna, what that means is you can use your CATV tuners to get local channels with no converter box. All other channels require some kind of Comcast converter box (2 are free, the rest you rent).
No matter who you get, it will be a love/hate relationship.
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On Wed, 11 Nov 2009 16:14:24 -0800 (PST), RickH

Comcast Internet: $55 a month and $50 installation AT&T DSL Lite: $20 a month, free self-install.
I asked Comcast why they do not compete with AT&T's DSL lite? She told me they need the money to feed their families. I told her I do too.
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Phisherman wrote:

I wish AT&T would expand their DSL circle another half-mile to include my house. I know the outside plant involved, and know it would work fine here. But since the abortive (around here, at least)U-verse rollout, I think any DSL expansion is frozen. I had to go with a 3rd party DSL provider on a dry pair, at twice what ATT would charge for the same speed. And around here, Comcast bends you over- their service is 20-30 bucks more expensive.
-- aem sends...
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On Thu 12 Nov 2009 04:59:45p, Phisherman told us...

I guess it really comes down to where you live and what you really need.
I chose a Cox bundle of phone, internet, and cable over going with satellite + Qwest phone and DSL for two reasons. First and foremost, since I work at home most of the time, I needed the high speed internet that Cox could provide, but Qwest could not come close to. Secondly, the Cox bundle was actually cheaper in my area than the satellite + Qwest combination.
I'm not the one in the family who pays the bills, but I do remember that the Cox installation was free with 2 free converter boxes, free cable modem, and free phone modem. The only think I needed to buy was a wireless router to handle our additional 3 computers.
Cox is completely digital and, in our neighborhood, is fiber optic all the way to every termination in our house.
Monthly charges are also less with Cox than with the other combination.
--

~~ If there\'s a nit to pick, some nitwit will pick it. ~~

~~ A mind is a terrible thing to lose. ~~
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wrote:

I hate companies that rope you in at a good deal, then crank up the rate after so many months. I hate Comcast. Satellite will get you more unusual channels. Comcast charges extra for high resolution and you can pick that up with an antenna. Best deal is a one time charge of $20 for an antenna unless you like paying $50 a month. I bought 4 antennas, picked the one with the best reception and returned three to the store. The most expensive antenna was the worst, but I'm not surprised.
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Phisherman wrote:

I dropped cable TV last year. I got my ATSC converter boxes and tested them. I tested them again after the June cutover, and I haven't turned them on since. That's what I recommend you do as well.
There is a whole world of better stuff to do with your time than site lifeless and watch scam ad after scam ad. Go out for a walk, do yard work, get a hobby actually doing something. No only will you save the cable / sat. $50/mo, you'll also save some electricity as well as your health.
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Pete C. wrote:

So instead of the one-way TV, you spend time on this 2-way TV otherwise known as a computer?
Just sayin'.
Personally, I usually do both at once. I very seldom JUST watch TV. Maybe 2-3 hours a week. It usually functions more as a fireplace- pretty flickering lights and the sounds of human voices. If I hear something interesting, I may look up from the computer or newspaper or whatever, but quite often a show is over before I realize I missed most of it.
-- aem sends...
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re: "If I hear something interesting, I may look up from the computer..."
For < $30 you can get a TV card for your computer and put a little TV window up in the corner of your monitor.
Search eBay for "hauppauge wintv card"
I paid $17 for mine a few years back and have been watching basic cable on my system ever since.
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DerbyDad03 wrote:

My screen ain't that big, to spare a corner. I prefer my computer windows full-screen. At work, I have the company laptop set up as dual-head when it is in the docking station- I keep mail open on the little laptop screen, and use the external screen as the main workspace. I also don't like bogging the machine down, since my boxes aren't that fast anyway. (fastest is only 2.8)
Other than for traveling, I never saw much point in tuner cards or dongles. As a TV, a computer makes a pretty good computer. A buddy gave me one of his old SD hauppage cards, and I stuck it in a spare machine, supposedly fast enough to handle it. I wasn't impressed. Not sharp, lousy color and sound, etc. TVs are cheap. Including the guy that gave me his old card, I know a couple of three guys that are way into the whole TV/computer convergence thing, and actually built their own PC-based media servers, run Myth-TV and all that. Way too much expense and fuss for me- most TV content simply isn't worth that much work. Unless you just like collecting shows, or have rug rats to keep entertained, much lesss painful to just go rent, or buy specific DVDs of the few things you actually may want to watch again. I can't even keep my DVR queue emptied out.
YMMV, of course. As hobbies go, I guess it is better than a lot of others they could have picked.
-- aem sends...
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