I wanted to like Comcast

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After all my trouble, Comcast did come out on Tuesday to install my cable and internet. It was a bit of an ordeal just getting to that point.

Let me say that I wanted to like Comcast. I hated them up until I got Fios a few years ago. Comcast internet was always so unreliable. Seemed like one weekend a month the internet would be out completely. Fios was rock solid and I was really sad to be leaving it behind. Still, it’s been a few years, Comcast can’t still be as bad, right?

I called to get everything setup a few weeks in advance so I didn’t have to worry. My first try didn’t work. The stupid system asked for my phone number. That routed me to a department that only dealt with the area where my cell phone is based. Not where I was moving to. I can’t being to express how incredibly pointless this system is. The lady was confused when I gave her the address. Then she told me what to try (making up a phone number). Then spent 10 minutes complaining about idiots who had called in and didn’t understand what the fake number would do. She also gave me a national moving number, so I went with that.

I tried that number and things hit a snag. This lady told me my apartment didn’t exist. Umm, yes it does. I’ve seen it. I have a key and everything. She said she had to have them check it out and she’d call me back in a few days. I was leaving for vacation the next day. She called and I think we were driving through Tennessee. She had good news that she discovered my apartment actually existed. Shocking! I had a feeling that key that I used to open that door was real life. It was not all good as she then complained about the previous caller asking about Xfinity, which she had never heard of. What?!?!? You work for Comcast and you haven’t heard of Xfinity? You live in the US and haven’t heard of Xfinity? It’s everywhere!

We continued on and I essentially had to do the ordering myself. She didn’t try and sell me anything. I forgot to ask for HBO because she made no attempt. (I asked for HBO when I rescheduled my appointment and was thrilled that it was $5/month for 12 months.) The only thing she did do was give me free setup and install because I was so patient when she told me my apartment didn’t exist. I’m curious to see if that is actually free on the bill.

Now to install day. I was home from school by 10am, so the 2:30 time couldn’t come soon enough. Thankfully the installer called at 1 to see if someone would be around if he came early. ‘Sure! I’m here! Come on over!’ He shows up with a cable modem (which I didn’t need cause I bought one of my own) and a giant, ancient DVR. I also ordered a SD box for my room, which was not on the order form he was given. I needed the box because MLB Net is a must in my room. That and CSN are the only things I watch in my room. He went out to the truck and got a little box that he said would work. No guide and no On Demand, but it would get the channels. Ok, good enough. As for the old DVR he brought, it didn’t have HDMI! Why do they even keep those around. I just let him install it and figured I would deal.

The next day I went to watch MLB Net in my room and it wasn’t showing up. I called and they told me the Sports Pack wouldn’t show up on that kind of box, I needed a full SD box. Awesome! Thanks so much for telling me that the thing I ordered that wasn’t brought is exactly what I needed. He told me to go to the Comcast office, which was about 10 minutes away.

I’m not sure what the point of the bulletproof glass is at the Comcast office. I guess they’ve had problems. Everyone was commenting on it. I had to wait in line for a while but when I finally got to the front of the line, the lady was super friendly. She quickly swapped my little adapter for a SD box. I also asked her if I was around sometime if I could easily swap the DVR for one with HDMI. She said sure, as long as they had them in stock. Then she told me to hang on. She came back with one. She offered to give it to me now as long as I brought the other one back by the end of the week. Deal!

I got home with these two boxes and redid the entire install. I had to call Comcast, no one told me I had to activate. It took a while to get the SD Box up and running but the DVR seemed ok. I got off the phone and started to watch something on the DVR. It rebooted. A few minutes later, it rebooted again. After a few times I hopped on Comcast Chat. I was done doing the phone thing. They, of course, had me unplug the box six times before telling me that it was busted and to take it back. I wasn’t too upset because I was already headed back the next day to return the original DVR.

The next day, I got the same friendly lady. She quickly took care of the swap. I plugged in my latest DVR, called up to activate, and I thought all was well. I started to watch some TV and the audio was dropping. Odd. It kept getting worse and I was missing a word every sentence. Maybe the receiver would work better? Hmm, no audio even getting to the receiver. Again, I turned to online chat. They had me unplug the box six more times and told me they’d sent a full reset to the box and it would reset in about an hour. I don’t believe it ever reset. I wasn’t going to be home all day Friday so Saturday morning I planned to be there when they opened.

This time a different employee, but still friendly. She gave me a brand new box. The newer version. I was pretty excited. This one was sure to work. She even gave me the sheet telling me how to activate it automatically. I’ll be watching TV in no time. Of course, things didn’t go so well. I barely got any channels. I went back to trusty online chat. Unplugged a few times. When they asked me if there was a splitter, I closed the chat window and called. The guy was very helpful. He got some of my channels back, then told me to unplug the box and I’d be fine. He talked me into being positive. Of course, that didn’t work. I called back and waited on hold for 10 minutes for a guy who didn’t want to help me a little bit because I hadn’t waited a full 30 minutes. This isn’t swimming. I’ve seen this enough times to know when you have a problem, Comcast. I hung up and called right back since by the hold time I’d be over that magic mark. This guy was also little help, but he scheduled me for a tech to come in a few hours.

I went back to watching DVDs but noticed that the box had reset. All my channels where there! I didn’t call to cancel, I didn’t want them to disappear then be stuck for the next week until I was going to be home during the day again. An hour later, the tech called to make sure things were working. He said it was him that got the box reset. Some stuff was set wrong. Weird. Cause I told the people on the phone that the box was acting like there were some incorrect codes on the box. (I don’t know what that means but I had the same problem on the SD box and the smart lady on the phone figured that out.)

I wanted to like Comcast. For some reason I’ve seen a Fios van driving around. I tear up when I see it. I don’t think Comcast has changed much in the few years since I’ve had them. Same old guide on the TV. It’s ugly, slow, and mostly useless. The remote is worthless. I have to program my own button for 30-second skip? Fios always uses both tuners, so when you are jumping between two channels, they both continue to record. So if you missed something while you were jumped to the other channel, you can easily skip back and see it. Not so with Comcast.

What’s good? Well, I didn’t have CSN when I was here at school the first time around. Being able to watch most of the Phillies games is outstanding. Also, the On Demand is pretty good. They organize the TV Shows really well. I was able to catch up on a few of the shows I had missed while moving (and while having 3 worthless DVRs). I think that’s all I’ve got for the positives. I think I can schedule my DVR online, but they haven’t given me an account number yet, so I can’t log in.

Things are stable now, and the internet has been fine the whole time. I’m very nervous about this first bill. I can’t imagine all this box swapping is going to be handled well by the system.

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