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Old 09-13-2006, 06:04 PM   #1
sonicboom
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Comcast + BestBuy = Heads up Ars

I had a very annoying experience this morning, and you guys are not going to like it...

I stopped by BestBuy in Framingham MA this morning on the way to work to see if they happened to have any S3s in stock. I took a quick look around, and didn't see any. I then went to the desk in the Home Theater department and two gentlemen were standing there: a BestBuy employee and a ComCast representative. Each had a shirt and logo which represented their companies.

I asked... "do you have any series threes in stock"? I purposely left the word "Tivo" out, as I was testing their awareness of the products existance. The response was... "huh?". I repeated myself, and got more blank stares. I then said the new Tivo unit which was released yesterday. The BestBuy guy said... "ah, that's typical of Tivo... they release a new product and don't send us any. We're usually the last to get them because of our size. If they send them to us nobody else can have them. I wouldn't expect to see them here for another 3-4 weeks". I told him that they had exclusive rights for the first couple weeks. He said, "well I don't know what to tell you, we don't have any". Mind you... he didn't even check the computer which was right in front of him.

The Comcast guy then spoke-up... "do you subscribe to comcast"? I said yes. He said, " what do you want a tivo for, comcast has a DVR which does the same thing, plus it can record high-definition and digital programming". I said, I've seen the comcast box, and wasn't impressed with its interface, capacity, or reliability. Plus, the new tivo series3 can also record high-definition and digital programming from cable. He said, a Tivo will never be able to record HDTV since the channels are encrypted, and require a comcast cable box to decrypt them. He was quite assertive, and confident in his answer. I said the S3 can, since it accepts cableCARDs, which addresses that very issue. The comcast rep then said, comcast would never support that and it'll never work. The BestBuy guy then chimed-in, saying CableCARDs are only one-way, and therefore wont work. I said, (and at this point I'm starting to wonder why I'm still there), you only need the two-way CableCARD 2.0 standard for PPV and VOD. They both rolled their eyes, and disagreed with the obviously ignorant customer before them.

The Comcast rep said, "trust me, I know what I'm talking about, I'm an expert in this area, and looked down to his shirt logo. He said, "we had meetings with Tivo, and Tivo will never be able to work with a cablecard, this is why tivo-based comcast boxes will be coming out soon." He again tried to persuade me to go with a comcast DVR. I told the "expert" that the FCC requires by law that comcast and other large cable companies support cablecards, and tivo S3 is a new CableLabs certified product which used them to record HD content. I then suggested that he do some research on the subject, and I finally walked away.

I don't believe these guys were lying to me per se, but they were grossly misinformed (and arrogant).

This goes to show what kind of uphill battle Tivo faces with the S3 product. The retail partners and cable providers don't have a clue. The only people who know about the S3 are the people already in line to buy one: tivo fanatics (perhaps you know the type). The word isn't out there.

As for me.... the experience left me sour.
I will not be buying an S3 from BestBuy.

Last edited by sonicboom : 09-13-2006 at 06:12 PM.
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Old 09-13-2006, 06:10 PM   #2
c3
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Write their names down and report them to their bosses.
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Old 09-13-2006, 06:11 PM   #3
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I had the same experience with one of the BB ASSociates today too - tried up and down to convince me that the Comcast DVR did the same thing, and I was a fool for spending money on that Tivo thing. "It's just a brand name, DVRs are all the same"... I told him that he'd obviously never used a Tivo and he left me alone (someone else was in the back getting me my Tivo).

I've never had someone in a store try to convince me not to buy something, it was pretty sad....
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Old 09-13-2006, 06:14 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c3
Write their names down and report them to their bosses.
Nah. I wasted enough time on them already. Besides, this battle is much bigger than me.
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Old 09-13-2006, 06:17 PM   #5
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A ton of BB employees are dumbasses, you can't really hold that against them :P

Also remember, we're tech junkies here. It's quite possible that someone who isn't a tech junkie who works in a store that hasn't had any S3s in stock... ever to have no idea that such a device exists.

As for the Comcast guy, he's excused from not understanding the specs of the S3 but not for the gross misinterpretation on cablecards.

But then again, most people who claim to be an "expert" at anything usually are full of it.
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Old 09-13-2006, 06:19 PM   #6
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This normal from most electronics stores from low end to high end.
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Old 09-13-2006, 06:25 PM   #7
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Even simpler.

Print out this thread and mail it to Best Buy Haedquarters and Comcast Headquarters.

And don't forget to mention the store number that you were in.

Then, maybe, just maybe - those twits will get educated.
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Old 09-13-2006, 07:05 PM   #8
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I almost forgot...

When the ComCast rep was talking about the tivo service coming to the comcast STB, he insisted that is was a completely new platform (not just a software upgrade). I really didn't know what to make of that one. I yielded on that point, since everything I know about the tivo/comcast plan is based on rumor from this forum.
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Old 09-13-2006, 07:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonicboom
I almost forgot...

When the ComCast rep was talking about the tivo service coming to the comcast STB, he insisted that is was a completely new platform (not just a software upgrade). I really didn't know what to make of that one. I yielded on that point, since everything I know about the tivo/comcast plan is based on rumor from this forum.
That might actually be correct. From what I've read only the 6412 Phase III boxes (or newer) will run the Tivo software.

But it's not like it's going to be a unique hardware platform.
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Old 09-13-2006, 07:53 PM   #10
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Some of us could have written that story before you walked into that store. Disappointing, yes. But certainly no surprise. I'd take very little of what they said seriously. Except maybe that BestBuy not having the S3, yet...

Oxy-moron, Comcast Expert Employee, well, at least the moron part.
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Old 09-13-2006, 07:58 PM   #11
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You should have asked the BB guy where you could get the gas in your plasma TV recharged.
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Old 09-13-2006, 08:01 PM   #12
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I'm waiting for the local BB's to just ban me, as many times as I've had to correct them when they were feeding folks total BS (same goes for CC and Compusa, of course).

Unfortunate, but par for the course...
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Old 09-13-2006, 08:03 PM   #13
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Ah Best Buy the store I love to hate. I was shopping for a laptop last month at my local BB and the young sales rep was trying to convience me that Microsoft recently purchased Apple computers

It seems once the young geeks at BB get something stuck in their heads they spew it out to the masses !
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Old 09-13-2006, 08:04 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by NOD
I'm waiting for the local BB's to just ban me, as many times as I've had to correct them when they were feeding folks total BS (same goes for CC and Compusa, of course).

Unfortunate, but par for the course...

In a small sample, I actually have found a couple of somewhat knowledgeable BestBuy sales folks. Look for the high-school part-timers, seriously. It was actually a good experience since they were obviously informed, perhaps learning and/or keeping up to date, on their own. I'd be interested in knowing if others have experienced that.

But TomRaz right above this post just blew that theory out of the water, maybe...
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Old 09-13-2006, 08:08 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomRaz

It seems once the young geeks at BB get something stuck in their heads they spew it out to the masses !
If they were geeks, they would probably have a clue what they're talking about. Unfortunately, it seems that the only qualification for BB employee is "able to wear pants and shoes at the same time."
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Old 09-13-2006, 08:09 PM   #16
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If they were geeks, they would probably have a clue what they're talking about. Unfortunately, it seems that the only qualification for BB employee is "able to wear pants and shoes at the same time."

No, it's 'capable of fogging a mirror'.
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Old 09-13-2006, 08:20 PM   #17
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There are three reasons I will go into Best Buy:

1) I know EXACTLY what I am buying (usually something small) and just grab n' go.
2) I almost know what I am buying, and will go into BB to see/play with it on my own (usually as research for an online purchase)...always telling the employees I am "just looking."
3) To kill time while my wife shops elsewhere.

That's it. I don't depend on BB employees to do anything but ring up a purchase.
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Old 09-13-2006, 08:22 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by TomRaz
Ah Best Buy the store I love to hate. I was shopping for a laptop last month at my local BB and the young sales rep was trying to convience me that Microsoft recently purchased Apple computers
Oh, man. I literally LOL'd at that one. Truly amazing.
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Old 09-13-2006, 08:24 PM   #19
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Best Buy

About Best Buy (not TIVO related) but remember when XBox 360s were impossible to find (and worth decent bucks). I saw that a Best Buy was getting some in. So was first one there in the morning, first in line outside. Doors opened, I headed immediately for the video game dept. Person there knew nothing about them, says he did not think they had any. I asked him to look up on computer. He looks and shows a handful. But he can't find them. So I have him ask manager. Manager says they had them but they are sold (while I was there, I actually saw people checking out with them). Turns out if SOMEONE ASKED AT THE DOOR THEY WERE GIVEN A TICKET. Why would you ask at the door, nothing posted, you head for the dept they are sold in. So people who just happened to wander in and ask about a 360 got one (til they were gone, maybe a few minutes), people who waited in line and "knew where to go" got nothing. Ah well, just a rant about BB, jumping on the bandwagon here. New TIVO looks great, lot of money though, would cost me over a K after transferring my subscription.........
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Old 09-13-2006, 10:00 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raober
There are three reasons I will go into Best Buy:
1) I know EXACTLY what I am buying (usually something small) and just grab n' go.
That was my intent, but the S3 wasn't on display, so I asked about availability... then the FUD started and the hardpress by comcast to buy their product instead. It caught me off guard, as I usually don't interact with the help. Once I realized that they were not open to the possibility that they might be wrong, I moved along.
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Old 09-13-2006, 10:26 PM   #21
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I agree w/Roaber. Best buy is a dolt's playground. Purchase online like an informed buyer. Best Buy is a last ticket "I'm desperate" purchase. Good for viewing and playing with what your going to go home and buy online saving perhaps hundreds of dollars.

Always refuse assistance from any sales person who asks if you need assistance.

Same goes for Circuit City and CompUSA to the Nth degree.
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Old 09-13-2006, 10:44 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by sonicboom
The Comcast guy then spoke-up... "do you subscribe to comcast"? I said yes. He said, " what do you want a tivo for, comcast has a DVR which does the same thing...
I am not a conspiracy theorist, but I know when a well funded marketing department is playing hardball. The BB rep is normal operating procedure, as others have said. The Comcast rep was there on a mission to spread FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt). They and the other cable companies have consistently excelled at minimizing the TiVo distinction.

And gee, I wonder who has made more money for BB, CC and others, cable companies or TiVo?

It's David and Goliath. Outcome of this one not yet determined.
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Old 09-13-2006, 11:15 PM   #23
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I had a similar experience at Circuit City today. I went in to order Comcast cable as a new buyer, and their bundles were such that they couldn't sell me a deal without a cable box. When I told him I didn't want a cable box, he refused to believe me that the S3 with cablecards actually replaced a cable box. He went on about how long he's worked with this stuff, and that you still need a cable box blah blah blah. So I drove over to the Comcast office, and they were super nice; didn't try to force a cable box on me. Signed me up for 2 cable cards at no charge. I get installed next week, so we'll see how smoothly it actually goes, but so far so good. No thanks to Circuit City!
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Old 09-13-2006, 11:48 PM   #24
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Cable companies aren't going to try and force you in to their DVR over someone else's if you have a preference. Employees who feel some sort of company pride may feel a little spurned when you tell them their product sucks (you didn't say it in so many words but he knew). Hence the attitude.

Think about it in these terms. Your average cable company pays a heck of a lot of money for those DVRs. At $12 or whatever a month, how long does it take for them to just recoup the cost of the hardware? They make their money off of your monthly services. Companies like Comcast have already admitted they provide an inferior product by signing their agreement with TiVo.

I've had those same types of conversations with both BB and Comcast kiosk employees before, you just have to take it worth a grain of salt.
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Old 09-14-2006, 12:41 AM   #25
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My story ends with me purchasing an S3 from CC online, and getting 10% off using an online coupon. So I won a discount and Bestbuy lost a sale.

The bigger issue is still out there though...
Misinformation being spread by Comcast and BestBuy reps will cost Tivo sales.
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