Cable Companies in Violation of FCC Mandate?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by rcamille, Aug 2, 2007.

  1. Aug 2, 2007 #1 of 135
    rcamille

    rcamille New Member

    108
    0
    Dec 23, 2002
    Long Island, NY
    I wonder if the problems we and countless others are experiencing because of the cable companies lax attitude toward cable cards is a direct violation of the FCC mandate.

    There is absolutely no reason a tech should show up to a subscriber's house with a bad cable card. In addition, they should upgrade the firmware and test the card before it leaves the main office.

    Why does the consumer have to deal with this headache!! This is exactly why I left Cablevision 12 years ago. I am starting to wish I did not come back.

    Anyone out there willing chime in?
     
  2. Aug 2, 2007 #2 of 135
    jblake

    jblake New Member

    340
    0
    Jan 24, 2002
    Birmingham, AL
    The cable companies are not in compliance with the spirit of the law, obviously, but they are in compliance with the letter. I don't think there's really a way to improve the situation unless companies like Tivo can show the cable companies how their (Tivo's) products can reduce the cable company's costs and/or increase revenue.

    And in my opinion, that shouldn't be hard. Take me for example. I specifically didn't get satellite (either dish or directv) because I wanted an HD Tivo, so I took cable, which is in my opinion not my first choice if Tivo wasn't in the equation, but since Tivo HD is out, cable is my choice. The cable company got a subscriber they wouldn't have without Tivo.
     
  3. Aug 2, 2007 #3 of 135
    Joe3

    Joe3 Active Member

    712
    198
    Dec 12, 2006
    Boston MA

    Well, Ya think? :cool:
     
  4. Aug 2, 2007 #4 of 135
    vstone

    vstone Active Member

    1,250
    1
    May 11, 2002
    Martinsville...
    While I agree with you in general, what you are describing is really just a customer service issue, which is usually addressed successfully, in the absense of a monopoly.

    We have to go to the FCC with actionable problems. Poor customer service usually doesn't fall into this category.

    You have to phrase it differently, like: The cable company is making it hard for me to use my cablecard capable equipment. Even then I don't see the FCC getting very excited.
     
  5. Aug 2, 2007 #5 of 135
    rcamille

    rcamille New Member

    108
    0
    Dec 23, 2002
    Long Island, NY
    It is very frustrating. The only reason I went back to cable was because it was the only avenue to still have TiVo. If DirecTV would not have messed things up with TiVo, I would still be there with them, bigger dish and all!
     
  6. Aug 2, 2007 #6 of 135
    mike_camden

    mike_camden New Member

    162
    0
    Dec 11, 2006
    I agree with you that the cable companies have to see the value to their bottom line to make the effort to improve the CC experience, but how does the cable company track that full support of cable cards (including an effective and nonfrustrating ordering/installation process for subscribers) improves their bottom lines? Take your example for instance -- they really can't track that because they don't know that you would not be a cable subscriber today if Tivo HD hadn't become available.

    When looking at cable card users (not including the ones they have to put in new STBs), we're dealing with a very small subset of their overall subscribers. Given the limited number of subscribers who use CCs, I just don't see the cable companies making a committed effort to make the CC process seamless unless the other big boys who have a vested interest (Microsoft, Intel, some of the CE companies) start exerting pressure.
     
  7. Aug 2, 2007 #7 of 135
    Joe3

    Joe3 Active Member

    712
    198
    Dec 12, 2006
    Boston MA

    Ahhh, there might be a glimmer of light on the satellite horizon. Tivo is giving about 4 million supposedly dead on slab Tivo satellite boxes a distant and faint techno shot, but a shot none the less.

    Just as the 4 million are seeing and walking with their dearly depart into the light, do I hear someone shout, "Clear!"
    :D
     
  8. Aug 2, 2007 #8 of 135
    Toeside

    Toeside Circa Dec 2005

    3,386
    0
    Feb 14, 2002
    St Louis, MO
    I agree. I had DirecTV for 5 years. They lost be as a subscriber because they didn't have new TiVo-powered hardware.

    We managed for 7 months with our S3 using OTA only, but I missed out on 1/2 the NHL season to do so.

    We are going back to cable next week--only because of TiVo.
     
  9. Aug 2, 2007 #9 of 135
    bicker

    bicker bUU

    10,671
    90
    Nov 9, 2003
    Florida
    The regulations don't address subjective opinions like "lax attitude". People, of course, want things to work fast-and-easy for them, but that's not the standard guaranteed by the regulations. What's more, in my experience, the cable company techs have had anything BUT a "lax attitude". They have busted their tail, three times, to try to get the CableCards working in the S3. The third time, on a second S3, worked. By contrast, TiVo's tech support played the, "we've never heard of that problem," game quite a bit... that's an attitude that I could live without.
     
  10. Aug 3, 2007 #10 of 135
    DocNo

    DocNo Member

    671
    21
    Oct 10, 2001
    Bristow, VA
    Yup. After reading this thread, I just popped over in another window and wrote DirecTV a note letting them know why they didn't recapture me as a customer, and warned them that they were about to loose my parents (my Mom hated both of the DirecTV boxes - although I must admit the HD one was almost bearable).
     
  11. Aug 3, 2007 #11 of 135
    DocNo

    DocNo Member

    671
    21
    Oct 10, 2001
    Bristow, VA
    But it shouldn't be that difficult. Once I finally got a tech and a person at the head end that knew what they were doing, pairing the cable cards took five minutes.

    This was also after I found a CSR that could clean up my account and get the right package codes assigned to my cable cards. That took four phone calls of "CSR roulette" before I finally managed to hit one who knew the system.

    That's pretty sucky customer service. Cable companies love to whine about how much cable card is costing them - well, if their people were trained and knew how to deal with them (both in their internal billing systems as well as the technical aspects of provisioning them on their system) the cable card installs would happen in fraction of the time and it wouldn't be a huge expense.

    They are creating their own problems through their crappy internal policies and I have no sympathy for them.

    Seriously, what's your financial interest in Comcast? Normally I loath the term fanboy, but it seems appropriate after reading your gushing admiration for them...
     
  12. Aug 3, 2007 #12 of 135
    jfh3

    jfh3 Active Member

    4,471
    2
    Apr 15, 2004
    Denver area
    You hit the nail on the head. :up:
     
  13. Aug 3, 2007 #13 of 135
    bicker

    bicker bUU

    10,671
    90
    Nov 9, 2003
    Florida
    That's easy to say, but if you've ever managed a high-tech technical support operation, you know that such statements are meaningless: It is that difficult.

    Again, that's easy to say. Do you realize how often you spend tens of thousands of dollars training someone only to have them up and leave, taking their expertise, which you paid for, with them? Trying to keep good staff in positions where they are, basically, just s--- on all day by customers, is very difficult, and it is unfair, as a backseat driver, to second-guess.

    I don't think sympathy is really relevant. Things are the way they are. They frustrate you. That's clear. However, that doesn't mean that there is a way that is better for everyone. Sometimes -- no -- often, there are no easy solutions.

    Absolutely none. I simply will not give you or anyone an unrebutted soap-box from which to cast reckless aspersions -- I couldn't care less whether it was TiVo or Comcast or Sears or GE or American Airlines or Joe's Coffee Shop.

    I could spend my time calling people names on this website too. "Whiner" and "cry-baby" come to mind. However, that's inappropriate. There is no excuse to engage in name-calling, whether your target supports one side of an argument or the other. You owe me an apology.
     
  14. Aug 3, 2007 #14 of 135
    DocNo

    DocNo Member

    671
    21
    Oct 10, 2001
    Bristow, VA
    Not if you have your process down, it's not. Developing the process can be difficult but cable cards are not new. Cable Cards are also not a surprise.

    And BTW, I design enterprise level systems for a living. If I ran an operation like these guys are I would be fired.

    This is an area of their core competency and they are supposed to be professionals. That's why they are granted limited monopolies.

    For them to not be able to perform a basic function is just unprofessional. Period.

    Hmm, companies like Costco that treat their employees with respect have no problem with employee retention. Again, we are talking about supposedly professional organizations run by managers and CEO's who get lots of money. No sympathy.

    Whah whah whay - ooh, life is hard so I should get a break. What a joke! Again, Comcast has lots of upper level managers that are supposedly professionals and paid to keep handles on stuff like this.

    If they want to retain people, how about training them so they can deal with customers in timely and effective manners? This would reduce call time, would reduce the amount of angry phone calls and everyone wins. Instead, like a petulant child that pouts until they get their way, they are ignoring Cable Card and trying to make the whole experience so miserable that they are hoping most people will just give up :mad:

    Really, I feel sorry for the CSR's and techs - I really do. Because their own company is selling them short by not providing them the tools do to their job. They are intently being thrown to the wolves by their companies because they don't want to support cable card. This isn't some bizarre conspiracy theory, the cable co's are on record that they don't want cable card. Their (in)actions over the past six years speak louder than any protesting they (or their apologists such as yourself) do to the contrary.

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

    Well, what I find amazing is when I managed to land on a CSR that was obviously trained on the billing system, all my account problems went away in less than an hour.

    When I managed to land on a tech that knew what he was doing, and he managed to connect to a tech at the head-end who knew what he was doing too, in less than an hour I had a fully functional Tivo with no further issues.

    And it's worked flawlessly since.

    What's pathetic is it took me four tries and almost a month of going back and forth to get someone who could straighten out my bill, and it took me four times and almost three weeks (and several appointments where I was stood up) to get a tech that knew enough to fix the Cable Card problem.

    That's a Comcast generated problem. Not a Cable Card problem. The Cable Cards work fine once they were configured correctly.

    Technician/company ineptness is not a bug. It's simply ineptness. That's a breakdown in process.

    Why shouldn't I be frustrated with ineptness and companies that have poor process? I should just roll over and say "thank you sir, may I have another?" :rolleyes:

    This really isn't rocket science, despite your trying to blow it up into a big complicated issue. Comcast demonstrated it wasn't an insurmountable problem themselves - when I finally did get trained people, the problem was solved in less than an hour!

    pot, kettle

    Nope, not at all. Your coming off as an irrational fanboy. That's not calling you a name or a personal attack - that's how I see it from where I sit. It's a label. You are free to disagree, heck you may not even like the label - but you are not free to browse the internet and not be offended. Get some thicker skin or quit posting - either way it doesn't bother me.
     
  15. Aug 4, 2007 #15 of 135
    jfh3

    jfh3 Active Member

    4,471
    2
    Apr 15, 2004
    Denver area
    Interesting. I'm trying to get some M-Cards.

    Comcast says "CableCARDs must be installed by installers. We can't give you one". No big surprise.

    Wanted to see if they had any of the new Motorola DCH boxes. They didn't have any converter-only boxes, but they did have brand new DVRs with "seperable security", which is Comcast-speak for "the box has a CableCARD in it already"

    Picked up a brand new Motorola DVR - made sure it was "one of the new DVRs with seperable security". Guess what's in the back of the box, covered with a little metal plate? A brand-new M-Card. The counter rep made sure I had a little piece of paper with activation instructions.

    Guess what the instructions are? Call this number and give them these numbers from the DVR (stickers that actually have the info from the CableCARD itself).

    The only difference I can see in activating a Comcast DVR with an M-Card vs. a Tivo HD is that the M-Card is pre-installed into the Comcast box.

    pre-installed in our box - no truck roll, but you have to call in to activate.

    card by itself - requires a truck roll to "install the card" and the installer makes the call.

    LOL.

    My local Comcast says "we don't have any M-Cards", though I know a support supervisor that admits they do. Now I just have to figure out the magic words to get a few.

    I'm going to give them a couple more weeks (been trying since the TivoHD release). If I still can't get one the way we all should be able to, then I may just use the one I have and call into to the activation number that Comcast provided and see what happens. :D

    (How much do you want to bet that I'll have a successfuly self-install of an M-Card into a THD?)
     
  16. Aug 4, 2007 #16 of 135
    bicker

    bicker bUU

    10,671
    90
    Nov 9, 2003
    Florida
    Yes it is. I've audited hundreds of such operations over the course of my career, and each one has its challenges.

    Yeah, me too. Mine is longer than yours is, I bet. :rolleyes:

    BS. You just don't like the fact that you cannot have your unrebutted soap-box, just like you don't like not being able to tell the cable company HOW to provide you service. Get over it.
     
  17. Aug 4, 2007 #17 of 135
    tomgrossi

    tomgrossi New Member

    14
    0
    Jun 6, 2002
    Washington, DC
    Well, I consider Verizon FIOSTV in violation. Neither of the two CSRs I talked to had any idea what a Cablecard was nor how I could order one or what it would cost. The second one went to "look for a supervisor" and put me on hold for 23 minutes before returning to tell me that the supervisor hadn't heard of them either. So I guess I can't order a TivoHD since Verizon refuses to train their employees on the p[roducts the FCC requires them to offer.
     
  18. Aug 4, 2007 #18 of 135
    classicsat

    classicsat Astute User

    17,877
    0
    Feb 18, 2004
    Ontario Canada.
    It is my understanding, for some technical reason, that FIOS is not required to have Cablecard, but they are choosing to try to anyhow.
     
  19. Aug 5, 2007 #19 of 135
    bicker

    bicker bUU

    10,671
    90
    Nov 9, 2003
    Florida
    FIOS received a waiver with regard to using CableCards in their own leased equipment. I don't believe that exempts them from providing CableCards for consumer-owned equipment.
     
  20. Aug 5, 2007 #20 of 135
    ZikZak

    ZikZak Neurostim Addict

    2,894
    0
    Aug 12, 2002
    Arecibo, PR
    I live in a very small rural area, and had to have the tech come over about 5 times to get the cable cards right. But they were very friendly people, and this was their first or second installation. The main problem seemed to be that they had this drawer of cablecards that were all about 6 years old, never having been used. Most of them were bad. They should have tested them before coming over, but they didn't have the equipment--- eventually they had to send away to another office to get cards that worked. But the tech and the engineer (and I!) considered it a learning experience.

    I imagine the problem is similar elsewhere; there are a lot of old cards out there that probably weren't well engineered in the first place, and only now is demand for cable cards ramping up at all. So there is a learning curve. I seem to be lucky; they didn't charge me to roll trucks five times, and the tech and engineer were very helpful (except that they had simply assumed at the beginning that all the cards were good).

    Now, my problem is that they can't activate the HD channels on the CCs.... that's a bummer, and I've had to tell them I will complain to FCC if it doesn't get fixed.
     

Share This Page