Friday, March 5, 2010

One Woman's Whining

Is anybody in charge of the cable tv company? Anybody? Or do they just have carte blanche to change the line up of cable stations as soon as you cross the boundary from your town to the town next door? Isn't there some regulatory agency that can just say no to this shit? 
    I notice that the major networks remain the same -- CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, even WGN. So obviously it is possible to maintain some order. Okay, then, why do Animal Planet, Comedy Central, USA, TNT, CNBC, Oxygen, Lifetime, ESPN, Spike, et al -- all have to be different? Is there a logical reason for this?  Is national security involved? Is this yet another plan of the former Bush administration to discredit Obama? Or have the kids in Special Ed finally found a way to extract a measure of revenge?
     I live three miles from my stepmother. And yet her line up of cable channels is different than mine. At my house the Food Channel is on 25. At her house, it's in the sixties. At least I think that's the Food Channel. At her house the History Channel is on 73. At mine, 53. A & E is 55 in my town; 50 in hers. And I still haven't found ESPN. Why do they do that? Isn't there a button someone can push to line them all up and make them the same -- at least within 25 miles of each other? It all feels so ADD. Can you imagine what it would be like if radio stations did the same thing? 
    There are 15 towns within a ten mile radius of my house. And the cable line up for each one of them is different. Did I mention that we all have the SAME CABLE COMPANY? Who let Comcast buy up all the other cable companies anyway? Isn't that an anti-trust violation? Or did they get the same exemption Wal*Mart did? 
     The good news is that every town has the same remote. The bad news is, looks can be deceiving. I can't use my stepmother's remote to turn on the TV or make the sound louder -- even though it looks exactly like mine. I have to use the remote that came with her TV for on/off, loud/soft. But then I have to switch and do everything else with the cable remote. At her house, there are penalties for making mistakes. Choose the wrong remote and the long arm of Comcast will reach out and slap you upside the head. If you accidentally, God forbid, use her TV remote, instead of the cable remote to change a channel, you'll get this:
And you may never see another program again. Unless you're a NASA scientist. Or at least know a NASA scientist.
     If I were in charge, the cable lineup would not only be the same, but you could customize your package so that you wouldn't have to take channels you didn't want just to get the channels you did. And after paying a nominal monthly fee which covers the number of channels you pick, you would only be charged for what you actually watch. You should also be able to opt in for a special broadcast on a channel you don't have for a small fee, anytime you want.
     Obviously I've been thinking about this too much. 
     More and more I've been watching Hulu and Fancast on my computer. And Netflix downloads definitely have their appeal. Maybe the end of Comcast, et al, is closer than we think. 

7 comments:

ComcastCares1 said...

Hello Mrs. Linklater,

I can understand your frustrations when using different remotes to control TV and cable. The cable remotes that we provide can actually be programmed to change the volume and/or turn the TV off or on. You’ll just have to program your cable remote in order to operate your TV. Here is the link on how to program your cable remote.

http://www.comcast.com/corporate/customers/customer_support/remotes.html

In regards to your other concerns, channel numbering is different in each area because your home is receiving the signal from a different headend (where signals are being fed from). Other homes that are 3 miles away or even a few blocks away are receiving the signals from other headend offices. Each market may also have different marketing and programming requirements which may contribute to this. From what I understand, we are trying to make the channel lineup more uniformed. I am hoping to see some progress in the future.

In response to the ala carte programming, I have a link for that too! 

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/24/business/media/24nocera.html?_r=3&sq=cable%20a%20la%20carte&st=cse&scp=1&pagewanted=all

I hope these are all helpful. If you need further assistance, feel free to reach out to us. We are here to help.

Best regards,

Mark Casem
Comcast Corp.
National Customer Operations
We_can_help@cable.comcast.com

Mrs. L said...

Oh no!!!! My blog has been invaded. Remind me not to use the names of things I'm bitching about so the bots can't find me and report to headquarters.

Remo said...

I'd be happy if the volume from one channel to the other didn't jump volume and scare the shit out you or if commercials weren't allowed to blast their volume above the previous broadcast levels.

Maybe Mark does dry cleaning and welfare checks. He seems less intrusive.

Michelle said...

You are so powerful that when you bitch the powers that be come running!

Michael said...

If you would spend as much time learning the basics of using TV equipment as you do complaining about tv service providers you would be a much happier person.

Mrs. L said...

But then I would have nothing to write about.

Tressa Bailey said...

Seriously? That's too funny! You have the power!