Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Tale Of Tivo

It's a sad one, friends so brace yourself. It all started way back in the age of non-digital cable. Comcast sent out a note saying that if customers wanted to continue to be customers we'd all have to pitch the cable old box and get the new "digital" box.

Being the lazy procrastinators that we are, the Beast and I waited as long as possible to made the switch. In fact, I believe it was the very last weekend before The Sopranos started again (I did mention it was a while ago) that we finally got off the stick.

Switching entailed one of us (in this case it was the Beast) physically going to the Comcast store and getting the box, bringing it home and installing it. While he was there, the Beast was going to upgrade to a DVR and thought he was doing so, only to discover upon installation that that's not what happened at all. They gave him the regular box.

So, months and months go by. We use the VCR to tape stuff and it's annoying.

Then, my awesome little church had it's annual auction in November and guess what someone was auctioning off - a Tivo! And I won! For just $65!

I brought it home feeling very happy and excited. I peeled open the box and started digging around for the directions, the cables, and the beautiful shiny silver box itself. I was so ready.

I started plugging and setting up and it was great. It was great until I got the part where the Tivo channel changer had to talk to the Comcast channel changer (because, as you may or may not know, you still use the Comcast box to GET cable, Tivo's just the recorder).

The cable that goes from Tivo to Comcast and changes the channel for you is called a Serial Cable, one end of it is a little one-pronged plug and the other is a male plug that fits into the Comcast box. Except on the back of the Comcast box is another male plug (by the way, I LOVE that these are still referred to as "male" and "female"). So the plug doesn't plug in. Two male plugs don't talk to each other.

No problem, I thought. There has to be another way. I called Tivo and told them to send me the female plug. They said no problem and a few days later an envelop arrived. It contained another male plug. I was starting to get frustrated. I called Tivo again, this time a little less friendly and sweet. They informed me that there is no female Serial cable and they had no idea why an employee would tell me otherwise.

We hung up and I pondered. Surely there had to be a way. So I got online and found on Amazon a Gender Modifier. I swear to God that's what it's called. It arrived last week and totally doesn't fit. Doesn't. Fit.

I returned it and considered driving out to Route 46 or Route 22 to Best Buy and bringing the Serial cable with me so that I can make sure it fits for myself before I spend any money. But, Jesus, it's Christmastime. Do I really want to fight Route 46 traffic? Really?

And then I remembered that Comcast sits on my board of directors. So I called up my guy and he says he can have someone come by and install a Comcast DVR for me on Saturday. Saturday! And it'll be HD!

The moral of the story is Comcast rules.


Lindsay said...

haha i love they are called Male and Female too! How frustrating though! But im glad you are getting everything figured out and yay for HD!

Joan said...

Oh my Mom hates Comcast! Her bill charges a different amount EVERY month. She calls every time to get it changed and straightened out. Watch out everyone! (Hopefully Jersey's Comcast is better than FL's.

mp said...

I'm exhausted from reading this, but I'm so glad you are happy now!

Joy said...


Kristen said...

so what will happen to little TiVo?
I'm not a fan of Comcast as they rape my checking account monthly and yet I'm addicted to HGTV and SciFi etc so I cannot just say no. :(

Kate said...

Tivo will have to find a new home. My smarty-pants cousin Jennie suggested putting it on Craig's list, which I hadn't even thought of. All suggestions will be taken into consideration.

Matt Law said...

Kate, the blame is misplaced. Every cable box in the world besides Comcast's has a female receptacle. Also, even if you found a gender bender for your cable, the port on the Comcast cable box is disabled. This is done so that people who purchase a Tivo can't hook it up this way. You have to use the IR cable, which kinda sucks, but still works.

Anyway, aren't you in a FIOS area? Why use crappy Comcast when you could be hooked up with FIOS? We has so many bad problems with Comcast, it was retarded. They nearly lost our phone number (when we had phone service with them). They over charged us nearly $150, and I had to threaten to take them to small claims court to get it back. Their service would cut out for no reason regularly, especially their phone service. Their customer service reps are horrible, mean people with no education. I would make calls to them back to back and get a different story from them all the time.

FIOS has been a dream come true. All the services work great. The internet is much faster. FIOS has more HD channels and better overall tv options. Their service reps are friendly and knowledgeable. The installers are not brain dead. (I felt like the last Comcast guy we had come to our house was scoping out the joint, as in "That's a nice Ipod. That computer is pretty sweet"). The installers are also far more experiences at what they do as well, resolving issues far quicker then Comcast. The comcast rep acted like he never heard of a Linksys router before, whereas the FIOS guy didn't miss a beat. Oh, and Tivo works great with FIOS, I should know, I have 5 of them.

One last thing, you said the Beast returned an old cable box right? Make sure you save that receipt, because Comcast will claim that you never returned the box and try to make you pay for it, and you need to show them that receipt in person at their store to prove otherwise. They did that with us about 3 months after we turned it in, and they did that to my dad 1.5 years after he turned in his. Make sure you save that paperwork.

I have many more stories about Comcast and how much they suck if you want to hear more.