How’s Your Cable Company Treating You? (HD)


Being enrolled in auto-pay, I rarely see a cable bill. However, now that Dexter and Californication have come to an end for the year, I took a look at my latest statement before canceling Showtime ($16/mo) earlier this week. When I moved over the summer, from a Comcast region to Cox, I gave up several HD channels. Which the Cox PDF indicates I should now be reclaiming:

Cox Communications is excited to provide 13 new HD channels between December 16-31, 2009. The new channels are: msnbc HD on ch. 777, BET HD on 736, ABC Family HD on 774, Disney HD on 775, HBO2 HD on 787, More Max HD on 788, TMC HD on 789, Encore HD on 790, Tennis Channel HD on 784, Investigation Discovery HD on 792, BBC America HD on 778, Starz Edge HD on 791 and Disney XD HD on 776.

I’ll gladly take MSNBC and BBC America in HD (again). Although, this probably means more switched digital video. Accompanied by more periodic CableCARD/SDV Tuning Adapter switched station blackouts. And I’m stuck with Cox for better or for worse… as I get zero OTA ATSC reception at my current location. (Satellite and FiOS TV aren’t available to me either.) However, also in my statement is the first mainstream consumer cable-co discussion, that I can recall, of clear QAM. Which gives me hope. Although, at this point, it seems unlikely TiVo will ever provide manual clear QAM mapping capabilities.

We will also be moving ShopNBC from analog to digital service and it will remain on digital ch. 29. A digital receiver or Clear QAM tuner will be required to view ShopNBC.

Lastly, Cox reinforces the limitations of retail CableCARD devices that haven’t been retrofitted for use with SDV tuning adapters (think CableCARD televisions). But I’d probably choose to forgo the extra programming in lieu of that horrid SARA DVR experience.

Consumer-owner devices equipped with a CableCARD may require a digital set top receiver in order to receive all programming options offered by Cox digital cable.

11 thoughts on “How’s Your Cable Company Treating You? (HD)”

  1. Dave,
    Really, you gotta check your bill. I’m with Comcast, and twice this year they added packages that they “thought” I would want. They shifted what channels were in what package, and added the packages to my bill. I am not paying these people extra money.

  2. My early bills were pretty messed up and it required a very lengthy call to straighten out. Since then, the monthly debit has been correct and consistent. And while I’ve had more technical issues than I’d like (pairing, blackouts, busted DVR), the customer service phone reps have been (surprisingly) outstanding.

  3. I’m with Allen, it’s dangerous to put cable on auto-pay. I canceled Comcast two months ago after I saw that they raised prices on me. Don’t get me wrong I love TV, but when I thought about what I was actually getting each month, it didn’t make sense to spend over $50 a month to watch ESPN. Between Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, I’ve found everything that I need online. Now I just need to get an HD OTA attenna so that I can get back the broadcast stations.

  4. for such a digital media maven, you sure to live in a digital black hole. Just for the record, where I live I have access to BHN (same challenges as Cox), DirecTV, Dish and FiOS. Right now I’m on FiOS, but if DirecTV starts broadcasting football in 3D, I might be persuaded.

  5. Yeah, it’s a disappointment. When we made the deal, I was under the impression we were wired for FiOS TV. And I actually think we are, but the community has a relationship with Cox so I’m assuming Verizon is less motivated to offer services. The OTA is a mystery – the only thing that makes sense is the nearby airport radar is overpowering the signals. AntennaWeb indicates I should be getting solid UHF and VHF simply with indoor antennas, but I get none of the majors with indoor antennas or even when taking a laptop w/ tuner outside. After a few years on the sidelines (sold my place in 2005, accidentally at the peak), it’s possible we’ll buy in again next year. And the neighborhoods we’re looking at would give me all the options.

  6. I gave up DirecTV three months ago. While having access to 300 channels is nice theoretically, the reality is that I was only watching a few shows and had an interest in only a few channels. The fee for cable/satellite is not commensurate with the quality of content and service IMHO. Between Roku (Netflix, Amazon, Pandora, etc.) and AppleTV (various podcasts and ~100 movies on the HDD) I have all the television/movies I need.

  7. Report from teh u-verse;

    1 – AT&T pushed HD Net up to the highest tier ( U300 ), part of the ever dwindling number of proper HD content ( produced end-to-end in 16:9 HD ).

    2 – All u-verse tiers going up $5 a month, announced in Orwellian Double Speak “increase is to ensure continuous quality for you, our valued customer…”

    3 – Here in Austin on-screen caller ID enabled ( finally )

  8. Dave,
    About 6 years ago I switched back to Cablevision from Direct TV (I LOVED Direct TV, I called them twice, once to set it up for the first time and a second to activate another receiver.). The wife started to work from home and dial up wasn’t cutting it, Directway was a $500 investment plus what ever the monthly bill was. The cable bill was F’ed up for a good year. They could never get the credit card auto pay, to work right. I even set it up over the phone and it was still screwed up. The would never charge me for the month that the next month I was paying for 2. Finally got it straightened out. Also they came out to the house a bunch of times because I was having service problems. I kept telling them that the signal to the house was to low, they kept telling me it was OK. Finally after 4 trips to the house, and 3 CABLEcards in the TiVo, one guy climbed the pole and said, “The service to your house is over 25 years old, I’m gonna replace it.” Ever since then I haven’t had any issues. We have the triple play deal (or what ever they call it) and pay $150 a month.

  9. I just switched my TiVo HD from Comcast to OTA. I get perfect reception for 4 of the 5 networks! No FOX (no big loss, I’ll download Fringe).

    Best of all it’s free! (While it lasts…)

  10. I’ve been without cable for a few years now and only miss a few shows that I catch on the internet for free. My decision, in the end, did not come down to a lack of satisfaction with the programming or product, but I could not in good conscience give comcast any more of my money. The service was horrible without any sense of concern. Even the tech was shrugging saying, “I know… it sucks…”

    Now I get 20 channels OTA and can’t keep up with everything my Tivo Series 3 and Tivo HD record. Then add the options from Netflix, Amazon, and the podcasts available easily through Tivo and it makes it REALLY easy to give up cable.

    Now I’ve paid for my Tivos and lifetime subscription many times over on the more than $100 a month I was paying for my cable service.

    I went to my mother-in-law’s house and saw her comcast service and started laughing. The quality is horrible compared to OTA.

    These companies are the definition of monopoly behavior.

  11. It’s crazy how cable companies can pull a switch and think that the majority of their customers won’t notice! Thanks for the information. I work with Sharp and always enjoys watching my cable on one of their HD televisions that I don’t overthink what my cable company many be adding and charging.

Comments are closed.