Back in February, I reactivated the Moxi HD DVR to evaluate Moxi Mate extender functionality. (It’s quite nice.) And had a phenomenal CableCARD install experience. The tech was in and out in 35 minutes, with zero problems. Leading me to believe the CableCARD landscape had seen improvement. But maybe I spoke too soon. As the process of moving that CableCARD to the new TiVo Premiere has been unfun… and unsuccessful. Those cable gateways can’t get here soon enough.
But before we get on to what is essentially a lengthy blow-by-blow bitch session, let me ask if I’m alone in this: What are your experiences migrating CableCARDs? And let us know if you happen to operate in the FiOS TV Nirvana, where cards don’t require pairing. Now, on with my tale…
As I’m wont to do, I regularly tweet my adventures in tech. And I’m perfectly comfortable calling out companies and technologies that don’t perform. Someone at Cox Communication was listening, as they responded last night:
Hello Mr. Zatz- My name is XXXXXXX XXXX, a VP at Cox Communications, I saw your tweets and want to apologize and get you help asap. We tried to call tonight but did not reach you. Can we come out tomorrow? You name the time. My apologies for the problems, they are unacceptable. Thank you,
My reply this morning…
I’m sorry someone was compelled to get you involved late on a Sunday and I appreciate the outreach. On the other hand, it appears you have a broad organizational support problem which cost me about 5 hours over the last week. It also costs you, as I know phone and in-home service don’t come cheap. Not to mention the harder-to-measure costs related to customer satisfaction and perceptions surrounding competence. Which, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, are even more relevant in our region where Verizon provides an alternative.
The backstory… I originally called into tech support to pair a currently issued and active multistream CableCARD with a new piece of TiVo hardware. In theory, I’d simply read off the relevant CableCARD and DVR identifiers to the phone rep who re-pairs it in the system. We’re talking something that should be a ten minute call.
But that first ~30 minute call went down something like this. “I’m going to send a hit to reset your boxes.” No, don’t do that.” “Done.” At which point both my SDV tuning adapters went into a ten minute reboot. A sometimes risky proposition as those switched stations don’t always immediately return, often requiring additional reboots (of them and their associated DVRs) and/or waiting a day for things to sort themselves out on their own. And, of course, this didn’t address my pairing request and reason for calling in. I probably didn’t help myself in how I initially presented the issue to the phone rep. Then again, he clearly had very limited familiarity with CableCARDs. And I quickly gave up on him.
My second call, of ~45 minutes, went slightly better. She readily admitted her technical deficiencies, but was determined to assist – often putting me on hold to request backup. I thought she was going to get it done, but each time she tried to pair the CableCARD it’d come back with a failure message on her end. What we didn’t know at the time is that prior “troubleshooting” by one of the phone reps had dissociated the CableCARD from an outlet, thus prohibiting service. We ended the call by scheduling a technician between 8AM – 10AM on Saturday.
So, Saturday morning rolls around. I get a call at 8:16, from whom I presume to be the technician, asking if I still had problems and need servicing. “Uh, yeah.” He tells me he’ll be there before 10. At 10, I call in and ask where the technician is. The phone rep says he’s not answering his Nextel, she’ll check with his supervisor. After a few minutes on hold they say he’ll be there at 10:45. I ask how you normally handle blown appointments and the rep says she’ll credit my account $20.
At 10:50, I call in and ask where the tech is. After the rep comes back from placing me on hold, she says it’ll now be 11:30. At which point, I say cancel the Saturday service appointment and put me through to a supervisor. Who didn’t seem overly concerned in having a rogue subordinate or with my inconvenience. But he kindly rescheduled a tech for Sunday 5PM – 7PM, because I wasn’t planning on losing all of Saturday waiting around (for someone who obviously didn’t want to be there).
Given my luck thus far, I was very pleasantly surprised when the technician showed up promptly at 5PM on Sunday. However, I was discouraged to see he didn’t have a computer with him. Additionally, he told me straight up that if he had problems, we’d have to schedule another visit since the warehouse is closed on Sundays. And that’s apparently where every Cox CableCARD is kept. Basically, he had no more tools than I. And did just what I did by calling in for pairing. Fortunately, the folks on the other end of his line know a little bit more about the technology they support. Their first discovery was that the CableCARD in question wasn’t associated with an outlet. Once they got that resolved, a subset of channels appeared. But, despite his call to three different techs, they couldn’t ultimately get the card paired or provisioned correctly. Leading to appointment #4, currently scheduled for next Saturday, 8AM – 10AM. Presumably when another tech will show, perhaps on time and perhaps with the proper equipment.
However, we’ve collectively wasted enough time on this project. You win. And I give up. Please cancel my upcoming Saturday appointment, I do not want to reschedule. I’ll keep this specific CableCARD and tuning adapter in service, with partial functionality, for the time being. If/when I lose the current subset of subscribed channels or get tired of missing the other channels I pay for, I’ll drop off this hardware and have one less active outlet on my account.