The Winter of Our Discontent

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:29 AM

It may be spring now, but you sure couldn't tell it using the new Moxi DVR box that Charter Communications installed today in the process of bringing me into their digital cable fold. It was not snowing outside, but it the Moxi was producing plenty of the white stuff on the TV. After dealing futilely with the installer/subcontractor (why do dish and cable companies always use idiotic subcontractors?), I called support, complained about the installer and proceeded in noting that the cable with or without the Moxi was snowy. They re-dispatched the installer, who called and said he could not make it back today but suggested we circumvent the Moxi box, which I promptly noted would not fix the problem (and for that matter, why pay for a DVR and then circumvent it — that's silly). The installer also noted that everything would have to be digital in time for the HDTV switchover in a year or two — so I'd only have to wait until then for everything to look fine. Yes, that sounds like a good solution!

So, I called Charter again and after finally reaching the point where I started to become a raving lunatic and threatened to throw their equipment out on the porch, they agreed to escalate the issue and get a real tech out today rather than making me wait around again. The tech came and said that they needed a line tech to come and boost the main cable box's amplifier. The line techs came later this evening and did just that, which fixes pure analog signals, but everything still looks horrible through the Moxi. As it turns out, these techs admitted that there is a known hardware problem, apparently with all Moxi boxes, that causes snow on all channels below 99 (i.e. almost everything interesting). There are two possible solutions: they will replace the boxes in the future and/or they will be going all digital on or before May 15, moving all of the channels to places above 99.

I have one final card to play, because I'm not inclined to keep a sub-par system for two months when Dish looks just fine: the one line tech gave me the name of one of the higher ups at Charter, who will, at the least discontinue the service for me. I'm hoping they might be willing to just waive the monthly fee until the problem is fixed in May, but I'm guessing that won't happen and if they won't do that, I shall just renew Dish for another month and forget about going to cable.

At any rate, I'm irritated that Charter did not disclose this problem prior to ordering the service (complete with a 1 year contract — although I have signed nothing and am suppose to have 30-days to opt out). Apparently, the sales people are suppose to disclose the issue, but did not. Lying will get you into someplace, but when it is so blatant, it doesn't last. Who in their right mind would keep a box that corrupts and deforms TV more than anything else? Dish may just prove to be the Richmond to Charter's Richard III.

Join the Conversation

8 comments posted so far.

Re: The Winter of Our Discontent

The best thing everyone with cable can do is cancel and get Sat TV if you have a clear view of the orbiting sat. Maybe then, after seeing a decent drop in funds, they would wake up.

I haven’t had cable for around 3months now and to be perfectly honest, don’t miss it at all. Between rentals, online content and borrowing from friends, I am more then happy, and a bit richer.;-)

Posted by Mark - Mar 30, 2005 | 2:07 PM- Location: MA

Re: The Winter of Our Discontent

Cable? Satellite? Pshaw! We have good old terrestrial broadcast! OK, so we can’t get channel 4, adn everything is a little fuzzy, but it’s watchable :) and free.

Posted by Timothy - Mar 30, 2005 | 2:39 PM- Location: Saint Charles, MO

Re: The Winter of Our Discontent

Yucky. Did you ever have trouble with Dish during storms?

Posted by Christopher - Mar 30, 2005 | 5:51 PM- Location: MO

Re: The Winter of Our Discontent

We actually don’t have anything right now given that the trees block all services. My father-in-law has Dish and except for the blizzard that we got, weather is a none issue. Heck his cable went out more then his dish does now. Sorry but paying 50+ dollars for analog signal that wasn’t always the best with cable versus, $39 for all digital, and twice the channels, is a no brainer to me. If and when we get a house, we’ll be sure to look into it.

For now we just have a Terk sitting on top of the ol’ tv.

Posted by Mark - Mar 30, 2005 | 6:53 PM- Location: MA

Re: The Winter of Our Discontent

Mark: I tried to switch to cable from Dish because it was cheaper for more channels, rather than Dish being cheaper. And there is stuff you just can’t get with Dish — local public service stuff, digital local broadcasts, etc. $39 will buy you a nice package with Dish, that’s true, but essentially the same $39 will buy you a nice package with Charter (so long as you are a internet and telephony customer, which I am). Essentially I come out about the same fiscally, so this is primarily an issue where I can get more features if Charter would fix the problem (in two months Charter will be all-digital like Dish).

I think Dish gives a few more channels, but I don’t worry about numerical differences, but content differences. Charter has more useful channels for the price. They include stuff like Hallmark and even HBO, Cinemax, Stars and Showtime for the price that I’m paying for a basic package with Dish.

Timothy: That’s my point. :-) Well, actually it isn’t. I’m not a big TV watcher, but there is nothing on local broadcasts that even interests me… primarily I like TV Land, CNN, the Weather Channel and so on. Oh, and I love C-SPAN during political events. I was also hoping to get the St. Peters Municipal station and LU26 from Lindenwood.

Christopher: yes. I’ve lost the signal or had problems when it rained fairly hard. But, as a whole, they’ve been pretty good and their 100 hour free DVR is very nice (only a $5 monthly fee for it too).

Posted by Timothy R. Butler - Mar 30, 2005 | 10:50 PM- Location: MO

Re: The Winter of Our Discontent

I’ve had comcast digital and DISH service. Of the two, I would take comcast any day. Comcast is cheaper for the specific channel combinations I want (I don’t need all the premier stuff, but do want the local channels) and doesn’t require a long-term contract. I also like that with Comcast, I can hook as many TVs as I want up to the line for traditional cable service, where with DISH, it’s all or nothing.

I love the ability to search programming on screen and schedule future programming, but I don’t like how—with either service—it takes so long to switch channels. It’s murder on a terminal channel surfer. :)

Posted by kevin - Mar 31, 2005 | 7:11 AM- Location: Milwaukie, OR

Re: The Winter of Our Discontent

me wonders what all the fuss is about

I get two TV stations, and don’t watch either for the most part. I get one clear radio station, about a half-dozen that are tolerable, and a few more that come in and out a lot. Dish anything starts at something like $500 setup and not less than $50/month, and only two vendors. Dialup maxes out at 28K.

Instead, I get deer in my front yard, no signficant vehicle traffic, the great smell of swamp allergens — oh, wait; that’s a hazard. Anyway, I’m so far below all this, I can’t even work up any envy.

Posted by Ed Hurst - Mar 31, 2005 | 6:23 PM- Location: Rural SE Texas

Re: The Winter of Our Discontent

Ed, why would it cost $500 to setup a dish? I’m not talking a big dish, but one of those little dishes… those come with free installation, at least around here. I know I’ll never convince you, but there are some good, legitimate uses for this stuff. :-)

At any rate, I wouldn’t mind being out in the country a bit further, although other things make that rather impractical for me.

Posted by Timothy R. Butler - Mar 31, 2005 | 6:44 PM- Location: MO

Create or Sign In to Your Account

Post as a Visitor

:mrgreen: :neutral: :twisted: :arrow: :shock: :smile: :???: :cool: :evil: :grin: :idea: :oops: :razz: :roll: :wink: :cry: :eek: :lol: :mad: :sad: :!: :?:
Remember my information