ED Magedson – Founder
Comcast Cable is currently moving SEVERAL of the basic-tier channels, such as A&E, TOON, NICK, DISN, TRU, TnT, SPIKE, FX etceteras to a "digital format". As I understand it, this is being done so that bandwidth can otherwise be freed up on the system for things like higher speed internet, phone service and other services. I get that part of it. What I DON'T GET is why Comcast Cable is LYING to its customers! To wit:
This morning, several channels that WERE in analog format were suddenly missing from my service. In their place was a full-screen message, prompting me that, if I was seeing this message, it meant that I was not ready for the digital transition, and that I would need to contact Comcast to request "equipment". Now, I am seeing this message on a Sharp Aquos 42" with ATSC/NTSC tuner, which means that my television HAS a digital tuner, and IS able to receive digital channels. So, I contacted Comcast via on-line chat...
The direct, simple question was posed; Is Comcast simply moving those channels to digital signal, or are they ALSO ENCRYPTING the channels? The representative told me (and I can PROVE this, I retained record of the conversation!) that the channels were simply being converted to digital, and NOT encrypted. (LIE!) I asked him (Jefferson was his name,) that, if this was true, that I would be able to still receive these channels on BOTH of my Sharp DTVs! I informed him that what he was telling me simply was NOT the truth. He informed me that to receive the channels, I would need a cable box for each television. Then...
His response was to copy/paste a canned explanation of the 2009 FCC Digital Transition Mandate. As anyone can tell you, the 2009 FCC directive ONLY APPLIES to "over-the-air, broadcast" stations. The REASON for this is that analog broadcast stations take up THREE frequencies: one for audio, one for video and one for chromatic data. The FCC directive had NOTHING to do with Cable systems and providers, leaving it up to THEM (Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, et al.) to decide when and how to apply digital standards. But I digress...
I informed him that I in fact, HAVE an FCC license AND an FRN, am A+ Certified in PC maintenance, and have installed C-band satellite systems with both Houston Tracker AND EchoStar descrambler / receivers. I further informed him that the ONLY difference between the cable box and the Sharp(s) was a DESCRAMBLER! PROOF that they ARE encrypting the channels!
I then informed him that what I needed him to tell me was that I could get 2 more cable boxes (which I SHOULDN'T need if Comcast weren't LYING!) at NO CHARGE. His response was that there would be a small fee for each box. BOVINE SCATOLOGY!
I then CALLED Comcast, and went through this entire system of lies, mis-direction, sleight-of-hand tricks and ignorant deceptions yet again, not only with the CSR but also with her SUPERVISOR. In the end, I got her to agree to the two extra boxes at no charge, which she stated she would annotate on my account. As I am currently out-of-town, I will have to wait until TOMORROW to get to their offices to get the equipment. Tonight, I have no HIST, no A&E, no TRU, NONE of the channels that I'm paying their arses for and enjoy watching. (I smell a small credit in the near future...)
Comcast and their Xfinity upgrade can kiss my lilly white arse. They've been caught in an outright LIE. They said NOTHING about scrambling or otherwise blocking these basic-tier channels, only telling us that they were "going digital". Any REASONABLE person would conclude that, if they already owned a DTV, that they'd be all set already. If someone starts a class-action, I want IN!!
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 07/14/2010 04:31 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/comcast/internet/comcast-deceptive-business-practices-false-advertising-false-statements-lying-to-cust-623227. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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