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A Gift From the Comcast Gods

May 1st, 2009 (11:12 pm)

current mood: sleepy

Recently I received a slick, color brochure from Comcast. The front read something like, "Good News About Your Comcast Cable TV Service!" I opened it up to find a headline about changes in the lineup for customers who have a higher-priced subscription than mine. The changes consisted mostly of re-assigning channel numbers. None of this was relevant to my tier of service, so I nearly threw the thing away. Then a line of tiny print near the bottom caught my eye. In a 6-point-type footnote, I was informed that customers with my subscription would no longer receive MPT, one of our three PBS stations, and that the change would take effect the very next day.

I was ticked off. Losing a PBS station really hurts. And this was coming soon after another PBS station, WETA, had gotten rid of its afternoon kids' programs and moved them to a new WETA-Kids station -- which, naturally, was not available with my tier of service. The following day, MPT did fade to black. At the same time, though we hadn't been warned about it, TCM, one of my favorite stations, was also affected. I could still get a picture, so I could see the classic movies, but there was no longer any audio.

For several years now, Comcast has been cutting our service and/or raising our rates on a regular basis. But MPT and TCM? This was the worst. But then I learned (in the fine print, again) that we did have an option besides giving in and paying for a higher-priced subscription. (All you satellite TV watchers are now talking to your computer screens, telling me I could switch to the Dish, but we weren't ready for that, either. I guess we could go back to an antenna, but there are too many stations we want to watch that we can't get that way.) For customers like me, Comcast was offering a special box, free for one year, that would giveth back the stations it had taketh away. I heard various concerns about this box on my neighborhood listserve, but I didn't see another good choice, so I trooped down to the Comcast office and got myself a box.
We hooked up the new box a few days ago, and now we are amazed. Not only do we get MPT and TCM, but we also get all the alternate WETAs, including the one for kids. And Hallmark and Travel, which disappeared from our service in the fine print of the last brochure we received from Comcast. And HUNDREDS of other stations. Comcast just doesn't give free service upgrades, so I'm mystified about why I'm getting all these channels. Maybe it's a temporary thing, to show us what we're missing so we'll decide to pay for the more expensive service. I'm half expecting to get my next bill in the mail and discover that they're charging us a higher rate for the privilege of having this FREE box.

I don't really want hundreds of channels. My family would be just fine with 40 or 50 -- if we could choose WHICH 40 or 50. (For me personally, the number would be much lower, but I do have to share the TV with my husband and son.) On the other hand, it's nice to have more options. Now if we can just get them all to show something worth watching....


Posted by: dragonet2 (dragonet2)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2009 03:50 am (UTC)
I'm sort of glad we're on Time-Warner

Granted we have to watch the bills like a hawk because they keep trying to add stuff that we do not get or want.

But we have all the channels, and we have at least one movie lover. And our Internet provider is through the cable service.

Posted by: Allison Stein (astein142)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2009 03:26 pm (UTC)

Yes, check your next bill carefully, as well as any fineprint you can find on their website. Sneaky little bastages they are....

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