Dear Comcast

Dear Comcast,

I have been using your new fangled High Definition PVR with two tunes for a few months now. Let me tell you, this is the buggiest piece of consumer electronics I have ever used (note: this is the version with the TV Guide Software, not the Microsoft Foundation). I can't believe that you are making me pay to use this device as it does not function most of the time. Here is a list of my complaints:

  1. Every so often, the devices forgets that I get ABC in high definition and proceeds to record shows like Alias in Standard Definition. To correct this I must delete the recording, and create a new one. Of course I'd rather hurl the box from the window before going through the 20 step process to do this.

  2. At least 3 times a week, the box records a show for 0 minutes, 5 minutes, or 49 minutes, but not the full hour. The box has no idea that it did this.

  3. At least once a week, there is no audio that comes out of the box, so I must powercycle it. If it is recording something, I must wait for it to finish before being able to powercycle and hear the audio.

  4. If I use the power on/off feature of the box, 99% of the time, there is no video or audio when I turn it back on. I need to start a pre-recorded show then go back to live tv

  5. The UI is HORRIBLE. Who designed this software? It sucks.

    1. Adding a new recording is like a 20 step process.

    2. Anytime you make a mistake you have to start over

    3. None of the controls for the PVR (to go to the recorded TV list and start a show) work from the on demand application

  6. The box can't deal with some really basic conflicts

  7. I have no way of knowing what shows I actually watched from the recorded TV list

  8. Your box didn't even handle Daylight Savings time correctly. It updated a day late!!!

It's truly appalling what a buggy product this is. If TiVo shipped this product back in 1999, they would have gone out of business in their first year. It's amazing that 6 years later, you have produced a product that is 100% worse than TiVo or Windows Media Center. This box is so unreliable, that I cannot count on it to be anything fancier than a dual HiDef Cable box. I actually have to watch the shows I really care about when they are on TV.

One day, I hope to have support in my Windows Media Center box for CableCard so that I can go back to my trusty and reliable Windows Media Center to record TV. When that day comes, it will be a joyous one. I cannot wait to call you up to come pick up this box.

Comments (7)
  1. Jeff says:

    Also sometimes when turn mine on there is no picture. The menus show up but not TV picture. I fix this by playing anything I have recorded (which play’s just fine), stop it as soon as it starts and then the TV picture is back.

    You can fix the #3. The problem is that when it’s off and starts recording a show it comes up muted (probably in case you have it hooked into a stereo that’s been left on so you don’t wake up at 3:00AM to a rerun of South Park blasting in your ear. Also you can do commercial skip. See below…

    1) Press the "Cable" button at the top of the remote to put it into Cable Box control mode.

    2) Press and hold the "Setup" button until the "Cable" button blinks twice.

    3) Type in the code 994. The "Cable" button will blink twice

    4) Press (do not hold) the "Setup" button

    5) Type in the code 00173 (for 30 second Skip) or 00236 (for Swap) or 00141


    6) Press whatever button you want to map the skip or swap or mute function to.

  2. Jeff Parker says:

    Sorry Omar for a long post on your blog but I need to vent. You touched a nerve today.

    Dear Comcast Part 2

    Please communicate changes with your employees. My Dilemma. My Internet goes out for an entire weekend, not that uncommon anymore, but one of the times this month…

    I finally get my internet back from an outage I don’t know why and I notice it is very slow, almost as slow as dial up. I let it go for a week, because we are getting used to poor service but since I live in an apartment I can not just switch to a better cable provider. So finally I call, first lady, hmm well our computers are down right now to let me test this can you call back later. I call back later, hmm no we are not having any problems and “No sir nothing has changed in our service”, we can schedule you an appointment for a tech to come out there and look at it. That will be Thursday two weeks from now sometime between 12 and 5. If I only had a dollar for every time I heard that.

    Next day call in finally I get a great person to help me we start tracking down the problem him pinging my cable router is seeing 75% packet loss. Which is what I have been seeing and trying to tell them. He tried to reload my configuration, changes settings. He looks in log files, nothing changed in the service no upgrades reported in my area everything should be working. He is pretty sure it is my modem, which I thought it was lines but yes it could be modem, the modem is only two years old. He says I need a new one, I ask is there a Comcast I can go to just swap one out so I do not have to take time off work. He looks and finds a place just a mile from work that will take equipment and give out equipment. Great I can go there at lunch tomorrow. I Thank him I am happy I finally got someone to help me.

    Lunch time all excited I am going to Comcast to get a new modem, finally fixing my problem. I go there bringing my old modem in and the lady at the counter say sorry we do not swap out modems because 90% of the time it is the customers fault for the problem, we will need to send a tech out. Ok now I am steaming it is no wonder the lady is behind 1 inch thick bullet proof glass. So I bite the bullet and go away extremely dissatisfied to await the tech sometime a week from now between 12 and 5.

    Tech shows up, looks at the modem model number pulls a piece of paper out of his pocket looks on the list and says yep, we did an upgrade a couple weeks ago and the modems on this list are no longer compatible. You need a new modem. I shake my head he gives me a new modem and takes the old one away.

    Last week on the weekend again my internet and my TV all go out at the same time. I call in again. Oh well we need to send a tech out he will be there Tuesday sometimes between 12 and 5. Tuesday morning I check and still no TV or internet I go to work planning to come home at noon another afternoon off. I get home and everything is working. At 2:00 the cable guy calls and says he is coming out, I ask him why it is all working now. He has no idea why but he suspects a line man finally noticed there was a line down somewhere and fixed it. Now it would have been nice if they would have informed me and even your own guy. He asks if I still want him to come out. I said well you know I have been thinking about getting your new DVR system can you bring one out to me. He said no it is not something in high demand yet and they do not have them in stock, so I would have to call and order one. I said ok, thanked him and decided well might as well call and order one.

    I call thinking well at least I will get something done out of the day I can order one and pick it up at lunch and bring it home and hook it up, I mean how hard can that be, last cable tech I had out there couldn’t figure out how to hook the TV Box set up and I had to do it for him. My Ordering conversation is as follows “Hello sir you want to order our DVR system, that’s great. We can set that all up. We can schedule a tech to come out and hook it up in two weeks somewhere between 12 and 5”….. I just told them forget it.

    This has been my service this month. This letter could be much longer as these things repeat on a monthly basis. So far this year alone I figure Comcast owes me 2 days of vacation I have had to take off to wait on their “Tech” to come out between 12 and 5 and the tech never needed to come out.

  3. Omar —

    You need to make the change and get DishNetwork. I have been using it for 2 years and the DVR is great. As feature rich as the Tivo but I have never had a problem with it. The best part is that you can also get the HD version of Dish along with a DVR. I am going to move over to the HD Dish network soon for the 65" TV in the basement.

    The satellite signal always beats cable even the digital cable. I get over 180 stations for less than $50.

    I have no idea on the use of a Media Center PC with the DishNetwork boxes.

  4. One correction to my last post… the DishNetwork is not as feature rich as the Tivo but I have had no issues with the software or hardware. The box also has 100 hours of capacity.

  5. You’re lucky. My stupid HDTV box didn’t even update for daylight saving’s time. I would reset it but it takes like an hour to get the guide content.

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