AVS Forum Special Member
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: W Simsbury, CT, USA
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My life story...
After getting frustrated with the fact that as a DirecTV early adopter when they finally added the CT locals they put them on the lower satellite which is blocked by my trees, I shut down the service and went with lifeline cable. For whatever reason, I was getting more than just the very basic channels, so for about $10-11/month I was quite happy. In October I got a phone call from them offering me expanded basic for "only about $7 or $8 a month more" good for a few months. I took the deal and was happy with it but it turned out to be actually more like $11/month more (about $22/month total). That deal just ended apparently and they wanted to start charging me $43+.
In the mean time, my wife bought me an HP 856x (Win XP Media Center Edition PC). I've been disappointed with the quality of DVR with this. My standalone TiVo is noticeably better. I came across a post on the newsgroups that indicated that the problem was with the tuner card's RF input (or actual cable TV tuner) and that the S-Video input might be better. I really want to like this thing, partly because of all that it can do and partly because I'd save the $13/month TiVo service fee I currently pay. So that got me to thinking that if I had some other box to tune things in and could enter the PC via the S-Video input things might look better. Did a little reading on the forums here about the Comcast Motorola box and started thinking about using it via the S-Video output for an upgraded picture into my PC (if that's a realistic expectation). I also have an NEC LT85 SVGA DLP projector and a 80x45" Da-Lite Hi-Power screen which I would watch some occasional HDTV material on (hopefully the Superbowl).
Getting back to pricing...According to Comcast's site, HDTV service is available as a $7 add-on and requires "Basic service." Well, I called Comcast and was told that I actually needed Basic Digital service. I don't believe there's any package called Basic Digital, so if you aren't supposed to be able to get this as an add-on to just a true basic (analog) service, they need to clarify this much better. I certainly wasn't interested in paying $50+/month. Sigh. At that point, I asked to be transferred to their internet service division because I also received an email claiming that I could get $15/month off of my cable modem bill if I had any level of service (including the cheapo $10/month lifeline basic service). More disappointment. This rep I spoke with informed me that I was already saving $15/month because the cost for cable modem service if you don't have any cable TV service is $60/month. Is that true? If so, that's insane.
At that point I told her that my previous special offer for extended basic had expired and I wanted to switch back to the $11/month plan. She asked if I would be willing to keep it if she could guarantee me a price of $25/month (or something like that) for a year. At that point, I gave her my sob story about how I really wanted the HDTV service and could I add that to the price she quoted me. Once again, she informed me that I needed basic Digital. At that point I begged and pleaded and further explained that I didn't care about all those extra channels and I didn't want to pay $50+ when all I really wanted was basic service plus HDTV for $18/month. To my surprise, she said that there might be something she could do. She went on to do some computations (or who knows what) and came back with this deal:
1) Installer would come out tomorrow. Her system wouldn't let her give me a free install, but she was going to give me a $16 credit to accomplish the same thing.
2) My total monthly price including taxes would be $29.83. This would include basic cable, the digital plus package, and HDTV. According to her, this was not a "promotional" price but would be my normal price forever (or obviously until they raise their prices).
Rather than tell me what the "digital plus package" consisted of, she would send me out something which had all the channels I would get circled. I'm not sure if this means that they'll be filtering out certain channels or what, but if I even get what I used to get for $11/month plus HDTV for the major networks, I think I can be very happy with this deal.
Hopefully this will all come to fruition. BTW, I asked her about PVR and she said that it's not available yet but they'd be informing existing customers about it. She might have used the word "soon" but I can't say for sure.
So does this all sound legit? Did she give me a special deal or did she not know what she was doing? She seemed like she knew what she was doing and was extremely friendly.
Of course it's also possible that they got one over on me and I should have been able to get what I wanted for $18/month.
I'd much rather watch a great movie in B&W at 240 lines of resolution than a lousy movie in 1080p with lossless audio.