Rethinking cable TV service?

Recently, AJC reporter Carrie Teegardin wrote about consumers who were upset with Comcast’s move to all-digital TV service.

They complained about new monthly charges for the required boxes, poor customer assistance, slow channel changing and long lines to pick up equipment.

Comcast faces more competition these days, however, with the arrival of AT&T’s new U-verse TV service. That service is now being rolled out in metro Atlanta. In addition, there is also competition from the satellite TV companies.

Are you thinking about switching out of cable TV? Or are you satisfied? Why or why not?

In this era of high-definition channels, which service is the best?

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129 comments Add your comment

Chas

October 19th, 2009
2:25 pm

If you are on the net with the cable TV, why would you want to switch to a dish? If you do I believe that the cost will go up for now you may have two bills. Ok so you say you are going to go wireless on you computer but what about security now?

jimmy

October 19th, 2009
3:09 pm

What a great racket the pay TV providers have going. Charge folks for TV thats already paid for with commercials. If i sold the same thing twice johnny law would want to see me.
If commercials pay for TV then what is this cable bill for?

Cable bill or commercials NOT BOTH!!!

Steve

October 19th, 2009
3:36 pm

I fired Comcast two months ago after repeatedly being given the runaround about when/how they were going to switch their entire network to digital and the real cost. I now have more channels for less money and the only thing I lost was CSS sports.

Susan

October 19th, 2009
4:28 pm

I’m not thinking about changing…I did that 3 months ago. Their service was horrible, tech support was somewhere overseas and it was a rare occasion I could speak to someone I could understand, and their internet sucked. I moved on to another large company, and am so much happier, not to mention it’s cheaper!!! Leaving Comcast behind was the best decision I’ve made!

dap

October 19th, 2009
4:28 pm

Good questions Jimmy!! Why do we pay for television with commercials? This is legalized robbery. I want to switch and I haven’t because from my understanding with dish you have to pay for local channels. By the time you go through all the HD charges, local charges and nickle and dimes you are paying almost the same costs. Maybe saving $10-$15.

Art Vandelay

October 19th, 2009
4:29 pm

I just had the honor of adding an extra $12.95 a month to my already outrageous Comcast bill last night, simply because I wanted HD service in a second room of my house — that’s $5 for rental of the box, and $6.95 for the “service,” even though I already have HD on one TV (shouldn’t the $6.95 per month cover every set in the house, considering they’re already sending the HD signal to me?). Comcast is digging its own grave with spotty reliability, apathetic customer service, low-quality, compressed HD channels and a fee structure that would make Bank of America blush. The minute U-Verse becomes available in my neighborhood, I’ll be switching just on principle — it can’t possibly be worse than what I’ve already got, despite the fact that AT&T’s reputation for customer service is every bit as bad as Comcast’s.

marco

October 19th, 2009
4:33 pm

Generally I’ve actually had excellent service from Comcast. I do dislike having to have a box at every television and an inability to easily record channels above 30 on my vcr/dvdr, but that is really the situation with all tv delivery systems now, so I guess Comcast is really no different. I wish that the tv delivery people would come up with a standard decoding mechanism so we could purchase tv’s and peripheral devices that didn’t need these extra boxes and remotes.

Les4USF

October 19th, 2009
4:33 pm

Comcast is by far the worst company I have ever dealt with. We are unable to get U-Verse where I live so I was forced to go with Comcast. Our cable hardly ever works and when it does it cuts in and out. I would not recommend Comcast to anyone!!!!

maybe

October 19th, 2009
4:34 pm

We too dropped Comcast as soon as AT & T U-verse was available in our area. We were so tired of the on demand that we paid for not working, the customer no service etc. While we have had to call customer no service twice since the switch to AT & T U-verse (now almost one year ago) they actually had customer service and they went out of their way to help us with the issue. We love the U-verse for a lot less money (especially if you buy the bundle that unlike Comcast stays the same price not a promotional price).

YoungDawg

October 19th, 2009
4:34 pm

We fired A T&T just over a year ago when we switched to Comcast for phone & internet. We love those services & recently added cable in order to get CSS. I’ll have to say DirecTV is a far more user-friendly, has the most up-to-date technology & there customer service isn’t perfect but its WAY better than Comcast.

Jef

October 19th, 2009
4:34 pm

Chas:

Why switch? Terrible customer service.

Bills/Cost? The prices are competitive.

Security? You’re just as secure as you are with Comcast. Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean you’re not safe.

J R

October 19th, 2009
4:37 pm

Mr Unger, dont knock Comcast unless you have your facts correct. I switched back to Comcast from A T & T so called……..U-Verse. Much happier now, great phone, high speed and cable. Dropping U-Verse with A T & T and going back to Comcast, FANTASTIC> Great pictures COMCAST

clyde

October 19th, 2009
4:38 pm

Several years ago I disconnected the tv and haven’t seen a problem since.I find life to be far superior without it.I spend a little time here on the computer,but most of my day is spent doing something worthwile.This evening the bride and I will go for a walk,then come home and go to bed.We’ll both be up before daylight ready for another day.Never again will we have a television.

maybe

October 19th, 2009
4:38 pm

what does AT & T so called…….U-Verse mean?

Margaret

October 19th, 2009
4:39 pm

COMCAST is an absolutely EVIL (dis)organization run by a bunch of uneducated, rude, foul-mouthed, obnoxious, inconsiderate, dishonest, loud-talking yankees with poor manners and non-existent professionalism, and that entire operation should be in the Eternal Lake of Fire with Michael Vick, Adolf Hitler and Cynthia McKinney.

USMC DAWG

October 19th, 2009
4:40 pm

Saying ComCast sucks would be an understatement. Their offices were apparently designed by someone from WalMart. Tons of windows for cashiers, but only two working. It took me 25 minutes @ the Douglasville office simply to pay my bill. No service changes, upgrades, cancellations, etc. Just stood there to give them $135. Won’t be happening again though. DirectTV on the way in two weeks.

Washington high fan

October 19th, 2009
4:41 pm

On demand is the bomb, Css, and the new redzone tv channel, Comcast may cost but its way better than the dish. I get to watch all the replays of UGA, Ga Tech, and Falcons coverage.

JC

October 19th, 2009
4:42 pm

I’ve had Comcast’s premium package with Internet for 8 years. My bill has gone from about $120 a month to over $210. Damn right I’m looking for another alternative. These new digital boxes that I had to put on my tv’s with no converter are terrible. I found them easy to obtain, easy to install, and easy to activate, but they are slow to change channels.

Art Vandelay

October 19th, 2009
4:42 pm

From Carrie Teegardin’s piece: “Comcast knows that not everyone is happy. But the company said this is simply the reality of new technology. Whether it was the first cable box in history or the arrival of CD players after cassettes and eight-tracks, improved technology often makes existing equipment more difficult to use, said Gene Shatlock, senior vice president for Comcast’s Atlanta region.”

This is a total load of Shatlock, if I may say so. Nobody FORCED me to give up my cassette collection and rebuild it on CD — I had the option to do so when I was ready. On the other hand, Comcast is forcing its customers into the digital age whether they like it or not, despite the fact that the company has been unable to point to a single benefit for the consumer. Comcast’s anticipated ability to offer additional HD channels does not mean a thing to my grandmother, who was comfortable with her old remote control and analog TV, and couldn’t care less whether or not I’m able to get 6 additional HD channels on my TV at her expense. This is just more of the same from a company that has been essentially a monopoly for the past 10 years — the only good news is that U-Verse will eventually provide legitimate competition and force Comcast to actually listen to its customers. Time is running out on their anti-competitive, anti-consumer habits.

Fred

October 19th, 2009
4:42 pm

The magic words that I have used to whip Comcast in line have been… “Direct television.” Once I threatened to jump ship things got rolling. They had a repair truck at my home at 9:00 pm an hour after I called and had me going again. :)

disgruntledcstmr

October 19th, 2009
4:42 pm

As soon as I have the opportunity to switch, I definitely will. The last two times I’ve had technical issues, it’s taken more than a week to get a Comcast tech to my home to restore my cable & internet service — and that was after haggling with the incompetent customer service reps by phone. With customer service like that, I might as well try AT&T when it’s available in my neighborhood.

BBro

October 19th, 2009
4:44 pm

My Comcast HD and phone service is always screwed up. I sure hope AT&T gets up here in our Forsyth community soon. Those dish sattelites aren’t much better.

Seriously?

October 19th, 2009
4:44 pm

Jimmy – I’m hoping that you’re just having fun and not really arguing that cable TV service is (or should be) paid for by advertisers. TV networks sell commercials to pay for the TV content (the shows) and to make a profit. Without the advertisers, there would be no programming. This has nothing to do with how the TV signal gets to your house. If you don’t want to pay, get a digital converter and rabbit ears. If you want access to the more programming, then you pay for cable or satellite service. It’s not “selling the same thing twice”…

Grandma

October 19th, 2009
4:45 pm

I have one company (not Comcast) for cable and internet. Comcast was nothing BUT problem after problem after problem, and like others, whenever tech support was called, I could never understand the foreigners (who didn’t know how to handle internet problems), and it took DAYS to get someone out, plus I was charged a fee for them to come check and fix THEIR problem! With this new company, I never pay for a tech to come out, they always come out the SAME day (if I call early enough), plus I get a lot more channels than I got with Comcast for LESS cost, and the broadcast quality is so much better. None of the pixelated pictures I got CONSTANTLY with Comcast. I also get AMERICANS when I call for tech support, and they are educated in solving problems with internet over the phone. Wish I had gone with them in the first place!!! GOOD-BYE COMCAST. Too bad I can’t say “It’s been nice.”. (P.S. We don’t need any special boxes or equipment to receive t.v. except for “on demand”. We have 2 t.v.’s with a box, and 2 without. The 2 without get just as good reception as the 2 WITH a box. I’m so much happier with my service.

Get It Right

October 19th, 2009
4:45 pm

We went with Dish network. VERY glad we did.

Me Again

October 19th, 2009
4:54 pm

P.S. My new cable/internet company charges for only ONE t.v., we don’t need a special box, and they are well aware of how many t.v.’s we have hooked up to cable. (They hooked them up for me when I ordered.)

I totally agree with those that say that since we are already paying outrageous prices for cable (considering), we should get commercial free t.v. Save the commercials for those that don’t use cable. I know cable gets more channels, but we are paying for those. Considering that nearly half of the channels are in SPANISH, I believe we are still paying too much. It is advertised “get hundreds of channels”, but half of them I can’t watch because I don’t understand Spanish.

JustaThought

October 19th, 2009
4:54 pm

Comcast did’nt JUST get like this folks…………..They’ve been the sorriest most pathetic cable provider since forever. I have’nt had there service in about 10 years. It wasn’t worth a sh$t then, and I would bet donuts to dollars nothing has change.

JustaThought

October 19th, 2009
4:56 pm

And did I say NEVER AGAIN……………………..

jam

October 19th, 2009
4:56 pm

I am pleased with my Comcast service. Have had service issues before, but they were resolved quickly. Love the on demand and hd content. Internet is much faster than dsl. I have priced the alternatives and they are not cheaper.

Marsha

October 19th, 2009
4:57 pm

I have only had trouble with Comcast over the stupid boxes. Rather than stand in line, I asked them to ship them to me. Should have asked if the little guy to install it would be in the box too. I got some woman in Korea that could barely speak English! I asked for someone that spoke American English. You can do this and they have to get someone for you. Once I got the American English-speaker, things went much more smoothly! I still have one set that will not program correctly, but it’s in a guest room….The picture is great and I never experience any loss of service. Everyone I have ever dealt with have been professional, courteous and helpful.

smh @ Margaret

October 19th, 2009
4:59 pm

Seriously, Margaret???? You put Mike Vick in the lake of fire with Adolf Hitler??? Get a life!

dee

October 19th, 2009
4:59 pm

CSS on demand and ESPN 360 is a cool benefit for comcast! Otherwise Comcast Sucks! How can on person be paying one price, and a neighbor in the same subdivision be paying another price for identical service. That’s sucky Comcast!

JustaThought

October 19th, 2009
4:59 pm

Hopefully Verizon FIOs is on the way!

Marsha

October 19th, 2009
5:04 pm

If you want sorry service try Media Com in Albany GA. You can only shop and pray on that service, not to mention crappy pictures. No TCM!

Bruce

October 19th, 2009
5:09 pm

Drop Comcast, AT&T U-Verse & Dish Network. Buy a Tivo HD Recorder box for $200, (refurb from Tivo), a wireless adapter for the Tivo Box ($40) and Get an HD Antenna ($40), which picks up about 31 HD channels in Atlanta, (all major networks, PBS, CW, Ion, etc), then subscribe to Netflix, which you can access with your Tivo box connected to your computer via the wireless adapter. Access sporting events you want to watch via your computer/laptop & make sure you have a TV Out card, or HDMI out on your laptop, then project any online video content to your TV. Cancel your $80-$120 cable bill & replace with $10 to Tivo & $8 to Netflix per month.

Byron Reynolds

October 19th, 2009
5:09 pm

I would gladly subscribe to Comcast… IF I could watch a channel completely dedicated to watching Mike Vick, Hitler and Cythina “McCommunist” McKinney burn for all eternity.

Heck, if you throw Bill Clinton in there as well, I might even pay for a Premium package.

Ed

October 19th, 2009
5:15 pm

Friends, after Comcast stole what I was paying for in the basic tier and moved to other tiers to shake me down for more money I tossed the thieves out on their ear, put up an antenna, and I now enjoy all the high quality TV I care to view. FREE. I have been on an antenna for seven years. Multiply that by your annual contribution to cable and satellite companies and consider all the more pleasurable things you can buy with the savings. After all, the TV fare being offered viewers is not worth the cost of a movie ticket.

Phil of Playaz Ball

October 19th, 2009
5:20 pm

I’ve tried justifying the switch to satellite or some other provider, but it’s never made sense to me.

U-Verse isn’t available to me so I can’t compare (though their prices look just the same as comcast) – Satellite has the following “problems”:

1) Have to spend $200 for an HD box (not sure if this includes DVR or not). And I have 3 TV’s – I assume I need a box for each one. Don’t have to do this w/ Comcast.
2) Trees interfere w/ satellite dish – would have to mount on front of my house. Not doing that. Plus, someone’s drilling holes into my roof.
3) Storms won’t knock out my cable.
4) Comcast internet much faster than anyone else. Plus – they give you MacAfee, which would cost @ $100 year to renew w/o.

I think my biggest problem is purchasing the equipment – It’d take 3 or 4 years of service to pay off.

Bill

October 19th, 2009
5:25 pm

Never had a problem with Comcast. Love the service. Saved a bundle on phone service after a kicked ATT to the curb. I pay $19 for what ATT (and their death star logo) charged over $50. Internet price has been the same for as long as I can remember and runs circles around ATT (old BellSouth) internet. It doesn’t matter how far I am from the central office, like they say in the Slowsky ads. DVR and On Demand are the bomb. I never watch anything when it is “live” anymore. We watch hour long shows in only 40 mins and blow through all the ads. My kids watch great stuff like Kids Sprout. I can block anything I don’t want them to see. They have seasonal programming including music, movies (check out the horror movie stuff for Halloween), etc. Right after Michael Jackson died, they had every Michael Jackson video available On-Demand. It was awesome to watch those 80s videos again. When I was growing up, we got 4 channels and had to move the antenna and had no remote. I’ll take today’s technology and pay more.

PTC DAWG

October 19th, 2009
5:32 pm

I’m ready for the change….MORE HD is what it’s all about. BRING IT ON…

Marie

October 19th, 2009
5:36 pm

I must qualify as an “Elder” of our tribe because I can tell you that when cable was in the planning stages a selling point was that the price one would pay to the cable company would cover the cable company AND the making of the shows. There would be NO commercials. I think there was a short period of no commercials on cable tv.

fromatl1

October 19th, 2009
5:37 pm

I had both Comcast and ATT high speed wireless networks running side by side. ATT dsl extreme is as fast or faster than Comcast’s high speed internet. But with ATT U-Verse the high speed will blow Comcast out of the water. Regardless, my reason for switching is not technical but customer service.

I’m looking forward to U-Verse coming to my neighborhood. I will switch Immediately. I hope that ATT will not make the same mistakes as Comcast.

Sad Stuff

October 19th, 2009
5:38 pm

Comcast has the worst customer service of any company I’ve ever dealth with. I switched to Directv, which actually values its customers. It’s been a job.

Reid in EAV

October 19th, 2009
5:51 pm

Comcast is the devil. AT&T/DirecTV? Well, they’re also the devil. We’ve spent two years with Devil #1, running through the year of Triple Play, then another year of a discounted premium package. Now, despite my telling them in no uncertain terms that I’d walk unless they extended my pricing, they were unwilling to do so.

So now we’re spending two years in the arms of Devil #2, and (at least initially) getting a $57/month discount as a result, for virtually the same thing. I’m sure after the 24 contracted months are up, Devil #2 will jack up the pricing as high as they possibly can, and I’ll be back with Devil #1 as a “new subscriber” again with all the discounts back in place.

Madness? Of course it is. Any businessperson will tell you that it’s a lot cheaper to keep the customers you have than to chase new ones. But as both Comcast and AT&T are government-mandated monopolies in their various areas (and in terms of bundled TV/Internet/Phone providers they’re a bonafide duopoly) obviously the normal free-market business rules don’t apply.

So folks who are savvy about their money will keep switching back and forth advantageously until the government allows more choices (as they should) OR until the growing offerings online and over the free airwaves renders them obsolete.

SWAT Native

October 19th, 2009
5:51 pm

Wow, my experience with Comcast has been dramatically different. I only have their cable service, but it never seems to go out and I don’t have problems with it. I love the selection of HD channels (especially all the sports channels, including the NFL RedZone). On the rare occasions I call customer service, I always seem to get an American and they are able to help me. Granted, it’s not cheap, but I think it’s worth it. Are you dealing with the same company that I am?

My only complaint is why do we get the Big Ten channel in HD and not an SEC channel?

soulfinger

October 19th, 2009
5:52 pm

I gave Comcast the boot about 5 months and I couldnt be happier! I have a DTV converter box and I no longer have to pay to watch the 5 channels I actually enjoy. What a rip off cable is.

atlwolf

October 19th, 2009
5:53 pm

Charter cable beats the pants off of Comcast. Better service, better customer service, their reps on the phone actually speak English fluently, their techs are courteous, and their prices are fair. Comcast will end up in the $#!tter one day.

Luke

October 19th, 2009
5:53 pm

I will sacrifice money and no internet to not have to deal with Comcrap’s aweful customer service. After 6 weeks of phone calls trying to get someone out to my house for a cable install, I called Dish. They were out there the next day.

Jose

October 19th, 2009
6:01 pm

I have had no problem with Comcast service – just the bill.

My background is IT and include cable TV so it is easier for me to talk to them when I have an issue (rare) or question.

I have the Triple Play.

Be nice to the person on the other end of the phone. People yell at them all day.

Talk to a person of the opposite gender.

Tell them a joke or ask them what the winning lottery numbers are.

Have all your account information ready before you call.

Ask if they have any promotions, tell them their stuff costs to much and you are shopping. They will take your price down a notch or two. If not, ask to talk to the disconnection supervisor. A disconnect is bad news on their count of resolved threats to disconnect.

I know how cable companies work.

One day I had pixelated video on Judge Judy and their own Internet test site said my connection was less than 12 MBS.

I got 12 months of free HBO, just started one year free on my equipment rental (1 box, 1 DVR, 1 cable router), they came out and replaced all my cable from the pole to the TVs.

Yeah – it’s too expensive, but it works reliably.

Andrew

October 19th, 2009
6:04 pm

Comcast sucks! They have the WORST customer service people in the world!! I hate em!