Monday, February 24, 2014

Comcast (XFinity) Review

I love the Olympics. Every two years, I am glued to the TV every night watching. Other times of the year, I don't watch broadcast television. Every Olympics, I must get cable installed with a DVR so I can watch the Olympics and fast forward of the countless commercials. I called Comcast which was my first mistake. All I really wanted was NBC, HD and a DVR. Of course, I did not expect Comcast to offer that, so I asked for local channels in HD with a DVR. Of course Comcast doesn't offer just local changes with HD and a DVR. You must get their "Digital Starter Package." with a total of 80 channels 79 of which I did NOT want to the tune of $60 a month for 12 months. After 12 months, the price is higher. $60 is their rock bottom price to get new customers and then screw them a year later. I caved and forked over the $60 for 79 channels I don't need just to get the one I do want. 

Comcast kindly sent us a DVR with a self-hook up kit which arrived days later. I went to the web site to start my service. The site was extremely slow and very broken. I work in IT and have better knowledge than the average user and I couldn't get setup. The site simply did not work. I was then forced to call customer service which was no better. They sent a communication to my DVR and said I'd have cable in 45 minutes. I had cable in 45 minutes but not the channels for the starter package. I had channels I shouldn't have and didn't have channels that I should. I called customer service again who again sent a signal to my box and again told me to wait 45 minutes. This time it worked. 

Next I decide it would be nice to have cable on our other TV.  I simply hooked up cable to the TV with no other box. I turned on the TV and had no cable. I called customer service for the third time and was informed that I must have a cable box for an extra cost. So the $60 became more like $66. To get this box required a trip to the Comcast store. The person on the phone told me I had a preorder and so would not need wait in line. I could go immediately to the cashier. This was a lie. I arrived and I was told to self-check in and to wait. I said, but I had a preorder. I was told, "I don't know what they told you on the phone, but you must wait." I waited. After all other customers were handled and I was alone the same person at the counter who told me to wait asked what I wanted, tried to look up my name in the self-check in and couldn't find me. Since I was now the only person there, he did handle my request and I got my box.

I also asked why I had HBO. I was told it was included for free for two years. Nice, except I don't want HBO being broadcast in my house. I asked if it could be removed. He said, he'd try and didn't see why not. To my surprise, it was removed and I was relieved.

Now I was ready to watch the Olympics and I was happy though I was $66 poorer. Naturally the DVR had glitches. Sometimes it froze and would not recover. I also learned that it could only record one channel at a time. This was not too bad since I really only wanted to watch one channel. 

Comcast was nice enough to provide streaming of all events. If I went to and logged into my XFinity account, I could stream to my hearts content. I thought this was great. My wife is from the Philippines and she wanted to see the Filipino skater. Naturally his routine was not shown on Prime Time. The entire program was available streaming though. There was a catch. You could not fast forward. You had to sit through all skaters prior to the one you wanted to see. This wasn't too bad since our skater was in the first group, however, internet streaming is not reliable and we crashed a few times. Since we could not fast forward we had to start from the beginning and rewatch it all. Eventually we were able to see our Filipino skater's program.

Now I'm more than ready to return our cable box and cancel our Comcast cable TV. I'll be relieved though I don't expect it will be easy. I wasn't easy two years ago for the summer Olympics. 

I think Comcast is a greedy company with poor customer service. Why should anyone need to pay more than $60 when only one channel was wanted? Why doesn't Comcast offer an a la cart option? Why must we pay for a cable box for every TV we own? Why does customer service fail to do a simple hook up? Why does customer service lie to you? I'll be very happy to be rid of Comcast until the next Olympics when I must do this all again or find a better option.