Monday, July 16, 2012

Top 5 Worst Things About Cable TV Companies

How bad is cable television?  Bad enough that on each cable company's own message board you can find hundreds of threads of people complaining about poor service, and the cable companies are so aloof, they haven't even removed the messages!  I've spent years struggling against cable companies, and here's what I've found to be most egregious.

Pretty soon we'll be back to this.  Oh, wait, we can't go back--everything is digital now.

5: DVR - The DVR is not a bad thing conceptually. In fact, it's revolutionizing the way we watch tv. But cable company DVRs are awful. They inexplicably stop recording shows, their menus are confusing, and their playback is shoddy at best. Of course, if you get yourself a TiVo, your cable company may change in such a way to turn your TiVo into an expensive brick.

4: Fighting With Content Providers - Every few years the contracts that your cable company has with content providers expires, and they enter into new negotiations.  Neither side wants to give, so although you are paying for full cable tv, you suddenly lose 20 channels.   In their place you get ads complaining that the content provider is being greedy and wants your money.  The content provider also runs ads saying the cable company is greedy and wants your money.   Who is harmed?   You--they cut services you've already paid for.  What's your recourse?  Nothing.

3: Bad Customer Service - Call to complain about any problem on this list and two things will happen--first, you'll spend a lot of time on hold, calling different numbers, and explaining your situation over and over as you get transferred from person to person; and second, nothing will change.

2: Old Technology - I can open an iPad, connect to Netflix, and watch half a show, all in the time it takes my cable box to realize my remote told it to go up one channel.   These cable companies use technology from the 90s, and there's nothing we can do about it because it's the lowest common denominator.

1: Monopoly - It isn't really a monopoly, but perhaps the worst thing about cable tv companies is that you have no real recourse.  You can go to satellite, or go to a different provider (if that's even an option, which it usually isn't), but that's like shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic--you aren't getting anywhere.   Sure, you can dump cable altogether, but until Netflix starts getting more good movies and a fuller range of tv shows, you'd better plan on finding non-television things to do.

Are you sick of your cable company?  How about satellite--same thing, right?   Well, feel free to unload in the comments below.  But know this--it won't help.  We are powerless.

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  1. shuffling deck chairs, lol!!!

  2. I can't stand ours.  Unfortunately, our complex won't let us switch so we're stuck with them.  I also need a new cable box as mine is the technological equivalent of Sybill.  However, I have some old movies recorded on there that you just can't find anywhere on dvd or online and I don't want to lose them.  When we moved, I was offered a new box and I actually declined it because of that. We also had a lot of trouble with them during the move.  Now when I see their ads telling you how they make moving easier, I mute it.  Also, why do their own ads come on at 3 time the volume as every other one on the air?? And an additionaln note, their internet sucks. 'super fast wi-fi' my ass.  But I digress...

  3. I haven't had cable in 2-3 years. Between Netlifx, Hulu Plus, and my rabbit ears, I can usually find something to watch. And there are usually TV shows on DVD to watch. All of this is cheaper than cable.

  4. Yeah, I hear ya.  Right now, cable is like a crutch for me.  

  5. Yeah, I've complained about the volume of ads elsewhere on the Kooz Top 5.  So annoying!

  6. Sorta like being a member of [insert name of political party here].

  7. Your #5 is my #1 with a bullet. My cable provider (I'm looking at you, Charter Communications) has made their service incompatible with my Tivo despite the fact that it's illegal to do so. After an infinite number of service and phone calls, both Tivo and Charter point fingers at each other as the source of the problem, and I'm left having to abandon to interface heaven that is Tivo (and take on the craptastic Cable DVR) if I want to consistently record more than two or three minutes of a show.

    I think I'm going to blow a vein just thinking about it. Don't even get me started, Top 5.

  8. That. Sucks. Hard.

    These effing cable companies can really do whatever the hell they want with reckless abandon.