Thursday, September 30, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
Whose Pixel Problem Is It?
Does Time Warner Cable-Austin (TWC) not have a competent engineer on the clock during prime time? If viewers wanted to watch MSNBC Friday, September 17, 2010 they could not help but be annoyed. I was annoyed.
I started trying to watch during “Hardball with Chris Matthews” around 6:20 p.m. Central. I finally gave up and switched to baseball shortly before 9 p.m. during “Rachel Maddow”. OK, so I revealed my viewing choices. This isn’t about MSNBC. It’s about what TWC calls customer service.
Tuning in MSNBC, “Standard Service” on Channel 49, it was periodically pixelling (Is that a word?). The pixels are little boxes and garbled sound when a channel isn’t tuned in. If you use your digital TV converter to pick up live television, you’ve seen this phenomenon before. When you’re tuning with “rabbit ears”, it’s one thing. When you’re watching cable TV, a service you’re paying for, it’s another issue.
Pixels can happen when a satellite transponder isn’t tuned. Rarely the problem is at the source. Most of the time, the problem is where the signal is received, in this case, Time Warner Cable.
Having worked in TV, I assumed (Never assume.) that some engineer was working on the problem. After an hour, I began to wonder. So, I called.
A nice guy—we’ll call him Bryan—said he’d check. Early on, Bryan said that he’d gotten other calls about Standard Cable Channel #49. Hmmmm. Then, Bryan came back on to say that he would reset my cable box. NO! This is the Standard Cable tier. There is no box. Others have complained. The problem clearly is not on the consumer’s end. The problem is either with TWC or MSNBC. Bryan seemed to understand. He put me on hold again.
He came back with this suggestion: He’d give me a telephone number, and I could call the network. NO! No, Bryan. “It’s TWC’s job to call the network, not mine. I’m buying the service, and you’re the provider of the service,” I said. He put me on hold again.
When he came back, I asked if TWC had an engineer on duty. An engineer should check the satellite transponder and tweak it until it is tuned, or the engineer should call their provider. He put me on hold again.
When he returned he claimed that they were working on it, and if it wasn’t resolved by tomorrow, I should call back. “No,” I said, feeling like a member of Congress having said “No” so much. I asked again whether they had an engineer on duty who could check on the problem because it could be a quick fix.
I didn’t want to hammer the poor guy whose job it is to answer the phone, but apparently is provided with little information and little understanding of how cable TV works.
He put me on hold again. I said that it was OK.
When “Bryan” came back, he claimed that their technicians were working the problem locally, and if TWC determined that it wasn’t their issue, they’d call the network. I thanked him for his efforts and time. When I gave up, the problem had not been resolved at the Standard Service level.
So, I ask again: Does TWC have a competent engineer on duty during prime time? Now, I’ll add the question, is this TWC’s definition of customer service?
TWC needs competition.
© Jim McNabb, 2010
Friday, September 3, 2010
"To Our Valued Customers..."Time Warner Cable is always negotiating new deals with TV networks. Recently, we reached a new long-term agreement with Disney/ABC and ESPN, so you can continue to watch your favorite channels and the shows you love for years to come."There will be no interruption of ESPN or Disney channels, as well as WABC in New York, KABC in Los Angeles, WTVD in Raleigh-Durham-Fayetteville and WTVG in Toledo. They'll stay right here on Time Warner Cable. In fact, our agreement means more networks and services for you, including the following*:"Disney Junior - a new 24-hour basic channel for preschool-age children, parents and caregivers launching in 2012."ESPN3.com - ESPN's live sports broadband network will be available to all Time Warner Cable subscribers who get ESPN."A New ESPN Service - customers will be able to view ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU through broadband and mobile Internet devices."ESPN Goal Line - a college football super-highlight channel will be available only to Time Warner Cable’s Sports Pass customers starting as early as September 4, 2010."ESPN Buzzer Beater - a college basketball service similar to ESPN Goal Line, will be available to Time Warner Cable’s Sports Pass customers for college basketball season."Expanded Video On Demand Services - including ABC On Demand, Disney-branded On Demand offerings for kids, local sports content in select markets, plus the subscription Video On Demand service "Disney Family Movies.""Start Over and Look Back - featured on a variety of Disney Media Networks content."ESPN Deportes - will be available to a larger Time Warner Cable footprint."ESPN 3D"