I usually have very good experience with Comcast when I call their customer service people. I’m generally happy with their service as well – I get all three from them: cable TV, phone and internet. Their prices could be a little less gut wrenching each month, but then again, they have our town locked up exclusively for a while, so we don’t have much choice for cable TV. I love America.

Anyway, Comcast made me aware that the upgrade to their DVR boxes, which features the new Tivo/Comcast interface, was available. So I said “sure, I’ll take it.” After all, it’s only an additional $2.95 per month. That’s when the fun started. Turns out others are having similar experiences.

Anyway, the doorbell rang yesterday during my lunch hour (perfect timing) and I opened the door and the guy asked me “ok, what am I doing?” Not really what I wanted to hear! I tell him he’s here for a Tivo installation, which I thought was just a simple swapping of the cable box. He says to me “oh? I don’t have any of those boxes with me. I need to go out to the truck and make a call.” He comes back in and says “turns out you don’t need a box! It’s just a software upgrade to the box you have!” Sweet!

So he makes a call to some office and gets a guy on the phone and puts it on speaker. When they hear on the other end it’s a Tivo installation, others come on the phone. It turns out that I’m the first one in Central Massachusetts for a Tivo conversion and they all want to see how this works out. Just great. I’m the guinea pig. Sigh.

After talking to these folks while laying on my living room floor for about 15 minutes, we get nowhere. My box goes on and off a few times, but no Tivo. Cable guy calls another office and it’s more of the same – cable box on and off a few times. Then, presto! The box is saying that it’s downloading, so the cable guy says “you’re all set. Give this a few minutes to download and you should be up and running, no problems.” Then he leaves to go to some other appointments.

By now it’s time to head back to work, so I don’t get to check until 3:30-ish. And what do I see??? Nothing. Not a thing. No On Demand programming. No Tivo. Not only that, my onscreen guide is gone and my regular DVR is non-existent. I’ve gone from a fully functional DVR with On Demand and channel guide to zilch.

Yay, Tivo/Comcast! They’ll be back today to try and figure this out. I feel bad for the cable guy, who got next to no training on the Tivo conversions other than a few pieces of paper, neither of which had actual instructions on them. He’s a great guy, too – has done a few things here at the house and things always work correctly when he comes. So it’s not his fault – it’s the brass for rolling this out, making it available and actually emailing their customers to tell us it’s available when it’s clearly not ready for prime time and they have untrained staff doing the installs. Yikes. Another point on the board for Verizon Fios, perhaps.

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