About Me

A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Cable Guy

So I get mail today from Time Warner Cable telling me about the wonderful new Navigator program they will be rolling out for my set-top box.

Of course this means basic things I used to do easily are no longer doable.

Previously, I could have the clock on the box turn off when the box was offer, and have the channel # show on the box when I am tuning.  Now, I can either have the display off all the time whether the box is on or off, or I can have the clock on or off but now show the channel when I tune, or have the channel show when I tune but only if I want to have the clock on all the time.

And then there's the VCR timer.  It used to be I could go to one place, tell the box to turn on to channel 28 at a particular time and record a program once, daily, weekly, etc., and then turn off.  Now, I have to set a Power On timer to start programming, but then have to go to a separate place if I want to set a Power Off timer.  So it will take me twice as long to set up my recordings.  Of course it will be much simpler if I'm renting their own DVR...

When I decide I want to complain, I notice that the nice brochure they sent out doesn't include any contact info for Time Warner cable other than their website.  Some companies might at least set us a navigatorfeedback@timewarnercable.com e-mail address or something, which maybe they'd never check but at least would give you the impression they care, but Time Warner's Navigator is now so perfect that it couldn't possibly be that anyone might want to communicate with them about it in a good or bad way.

And of course when I dig out the phone # to complain to someone who confirms that I can't do the same simple things I could do a week ago with my cable box, he has no name and address to give me of somebody I can complain to.  Now, this irritates me no end, when customer service people in publicly traded companies that all have web sites where you can find out the name of the head honcho and find out the corporate HQ address decide you really should have to go treasure hunting on the internet for this information.


Lynxswift said...

I had recently switched to HDTV lately, and do not know why this has to make TV watching so much more difficult. First off I had to physically bring in my old cable box to the Time Warner Cable office at the Queens Center Mall to exchange it for an HD box. They just give it to you expecting you to self install it :(. They also don't bother to give you an HDMI cable, so that means another trip to the store :(. Then you find out to watch all the channels you like in HD, you have to memorize their new channel numbers which are all three digit numbers now. Then I find a channel I want to watch I have to set it to Full screen mode, cause sometimes it won't do it for me. Also if you want to watch your DVD player or VCR, you have to grab your other TV remote to switch the Input setting. And on top of that, my free On Demand Channels no longer work for some reason :(. Neither do those nifty voting buttons for NY1 :(.

I don't have a DVR either, and everyone I know makes fun of me for it :(. I suppose it is like being a high school kid these days without an iPod or cell phone.

green_knight said...

I love it when people 'improve' products so that everything takes longer, is less comfortable, or triggers my allergies.

Customer Service experience says that you're better off writing to a random high-up figure in the company. They'll insist that your query be dealt with and will pass it on as a priority task. If you call/e-mail the helpline, you end up in a long queue, and not all queues are cleared because there are always new ones coming in.

Cynical? Me?

The Brillig Blogger said...

If I am writing a complaint letter, I usually write to the head of the company. Who has people to deal with that sort of thing, but I like to take it to the top.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. I was searching the web for anyone having the same problem with a VCR and the new Navigator. I sent an email to Time Warner customer service on Wednesday about this; they promise to reply to all emails within 48 hours and it's now been 3 days with no response. Just one question: with the Power On and Power Off timers, you still need to set your VCR timers separately, right?

The Brillig Blogger said...

well, you need to set the Power On timer, the Power Off, and the VCR Timer... I wrote to the head of Time Warner Cable and got a very quick buy very pointless call back. They were willing to give me a DVR with no fee, for a whole 2 months!! I said I didn't really feel like paying Time Warner another $150/year to be able to do what I used to be able to do with relative ease.

Anonymous said...

I discovered the same problem with Time Warner removing the ability to program the cable box for VCR recording. They are clearly out to turn everyone's VCR into a boat anchor and force them to pay an additional monthly fee for a DVR.

I had been happy with Time Warner for a long time, but now I'm back on the "Time Warner is evil" kick.