USA - Cable Consumer Hardware Freedom Act

Discussion in 'Other Countries' started by FNCA, Nov 12, 2013.

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  1. FNCA Member

    Ok I'm new, I have virgin starfish, be gentle. Now I've been having issues a cable provider and I'm trying to do something about it. Read this email to my provider to gain full prospective. Help, ridicule, mock, critique, all welcome.


    Today at 1:00 PM
    My X1 experience was terrible. From the start it was problems, it took three technician visits to get it to even work. From there it was constantly freezing and tech support could only tell me to reboot the system which did nothing. At one point during a call about it being frozen my intelligence was insulted as a tech tried to tell me it was dead batteries in my remote. I honestly spent 20% of my viewing time on the X1 platform stuck on a channel because it was froze, hoping it would unfreeze itself so I wouldn't have to reboot it. I finally gave up and returned it and got an old DVR. Your support guys made promises of discounts and promos for my troubles but some never got applied by my tally you still owe me $90 in discounts but I've already pursued every avenue and gave you guys multiple opportunities to make it right but no you didn't.

    My real issue now is with the service I been getting while looking into CableCARDs. I've been lied to on several occasions. Ive been told it is not possible to own your own box. Lie, they're out there just not many options. Ive been told you only support Tivo for CableCARDs, lie there is other products. I've been told to look into Moxi, it is no longer in production. I have made 6 phone calls to comcast trying to get information only to find a dead end and on one call I was disconnected right after I gave the guy my call back number and never received a call. The most appauling part of this whole experience occured earlier today following the chat I had below:

    analyst Lyza has entered room

    Lyza: Hello Matt, Thank you for contacting Comcast Live Chat Support. My name is Lyza. Please give me one moment to review your information.

    Matt: My Issue: I'm trying to find devices compatible with the Cisco PKM908 Multi Stream Cable card which Comcast provides to customers for free, if they have their own equipment.

    Lyza: Thank you for taking the time to chat with us today. How are you doing today?

    Matt: I'm doing good just finding it hard to get information

    Lyza: I am happy to hear that you are doing good.
    Lyza: I understand that you would like to check on what device is compatible for your equipment. Correct?
    Lyza: You have opened a window for Comcast Support and I don't want to miss an opportunity to support you. Are we still connected?

    Matt: sorry i had to change my son

    Lyza: Oh, I understand. Thank you for staying online.

    Matt: if comcast provides me with the cable card i mentioned above what devices can i use it in

    Lyza: I know how important it is to be able to get the equipment for our devices so we can access channels. As a customer myself I would want to get the best of what I am paying for.
    Lyza: Please do not worry, rest assured I will do my best to resolve your issue.
    Lyza: To better assist you, do you mind if I ask you a few questions?

    Matt: sure

    Lyza: Thank you .Also I’d love to look at your account to ensure you are getting the best value for the services you have. Is that okay?

    Matt: its fine

    Lyza: Great! Thank you. Let me pull up your account now.
    Lyza: While waiting I want to introduce to you, has an extensive series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that cover all of our products. Customers do not have to sign in to access the FAQs. Quick steps to do it. Open a web browser window and go to On the home page, the navigation menus are on the left side of the window and click on Customers then Help and Support.
    Lyza: Thank you for your patience. I now have your account pulled up.
    Lyza: Matt, for you to be able to use the cable card, you will have to insert it to the TIVO equipment you have. And then, connect it to your TV.

    Matt: actually the faqs dint cover the PKM908 multi swtream cable card, a product you provide
    Matt: you have just lied to me

    Lyza: May I ask what do you mean by that?

    Matt: you said the FAQS cover all your products, the cisco PKM908 is a product you provide, it is not covered in the FAQS hence you have lied
    Matt: not on purpose im sure it looks like a script youre following

    Lyza: Oh, I understand. No need to worry with that, I will raise your feedback to our management to improve the website.
    Lyza: With regards to your cable card concern, for you to be able to use the cable card, you will have to insert it to the TIVO equipment you have. And then, connect it to your TV.

    Matt: but there are more options than tivo
    Matt: like the motorolla DCX700

    Lyza: Oh, to set your expectation, yes you are correct there are a lot of options. However for cable card as of the moment with Comcast it will work for TIVO. You are actually correct, it's one of the boxes that we provide. However the boxes are already coming from the warehouse is already pre-provisioned with Comcast system.

    Matt: but i wish to find a list of all compatible devices

    Lyza: The only compatible device that Comcast has is the TIVO box for it to work on your cable box. We do not have the list since cable card will only work with TIVO as of the moment with Comcast.

    Matt: how does that fit in with the 2006 FCC ruling on cable cards
    Matt: ill find it

    Lyza: I understand.

    Matt: There has been much resistance from the cable companies to CableCARD rollout across the United States with the cable companies preferring to support their own set-top boxes. This has changed somewhat with the July 2007 FCC integration ban, which required all new set-top boxes to use CableCARDs as their decryption mechanism.

    Lyza: I apologize if I am unable to provide you the list. As of the moment what we have in the data base is that cable card will work for TIVO.

    Matt: im not feeling the love

    Lyza: I understand what you mean by that. However, as much as I would love to provide you list, but as of the moment what we have for Comcast is that cable card will work with TIVO.
    Lyza: I would want to provide you the list, but I am only checking on the data base here provided by Comcast.

    Matt: i understand
    Matt: im also consulting with motorola and cisco
    Matt: well arris not motorola

    Lyza: Thank you so much for understanding and for not taking this against me.

    Matt: the information is hard to find
    Matt: I will be composing an article for cnet about this
    Matt: i will write my CA legislators about this, not that it will do much good
    Matt: but the most important thing I will do is begin a CREDO action network movement

    Lyza: I totally understand and I respect that, Matt.

    Matt: i am one but soon many tell your supes that

    Lyza: I will do that, Matt.
    Lyza: To recap what we have done today, we have reviewed your account details and we are able to check that as of the moment for Comcast, cable card works for TIVO.
    Lyza: I'm glad I was able to help you. Do you have any other questions or concerns I can help you with today?

    Matt: undermining an fcc ruling by only offering support on another subscription based device

    Lyza: I will make sure to forward your feedback.
    Lyza: Would there be anything else that I can assist you with?

    Matt: thanks

    Lyza: You are most welcome.
    Waiting for response from Lyza
    Lyza: Would there be anything else that I can assist you with? I would be glad to assist you further.
    Lyza: You have opened a window for Comcast Support and I don't want to miss an opportunity to support you. Are we still connected?

    Matt: no im done

    In the moments following this discussion Comcast sent three consecutive reset pings to my modem, a temporary nuisance for me but absolutely terrifying that my service provider would retaliate. I called customer service and was told they put in two high level tech support tickets to investigate the issue. The tech never told me there would be signals sent. The techs always tell you when they are sending reboot signals and they wait and ask you to confirm the device is responding correctly to the ping. I had no connection issues and this is disgusting that one of your employees was allowed to harass me in such a manner. I got minor appologies when I followed up with the high level tech support ticket, sounds like a slap on the wrist for your staff that is going rogue on you. I thought the service for the X1 platform was bad but looking into CableCARDs has shown it can get worse.
    This chat log occurred after the first and this technician contradicts the first:

    Matt: so they only support tivo devices which is a subscription based service in itself
    Matt: this undermines what the FCC set out to do
    Matt: which is they wanted to give customers the ability to own there own equipment

    Merry: CableCARD compatible retail device (such as TiVo, Moxi, Ceton, or a CableCARD-ready TV or PC)

    Matt: so there is more options than tivo that comcast supports?

    Merry: That is correct.

    Matt: why do you have access to this but other tech support (phone) and chat support dont?
    Matt: i asked that question many times

    Merry: I am really sorry, Matt that these information were not provided by the previous analysts.

    Due to Comcast's lack of information I did more research and ultimately decided the only way to actually get decent devices that utilize CableCARDs is to force all US cable providers to make them available. I created a petition to the FCC because of your poor service. I am one, but we are many.
    Cable Consumer Hardware Freedom Act
    To: Federal Communications Commision

    Mandate that any equipment that can be leased or rented from a cable service provider also be made available for purchase, in new condition, from both the cable service provider and the manufacturer of the equipment.
    Why is this important?

    In recent years the FCC has mandated that cable service providers support CableCARD ready devices and that they provide CableCARDs to their customers for use in those devices. The following is directly from the FCC website in regards to CableCARD rules,

    "Many consumers prefer the convenience (and cost savings) of being able to receive their cable programming without having to lease a set-top box from their cable operator."

    This is true, given the option to purchase your own equipment instead of a monthly fee would be fantastic and cost effective. Cable companies can claim that they are in compliance with this ruling because they do provide CableCARDs, however there is a very limited amount of CableCARD ready devices. None of the CableCARD ready devices available to consumers are comparable to the models rented or leased from the cable service providers, with the exception of some Tivo models (Tivo requires a monthly subscription fee).

    In essence the cable service providers are under-minding the essence of the FCC CableCARD rules by only openly supporting Tivo (a subscription based service), not informing customers of their options, and teaming with manufacturers to limit availability of CableCARD ready devices to consumers. The evidence that they are doing this is simply the lack of products available to consumers that are CableCARD ready at this point, three years after the new rules took effect. If cable companies and manufacturers were not working to restrict availability then CableCARD ready boxes and DVRs would be readily available and reasonably priced. It is abnormal for the electronics market to not seize the financial opportunity of selling directly to consumers. For instance cable modems are readily available for purchase and 12-18 months of an average cable modem lease or rental fee could buy you a top of the line cable modem gateway (router and modem all in one).
    For this new rule to be effective the FCC must mandate that quantities not be limited and equipment be readily available for purchase online and within retailers.

    Simply put allow consumers to invest in their own equipment instead of being stuck with rental or lease fees like you originally intended.
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