Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?
These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.
Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...
...seems to be working so far
Monday, August 31, 2009
I Want My HDTV
When the new TV scanned for available channels it searched for both analog, and digital channels. Come to find out the analog channels were just that, and were prefixed by the letter "A", such as channel 4 being "A4", but there was also another channel 4 as well. A three digit number, with a decimal point and a number after it. That was the digital version of the channel. The HD version. All without a cable box.
Hmmm. Seems the HD version of those channels broadcasting in HD is a available without a box. One just has to sacrifice the things that come with the box like schedules, information about shows, and "On Demand" programming.
Well, I did get the cable box, and installed it. The previously great picture became full of a rapid fire band of "snow" moving from the bottom of the screen to the top, over and over again. I called Charter Cable, and went through the trouble shooting with the tech on the telephone, and nothing solved the problem. He advised me to obtain another box, so I did.
Box number 2 just didn't work at all, so I called again, and more troubleshooting, and then he advised I get another box.
Box number 3 was the same as box number 1. Same snow, same bands of interference. More of the same with Charter, but then, the problem resolved itself on its own.
That is until this past Saturday. After more than one month of having a great picture, we are back to the wide bands of snow.
Last month a technician did come to the house, but he did not change the box out. He did install a signal booster in the basement to amplify the signal to all the TV's in the house. I am not sure if it worked, or not because when he finally did come out the TV was behaving. Could it be the TV itself? I doubt it, because when the TV is plugged directly into the cable, bypassing the cable box, it is fine.
So, this morning I made yet another appointment for the technician to come out and troubleshoot the cable problem on Friday afternoon. Since none of the other TV's in the house have the issue, and the cable to the TV is fine, it has to be the box itself. Just plain logic there.
Now, if Friday's appointment fails to fix the issue, what then? Do I continue to use the TV without the box? Well, I could, and get a great picture, but the convenience of the box would be gone. No more information about what I was watching, no more schedules of shows. It would be 1965 all over again except with a better picture, thinner TV, and stereo sound.
So, what's the big deal? I still have a signal. I have a good picture. That's not the point. The point is there is a problem, and Charter has yet to fix it.
We'll know more come Friday.
When a consumer receives bad service from anywhere, they often have the choice to shop around and find a better vendor. Competition also spurs companies to improve their product, and service. If you are the only game in town, there is little that will cause you to change for the better. A multi year contract insures you will be around for a while.
I wish Verizon Fios was here now. I'd switch in a heartbeat. There are other providers out there available to Sturbridge, such as Direct TV, and the Dish Network, but they are satellite providers, and having had Direct TV in the past, I am not willing to stare at a blank TV screen during a heavy rain storm or when it snows heavily.
I guess I am spoiled in a way. Just like I am spoiled having a car, and not a horse and buggy, or cooking on a stove instead of a fire pit. Progress just does that to you.
The cable contract is coming up for renewal. We are between a rock and a hard place now. We have less than three months to either find a replacement company, or to renew the contract for three to ten years, or have some competition come to town.
I'd only like an option. That's all, just an option to choose something over the current vendor.
I am hoping that option comes to pass over the next couple of months. If not, well there is not much I can do. That's the hard part, being powerless, or in the case of Charter Communications, signal-less.