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Comcast question and options?

My new apartment in Capitol Hill only has Comcast to offer. I don't think I've heard anything good said about Comcast. However, it's a necessary evil if I want to get the programming I want as far as I can tell. I'm big on SpeedTV in HD (gotta have my Formula 1 racing (but at what cost?)) along with other shows like HGTV, Discovery, etc., and I don't know how I will be able to get those shows in HD on a regular basis. iTunes may cover much of this, but not sure. Don't know how well I can get local programming yet either via HD.

For years I've used DirecTV and loved their service for the most part. That is now gone since I'm moving into this place. What to do for DVR? Get a TiVo (I would love to have a real DVR for a change)? Just use the one from Comcast and utilize CableCards? No idea what my options are here since I haven't had cable TV in over 12 years now. Only need internet and TV at this point--no voice. Looks like a package of TV/internet will run me about $120/mo, but I don't think that includes the DVR and HD service.

All Mac here at home, so maybe that opens up some other options as well.

Suggestions and options?

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( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
geometrician
Sep. 13th, 2010 03:15 am (UTC)
We have Comcast here, and I can't say there is anything about it that stands out as "bad." I don't think there is any service available anywhere of which there won't be some segment of the population proclaiming loudly that they suck. We rarely have service interruptions. We like their DVR service.

Personally, if it was just me, I wouldn't have any TV. In an urban area, I might look into one of the Virgin Mobile MiFi devices, with their $40/month unlimited plan.
snowboardjoe
Sep. 13th, 2010 03:33 am (UTC)
I have looked into other wireless options like Clearwire, but from what I've heard so far, the signal is not strong enough in that area (likely a problem with many apartment complexes).

The biggest complaints around here about Comcast is customer service. Hardly anything gets fixed on the first call (which usually results in making things worse).

I'm definitely looking at the option of not having any cable TV service, but not sure I want to make that leap yet. Definitely need a DVR, but maybe I can get along with BitTorrent and local HDTV (and iTunes). iTunes is certainly more viable now with 2 major networks offering $1 HD rentals of popular shows.
shirtlifterbear
Sep. 13th, 2010 03:25 am (UTC)
1) Welcome to the neighborhood!

2) Comcast has an adequate DVR, missing only a robust search feature but otherwise not awful. They are the monopoly, sadly.

3) Cafe Vivace across the street from Joule = best coffee in Seattle.

4) Thanh Bros Pho = ditto.

5) Hana Sushi is fine, Genki is cheaper and more fun.

6) We should meet for lunch!
snowboardjoe
Sep. 13th, 2010 03:34 am (UTC)
Just an adequate DVR? :) How adequate? How does it compare to a TiVo?

It would be great to meet you! I completely forgot you lived here. Which neighborhood are you in?
shirtlifterbear
Sep. 13th, 2010 04:48 am (UTC)
tbass and I live on First Hill, about a block from Piecora's Pizza and Chop Suey. Near the other end of the Capitol Hill Broadway corridor from you, about a fifteen minute walk!

(The Comcast DVR records fine, plays back fine, but you can't search listings for terms like "gay" or "Cary Grant" like you can on a TiVo. It's lazy software.)
snowboardjoe
Sep. 13th, 2010 05:40 am (UTC)
Excellent. I'll get more details from you later offline from here.

As for the DVR, I did see that Comcast now has an agreement with TiVo to provide TiVo services. It's not available in our area yet, but it's supposed to be coming "soon". That would be nice.
ljtourist
Sep. 13th, 2010 03:40 am (UTC)
Comcast is bad, but the local alternative (Millennium nee Broadstripe) is much worse; be glad you didn't get stuck with them, especially if you want your internet via cable. (In Seattle proper, you get one or the other due to a "state-sanctioned" monopoly. Forget anything great like Verizon FIOS if you want to stay in the city. One of the little downsides, sadly). Still, Comcast is not awful.

Do not do anything with cablecards. They are too fiddly for their worth, and the technology is being phased out. I have no experience with Comcast's DVR offering, but it can't be as good as TiVo. I've had no luck configuring serial communication with my cable box, though, so I'm stuck w/IR blasters. The HD cable boxes might be better in this regard though (mine is SD).
snowboardjoe
Sep. 13th, 2010 03:46 am (UTC)
TiVo has a new model out now (series 4), but a CableCARD would be required. It would be about $299 for their basic model and can store up to 45hours of HD programming (should be plenty for me).
bradferd23
Sep. 13th, 2010 03:52 am (UTC)
I switched from Dish to Comcast recently. The DVR features are comparable to Dish. I don't know what DirectTV has, but I am thinking it is comparable. I would just get the comcast dvr if you don't have a tivo already. Make sure you request the one with the larger hard drive so you can hold more programming. I will tell you our internet here in Denver has been better than the DSL that we had with Qwest. Must faster and more reliable. I will tell you that Seattle has fewer problems headend wise. The guy out there that runs it knows his stuff.

If you find you have any problems, send me a note and I will send you some information with a thingy that will let me know when your problem is resolved. (a perk of the new job with them... )
snowboardjoe
Sep. 13th, 2010 04:01 am (UTC)
DirecTV was pretty damn good. Had their issues, but customer service was decent over the years and quite reliable. There's a local rep/installer who lives in our building and it's suggested I contact him first for the best service.

Qwest is here too and I've been told to just stay away from them completely. I think the biggest complaint there was service reliability.

New job with "them"? Sorry, I'm behind on my LJ reading. :(
bradferd23
Sep. 13th, 2010 04:24 am (UTC)
:) It happened about the same time you landed yours. I was totally done with the Law Firm and needed to get out of that soul sucking place. I had three offers plus the firm wanted to keep me. Here are the specific posts:

http://bradferd23.livejournal.com/2010/05/29/
http://bradferd23.livejournal.com/2010/06/11/
http://bradferd23.livejournal.com/2010/06/17/

If you have a guy in the building that is even better. We don't like sucky tv or internet! :) Most of what I know about the culture is that the customer comes first and we will do what we can to make things right with the customer. I haven't had any problems with calling customer service on the one issue I had. They were expedient and they schedule service right away. SO... that was nice.
pingback_bot
Sep. 13th, 2010 05:04 am (UTC)
To grrr, or not to grrr? That is the question. - Comcast question <b>...</b>
barak
Sep. 13th, 2010 06:28 am (UTC)
We have Comcast here in MN. I'm not wholly happy with them for the reasons you mentioned- the lackluster DVR and often-painfully slow service in addition to artificially high costs. We're paying $125 a/month for just the cable, DVR rental and internet service. No phone line option either. But you may be able to get a cheaper service plan with them by way of new customer special.

I think there's cheaper plans (such as TriplePlay) if you could use a local landline. Does your apartment complex require to buzz guests in through the front door, or do you want to change your contact number to a local prefix? Is satellite TV not an option at this apartment?

Try asking your leasing office if they have suggestions for cable/internet other than Comcast- sometimes there's a small local company that will often be cheaper or suit your needs than the Monopoly. Or maybe you might find a neighbor who is willing to split the costs, somehow.

Just before I left SF, there were at least two cable systems to choose from servicing the city, and a third one aggressively filling in niche areas, too. I wouldn't be surprised if you have alternatives in a wired city as Seattle.
mississippicub
Sep. 13th, 2010 12:47 pm (UTC)
We have Comcast, and have not really had one issue in 3 years... but that is just us.
comcastcares5
Sep. 13th, 2010 06:31 pm (UTC)
Contact us a t we_can_help@cable.comcast.com. We'll reach out to our local colleagues so that they can offer you the best rates.

For tyhose of you who are also in need of asistance with your Comcast service, please feel free to contact us too.

Thanks,

Mark Casem
Comcast Corp.
National Customer Operations
We_can_help@cable.comcast.com
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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