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Re: MythTV

On Thursday June 30 2005 11:18 am, Hal Vaughan wrote:

> Interesting.  We have had the same cable company in Richmond, VA
> since the 1980s (maybe even the late 1970s), but it's been bought,
> merged, etc.  At one point it was Time Warner, MediaOne, and others
> I can't remember.  I've had cable since around 1990 or so.  During
> that time, AT&T bought out MediaOne and provided the absolute worst
> service I've ever seen.  The local call center was shut down and
> calls were routed to Atlanta, which was shut down, and all calls
> were sent to Newfoundland or Toronto.

Oh, God, I remember that.  I was working for Excite@Home at the time, 
back in 2001.  Virginia had a fire in the building, everybody running 
air conditioners caused a blackout in Atlanta, and the poor guys at 
AT&T's internal call center in Slt. Ste. Marie, Ontario stuck in the 
same high pressure system as Atlanta were having to take everybody's 
calls (when they normally took calls from us at @Home or their own 
local call centers) and their air conditioners had crapped out in the 
record 100+ degree heat there.  I didn't even work for AT&T and I had 
to deal with the tech support collateral damage they caused (to reach 
us, you called your local carrier and hit whatever number for data 
service and ignored the voice prompt or find the right combination of 
buttons to hit to reach us.  You wouldn't believe how many people, 
after deliberately telling the phone system they're having problems 
with their internet service, couldn't understand that we had 
absolutely nothing to do with problems with their TV and we could do 
nothing to fix TV reception, and no, we're not your cable company, 
we're an internet provider.  Take a spin on the B Train and pester 
your local cable operator in person if you don't believe me...)

> It could take 90 mins to 3 hrs to get help.  AT&T was absolutely 
> terrible and I know in some other cities they came damn close to 
> losing their charter to operate.  

Meanwhile in the northwest, they were winning awards and pissing off 
Verizon and Qwest with their superior 
local-and-long-distance-phone-over-cable, cable internet and cable TV 
service.  The northwest never saw a better private utility and will 
probably never see anything close to AT&T Broadband again out of a 
private utility.

> After AT&T, Comcast took over and made a number of changes,
> including re-opening the local call center.

AT&T was going to reopen it anyway as I understand, the transition 
happened while they were rebuilding it.

> I've heard many people complain about them, but after AT&T, any 
> company would have been wonderful.  In our area, though, Comcast has 
> been outstanding (again, I'm aware that for many people that has not 
> been the case). 

Like in the Northwest.  Given that they're the only option for TV or 
internet for a good number of people here, their ads should say, 
"We're the cable company.  Sorry."  or "Hey, at least we're not Qwest 
or Verizon."  Qwest and Verizon suck so hard a good number of people 
I know, myself included, have decided the phone is obsolete and it's 
time to move on.  Now we get in touch by Jabber, CB radio and HAM 
radio instead.  I'd love to be able to pick up the phone and get a 
dialtone without having to resort to Vonage and dearly miss Pacific 
Northwest Bell.

> It seems I got lucky.  While the interface could be nicer looking,
> it is not really slow, and using their DVR has been one of the
> easiest experiences I've ever had in using any recording device.

Yeah, but AT&T had a deal with TiVo.  The digital-cable ready AT&TiVos 
are a now-scarce, charished item in this part of the world.  The 
Series 2 AT&TiVos moreso, since Comcast bought AT&T and stupidly 
ended the deal.  

> > > Also, I don't know if this is a factor or not, but most of the
> > > channels I want to record are digital cable (that includes BBC
> > > America, Sci-Fi and many others).  I don't know if Myth TV or
> > > any other homebrew system handles digital cable signals.
> >
> > When did Sci Fi leave the analog lineup?
> In this area Sci-Fi was always a premium channel, but it's been on
> digital for several years now -- at least in our area.
> I've also heard, in case it is of interest, from a Comcast employee
> in an answer center that they've made a deal with TiVo and in June
> of 2006, they'll replace their DVR service with TiVo.

Oh, finally, they're remembering why AT&T signed a deal with TiVo.  
Maybe we'll see the ComcasTiVo?

> As for me, it'll be around then or a little later that I'd finally
> have time to build a MythTV box.  As I said, though, I don't know
> if MythTV can read the signals for the digital channels.

Get an IR blaster and use it to change channels on a real converter?

Paul Johnson
Email and Instant Messenger (Jabber): baloo@ursine.ca

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