**Disclaimer: This post is about my adventures with tv and internet service providers. It’ll be boring for most people, so feel free to skip this post.**
I don’t get angry easily, but Comcast has the ability to make me immediately livid. I’ve had Comcast cable and internet since I moved into my first apartment after graduating from college 7 years ago. Over the last several years, I have become increasingly fed up with this company, and finally this month, I gave them the boot!
I could write a novel about why I hate Comcast, but the purpose of this post is for anyone out there who is considering getting rid of them as well. It took me so long to do this because Comcast has a monopoly in my area, so I have few alternatives. The main options are Dish or DirecTV, both of which are satellite rather than cable. I’d never had satellite before, and it seemed like it might be more of a hassle or something, so I was unsure.
But I finally experienced the last straw with Comcast (having to add digital adapters…which of course was a big hassle because nothing Comcast does is easy), so I decided to go for it. I did a little googling to see what others thought of Dish or DirecTV. There wasn’t a whole lot out there, and I’m betting that people generally don’t have strong feelings about any of them. It seems that all three options are equally mediocre, so you just have to pick your devil. Well, I was just so sick of Comcast, I guess I was willing to be completely annoyed by another company, as long as it wasn’t the Big C.
So I’ve had Dish for a little over a week now, so here are some of the pros and cons so far:
-Phone calls have been MUCH easier. So far, I’ve only spoken with native English speakers. This could be just because I’m in the newer stages of service (talking with sales reps and schedulers, etc.), so this may change (i.e. if I call for tech support). But so far, so good. I also haven’t had to listen to long, irrelevant menu options and recorded ads before speaking with a real person. They also speak less from a script. Comcast reps always have to say things like “I can definitely help you with that” fifty times in fifty different ways in the same conversation, and constantly ask if you want to change your package. So far, Dish people have felt more like real people genuinely communicating with me.
-The set-up process was relatively painless. I was concerned that switching over would be a big hassle, especially since I’d never had satellite before. But I called to set it up, the rep was very helpful, and he scheduled me for installation efficiently (of course, wouldn’t want to take extra time with a potential customer :)). The installation process was fine, and everything worked right away. No hassles (for the most part…I’ll explain later).
-TV and internet service has been good so far. Like I said, it’s been almost two weeks since I switched, and everything’s been working fine. We’ve had some icky weather lately, but nothing too terrible, so I don’t know if my signal will ever drop in the future. So far so good, though. A lot of the channels are in HD too (which I’d have to pay extra for with Comcast). My internet speed seems to be normal. I was a little afraid that my internet might get worse, since I really didn’t know what was wrong with it in the first place. But it’s been fine. So …Comcast…what the heck?
-The equipment is nice. With Comcast, it seemed like there was a new piece of equipment to be added every year, and it just felt like those little black boxes and nests of cable were multiplying on my tv stands. With Dish, I don’t have black boxes anywhere (except for the modem).
– Sign-up specials. First year (of the 2 year contract) is at a reduced price. They added in a bonus 3 months free of a bunch of premium channels (HBO, Showtime, etc.). I realize this is basically advertising, and they’re hoping I’ll get hooked and end up buying it after the 3 months. This of course won’t happen, but it’s nice while it lasts. (Especially right now, since it’s Mad Men and Game of Thrones season! I’ve got good timing!) Despite what I’ve heard from others, at no point in my Comcast experience did anyone ever offer me anything special (e.g. 6 months reduced rate, extra channels, discounts on a package upgrade, etc.). I’ve heard from many people who received such offers after complaining about something or threatening to leave. Never happened for me. It’s either because I never acted that upset (I can’t bring myself to take it out on customer service reps), or because they never got much money from me (I always had the cheapest package), so they new it wasn’t worth it.
-Two of my most-watched channels are no longer in my cheapo package. With Comcast, I had all the local channels (PBS, ABC, CBS, CW, FOX, My29, KARE 11, Channel 45) and a few randoms (public access, CSPAN), CNN, TBS, ION, etc. With Dish, I have all of the local channels, but no CNN and no TBS. 🙁
-Remote control. Sighhhh….apparently I’m persnickety about my remote controls. I don’t like having a family of them sitting on my coffee table. I prefer to just buy a universal remote and use that for both the TV and DVD player. But with Dish, I have to use the Dish remote for TV and my universal for DVD (and then I also have a Roku box, so that’s 3 of the little buggers). I also don’t like that if I ever lose the remote (has happened before) or if it breaks, I’ll have to order a new one rather than just running out to Target and buying a universal. Comcast now uses specialized remotes because of the new digital adapters, so either way, I’d have to do the same. I just don’t like it. 🙁
-While the installation was easy (for me at least, I can’t speak for the techs :)), it wasn’t completely annoyance-free. Their visit time window was between 12 and 5pm for tv and between 8 and 5 pm (what??) for internet. Yes, there were two separate visits. Fortunately I did this during a time in my life when I have time to sit at home and do nothing for a couple of days. But goodness, those are some big time frames. For the tv installation, they said they’d call me in the morning with a more specific time frame. They never called, so I called around noon, and they told me he’d be there between 1 and 2. He called around 2:15 and said he’d be there between 3:30 and 4. He showed up a little before 4 and finished around 7. (Don’t think I ever had to wait around that long for Comcast) So I had to sit at home doing nothing for 7 hours. The internet set up was easier, he called me around 9 saying that he’d be there soon, he showed up 10 minutes later, and was done by 10:15.
At this point, my Dish experience has been better than my Comcast experience, and I would recommend Dish to anyone seeking an alternative. I’ll update if that ever changes.