Sunday, April 01, 2007

I can see clearly now...

These days, you say "Comcast" and many people cringe. I hear horror stories about bad service, bad hardware, etc. Well, I've been a Comcast customer for years, and some of these stories ring true. We once downgraded from digital cable to regular cable because the cable box was so unresponsive that our Tivo had trouble getting it to change channels.

On the other hand, I switched from SBC DSL service to Comcast Cable Internet and couldn't be happier. The speed increase is phenomenal, and the service has been very reliable.

So it was with mixed emotions that I looked at the Comcast High Definition offerings. I've actually waited quite a while before making this move because the HD box is the same Motorola series we used to have that was problematic. Also, I have heard about the rumours that Comcast would be offering the Motorola boxes with the Tivo software, known for it's amazingly simple user interface. The current software on the Motorola boxes is known to be a bit more complex and harder to use.

But we've had a 42" plasma widescreen hanging on our wall for over a year now, and we've only been watching standard definition video on it...truely a crime. Honestly, I was getting tired of waiting for the Tivo/Comcast deal to come through, and I wasn't about to spend $900 on a Series 3 HD Tivo (less now, but still expensive).

What it all comes down to is that after a discussion with some co-workers of mine who have the HD Comcast service and DVR, I came to the realization that renting this box from Comcast will provide me with better TV than I have now, and waiting isn't doing me any good.

So I called Comcast and asked what I needed to do. Basically, for an extra $20-ish more a month than what I was paying already, I could have a dual tuner, high definition digital video recorder, and tons more channels to watch, as well as On Demand access. The DVR still uses the Comcast user interface (though Comcast tells me the Tivo one is a few months away), and it can record two shows at a time. It holds roughly 15-20 hours of HD content, or 60-80 hours of standard definition video.

Suddenly, our TV is brand new. We can see the blades of grass on a baseball field. We can order many free on demand shows, including some Discovery documentaries that we enjoy. So far, I'm very happy. And it was not at all painful.

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