Ragged Clown

It's just a shadow you're seeing that he's chasing…


HBO without Cable

Did you know that you can now subscribe to HBO at Comcast without paying for any of the other crap on cable TV? It’s true and it’s wonderful!

They have a few technical kinks to work out though. Comcast asked me for my feedback this morning and I happily provided it. I’m sharing it here in case any other Comcast subscribers are running into the same issue that I am.

Dear Comcast,

I have no need for a cable box as I only watch HBO online at Xfinity. I was sent a cable box automatically when I signed up for Blast Plus internet plus HBO. I returned the cable box about a month ago as I was not using it and had never plugged it into my TV.

After about a month, my HBO service became unavailable and I contacted your tech support staff online for assistance. They were very polite and courteous but none of them were able to explain why my service had ended so abruptly. One told me that I did not have a subscription to HBO (I do) another told me that I could actually watch HBO if I would just turn on my television (I could not). Another asked me to give him my password so that he could see for himself (I did not).

After 3 or 4 hours and several escalations one of your staff noticed from my records that I did not have a cable box. She told me that I could not watch HBO without a cable box when, in fact, I had been watching HBO for a couple of months already without a cable box. She suspected that the problem might have something to do with the digital transition (which I had previously heard of) and told me to request a new cable box. Instead I decided to cancel my HBO subscription.

After several more frustrating online conversations with your sales staff and one long telephone call, we established that I could not cancel my service (which, I remind you, was not working) on the weekend. I resolved to call and cancel on Monday but, when Monday came, my HBO service mysteriously started working again. Later that week, a cardboard box arrived in the mail. By a process of deduction, I concluded that the presence of that cardboard box was somehow associated with the availability of my HBO service. I must congratulate Comcast for inventing a technology that allows me to receive HBO WITHOUT EVEN NEEDING TO REMOVE IT FROM THE BOX! Your tech support representative was much smarter than I gave her credit for as she understood the association long before I did but I suspect she thought I would need to actually unpack the box and plug it in.

I am still wondering what to do with this box that I pay $10 per month for—a box that I do not use and cannot return. I wonder if there might be a business opportunity here somewhere. Perhaps I could provide a storage service to all the other Comcast customers that have boxes they don’t use. Perhaps we could build some kind of art installation out of unused cable boxes? Maybe Comcast could save some money by just having one single cable box that all customers share. You could still charge us $10 per month for it but you would save on shipping and manufacturing costs. You could display the One Box somewhere publicly and the people paying for it could visit occasionally and admire The Box That Does Not Need To be Plugged In.

Or perhaps you could let me return the box and stop charging me $10 per month for something I don’t need or want. Back in the last century, we needed to plug little boxes into our televisions to watch cable tv but in this wondrous modern age, it’s much easier to watch everything online through the internets. Please find a way to let me watch HBO without paying for this box or let me know so that I can cancel my subscription.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide you with feedback. I hope you find it useful.

Yours sincerely,

The Ragged Clown