Switching ain’t easy

Over the holiday weekend, we switched media providers from AT&T to a combination of DirecTV and Comcast-Xfinity.  The reasoning was simple:  a savings of about 40% per month off the combined monthly bill for TV and Internet, along with expanded options and quicker net speeds.

Of course they offer to do it all for you; they offer lots of nice perks (which you’ll get charged for later if you don’t remember to go in and cancel the services).  Sounds easy.

You also better be sure you’ve done your research.  Comcast is happy to lease you a combo cable-modem/router, which you could have paid for in a year had you bought the equipment on your own.  So have that ready.  DirecTV now requires their techs to ground the service to your meter box, so that means extra holes and wires.

And then there’s the scheduling…

In our case Comcast decided to move it up a day, which meant no one could be here without taking off from work.  When we called them to point out that we’d signed up for the next day, they started the transfer tag and no one could acknowledge the mistake.  When I finally spoke to a line supervisor of some sort, he apologized but still didn’t get our install date right.  We ended up doing the install a few days later.  Welcome to customer service with Comcast.

As far as the actual installation – Comcast was fairly quick and professional.  They did have to run a lead wire to the house, which means someone (and it better not be me) is going to have to come bury that wire soon.  Annoying, but not a huge deal.  DirecTV guy wasn’t in any hurry but he got it done.  I tried to get him to run their On-Demand splitter from where my Internet hub was to where it was going to be once I finished changing things around, but he wasn’t having it.  Come on, dude, run me 30 more feet of cable!  The excuse he gave about non-terminated cable lines interfering with the signal: lame.  But I just wanted it done so I relented.

Both installers kind of half-assed the cable lines in the basement.  Our basement is old, with lots of old lines, lots of holes through which to cleanly run your cables, but they both just sort of did their own things.  This is my fault, I realize, because I should have been down there insisting on clean lines, I guess.  Now I get to fix it up myself.

But this is what you get with a media switch.  It’s an inconvenience you just have to deal with if you want that price break or better surfing speeds or new programming.  Can definitely see why some people would just as soon stay with what they have.

As far as cancelling AT&T – they barely put up a fight; they must know their prices are high once the introductory rates run out.  I do note that they didn’t offer to send me boxes to return their equipment, and it’s on me to make a trip to the local UPS store (or they start hitting me with all kinds of equipment fees and penalties).  Way to go out on high, AT&T.

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