Charter Communications

Wow–I was working on this post and AP busted out with #3 on the list of ‘The Ten Things Ruining Pasadena.” I learned some things about Charter this past weekend. I learned them the old-fashioned way: trial and error. I’m posting so that you won’t have to suffer the same way. I’m also hoping Charter improves its service.

If you decide to go from regular TV to HDtv, be aware that Charter is not currently supporting HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface). HDMI gives you the best HD image. Charter will give you a cable box with an HDMI port in it, but it’s for show (at this point). I didn’t find that out until after a trip to Charter’s storefront to pick up the HD cable box, and a trip to Radio Shack to buy the HDMI cable. (By the way, the cost of the HD cable box is the same as the cost of the DVR box.)

Mind you, Charter didn’t give me a Moxi box. They do have them, but they didn’t give me one. Not sure if that would have made a difference or not.

When I called to order my HD service (free for the first year, by the way—they have to do something to retain customers), I was not given the option to have a technician do the installation. At a later point, a Charter customer service rep told me that it shouldn’t have been an option for me to do a self-install, but two other people after that told me that self-install is an option. So who knows?

My new TV’s instructions said “Hookup to your cable box using HDMI.” I did, and “No signal” said the cable box. At that point, I was lost. The person at Charter technical support was lost too. “I can’t help you because we don’t support HDMI,” she said. The obvious: It doesn’t make sense that they would lease you a box with an HDMI port and then not support it.

The upshot for us is that we weren’t all that thrilled with the HD LCD TV anyway, so we took it back. The Scout didn’t like the image quality (which of course wasn’t HD since I never got it connected properly), and it had the previously mentioned heat generation issue common to all LCDs, and it smelled like burning plastic. We ended up buying an used CRT Sony via Craigslist. With any luck, it’ll last ten years.

Still, Charter’s customer service was lacking. No offer of the assistance of a technician (until I was in over my head). No instructions for the do-it-yourselfer. Had to learn the hard way (an hour on the phone with tech support) that Charter doesn’t support HDMI. To date, three customer service people have told me they don’t support HDMI. I’m half expecting someone to leave a comment on this post telling me they do.

Tactical error on my part: At one stage in this process, I was eagerly anticipating HD. In my haste, I returned my regular DVR box to Charter without downloading all the awesome Dodger highlights I had saved on it. This was 3:30 pm on Saturday afternoon, and the office closed at 5:00 pm. I was back at Charter first thing Monday morning (office closed on Sunday, opens at 9:30 am Mon-Fri) but they wouldn’t give me my box back. I was told that they have pick-ups on Saturday and Sunday. I had a feeling my box was just sitting back there, but company policy is they won’t give you your box back, no matter how much you beg. The woman behind the counter actually looked a little guilty.

So I hook up my new box, and someone else’s stuff is saved on it. I’m talking NCIS, Law and Order, and Joel Osteen. Charter, at least have the sense to delete saved programs before redistributing boxes to customers.

Okay, who’s the lucky person with all my Dodger stuff?

Pasadena/Altadena residents: There is no supervisor in the local office (2970 E. Colorado Blvd), but there is someone to call.  Her name is Kim Cox-Key and her number is 626-430-3376. I called her Monday morning. Still waiting for a return call.

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15 Responses to “Charter Communications”

  1. AP Says:

    Charter sucks.

    Please please please please let AT&T come here. Or I’m just gonna have to steal cable.

  2. AP Says:

    Just kiddin’ about the stealin’.

  3. Miss Havisham Says:

    When I subscribed I would often bust in on them at their Colorado office-not to complain, only because the fish store is right next door.

    FISH are neat.

  4. Miss Havisham Says:

    neater than TV

  5. AP Says:

  6. Jason Says:

    Damn, we have Charter at home. I better let my dad see this article before he decides to buy his big screen. Thanks for breaking this down.

    I always though Charter was shady, and this confirms it. Their internet blows too by the way.

  7. John Says:

    I have Charter and the HDMI port works for me. I do have a Motorola box.

    Otherwise, I agree — Charter SUCKS.

  8. Randal Says:

    I work for charter. The reason why we dont “support” HDMI is beacause its to advance for CABLE FUCKING TV. For starters, do u think a $140 cable from best buy is better than a $25 from walmart? Not on cable tv it’s or a PS3. Read the back of a moster cable HDMI box. It says FUTURE devices.

    We support HDMI, We have ports on our boxes(not all areas have them though) we just dont give u the cables. The reason why ur tv said no signal is because 1) was on the right input or 2)the port isnt active(not our fualt we get it like that). Componant(the 5 cables) give just as good picture if not better for HD on cable because it doesnt show nearly the amount of defects as HDMI.

  9. yunmoola Says:

    wow randal, love the grammar. i can see why you work at charter..charter blows

  10. Spring Says:

    hahahahah Charter is garbage I just called them to upgrade to High Def now that im addicted to it( i used to be an active outdoorsman) I got a 26″ 1080p lcd monitor with vga, dvi and hdmi inputs (sick) originally for my 360 whick looks amazing 1920×1200 native and i found out that even though the monitor isnt tv ready i can hook it up to a cable box but it has to have hdmi out but you can only get the box if you get the DVR box an extra 15 bucks a month i dont watch tv that much…lol what a rip off Charter has the worst customer service in the US hands down!!!!

  11. More info here Says:

    More info here…

    Good job narrowing down all the information….

  12. Ashley Says:

    I’m a tech for Charter. This is certainly an old post because we most certainly support HDMI, plus our area gives away HDMI cables for free. The issues you could be having with your internet is all due to hundreds of different factors, it could be a bad modem, a signal to noise(SNR) problem in the modem or at the pole, a line problem with the node at the pole, or an issue at the local office headend where they receive the signal from the server. All cable systems work the same way with all companies, it just depends on the people running it. Through all the pros and cons of cable, satellite, twisted pair(DSL), I’ll take cable ANYDAY.

  13. Greg Says:

    Charter was rated the worst cable system in the USA by Consumer Reports. I have it becuase there are no other cable choices here in The Upper Penninsula of Michigan (Marquette – on Lake Superior).

    My Motorola Box connected via HDMI works well.

    I Had the Motorola Moxie Box, it doesn’t have an HDMI output or input.
    It also had some other problems so I traded to the newer Motorola Box. The new box has two or three times the recording space, plus HDMI.

  14. kevin Says:

    Hey, what is the white box Charter hung on my wall behind my TV?
    It has a 6pr. 22 awg line running out of it and a cord to plug it into the wall. Whats it for

  15. Jared Burton Says:

    Having the same problem. Had a technician come out three days in a row last week to give me a hd box. three times they came with component. I have google tv coming that is hdmi only. I have an “appointment” tomorrow to pick up a box with hdmi. We’ll see how it goes.

    Stupid California.

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