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.