Sunday, May 31, 2009
Cablevision Sucks, Part 2: The Suckening
Around this time last year, I noted that Cablevision sucks. In a nutshell: Long Island's cable monopoly took a bunch of basic cable channels off of so-called analog cable (meaning that no cable box is required) and switched them to the digital tier, so you have to pay Cablevision another $70-something a year for a digital cable box to get them back. (That's per television, of course. Got more than one TV? Then you'll need multiple boxes.) And the company tried to palm it off, with misleading information, on the government-mandated switch to digital broadcast, which is finally happening this month. Recently -- and without adjusting prices downward, of course -- it took off another huge swath of channels, including AMC (so good-bye season 3 of Mad Men) and VH1 (so good-bye New York ... well, actually I can live with that) and MSNBC (so good-bye Rachel Maddow). But, curiously, not Fox News. Really, if there's one station I'd like off my TV, that's the one I'd pick.
But whatever. Cablevision is an awful, money-grubbing company that has also ruined Newsday, which used to be a pretty OK local tabloid. What else is new?
Here's why I'm angry anew: I wasted a perfectly nice afternoon with my parents, my voice getting louder and louder and louder and louder and LOUDER, trying to explain to them that no, you do NOT need a digital converter box because you have cable and only people with a TV antenna need a digital converter box and the reason you no longer can get MSNBC -- yes, my 80-something parents watch MSNBC and my 50-something brother watches Fox News exclusively (and, yes, please KILL ME) -- is that Cablevision wants you to pay another $6 a month per TV and no, Mom, your best friend who got a box and swears it's a digital converter box from Cablevision because of the mandated switchover, as Cablevision explained to her, did NOT get a digital CONVERTER box but a digital CABLE box and it has NOTHING to do with the switchover and YES if you want MSNBC back you (eventually) will have to pay an extra $6 to Cablevision (I say "eventually" because, oh, OK the company is "graciously" giving one cable box free for one year) but no, you DO NOT NEED A DIGITAL CONVERTER BOX, despite the confusing information being given to you by Cablevision ...
I'm sorry, I got lost in that sentence. Where was I?
Oh, yeah, right. Cablevision sucks.
(As a side note, I get a bunch of hits every week from people doing Google searches on the phrase Cablevision sucks. A number of them seem to be coming from within the bowels of Cablevision itself. Listen, folks, if you're a big company and you need to use your employees to monitor how much people think you suck (see the "When Twitter Meets CRM" sidebar here), there may be something wrong with your business model.)