Monday, March 28, 2016

DirectAT&T gave me no TV

I am not amused.

Thursday night/Friday morning, the new AT&T/SBC decided to "enhance" my DirecTV experience with their logo.  When I started the receiver the next time, I saw the new logo--and that satellite 1 could not be found.

The dish is in place, the receiver has not otherwise been changed or unplugged, but I now have no TV.

I thanked both companies over Twitter, so other people might see.  They were looking into it on Friday.

So, it's been four nights since the update and three days without DirecTV--how is that for 99% reliability?  Give AT&T a working product and they can damage it.  I had a feeling that this would end up worse, given the various problems I'd had with Cingular/AT&T and why I would never deal with them again.

At this point, what do I do?  I will call them, of course.  The receiver can't be updated because it can't get the signal from the satellite any longer.  I tried to go through setup tonight and it had some lag, so I switched to doing something else and the receiver powered itself off.

As far as I'm concerned, they can take their equipment with them and never bother me again.  Alternatives?  Dish Network is a "hell no", as they used to hang up on my mum and we learned right before her death that they had no clear path and the installer just said that it was okay.  Comcast/Xfinity isn't a good choice.  I've heard so many bad experiences from as far back as when they only serviced the Philadelphia metro area.  Every time my mum talked to them, they told her that the problem was in her set.  They weren't receptive to me, either.  At one point, their box would not change channels for 5 minutes, probably because someone was using the company's internet services in the neighborhood.  They replaced the remote 3 times and the box 2 times.  She canceled and went to Dish Network.

I'd only dealt with two major cable companies: Time-Warner and BrightHouse Networks and both were disgraceful.

Well, I think I'm out of luck this time.

 Update 2016.03.28: I called the service number and I waited a lot.  The first automated message was something about Monday being their busiest day for call volume.  Eventually, someone answered, and I was surprised.  I was treated well and felt that they cared.  This is much different than my experiences with cable companies.

Update 2016.03.29: The DirecTV service person arrived--and naturally, everything was working.  He checked everything and it was all fine but told me to turn off power savings mode.  It had also recorded some programs from Monday night.  Who knows?

Strangely, image quality seems better.

Update 2016.07.20: I'm generally happy with the service but AT&T continues to pull the logo in every nook & cranny that they can find, including all over the iOS app.  Having no bug fixes or performance improvements but having to update the app seems ridiculous.

Update 2016.08.24: Apparently, AT&T thought that it would be a great idea to stop allowing searches without the box being connected to the internet.  This probably has something to do with their desire to integrate customers into their internet services.  I'm not thrilled with heavy-handed tactics because it reminds me of the cable industry.

Checking on my recordings seems to not work well, even though the recordings are held locally in the box.  Often, I get a blank display.  In fact, the Guide also seems to work this way.  Sadly, these "enhancements" have been happening since AT&T officially took over DirecTV.

I'm ready to cancel my service, but I suspect that AT&T will charge me much more than the almost minimal cancellation fees at the end of my 2 year contract.  I suspect when they took over, they decided that they could re-work my contract to start at that point.  To say that I don't trust them would be an understatement.  I hope I'm wrong.

Update 2016.10.04: As of today, I have no TV service.  It's the first time since 1986 that I didn't have cable or satellite-supplied TV service.  As I'm dying, I just wanted to clean up as much as possible ahead of time.

I tried a couple of Apple TV-related apps today and the video was quite good.  If I can afford the video over internet usage, I might be okay for the occasional use.

Update 2016.11:30: I've watched one or two full-length TV shows at the first of the mobile hotspot's month in order to avoid any unforeseeable overages from Verizon.  It's amazing when you have about 500 MB remaining and you have the equipment powered off that it still manages an overage of 1.5 GB.

Quality seems fine through Apple TV, although it doesn't do 4K with the current equipment.

DirecTV/AT&T has announced a streaming service with multiple plans.

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