Tag Archives: cable

Jul
14

Posted in Cable be evil, Cut the Cord | Comments

Cable Companies Looking for Scapegoats, Once Again

scapegoat

It seems like on a daily basis, you can find a news story of someone suing a cable or satellite company for one thing or another. Being wronged, lied to, over-charged, physically harmed… the list goes on and on. We stumbled upon this article the other day, “Comcast sued by cyclist clotheslined by cable cord”.

At first glance, you might chuckle as you read that headline. But think about how dangerous this could have been, and was! This cyclist is lucky to be alive after fracturing his spine and three ribs. Of course, Comcast is fighting this lawsuit and is refusing to pay the cyclist’s medical bills. The reality of the situation comes down to the fact that Comcast, and other cable companies, hire subcontractors to do many of their installs. They do this for several reasons. First of all, to cut costs. Secondly, to place blame on someone else when a situation like this occurs. Which is exactly what Comcast is doing here.

We recently heard from an employee who had a disconcerting experience with a Charter contract worker. Note, she is a cord cutter who does not have cable.

“A young man rang my door bell a couple days ago, and when I answered he immediately asked to get into my back yard. When I asked why, he said he needed to set up the cable service for my new neighbors. He was wearing jeans and black t-shirt with no logo, had no safety vest or hard hat, no identification or even a vehicle, so I was a little concerned, to say the least. I asked who he worked for and he said Charter with an attitude, like how dare I ask him or not know. That’s when he realized he didn’t have his badge on and apologized. I finally let him in the backyard, but kept a very close eye on him, which I have to say, was pretty amusing watching this guy attempt to squeeze through the fence with a ladder. After about 30 minutes he left without saying anything. An hour later there was another knock at my door, this time by a Charter employee with a hard hat, vest, and Charter truck parked in my driveway. He asked if he could go in my backyard to check on the cable, and I said that someone had already done that. His response? ‘Oh, yes, we use contractors, so it’s my job to come by and make sure they did everything correctly.’ He then proceeded to the backyard with another Charter employee to check on the install. Basically, 3 people were paid for 1 install. How does this make sense?”

This isn’t the first time we have heard stories like this. Essentially, Charter is looking for a middle man, a scapegoat, if you will. If anything goes wrong, they don’t have to take the blame, they can pawn it off to the contractor. It’s like a parent committing a crime and blaming their child. “My son said he wanted more money and told me to rob a bank. So I did.” Should the child be charged for the crime? Absolutely not! “My cable isn’t working.” Oh, sorry ma’am, not our problem. A contractor did the install.” Yeah, that doesn’t fly; they are going to have some angry customers.

Comcast and other cable companies, it’s time to start owning up to your mistakes rather than placing the blame. We are on to you, as are your customers.

 

photo credit: Yard Buddies via photopin (license)

May
23

Posted in Ask the Expert, Cable be evil, Cut the Cord | Comments

5 Ways to Get Better Antenna Reception

Television has come a long way since the days of rabbit ear antennas on top of TV boxes weighing over one hundred pounds. Now, you can get a TV so flat you are afraid a stiff breeze might break it, and a little box can get you hundreds of channels. That little box obviously comes with a cost, and that cost seems to be going up at a never-ending rate (yep, I’m talking about cable). In turn, people have come back to antennas as a viable option and a key asset for anyone looking to cut cable.

EclipsewAmp_

The antennas of today are much more advanced. Antennas Directs ClearStream series of HDTV antennas are perfect for cord-cutters looking for advanced solutions. Antennas today are often designed with sleek, inconspicuous profiles, and the reception ranges have grown vastly from the earlier versions. Check out the ClearStream Eclipse. It’s the ultra-thin antenna that grips to any smooth surface. The range of content you receive can include award-winning TV shows, live sporting events, educational programming, and even broadcasts in foreign languages. For example, in my guide for the Indy 500 I mentioned the antenna as one of the easiest and cheapest options to watch the race without cable.

The worst thing that could happen to you is you do all your research, purchase your antenna, set it up, and find out the reception you are receiving is poor. It isn’t always as easy as turning on your TV and checking for the reception… sometimes it just cuts out. We just highlighted how to watch the French Open with an antenna and imagine watching the final match and having your reception get blurry then cut out right near the last points.  That would be devastating, so you should take all the steps ahead of time to improve your antenna’s reception and make sure you’re all set. Below are some of our top tips to improve the reception for your antenna.

1) Direct your Antenna Correctly

Unfortunately, for many of the antennas on the market it is not as simple as throwing it near a window and getting perfect reception. Many antennas need to be directed towards a certain point where the broadcast signal originates. This could be a relatively easy and quick fix to improve your reception.

All you need to do is use sites like AntennaWeb, TVFool, or the Digital TV Map from the FCC. You simply put in your details and it will tell you which channels you will likely receive and provide you with a map displaying where the broadcast signal is coming from in relation to your location. Based on this map, you should adjust your antenna to point the correct direction. If you are aimed in the correct direction you could even increase your chances on picking up subchannels.

2) Move your Antenna’s Placement

If the direction is not the solution it may be the actual placement of your antenna. The marketability of many current antennas is the sleek design allowing you to place it around your house without it being an eyesore. Maybe you thought it would be best to hide it behind the TV, but it would probably perform better if it was in a less blocked off area. The idea is to get it as close to the broadcast signal as possible, so if the broadcast tower is to your East the best place to likely put it would be near an external wall on the East side of your house. Or, if this still results in poor reception you can always try moving it to a higher location.

3) Reduce Interference

Moving the antenna will reduce the amount of physical interference involved, but it will not account for any sort of electronic interference. The interference can be caused by Wi-Fi routers or any other device communicating wireless. If you have devices that may be interfering, you can test if these are the problem by turning them off and checking your antenna’s reception. The best solution is to move any potentially interfering devices away from your TV and antenna as far as possible.

4) Consider Replacing your Cable

Like many products, antennas arrive in the packaging with the additional equipment needed for it to function. The cable most antennas give you is a generic one, often an RG59. This is what connects what your antenna receives to what you watch on your TV, so it is critical to have a high-quality cable. I recommend replacing the RG59 with a thicker cable, such as the RG6. It has more capability to deliver a better signal between the two devices. Learn more about the difference between the two types of cables here.

5) Amplifier

An amplifier would be the last recommendation to get better reception on your antenna. A majority of antennas have amplifiers built in to improve the signal, but if yours does not you can add a compatible one with the hopes of spreading out your reception range. Amplifiers can be hit or miss, because they not only amplify the broadcast signal from network stations but amplify other signals as well. This could add to your interference and ultimately result in just as poor of reception as you had in the first place. It is why we recommend an amplifier as a last chance option if you have tried everything else with little or no improvement.

There you have it—5 ways to get better reception for your antenna. Here’s to better free tv!

cutcable

Chris Brantner is the founder of CutCableToday.com, a resource for people who want to cut the cord and still get the TV they crave. Follow him on Twitter @CutCableToday and find him on Facebook here

May
18

Posted in Cable be evil, Cut the Cord | Comments

Cut the Cord, Only Pay for the Porn You Order

AD_BillShockPORN

We’ve heard some horror stories about cable companies charging customers outrageous fees, horrible customer service, and refusing to fix mistaken bills. But this story takes the cake. A Tampa Bay family decided to cut the Comcast cord after months of being charged for porn they did not order. And before you say “sure, they CLAIM they didn’t order it”, but the proof is in the pudding.

So here’s the background. The Overstreet family were Comcast customers for eight years, but over the past few months, they started receiving bill after bill for late night porn purchases. More than 20 “tasteful” films were charged to their account. After countless phone calls to Comcast’s “wonderful” customer service, attempting to rectify their billing, the Overstreets reached a dead end. Comcast was refusing to fix the bill, standing by the charges and not willing to budge. You know, the high quality customer service we all expect from them.

The Overstreets decided that was it. The end. Why should they continue to take this abuse from the cable company? They cancelled their service, packed up their cable box and sent it back to Comcast. That’s where this story just keeps getting better. They cancelled their service on April 7th and shipped off their cable box the same day, but the charges did not stop there. The Overstreets where charged for additional adult films on April 10, 11 and 12. Now how is that possible?

FINALLY Comcast admitted there was a problem with the billing, reimbursed the family the $240 they were overcharged, and paid the Overstreets’ last cable bill. It only took dozens of phone calls with very unhelpful customer service folks and cancelling their service to get to that point.

Moral of the story: you should only have to pay for the porn you order. Kick Comcast to the curb and never pay for unwatched adult films again. And once again, congratulations to Comcast on your horrible customer service and keeping us entertained with yet again another fantastic story.

May
2

Posted in Cable be evil, Cut the Cord | Comments

It’s Official, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Has Horrible Judgment, Recommends the Charter-TWC Merger

Photo Courtesy of Gizmodo

Photo Courtesy of Gizmodo

Now, it’s not too surprising that the FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler recommended that the commission approve Charter Communications’ plan to buy Time Warner Cable, but we were hoping that maybe he would come to his senses and realize just how STUPID that would be.

We were wrong. Anyone who thinks this is a good idea is obviously lacking sense.

Wheeler claims that the proposal “outlines a number of conditions in place for seven years that will directly benefit consumers by bringing and protecting competition to the video marketplace and increasing broadband deployment.”

Breaking that down into English, for just seven years, this evil megacorporation will not be allowed to have data caps or usage-based pricing, as well as cannot charge special fees to those heavy traffic providers. But, that is only for seven years. Then what? Then they can charge whatever they want and punish those high usage folks? That’s when people will be in a world of hurt.

It gets even worse. Time Warner Cable/Charter has promised to acquire two million more customers, and they will do this in some areas where other service providers already exist. This means that people will have a grand total of…drumroll please…two choices. Yay!

Let’s hope that the Commission has better sense and judgment. If they don’t, there will be some horrible consequences. We will be on standby.

Jan
12

Posted in Cable be evil, Cut the Cord | Comments

2015 was the Year of the Cord Cutter

Unbreakable-Kimmy-Schmidt

Photo courtesy of The Wrap

2015 was the year of the cord cutter. We have dubbed it so. People cut the cord in record numbers, thrilled to finally break free from their unhealthy relationship with cable. There’s not just one thing or moment that we can pinpoint that drove people to this breaking point, but we have a few theories.

  1. Prices increased, yet again
    This is a never ending battle, and people are finally getting fed up. They’re not stupid, yet the cable companies continue to treat their customers like a bunch of idiots. Who’s the idiot now?
    netflix and chill
  2. Streaming kicked ass
    Thanks to Netflix originals like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Grace and Frankie, Masters of None and Hulu special The Mindy Project, streaming programs are offering shows you WANT to watch. With the growing trend of “Netflix and Chill”, it’s become more socially acceptable to not have cable.
  3. The public is smarter
    While the cable and pay-TV companies continue to treat their customers like they’re dumber than a box of rocks, it’s obvious that they are actually smarter than ever before. Look at the growing number of people breaking free from cable, it’s obvious that they’re brilliant. They know it’s time to sever ties and start pocketing that cash. Here’s to you, cord cutters. The smartest guys and gals around!

Options for cord cutters continue to grow. In the past, cord cutters have struggled and had to MacGyver ways to get the content they desire. Between streaming services, a la carte options, streaming devices and growth in over the air broadcast channels, there is enough content to make any cord cutter content.

If 2015 was the year of the cord cutter, then we predict 2016 will be the demise of the cable companies. Bold prediction? Maybe. But we’ll take our chances.

Jun
3

Posted in Cable be evil | Comments

John Oliver Settles the Cable Company Monopoly Debate

Capture

On a recent episode of HBO’s Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver articulates the truth about the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger, “You can’t reduce competition when nobody is competing. You could not be describing a monopoly more clearly if you were wearing a metal top hat while driving a metal car after winning second prize in a beauty contest.”

Skip ahead to 7:13 for the especially insightful part:

Thanks John. We wish we would have thought of the term “Preventing Cable Company F**ckery” ourselves.

We have however showered Time Warner and Comcast for their poor business ethics by sending them congratulatory cakes. It’s their reviling business practices that have led to an increase in our sales.

Check out them out:
Stay the Course Part 1 – Thanks Time Warner.
Stay the Course Part 2 – Comcast is Number One.

May
15

Posted in Cable be evil | Comments

We Asked Philadelphians What They Thought of Their Cable Company. Here is What They Had to Say.

A few weeks back, we delivered a congratulatory cake to Comcast CEO Brian Roberts. Thanks to their record-breaking poor customer service, Comcast was voted the Worst Company in America on Consumerist.com. While we were in town, we decided to ask the good people in the City of Brotherly Love how they felt about their cable company. Here is what they had to say.

We want to thank the citizens of Philadelphia for your honesty. When you decide to sever this abusive relationship, we will be waiting to help you cut the cord.

May
13

Posted in Cut the Cord | Comments

Six Things You Can Buy When You Cut the Cord which Add More Value to Your Life Than Cable

3D baby

Each year more people are joining the cognitively superior hoard of cord cutters. But, if you are still on the fence and debating the value of an HD-antenna, we’ve prepared a list for you.

Here are six things (more useful and healthy than cable TV) that you can purchase with the money you save when you cut the cord for one year:

  1. 3D Babies – A Symbol of Love – $200. If you can’t wait the nine months before your pregnancy to see your bundle of joy, now you can have a handy-dandy in-utero replica. Just like the real thing – but infinitely creepier.
  2. Millennium Falcon Mirror – $345. It’s another day in the universe. Now you can be sure the force will be with you everywhere you go.
  3. Nano Quadcopters – Two for $80. Tired of the old lady giving you a hard time for flying your remote control helicopter indoors. With these nanobots, she can join in the action. Show her that size indeed does not matter when it comes to fun.
  4. Zombie Apocalypse Survival Kit – $349. The dead have arisen. Good thing you canceled cable and saved money. Now, you have the canvas carrying case to kick undead ass.
  5. Pizza Cologne – $25. Science has finally taken notice of our country’s obesity issue. And embraced it.
  6. Vanilla Ice-Cream Sundae High Heels – $200. So you have a foot fetish? So what? Stand tall and be proud of how much tastier you are for both cutting the cord and wearing your favorite dairy product on your feet.

You total spend: $1199

Since the average cable bill is around $100 per month, you have one dollar left over for emergencies. Or can just cut the cord and keep all the cash. The point is that you are liberated from the evil empire of cable and free to buy as many nanobots as you choose.

Cable be evil. Cut the cord.

Apr
15

Posted in Cable be evil | Comments

Save West Virginia!

 

heraldComcast has done it again!  We felt extremely compelled to write about the city of Huntington, West Virginia after reading an article in the Huntington Herald-Dispatch. Comcast, the most hated company in America, has now turned to terrorizing the town of Huntington. In this article Sabrina Thomas, a librarian at Marshall University, had such a horrible experience with Comcast she cut the cable cord. She turned on her TV one day and noticed she was missing channels without any form of notification from Comcast. Do you know how many times she was transferred before she was able to speak to someone? Six times! And it’s five times too many if you ask us. Do you know what they told her when she was finally able to speak to someone? She wasn’t paying enough and had to upgrade. This is an outrage, if you’ve been paying for these channels, how can they just take them away? Comcast only thinks about how to gain another dollar, and not how their actions will affect their customers.

After receiving hundreds of angry phone calls from the community, Scott Caserta, a councilman in Huntington, called Comcast’s corporate office and was told in order for customers to keep the channels they already had, they had no choice but to upgrade to a higher package. Well that makes sense; pay more for what you already have. Whenever you use your microwave do you have to pay an additional fee to hit start? At Antennas Direct there are no hidden fees or additional charges for any of our products.

Comcast is the only cable provider in Huntington, leaving many residents feeling stuck in an unfair situation. We want to reach out to West Virginia and let them know, there is life without cable! You can watch high definition broadcast television without cable, and with an antenna there are no additional charges or hidden fees.  You no longer have to suffer at the hands of The Worst Company in America, it’s time to set yourself free!

Check back with us for our interview with Sabrina Thomas and what life has been like since cutting the cable cord.

Apr
3

Posted in Cable be evil | Comments

Stay the Course: Time Warner Takes the Cake

When you say, “Thank you,” it’s important to really mean it.

So we mean it, when we thank the executives at Time Warner Cable. They, once again, are raising prices to rebroadcast free, over-the-air content. Thanks to their backward practices, we just keep getting more and more customers. It’s truly so generous of them.Rather than use lofty language as praise for cable’s growing irrelevance, we decided to show a tangible sign of our appreciation. We delivered a cake right to their front door in New York.

Cake shot

Our own president took it upon himself to pen some grateful, heartfelt prose.

From the Desk of Richard Schneider, President of Antennas Direct.

Dear Time Warner Cable,

I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to you and your executives. You truly are an inspiration.

We at Antennas Direct are only a humble concern. So we do not have the marketing budget that you and the other big cable companies have. So on behalf of me and our employees, we want to applaud your 6.4 percent rate increase for your cable subscribers. It is decisions such as those that drive new customers to our site and flood our retail partners in search of some relief from your tyrannical rule.

So thank you. Sincerely. Just when we thought we would need to pour more into an advertising campaign, you help to convert your customers into cord cutters at a rate that is astounding.

Stay the course –

Richard Schneider, president, Antennas Direct

PS – I truly hope you enjoyed the cake. Vanilla whipped frosting? It doesn’t get any sweeter.

Stay the course, Time Warner executives. Please do not deviate from your dastardly ways. You help to show more television viewers that there is a better way.

Same Day Shipping on Most Orders | Partners | Links
© Antennas Direct, 2016 | 16388 Westwoods Business Park, Ellisville, MO 63021 | 877-825-5572