Daily Blog – Ross Jones – June 26, 2008: THE CABLE COMPANY BLUES

My cable box went on the fritz last weekend, conveniently while I was out of town. Apparently, it could output sound or video, but not both at the same time. Our box (with dual HDTV tuners) was several years old, and I knew was being replaced by a newer, modern unit. So I wasn’t totally surprised that it was malfunctioning. My wife called the cable company, which promised to send a truck out with a replacement box.

I got the call while driving up Interstate 5. My wife said that the cable guy was confused about how to hook up the interconnects, because the replacement box didn’t have an HDMI port. Uh, what? I got on the phone with the technician, and ran it down. My existing cable box (the broken one), which did have an HDMI port, had been in my home at least two years, and was not a new box when I got it. If the “replacement” box didn’t even have an HDMI port (it was DVI), then that meant that the box was at least two generations older than the newest box. And likely was on its last legs before it too failed, which would require yet another trip.

So I politely told him no thanks, we’d stop by the cable office and pick up a new box. It wasn’t his fault; he could only offer us what he had on the truck. But it made me wonder what a less knowledgeable customer would have done in the same situation.