Friday, June 29, 2007

Yesterday I come home from work and turn on my TV (with a Time Warner DVR / cable box), only to find that the guide doesn’t function, the channel-line-up is wrong, and trying to get to a channel by pressing the number buttons on my remote leads it to go to Channel 0. I attempt to automatically reset it, which doesn’t work, so I disconnect the box from the wall socket and plug it back in, hoping it will reset the system. The box starts to boot, then flashes one dire word in bright-green letters: FAIL.
I call Time Warner Cable and get a recording informing me that there is a wait time of “19-32 minutes.” It asks if I’d like to leave my info and have them call me back instead of waiting on hold. I’m dubious, but indeed I do. About 30 minutes later I do get a call back, but a recording immediately puts me back on hold. A few minutes later an operator finally picks up.
Over the next 25 minutes, our conversation is peppered with his helpful nuggets of info such as “that’s unusual,” “let’s try this,” or “I’m not sure why that’s happening.” We try various methods of resetting the box, all of which are unsuccessful. Finally he tells me I’ll have to schedule an appointment with a technician, but that he won’t have anything until late next week. He suggests that I’d probably be better off calling back first thing in the morning, as for some reason they would suddenly have weekend slots available, and then he puts me on hold.
Interestingly, as I’m on hold the cable suddenly starts working again. Except that I can’t access any of the shows I’ve saved. When I try to access The List, a message pops up telling me that there may be a problem with the hard drive and asking if I’d like to reset the system. When the operator gets back on the line, I ask him and he tells me no, I should manually reset it by hand. Which I do. And ever since that moment, my box has been on a continuous loop of starting to boot, shutting itself off after 20 seconds, then turning back on and trying to reboot again. Yes, this has been happening for 19 hours straight (at least I assume… definitely 13 ½, as that’s when I left to go to work).
But let’s back up a bit… after a few minutes of this constant rebooting, I’m telling the operator what’s happening, and he starts to make another suggestion when he suddenly says that his supervisor says he’s spent way too long on the phone with me and that I have to schedule an appointment with a technician. Then he hangs up. I call back and am told that the wait time is now 40-55 minutes, and since I’m going out, I don’t bother doing anything else.
I call back this morning, as the system is still stuck in its loop, and talk to another operator. When I tell her I need to schedule an appointment with a technician, she curtly asks “But what is the problem with the box?” I describe the situation, and she informs me that there has been an outage in my area and that the rebooting is a matter of my cable box unsuccessfully trying to find a signal. Therefore I don’t need a technician or a new box. I ask her why my technician last night didn’t know and tell me this; she says she doesn’t have an answer for that. I ask her if I can schedule an appointment with a technician that I will cancel if it turns out I don’t need it; she laughs and says no. I ask how long it should take for the cable to be restored; she says she doesn’t know. She asks if there’s anything else she can do for me today; I tell her it doesn’t seem that way and hang up.
So basically here’s where I’m at: in theory the cable box is fine, and once service is restored from Time Warner’s end, it’ll start working again. I think that my first operator should’ve told me to leave it alone, but after his meddling I fucked up the box. I’ll have missed making a weekend appointment, which means I’ll either have to wait until late next week for one to come (and be without TV until then), or go to the sales center on 23rd St. and swap out the box, which entails an endless wait and losing everything saved on the hard drive, as they have yet to figure out a way to transfer data from one box to another (the first operator told me that, saying it’s baffling but true).

Fuck you very much, Time Warner Cable.

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