Pay TV: A Game of Throes

Comcast says that their Xfinity service will provide me a unique television viewing experience that will also save me money. So what's the problem? Everything.

The average monthly cost of home communications services is $154. My monthly U-verse bill from AT&T is routinely more than $200. Clearly, an intervention is in order.

Fortuitously, Comcast Cable — apparently aware of my self-inflicted domestic abuse — asked me out on a date, hoping I’d ditch U-verse and shack up with Xfinity.

Blood & GOT

The one-night stand took place earlier this month at the Emagine theater in Royal Oak, Mich., outside Detroit. I was among roughly 300 people who showed up for free drinks and popcorn, special pricing on Xfinity services and gift bags for everyone. The big draw was a big-screen showing of the premiere episode of season four of the HBO hit series, “Game of Thrones.” That the sneak preview was three days before the nation-wide debut of the new season was an added treat for “Game of Thrones” subjects.

A GOT geek I am not. (GOT being HBO’s short-hand for the series.) To my untrained eye, the show looks like somebody’s idea of “The Sopranos” meets “The Lord of the Rings.” Since my sister-in-law is a big fan, we made it a threesome: me, her and Xfinity. Blood & GOT

Sprinkled among the invitees were impressive product demonstrations of Xfinity on mammoth TV monitors, and a dozen or so dealer account executives like Maurice Brandon. He employed the soft sell in an effort to convince me to sign up for Xfinity. What Brandon could not overcome was my fear of change.

Prior to signing up for U-verse, I had Direct TV. The emasculated satellite dish is still bolted to my garage, its lifeless cables still attached to the house, all of it providing the illusion of connectivity.

Getting the phone, TV and internet service up an running with AT&T was a nightmare. I spoke to, screamed at and skewered countless customer service reps; field reps came and went in their attractive trucks, each one making promises that went unfulfilled. I never saw the same guy twice.

Then, one day, the chaos ended. Everything started working. My wife and I could talk to people on the house phones. We got on the internet and did internet stuff. We watched TV like normal people. There have been a few problems since, but they have been minor.

I do not want to repeat that experience. I’m older now. My heart is weaker, my patience shorter. A cumbersome switch to a different TV provider could result in someone experiencing great physical harm.

Then there is the education process: learning how to use the new remote control, figuring out the system’s features, recording procedures, etc., etc. And soon enough, my monthly bill will gradually creep up until I am back were I started.

Therefore, despite having a grand old time with the good folks from Comcast, and being impressed with the money to be saved by embracing Xfinity, I remain in the U-verse camp.

I know you’re listening AT&T, so take no comfort in my decision. It could easily change upon further review. While your new corporate slogan is, “Mobilizing your world,” the previous one is as close to me as that unused dish on my garage: “Rethink Possible.”

 

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James E. Kenyon

James is the publisher and editor of Page One Post. He was a newspaper reporter in Detroit and Norfolk, VA, before working in the corporate communications departments at a number of Michigan companies. His last stint was 18 years at Chrysler Corporation, where he handled media relations, product and marketing PR and speech writing. He retired from Chrysler in 2007. He enjoys listening to jazz, good cigars and bourbon Manhattans, often at the same time. He and his partner, Melba, live in Detroit's Rosedale Park neighborhood.