Saturday, July 22, 2006

High Definition Multimedia Interface failure...


Scientific Atlanta, Cisco and NTL, this is the Trio which have decided to gang up on me lately… I have chosen, by free will, to utilise the services of Telewest (now NTL, soon to be Virgin TV or Cable). I did this because they were a “triple play company” offering telephony, cable TV and broadband at high speed, 10MB at a time when most suppliers struggled with a 256kb connection. I was laughing loudly and being proud at the services I had, happily playing along and should the truth be told paying along the way for being there at the front of technology and having the latest bits and bobs...

Their broadband service is superb…no fault at all, the odd downtime, but then that is what you expect…we pay and then now and then we have some downtime, nothing to complain about apart from now it is being expensive.

Prior to the World Cup my Sony Trinitron packed up…after only 18 years of service…bloody Sony, no life expectancy anymore…So off I went and bought the latest on the market of television sets, a Samsung with HDMI, Scart, S Video, 1.5 trillion billion mega pixels and more colours that Picasso could throw at his canvas. Fabulous, we can sit in the living room and look at the television in such a way that we now feel that we are in the action, great if you are watching Emmanuelle’s sexy repeats in channel 5, but bad if you are watching the news about the middle east on CNN, BBC News or Sky News (between the adverts…why do they need adverts in the news channel???)…well enough about that.

In order for this to happen you will need to UPGRADE your system, you will need an HDTV receiver, box, decoder call it what you want, cause the World is going HDTV…720p or 1080i (plus a lots of fakes, being converted to look like HDTV cause a camera cost some $80,000 each and it will take some time to replace to existing ones) and all of the BBC is coming at you in HD TV…This I find interesting as I was one of the first to create an HD Live broadcast together with my colleagues in the US from PolyGram Diversified Entertainment as we filmed and broadcast Woodstock the 25th anniversary in HDTV all 56 hours of them, so you could say that I am a bit of Know-It-All when it comes to HDTV, I did negotiate the broadcast deal with Philips and NHK HD…NHK HD won…

So here we are some years later and we have HDTV, boxes and broadcast systems which broadcasters are now confident enough in to be charging customers for their services…

Well I bet you did not count on the group of three….NTL, Scientific Atlantic and Cisco a combined annual revenue of $30.1B (source finance.google.com) getting together and create a box which is now entitled TVDrive in the UK sending out an untested device, now known as TVCRAPDRIVE…

I did not know this and signed up with a big smile on my little face two months ago…I was told I could record two channels, watch a third plus pause a rewind live TV, store 80 hours of television, down load to my re-writable DVD and then upgrade my VHS collection...

Well that was the idea…since my connection to the world of Telewest/NTL TVDrive, I have lost hours of waiting at home and have had 7 boxes replaced…yes 7, seven, sieben, sju, bloody TVDrives in 2 months, hours of non television resulting in me having to run a coax cable from the bedroom window down to the living room, making the Barn looking like a Pikey Camp just so that Mrs E can watch the gardening on BBC2. In addition to this all of the recorded programmes Mrs E had on the TVdrive is now enjoyed by some Mexican engineer in Juarez, where I assume they are returned...

We have had sound failure, repeated recordings (when the box takes over and records what it wants...only crap of course), no picture and no connection, smart card failures…I cannot tell you what has been wrong…Oh yes HDMI failure, that is High Definition Multimedia Interface failure…this is not a big problem for me because I understand the technology but I am worried about the pure and mortal human beings out there which do not understand that the Big Three are ripping us off…providing a marketing campaign free of charge for Sky+…

Here is what happens when you call to report a fault on the box…

Press, 1 for this, 2 for that, 3 if you wish to assassinate a technician or 4, if you to sit in a queue, you know the drill…each time an “engineer” arrives and at The Barn, you anticipate what he will do and I can hear you ask yourself, take out a laptop, check diagnostics, log on to Telewest Super Computer, call Lawrenceville Georgia???…you gotta be kidding…he goes to his National Rental van (I told you earlier that they are in a bit of upheaval so there is an identity crisis and new vans are in a shortage, they are also in some $9B debt, give or take) pick up a new box, clearly labelled, Scientific Atlanta, Made in Mexico and replace the crappy box with a new defunked box…

I know that Microsoft for years have worked on a “Customer Improvement Program” which is where they ship dodgy products and let the customers tell them what is wrong.

Now this is the norm for software but for hardware??? For me to pay for a Beta Version of a shitty TVDrive spending time waiting for the “Swop-man” to arrive in a National Rental Van isn’t that sort of taking the Mickey…What Is that all about?


Update: As we suspected the man arrested for the black out before the England game see http://www.ericsons.co.uk/2006/06/panic-and-chaos-in-cotwolds.html turned out to be...a disgruntled ex employee...

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