Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The program guide on Comcast Connecticut

A reader from Comcast New Haven's system named Gary writes about the new program guide on Comcast, which we wrote about in the print edition on 9-30:
"What Comcast failed to mention to you was the negative changes from this switch over. One of the primary reasons we have Comcast is the Picture In Picture available with the DVR player. Guess what, that was eliminated with this change. My understanding is that some of the sleep timer mechanisms were eliminated as well. We will find out what else was lost as we try to use the new menu.
"When I called Comcast to complain, the phone rep would not admit that a service was taken away with no lowering of the price. She would only say that "changes" had been made. As I pressed the issue, she hung up on me!
"I called back and the second rep basically said there was nothing I could do and gave me a whopping $5 credit for my time and aggravation. He also mentioned that many complaints were coming in and they would be reviewed by management."

We checked with Laura Brubaker of Comcast (regional) and here's what she replied:
"Picture-in-Picture functionality was a feature that was previously available only to our customers with Scientific Atlanta (SA) DVRs. We are disappointed that we were not able to retain this feature in the new guide. Unfortunately, this feature could not be supported by the new guide given the business goals, timing and our goal of uniformity as the majority of our customers do not have the picture-in-picture functionality with both the SA and Motorola digital converter boxes (just SA DVRs).
"However, one new feature that is available with the new guide is the “Pause, Swap, Pause” functionality, which allows a customer to pause a current program that they’re watching (ie – football game on one channel), swap tuners to another channel and watch the programming on that channel for five minutes, pause that channel and then swap back to the original channel (football game), which is still paused. The same holds true for the sleep timer function, which was also not supported by the new guide. As a side note, a majority of TVs today have a sleep timer built into them.
"Again, we understand that this is a change for our customers and we hope they enjoy the new guide and its features. We’ve set up an On Demand tutorial, provided an informational website (www.comcast.net/meetyourguide) and have mailed each customer a brochure about the new guide to help them navigate through it. Our goal in rolling out the new guide, as we shared with you during the demo, is to deliver a faster, more user-friendly experience that provides features our customers want, including faster On Demand access, better program information, more shortcuts, easier navigation and an overall improved and faster guide experience.
"We hope that customers will take the time to navigate through and try out the new features and also understand that one of the key benefits of the new guide is that with a common and consistent platform, we will be able to deliver additional interactive features and services to all of our customers more quickly in the future. For example, this will allow us to roll-out enhancements like Caller ID to the TV, myDVR Manager (which allows customers to schedule their DVRs remotely via phone or the internet) and AnyRoom DVR."

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