Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dish Network and the loss of Technical Support

Sat TV Rant
So, our local TV station has recently gone all digital. We had an HD flat panel that has a digital receiver but one of our older TV's is analog and is fed by the sat receiver. The sat receiver has a provision for hooking up an antenna and receiving digital broadcasts over the local airwaves.

So, yesterday evening I hooked up the antenna to the input on the sat receiver and had it scan for local digital channels. It found the local channels and was able to play them on the analog TV fine but the program guide showed "Digital Service no information available" since this is an over air broadcast and not a digital signal from the satellite that is expected. Imagine my surprise this morning when I turned on the sat receiver and TV and got the message, signal not found and the program guide was populated with show info as if this was a satellite channel. After going through a couple level of "Service Techs" at Dish Network I am waiting for a technical report to go upstream to some other place for review. The conclusion from their end was this is not an issue with their box it must be a problem with my antenna, cable or the broadcast signal from the TV station. Did I mention that the antenna cable is split and also hooks up to the HD flat panel? Well it still gets the local digital signal just fine.

The "techs" had me disconnecting cables and tried to explain that not all TV stations broadcast full time in digital. Even after I explained multiple times that our local station was only available digital. They no longer had an analog signal and I could get this signal just fine on the TV but not through their box. I can also still get the digital signal through their box for another local channel that isn't available on the satellite. So, the digital tuner in their box IS working, the digital signal IS getting from the TV station to our antenna through our cable to the splitter and their box and the signal is actually digital and our other TV is seeing it. This is a software or purpose full blocking within their box.

All the frustration was from the fact that the technical support is not a technician, they are a call center with a computer in front the of the call screeners that they read instructions off of based on key words phrases or error message numbers off the box. It took an hour plus to get the call center to bump me up to a "sr tech" and for this "sr tech" to decide to bump the call info to another tech center.

This loss of technical service just sucks. I used to be in technical service for semiconductor process equipment and I can guarantee that had we put in a call center with computer screen based phone troubleshooting our customers would have tossed our tools out on the loading dock. Unfortunately, the general public doesn't have the options other than the two satellite providers. Already been on the other system for a few years at our previous place. They weren't much better.

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