Monday, February 9, 2009

The Digital Revolution

Many of you fancy pants people out there, all with your highfalutin AV systems and whatnots may be asking yourselves, ”Why is the government extending the mandatory television signal conversion from analog to digital? What’s the hold up?” Read on dear friends for here is a tale of one rabbit eared television viewer who has been foiled by red tape and incompetence.

The second week of January I logged onto the US government sponsored digital conversion website in hopes of ordering my $40 coupons so I could purchase two digital signal converters for a discount. True I began the process a tad late I do confess, however I watch TV on an aerial antenna doesn’t that say enough about my need for progress? Anyways within 10 minutes of clicking, “Submit Request” a press release hit the waves announcing that the government had run out of funds and would not be issuing any additional coupons…CRAP! But being the eternal optimist I crossed my fingers and waited in hopes that I would receive MY coupons. I remained patient and with each passing day my psyche crept closer to the stinging realization that I would have to bite the bullet and pay full price for my two converters (two- because besides my 18” Panasonic I also have a 10” circa 1981 Zenith). But then alakazam… last week the government announced that millions of TV viewers had not heeded the 18 months of warnings and (like me) did not have converters yet. And yet once again it is proven that passivity breeds solutions. But wait not only did the government extend the conversion deadline but my coupons arrived on the same day, kismet. I hopped onto my computer immediately to research the best digital converter only to discover that the BEST converter had been sold out for months. It’s like a freakin’ rollercoaster. The second best converter was available though and it was exactly $40 (plus tax & shipping).

I went to the DishNetwork site to order the buggers only to discover that they offered a $40 and $60 version. Hmmm what could an extra $20 get me I wondered? I looked at the comparison chart and everything was the same, intriguing. I then cross referenced the information on Cnet and guess what; they are the same unit only with different names. Oh so crafty DishNetwork but you didn’t fool me! I completed the online order form along with my coupon codes but when I clicked “Place Order” I was instructed in large red letters to call customer service because they couldn’t accept my order online. So onto the phone, on hold, then an operator, then on hold again, then disconnected after 15 minutes. No worries they can’t get rid of me that easily. I redialed and sat on hold again for 22 minutes until I was finally informed that because I had been a DTV customer in 2001 they had to create a ‘dummy’ account so I could receive the 2 converters. Ok fine. Wow this process is so easy; it only took over an hour to order my two boxes. I have no clue why so many million elderly, non English speakers, and mentally challenged television viewers have not completed the conversion process? But wait that is not the end of the story for the following day I spent another 35 minutes on the phone with Munwar when I discovered that they charged my credit card (tax and shipping) for FOUR BOXES – strange considering that the coupons can only be used once, or so they say.

1 comment:

SCHRECK! said...

Lame. Even my grandma got this right and didn't need my help at all until installation. You should be ashamed!!!! BTW, my grandma just went and bought converters at the store, no hassle, and had them in hand! Sheesh!
Must say, I feel you dropped the ball on this one.