Deal with the devil?

I find myself today considering the ridiculous; contemplating the absurd; evaluating the ludicrous; pondering the preposterous …

I”m thinking about getting cable TV.

Yep, cable. Ditching my Dish, as they say. Signing on to have Satan himself (as represented by any and all local monopoly cable companies) deliver my in-home visual entertainment.

I have a permanent hatred, you see, for cable TV companies that grew out of my experience with Cablevision in Baton Rouge.

I lived in 11 different places when I was in college, and therefore I had to visit the horrid old Cablevision office on Florida Boulevard at least two dozen times (factoring in all of the visits to replace their crappy equipment when it broke). Those of you who had the misfortune of dealing with Cablevision know that a trip to the DMV or pre-computerized LSU registration was more enjoyable.

When I moved to Atlanta, I was glad to be rid of Cablevision, but discovered the apartment I moved in to had some ridiculous “special” cable system on which you could only get about half of the regular cable channels. That lack of choice really pissed me off.

Then when I bought my first house, I signed up for MediaOne (the local cable monopoly), but ditched it ASAP for this weird wireless cable system BellSouth rolled out. It was called Americast and required me to get a little white disc attached about 100 feet up a pine tree in my backyard (BellSouth broadcast its wireless signal from the top of the NationsBank building in Midtown).

That was 1998. I”ve been off cable ever since.

Now, however, I”m faced with a grim reality. Dish Network gives me good service at good prices. I like their DVRs (I”ve owned about 10 of them, after all) and the fact that I don”t pay a monthly TiVo fee.

But in this modern world, there”s a lot Dish can”t give me. I have an HDTV now, but if I want DishHD, I either have to go without DVR for HD (not acceptable) or pay $1,000 for an HD DVR, which Dish makes really hard for me to buy anyway. Dish also hasn”t kept up with video-on-demand services, and having Dish instead of cable also forces me to have a home phone line because I need a DSL line.

Satan (Comcast), on the other hand, can give me a comparable digital TV package, an HD DVR, video-on-demand, broadband without a phone line and even local Weather Channel content, can save me about $50 a month when you factor in dumping home phone service and will apparently give me $400 for leaving Dish.

And thus I ponder a deal with the devil.

If Satan is to get my business, he”s going to have to earn it. Comcast is known for horrible customer service, so they”re going to have to show me otherwise. I”ve got an email in to them asking for some details of their HD DVR (they use a Motorola box, and Motorola offers single-tuner and dual-tuner versions). If they can give me a coherent and timely answer there, they”ve cleared the first hurdle.

We shall see.

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