What follows is largely me complaining of my woes in getting the Dish Network satellite decoder to work with my TiVo. For those who want the Reader's Digest version, it is as follows:
If you have a TiVo, don't subscribe to Dish Network. At least not if you expect to use your existing TiVo. The equipment is incompatible.
I have a TiVo. I no longer subscribe to Dish Network. Bitter, disappointed Sandpanther.
So, Friday night I con Cecil into coming over to help fix all the electronics that have decided to do a cat imitation. (Read: All of them are going in strange and useless directions, not to mention annoying, directions. Specificly, the DSL found a new and creative way of not working properly, and the TiVo needed to be set up to work with the satellite decoder. Neither of them were particularly responsive to my earlier attempts at herding them into being the modern home "conveniences" they are supposed to be.)
First off, we tackled the TiVo. All that needed to be set up was the IR blaster thingie, which would allow the TiVo to change the channel on the satellite decoder. If it can't change the channel itself, the TiVo becomes a very large, very expensive TV Guide.
Needless to say was I not happy when I got told by the nice folks at Dish Network that their system wasn't compatible with TiVo, but call TiVo anyway, just to see what they have to say.
TiVo's voice jail said call Sony. Sony's reps (the one I got to who could speak English, but who claimed to be a paper-pusher, not a support engineer) said it was TiVo's problem. TiVo said it was Sony's problem. Dish Network said it wasn't their problem. I said enough is enough, and canceled the satellite service.
Fortunately, it turns out that you can cancel the service within 72 hours of installation with no obligation. We found out about this clause after the nice rep at Dish told Cecil that the equipment was totally incompatible, and Cecil started muttering things about false advertising in not disclosing system incompatibilities. When I asked them why Dish doesn't mention anywhere that their system may not work with an increasingly more common system like a TiVo, the Dish rep replied that most satellite providers prefer to supply their own equipment. Right. So, you're not going to tell me that the equipment you supply is not going to work with my system because -- help me out here? You want to make me feed you more money and get your custom equpiment. But you're not going to tell me this up front, so I know that's what I'm getting into. No, you're going to smack me on the backside, after I've signed a contract. Right. Bitter now.
To be fair, they do have that loophole where you can get out of the contract with no fee. Or at least, that's what I've been told, by multiple reps at Dish Network. (I have all their names and operator codes -- no, I'm not paranoid, why do you ask?)
At least I hadn't cancelled the cable yet. Which is a really sad thing to say, since this whole satellite fun started because AT&T spent two weeks dithering before they finally sent someone out to fix my cable. Two weeks! You'ld almost think they didn't want my business or something. Which reminds me, I need to call them and make sure they credit my account for the time we didn't have service. Damned if I'm going to let them profit off of being that mind-bogglingly stupid. It may only be a couple of dollars, but I want to make them hurt in any minor, futile way I can.
I'm going to be investigating DirecTV, which should at least work with a TiVo, since there seems to be some kind of a partnership between those two companies. Why? Because I'm still pissed off at AT&T, and because I want two new channels that I don't get currently. I'm sort of disturbed that my main motivations on spending the money to upgrade to satellite service are than I want to write AT&T a "nyah, nyah, I'm taking my business elsewhere because you SUCK!" letter, and because I want to watch the Speed channel.
I think I'll leave my rant on the sad state of service in modern America for another time. For now I am going to sit and be a sad, bitter customer, wondering if catching new episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is really worth all this.
After all the fun with Dish Network, the DSL was almost an afterthought. After a certain amount of aggravation, Cecil (who is a miracle worker, even if he is still the Evil Tempter Being) managed to get it to work. It still goes out daily for reasons that I don't understand. But at least it's problems that I can fix easily enough by bouncing the entire mess, and getting a new IP address.