Saturday, August 13, 2011

CABLE TV MYSTERIES

Despite the fact that watching TV seems so 2002, the TV set and *Malaysia's Most Reliable Weather Forecast Thingy still exists and is still going strong at my parents house, that is until a few days ago. 

Over the week, some of the channels have taken to disappearing overnight, for instance, among the few channels in the Education package (Discovery, NGW, NGC, Animal Planet, History, Discovery Sc), the only channel that is currently working happens to be NGC, whereas the rest happily display "Service is currently Unavailable", a message most commonly associated with the rain! Out of all the 40 available channels, 33 of them are now unavailable.  

A call to the service provider involved some 'troubleshooting tips' via the phone, and it turns out that none of the usual remedies suggested work. The messages on the unavailable channels remain the same, and the operator actually had the nerve to ask my mom if it was **raining. Not once, but twice! (In case you're curious, it wasn't) In the end, she said she'd send a technician over as she suspected that it might be a 'hardware' problem. She also added that this may result in my parents having to fork out an extra RM20 each month if we have to replace the hardware as the new units avaialble are all HD enabled.

While the 'hardware' problem theory seems a to be pretty legit, there happen to be one or two curious quirks about the problem. Take the 'Asian Food Channel' channel for instance (one of my favourite channels!), which works early in the morning (till about 10 am or so), but then ceases working for the rest of the day. This quirk was also observed in a few other channels. So, if it is indeed a 'hardware' problem, shouldn't the channels NOT be working at all, regardless of the time? Definitely something to think about.

*Now, if you're Malaysian, you surely already know how the weather dictates our ability to watch cable TV with our (ahem) favourite service provider, and if you're not Malaysian, well, each time it rains, a yellow dot appears on the blank screen and tells you about the service being unavailable. It is so sensitive to rain (and possibly heavy cloud cover), that it has become a somewhat national joke which is not funny anymore.
** Turns out, the service provider tech staff are also trained to ask about the weather when trying to help you troubleshoot reception problems. <Insert bitter laugh here>

Edit: The problem was with the receptor on the satellite dish, apparently. 

9 comments:

  1. I recently had lots of problems with my broadband service. This lasted several months and I had almost weekly visits from a technician. In the end they seemed to stumble upon a solution even though they were unable to work out what it was they did to make it work.

    I love the idea that in a rainy country like Malaysia they do not seem to have taken the weather into account but as you say, I'm sure it's a joke that has long lost its funny side. Happy viewing!

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  2. I'll just laugh along with you. all I can do from here

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  3. King Of Scurf: Broadband problems can be annoying... I had some issues some time ago, and one 'clever' advice that stood out was to use the laptop near the window!

    Yes, it's baffling indeed that they didn't take the weather into account. Subscribers have been facing this issue since 1996/1997.

    Nursemyra: Ha ha... thank you :)

    DoRP: I could... ;)

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  4. we pay for bad service. but what other option we have? :(

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  5. They make you pay an extra RM20 for their problem? I would have given them hell, how can they force someone to upgrade? Geez, such cutthroats. It's not like it's your fault they don't have the hardware.

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  6. Faisal: What we need is good competition among service providers. Otherwise, the situation will never ever change.

    Nick: Apparently, that's what they told my mom before they arranged to send the technician over.

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  7. I had that problem with satellite television, and switched to cable. And then got fed up and quit tv altogether.

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  8. Sometimes even by taking out the SmartCard and inserting it again solves problem (Weird, I know).

    But I HATE calling technical services as I can imagine the level of customer service (Is it raining, honestly!)

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