Thursday, July 01, 2010
I've had a lot of contact with my internet / telephone provider over the last weeks. It started with them calling me once a week with telemarketing calls, where they were trying to persuade me to switch from my internet / telephone subscription to a "triple play" internet / telephone / TV subscription for the same monthly fee. Free router and decoder provided, and just a 50 Euro activation fee. At first I was reluctant, because the earlier "TV via ADSL" solutions on offer did not allow you to watch one channel and record another channel simultaneously. But after some reassurance that this was now possible, I finally agreed to switch to the triple play subscription.
Of course then a lot of things went wrong, which seems to be a universal rule for telephone / internet providers. They sent me a box for self-installation, and while I could watch TV, recording of TV programs on the hard disk didn't work. I went to the shop with the box, and they said the box they gave me had the wrong router, and exchanged it. Reinstalled, and nothing worked. I called customer support, and they said my line was faulty, so they'd send a technician. Technicians arrived, improved the quality of the line, but that didn't help at all with the recording. Thus they finally listened to my argument that if the hard disk recording didn't work, it might be the hard disk that was at fault, and gave me a new decoder. Isn't it wonderful if you get a box delivered with a router and a decoder and then have to exchange both of them against new pieces that actually work within a week?
Now the TV worked, but not in high definition. And the technician said something to the effect of "why are you still on ADSL, when you could have VDSL for the same price?". Well, nobody told me. My ADSL line had an effectively measured speed of 6 MBit/s, which is more than enough for World of Warcraft, but HD TV needs 8 MBit/s. So I had my internet connection switched over to VDSL. That of course resulted in me coming home one day and not having either internet nor TV, but the technician had warned me about that, and the solution was simply to unplug all machines and thus reboot the router and decoder. Half an hour later everything worked fine.
So now I have a measured 18 to 20 MBit/s internet speed, and the digital TV works also on HD. So instead of 35 channels via analog cable, I now have 180 channels of digital TV. Sweet! Only that I'll have less channels in a month, because you get unlimited access only for one month, and then part of the channels become subscription only. Fortunately the expensive subscription channels are football and porn, and I don't need those anyway (Not saying whether I do or don't watch porn, but paying 15 Euro per month for porn channels on digital TV delivered via internet cable means being too stupid to find porn on the internet). As I have the most expensive internet plan, I do get 10 Euro worth of monthly subscription for free, and the "Nature & Discovery Bundle" with several Discovery Channel channels, National Geographic, and History Channel in normal and HD is just 5 Euro. I'll let the wife choose another 5 Euro bundle with some special movie or TV series channels, and we're good. Mythbusters are great!