December 20, 2001 12:46 PM   Subscribe

eek! at+t broadband cable units to be bought by comcast. this means chicago cable service will shift to its third owner in two years (at+t broadband having purchased prime cable just last year, and having just gotten cable modems back online from the excite@home failure two weeks ago). anyone have any clues about the ramifications of this purchase?
posted by patricking (21 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
big business gets bigger, customers get screwed, what else is there to know?
posted by quonsar at 12:52 PM on December 20, 2001

It means I'm never, ever going to get digital cable, is what it means. I've lived in Chicago for 2.5 years, and put up with Prime Cable's ineptitude, AT&T's "you have access to digital cable - uh, no - just kidding! Maybe in February" nonsense and now this. I live in freaking Ravenswood, there are people 15 blocks away who have digital cable - it's ridiculous. It means that our cable bills, which in Chicago with AT&T were increased recently by 11%, will be increased even more in 6-8 months to pay for this swell new company.
posted by gsh at 12:56 PM on December 20, 2001

This is more encouragement for competitive cable.

Thank God I live in Schaumburg. Where the malls are big, the taxes are small, and the cable's competitive.
posted by MeetMegan at 1:29 PM on December 20, 2001

While I don't like the consolidation, its better than AOL buying them - they were hot in the running.
posted by owillis at 1:35 PM on December 20, 2001

gsh -- call RCN. They offer digital cable, and they're in Ravenswood. We've got them and have had no problems.
posted by me3dia at 1:36 PM on December 20, 2001

NPR was just reporting how Microsoft was the silent 800 pound Gorilla in all of this. Some folks in Redmond are VERY happy that AOL-TW didn't get their hands on AT&T.
posted by machaus at 1:47 PM on December 20, 2001

Don't make the lack of digital cable sound like they've stopped selling bread in Chicago. Digital cable deals are as lousy as analog cable. You're still paying over $40 a month and you can no longer use your standard TV tuners. That means if you have more than one TV you're leasing or buying another digital box for about the same number of channels with a slightly better picture. Big deal. Analog cable is easier to descramble too. *wink* *wink*

Chicago is very competitive when it comes to cable. Most suburbs don't have the bargaining power the city does. I used to pay the same amount for less channels before I moved out here.
posted by skallas at 1:48 PM on December 20, 2001

I've got AT&T normal cable in Ravenswood and it sucks ass. I'm switching to DirectTV. Maybe even this week. RCN doesn't come to my area, so I'm stuck with that stupid box with the remote that can't control the volume or even switch back to the previous channel. It sucks so bad. I can't wait to get away from them. DirectTV for me, yo.
posted by elvissinatra at 1:57 PM on December 20, 2001

I am an AT&T cable subscriber in Chicago and I recently called to cancel my Showtime. They wanted to charge me something like $15 to CANCEL the channel. I may be naive, but how hard is it to cancel a channel. Don't they just flip a switch or enter something into a computer? They can turn on and off channels for those free weekends all the time, so why does it cost me $$ to cancel a channel?
posted by alexg23 at 2:34 PM on December 20, 2001

Comcast has been making a lot of noise about expanding their reach across the country and expanding their offerings to existing customers. But after two years of being promised cable modem service—and multiple special offer cards mailed directly to my home—the service is still not available. A Comcast "customer service" representative told me point blank, "just because you want something doesn't mean you can have it." Umm, thanks.

If you ask me, a company should follow through on promises to existing customers before they go out and try to buy up their competitors. Fear Comcast. Fear monopolies.
posted by barkingmoose at 2:58 PM on December 20, 2001

Comcast owns E!, E! owns the Style Channel, this means the Style Channel will be shown in more than the two tv sets that it's on now. yay!

p.s. i work for one of the above. slight plug.
posted by tsarfan at 3:39 PM on December 20, 2001

First off, when I lived in the Chicago suburbs I was given digital cable as a trial offer when I signed up with AT&T - the only option for cable television in the suburbs. I hated it. Their program guide featured advertisements, and as a bonus, every time I changed the channel I got a banner ad! There was no way to disable it. In addition, I had the normal outages and so-so picture of normal cable; digital cable's only advantage is to AT&T, not the consumer. Swell. As soon as the trial was over, I switched back to "normal" cable - which was okay.

When I moved into the city, though, RCN wasn't an option (sadly.) And, even though AT&T's website claims I can get a cable modem, it's still not available to me (in Lincoln Square!) We've currently got AT&T cable and I tell you, I can't wait to dump it. I hate having to have a cable box, and I must; plus, remember that the price is going up a hefty 5% in January. I'm planning to go to DirecTV if my landlord agrees (he has a dish too) - before that too becomes a monopoly. Gr. (One benefit:I can get the sweet, sweet DirecTV with TiVo.)
posted by hijinx at 3:50 PM on December 20, 2001

Everyone bitches about Time Warner Cable, but I have found them very respectable to deal with, believe it or not. They give you package deals, their digital sets are quality and feature no ads on the guides (not that I use their guides, bless Tivo). From what I've heard from other people (and this thread) I'm glad I don't have something worse.
posted by benjh at 4:02 PM on December 20, 2001

Well I may be the oddball here....I have Direct TV and cable for internet access...I have been a Direct TV customer since the very first week it was ever available....I would never give it up...I recently had cable access to the internet installed because I attend college on the Web (entirely). I have found this combination works well for me...
posted by carolinagrl at 4:48 PM on December 20, 2001

yeah, time warner gave me my cable modem and set-up everything on two of my computers for free... plus, cable access has almost never gone out on me and i use this stuff a lot, so i'msure it hasn't gone down without me noticing too much. the one time it did stop working was a problem with my modem that was fixed by unplugging and then plugging it back in. god bless time warner.
posted by lotsofno at 7:52 PM on December 20, 2001

roscoe village resident/rcn customer here. for sure rcn is very good. i bought in to the whole "cable/modem/telephone" package and it's the one bill each month i think is the best bargain. i've had very little down time and whenever i've called tech support it's an efficient and friendly experience. i had at&t for a while but after a particularly atrocious customer service experience i dumped them entirely--got rid of long distance, cable, the whole bit. it'll be a cold day in hell before i give at&t my business again!
posted by thc at 7:57 PM on December 20, 2001

I used to live in the Lincoln Square area and instead of getting an extra box we just screwed the coax into the TV. Most of the channels are unscrambled including HBO and Showtime.
posted by @homer at 9:44 PM on December 20, 2001

Please allow me to add my voice to the "AT&T Sucks ASS" camp. I have been waiting for internet access through them (Lincoln Square area) for the last year with no success. Then SBC/Ameritech swoops in and has DSL available. Who da' thunk the most incompetent phone company ever would be able to provide excellent broadband internet access? Not me. Comcast? As far as I'm concerned, SSDD.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 6:40 AM on December 21, 2001

How's this for a digital cable horror story.

I pay $80/month for ATT digital, and I don't even get the following channels:

Comedy Central

Court TV


Oh, but I do get VH1 Country. In Miami!

Tell me how this is possible..
posted by eas98 at 7:34 AM on December 21, 2001

Tell me how this is possible.

Well... they provide a shoddy product and you continue to pay for it each month.
posted by Dirjy at 10:54 AM on December 21, 2001

I just got my DirectTV hooked up and it rocks. It's the same price as normal old AT&T cable, and I get a bunch more channels (including MTV2, which sucks only slightly less than MTV). Highly recommended. Plus, if you sign up for it on the Blockbuster on Lawrence (maybe all Blockbusters?), you get a free movie rental a week for a year.
posted by elvissinatra at 1:16 PM on January 3, 2002

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