09 February 2012


My internet/phone/cable provider has a new converter box called the Gateway. This box allows you to record up to six programs all at once and view these shows from any tv in the house (provided the tvs have a portal unit that communicates with the Gateway). We had the HDPVR unit but could only record two shows at the same time and only watch them on the one tv, so the Gateway seemed like a good deal.

As luck would have it, we were able to trade in the HDPVR straight across for one portal so we only had to pay for the Gateway unit and two portals to get all three tvs hooked up. This brought down the total cost of the equipment to less than I paid for the HDPVR box. Technicians came and hooked up the house in December and commented to S about the 'nodes'. I don't know what they were talking about but I guess some of our cabling or equipment was out of date or something.

We started using the Gateway and found it to be slooooow. When fast forwarding through commercials it would take a few seconds to register that I hit 'play'. Sometimes the picture would freeze up and take a second or two to get going again. Sometimes a message would appear that the portal couldn't communicate with the Gateway. The data transfer rate was far below what I would have thought was adequate. This machine was supposed to be superior to the old one.

Not long after that we found our internet dropping randomly. We'd be zipping around the web clicking away when suddenly a page wouldn't load. The internet would come back seconds and sometimes minutes later. Meanwhile, the Gateway kept telling us we didn't receive a channel when I know we did. T contacted our provider and managed to get a new modem. While he and S were picking up the modem they were told our cable system was still receiving an analog signal which was probably what was slowing things down. They fixed that problem and streamlined our channel selection to save money.

New modem installed the internet was indeed faster...for less than a day. Then it started dropping again. Programs would record with clips missing so the show would look badly edited when watched. Some programs wouldn't record at all which we later found out was because some channels were cancelled that shouldn't have been. When we called to reinstate the channels we were told we never received them. Uh, yeah, we did, for years. We also booked an appointment to have the whole shebang looked at by a technician to get rid of the dropping problem.

Technician came out, checked the outside line and all the inside lines. He replaced some ancient equipment with new stuff and now there is no dropping. Yay!

I was on the payment plan for the Gateway and received a letter today saying the payment was returned. I called the number and said my bank is showing no record of the payment being withdrawn or rejected. It took some time for the person to figure out what I was talking about and said the problem was probably because I gave incorrect banking information. Sigh. When I set up the payment plan I had the customer service rep do it in front of me at the retail outlet, I told her to simply use the same account that the internet/phone/cable uses. She must have copied it incorrectly.

I went back to the retail outlet today and just paid for the Gateway in full. I hope they won't try to take another payment out, of course if they do it'll still be the wrong account. One thing I did make sure of is that the payment for i/p/c will still be withdrawn on 01March without any problems. I have excellent credit and would like to keep it that way.

I suspect it's foolish of me, but I really do expect technology to work better than this. When the Gateway was installed, why not check the rest of my setup to make sure I'm up to date on stuff? Why not copy and paste my banking info instead of retyping it? Why not notify customers when that new technology is available for upgrade and faster connections? I'm holding on to a bit of hope that I will not have any more problems with my internet and Gateway.

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