Community Forum

X1 -- Comcast shot itself in the foot.

Frequent Visitor

X1 -- Comcast shot itself in the foot.

 

I have been a Comcast customer about 20 years (Adelphia included).  During the Comcast reign, I have seen the best and the worst of internet services. Currently, I'd say within the past 6 months, Comcast customer service (non-technical) has totally change from worst to best. Someone "cleaned house" at Comcast and the entire complexion of Customer Service has shifted from what I call anti-customer "attitude" to what is now customer pleasure. Sure, nobody calls Comcast just to chat about the weather. It's always because we have problems. That said, beyond that frustration, the Customer Service folks (especially sales) are pleasant folks to speak with. Prior to that, (years past) I literally hated to call Comcast for any reason because my call ended with high blood pressure and the feeling of total disrespect. So, congrats to Comcast for that.

 

Now, as for the X! platform... Wow. Comcast has really shot itself in the foot. I will begin by saying that I have never seen a more horribly unreliable system. And, it's very easy to see why this has happened. For all those years when customers complained about intermittent connectivity and Comcast's immediate reaction was usually one of the following:  " You need a new modem" or, "Do you live in a bad weather area?" , "You must have a loose connection so we'll send someone out (in 4 days or more usually)", "etc", "etc".  In other words, the problems were predesposed to being CUSTOMER related rather than COMCAST related.  I get that, since statistically issues are fixed inside the network circuit between the "street pole" and the TV/Computer.  How does this relate to X1?  Simple. Before X1 Platform schema, interruptions to everyday TV watching occurred mostly when service interruptions precluded the access to the TV Guide Menu. This guide was downloaded and updated via the internet. Unless the "program guide" changed, this was a static display.  Also, control of the desktop unit for the most part was a local operation. The X! Platform is NOT local. In otherwords, it works like this:  Practically every time the user presses a button on the remote, the command is sent to the Comcast server controller via the internet. This is why your TV remote seems to freeze up much of the time. In other words, the X1 System reliability is directly a function of your internet connection reliability. You will notice that anytime your internet service for your mobile devices or computers is interrupted, so is your X1 TV Remote controller. Unless your internet services are reliable, you might as well just turn off your TV.  Sometimes, the X! system itself gets confused. That is, you get the "black pop-up" advising that X! problems exist. Furthermore, the pop-up instructs you to turn off the power to your set top box, wait 10 seconds, and re-energize.  (Of course, the pop-up says to also check all your cable connections too. If you've done that every time you got the pop-up, you'll wear out the wire!!) So, the "fix" comes down to cycling the power to your box. This actually works 99% of the time (as long as your home's internet services are actually working.)  This power cycle fix of the problem is proof that the X1 Platform services are unstable. It's impossible to tell if the problem is in the actual box or is a weakness in network protocol design of X1. Regardless, the product is inferior and with the price of the services factored in, I am totally disatisfied with X1 reliability on a DAILY basis.  My family has now gotten use to having to cycle the power to the X1 box at least once (if not several times) each day. As a note on basic internet services, reliability has also suffered with the introduction of the X1 protocols/hardware into the loop.  About once every year, we get totally and completely frustrated with Comcast. Technicians have solved few of the problems that we hadn't figured out on our own before they got here (i.e., lawn worker-damaged, buried cables, etc.). Now that I am seeing how widespread the Comcast network problems are (based on internet complaints), I am really not expecting anything to change in the near future. I have verified that all my cable connections are reliable, my amplifiers are working fine, etc., (based on modem signal parameters),  I am not very hopeful that Comcast can fix this designed dependence on connectivity/reliability for its X1 box / platform functionality - thus TV functionality interruptions.  I would feel much better if Comcast would "own" the elephant in the room, provide some sort of fair price adjustment related to services promised but not delivered, and most of all provide a realistic prediction of how and when they intend on rectifying this issue. As I explained to the sales lady who called today, I am not interested in any promotionals in the near future and I will certainly not be throwing good money after bad until this is fixed. The only exception (and it really hurts me to do this) is that I will go purchase a new modem. I have a stack of modems in my closet - all of them functional - that I have swapped out over the years because of some office-based tech service troubleshooter claiming that "your modem appears weak."    This insinuation is very difficult to counter and I have learned that the only way to move the process forward in the office is to go ahead and just buy one and connect it.  Over the years, I find that by buying and installing a new modem, the office can see that fact based on the MAC address and other indications. So, in that case, I don't get the standard script to "update your modem".  (I NEVER rent a modem. It's much cheaper to buy one from the same vendor.)  

 

Finally, my internet speed history has been consistent.  I get about 20 Mps download. That's not great but that's the best service I am delivered (past year's records are consistent). It's not the speed that causes these problems - IT'S CONNECTIVITY AND NETWORK RELIABILITY.   There are a lot of moving parts here and right now, the machinery is not well-oiled at all.

 

Sincerely,

LOYAL COMCAST CUSTOMER with ATT nipping at my heels.