Our palace at 100 Prince St. is now equipped with Eastlink’s new digital cable service. We’ve made the jump from 50-odd television channels to something in the neighbourhood of 200.
The installation experience was frustrating. A guy came around on Thursday morning to do the installation, and spent about 15 minutes installing the digital box in our living room. He then made a telephone call to activate it, and then was on his way, telling me that in about 45 minutes everything would be downloaded to the box, and we’d be in business.
Well, 5 hours later we only had about 20 of the channels between channel 100 and channel 200 coming in: the rest of the channels simply contain a message saying “One Moment: This channel will be availble shortly.” But many moments passed, and nothing came in.
After 15 minutes on hold to Eastlink technical support, I got through to a helpful agent who was able to reset the digital box several times remotely, but alas to no avail. She scheduled a service call for Friday morning.
Friday afternoon another Eastlink guy showed up at the door to do the repair. He fiddled with the box, and couldn’t do anything immediately. So he phoned in to headquarters and was on hold for 10 minutes himself (proving that at least they treat themselves as poorly as they treat their customers). More remote resets, etc. Nothing. Finally he resorted to going out to the pole on the street where he found that we were plugged into the “old plant” rather than the “new plant” and, further, that the line from the pole to our house was in rough shape.
He spent another hour giving us a brand new line from house to pole, and when he left about 4:00 p.m. we were fully digital, with all of the channels coming through loud and clear.
That we had a bum line from pole to house probably explains something about why our analog cable had quirks, like wavy lines showing up every 2 or 3 minutes on A&E.
For the next three months we’ve got a free trial of the whole universe of new digital channels. I’m disappointed that the international channels seem to be “Canadianized” versions: for example, we get “BBC Canada,” not the bona fide BBC. If you’re a fan of advertising as I am, it’s disappointing to get ads for Bobby Vinton CDs from Kitchener rather than bona fide British ads.
My initial favourites of the new channels: BBC Canada (for the pre-Trading Spaces show Changing Rooms), iChannel (a weird channel that seems sort of like the Discovery Channel, but hosted by Joe Clark’s daughter; they have Scientific American Frontiers hosted by Alan Alda, which is great), BBC Kids (for all the kids shows with multi-ethnic kids with British accents), Tech TV (just for the crazy insanity of watching people take technology absurdly seriously) and, of course, the Movie Channel, all 5 versions thereof, for movies and HBO programs.
It’s amazing I can get any work done.