Set-top boxes

Comcast X1 DVR Goes on the Blink

While there's no good time for a cable TV outage, right in the middle of a big holiday week has to rank among the worst.

According to reports in the official Comcast user forums (hat tip, DSLReports), X1 customers have been having issues with DVR service since at least yesterday. Subscribers report that they haven't been able to record TV shows or even access previous recordings despite the fact that programs are stored locally. Rebooting the cable box doesn't solve the problem, and at least one user got word from Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) that the issue is company-wide and "engineers are working on it."

Light Reading has reached out to Comcast for more information, but is still waiting on further details.

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The latest difficulties with X1 come after Charlie Herrin, Comcast's new SVP of customer experience, already had to issue an apology earlier this month for TV outages affecting a significant portion of X1 customers. Herrin apologized not only for the outage, but also for difficulties some subscribers had reaching customer support. Comcast further backed up the mea culpa with $20 service credits, which have since been issued to user accounts.

Unfortunately for Comcast, the technical and customer support issues with X1 come at the same time that the company is trying to convince regulators that it should be allowed to acquire Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC). TWC has had major service issues of its own and was fined $1.1 million by the FCC in August for its failure to comply with outage reporting requirements. If and when the two companies merge, not only will the new entity face a combination of their existing problems, but also potential new issues stemming from system integration challenges. (See TWC Internet Outage Follows $1.1M Fine .)

In the meantime, while technical difficulties continue to plague Comcast, the company is working to improve the way it handles support service. In addition to creating the new SVP of customer experience position, Comcast recently introduced a new feature for its MyAccount app that allows customers to track support technicians on their way to a service appointment. The feature entered trials in Boston last week and is expected to debut for more customers in 2015.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

Phil_Britt 11/30/2014 | 5:07:37 PM
When Will They Learn? It's amazing how few companies stress test their offerings for technical issues, surge in demand, etc. Remember it was just a little over a year ago that the government's site for the Affordable Care Act crashed horribly and needed major rework. Murphy's Law happens.
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