[By Nic Lindh on Monday, 06 February 2006]
Our VCR burned out in a power failure a year or so ago, and we just haven’t had the time or inclination to go buy a replacement. The VCR spent its life as a time-shift mechanism, allowing us to tape things we know we’d want to watch and then catch those programs at our convenience, and with the added bonus of fast-forwarding commercials.
Being cut from nerdish cloth, I’ve enjoyed the few episodes of Battlestar Galactica I’ve managed to catch, but since the show airs at 11 pm on Friday nights, even my most valiant efforts to stay up late enough to catch it tend to meet with abject failure. And that state of affairs could no longer be allowed to stand.
So we decided that instead of buying another VCR, let’s get with the times and go the PVR route. We are now blessed with a Cox Tivo-knockoff.
Of course, Cox’s superb customer service managed to extract its customary pound of flesh.
We called Cox and told them we wanted to swap one of our cable boxes for a PVR. Sure, no problem, just bring the cable box to a Cox store and get a PVR.
We went to the store and performed the swap. Asked the guy if there’s any kind of setup required. Nope. Just plug it in.
Plugged in the box, and it displayed an error message about not being authorized, and to call a phone number shown on the screen. So we did. The number was completely automated, and told us that the authorization would take “up to two hours” and to call customer service if the box hadn’t been authorized at that point. Okie-dokie.
Two hours later the box was nowhere closer to being authorized, so we called customer service, and they flipped whatever switch was necessary to bring the box to life. Reading between the lines of what the customer service rep said, that automated authorization process has about the same chance of working as chanting “Authorize Thyself” to the box while dressed in a druid robe.