Thursday, September 11, 2008

Dear Comcast

Dear Comcast,

After six years as a customer, I have decided to end our relationship. I have found myself watching less and less TV. Consequently, I felt that the $75 per month I sent you was simply not giving me enough of a benefit. The numbers don't add up anymore. Let me explain.

What does $75 get me? Local broadcast channels (ABC, NBC, CBS, etc.), over one hundred cable channels in your "Digital Preferred" package, and HDTV versions of those channels where appropriate. Of those roughly two hundred channels, I regularly watch only about ten of them. Even among those ten, I added up that I watch approximately fifteen hours of TV per month. That's about a half-hour per day, on average. I'm paying five dollars per hour.

The shows on those ten or so channels overwhelmingly consist of broadcast HDTV shows on NBC, ABC, Fox, and CBS. I'd say 80% of my viewing is broadcast TV. The rest are a smattering of cable-only shows on networks such as Discovery, TLC, and HGTV. I don't watch sports. I don't watch pay-per-view. I don't even watch movies on Starz; I'd rather rent a DVD for that.

I'm sure you're well aware that the broadcast networks can be received over-the-air in HD via an inexpensive antenna. Therein lies the rub: I'm paying five dollars an hour to watch TV I can receive for free. The rest of my TV diet is easily accommodated by inexpensive services such as Amazon Video on Demand (built into my TiVo) and iTunes (displayed on my TV by Apple TV). Even broadcast shows are easily viewable on the TV from the networks' respective websites. Local news -- with video -- is available online, too.

You see, I'm going to get almost all of my TV viewing from the airwaves for free or from online sources for free or very inexpensively. And I'll save money -- an estimated $500 or more per year, even including the upfront cost of buying an antenna and Apple TV. It's all legal. No BitTorrent, no Limewire. I believe in rewarding the studios, actors, and productions crews for shows that I enjoy.

I tried to talk your kind customer service representative into offering me Basic Limited cable ($12) plus Basic Limited HDTV ($8), but she countered with a $40+ package that included a hundred or so channels that I will never watch. Twenty dollars I would have happily paid, but $40 was too much. I'm sorry it didn't work out.

I'll give you another chance, Comcast, if you will accept my offer: Limited Basic HDTV for about $20. And please don't upsell me on a converter box. I don't need one. My TiVo and TV are perfectly capable of receiving digital HD signals, as the last six years certainly testify. Will you do it?


Barry Brown


Melissa Royall said...

That's some well written shit man. Kudos to you!

Pamela said...

Thoughtful and articulate letter...

Great Blog, I've just read some of your previous posts, you have many keen insights.

Thanks for sharing

Customer.Connect.Melissa said...

Hello Mr. Brown,

I can certainly get you in touch with the right people to assist. I'm sorry for the frustrations we caused, and I would like to make this right. Please email our team at

Kind Regards,
Melissa M.
Comcast Customer Connect
National Customer Operations

Pamela said...

They contacted you!!!!!

Breanne said...

Well apparently they didn't give you the finger!