Bright House Giveth, And Bright House Taketh Away – From TiVo Owners

There’s an article in today’s Orlando Sentinel about Bright House cable yanking four HD channels (HGTV HD, TBS HD, The History Channel HD, and Food Network HD) away from CableCARD users who have had them since last October. It seems that Bright House never meant to give CableCARD users access to those channels, as they have plans to implement SDV and those channels will be part of the SDV selection. They just added five more HD channels, which are also destined for SDV, and as part of that update they also pulled the four channels which had been erroneously available to CableCARD customers since October. Of course, most consumers using CableCARD these days are doing so from a TiVo, and the article focuses on TiVo users, though this would impact anyone using a 3rd party CableCARD device. (But not a Bright House STB using CableCARD.)

Bright House is offering free rental of an HD cable DVR to affected users, though the article makes it sound like you need to turn in the CableCARDs to get the STB. Personally I’d want BOTH – I’d keep using the TiVo for all the linear channels, and only use their STB for the “SDV” channels. This is supposedly a temporary solution until the Tuning Resolver is available in 2Q08 to give TiVo (and other UDCP devices) access to SDV channels.

Now, I put SDV in quotes for a reason. I think Bright House is being disingenuous, if the article is correct. Based in the article it sounds like Bright House is preparing to deploy SDV and plans to move these channels to SDV, but they are not SDV currently! In other words, there is no reason all nine of these channels (the four that were taken away and the five new channels) could not be available to CableCARD users today. In fact, it seems they must have the bandwidth to support them without SDV, as they are right now, so if Bright House really wanted to do the right thing they could keep these nine channels as linear content until they deploy the Tuning Resolver. Once the Tuning Resolver is available, then they can migrate the channels to SDV and require users to get a Tuning Resolver to keep receiving them. At the very least they could do this with the four channels they accidentally made available, instead of taking them away.

So kudos to Bright House for making their HD DVR available for free until the Tuning Resolver is available, that’s actually pretty good customer service right there. But shame on them for yanking the channels in the first place and not making them available to CableCARD users in the interim before they enable SDV. Heck, put them on a special tier so people have to acknowledge that they will be migrating at some point if the concern is complaints about having the channels go unavailable to those who can’t/won’t use a Tuning Resolver at that time. Though, since they just cut off the four channels anyway, it doesn’t seem like that’s really a concern they have.

About MegaZone

MegaZone is the Editor of Gizmo Lovers and the chief contributor. He's been online since 1989 and active in several generations of 'social media' - mailing lists, USENet groups, web forums, and since 2003, blogging.    MegaZone has a presence on several social platforms: Google+ / Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn / LiveJournal / Web.    You can also follow Gizmo Lovers on other sites: Blog / Google+ / Facebook / Twitter.
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  • Mike

    This is partially correct. I’m in the affected area with BrightHouse, and they are offering an HD Set Top Box…NOT a DVR.

    We have been in contact with Mark Clark, Sr Director of Field Operations, and he’s indicated that there is going to be a meeting the week of Feb 11th to discuss this issue. His contention is that they never realized how many people would be affected. I think what he means to say is that they never realized that the affected group would be so vocal.

    With luck, they’ll add all available channels back until SDV is launched, giving time for the USB dongle to hit the market.

  • MegaZone

    It looks like Bright House is giving free HD DVRs to some people. Reader ‘the_missy’ commented in the community:

    A small victory! I was able to get the free HD DVR from Bright House without relinquishing either of our cablecards. Anyone else wanting the deal can just go to their local Bright House office, let them know you’re a cablecard customer, and that you’re supposed to get a free HD DVR. I was told by customer service to tell the local office that it’s “campaign code 03982″.

  • Linda

    OK so here’s one for the books! In an apparent new marketing move Brighthouse now sanctions the cutting of cable lines!! Friday night I arrived home from work after 10:00 PM – a 15 hour day for me….to find I had no cable! Now, I am not a Brighthouse customer – but they had left a note on my door that said “Turned cable on” a name and a cell phone number – which I ignored because I live in a dual neighborhood and I have Comcast cable (formerly Adelphia) which I have been with for over 10 years now…. Turns out the Brighthouse person – who told me he was the local sales rep – walked into my back yard and – with wire cutters – cut -as in completely severed – not disconnected – cut in half! – the cable line to my house because his records showed I was not paying Brighthouse for my cable…. Luckily – Comcast has better service – and they were at my home promptly Saturday morning to repair the line! My cable is restored and I am reminded why I dislike Brighthouse and have not used them in years!!!! Now, I am told I have no recourse with this scummy company – but I can certainly tell the world what great selling tactics they have!

  • MegaZone

    That’s crazy. You may have legal recourse – he trespassed and damaged your property. But it may be more hassle than it is worth.

  • Gryphon

    Actually, he trespassed and damaged Comcast’s property – and they might be very interested indeed in pursuing the matter.