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Buying your Cable Box?

So I got a call from “Rogers” a while ago asking me if I wanted to buy my NTSC (regular TV not HD) cable box. I had been meaning to return that box one day because I was planning on replacing the TV it was connected to, with an HD TV (since I don’t think you can buy a non-digital TV any more). The “deal” I was offered was to buy the box for $29, and then it would be mine (with a 1 year warranty on it).

Whenever I hear these kind of deals I start to wonder why last month if I had wanted to buy the box it would have cost me $100 and today it is $29, and the answer is quite simple, but spans a few business points:

  • I have most likely “paid” for this box many times over by renting it. Yes, this was a mistake on my part, I should have either bought it or returned it a while ago, so the box itself is effectively already paid for.
  • The biggest expense for cable companies right now, is the maintenance and replacement of set top boxes (cable boxes), however, if I own it, then I have to replace it later (I can’t just bring it in and upgrade it for free). This is actually a much bigger savings for the Cable company, because if all they did was supply signal and the network to the house they could make a fortune, however, the Settop box replacements and upgrades is what is killing these profits.

I ended up buying the box from “Rogers”, I put their name in quotes because I remember distinctly at the start of the call the person introducing themselves as Freida from Rogers, not a marketing firm (name may not have been Freida). I believe in the middle of discussions I was assured that this was in fact Rogers I was talking to, however, at the end when my transaction was about to go through, I was informed that this was “Zizabivits Marketing” that I had been talking to a “licensed Rogers agent”, WTF? So there was a degree of fraud involved in this transaction as well.

At the end of this I will own the box, which may have a limited shelf life (I suppose I could use it with an HD TV, but I won’t get an HD signal from it), and  if I want to get an HD box, I will have to buy one, but that is to be dealt with if and when I replace my standard signal TV.

For those who have not seen the advertising, all Canadian TV will be transmitted in Digital format as of August, so if you are using an Antenna, you will need to get some kind of box to translate the digital signal for your TV (so keep this in mind too).


Feel Free to Comment

  1. I bought a HDTV Digital box from Cogeco in Feb 2010 for $600. It worked great until the cable went out a few days ago. Then when the cable power was restored 50 % of the functionality of my HDTV digital box was gone. I could not record a channel and watch another channel and I could not rewind, pause or fast forward live tv and I could not access all my recorded tv recordings. Cogeco told me they would not replace my HDTV digital box because it was beyond its 1 year warranty. Cogeco offered me 6 months credit if I rented the same item from them @ 17.99 per month???????

  2. Obsessive Compulsive Daniela

    I bought a Rogers HD box from Best Buy in January 2009. Around December 2009, I noticed that the channels kept skipping really quickly, like when you hold down the channel up or down button. I replaced the remote (for free) but that didn’t fix the problem. I decided to exchange the box since it was within the one year warranty period.

    WORST PROCESS EVER. Rogers told me that I had to return it to Best Buy. Best Buy told me I had to return it to Rogers. I received the worst customer service from a Rogers Video location, they were so rude and condescending. Finally someone from Rogers customer service sent someone to replace the box. They brought me this ridiculously ghetto model that was not what I had. The girl left and came back with the right box, and it proceeded to continuously emit a low hum. Finally someone else came and gave me a new box that worked. It’s probably refurbished. I haven’t had any problems since.

    Bottom line – buying these things can be a pain too. I think the new models have a two year warranty instead of one, so at least that’s an improvement.

    1. I ended up purchasing the HD PVR on EBay for about 60% less than the BBuy price, but had to deal with the fact that the previous owner had not released the unit from their account. Took me a couple of weeks of calls to Rogers where they were nice enough to call the other customer on my behalf. Heads-up for those that buy these things used: make sure they unit is not tied to an account already.

  3. You should charge “Rogers” for your time and effort to take the box to the recycling depot.

    They make the flimsy things in China for $3.20 and sell it to you for $99.

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