Comcast’s Oscar Fail

Though the problem seemed to begin on Friday with our Comcast cable TV service, we didn’t much care until the family sat down to watch the 82nd Academy Awards and the video stuttering and audio dropouts were so horrifically bad that it was almost unwatchable.

Rebooting the device during a commercial break was a mistake since it took forever and didn’t fix the problem, so I grabbed my iPhone and did a search on Twitter for the word “comcast” to see if it could possibly be a network issue others were experiencing rather than my cable DVR failing.

I was stunned to see that there were dozens of people tweeting about the “stuttering” and “pixelation” of video and audio and it appeared that most of the problem was in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul and the surrounding metro area (see SheilaBird; KeinKernMusic; DFRevert; CSWebGrl).

But in further investigation this morning, I’ve discovered that many of the people tweeting were in Illinois (e.g., JoshMeans) so this might’ve been a regional problem. During the Oscar telecast I reached out to Frank Eliason via Twitter (@ComcastCares and he’s Comcast’s “Twitter man” according to BusinessWeek) and he was, with his typical Johnny-on-the-spot follow up, checking into the issues but nothing has come of it yet. I’ve reached out to him this morning to ask for a statement about what went wrong, what Comcast did and is doing about it and he responded by asking for a DM with my email, so we’ll see what Comcast says about the issue and I’ll update this post if-and-when I receive something.

I suspect that this sort of “fail” is going to become more frequent rather than less so. Especially with more and more of us maximizing the use of our wired and wireless internet connections and with the cable companies trying to shove more services down a pipe that — while admittedly fat and robust with seemingly high capacity — is still a finite resource.

UPDATE 4:07pm: This morning’s post was one that’s received a fair amount of traffic today and in it I promised I’d update you, so here you go. Read More