Review by caseywor
Good "A low price for the services offered. So far I am getting low latency on internet."
- Location: Mobile,Mobile,AL
- Cost: $103 per month (24 month contract)
- Install: about 5 days
Bad "Picture quality on the TV channels could be a bit better."
Overall "The bundle price for the first two years is great. Its not perfect, but not bad so far."
|Pre Sales information:|
Value for money:
(ratings above consensus)
I will be updating this review as time goes on. I will add updates in chronological order from top to bottom. An update is available at the bottom as of 1/15/2013.
The installation of my service was completed yesterday. I order the VIP package (Voice, Internet, Phone). I am getting about 160, or so, TV channels, including their family cable selection, and the HD equivalents of their family Cable channels if they are available. I am getting an upgrade from 12Mbps to 15Mbps due to subscribing to their phone service. The overall base price is $79.85 per month; it comes to about $103 per month with the fees, one DVR box rental, and cable modem rental. This is still about $85 less per month than what I was paying for Uverse.
The installer called me on my cell phone at work and asked to come by the house early if he could, I obliged him. I guess it is better early than late. He arrived basically on time for the newer, earlier time. The overall time to install took about 1.5 hours. The installer had to run a new drop cable from the pole to the side of my house; the old drop was removed due to damage and its age. In other words, I saw that it was old, and damaged it by cutting it off my house. He was able to otherwise utilize all the existing cable I had place in my house going to the outlets in various rooms. These cables are fairly new, dating back to 2007, and they were installed by DirecTV and also used by Uverse. The 1.5 hours was partly achieved by me assisting the installer in connecting two of my TVs and channel scanning them myself. I am only leasing one DVR, and the other two TVs in the house are just using their built in, QAM tuners, in order to save money, so he only has to work directly with one TV. The installer did express frustration with the receiver box activation process. That seemed to be the most time consuming process of the whole install. It only took him minutes to run a new cable to the house, put in a grounding block and splitter, and get the internet and phone going. However, the process of getting the DVR/receiver box going appears to be frustrating to him. It took some time to the Dispatcher center to get all the subscribed channels to come in. Basically, there is a process he call hitting the box. He said that it can take several times to be successful, and my install seemed to require a few tries. The install, while fairly polite to me, seemed somewhat frustrated with his job as well.
Post installation impressions:
So far, I am pleased with the service. The internet service has a low latency so far, and the speeds are close to advertised. I have used the phone service for several calls, and I am happy with the call quality. The TV service takes some getting used to, especially if you have used Uverse or satellite. The DVR receiver is a little laggier than Uverse, but not as slow on channel changes as DirecTV or Dish Network. If you havent subscribed to cable for a while, you will be somewhat confused by the channel numbering if you have any TVs using a digital, QAM tuner. A channel may be one number on the receiver, and another channel number on a TV not using a receiver but a QAM tuner. For instance, the SD feed of Comedy Central is channel 48 on the digital receiver, but channel 53-13 on a TV that is using a digital QAM tuner. Comedy Central is also in HD on channel 871, but only if you have a digital receiver. In fact, only the local broadcast channels are in HD without an HD receiver. The strangest thing of the whole setup from Mediacom is the fact that the HD/DVR receiver uses an external SATA hard drive. It seems like that could be a point of failure in the future. I was kind of disappointed to find out that the installer didnt hook it up correctly before he left. I had to go through a process to get it to work, and had to read an annoying message on the screen saying that a new hard drive has been found and telling me to hit enter to restart the receiver. This didnt work until I called support to get automated help.
Overall, I am satisfied so far. The HD picture quality could be better, and the internet speeds fluctuate a bit more than Uverses did. However, the latency is much lower than with Uverse with its channel interleaving, and I am getting ah higher max speed for the price. If things go like they are now, I should be happy for a while.
Here is a speed test I took, in the evening, a tough time for cable speeds:
The channels I am getting in the package are shown in the link below under the headings:
Digital Premium Starz/Encore
Video On Demand
HD Family Cable
Digital Ready TV Family Cable (without a receiver)
Digital Ready HD Broadcast Basic:
So far, the phone service has been great, and the internet has been rock solid. However, the HD DVR has proven to be a bit problematic. Basically the Pace DC700X HD receiver with an external My Book AV SATA drive appears to be somewhat fragile. In the midst of trying to pull a USB cable out from around my Playstation 3, I must have dislodged or loosened one of the cords going to the external SATA drive, and I began to get an Error 20. This error basically indicates that the receiver detects a new external hard drive and needs to reboot. However, this is often a process that begins many reboots. As of now, I have no functioning DVR service, and a call to the automated troubleshooting service didnt fix the problem. I have a service call scheduled for Saturday February 11, 2012. I really hope that I can get a DVR that is one piece. The support tech was really polite on the phone when I called a short time ago.
I just had a Mediacom tech come to the house. He was very professional and polite, and he quickly saw that the box I was given was mismatched with the external hard drive that was provided, or vice versa, dont remember exactly which way around. He said they may work then quit, and will be unreliable. He replaced with an older all in one DVR until they can provide a newer one with more space or that can use the 500GB external one I had. The DVR I now have is 250GB. I think the DVR thing is going to get worked out. I will say that even if I would have stayed with Uverse I was going to have to have a new DVR. My Uverse one was acting flakey. Otherwise, the phone service continues to work well, and the internet is still very fast. I guess the nodes in this area are in good shape.
I was affected by an internet service outage that caused an interruption to Florida, Alabama, and Georgia yesterday afternoon and evening. Service was restored sometime in the later evening hours. I am not exactly sure how long the service was out, I had other things going on at the same time. Cable TV and Phone service wasnt affected, at least to my location. Once service was restored, I have noticed no adverse affects on my internet speeds and ping times, so it is good now. So far, things have been pretty good. I have still been happy with the phone, internet, and TV service. The internet service has reliable speeds and pings, even in the evening hours. Also, outside the outage yesterday, there hasnt been in problems so far. The phone service has been great. It doesnt seem like you are using a VOIP line, none of the jitter is present that I have noticed in other VOIP providers in the past. The TV service is good so far as well. I have to say that it isnt anything that is going to wow anyone with the selection and picture quality; however, it is good enough to keep me happy. They have enough of an HD selection that I feel I have enough to watch in HD and not feel an HD TV is a waste. The picture quality could be a little bit better, but hopefully they will be able to improve that with newly available bandwidth when the delete the remaining analog channels on the system. If I am not mistaken, their website mentions this as a possibility for improving PQ and HD selection. On a separate note, the DVR I got after my service call a few weeks ago hasnt given me any major problems. The only thing that could be better with this specific DVR is the storage capacity. Beyond that, I have noticed a problem sometimes when watching a record program having to do with, I have concluded, a change in resolution that occurs on HD channels when local commercials are inserted into a program. It seems that local commercials that are inserted by Mediacom are of a lower resolution than the normal HD programming. Therefore, when forwarding through commercial when watching a recorded program on the DVR, the screen will often go blank requiring me to press play to get the picture back and then resume forwarding to get to the next point in the program. It isnt anything that wrecks my enjoyment of the DVR yet, but it is an annoyance from time to time. Hopefully newer DVRs in circulation will fix this.
It has been a while since I have updated my review. I am still pretty happy with the service although there have been a few minor things. Mediacom has just deleted most of their analog channels in this area, so they now have more bandwidth available for more HD and better PQ which they have used. The PQ seems better, and they have added quite a few more HD channels. Also, they have made DOCSIS 3.0 channel bonding available to this area, so that is a plus since faster speeds are possible. Also, they are provisioning everyones modem for channel bonding even if they arent paying for a tier that needs it; you just need a DOCSIS 3.0 modem.
Overall, the service has been very reliable. There has been one internet outage since I have been using their HSI product; it was a southeast regional outage that lasted a few hours. Beyond this, the high speed internet service has been stable.
As far as the TV goes, there has been only some minor things happen, never a complete outage. There were a few spells in the recent past where there was macro blocking and pixilation on all of the channels, or most of them. This was a problem that occurred, as far as I know, at the head end, and was resolved within a few hours of me reporting it. Furthermore, there was a recent incident where some of the local HD channels were missing from my QAM tuner enables TVs. I think this was a channel mapping issue that was finally resolved after a few service calls. The service calls werent actually able to resolve this issue, the technicians were puzzled as to what was going on as well, and finally I think that the local management realized it wasnt a drop problem and got the problem fixed.
Beyond these first two things with the TV service, I did have another issue after I returned my HD DVR box upon purchasing a TiVo. Basically, my account was changed after returning the HD DVR box and this lead to my cable card in my new TiVo not being able to get the premium channels for a day or so. It took Mediacom about a day, but they finally figured out what was wrong.
The phone service has been good, and I have no problems with it. It even worked when the internet was out, something that wont be able to happen with Vonage or other VoIP providers.
Its been a while, so I decided to add an update. I am actually about to move from Mobile to Birmingham, solidly in Charter territory. Overall, I have been happy with Mediacoms service. It has been very reliable except for a system outage, mentioned above, and a few TV glitches. The main thing lately has been some occasional pixilation and macro-blocking on some channels. It seems, for some reason that these tend to occur more at night late. The one thing I am glad to report is that the phone service has been rock solid. I think I have maybe had to reset the phone modem one or two times in the past year.
The only thing I have, that I may add in the future to this review is going to be what happens when I have to break my contract. I have no choice; a better job with more money (which I need) is waiting for me 250 miles away north of Mobile. My next reviews will probably Charter and Vonage.
I mentioned before that I would add info about what occurred when it was necessary for me to break my contract. There was no problem with this. I think it all comes down to me having to give an out of town address for my last bill. I was not charged a buyout; in fact, I got a small refund for cancelling during the month. The funny part was that after I moved, I got a mailer from Mediacom telling me about Charters services and giving a special offer. Overall, my Mediacom experience was good. If I moved back to the area, I would give them another try. By the way, if you are interested in how Charter is doing, see my new review for them. Mediacom seems to have an edge on getting TiVo to work.
Thats all for now!
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updated 275 days ago
Intro rate Basically they all "raid your wallet" after the intro period is over, that is if we allow them access to it. I think more people are going to be willing to downgrade to stop it from happening. I was paying $185 per month with AT&T Uverse. Granted, I had more channels with Uverse than with Mediacom, but not enough to justify the extra cost. After they go up to the normal price, after two years, then I will re-evaluate the deal. Otherwise, I am glad to be getting the cost I am now. The alternative is that without switching, I would still be paying a full price for AT&T for the next two years. For the most part, I expect the price to be pretty high after the deal is over, but I will enjoy the price I have right now.