October 24, 2012

Cutting the Cable and Cord

Despite repeated attempts to get new customer rates, when on my last bill RCN raised the bundle package another $10 a month I'd had enough. Compared to a year ago RCN was charging me $50 more per month for the same service. Over that past year my consumption habits have changed. While I will miss HBO and wish they would fix their outdated distribution model every other show I'm interested in has a near simultaneous non cable option. Additionally, for a long time now, despite having an unlimited plan, I still had a land line. Granted RCN upgraded those to be digital awhile ago which meant that when cable went out, so did the phone. Needless to say, paying for a conventional phone no longer made sense. The short of it is then the only service I'm paying RCN for now is Internet. Now if only Verzion FIOS was available I'd switch to that.

Tags: life rcn

October 24, 2007


It seems RCN's out bound mail server died. Which means that all of my outbound mail since like 8am this morning have not been delivered... I called them a few hours ago and after being on hold for 25 minutes finally spoke to someone that said "the issue had been resolved". Well it still looks like no out bound email has gone out based on my own tests. Up to this point besides some static IP issues I had when I first got going RCN had been rock solid. Needless to say if you were expecting an email from me, it probably didn't get sent...

And for those that are curious I don't send email out directly from my box since many of the blacklists by default include all cable IPs. This caused problems with email being bounced in the past.

Tags: email neophi rcn

December 31, 2006

Death to TiVo?

With the holiday season is full swing I've been getting catalogs in the mail left and right. Today included one from Circuit City. I have a hard time just throwing a catalog like that away since it has all kinds of technology toys in it. As a was flipping through, I saw the new TiVo Series 3. I don't quite know when it got released but I know it didn't exist at least a year ago when I put my HD system together.

Circuit City is selling them for $799.99. That's even more than the PS3 (ignoring the eBay frenzy). The same catalog has decent computers that cost less. Never the less I consider just what such a purchase would mean. While I sometimes maybe impulsive, I'll at least make sure it fits into some reasonable disposable income level before just slapping down the plastic.

The first thing I did was look at my most recent bill from RCN. There among a bunch of other overpriced features is the monthly line item "RCN HDTV/DVR CONVERTERBOX" for $12.95. That decodes HD and gives me dual tuner HD DVR capabilities all curiosity of the Motorola DCT6412 III unit. Browsing around the TiVo site, the best deal it looks like you can get is the 3-year pre-paid plan. They also have a special going that it looks like you get a year free. Let's call that then $299 for 4 years or about $6.25 a month.

Now I'm not completely up on HD technology and how that plays with cable and the like. The TiVo site says in order to record two programs at once, I'll need two cable cards from RCN. Doing a little digging I can lease cable cards from RCN for $1.50 a month but would no longer be able to get RCN Video On Demand. That bumps the cost up to $9.25 a month in order to support a TiVo Series 3 (part of that "monthly" cost being a $299 lump sum payment).

At this point then I think I can compare some numbers and features (crude list to follow):

  RCN DVR TiVo Series 3
Hardware Cost $0 $799
Monthly Cost $12.95 $9.25 ($299 amortized over 4 years and $2.50 cable card rental fee)
Tuning Capability 2 Channels 2 Channels
HD Support Yes Yes
HD Recording Capacity 12 Hours (Approximate, I can't find a hard number) 32 Hours
Series Recording Support Yes Yes
Internet Programmability No Yes
Multimedia Support No Yes
Advanced Search/Scheduling No Yes

From a raw technical perspective the TiVo does have more capacity, features, and is THX-Certified. Having used a TiVo series 2, the UI is nicer than the one RCN offers and the TiVo remote just feels better. However, from a raw numbers stand point I can't see shelling out $1098 (to get those features) just to save $10.45 a month. Call me crazy but I don't see the value add of TiVo being worth a thousand dollars. Maybe if I watched more TV those better features and UI might matter, I'd be hard pressed to really justify it even if it was the case.

While the price of the TiVo Series 3 may drop, the fact that you are still paying them a monthly fee, I just don't feel that they offer the value add they used to especially with the feature set cable companies are offering, especially when you consider you need to pay the cable company anyway.

Tags: rcn tivo

May 31, 2006


I've recently been having issues sending mail to various domains from NeoPhi since it is currently on an RCN static IP. It seems various email blacklist sites have started adding cable modem IPs. RCN technical support was no help in trying to resolve the issues. In the end I decided to use RCN's mail server as my outgoing relay in the hopes that at least that RCN machine isn't blacklisted.

Tags: blacklist mail neophi rcn

May 31, 2006

You can't read this

It seems RCN has lost my static IP. As a result NeoPhi is off the net, so you can't read this. You can try if you happen to know the IP that it is currently listening to, but that seems to keep changing so that won't do either of us much good. Hopefully the problem will be fixed in the near future, but I don't have my hopes set very high, the people I talked to on the phone weren't really sure what was going on.

Tags: ip neophi rcn