I seem to only be really motivated to post here when I'm pissed off about something. I'm not sure what that says about me, but it is what it is.
Last night I was watching TV with my kids and they wanted to go watch a funny, but idiotic, television show called "Workaholics." I tuned to channel 249 which is Comedy Central and it gave the same error (771) it gives on the rare occasions that weather blocks our satellite service. I returned to the channel I came from and it was still working fine. I checked a few other channels and all of them were working except for 248 and 249. Now, I didn't check every single channel, but I checked all the ones I regularly watch and these two were the only ones out of commission.
I went online and dug around to see if there was any chatter about outages on DirecTV specifically for FX or Comedy Central, but turned up nothing. So I called DirecTV's customer service line. After fighting my way through their ridiculous voice response system I finally got to speak with Crystal. Crystal clearly knew nothing about DirecTV's systems or how they worked, but had a script that was meant to deal with any situation. Crystal had me unplug the power to my SWM. She couldn't tell me what the SWM was or what it did or even what that acronym stood for, but doggone it unplugging it and plugging it back in was going to solve my problem. Anybody want to wager a guess what the result of unplugging the SWM and plugging it back in was? If you guessed that none of my channels would now work, you'd be correct.
Her troubleshooting script led us right to me having absolutely no TV service at all. The 771 error (searching for satellite signal) had now become a 771a (problem communicating with the dish). I told Crystal that I was going to be a very, very unhappy customer if I just went form missing a couple of channels to no service at all.
"I apologize that almost never happens." Which I discovered was complete bullshit since their technical forums are littered with post after post about this 771a error. Maybe Crystal's script also told her to never admit that this was a widespread issue.
"I'll get you scheduled to have a technician come out and look into the issue. The earliest I can get somebody there is Thursday morning." A service call usually costs $50, but Crystal wisely waived that charge and helpfully told me that I could still watch the programs already recorded on my DVR or I could watch shows online using their new DirecTV Everywhere service. I helpfully told her that if I wanted to watch things online I'd cancel my DirecTV service and just use services like Netflix and Hulu Plus and maybe if I find I like watching things online due to this problem that's just what I might wind up doing.
So I'm pissed to say the least. I get that things break, really I do. I mean I make my living repairing computers. But you know what? I have enough experience with the things I repair to know that if it is experiencing certain symptoms you don't attempt to apply certain fixes because it will break it worse. I'm 100% convinced that if the person I had reached on the phone had any real knowledge of their systems and wasn't just following a script, they would have recognized the symptoms and known that the steps the script said to try would break it worse.