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Local Voices: Those New Cable Mini Boxes Are A Rip Off

By Shedrick Byrd

Are you a Cox Cable subscriber? Did you purchase one of their Mini Boxes? If so you are being taken by the company for the use of their Mini Boxes. Cox says they are eliminating analog and going to digital cable television services. This change requires customers to use the all digital Mini Boxes to continue receiving signals for their television channels. Cox came out with a notice that at a certain time that customers who did not purchase the Mini Box, would experience limited television services. Everyone must have a mini box for each television at a cost of $2.99 per month. I have noticed no improvement or additional channels for the cost Cox is charging for the boxes.

In my opinion the mini boxes have proven to be a piece of crap. My problem started with my first installation. I purchased three boxes and self-installed them. One of the boxes worked fine. But I could not get a signal on the two other boxes. I call the suggested problems-assist number and spent more than an hour on the phone trying to get a signal on the non-functional boxes. I had no success and was told that a technician would be sent out to check out the non-working boxes.

The next day a technician showed up and got both boxes activated. My next cable bill from Cox included a $40 technical service charge. I called customer service and explained what happened and they removed that charge. Since then I have experienced problems with one of the boxes by losing the signal on a couple of occasions. I had to call Cox to have the box reactivated.

I looked on the Internet to see what comments customers were making about the Mini Boxes. There were many and all that I read were negative. Some customers found they could not use their DVR with their Mini Box; but, for an added cost Cox will rent the capability to connect DVR. Some customers complain that with the boxes they get added religious stations but lost some of their other channels.

I talked to one Cox cable customer who was also dissatisfied with the rented boxes who says he keeps losing signals. Another complained of having a scrambled picture because the box was not working properly. In this area Cox has little or no competition for service. They have a monopoly on the market. That in itself is a problem for customers who use their services. Cox should stop charging for the use of the mini boxes because there is no added value for their use. Customers can still get the basic television channels without the boxes.
Shedrick Byrd is a frequent contributor to the New Journal and Guide.

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