Archive for the ‘TV maintenance’ Category
Friday, August 11, 2006
In Boca Chica television services can be served up via an aerial antenna picking up the dozen or so Dominican terrestrial channels, via satellite beamed in from the USA or by cable provided by ‘Economitel’.
Economitel has certainly served us well over the last few years and it seems as though they are planning to maintain if not improve their level of service and have even, with us at least, lived up to the economization implied by the company name, though it did happen in a round about kind of way.
The company is very local indeed serving just Boca Chica, Andres and Caleta… and small though they are they do offer a full range of approximately 70 channels with about a dozen in English and one in each of French, Italian and German. We have been paying for three connections since the time the company established itself more than 5 years ago and paying what we thought to be a very reasonable 850 pesos (about US$26) per month for this service. In July we suddenly received a bill for 1200 pesos without any prior notification of increases whatsoever. We naturally enquired of the company what this was all about, when we next time visited their office. They actually had a couple of posters up indicating that prices had been raised because they already had started increasing, and would continue to increase, the number of channels supplied and that new codified digital set-top boxes would be provided in August to further upgrade the quality of their service, although those who had maintained their accounts would not be charged for these boxes.
We noted that the standard price increase was 25%, tax included, and immediately wondered why ours was closer to a whopping 50% hike. It soon became clear that they had re-categorized our usage as fully commercial, but it didn’t take us long to put two and two together and realize that if we presented our factual residential credentials then the price would naturally fall. Those credentials were verified the next day by a couple of technicians who didn’t hesitate to classify our current use as indeed purely residential.
A few days later and the front desk administrator, now with discernible reluctance, –presumably motivated by her boss who she kept on talking to in low murmurs over the phone while we “negotiated” with her – slowly recognized that she really would have to lower the tariff in line with their own very clear regulations. The final result would now be a monthly 650 pesos -a worthwhile economy of 200 pesos- and far removed from the original starting point of 1200 pesos. We couldn’t tell what the boss was muttering to himself behind his glass screen as we bid them all a good day on leaving… but for some reason he didn’t seem quite as pleased as us.
Anyway… the future certainly holds bright for Economitel if they continue to offer the considerate economy options to their long-term customers as presented to us and also introduce an alternative internet service before the end of the year as they claim they will.
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Our regular visitors and those with good memories of our blog entries (see Aug. 31st last year) will know that over the years we have been assailed by more than our fair share of technical breakdowns here at Playa Vista and that each time a piece of equipment chooses not to work, the diagnosis frustratingly and almost invariably touches partly or wholly on the problem of the corrosive salt-sea air around us. Our latest tribulation involved a second breakdown of one of our two Philips TVs. The immediate irony was that it chose to pack up functioning on the very day we finally installed our newly acquired digital projector to provide a giant screen in the bar area. For specification aficionados our screen measures an impressive 10 feet by 10 feet and right now we surely must be able to claim it to be the biggest in Boca Chica!
Anyway, as we clapped our hands in delight at the introduction of our movie-style new screen we had to groan with dismay as our supporting conventional bar TV completely gave up the ghost. We whisked it into a specialist Philips repair center in Santo Domingo where they had successfully repaired it after its first breakdown about a year ago together with its identical twin which by another coincidence had ceased to function in the very same week.
We gleefully picked up the “fixed” TV, returned it to Boca Chica and plugged it in. A fully functioning full-color screen appeared but once the audio and video jacks were connected up to integrate it into our extended cable and satellite TV system we were confronted with a very disillusioning dull hissing sound. We cursed under our breath… thanks, you no good amateur technician, for fixing the screen and completely ruining the stereo input and outlet facility! What kind of professional wouldn’t check that all features worked fully before returning it to the poor unsuspecting customer?
The momentary gloom was followed by a swift enlightening spark of ingenuity from Eduardo, our chief maintenance man, who suggested that the internal video and audio leads may simply have been mistakenly reversed by the technician. We hunted around for the very special Philips tool, inexplicably necessary, for releasing the TV cover and then loudly cheered Eduardo as his theory was proven entirely correct. However, it was only by the grace of having our handy man handy and him having the inspiration to imagine how the service center technician could have ended up doing what he did that we avoided journeying all the way back to the service center and having a full blown argument as to the injustice of the treatment we had been given.
We quickly turned the victory into a rout because the inspiration overflowed now and focused on that previously mentioned second TV that had not had a properly functioning stereo sound since it underwent “repair” those 12 months ago. Bingo; on removing its cover we found the identical spaded wire connectors inserted in the identical wrong sequence!
The very same service center had made the very same error 12 months apart and so we now bathe in the full luxury of two fully functioning Philips stereo TVs: not to forget the 10 feet by 10 feet giant screen now afforded by our Hewlett Packard projector! Extraordinary how true consistency can help you out of a mess, isn’t it?
Meanwhile seven years later:
Unfortunately salt air wear and tear is one of the things you learn to live with when you have a business right next to the Caribbean Sea but such hardship is softened by some of the exotic redeeming features the same Caribbean scene affords.