Posted: May 14, 2008 in Entertainment, Life

   Back in December we took up Dish Network on their offer of free HD programming for six months with a one year commitment. The regular programs that everyone has looked nice in HD, but one of the things that Jenn and I really latched on to was The Voom Network.

   The Voom network is a package that that has several HD only channels and you can only get them with a dish or cable provider. They had an animation channel that was ok, but the only thing I ever saw on it that I looked at was the new CGI version of Captain Scarlet. Another channel played a lot of family fair in HD like Flipper, UFO and Thunderbirds. Ok stuff, but not mandatory viewing in our house.

   But then there’s Monsters HD:

   I love that channel. Great stuff 24/7 and in glorious 1080p HD. Hell, even the old B&W stuff looks amazing in 1080p HD. And they have a lot of that old B&W stuff as well as the new stuff.

   Jenn and I both got hooked on Kung-Fu HD:

   They’ve been playing all the Zatoichi films the last few months as well as a number of classic era Shaw Brothers, Jet Li and Jackie Chan as well as the high fantasy stuff that Honk Kong does so well. Jenn, being a huge Jet fan, has been loving it and the Zatoichi films have been on heavy rotation when she’s on Ian duty in the living room.

   Jenn also latched onto Equator HD:

   Very good shows and she was building up a nice DVR load of Wildlife Nannies and Medicine Woman.

   And then this morning they were gone. I called up Dish Network thinking that there was a bug with my set up and was told that they had dropped them so that they could upgrade some of the channels that are still on standard def to HD. It was a bandwidth issue.

   Of course I was told that we also got the MGM HD channel and a few others that I don’t remember added in as well. I noted to them that those new channels kind of killed their bandwidth statement. I wasn’t very happy by the end of the call and said so. The guy on the phone said that he wasn’t surprised. He had gotten a lot of calls this morning about Monsters HD and Kung-Fu HD specifically.

   He noted my complaint in the call logs and advised me email Dish Network. I did, but I don’t expect much to happen. And it’s kind of a shame as well. I told them something in the email that they’re probably going to take as just someone saying whatever they can to back their point, but I told them the truth.

   They can’t beat Direct TV with most of the sports nuts I know. Direct TV has a sports package with locked in exclusives that all the die hard sports nuts I know would sell their left nut (or knocker) for. But the horror, sci-fi and martial arts fans out there are pretty vocal as well. And they like special programming like Monsters HD and Kung-Fu HD. They like it so much that it’s a selling point.

   I’ve talked about 20 people into getting Dish Network since January. Hell, I might have talked 21 (Mulligan) into it if he hadn’t already locked himself into a provider. And I did it mostly on Monsters and Kung-Fu. It was unique programming that Direct TV and out local cable company didn’t have and it was 24/7, uncut, unedited and commercial free movies that catered to the horror/sci-fi and kung-fu fans. And it really was a selling point for a lot of people I know who were on the fence about which provider to go with/switch to.

   And they’ve lost one potential customer already. One of our dispatchers is a horror hound and she loves martial arts flicks. She was going to go Dish in a month or so based 90% on my talking about those two channels. Hey, it only sounds unbelievable until you realize that 95% of the channels that any provider has is identical to every other provider. It’s the perks as much as the price that snags people. For her, that would have been a big perk. When I see her again and tell her that there is no more Monsters and Kung-Fu on Dish, I’m not sure that Dish will be as attractive to her as it was before.

   Sadly, this is just another example of how a portion of fandom is still seen by most power players and money men. We lose two channels that could have been great selling points to a target audience and get two channels that air the same old studio movies that the other five basic cable movie channels air. And the fact that the new ones are HD means very little when you stop and think about the fact that in about six months they’ll all be HD. But we’ve got ’em and those two channels that cater to that nonexistent (but strangely, freaking huge) fan-base out there get almost no advertising. no promotion and then get punted.

   As a horror, sci-f and comic book fan, all I can say is this:


  1. jjchandler says:

    Oh, this is a laugh. Dish sent me a response that wrongly shows that they have Monsters HD and, even after saying that they dropped it in the same email, The Voom Network.


    Dear Customer,

    Thank you for your e-mail. Effective immediately the VOOM HD line-up can no longer be viewed by our customers. DISH Network continues to be the leader in providing the best movies, sports and entertainment in High Definition. In order to provide you with top quality entertainment, DISH Network continually evaluates and at times, makes changes to our channel line-up. We plan to use this opportunity to introduce exciting new HD channels offering a breadth and depth of programming that better complements our already robust HD offerings.

    DISH Network understands it may feel like DISH is removing your favorite programming, but check out the comparable HD programming that is available!

    VOOM Channel
    Alternative Programming
    Channel #
    Monsters HD
    Chiller (Only available in SD)
    Rave HD
    Rush HD
    Universal HD, HD Net
    9427, 9422
    Specific HD Movies
    HD Net Movies, Universal HD, and Premiums in HD
    9423, 9427

    Also check out the following exciting new channels that will be available in the DISH HD Package!
    · ABC Family HD (DISH Network Ch. 180)
    · Biography HD (Ch. 119)
    · Bravo HD (Ch. 129)
    · Cartoon HD (Ch. 176)
    · Cinemax 5 Star (Ch. 381)
    · Cinemax HD West (Ch. 380)
    · Comcast Sports Network Bay Area HD (Ch. 419)*
    · Comcast Sports Network New England HD (Ch. 435)*
    · CNBC HD (Ch. 208.)
    · CNN HD (Ch. 200)
    · Disney HD East (Ch. 172)
    · ESPNews HD (Ch. 142)
    · Hallmark Movie Channel HD (Ch. 187)
    · MGM HD (Ch. 385)
    · Sci Fi HD (Ch. 122)
    · Smithsonian HD (Ch. 374)
    · Tennis Channel HD (Ch. 400)
    · Toon Disney HD (Ch. 174)
    · Travel Channel HD (Ch. 215)
    · USA HD (Ch. 105)
    · Weather Channel HD (Ch. 214)
    · World Fishing Network HD (Ch. 396)

    *Launch Wednesday, May 14


    So, Monsters HD and Kung-Fu HD are gone, but they’re getting me “quality entertainment” like Tennis Channel HD and World Fishing Network HD along with having Weather Channel in full HD.

    Right. Sure. God knows I’m entertained by those channels.

  2. Dad C says:

    But you will be getting ABC Family HD, Cartoon HD, Tennis HD, Toon HD,
    Smithsonian HD, amoung others. This should, bu far, replace your entertaning scale beyond what you got with VOOM Channel and Monster HD and it is healthier for you. Just think no more heart stopping scary nights, just entertaining viewing. This should improve your outlook on life.

  3. Dad C says:

    can’t spell worth a damn. By far — entertainment scale —

  4. Sean says:

    If you want heart stopping scary nights, I have two screenplays for you and the ever-haunting image of several ‘net Trolls Mulligan’d and out for your brain walking down your street to getcha.

    Your whole post is the main reason we still have cable. Along with the sunspot issues(which drive me nuts at work.) Plus the fact that I don’t have anyplace but a really rickety balcony to put the dish.

  5. Bill Mulligan says:

    Soon, very soon, we will not need any of these idiots. Can’t freaking wait.

  6. jjchandler says:

    Yah lost me on the reason-for-keeping-cable line. At least I had the things and can be a pest about getting them back. The local cable company never had them at all.

  7. Sean says:

    Okay, THAT just sucks.

  8. LG Scarl says:

    Well I just lost the Voom package a few days ago… simply the channels don’t load anymore.

    Have contacted support, but I think my parents have decided to cancel permanetly.

  9. jjchandler says:

    OK, Dish Network is now officially incredibly stupid.

    I sent them another email through there system telling them that:

    #1 – My wife and I discussed it and we’d decided that the Voom channels were more or less a deal breaker. If any of the providers in our area were to pick up the Voom Network, we would be switching to them since 95% of the rest of everyone else’s programming is identical to everyone else’s programming and it’s the perks stuff that often makes the difference.

    #2 – I pointed out that responding to a letter that was voicing displeasure with the removal of certain channels by telling the writer to look at what they still had and including the actual channels that they’re complaining about Dish having dropped is only going to aggravate people even more.

    How did they respond? Simple…

    They sent back the exact same response they sent out the first time with both Voom and Monsters HD listed as the #1 and #4 things on their list of great programming that their still offering even though they’ve dropped it.

    And 24 hours later we got our bill from Dish Network showing that they can’t do math. They offered us (before they dropped Voom) a package deal that wasn’t too bad. The deal was free upgrade to Ultimate HD for six months with a one year commitment. The three people I questioned on the HD packaging all told me that it would only be $20 more a month plus a small increase in the DVR fee (I think $3 more) since it was going to be changed to an HD DVR. I asked them repeatedly about the costs and got the same answer.

    Our first bill with the Ultimate HD package came in the mail and the increase to our bill was just shy of $50. I got on the phone and went ballistic. They won’t get rid of the service without jacking me for a huge fine, but they did lower the package to a different one that costs closer to the originally quoted price.

    Oh, they also don’t word things very well or do so in a blatantly dishonest manner. That’s why the fee to drop everything would cost so much right now. I was told that we would be signed to a one year commitment and that we would be getting the first six months of Ultimate HD for free. If we dropped Dish or cancelled the Ultimate HD, their would be a penalty fee we would have to pay based on how many months were left on the commitment.

    So, how many months do we have left after our first six months? If you said six, then you can do math. If you said twelve, then you must work for Dish Network. Their version of the offer now was that you got six months for free and then your one year commitment started. The deal was an eighteen month commitment. No one ever had the words “eighteen months” pass their lips when talking to me on the phone.

    Oh, and despite being told by three different people in their service department phone center that they had been getting flooded with calls in the last six days about Monsters HD and Kung Fu HD being pulled; the manager I spoke with about the billing issue stated that, when I threw it out there, there was no chance of Dish picking them back up because they were trying to provide the better programming (like Golf HD, Tennis HD, Fishing HD, etc) that their customers wanted.

    I’ve had Dish for two years now with only rare, small issues. Why are they trying to make up for lost time in the bad service arena now?

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