What Questions Should You Ask Your Cable Provider Prior to Installation?
With the widespread growth of cable television providers, as well as advances in technology that allow those providers to deliver hundreds of channels, prospective customers can quickly become overwhelmed by the wealth of options. Customers who are getting cable TV service for the first time, those that are relocating, or those looking to upgrade their current packages, are faced with numerous choices for which they may be ill-prepared. These customers should ask their provider some important questions before signing on the dotted line.
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How Do You Handle Set-up and Installation?
Each provider varies in how they deal with the set-up and installation processes. Some providers make an appointment to come to the customer's home and handle the installation process, while othersmay not set a specific time for the customer to expect the technician. The service may call for the installer to enter the house and check the wiring system, while others can handle all the chores from outside the house.
Do You Handle Home Theater Installations?
Customers who spend thousands of dollars on state-of-the-art home theater components want to be sure that their cable TV hardware will function at its best with that equipment. The cable TV system must deliver signals to the audio components (speakers, subwoofers, etc.) as well as to the TV unit itself. If the TV unit is capable of rendering a high-definition (HDTV) picture, the customer must be sure that his cable system carries the HD channels he desires, as well as the equipment to translate the HD signal.
Do You Offer HD Programming?
Nearly every television service provides HD programming, as well as the means to receive an HD signal on an HD-ready TV. The service providers often categorize their HD programming into tiers, with thelowest tier offering programming from broadcast networks and somebasic cable stations in HD, while the higher tiers include HD versions of the premium movie channels, sports networks and pay-per-view events.
Can You Program My Universal Remote?
With remote control units programmed to send signals to the television, the set-top box, the home video system, and other components, tracking all of these devices can be taxing. Many customers employ a universal remote to send signals to all of these components from one device. Since each component has its own code for receiving signals, the cable TV provider can often assist the customer, either on-site or telephone support, to program the universal remote for the set-top box.
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What Are All of These Taxes and Surcharges?
Television service providers must pay taxes to several agencies at multiple levels of government. Some of the taxes include:
- State and Local 911 Tax
- Federal Excise Tax
- State and Local Sales Tax
- Gross Receipts Taxes
- State and Local Utility Taxes
- State Communications Services Tax
- Local Communications Services Tax
In the rare instances where the customer uses their television service for work (journalist, teacher, critic, etc.), he or she can deduct these taxeson their federal tax return.Customers should not be afraid to ask questions of their providers. The fears of asking a stupid question will pass, but the regrets at not getting the service you want will last much longer.