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Trying To Map Out The TV Problems

Folks, I just talked to a MASN spokesman who is under the impression that the MASN2 gaffe last night affected only Comcast subscribers in the DC area. But it seems like the problems were more widespread.

If indeed you missed a portion of last night's game, would you mind spelling out the details here? That would be supremely appreciated, and would help me draw a picture of the scope of things.

I'm curious to hear...

- where you live
- your cable provider
- how much of the game you missed

Thanks!

By Chico Harlan  |  June 11, 2009; 11:05 AM ET
 
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Next: MASN Says Feed Was Not Interrupted; Comcast Apologizes [Update]

Comments

The period after the rain delay was normally broadcast (which is to say poorly, in borderline unwatchable super-MASN-crappy non-HD resolution) on MASN2 on DirecTV in Arlington.

Posted by: wahoo2x | June 11, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Chico,

I just posted this in the last thread, but I'll repost here since you'll probably be looking for it here.

I live in Alexandria and have Comcast. I think I missed 20 minutes, give or take, of the game.

What was infuriating last night was that I was able to quickly figure out that someone at Comcast, and not at MASN, was asleep at the wheel, since the game thread on NJ indicated that others not in a Comcast viewing area were receiving the game. I called Comcast, and both the call center idiot with whom I spoke and his idiot (or perhaps lazy?) supervisor refused to look into the situation further after I explained to them the MASN/MASN2 situation and the fact that someone needed to flip a switch -- or, if it was really MASN's fault, as they were claiming, to pick up a damn phone and call MASN to see what was going on.

I am canceling Comcast in the next day or two as a result. Completely unacceptable customer service, as their reps took the easiest way out possible without doing one iota of investigating to see what could be done to get the proper programming on the air, reghardless of whether it was Comcast's or MASN's fault.

Posted by: csp17 | June 11, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

can wilbon get masn in arizona?

Posted by: surly_w | June 11, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I'm in DC, and have had problems with Comcast all season (bad shipment of DVR/tuner boxes, I was told by a knowledgeable source at Comcast). So I wasn't sure what was wrong exactly, when I came home late, heard the game was delayed, but got an old 0's game on MASN and MASN-HD, and C-SPAN2 on MASN2, toward the end of the delay. Calls to Comcast, very important to them, just sat there in the muzak. I found the game on MASN2 again during Nick's AB, IIRC.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 11, 2009 11:06 AM |

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 11, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Carrying forward:

As for the broadcast data, I can't weigh in on the resumption of play as I went to bed when the rain delay started. FWIW, I was watching on MASN2, Verizon FIOS channel 1, in Fairfax County, and they were about to go to ESPN News, I think.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 11, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 11, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I was watching the MASN feed on MLB-TV, and the bottom of the 9th never came on after the commercial break. (I was able to watch when the game resumed after the rain delay.

Posted by: nats24 | June 11, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I did not have a problem on Direct TV but just another reason to loathe Angelos. Of course, he is getting the short end of the stick on this deal but that is neither here nor there. Have they signed Strasburg yet?

Posted by: mjwies11 | June 11, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Also, thanks for looking into this, Chico.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 11, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

EPIC FAIL

Posted by: JDB1 | June 11, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Cox in Fairfax County had issues - the game did not resume on Channel 74 until just after 12am. They ran the standard rain-delay fare of ESPNEWS until 11ish, then switched over to CST (College Sports Television?), which ran the end of an encore performance of an LSU baseball game, and then a FISHING show until they got the game back on.

Posted by: BGinVA | June 11, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I have Cox Cable in Fairfax County. I don't know whether or not they ever rediscovered last night's broadcast after the rain delay, because about an hour into the delay, after the last out of the Yankees-Red Sox game I had switched over to, I started trying to figure out where the Nats game might be on if it ever ended up resuming. It had started on MASN2 in standard def, but since the O's game and postgame show were over on MASN-HD I figured it might have switched over there as "bonus coverage" which MASN has been doing lately. At that point, both MASN-HD and the Cox MASN-2 channel were showing the standard MASN rain delay filler (ESPN News) but neither one had the little "rain delay" notification in the corner of the screen. So I didn't know what was up, and switched to radio to find out. They were running Nats Talk Live and from that I deduced that the game was still in rain delay. By the time it resumed, though, I was upstairs in the bedroom and decided just to listen on radio rather than try to find it on TV again.

So I can't add anything to your cataloging of data, Chico. But my point as expressed in a previous thread is this. Quit obsessing with the symptoms and go straight to the disease, which is MASN and its convoluted system of games that may or may not be in HD on channels that may or may not be real full-time channels. Of course the cable companies are going to screw up from time to time when they have to decipher all this for their subscribers. The real question is why can't a company that is owned by two teams provide a 24/7/365 channel for each one of them instead of this cockeyed MASN/MASN2 scheme? Why can't the company treat both teams as equals instead of obviously slanting toward one of them? I really do think you'd be surprised if you started asking Orioles fans if they have the same problems with MASN as Nats fans do. My guess is they don't. It would be nice to have some solid journalism confirm that.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 11, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

http://homerderby.com/


Please share this.

Posted by: JDB1 | June 11, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I have Cox in Fairfax also, and I too missed the 9th inning after the rain delay because they switched to CST. To me, the even more annoying issue was MASN not showing live baseball in HD, and instead replaying the O's game.

Posted by: LarryBraverman | June 11, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Stick to the NBA, Wilbon. You're column was idiotic.

Posted by: edr04 | June 11, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I'm in Fairfax County. Switched off MASN (74)and the sports news around 11. I was working on my computer and realized the game had restarted, but it was not on 74 when I checked the TV. I just went back to following it online.

One thing the Angelos Sports Network could do is make MASN the Orioles network and MASN 2 the Nationals network. Or vice versa. I never know whether to look at 74 or 102 first. Its not the end of the world, but it would help with branding.

Sec314

Posted by: arlingtontwb | June 11, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Live in Montgomery County and have Comcast. Had MASN 2 on during the rain delay and at about 10 p.m. exactly it switched back to CSPAN 2. Figured that might mean they had moved the Nats to the main MASN, but the Orioles Extra was still on. I checked a little while later and they had ESPNews on but no rain delay notification. Then I fell asleep.

Posted by: TheFingerman | June 11, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Uh, no. I attended the game last night and went home once the rain delay started. I have Comcast and live in Alexandria near Reagan National. Before 11 pm MASN (channel 62) was showing ESPNEWS but didn't announce when the game was coming back from a rain delay. Then at 11 pm I had the O's replay on MASN and Sen. Tom Coburn on MASN-2/CSPAN-2 (channel 77). I kept flipping the channels every 10 minutes hoping the game would come back on to discover Nick Masset pitching in the bottom of the 10th. So the only thing I know about the comeback in the 9th is from the descriptions and accounts of the game provided by folks like yourself.

Posted by: bg703 | June 11, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I have DISH-TV in Rappahannock county aka the boonies. In addition to 200 channel DVR Advantage package, I get both the local channels and the local sports channels, MASN and Comcast sports. The picture quality on both MASN and MASN2 is great. I do not have HD TV sets.

Posted by: gengreen17 | June 11, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I live in DC upper NW and have RCN and had no problems with the broadcast last night.

Posted by: brothbart | June 11, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe anybody "missed" anything last night, except those who watched it and missed out on some sleep.

Posted by: tailwagger | June 11, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

We have FIOS in Arlington and I was watching through the bottom of the 8th on Channel 1. I got up to do something and, when I came back, a program called "Press Pause" (or something like that) was showing. I assumed the game had finished, and didn't notice any on-screen indication of a rain delay. SO, I shut it off and went to bed.

Posted by: ThatsRich | June 11, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Cable company's fault, not MASN's.

http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/stories/2009/06/08/daily67.html

Posted by: JoeBagadonuts | June 11, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I live in Adams Morgan and have Comcast. The screen was dark - no C-Span, no nothing - until I stopped trying at 9:00.

Posted by: ignoreland | June 11, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Chico, MASN's programming decisions are at issue here as well.

I have DirecTV, which has a dedicated MASN2 channel, so I was able to see the game when it resumed. But the only way I knew it was coming back on was thanks to your blog--nothing at all on MASN2 gave me that info, until they switched back to the game just a minute before it re-started. During rain delays, MASN chooses to run ESPNews programming. They cut away seconds after the delay starts, and they come back moments before the game resumes. Sometimes MASN will cut in with a very brief "update" at the bottom and top of the hour--miss it and you will blink. Last night, I don't think they even had those. Nor does MASN run any kind of info scrawl over the ESPN programming that might alert hopeful Nats viewers about what is going on. It's as if their own game is an afterthought, even to them. It should be the priority.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | June 11, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

@masnsports informed me during the delay the game would come back on MASN2. Alas, I saw CSPAN2 for long enough that I put it on mute and turned on the radio broadcast. When even the radio guys gave up, I forgot about the game until I saw a commercial break, at which point I realized they had switched back to MASN2.

Posted by: soundoffhere | June 11, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Apparently I am a bit tired from staying up late watching the game--blink and you will miss MASN's 30/60 rain delay "updates."

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | June 11, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Hey, regarding the previous post, I think this was a rare instance of unanimity, or near unanimity in case I missed something, for the NJ--everyone hated the Wilbon piece.

Posted by: Section109 | June 11, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

From: Customer Service customerservice@masnsports.com
Subject: Nats
To: XXXX@yahoo.com
Date: Thursday, June 11, 2009, 12:25 AM

Dear XXXX,

Thank you for contacting MASN regarding this issue.

Comcast dropped the signal early during tonight's game. MASN immediately contacted Comcast, who had the issue resolved at 12:01 a.m. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Thanks again for contacting MASN.

Sincerely,

Your Friends at MASN

Posted by: JohnJr1 | June 11, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

The email and the tweets ring true, that and the fact that DirecTV had the game. I blame the cable providers.

Posted by: soundoffhere | June 11, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

"Hey, regarding the previous post, I think this was a rare instance of unanimity, or near unanimity in case I missed something, for the NJ--everyone hated the Wilbon piece."

I hated it back when it was the Boswell column that Wilbon lifted it from lock, stock and barrel. I guess it's not considered plagiarism if you steal something from someone else at your own paper.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 11, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I live in Arlington, VA 22207, I have Comcast. We missed from the end of the 1st inning to the bottom of the 6th inning. After that, it would occasionally black out and not come back on for a few minutes.

Posted by: folsomsk | June 11, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

MASN2 turned into CSPAN2 for me in Arlington, Va. as well. And when I tried to discuss this with Comcast this morning...well, let me just continue by reposting what I put on the DC Sports Bog...

...And if you try to call Comcast to complain about this programming failure the only phone number you can find is a calling center that's only able to talk about billing questions and adding/subtracting service. Ask for a local phone number or even the corporate headquarters phone number and they won't give it to you. Ask for a supervisor and you're told they're all in a meeting for the next half-hour. I think this exemplifies why Comcast came in second (behind AOL) in a recent poll for worst customer service in the U.S.

Posted by: greggwiggins | June 11, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Comcast in DC...

I left the Park when the rain delay started, when I got home i found:

MASN (42) & MASN HD (247) showed the O's wrap up show and then the replay of the Orioles-Mariners game and MASN2 (79) had CSPAN on after ESPNews. I gave up waiting after the end of the 9th, so perhaps something changed after that.

Typically ESPNews during rain delays has a bug in the upper right alerting to the rain delay, but I don't think that it was consistently there last night.

Posted by: stantonpark | June 11, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

This problem easily could have been solved by MASN by putting the ending on every single MASN channel to eliminate all confusion. I mean it was past midnight, no one is going to be too upset that they are missing 2 innings of an orioles game that was already played.

Posted by: amorris525 | June 11, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

FIOS in Fairfax County.....MASN2 picture quality is so bad that when they pan to the Nats Dugout you can not see the faces of all the black players. One time they were focusing on Dukes and all you could see was BLACK not a single feature of his face....after about 5 seconds they corrected the tint and you could make out Dukes.....Why is the picture so poor on MASN2?

Posted by: JayBeee | June 11, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

"The email and the tweets ring true, that and the fact that DirecTV had the game. I blame the cable providers."

Ultimately it is MASN's fault. If MASN was providing a full time MASN2 signal to all its cable providers, there would be no way for them to drop the signal early because they wouldn't have to be dropping it in the first place. DirecTV obviously devotes one of its channels to MASN2 even though it's part-time programming, so they have no need to flip a switch like the cable companies who share one channel between MASN2 and something else. If it's okay to blame the tobacco companies instead of the people who smoke for lung cancer, then it's okay to blame MASN instead of the cable companies for this debacle. Same kinda deal. If MASN did things right these problems would never happen.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 11, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Hi, Chico,

I live in Arlington and I have Comcast. Since Tuesday's thunderstorms, MASN2 has been out. All I get is a grey screen, so I missed both Tuesday's and Wednesday's games.

Posted by: ericp331 | June 11, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

"Why is the picture so poor on MASN2?"

It's called standard definition. MASN can't even do that right, although it's hard to tell because they seem to be the only sports station left that doesn't broadcast every game in HD. But even MASN's HD picture is screwy a lot of the time. Freezes up, sometimes for longer than a single pitch. Jerky and pixelated quite often. I suppose MASN blames this on the cable companies too?

Posted by: nunof1 | June 11, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

If not unanimity, then at least a majority opinion it would seem.

---

Hey, regarding the previous post, I think this was a rare instance of unanimity, or near unanimity in case I missed something, for the NJ--everyone hated the Wilbon piece.

Posted by: Section109 | June 11, 2009 12:03 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 11, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Hey, maybe they should set up a poll on the column? (insert angelic halo icon here)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 11, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

"DirecTV obviously devotes one of its channels to MASN2 even though it's part-time programming, so they have no need to flip a switch like the cable companies who share one channel between MASN2 and something else."

That makes the point that it's Comcast's fault. Comcast should give MASN2 a dedicated channel if it can't guarantee it won't switch off before the end of the game.

Nobody else had that problem.

Posted by: JoeBagadonuts | June 11, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I don't have HD (yeah, yeah, I know) but I've also experienced the pixelated, jerky picture on FIOS TV of late (and, no, I'm not talking about the broadcasters - ba da bum!). It happens with MASN1 (channel 77). Powering the STB on and off seems to fix the problem temporarily, but I suspect there may be a service call in my future.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 11, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I forgot to mention the blackouts (of the MASN feed, you smart alecks) and "this channel is unavailable" messages.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 11, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Meh. I'm not a Wilbon fan (and even less of a Kornheiser fan, but that's another post), but he's not saying anything new or shocking. It is pretty much Boswell's column rehashed, not to mention any of several dozen posts in here over the past nine months or so.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 11, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

nunof1, Comcast wants to save bandwidth for 479 VH1 channels, so they only broadcast MASN2 part time over Cspan2.

Are you complaining about a lack of content on MASN2? That's a different story.

Posted by: soundoffhere | June 11, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

wait, the blackouts are MASN's fault?? I want to talk to the judge!

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 11, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

As long as we're griping about MASN: I hate it that every single time they put up or take down the bottom of screen crawl, there's a split second glitch in the video and audio (at least on my DirecTV feed). Something completely repeatable like that should be easy to fix.

Posted by: burke2 | June 11, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

- where you live: Rockville MD
- your cable provider: Comcast
- how much of the game you missed: switched to cspan at 9:56

Posted by: zstone14 | June 11, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Does lead one to wonder, though, whether the volatility and shrillness and general BS in here contribute to the overall impression of the Natinals as a laughing stock franchise.
"Get a load of those guys! The team not only can't play, they can't spell, can't tell time, can't deliver a hot dog at a ball game, and the fans! OMG you just have to mention "Baltimore" and they go crazy for two days!"

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 11, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

hehe re. the blackouts, sec3. Also, Chico has a new MASN post up.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 11, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

"all 9000 of them"

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 11, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

et tu, sec 3?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 11, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"nunof1, Comcast wants to save bandwidth for 479 VH1 channels, so they only broadcast MASN2 part time over Cspan2.

Are you complaining about a lack of content on MASN2? That's a different story."

The two stories are linked. Because MASN2 doesn't provide content except during game broadcasts, cable companies can save bandwith by not having a dedicated MASN2 channel - and most of them do that. This presents plenty of windows of opportunity for cable companies to get their feeds mixed up, like they did last night.

What MASN should do is provide two full time channels to the cable companies. Of course, some of them might balk at having to carry both channels, but they could sort that out based on what their subscribers demand. A Nats-only and an O's-only channel as some people want would only be possible if MASN did two full time programming feeds. Indeed, if they did that it might resolve some cable companies' issues over having two channels from MASN. They could run the Nats channel in the DC market and the O's channel in the Baltimore market, as God intended.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 11, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Just to chime in - I had the little rain delay notification graphic last night. I'm getting pretty used to seeing it with all these rainy games.

Posted by: JoeBagadonuts | June 11, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

folsomsk said: "I live in Arlington, VA 22207, I have Comcast. We missed from the end of the 1st inning to the bottom of the 6th inning. After that, it would occasionally black out and not come back on for a few minutes."

Well, here's the proof -- I live in Arlington, VA 22207, I have Verizon FIOS. We didn't drop out and I saw up until the rain delay in the 9th inning. Went to bed after the Yankees/RedSox finished, so don't know if it came back.

Posted by: OutsideTheLaw | June 11, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

i live in DC - 20009, comcast cable. when i got home at midnight from being out, and wanted to watch the extra innings (i think it was in the 11th by then, it wasn't on any of the MASN stations (MASN 42, MASN II 79, MASN HD 247)

Posted by: DCguy7 | June 11, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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