Cablevision can't make up their mind if they want their remotes back or not.

 
I called Cablevision, whom I no longer use for television viewing, to find out if they want all fifteen remotes back. The rep said yes I must send them back so I am not billed. And no I won't have to pay for shipping. She directed me to the online prepaid label.

The prepaid label was there, and so was an explanation that if I choose to mail back my remotes, it's at my expense. That contradicts what the rep told me on the phone.

So then I entered a chat, and got a third, different, set of facts. This chat rep told me
that I don't have to send the remotes back at all. Nice. Here's the chat transcript. I think my favorite part was when she apologized for Miss Information. Yes indeed, that first phone rep could be voted Miss Information of the year. But so could their website.



New party ('JEAN') has joined the session
JEAN: Hi, my name is JEAN H and I will be assisting you today.
JEAN: Good Morning
Mike Moran: Hi. I want to return some remotes because I don't use
cable tv any more. I just got off the phone with a rep who said it
would not be at my expense, but the website says it WOULD be at my
expense. Which is true?
JEAN: Please verify name address and phone number that is on account
please? Who am I speaking with please?
Mike Moran: Linda Moran or Mike Moran 504 Darby Court Ridgewood New
Jersey 201-305-3488
JEAN: thank you
JEAN: Who am I speaking with please?
Mike Moran: Mike
JEAN: Thank you Mike Moran please tell the remote you want to return
please describe it for me please
Mike Moran: I do not know how to describe it. it's the only kind I
know. It has a big IO button in the middle
JEAN: Does it have A B C only?
JEAN: at the top of the remote
Mike Moran: It has an A, a B, and a C. I don't know what you mean by
"A B C only"
JEAN: Ok thank you
Mike Moran: Oh and I have about fifteen of them
JEAN: Great news no worry about any fee may keep the remote
Mike Moran: My store never wanted them back
Mike Moran: Oh. So just to be sure I understand, you're telling me I
don't have to return the remotes?
JEAN: Yes it is our older remote that has ABC at top and blue arrow buttons
JEAN: Was there anything else?
Mike Moran: Okay so let me understand one more thing.
JEAN: How may I help?
Mike Moran: The rep on the phone told me I have to return them and
that if I didn't, I would be billed for them. Does this mean she was
WRONG? INCORRECT?
Mike Moran: Please understand that this presents a dilemna to your
customer. Whom do I believe?
JEAN: Sorry for the miss information
Mike Moran: So you are certain that the information you gave me is
correct? Please send this chat to me when wer'e done. I'll
understandably need this paper trail
JEAN: Sorry there is no option on chat to be sent by email
JEAN: What number may I reach you please so I may inform
JEAN: you by phone ?
Mike Moran: Okay I'll copy and paste. But please answer my question.
You are sure that your inforamtion is the correct information?
JEAN: Yes we no longer give the remote with abc option on top of
remote and that is why or local optimum store did not take the remote
as well
Mike Moran: Telephones don't have paper trails.
JEAN: Yes that is correct but is recorded for Quality assurance
Mike Moran: Okay that's good information. Thanks for that. You have a
great day. If you have a means to escalate this chat, I'd suggest
doing so. Your management needs to know that you were forced to
contradict another rep.

Plex Media Server using Windows 7, Roku, and my Buffalo NAS

Update on October 25, 2018

My plex server finally died with a bluescreen and IRQL NOT LESS OR EQUAL.

I left it for several hours, then rebooted it and it froze. Then I shut it down, and it wouldn't boot at all. The hard boot button wouldn't even light up when I hit it.  It's dead, Jim.

Update on June 4, 2017

  1. The Windows 7 laptop I speak of in this post is now upgraded to Windows 10. It was easy
  2. The app I speak of below also runs on the Amazon firestick. I mostly use my firestick these days. 
  3. Almost three years later, my Plex Media Server is still running great. I borrow free DVD's from the library, then rip them onto my own computer's hard drive. They get backed up to my NAS device within hours, and there they stay. As you'll see below, my Plex source is my Buffalo NAS device.


How I converted an old Windows laptop into a Plex Media Server  

(and it's free)

I wanted some way to throw my media, stored on my NAS, to my television.

For months I was too intimidated by the word "Plex" because it had the word "server" next to it. But every time I googled how to get my media onto my television, I kept coming back to the dreaded words "Plex Server."

I even tried a Roku app for a while called "Roku Media Player." It was pretty bad.

Then I got fed up with myself, and dove in. It's not that bad. Here are the points I figured out that I thought were too stupid to even ask. For simplicity I will explain my installation in particular.

  1. I can use Plex and continue not to understand my NAS device. Yay.
  2. My NAS device is only one choice among many of where to install the Plex Media Server, and it's not the best one.
  3. My NAS device is the place where all my media is. I want Plex to look there.
  4. There are two installations: the Plex Media Server, and the Plex "app." You need both. This follows the old-style pre-web way of doing things, in which you have a "server" and a "client."
  5. There are three reasons why I didn't install the Plex Media Server on my NAS device.
    1. My research (that's a lofty way of saying I googled this) shows that it can bog down a NAS device. Most geeks seem not to recommend it unless you have a top of the line NAS, which I don't. Mine's a Buffalo Linkstation, and I own it just to have one place to store all my media. Actually, it's my backup target.
    2. Because I know precious little about how a NAS actually works, other than the fact that it's a Linux environment, I didn't want to do something that could trash all my media files that on it, which amount to about 2/3 of a terabyte.
    3. My particular NAS, which is a Buffalo NAS, doesn't appear to be supported for Plex Server anyway.
  6. There are three reasons why I chose a Windows 7 computer for the server
    1. I had a Windows 7 computer lying around
    2. Although I had an Ubuntu laptop lying around too, that computer is kinda old, with a slower processor.  Over time, if I see that my Windows server (the one with the small hard drive) is getting bogged down by Windows, then maybe I'll ditch Windows on that computer and replace it with Ubuntu. Then I'll put Plex Media Server on there.
    3. One more reason I went with trying a Windows server first is that I'm not so handy with installing softare in Ubuntu. That's why I decided it's more of a last resort.
  7. I think of my Windows Server machine as a dedicated server because I don't plan on using this particular computer for anything else. Besides, it's got a tiny hard drive. I had to remove all the bloatware just to fit the server software. I think of both the software (Plex Media Server) and the Windows 7 machine itself as the server. That's usually the way geeks talk, I've learned.
  8. I own a Roku, so that is my client. That's where I put the Plex app. I found the Plex app easily by searching for more channels in my Roku. After all, the Plex app is just a channel.
  9. The Roku app is free for thirty days. AFter that, I'll have to pay a whopping five bucks (one-time fee.)
  10. A way to get the client apps free (not just for Roku, but for my android and other devices) is to pay for the professional version of the Plex Media Server. But when I looked at its added features, it didn't seem worth it for my purposes. Besides, I got the free one running, and now I don't want to muck with it. Anyway, I wan'st planning on using any device right now other than Roku.
  11. I keep the server turned on all the time, to make it easy to always be able to flip to the Plex channel in the Roku and not hae to think about it. I keep the server lid shut (I configured my power settings so it "does nothing" when the lid is closed. IT's tucked away on a shelf, kind of shoved behind a table, So when I want to directly access it, I use teamviewer.
  12. I created three libraries -- one for my pictures, one for my music, and one for my videos. Right now, my ripped videos are mixed in with my home movies. I'll see over time if I want to make those into two separate libraries. Also true is that I have a lot of videos mixed into my pictures folder right now. I'm hoping I don't have to move those.
  13. I found out Plex offers lots of channels, too, not unlike the channels offered in native Roku. I wasn't even counting on that. 
  14. All this for a total of five bucks!

So far, the quality is great. Hopefully this means I won't have to switch to an Ubuntu server. In a month, when the Roku app demands the five bucks, I'll gladly hand it over.

Some tekkie things I had to do

  1. I had to open port 32400 in the Windows firewall so my channels wouldn't be blocked on the client
  2. I had to enable DLNS on the NAS
  3. I discovered that my music was duplicated in the Media Server. I found out that all my music was duplicated in a music subfolder on my NAS device. The subfolder was called Buck 65 - 20 Odd Years (demonoid). I have no idea what this is but anyway, I deleted it.

Drawbacks

  1. I now understand that the Roku app is a dumbed down front end to the server. That means the app has limited function. If I want the app to do something it just won't do, it's possible I can get it to work on the server side. Remember, the Plex Media Server can run on its own without using the Roku as your interface to the television. A workaround is to get it running on the server, and then throw it to your television with chromecast. (I know I know, it makes my brain hurt too.)
  2. So for example, there seems to be no playlist support for the Roku app. However, I did find the function on the server side. I can create playlists on the server and play them there without using the television and the roku. That's why I've now attached a set of external speakers to my server. Or, as mentioned above, I can throw it to the television with chromecast.