Westinghouse–Activate your tuner so we can count you

My post about having to activate the tuners on my Westinghouse television set has been read quite a bit lately. I’m guessing there has been a nice sale on the sets. Whatever the reason, it dawned on me that Westinghouse may just have an FAQ on its site that explains this odd and stupid action they force upon their customers. Well, sure enough, they did.  The Q&A that explains the activation is as follows:

Q: Why do I need to enter a tuner code for my television to receive over-the-air broadcasts?
A: This enables Westinghouse users to choose a feature that most TV users do not use, receiving over-the-air broadcasts. This choice simplifies TV operation for users who do not intend to receive such broadcasts, such as by avoiding unnecessary channel scans. The access code input enables Westinghouse to accurately count the end users who seek to enable the ATSC tuner, for purposes of royalty reporting (but for the end user, this activation is free). This looks to the future of television design: Digital televisions are beginning to include installable hardware or software features.

So, just because a number of people do not actually watch over the air digital television, this company is compelled to get an ‘accurate’ count for purposes of royalty reporting? What? If this were true, why are they the only ones requiring this stupid process to take place?

Forcing a customer to call or go to a website to get a code to ‘activate’ a feature that SHOULD be immediately available is disingenuous, inconvenient and annoying. The notion that they are doing those who do not intend to receive over the air broadcasts a favor is just ridiculous. Making something more difficult, ON PURPOSE, for the end user is just as ridiculous.

So, there you have it. They are doing you a favor—IF you do not wish to watch high definition, over the air, digital TV that is. If you do, well, that’s too bad. Westinghouse wants to know. I would encourage would be buyers to go with another brand instead. Like a nice Vizio. Or maybe a Sanyo.

I had to activate my Westinghouse television just to watch it…bad move, Westinghouse

Why are even the simplest of things made difficult these days?  Recently, our Vizio 32 inch flat panel television decided to take an eternal rest.  The set was in our bedroom and, to replace it on a temp basis, I used a spare Windows 7 computer and USB tuner stick.  Over the last few days, however, we decided to bite the bullet and buy a TV.  Best Buy had a 37 inch Westinghouse on sale for a really low price, so we got it.

Getting the set home from the store was easy (the Best Buy purchase online and pick up in store experience was outstanding, I might add) but setting it up, not so much.

As stated in a previous post, we have decided to go cable free, so I had to setup the over the air channels.  Much to my surprise, YOU MUST GO TO THE WESTINGHOUSE WEB SITE TO ACTIVATE YOUR TV. Mind you, you ONLY have to do this for the over the air detection. Are you kidding me?  REALLY? Sure enough, I had to select the model and enter the serial number of the set, get a code from the site and then enter it into the television via the remote.  (If you do not have ready access to the internet, they provide a toll free number to call.)  What the hell?

It was almost enough for me to take the set back to the store. Alas, the delayed Daytona 500 was starting and I did not want to miss it, so I continued the setup and watched the race. But, REALLY? Activate the detection feature? Westinghouse, you should be ashamed.  And it isn’t just this particular model either. They had dozens of models listed. DOZENS.  Seriously. Wait…Dozens?

This is Westinghouse. A company that is no longer the great company it used to be.  And they have dozens of models? Huh.  Who knew. 

At any rate, this company now knows that someone in this zip code needed to detect the 17 over the air channels.  While they don’t know who it is (they don’t, right?) the point is they force you to take an unnecessary step just to watch free tv.  It makes me wonder if Comcast, Time Warner or any number of cable outlets are forcing this type of thing.

What should have been a simple, straight forward step turned into something way more frustrating. Oh, and be careful when typing WESTINGHOUSEDIGITAL.COM. I kept misspelling it and kept going to this bizarre parking spot. I don’t think it is nefarious, just odd.  Maybe it was my mood, but this really rubbed me the wrong way. I have NEVER seen any television have to be ACTIVATED by the manufacturer. Ridiculous, plain and simple. Oh, my days of purchasing Westinghouse anything are over.

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