My parents are by no means afraid of technology. We were one of the first families I knew with a computer, early on the broadband bandwagon, and they both now have smartphones. However, my parents have always been extremely deliberate with their technology choices. Voicemail didn’t have a long life at my house, since the answering machine kept working, and was a much simpler path between missed call and message. We also never made the jump to put Caller ID on the line because answering the phone was just as pragmatic. And the computers that we had early were only upgraded when they stopped doing the things the needed to do, which often included incrememntal internal upgrades. My parents fall right at the top of the Gartner Hype Cycle.
Given this, I was a little surprised when my dad called me up the other day and said that they were seriously considering switching their Comcast cable and Internet service over to Uverse. I’ve been using Uverse since I moved back to Indianapolis, and it is easily the only AT&T service I’ve been impressed with in the last ten years. The plan my parents picked will save them money (pragmatic!) and result in a pretty big upgrade in technology for them. Whole house DVR, on-screen Caller ID (finally), and boxes on all the televisions – surprisingly progressive. Through the duration of the call, I gave my dad some notes to tell the installer (no wireless boxes unless necessarily, use the existing coax, place the gateway in the family room where the router is), and let the process happen.
The installer came when I was away for the evening, so I was phone-only support. My mom handled it like a champ. The installer left something to be desired, but she had already got her computer back on the new Internet and had Grandma’s halfway set up. I had to do some of the more specific configurations I have in place – namely, reprogramming the Harmony remotes and replacing the lazy installer’s coax from the box with HDMI – but they all took right to it. I’ve taugh them so well.
A few days in, and so far, so good. I’m taking the “no news is good news” approach – I haven’t been called about any big issues, and after I swap out a few more HDMI cables for coax, they’ll be all set. My dad is amazed by remote scheduling via his Nexus S and seems to really be enjoying DVR. Mom and Grandma are less than thrilled about the lack of The Hallmark Channel, but they move on. And I’m happy that they’re finally taking advantage of HDTV on the sets they’ve got.
All in all, a good change. Welcome to the bleeding edge.