A sad, sad day is finally behind me…

The HD-DVD add-on for our Xbox 360 broke down last night. It has been flaky for some time, but last night it finally gave up. It freezes, in the middle of a movie, and after keeping the image frozen for a few seconds, it crashes to the 360 dashboard, and after that the only thing to do is take out the DVD, close the tray, turn off the console, and reboot it. Put the DVD back in, and hope and pray the movie will play all the way through. It rarely does.

Last night we finally had enough, and called Microsoft to see if they could help us. After all, when the 360 broke down they replaced it for us without arguing, a response we still remembered fondly.

Not so much anymore, not after last night’s conversation with Microsoft Tech Support. It seems the HD-DVD add-on is out of warranty since a month, which means we cannot even get it repaired for a fee. This would be fine and understandable, if we didn’t buy it on December 17 of 2006. To rephrase slightly, we are stuck with a $200 piece of hardware that failed after four months of playing three or four movies per week.

I will spare you my deep contempt for the insult and bad joke a three-month warranty is. I’d have more respect for a company that would be honest enough to print “we know this product is crap, and we’re over-charging you for it anyway” on the first page of the manual.

Given Microsoft’s past history of unfinished products, cheap and malfunctioning hardware, not to mention their complete disregard for their customers, it really shouldn’t surprise us that they’re not going to lift a finger to replace the $200 paperweight with a functioning HD-DVD add-on. That doesn’t mean it isn’t making us angry though.

So this is what being ripped off feels like. I’ve been wondering.

Add to the above that the 61-inch 1080p Samsung TV failed this morning, and that the Lakers were being absolutely destroyed in Phoenix tonight, and that my afternoon at work today consisted of being lectured by morons, with shrill voices, on The Proper Way To Run A Company, and tomorrow (or rather the rest of today) cannot come soon enough.

Today’s single saving grace was Samsung’s response to our phone call: “Well, there’s obviously something wrong with the TV, so we’ll get that repaired for you.”

A repair person from the Local Authorized Service Center showed up in the afternoon, and will order the spare parts and take care of this for us, and then bill Samsung, since the one-year warranty is still in effect. The TV is most likely going to be fixed well before this weekend.

Microsoft, take notes.

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