Yesterday I talked about people who have, or are seriously considering ditching their cable TV service. There's a reason that this topic came to me - almost two weeks of constant frustration with my cable company.

First, my cable box stopped working. You'd think that I could go to my local cable company office, bring in the old box, get a new one, plug it in to the TV and power outlet, call an 800 number to activate it, and be good to go (or at least have the option to do that).

But you'd be wrong.

According to the cable company, a technician has to come out to my house to do all of that for me (because apparently I'm not competent enough to do it myself). So on top of making an appointment with at least a 2 hour window that I have to make a point to be home, I also have to disassemble my entertainment center so the tech can get to everything.

That was taken care of last week.

Then my TiVo stopped working with my cable subscription.

For no reason, by the way. The TiVo isn't connected to the other problem in any way, shape, or form.

The way that a TiVo works with most cable systems is that they give you a small, credit card sized gizmo, called a CableCARD, that you insert into the TiVo. That's what allows your TiVo to "talk" to your cable company and give you access to all of the channels that you pay for.

So apparently, for some reason, my CableCARD stopped working. When I called customer service they literally told me that, according to their records, that specific card doesn't exist and never has. How my cable has worked for the previous two years was a mystery.

Now, again, you'd think that I could go to my local office, bring in the old CableCARD, get a new one, plug it in, and call to activate it.

But you'd be wrong.

Once again I had to make an appointment, make sure to be home, disassemble my entertainment center, and patiently wait for the technician to arrive to plug in the tiny card.

What really gets me is the fact that there's really no way to screw this particular operation up. I mean ok, I get it if they don't want you unhooking your cable box, wiring everything around, etc. But for the CableCARD, you literally remove the old one from the slot, insert the new one, give customer service the serial number, and you're good to go.

Apparently it takes a highly trained expert to perform this task.

I even suggested to the tech that it would have been a lot easier (and allowed him to go to homes that actually needed his help) if I could have done this all myself, entered the appropriate information online, and gone about my business.

He agreed.

Why are our cable bills so high? I have to assume that part of it is the fact that cable companies are requiring technician visits for simple tasks like replacing a CableCARD; wasting my time, the technician's time, gas for the truck, etc.

As the title above states - there has to be an easier way!