ATI: Let Me Count the Ways Tech Support Sucks

I can hardly stand the thought of calling a tech vendor for support. I know I’m going to get some nitwit who immediately asks me to untie and tie my shoes, and then reboot my computer.

Case in point: My PC’s ATI All-in-Wonder 9800 decided this morning to begin displaying a small, gray alert saying “Protected” in the middle of all television channels. Why is it doing that? Why won’t it stop? Why did it start? What does “Protected” mean? And what idiot would create such a non-intuitive and wildly obtrusive alert without an explanation or way of turning it off?

I tried pretty much everything, short of uninstalling the ATI multimedia TV console (which is a nightmare). Nothing. And “Protected” makes no sense, given that these are broadcast TV channels, nothing special, and given that the banner wasn’t center screen on the TV display yesterday.

So, I sucked it up and contacted ATI. I couldn’t get through on the phone, of course, so I was left putting up a trouble ticket on the ATI site. I patiently explained the issue, and got back this response moments ago:


Based on our experience, Multimedia Center related issues are usually due to improper software installation or system configuration settings. Click the following link to review the full details for  trouble shooting Multimedia Center related issues.

Solution? Solution? That’s not a frickin’ Solution. That’s, at best, a restatement of the word Problem. I know I have a problem with Multimedia Center, that’s why I wrote such a detailed description of what was going on when I opened that trouble ticket with you, you dimwitted bastards.

Yeesh, I hope AMD goes under, if only to punish ATI.


  1. It may be that the broadcast signal(s) is now… protected. If they are HD signals, these may now be HDCP (copy protection).
    This page has a bit of background & explanation:

  2. Yeah, I thought of that. But a) it’s an old analog signal, so not HD/etc., and b) even if it was protected, what idiot would force a notification to permanently obscure the center of the screen?

  3. If possible, attach a small TV set to the same input cable to determine whether the ‘protected’ message is coming *from* the signal or rather being *added by* the video card.
    And yes, obscure messages like that are nearly completely useless.

  4. I don’t have an ATI card, so I’m guessing. One guess would be that somehow it’s picking up a Macrovision signal. The second guess would be that a recorded program was protected and somehow it tried to delete and failed and now the display is “stuck”.
    Sorry about the problems. I would liken the marriage of AMD and ATI to a company made up of two of Three Stooges, and not the good combo. A Moe-Larry business might actually make it, but the AMD-ATI merger was like Curly and Shemp going into business. You have Curly, the complete idiot that everybody likes (AMD), and his replacement, Shemp, that everybody hates (ATI).