On Tuesday afternoon an estimated 35,000 Charter Communications customers' television sets went blank for a little over six hours.
Close to 85 percent of Charter Communications customers that include Glendale, Montrose, La Crescenta and a small portion of La Cañada were affected by the outage.
"It was a software problem," said Craig Watson, vice president for Charter Communications, western division.
The outage actually only affected those televisions hooked up to a digital box; any sets that were hooked directly to cable in a wall socket continued to operate, Watson said. Televisions first went blank at 4:47 p.m. on Tuesday. Any attempt to turn the digital cable box on or off proved ineffective. Many customers called in to Charter, but did not get a response. In fact, at times customers were transferred to a busy signal.
"They may have called during a peak time," Watson said.
After the company realized what the problem was, they placed a recorded message for those who called Charter explaining the technical difficulty.
"We hadn't seen anything like this," Watson said. "It was totally unexpected."
The irony, according to Watson, was that the failure was at a time when the company's technicians were working on a parallel system that would act as a fall back in case of a failure.
"This couldn't have happened at a worse time, too, with the [Major League Baseball] All-Star game," Watson said.
The Tuesday night game did see low ratings — two million less viewers than last year. Some customers were upset about missing their favorite programs while others took it in stride, like Brook Belsey on Mary Street who decided to use the down time productively.
"T.V.'s off, time to take the dog for a walk," Belsey said.
The cable was back up for most customers by 11 p.m. however some high definition sets were still down until Wednesday.