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DirecTV, Dish Network, or Digital Cable?


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Which is the best way to go? Advantages and Disadvantages? Having trouble making up my mind about which way to go on this decision.

I got digital cable. You don't haft to worry about when it rains. satellite dishes start to fade when it rains or especially when we get a little snow. I know i worked for a satellite company for a year. Then i started working for the cable company. I would here old satellite customer's say get that crap out my house. By the way i don't work for Time's anymore either.

Edited by Marty
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Which is the best way to go? Advantages and Disadvantages? Having trouble making up my mind about which way to go on this decision.

DirecTV does have clear as day reception, very good product but indeed, heaven forbid if you are tying to record something when it rains hard or gets very, very cloudy.

And their pitches are something to watch out for. The "free" installation for four rooms is really bogus because if there are fresh coax installs that need to be done...they simply have CONTRACT workers who do charge anywhere from $35 to 50 per room. And don't forget the $14.99 per month communication fee. Then there's the contract.

But the channel offerings are soo good though.

Service-wise I do miss digital cable such as when I had Cox out in San Diego. No satellite, the DVR graphics are sturdier and such.

The thing with cable is that when it goes out, it can really go out for 30 minutes or an hour or many hours. With satellite, the disruption goes on for a couple of minutes or however long the worst of a thunderstorm lasts.

I'm stuck with DirecTV for two years but at least they have a better variety of channels to give, and the reception is better.

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I'd avoid Dish. I have Dish 120 right now and am not really happy with it. I'm not going to switch because it's free with the apartment. But more often than not the channel guide says "Info not available" if you're looking more than 30 minutes out.

When there's a big storm the signal disappears, which is more problematic than it sounds, because when there's a big storm is exactly when you need your local channels most.

And speaking of local channels, they look like crap compared to HBO. There appears to be at least three different levels of compression on Dish channels. There's the premium and movie channels like HBO, which are perfect and crystal clear with very little compression. Then there are the regular cable channels like Discovery which are slightly compressed but not too badly. And then there are the local channels which are horribly compressed. They look like garbage. The subtle gradients so common in local TV news are rendered as big ugly blocks. It looks awful.

I've heard that DirecTV looks better, but I've never seen it so I can't really say.

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I think that if you polled 100 people, you would get 100 different answers. I had Dish back in the day, then Time Warner, and now DirecTV. I have also helped friends set up their HD home theaters with each service. If you wants lots of HD, Dish is your answer. They have twice as many HD channels as DirecTV (who has really fallen down as of late). The only reason I still have DirecTV is because my building is tied to the service. That and my DirecTiVo is far and away superior to any other DVR offered outside of the stand-alone TiVo.

I have found Time-Warner to be decent in HD, but their SD doesn't look that hot. As for rain fade with satellites, I can count on one hand the number of times I have lost signal this year. Maybe I'm lucky, I don't know, but to me it is a total non-issue.

Each service will nickel-and-dime you to death, and they are (probably) all about the same price. I would urge you to think about how you use your service: (1) do you need more than 4 TVs with service, (2) do you have a clear SW view where a satellite could be mounted (will it be on the front of the house)?, (3) Do you record a lot of shows (the private label DVRs are terrible, as editor noted above), (4) how important is HD to you (Dish is your answer then).

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Thanks for all the replies so far. They have been very helpful.

I am also wondering about how the satellite and digital cable services differ when you are dealing with multiple TVs. I would like to be able to watch TV in different rooms without having to pay an outrageous amount for a reciever in every room.

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We recently switched from DirectTV to cable, and there are definite trade offs. Cable is about $10 a month cheaper, and we have the DVR as well as one more premium channel than we had with DTV. However, if you are really into picture quality, etc, DTV would be the way to go. The HD channels w/DTV are nothing short of amazing, especially for sporting events.

We had some major issues getting good reception with DTV, and after half a dozen tech visits, decided to cancel our service all together. The techs were friendly and helpful, but knowledgeable they were not. We went through 3 different dishes in a 6 month span, and now have to have a portion of our roof repaired, after which DTV will reimburse us. Major pain in the rear.

All the cable boxes are "refurbished", and we're averaging a new one every other month. The facility to swap them is near our house though, and I understand there are others located throughout the city. So while it may be an annoyance, at least it's relatively convenient.

In my experience you will have to pay individually to have additional receivers (installation, monthly charges). When we last checked it was around $6.00/month for each additional receiver.

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Switched 3 weeks ago from TW digital cable to Dish Network, bundled with DSL and phone service.

In 3 yrs with digital cable we got reasonable reception on the digital channels but poor reception on the analog channels. We had problems I'd equate to using an old over-the-air roof antenna (ghosting, moving lines on the screen), not just on the local channels but regular cable channels as well. TWC reps came out dozens of times but couldn't fix the problem. Might just be the area, a friend of ours in the same neighborhood couldn't even get digital cable because the signal wasn't strong enough on his street.

So far no problems whatsoever with Dish. We have 2 SD TVs, and picture quality is much much better than TWC on all channels. No noticeable signal dropouts yet, though no major storms have come through.

For our packages, Dish is quite a bit cheaper than TWC. Digital cable on one TV (regular cable only on 2nd TV), with DVR and HBO came to over $70/mth. For us, that was just way too much money considering our picture quality problems. Dish Network 120 with DVR and HBO is about $10 cheaper, I think (we save more because of the bundle).

To get digital cable (definitely) and Direct TV (I think) you need a receiver per TV. Dish Network have a dual tuner receiver so 1 box (and so only 1 fee) for 2 TVs.

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I have used Dish, DirecTV, and cable, and out of all 3 I say Dish is the best. The picture and sound quality are much better on Dish than cable or DirecTV. Rain fade rarely happens and is over hyped by the cable companies, I can also count on one hand the number of outages I have had and I have been using satellite since 1998. Satellite is also cheaper than what I would be spending on digital cable if I still used it.

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