Dish/Direct TV vs Cable

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I'm in the Philly suburbs. I have had DishNetwork for over 6 years. I have been very happy with their service. Make sure you get DVR receivers, at least one for your primary viewing location. I have a model 721 and model 501.
Make sure Dish has a programming package that is to your liking. DirecTV may be better for you if they have a channel Dish doesn't and its one you really want. DirecTV has NFL Season Pass or something like that, gets you all NFL games. Dish does not. Dish has NHL and MLB season passes. (Not that NHL matters right now). Make your decision based upon programming then look for the best deal for that vendor.
I have used www.dishdepot.com with good success.

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I'd also figure out how HDTV fits into your plans. Currently, many cable providers offer the local networks in HD, while the sat providers, do not. With Sat, you still need to use an antenna to receive the locals in HD. The sats do have an assortment of 8 or so other HD channes, eg Discovery, HBO, etc avail in HD as do many of the cable companies.
And don't forget internet access. By bundling that into the deal, cable becomes more attractive.
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On 9 Dec 2004 08:05:23 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Cable TV with cable Internet costs $85+taxes here. Dish is close to $40 (minimum setup) and my AT&T Internet is $14 a month.
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What kind of internet access do you have for $14? Sure sounds like dial up, in which case you're comparing apples to oranges.
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For about $100 (phone, TV and internet): Internet - 256K Internet connection for T1 and T2 only pay a few bucks more, TV - All local channels, digital tier, HBO and sport.
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Phisherman, we don't yet have an HDTV set. We have ordinary ones as we're not into TV features that much. We're interested in content and number of channels available because of 3 people with diverse TV interests. We're going to look over the offerings as well as cost and service. Hope we don't have a conflict because of differences within the household. :/ Thanks for your reply. Sherry
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trader4, We're happy with AOL, just because of instant messaging with friends who have it and because of it's own forums and member contact/info accessibility. Just a matter of offerings, quality, service, cost, etc. If we can get better with dish than we get with cable, we'll switch. It's beginning to sound like we may have to lose some of the channels we've enjoyed. We'll find out what we can get for how much. Thanks for your reply. Sherry
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Brikp, what would be missing without a DVR receiver? As you can see I'm totally ignorant regarding dish viewing. Do you have to ask for particular models? Are some better than others? I put dishdepot.com into my favorites for now. More research to do. Thanks for your reply. Sherry
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Without a DVR receiver you lose the ability to record now and play back later *with the same picture quality*. You could still record to a VCR, but you won't see the same quality on playback.
We have a combo DirecTV receiver and TiVo PVR/DVR that offers features ike "Season Pass" that will automatically record all episodes of a particular program (with or without repeats) without us having to worry about scheduling each episode individually and worrying whether it's on at a different time or whether it's a 2-hour episode instead of the usual 1-hour one.
Perce
On 12/09/04 11:57 pm PaNjDeFemale tossed the following ingredients into the ever-growing pot of cybersoup:

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And, I should add, our combo DirecTV receiver and TiVo PVR/DVR has dual tuners, so we can record two different program simultaneously, and even watch a pre-recorded program at the same time as these other two are being recorded.
Someone else had complained about not being able to use the picture-in-picture feature with satellite systems, but since this thing has twin tuners I assume that we could also get PIP if our TV had that feature.
Perce
I wrote:

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I have used both cable and DirecTV. I rarely encountered weather related problem with cable (when I was in New York City and in Fort Lee-New Jersey). Since I have switched to DirecTV, I have weather related problem whenever there is mild-to-heavy rain. This may have to do with the fact that my house is not tall (2 floors, relatively flat roof), and there is a not-so-short tree south of the house.
The other thing is that DirecTV requires a decoder box at each TV. If I remember correctly, each additional decoder box costs additional monthly fee. I used cable basic service and I didn't need a decoder box. The use of decoder box not only costs more but also causes some inconveniences. For example, I cannot use picture-in-picture any more because that would require 2 decoder boxes in one TV, and I cannot watch TV in more than 2 locations in my house because I am restricted to 2 decoder boxes (and I don't want to pay extra). Of course, this point is irrelevant if you want to watch premium channels in cable or if you want to subscribe to HDTV cable service or your local cable requires you to use a decoder box even for basic cable service (such as in New York City); in these three cases, you will need a decoder box, and cable will not be better than DirecTV in this espect.
I am still staying with DirecTV because a family member wants to watch a channel that cable doesn't carry. Otherwise, I would have switched back to cable.
Jay Chan
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Jay, looks like your experience shows how bad weather can affect the dish, which is one of our concerns. We have a 2-story (front to back) split and neighbors have large trees although we don't. We also seem to be in some sort of wind gust plane here. Everyone's leaves, everyone's everything seems to end up on our property, so we could be very vulnerable. I don't expect a dish company to tell us our location would be problematic. Appreciate the details about your location with the dish. Location may be very important with this. Also we don't know if cable would have to remove their wires and dish install theirs. We expect also to move in 6 mos. so we don't know if it's worth it. One offer we read about said "no contract" so we wouldn't be stuck for a year or any amount of time beyond I suppose a month. We have a lot of investigating to do before we put in the energy for this kind of change. Thanks for your reply. Sherry
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Last time when I switched from cable to DirecTV, the installer didn't remove the existing wiring. He simply ran new wire using a different route. This was a good thing because local squirrels like to bite the wire of the cable service that was put in a way that squirrels have easy access to the cable.

Probably not. You will lose a vacation day just to sit in your house waiting for the installer to show up.
Jay Chan
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On 09 Dec 2004 03:18:27 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (FreespiritedFem) wrote:

Love digital cable, broadband internet and DVR's on every TV. For $140/month I get a bazillion channels, 3 DVR's and screaming internet access.
If you go wwith Satellite, make sure you have an unobstructed view to the satellite(s) in question. No tall trees or buildings or hills in the direction of the bird. I think both direct and dish have aiming info on their websites. In Philly it will probably be southwest.
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IOn Thu, 09 Dec 2004 19:00:42 -0500, Paul Franklin

I get basic cable access and digital internet for about $50 per month. I don't care about the TV at all but I like the fast internet access. Dan
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Dan, basic cable here is probably a little more than your cost but our issue is 3 viewers with diverse TV viewing interests. I don't care about Court TV, for example, but mom would miss not having it. Also she loves the home decorating shows and my husband watches dopey shows like "favorite TV bloopers" which mom and I would never watch. :) Necessary -- large package to satisfy all of us. :) Thanks for your reply. Sherry
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Paul, guess what's to our southwest?????!!! Next door neighbor's HUGE sycamore tree! Leaves are up to 14" across and many end up in our yard due to mysterious wind gusts isolated on our property. Maybe this will all be moot for now as we're moving in about 6 months. We have comcast and doubt we could get a deal like yours. Where are you from, BTW? We tried to get digital on one TV set, a very basic Sylvania VCR combo and they couldn't connect digital to it. We have a newer TV now but the others are all older and maybe none are compatible with digital. So we do have many questions for the dish companies. Thanks for your reply. Sherry
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On 10 Dec 2004 05:22:13 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (PaNjDeFemale) wrote:

Sherry,
I'm in Northern OH. (Adelphia--much maligned, but other than a few glitches when they started up in the area, I've no complaints) Tree may be a problem, but often there is a spot on the house that has a clear enough view to work; the installer can check your site ahead of time. (I hate those wind gusts that only ever seem to blow leaves *onto* your property!)
Digital cable usually requires a STB (set top box) or a cable DVR/PVR (digital/personal video recorder) for anything other than the basic cable channels. They generally have both video and RF outputs so they should connect to any TV except the few units that have no antenna or video connection at all. And the dish won't be able to connect to them either.
Regardless of which you go with, I highly recommend (as have others) the DVR/PVR. It completely changes the way you watch TV, and for the better. The ones supplied by my cable company allow you to record two different shows while watching another prerecorded show, or watch one show while recording another. I think the units provided by the dish companies have similar capabilities. Good luck with your choice. Paul
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FreespiritedFem wrote:

I am on digital cable TV/Internet combo. I know dish is affected by weather conditions. Some does not provide local programming. I have over 400 channels of HD digital video, music, pay per view, etc. Tony
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On 09 Dec 2004 03:18:27 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (FreespiritedFem) wrote:

The only thing cable is good for is internet. I'll never pay their exorbitant fees again for TV. Thank god my company is paying for my internet, or I probably wouldn't use them.
People talk about "rain fade" during rainstorms and satellite dishes. In New England, I've never had this problem. 5+ years of satellite. I've never had a snow problem either. I have, however, had rain fade with cable TV. In my old house, me and my entire neighborhood would get static on the screen in varying severity depending on how much rain was falling. I lived there for 4 years and it never improved. Most of us called during every rain storm, and quite often we were told "that's normal"!!! We all know that's BS, but this is the customer service I had.
Price was the main reason I decided to try satellite. After I got it, I knew I'd never have cable TV again. Price is still an easy $10 cheaper than cable in my area and I get more channels with far better quality.
Keep in mind that if you have a large screen TV, digital cable (in many areas) is so over compressed because of all the services they are pushing down the same cable, that the picture looks very pixelated (like a video clip on your computer).
Pixelating (or artifacting) on satellite services is far less noticeable. On both Dish Network and DirecTV, you'll find that the local channels for your area are generally the worst quality (but still far better than anything digital cable has). Next in quality are the mainstream channels that all providers offer (comedy, food, court, espn, nik, etc.). These are great quality and you'd be hard pressed to complain. Next in quality are the premium channels (HBO, Cimemax, etc). And the best quality is reserved for PPV. These rival DVD's.
Now, to compare quality between Dish and DirecTV, I've found Dish to be lower in quality. There was a time that Dish's quality was so bad, it made cable look good! They've since launched another satellite to help bandwidth and their quality has improved quite a bit. But side by side, DirecTV still has a better quality picture all around. Keep in mind this is on large screen sets and anything under 50" you'll probably never notice the difference.
Dish and DirecTV offer a little different base packages and depending on what you want, one may be a better deal than the other. You'll have to shop them.
For both, you can usually get free equipment if you are a first time subscriber. Especially if you call and tell them you're thinking of getting cable, but want to know why satellite is better - they'll do whatever it takes to sign you up!!
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