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Switching From Cable To Satellite... Advice?  
User currently offlineDuff44 From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 1723 posts, RR: 0
Posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 1985 times:

I checked a couple other threads on this, and most seem out of date.

I'm thinking about switching from cable to satellite, specifically DirecTV. My Comcast bill is simply getting too high (and is going to get higher... ugh), and I think that DirecTV will be less expensive for what I want. I'd get all my locals, and do NOT need HD in any form. (Two 4:3 standard TV's)

FYI - Either way I'm keeping the cable internet because DSL absolutely sucks around here... cable is 5x faster, easily.

Has anyone made the switch before?

What do I need to buy? Can the equipment be leased like cable?
What do I need to know in advance to not be surprised? (I HATE surprises)
Will they need to rip apart my walls to install it? (No cable in two locations currently)
Is the 1-yr contract as bad as I've heard from some? Does it go month-to-month after that?
DirecTV is currently offering a free DVR upgrade and free installation through their website if ordered online. Has anyone ordered it this way before? Did you get slammed with charges later?
Does the antenna really need to be re-aligned every couple months? What about weather-related signal losses? (I live in central CT... occasional T-storms and snow in winter, nothing extreme)

I'd appreciate any info you could provide to me.

Thanks in advance

Duff

Edit: thread title

[Edited 2007-07-07 05:40:42]


I'll rassle ya for a bowl of bacon!
16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineN312RC From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 2682 posts, RR: 16
Reply 1, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 1973 times:

Well, I went from Comcast to Dish Network and here is my take:

With comcast, you rented the box for a certain amount per month.. I liked that.. no huge out of pocket expense. Dish tried to get me to buy the box and sign an 18 month commitment, or charge me a 59.99 activation fee if I didnt.. I didnt like that. ended up getting a standard def single tuner DVR box for 5.98 a month out of them.

The on screen guides and such are not anywhere as good as comcast's were... often times the hardware locks up and resets, and the TV guide feature is often wrong. I live in Florida (Jacksonville) and lose signal every time it rains really hard... Not until it lets up will the signal reacquire and the picture return.


My advice? Pay for comcast.. at least its reliable.



Fly Delta's Big Jets!
User currently offlineRichPhitzwell From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 1963 times:

Quoting Duff44 (Thread starter):
What do I need to buy? Can the equipment be leased like cable?
What do I need to know in advance to not be surprised? (I HATE surprises)
No real surprises, but its not as easy to split the signal as with cable no big deal if your home/business has been wired to a central location

Will they need to rip apart my walls to install it? (No cable in two locations currently)
Both cable and sat use rg5 or rg6, and they generally do the worst install ever. get in get out. If you want it done professionally hire a professional

Is the 1-yr contract as bad as I've heard from some? Does it go month-to-month after that?
Dont know, but my friends have no issue with it. I would as I tend to move alot

DirecTV is currently offering a free DVR upgrade and free installation through their website if ordered online. Has anyone ordered it this way before? Did you get slammed with charges later?
Dont know about the cost, but DVRs rock...I would check to see how many channels you can record at the same time. Cable is usually around 3. Sat usually is 1 per line after the splitter. Generally they will run two lines for sat to the receiver so that you can watch one show while recording another, but the technology has been improving to the point that this may not be the case since last time I looked 8 months ago.

Does the antenna really need to be re-aligned every couple months? What about weather-related signal losses? (I live in central CT... occasional T-storms and snow in winter, nothing extreme)

In CA no, but If you have a crappy install then yes. Generally they try to pick up two or three sats, but if the guy doesn't secure the dish or align it right then you may have to.

The only real surprise if installed right is waiting for the damn menu once a day to download....really no big deal. Second is are you sure you will save money as opposed to a bundle with your cable provider?

Good luck and enjoy.


Edited, oh hell read your quote...I added my comments after each question...

[Edited 2007-07-07 07:00:51]

User currently offlineRichPhitzwell From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 1954 times:

God I should quit drinking...

Anyways, the biggest beef I have with sat is you have to have a receiver...at least 8 months ago... with cable you can plug any tv directly to the line and get basic cable and newer tv's/vcr's you can get extended basic with sat u have to have a receiver.

Good to know if you want to watch comedy central in your toilet. =)


User currently offlineSeb146 From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 11718 posts, RR: 15
Reply 4, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 1921 times:

My mom has had both DirectTV and Dish Network. I have had Comcast and I can tell you I like DirectTV best. Mom lives in The Dalles. Anyone in the Northwest can tell you they have wind. She does not lose the signal. Also, the on-screen guide is better with DirectTV than with the other two companies. She has just the basic service with no DVR upgrade or anything and she has had no complaints about any of it. As long as you get a good installer, you should be fine with DirectTV.

GO CANUCKS!!



Life in the wall is a drag.
User currently offlineNitrohelper From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 469 posts, RR: 5
Reply 5, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 1907 times:

I have Direct TV at home and on my motor home. I had Time Warner cable ,but they jacked me around for three weeks when I moved to my new house . I called Direct ,and had service in three days. A hard rain storm will interrupt two or three times a summer (only for minutes) , but I would also lose cable sometimes in bad weather too, sometime for hours (trees down). Now I have a generator so I have TV when the power, and cable internet is out.
I use HD and find Direct better than cable for that. Never have had to reset the dish ,and the installer did a fine job.
I'm not sure you will save money, I now have cable for internet only ,the two vender's cost about $15.00 more per month,but I signed a two year deal with Direct ,so next year I may rethink my hate for Time Warner.


User currently offlineIFEMaster From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 1904 times:

I moved from Charter to Dish Network a couple of years ago, and I'm really happy with their service. The installer was pleasant and on time. The equipment has worked flawlessly since day 1. The channel lineup is excellent. The picture quality is excellent. There are a good number of HD channels. The Pay Per View offerings aren't shabby either. Oh, the receiver works with SlingBox.

The only complaint I have is that they don't carry Setanta sports, which means I miss 50% of the televised Premiership games each year.


User currently offlineDuff44 From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 1723 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 1873 times:

Quoting RichPhitzwell (Reply 2):
No real surprises, but its not as easy to split the signal as with cable no big deal if your home/business has been wired to a central location

Not a problem...

Quoting RichPhitzwell (Reply 2):
Both cable and sat use rg5 or rg6, and they generally do the worst install ever. get in get out. If you want it done professionally hire a professional

I think the wires in my place are really old, so I might not have a choice.

Quoting RichPhitzwell (Reply 2):
Dont know, but my friends have no issue with it. I would as I tend to move alot

With the pile of shit I've accumulated in my apartment (ironically, mostly my sister's crap), I'm not moving.... ever... no, really.

Quoting RichPhitzwell (Reply 2):
Dont know about the cost, but DVRs rock...I would check to see how many channels you can record at the same time. Cable is usually around 3. Sat usually is 1 per line after the splitter. Generally they will run two lines for sat to the receiver so that you can watch one show while recording another, but the technology has been improving to the point that this may not be the case since last time I looked 8 months ago

I have a Comcast DVR now which I only usually do the basics. I very rarely record two shows at once.

Quoting RichPhitzwell (Reply 2):
In CA no, but If you have a crappy install then yes. Generally they try to pick up two or three sats, but if the guy doesn't secure the dish or align it right then you may have to.

Fair enough... not a chronic problem, more related to the installation.

Quoting RichPhitzwell (Reply 2):
Second is are you sure you will save money as opposed to a bundle with your cable provider?

If the price quoted is correct, yes... about $50/month.

Quoting RichPhitzwell (Reply 3):
God I should quit drinking...

Moderation, my friend... only two or three.... cases Big grin

Quoting RichPhitzwell (Reply 3):

Anyways, the biggest beef I have with sat is you have to have a receiver...at least 8 months ago... with cable you can plug any tv directly to the line and get basic cable and newer tv's/vcr's you can get extended basic with sat u have to have a receiver.

Good to know if you want to watch comedy central in your toilet. =)

Not a problem... don't mind the receivers at all, as long as stuff works.

My main reason I'm switching is that I must have Speed on my TV, and Comcast has jerked the packages around so much you have to pay for 150 channels I don't give a crap about so they can make a buck. I'm sick of it.

Thanks for everyone's responses, that helped a lot. Keep them coming, if more people have some...



I'll rassle ya for a bowl of bacon!
User currently offlineCheckraiser From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 1864 times:

I dumped Charter for DISH in October. I wish I hadn't. I have the Dish 1000 system.

The receiver/DVR works very well. I'm impressed with it - much better than Charter's Motorola boxes. That's about all I like better about Dish.

If you live where it snows you're going to be in for a treat if you get 4"+ of packy snow. If it's wet enough to stick to and accumulate on the dish you'll have to knock it off. Dry snow is ok as long as it's not coming down really hard. They do make dish heaters, but that'll cost you extra.

The system I have uses one dish to receive off of three birds. I hired a professional installer (not the dish goons, but rather a well-respected local home theater outfit) and he said at our latitude (central WI) it's tough to get a strong signal on all three satellites. I've futzed around with it myself and could not improve the signal. Anything more than a moderate rain and/or T-storms - you're watching the locals, which brings me here...

You have to pay $7/month for locals. I bought an antenna ($150) and get them over the air because I refuse to pay for something that should be free.

I can't comment on the install because mine was very straightforward. I only have one TV. The cable run is short and just brought straight in through one exterior wall - they pulled it through where the Charter cable came in.

Your internet experience is just the opposite of what mine was. Cable was faster but not very reliable. I've had Verizon DSL for a year and a half and have never had a single outage. Never.

I don't know about Comcast, but when you called Charter you got to speak to somebody in your state. If you need customer service from Dish you'll be calling India.

One last thing... even though you don't have HD you probably will someday. Dish HD sucks. It seems over-compressed or something. The HD I get off of my over the air antenna is much higher quality.

If you're keeping cable for an ISP I'd keep it for TV as well. When my contract is up I'll be back on my knees to get cable again - until FIOS comes out.  crossfingers 


User currently offlineRichPhitzwell From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 1849 times:

Quoting Duff44 (Reply 7):
I think the wires in my place are really old, so I might not have a choice.

If I'm not mistaken sat uses 6 and the signal cant go over 5. older is generally 5. The install that both cable and sat providers do is usually not clean. Its not bad, but they like to run wires on the outside of the building or along baseboards, etc. Usually they are cheaper than you can do it yourself though as they really are not trying to make money on the install, but if aesthetics is important then you would want someone to run the cables hidden. Since you live in an apartment you probably dont have the right to tear into the walls and ceiling, check with your apartment management first...also many apartments dont allow sat, again check with them.

Quoting Checkraiser (Reply 8):
Dish HD sucks.

Is this with using their "super dish" or whatever its called, or just using the standard dish?


User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 1848 times:

My answer would be (C) None of the above.

I started off with Dish, and while I liked it, any thunderstorm whose top got between my antenna and the satellite interrupted the signal for 15-30 minutes, depending upon how fast the storm was moving,

Then I went to Comcast, which just recently changed over to Time Warner. (Comcast and Time Warner swapped some franchises around recently). I had better service in bad weather, but over the course of a year, I had 6 service interruptions ranging from a couple of hours to 24 hours. The last straw was about 3 weeks ago, when I had two 2-hour outages in the same day.

I called Verizon to order Fios fiber-optic service, as they had a package deal (TV, 15/2 internet, and phone service with free LD) for $99 a year. That was at 2:30pm. Next morning at 7:30, their tech was at the front door to advise that they'd be trenching a fiber-optic cable from the alleyway box to the side of the house. A separate appointment was made for the installer, and he showed up :15 early, and had everything installed and running in about 4.5 hours. I got a DVR for my room, and regular boxes for the kids' rooms and family room. It's been in for the last 2 weeks, and even with all the storms we've had in the Dallas area, the Fios service hasn't so much as burped. Comcast/TW supposedly had their internet service at 6Mbs, and I rarely got anything over 2-3Mbps. Fios has been running 13-15Mbps, and downloads zip by so fast you can't even see the Windows XP dialog box.

The various Baby Bells may have fiber-optic service in your neck of the woods (SBC/SWBell/AT&T or whatever they're calling themselves -this- week has one here) and if so, I'd recommend fiber-optic service over satellite/cable. I hope you have that option...

Good luck....


User currently offlineDuff44 From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 1723 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 1840 times:

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 10):
The various Baby Bells may have fiber-optic service in your neck of the woods (SBC/SWBell/AT&T or whatever they're calling themselves -this- week has one here) and if so, I'd recommend fiber-optic service over satellite/cable. I hope you have that option...

I don't... already checked that



I'll rassle ya for a bowl of bacon!
User currently offlineCheckraiser From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 1837 times:

Quoting RichPhitzwell (Reply 9):
Is this with using their "super dish" or whatever its called, or just using the standard dish?

I think its what they call the super dish. It's oblong with three LNBs. The best explanation I've gotten is that sat. providers have to heavily compress their signals due to bandwidth limitations, so I doubt the receiver has anything to do with it. The picture is grainy and if there's a lot of fast action it gets bit-starved. Dish blames my set - but Blu-rays look awesome on it.


Like OPNL says, when fiber comes I'll be getting it. Unfortunately for me, I live in a small market in the former GTE North footprint - Verizon treats it like a red-headed stepchild.  Sad

I need fiber....

http://marcos.kirsch.com.mx/blogimages/pesaj.gif


User currently offlineCaptainJon From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 1809 times:

Only thing when we got rid of Cablevision to get DirecTV, cablevision took the cable wire away. We did this before high speed internet was around, then we wanted to get optonline, but still keep directv. Cablevision charged us 50 bucks to get the cable back. Eventually we got rid of directv. Only because where we live, we have a lot of tree coverage, and everytime the wind blew signal dropped. During most thunderstorms we lost signal for a long time, so we went back to cable.

We are now cancelling that and going with FiOS. That gets installed Tuesday.


User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 1784 times:

Quoting CaptainJon (Reply 13):

We are now cancelling that and going with FiOS. That gets installed Tuesday.

You'll love it...

I would have ordered it sooner, but was turned off by the fact that when they install it, you don't have the ability to opt-out of their migrating the old copper phone line to the new fiber service. In the event of a power failure, the old copper line would never go out, but with the fiber service, the optical network terminal (ONT) only has back-up power for about 4 hours. While that would cover the duration of most power outages, I'd prefer a longer time. I mentioned that to the tech, and figured out a work-around. I'm going to get an additional UPS (with a longer rating) and plug it in between the outlet and the Fios UPS--that way, mine gets used up first, and then the FIOS one starts its 4-hour lifespan. FYI, they don't mention this anywhere in the literature, but the TV and internet don't function while on the UPS--just the phone. Not a dealbreaker for me, but thought you might want to know.

BTW, make sure the tech has access to the interior wall of the garage on the other side of where your current exterior telephone box is. The ONT replaces that exterior phone box, and they drill through the wall so they can run the connection to the UPS (and keep it dry). My garage is a mess, and I had to scramble to clear a path for the guy...


User currently offlineCaptainJon From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 1777 times:

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 14):
BTW, make sure the tech has access to the interior wall of the garage on the other side of where your current exterior telephone box is. The ONT replaces that exterior phone box, and they drill through the wall so they can run the connection to the UPS (and keep it dry). My garage is a mess, and I had to scramble to clear a path for the guy...

I am still cleaning my bedroom where I keep the modem right now. The garage is a mess too, but the current phone box is in the basement, which is also a mess, but that can be accessed rather easily. Which data plan do you recommend? The standard or faster one? I also think an additional UPS is a good idea. I have a big one in my room now which I think is totally unnecessary so I may get a smaller one for my computer and the bigger one for the phone so it can last much longer. Cell service in my area is rather spotty.

My last power failure I was surprised I was still surfing the net for quite some time, but I guess I can live without the net for some time.


User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 1769 times:

I'm on the 15/2 and am getting 13-15Mbps, versus the supposedly 6Mbps Comecast/TW plan where I rarely got above 2-3Mbps.

Another advantage of the additional UPS keeping the phone up longer is that I can use dial-up if I have to, and if I don't suffer fiber-optic withdrawl pains in the process...  Wink


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