log in or register to remove this ad

 

Anyone have satellite instead of cable?

Byrons_Ghost

First Post
Between an unexpected rate hike and lousy customer service, my local cable company has really been irritating me. Thanks to the wonderful, organized monopoly that is the television industry, I don't have any other providers to choose from. So I've been looking into satellite options, such as Dish or Direct TV, and wanted to get opinions from some people who had them.

If you have either of these services (or something similar), what do you like about them? How well do they work? Are there problems on days with cloudy or bad weather?

Most importantly, what sort of start-up cost am I looking at to switch? Dish seems to charge you upfront for the equipment and them dole it back slowly over a few years, while Direct TV claimed that it had no starting costs, which experience tells me is about as likely as my favorite TSR settings coming back into print.

Thanks in advance for the help. Let's fire my cable company!!
 

log in or register to remove this ad

My dad has had Dish Network since almost the beginning. It has issues -- the lack of a local presence is a PITA when there are equipment issues, for example. But it's still much better overall, I think, than his local cable company (Comcast). The picture quality is generally better, and their HD is *much* better. He also has the integrated HD PVR.

He lives in Florida, land of the afternoon thunderstorm. There are occasional signal interruptions in a heavy downpour. Wind isn't generally a problem so long as its installed properly. I was visiting during a couple years ago when a hurricane came within 50 miles or so and we kept a signal through most of it. It was kind of amusing -- the rest of that week, there were Comcast ads on the local channels (which we were seeing via the dish) talking about cable wasn't subject to weather interruptions. Meanwhile, there were 10s of thousands of customers without cable for several weeks because of all the lines that got blown down :lol:

Customer service is staffed by the same low-paid, reading-from-a-script monkeys that pretty much any technology-oriented company uses nowadays.

I live in an apartment where I can get a dish signal, but if I could I'd switch in a minute. All other things being equal, I just have more choices with the dish than with cable. They are remarkably more accomodating about adding and removing packages. For example, my Dad would add just HBO for the run of the Sopranos and then dump it again, and they never charged him $.01 more than they should or jerked him around about it.
 

trancejeremy

First Post
It used to be that you bought the DirecTV receiver, but now you simply rent them. For $5 a month. Which is probably not a good thing in the long term (Since the Receiver was only around $80). So I really don't think there is any starting costs, as they make it up after a year or so.

Eh - I'm not real thrilled with DirecTV myself, but I have no real choice, since I can't get cable. They constantly raise rates, they cut out good channels and give you crap instead (wanting you to go to a better package), you have to put up with constant DirecTV ads, the picture quality sucks these days (because they steal bandwidth to use for their HDTV channels).
 

Mycanid

First Post
Well ... we do not have DirecTV instead of cable but we DO have DirecWay instead of a cable internet connection ... primarily because where I work is SO far in the sticks that a satellite connection is the only thing out here you can get high speed internet wise that doesn't cost a fortune (i.e. several hundred dollars a month).

It may not be surprising that almost everyone out here does have DirecTV in their homes save for a hand full of us. ;)

Out here cable is simply NOT an option.

Since our recent upgrade we have had WONDERFUL internet service with almost NO downtime! A huge change since before. Their tech support still stinks - but it is SLIGHTLY better than before. :\

But other than this aspect of things I really couldn't be of much help.
 

Harmon

First Post
My exerience with Dish Network is one that is not positive.

Mom's boy friend had to have satalite as cable could not reach him in the area he lived in. When he moved to where he had a choice DN screwed him and my mom around so bad that they asked to leave their contract, DN told them they could not and that they would have to pay it out. Customer Service began hounding them with phone calls even after they got out of the contract, some of the calls were threatening.

Just a while back I contacted DN to get off their mailing list, they told me that it wasn't there fault that I needed to contact the Post Master about the mail, they didn't send it out, the mail man did. I got a little angry when the guy insulted my wife.

Few days later we started getting threatening phone calls, the first one was a manager at DN, after that they stopped introducing themselves.

Dish Network will never be a service I would recommend or even consider
 

kenobi65

First Post
I have a few friends with DirecTV. Generally, they do like it; loss of signal during extreme weather (heavy rain or snow, high wind) does happen, but the cable company can have signal issues in that weather, too (i.e., their satellite dishes can suffer from the same problems). And, having TIVO integrated with your receiver box is nice.

If you live in / near a major market, DirecTV carries your broadcast channels, too (ABC, NBC, Fox, etc.). If you don't, you'll need an antenna to pick those channels up the old-fashioned way.

One thing that one friend with DirecTV, who lives a block from us, learned the hard way: cable TV systems have an automatic system that interrupts programming when the Emergency Alert System triggers for your area (usually, when there's a severe weather warning); a dish can't do that. In addition, if you're getting the Weather Channel off a dish, you don't get your local forecasts or warnings (which get put in at the local cable office). My friend winds up calling me whenever it looks like the weather's going bad, or I call him when there's a weather warning. Another work-around would be to get a NOAA weather radio (which automatically switches on with an alert tone when there's a warning for your area).
 

Aeson

Adventurer
I've had both dish services. We are using DirecTV at the moment because our phone company gives us a discount. We have had cable in the past. I like satellite. We have never had a real problem with it. Yes it does go out sometimes when it rains but not that often. Our cable service went out more.
 

kenobi65

First Post
Aeson said:
Yes it does go out sometimes when it rains but not that often. Our cable service went out more.

We used to have that problem with the cable in our area; outages were fairly frequent (which was part of the reason that my neighbor switched to the dish). However, I think that Comcast, since buying the system from Time Warner a few years back, has upgraded their infrastructure, and I know that ComEd trimmed a lot of trees that were impinging on the utility poles in the neighborhood. Net effect: we almost never have problems with our cable anymore.
 

Aurora

First Post
We have DirecTV and we really like it. Yeah, we have the occasional outage, but get a TIVO and when the weather is bad, you just watch something that you have pre-recorded. :)
You can get DirecTV with no startup cost. Check out what they'll give you and then also check and see if someplace like Circuit City is running a good deal. If you move and have DirecTV, they'll even set you up at your new house, but you do have to sign a contract (I think 1 yr). We are about to do that for the second time.
 


IronWolf

blank
Satellite is the only choice where I live. We started with Dish, had awful experiences with them and switched to DirecTV. We've been very happy with them. We do have the dual tuner Tivo that they provide.
 

buzzard

First Post
I'm a Dish customer and have been for a number of years now. I'm not sure they're any better than DirectTV, but they are certainly worlds better than cable. When Dish had a rate increase a while back, I took a look at cable and was dumbfounded at the ridiculous rates. I have a pretty high end package nowadays, but if you don't want to go crazy, you can get some pretty reasonable packages from Dish. My picture quality is quite nice, and I almost never get outages. Their customer support often leaves a bit to be desired (ordering Center Ice was a bear last year) either in terms of having a clue, or being pushy(they automatically re-signed me up for Center Ice this year, and I would have been charged unless I went to the trouble of opting out).

buzzard
 

Byrons_Ghost

First Post
Thanks for everyone's input!

I should have mentioned, this is for TV, not internet. I have DSL through my phone company, and it's much cheaper than any cable options I've seen, and also more stable. I do live in an apartment building, I'm not sure if that will be an issue or not. I'm on the ground floor, and there's only two stories, so I wouldn't think that installation would be a problem. Kids with fireworks, OTOH...

It sounds like people's experiences have been much more positive with DirecTV than with DISH, and the lack of starting cost is nice. Oddly enough, I found a stack of Dish coupons out at my workplace today, offering various deals. But I've also seen in the past that companys which constantly have these sorts of offers, do so because they have such a high customer turnover rate (Dell computers, anyone? :p )

Harmon- I'm curious what set off the problems with the move (since I might be doing that, eventually). Was it that Dish didn't want to transfer the equipment, or was your mother trying to switch over to cable and having problems getting out of the contract?
 

JRRNeiklot

First Post
I've had Dish Network for about a year, and I'm happy with it. Had one receiver go out, they replaced it in less than a week. I do think Direct TV has a better channel lineup, but Dish was cheaper, so I went with it. I basicly watch History, Discovery, Animal Planet and ESPN anyway, so a better lineup wouldn't affect me much. MLB Extra Innings is worth the price alone, imo.
 

glass

(he, him)
Interestingly, on my side of the pond, satelite is (probably) the default choice for 'premium' TV, rather than cable. Although I wouldn't say the disparity was as great as it seems to be over there.

Anyway, I am also considering getting satelite (I live in a flat, so I'm pretty sure I can't get cable). The good news is the basic box is free (although I would almost certainly pay the extra for the built-in PVR option, and I am trying to decide if I can justify HD).

Depending on package, Sky is £15-40 per month (which is about US$29-76). How much are the various US satelite options, out of curiosity.


glass.
 

buzzard

First Post
glass said:
Depending on package, Sky is £15-40 per month (which is about US$29-76). How much are the various US satelite options, out of curiosity.


glass.


That's roughly comparable. If you add a bunch of movie channels to it, you can get higher than your high end. The low end is about right (I think Dish might have a cheapo package for around $20/mo). I pay around $70/mo for a higher end package than I need with a HD/DVR setup. I used to spend around $37 for a package that had plenty of channels, without the DH or DVR stuff. There just happened to be a couple channels I wanted a good bit so I ponied up. Considering I spend more time on those channels than most others now that I have them, I don't think it was that bad a deal.
 

Byrons_Ghost

First Post
JRRNeiklot said:
I've had Dish Network for about a year, and I'm happy with it. Had one receiver go out, they replaced it in less than a week. I do think Direct TV has a better channel lineup, but Dish was cheaper, so I went with it. I basicly watch History, Discovery, Animal Planet and ESPN anyway, so a better lineup wouldn't affect me much. MLB Extra Innings is worth the price alone, imo.

What kind of start up costs did you have with Dish Network? Any service complaints?
 


Byrons_Ghost said:
Thanks for everyone's input!

I should have mentioned, this is for TV, not internet. I have DSL through my phone company, and it's much cheaper than any cable options I've seen, and also more stable. I do live in an apartment building, I'm not sure if that will be an issue or not. I'm on the ground floor, and there's only two stories, so I wouldn't think that installation would be a problem. Kids with fireworks, OTOH...

Greetings Fellow Columbian!

I have Dish Network. Got it through Hunt's Communications in Warrensburg (The Ad was in the Columbia Yellow Pages). We got all of your equipment for free, but we had to sign a 2 year agreement (as we own our house, our chance of moving in the remaining 6 months of the agreement is nil).

We recently had some problems, but we eventually got it resolved.

What do you have now?

If you have Mediacom, I found them to be pretty good, esp the High Speed Internet. Pretty close to Dish in many ways (But that has been well over a year ago).

If you have Charter....

Drop them. They are trully one of the worst companies I have EVER dealt with, in any industry. If you measure Costumer Service, Quality, and Value each on a scale of 1-100, Charter maight get a 3, Total.

To Repeat. If you have Charter DROP THEM AT ALL COST. I'd go without TV, Internet, Clothes, Food, Shelter, than have to deal with those SOB's ever again.

While it comes down to a choice similar to "What Blunt Trauma to the Groin would you Prefer?" Charter is the Rocket-Powered Anvil of Destruction, as opposed to the Ball-Bats of Satellite and Cable.

Dish seems to be the Better deal in the Columbia Area (I see a lot more Dish than DirectTV).

If you go with Sat, shop Around, a lot of independant dealers have all sorts of deals from free equipment, to Upgrades, to X months free.

I also think I have some coupons for 5 bucks off/month for 12 months if I recommed someone to Dish (I think it is I get 5 off & the Receiver gets 5 off) I'd have to check.

To stress,

If you have Charter DROP THEM RIGHT THIS INSTANT, Your sanity will thank me later.
 

Cable ends about 500 feet from me and the frigures given to me to extend it to me were scary at best. That said, I HAD Direct TV for awhile. I no longer carry TV since it became waaaaay to expensive and we lost signal regularly (2-3 times a week).

After harsh words from both sides I opted to be rid of the idiot box entirely. That was 2 1/2 years ago.
 

Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top