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Posted: 1/9/2003 3:46:00 PM EDT
Now that At&T cable has risen to 40 dollrs and some change for extended basic I am seriously considering changing to Direct TV. they seem to offer all the same channels I have now and some.

How do the people with sat TV like it??

Link Posted: 1/9/2003 3:52:30 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/9/2003 4:00:03 PM EDT
Yep, and it is a digital signal(not HD).
The only problem is that if it rains really hard, the picture can give you a fit.  But not engouh for me to worry about.  I love it, and the picture is better than regular ole cable.

You can get them with tivo built into the receiver too.  But Tivo costs another $10 a month, which is why I don't have it.  

I got mine free!  I can't remember right off, but I found it on the web, and called em up and 3 days later: Direct TV!!! The only stipulation was that you had to activate it within 30 days.  Not a contract or anything, only that you start the service.

I would even see if I could get the TIVO one, that way you could use it down the road if you so decide.

Hope that helps.

Link Posted: 1/9/2003 4:03:40 PM EDT
I have Direct TV and like it.It was really a no brainer.More channels for less money.My signal does get fuzzy or lost if it rains really hard but it's usually only for a few minutes.Hell,the same thing happens with cable too.I'm very happy with my sat tv.
Link Posted: 1/9/2003 4:07:04 PM EDT
Keep in mind that Federal law has recently changed to prevent cable providers from charging you for basic/extended to get premium channels. This may or may not help your situation.
Link Posted: 1/9/2003 4:12:50 PM EDT
only thing i dont like is that u get the east coast feed for most of the channels.
Link Posted: 1/9/2003 4:18:24 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/9/2003 4:32:00 PM EDT
btw all the rooms in my house are wired for cable,can,do they used the existing coax cable???

Link Posted: 1/9/2003 4:32:08 PM EDT
1 word...DishTV
Link Posted: 1/9/2003 4:36:38 PM EDT
If you like UPN you will have to go with Dish.
Link Posted: 1/9/2003 4:40:54 PM EDT
Originally Posted By SpentCasing:
If you like UPN you will have to go with Dish.
View Quote

Local UPN affiliate will be carried by DTV
Link Posted: 1/9/2003 5:03:51 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/9/2003 5:20:08 PM EDT by tree_of_liberty]
Yep, and it is a digital signal(not HD).
View Quote

Actually, there are currently four high-def channels available over DirecTV.  HDnet (owned by Mark Cuban), HBO-HD, Showtime-HD, and a HD pay-per-view channel.

There's also a better than even chance that they'll cary ESPN-HD when it launches in March.

Other HD channels that I'm aware of that have, or will soon launch are HDnet 2, HDnet 3, HDnet 4, Discovery-HD, and Cinemax-HD.

One last thing, a HD-DirecTivo was just announced today at CES.  It'll be able to record both DirecTV and Over-the-Air HD and standard-definition content.  The press release says it'll be out by the end of the year.

Edited to note that you have to have a HD DirecTV receiver and HDTV to get the high-definition channels.
Link Posted: 1/9/2003 5:09:33 PM EDT
Satellite Service Raising Rates

January 9, 2003, 3:31 PM EST

Just one month after its planned merger with DirecTV fell through, EchoStar Communications announced yesterday that it is raising basic rates for its Dish Network satellite TV service by $2 per month.

EchoStar chairman Charlie Ergen had said that a collapse of the merger, which was blocked by government regulators, would lead to higher prices at Dish, which has 8 million customers.

The increase, which takes effect Feb. 1, translates to 8.7 percent for the lowest priced package, called America’s Top 50, whose fee will rise from $22.99 to $24.99 per month. Overall, for the average customer, who pays more than $50 per month, the increase equals nearly 4 percent, the company said.

Several foreign-language and sports packages will rise by $1 per month, including Dish Latino, which rises to $32.99.

“Rising programming costs and the addition of a variety of new basic channels necessitated the Dish Network increase,’’ the company said.

DirecTV, which has 11 million customers and which increased monthly prices by $2 in 2000, may also raise rates. “As a result of higher programming fees, we are considering a price increase for this year,’’ spokesman Robert Mercer said.

In the New York City metropolitan area, Cablevision Systems Corp. is raising cable TV rates by an average of 5.3 percent, including increases of as much as 9.9 percent for its standard package called Family Cable on large portions of Long Island. Time Warner Cable is raising rates for its standard package in New York City by more than 6.5 percent.

Still cheaper than cable though.
Link Posted: 1/9/2003 5:43:05 PM EDT
I have had Direct TV about 3 years now and I'm happy with it. I don't normally loose signal except if a severe thunderstorm passes. Probably don't loose more than 30 mins a YEAR. Cable in my area is much worse than that and the picture quality is better on direct. Direct now has some HD channels but I really don't give a damnn about HD....I'm usually half asleep on the couch [:)]
Link Posted: 1/9/2003 5:54:42 PM EDT
IMO Dish Network is a better service than DirecTV.

DirecTVs customer service sucks even though it is much better than you average cable company.

Dish Network has receivers with PVR(Tivo like) functions built in and with the newer units no monthly fee for the PVR service.

Signal rainouts for me only occurred a couple times a year for less than 10 min. each. My cable would be out for hours at a time several times a year. A slightly larger than standard dish will solve signal rainout problem.

The picture quality is much better than analog cable and as good or better than digital cable.

Whichever one you go with get at least one receiver with the PVR functions it will change the way you watch TV.
Link Posted: 1/9/2003 6:01:27 PM EDT
I'm a DirecTV user.
I've had Gen II and Gen III Sony receivers and they were GREAT.  Last year, I picked up a RCA DirecTV/Ultimate TV unit that records for 32 hours and it's the best piece of elecronic equipment I've ever used.  I paid $200 and got a $100 rebate.  Very good deal for what i got, and it has digital (fiber optic) outputs for Dolby 5.1 sound.
Link Posted: 1/10/2003 2:34:23 AM EDT
I have DirecTV and I get UPN, as well as WB and the four regular networks and PBS. In other words, all the local networks. The thing is, they don't offer local channels to every location. The trick is, figure out what the closest market to you that they offer local to, and hopefully you know somebody that lives in that market. Set your DTV account up so that the SERVICE address is at your friend's place (I use my dad's house) and your billing address is still at YOUR house. Bingo! Instant local channel availability at your house. They don't send anything to the service address that I know of, so you might even be able to just make up a service address.  All of this can be done via their web site.

Another thing, it's the super thick thunder clouds that obscure the signal, not the rain. Sometimes, if ice forms on the LNB, it will block the signal. For that reason, I would recommend you not mount the antenna on the roof unless it can be reached easily (like through a window).  Mine goes out once in a long while, and then it's only for a couple of minutes.

Link Posted: 1/10/2003 2:52:19 AM EDT
I had cable once.  Even the so called digital cable.  and i thought it was pretty cool.  that was, until i saw the dish at my sisters house.  that was a year ago.  i will never go back to cable.  the picture is excellent.  i get 5.1 dolby digital sound.  HD movie channels.  And, to top it all off, it's cheaper than cable.  
Link Posted: 1/10/2003 3:03:11 AM EDT
Wash-AR:  I've got a LOT of experience in this arena, as I've had cable, DirecTV and Dish Network over the years.  My take?

Screw cable - period!

My DirecTV was ok, but the receiver and sat combo wasn't powerful enough to punch through the inclement weather here in the TN mountains (including lots of snow and ice on the dish sometimes) and the rain.  Plus their customer service SUCKED!  It was horrible - waiting on the phone for a half hour to get a live person was the norm.  And no UPN or WB either.

Dish Network - you can have my Dish Network when you pry the remote from my cold dead fingers!  I LOVE this service.  Excellent quality, professional installation, never a lost signal, ever.  Even in the worst storms.  All the channels you could ever want.  Local stations not a big deal - if you can't pick them up with an antenna, you can get alternates on the sat - I get Fox out of Atlanta, but could get it out of NY, LA, etc. if I wanted to.  I have no use for ABC, CBS, or NBC but could get them if I wanted.  And it takes like 10 seconds to get these channels switched on via the phone.  Pretty sweet.

Dish also has a deal where you can get the basic equipment, plus professional installation, for free.  In fact, email me (grey2112@planetc.com) and I'll get you a coupon number to use (plus I get a $5 off a month my bill for 12 months as a bonus for signing you up - my bill is half what it should be because I've gotten lots of people to sign up and so can you).

However, bar none, the most incredible thing about my Dish receiver is the built-in PVR (Personal Video Recorder) - this is like TIVO, in that it has a built-in hard drive that will record up to 35 hours of digital quality programming.  It is AMAZING!  I push a few buttons and voila!  I can automatically record a certain program, any time I want - I can set it to record just one time, or keep recording at a certain time and channel forever, day to day or week to week.  Plus it is great for Pay-per-view movies as I can set it, buy the movie, record it, then watch it at my leisure.

Another neat function of this is that while you are watching live TV, the hard drive is recording in a 1 hour loop - so you can pause live TV and then continue watching up to one hour later (and skip through commercials - yay!) or you can rewind something you just saw.  My wife and I have become so spoiled on this that when we are somewhere without a PVR we don't know what to do :)

Bottom line - get Dish, get the upgraded receiver with the PVR, and you will be hooked as well (and email me if you want for that coupon).

Link Posted: 1/10/2003 3:06:48 AM EDT
After my night at work I dont want to hear a single thing about satellite tv!
Link Posted: 1/10/2003 3:09:54 AM EDT
BTW - if your home is wired with co-ax cable ( and it it) you can pipe the Dish signal into all your TVs - but to watch something different on two TVs at once you'll have to have an additional receiver.

Here is what you get with my coupon:

Your friend gets a FREE system with up to two receivers and FREE Standard Professional Installation or Digital Home Plan Offer with 1 FREE month of all subscription programming services ordered (excluding Pay-Per-View). The $49.99 Activation Fee is also waived!

If you want the PVR, it will cost an additional $100 or so but it is WELL worth the extra cost - trust me!
Link Posted: 1/10/2003 3:22:42 AM EDT
I must add to greywolf's comments, the dish companies (both of them) cannot offer you network feeds (such as UPN or ABC) unless you are in an area so remote that you cannot get them via an antenna. That is per law. Even then, they charge extra for the networks. For me, I wanted the actual local channels so I could watch local news and weather. That costs extra too, but if they don't offer it in your area, you have to be creative (as I mentioned above) or you're screwed. And with DTV, you CAN get UPN and WB. I get them right now, and they are the local affiliates stations.
Either system is great. I didn't know until this thread that the merger had failed to go through. Oh well.
Link Posted: 1/10/2003 3:53:00 AM EDT
I have digital cable and they have just made available HD channels for NBC, CBS, PBS, HBO, and Showtime in my area.  I have an HDTV ready TV, but have not checked into this package yet, so I'm not sure how much additional $$ it will cost.  The cable company provides the HD set top box.  It soulds like there are a lot of satelite lovers here, but does anyone else have HD channels through digital cable?
Link Posted: 1/10/2003 4:33:50 AM EDT
Another vote for Dish Network.  Get the DishPVR 721 receiver if you want Tivo-like ability.  It has a 120 gig hard drive for 90 hours of recording.  It also has 2 tuners built in so you can record one channel while watching another.  Or record two shows on different channels at once.


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Link Posted: 1/10/2003 4:47:10 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/10/2003 5:12:52 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Jarhead_22:
My wife and I have an HDTV monitor, and when we asked at Best Buy about sat TV, we were told that there's a special dish and receiver necessary. The dish is about $150 and the receiver is $800. That killed any immediate plans for HDTV satellite service.

Is this still what this equipment is selling for?
View Quote

Here is the info about Dish Network's HDTV receiver and service: [url]http://www.dishnetwork.com/content/technology/receivers/6000/index.shtml[/url]


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Link Posted: 1/10/2003 5:28:44 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/10/2003 5:37:30 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/10/2003 6:44:21 AM EDT
You can use your existing wiring as long as it is RG/6 cable.  Older cable tends to be RG/59 which doesn't carry the signal as well.  I believe you can use a boosted Coax hub in order to link your cable runs.

You can share a Coax line with DirectTV and Antenna signal if you use a Diplexer.  All of this equipment is available at RadioShack.

I have a 2 receiver setup for DirectTV and I love it.  The signal is almost always perfectly clear.  

The only thing that sucks is the legislation that forbids broadcasting out of area networks into another broadcasting area.  Since we are in a fringe area, we cannot get FOX or UPN, and the nearest WB tower is over 150 miles away in Chicago.  NBC, ABC, CBS come in fine though.  

I would pay to receive from Chicago the three channels I cannot get, but that is not allowed, as I don't meet all the requirements for exception.

The other thing that is great about it, is that you can order Pay-per-view movies for about the same price as a rental.  It is very convenient since we are a half hour drive from the video store, and always forget to return them on time anyway!
Link Posted: 1/10/2003 6:58:53 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/10/2003 7:03:13 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/10/2003 7:16:58 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/10/2003 7:38:31 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/10/2003 7:39:43 AM EDT by Wash-Ar15]
The depth of info available from the people on Ar15 amazes me!!!

How do I tell if my cable is rg6 or Rg59??

The previous owner wired everything from inside the house,no cables snaking around the exterior of my home which IMHO is tacky.

I prefer direct TV for they now offer Chinese language channels that my mother in law will enjoy.

I don't understand the local channel thing.

I am in the Seattle metro area so does this mean I can not get the local channels through Dirct TV?

Link Posted: 1/10/2003 7:52:11 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/10/2003 8:02:37 AM EDT by gus]
Originally Posted By Paul:
The picture quality is much better than analog cable and as good or better than digital cable.
View Quote

Sorry I tend to disagree.

Bad analog cable maybe but not good analog cable.

View Quote

The problem here is, that to get "good" analog cable, you have to live near enough to a "Good" cable company's head end to avoid problems with bad line amps, bad cable, induction, crappy connections made by under paid line techs, and many other forms of interference. In my case, the signal from my rabbit ears is better than what my local cable company provides. And I don't live anywhere near any TV stations!! The utter lack of interference and the comparitively high picture and sound quality of my DirecTV system is why I will never have cable again. Besides, if there is a widespread power outage, I can still enjoy my dish while cable customers stare at a blank snowy screen. Sure, it's compressed some. If you MUST have better than the standard signal, you'll need to watch a DVD or go HDTV. Another thing, my DTV receiver connects to my A/V receiver via S-video and digital optical. I also use the RF out of the DTV receiver to feed my VCR. The image through the RF input is noticeably worse than the S-Video signal.

BTW, prices have come down on HDTV receivers lately, both for DTV and Dish Network.
Link Posted: 1/10/2003 7:54:54 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Paul:
The picture quality is much better than analog cable and as good or better than digital cable.
View Quote

Sorry I tend to disagree.

Bad analog cable maybe but not good analog cable.

It's a matter of simple bandwidth. One analog channel is about 6 Mhz wide, one digital channel is about 2-4 Mb of data. Please note Mhz vs. Mb. Due to the multiplexing of the signals in analog you really end up with much more data then can be captured and sent out by DirecTV/DSS. They give quanity over quality. As an example one transponder on a satellite whould carry one analog signal or a dozen digitals one ... data is data.

When doing the MPEG compression they sample a 4:2:2 analog signal at 4:1:0 reducing the amount of color detail by a whole bunch.

Pixels are a defined size to limit bandwidth where analog signals will have a 600 (OK about 400 at your set) horizontal resolution digital signals will be reduced to save bandwidth below that - typically 300-350.

The most amazing part of the science is that they take into acount the limits of the human eye and the abilities of the computer to compress both spacially and temporally to reduce the amount of bandwidth so well.

Digital pictures are very good but can't match a very good analog picture - if your cable company hasn't balanced their system you'll see snow and crap on your analog picture. Sort of like looking at a 35mm film camera photo next to a digital camera photo - very good, close even but a good eye sees the difference.

I'm a member of the Society of Broadcast Engineers where I hold their certification as a Professional Broadcast Engineer. When I'm not on AR15.com I'm the Senior Project Engineer at a major satellite broadcast facility with outlets in 162 countries worldwide.

View Quote

You wanna try this again in dumbass english, just so I can grasp it?  Thanks. [:D]

I think I'm tracking with you but not sure.

Link Posted: 1/10/2003 7:57:49 AM EDT
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