DirecTV HDTV Ripoff

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Neil McCaulley, Aug 25, 2004.

  1. Neil McCaulley

    Neil McCaulley Stunt Coordinator

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    Hello all,

    I just had a major ordeal last night with DirecTV. I finally broke down and purchased an HDTV Receiver to take advantage of the high-definition capabilities of my HiDef Hitachi Widescreen TV. I was certain to ask lots of questions before I invested the $390 (which I borrowed as a loan) into purchasing the system. Some of those questions were:

    "If I purchase this receiver, and a channel is advertising that it is being broadcast in HDTV, will I see the channel in HiDef?"


    Their answer was:

    "Yes Sir. Once you purchase the Receiver, you will be able to see all channels that are being broadcast in HiDef. You will also be able to take advantage of your NFL Sunday Ticket programming by viewing some select games in HiDef."

    My response:

    "So I do not have to purchase an HDTV SUBSCRIPTION to get these channels, correct?"

    They said:

    "That's right Sir. Our HDTV programming packages are available for as low as $10.99 per month which will give you 8 channels that are always broadcast in high definition. But if all you want is your local channels in HiDef, then nothing else is necessary."

    Well, I don't know how else to put this, but DirecTV LIED TO ME. After their homeless people called 'Contract Workers' came to my house, delivered the HDTV Receiver, SUPPOSEDLY hooked it up correctly, and left, it became obvious very quickly that there was no noticeable difference in picture quality.

    I called them to see if the Receiver was hooked up properly. It wasn't. After being on the phone with them for TWO HOURS troubleshooting that there was nothing wrong with the Receiver or my TV, they now tell me I need to purchase and have installed, a high-definition antennae in order to view local HDTV programming! Amazing! This was NEVER mentioned or explained to me BEFORE I bought the damned thing! IF I would have known that I had to spend an additional $100 to $200 just to view an occasional program in high definition, I would have not bought the $390 Receiver in the first place. I swear, if DirecTV did not have exclusivity rights to NFL Sunday Ticket, I would be gone faster that Neon Deion switches teams! I am SO MAD at those incompetent con-artists right now.

    Anyway, here is my question(s):

    1) Can anyone out there recommend a decent HDTV receiver that I can purchase that is considerably less expensive than $390?

    2) How much does an HDTV antennae cost?

    3) How difficult is it to install yourself?

    4) Do you really need an HDTV Receiver if all you need is an HDTV antennae in order to get a few local programs in high definition. For example, ABC's Monday Night Football is broadcast in high definition. Would I be able to see this if I have the antennae?

    Thanks everyone!
     
  2. John S

    John S Producer

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    Hmmm, Direct TV basically does not include the local channels, but their reciever must provide some sort of Over the Air HD tuner. Thus you need the antenna. Antenna's rang from like $2 into the $100's. I'd be inclined to tell you to try a cheapie first. I use an old powered antenna from Radio Shack, works well enough for my over the air HD stuff.

    If your HDTV has a built in tuner, you would only need the antenna, as far as your local HD over the air stuff goes.

    I'm not so sure they lied really. I think they probably assume most people understand the need for the antenna, but they still hate to own up to the fact, they can't carry network broadcasting, so it has to be recieved on the local over the air HD transmissions, them providing the tuner/reciever that can do this, puts them into the grey area on out right deception.
     
  3. anthony_b

    anthony_b Screenwriter

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    The best/cheapest deals for HD is cable. Talk to your cable company, I switched after 8 years from directv to cablevision and I now have 13 HD channels for no additional cost or purchases.[​IMG] (all my local channels except for ABC, but we should be getting it soon).
     
  4. Jean D

    Jean D Screenwriter

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    I have DirecTV with HD. Here's the deal. you need an HD reciever that can be used with direcTV if you use direcTV. They are duel tuners. meaning you have a satellite feed and an antenna feed. the digital channels from the antenna are not your normal #'s. lets say you want to watch your local channel 9's hd feed. you would type in channel number 9.1 or 9.2. channel 9 itself would be the normal standard def feed you already watch. You do not need an HD antenna because a powered UHF antenna will pick up the HD local channels as they are broadcast on the UHF frequencies. HD antenna and UHF are the same thing, only the one called UHF is cheaper and does the same thing. as far as your local channels are concerned the antenna will pick up the channels as long as the stations towers are in range. (i.e. 30 mile radius) I use a basic Trek antenna cause i had one lying around and I pick up 2-3 digital locals. not all programs are in HD, only a few. mostly primetime shows. some are in 5.1 as well. if you arent within range of getting any HD locals, directv has east and west coast hd feeds which can be pumped into your house for 2.99 a month each network (abc, nbc, fox, etc.) if you get the hd package for 10.99 a month then you get showtime, hbo, hdnet, hdnet movies, and a hd pay per view, and an hd spice channel you can subscribe to.
     
  5. John_F

    John_F Stunt Coordinator

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    I would also say that "Our HDTV programming packages are available for as low as $10.99 per month which will give you 8 channels that are always broadcast in high definition" may be stretching the truth a little. I'm pay the 10.99 for HDTV and get 4 HD channels, plus the temporary NBC HD Olympic coverage.

    If you are counting on 8 HD channels thru D**, I would press them to make sure you understand exactly what you are getting and what you need to subscribe to.

    If you want to receive OTA (over the air) HD signals (i.e. Monday Night Football), you will need a HD OTA receiver and Antenna.

    I would do some more research if I were you:


    1) call DirectTV to see what you will/can receive from them: You may be able to receive their CBS HD channel, and they are also supposed to have NBC-HD shortly (and maybe FOX).

    2) go to antennaweb.org to see what kind of antenna you may need (and what is being broadcast in HD in your area). IF all you care about is MNF, then maybe a small antenna is all you need. Are you sure that your local ABC station is broadcasting HD?

    Good luck,
    John Flegert
     
  6. Lee Distad

    Lee Distad Stunt Coordinator

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    I know I'm kind of hijacking your thread with this post, but it's apalling how many people who should know how HDTV works spread misinformation to the general public.

    We had a customer phone us last month, while the contract installer for ExpressVu was in his house. The installer told the customer that the component video cables he purchased were unneccessary to show HDTV on his 50" Grand Wega; according to the installer, the RF coax was all he needed to hook up to get HDTV!!!

    It sounds like you asked all the right questions Neil, you just talked to the wrong people.
     
  7. Neil McCaulley

    Neil McCaulley Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey John S.

    Thanks for the info. I have a followup:



    At this point in my very young HiDef career, all i am interested in is to get my NFL games in HiDef this year. I have a Hitachi Widescreen HDTV which is capable of displaying a high definition signal. So, according to you, all I need is a HiDef antenna and a receiver to go with the antenna, and I will be able to view any OTA HDTV broadcast. No subscriptions, no packages, no extra anything to buy. Correct? ABC advertises on their Monday Night Football Program, Available in HDTV. Does this mean all I need is a HiDef antenna and a TV capable of displaying a HiDef signal?
     
  8. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    That and a local ABC affiliate that broadcasts in HDTV at sufficient strength for you to receive it. The website listed above (antennaweb.org) will give you this info.
     
  9. Neil McCaulley

    Neil McCaulley Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey John_F.

    Thanks for your response. I have a followup:



    All I know is that ABC advertises the fact that Monday Night Football is presented in HDTV where available. This is usually at the beginning of the game. Now, whether or not the broadcast I am looking at on my TV screen when I see this ad is actually IN high-definition is beyond me. You know, since I don't have a HiDef Receiver or a HiDef antenna. I guess I can equate this to listening to a single speaker transistor radio and I hear an advertisement on there saying, 'available in stereo'. Well, since I don't have a radio with stereo speakers, I would never know if the ADVERTISEMENT ITSELF was actually IN stereo when I heard it.

    Make sense?

    Anyway, since all I want is to see the NFL in high-definition (I figure I have a progressive scan DVD player should I ever want to watch a movie in high-definition.) what should I look for in the way of an antenna and a receiver? What about prices? Can these two things be purchased for under $200? Can I install them myself?
     
  10. Neil McCaulley

    Neil McCaulley Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey Lee,

    Not at all. That is something I have noticed in the short time I have been around here at HTF–all people want to do is help. I have a followup:



    Especially when these people are getting PAID
    to do this stuff! This ought to crack you up. They supposedly installed this thing with my wife at home and I was at work. My wife called me after they left saying that she could not see a picture. When I got home, I discovered that the DVI cable WAS STILL IN THE BOX! They never bothered to actually connect the DVI cable from the HiDef Receiver to the back of my TV! OK, I admit that at this stage I do not know a whole lot about the details of the HDTV world. But I do know a little something about PHYSICS which means if you don't connect one item (Receiver) to another item (TV) THEY WILL NOT WORK WITH ONE ANOTHER!

    I have to relax again. I am getting worked up once more. Breathe in…ahh…breathe out…
     
  11. John S

    John S Producer

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    You should do some web searching on HDTV availability in your specific area. I'll bet there is an ABC HD channel you can access.

    The recievers can be found for around $200, and the antenna, well as I said, I'd try a cheapie first.

    HDTV Ready / HDTV Monitor / HDTV Capable, usually means it does not have a built un ATSC over the air HDTV tuner.

    Usually if it states it is an HDTV it will include such a tuner/reciever.


    Everybody I know has had to work out the specifics of their HDTV cable / satalite install themselves by the way. Just reality more than anything as evidenced by the lack of any connection from your sat box to the HDTV display.

    My HD Cable installer was clueless, I had to basically do the install myself while he was there to get it how I wanted it. I mean I told him how I wanted it, and I got the blankest look from him I ever did see. For him simply plugging the component cables into my AVR was way to much for him. Plus, I would have gotten no regular NTSC off the thing, because he didn't even know he could set that output for 480p on their own box!!!! UUHHGG
     
  12. Lee Distad

    Lee Distad Stunt Coordinator

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    Neil, my life has been more serene since I decided that if I had to choose between being angered and amused, I should choose to be amused. It has saved my sanity on more than one occassion. But we're not here to discuss existentialism. [​IMG]

    Go to five dealers, talk to five salesmen, and you will get seven different stories of how HDTV works. Back in 1999, when I was running a store, MarketNews printed a 20 question HDTV technical quiz. Being a tech geek, I made all my salesmen, myself included, take the test. We all failed. I think the higest score in my store was 8/20. Shamed, we all made a supreme effort to get better, and know what the hell we were talking about.

    Now, down in the USA, it's way more complicated with the addition of over-the-air local broadcasts. Up here in the frozen north, we have two choices: sattelite, or cable. Canadian broadcasters never opted for aerial broadcasts, electing to go through the existing service provider networks instead. Simple. But the downside is that we had to wait longer to get
    any broadcasting in HDTV up here.
     
  13. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    Neil,
    The first thing you did wrong was not asking your questions here first. Yes, the CSR's are paid to know about DirecTV but they just read from a script most of the time. This is our hobby/passion. We know the correct answers.

    Second, are you an existing DirecTV customer? Pay your bill on time? They you could have gotten an HD receiver for $99.

    Antenna cost - I use a $5 antenna from Radio Shack.

    Installation - Sits on top of my TV. It did take a few minutes to pull it out of the Radio Shack bag though.

    Finally, you just list your location as Georgia. List your city and we can tell you if HD is available. Or you can find out for yourself at Antennaweb. This site will also recommend the size and type antenna you need.

    -Robert
     
  14. EricRWem

    EricRWem Screenwriter

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    Heh. My cable is a complete monopoly and rip off in my area. Oh noes! 6 whole HD channels!

    It's TWC here. They have complete lack of competition in this area, so it's pretty pathetic.

    I am considering going back to satellite like I had in Florida, but I think I have some environmental obstacles.

    I think I'd still easily choose D* out of all of them.

    If we want to talk about rip offs, talk about VOOM.
     
  15. Jean D

    Jean D Screenwriter

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    FYI - Unless it has upscaling capabilities, it can only go to 480p which is SD not HD.
     
  16. Nathan_R

    Nathan_R Supporting Actor

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    Neil, your ZIP says you're in Atlanta. We currently have 11 local digital stations. Here are our local digital affiliates:
    Digital Channel | Call Letters | Affiliation | Resolution
    10 | WXIA | NBC | 1080i
    19 | WGCL | CBS | 1080i
    20 | WTBS | TBS (local) | 1080i
    25 | WATL | WB | 1080i
    27 | WAGA | FOX | 720p
    39 | WSB | ABC | 720p
    42 | WTHC | The Atlanta Channel (local) | 480i
    43 | WUPA | UPN | 1080i
    44 | WHSG | TBN | 480i
    48 | WUVG | Univision | 480i
    51 | WPXA | PAX | 480i

    A complete breakdown of the Atlanta digital stations is available here: http://www.georgiahdtv.com/ht/atlanta_station_info.html

    To answer your ABC question, yes you will get Monday Night Football in HD. And before someone tries to sell a "special" HDTV Antenna, please note that any UHF/VHF antenna will receive over-the-air HDTV.

    Best regards,
    ~~Nathan
     
  17. Neil McCaulley

    Neil McCaulley Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey Robert_J.,

    I have some responses:



    Thanks! My city is Acworth—about 26 miles Northwest of Atlanta.
     
  18. Neil McCaulley

    Neil McCaulley Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey Jean_D.,

    "I figure I have a progressive scan DVD player should I ever want to watch a movie in high-definition.)"




    Wait a minute. You are telling me that as clear as a DVD is on my TV, it is STILL not high-definition? How can this be? I have an HDTV Hitcahi Widescreen and a progressive scan DVD player. How can it NOT be high definition? You are telling me that high-definition does not technically begin until you reach 720p? Please explain.
     
  19. Neil McCaulley

    Neil McCaulley Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey Nathan_R.,

    I have some follow-ups:



    This may have been incorrect verbage on my part. You are saying that there is no such thing as a HIGH-DEFINITION antenna and in fact it is just a REGULAR antenna? What about what an earlier poster said? He said that he gets his high-definition channels with a $5 set-top antenna from Radio Shack? Can you confirm his story?

    Thanks.
     
  20. Neil McCaulley

    Neil McCaulley Stunt Coordinator

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    What does everybody think about this Antenna?

    You can find it at Terk's website. (I can't post the link because of my limited posts.) It is called the HDTV Indoor Antenna.
     

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