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DirecTV, Dish or Digital Cable?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Paula Neese, Jun 16, 2006.

  1. Paula Neese

    Paula Neese Active Member

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    I'm moving from and apartment to a house. Also will be getting an HDtv. I have digital cable. I cannot decide if I should keep that when I move, or go to one of the sat companies. I am VERY ignorant regarding antenna issues. I just know I watch a fair amount of tv and since I will be spending the most I ever have on a television. (42" plasma or LCD, haven't decided yet.. but no larger than that), just want to have the best picture I can.

    Any tips you can share about one vs the other and antenna info I need would be much appreciated. Just please keep the technical info down to about a 6th grade level! [​IMG]

    Thanks,
    Paula
     
  2. Charlie Campisi

    Charlie Campisi Well-Known Member

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    Do you use a dvr? Directv's current hd dvr the "HD tivo" uses an antenna to pick up local HD. It works seamlessly with the satellite programming, but if you are in a bad location for antenna reception, you may have to spend some effort getting a good solution. If you don't use a dvr, they have an HD box that will get the "big" hd locals -- fox, abc, cbs, nbc, but not pbs, upn -- over the satellite, for most cities. They are supposed to have a new hd dvr out by the end of the year. It won't use tivo software, but is probably comparable to your cable company's dvr if you are using one. You can check your likely antenna reception at www.antennaweb.org. You can check on directv's website whether your area already has HD locals available over the satellite, or when it is due to get them.
     
  3. Paula Neese

    Paula Neese Active Member

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    Thanks very much!
     
  4. Lyle_JP

    Lyle_JP Well-Known Member

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    I will be getting the Dish Network ViP 611 HD DVR next month. Thier HD package is one of the best anywhere (since they acquired Voom). They have the only all-HD horror movie channel (Monsters) that I'm jonesing particularly hard about. Right now they have about a dozen local markets in High Def as well. I would check their website or DBSTalk.com to see if you're in one of them. If not, and you get good OTA reception, their box will work for that too.

    -Lyle J.P.
     
  5. Charlie Campisi

    Charlie Campisi Well-Known Member

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    Dishnetwork has an extensive lineup of 29 HD channels. I am stuck with directv for the NFL season ticket. Directv has about 6, plus whatever solution you get for the locals. I find that I use my locals most of the time, plus ESPN, Universal, and HBO, so I don't miss the other channels. But then again, I don't know what I am missing! [​IMG]
     
  6. Paula Neese

    Paula Neese Active Member

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    Thanks to all for your input. A guy at a home theater store just told me the digital cable company in my town does broadcast HD... local channels and one of HBO and one of STARZ. They also have an HD DVR cable box.
     
  7. James St

    James St Well-Known Member

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  8. douglas-b

    douglas-b Well-Known Member

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    Dish Network... I just got the Vip211 and I'm very happy with my choice.
     
  9. Arthur S

    Arthur S Well-Known Member

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    All satellite systems are plagued by signal problems during medium to heavy rain. I speak from experience.

    You simply don't have this problem with cable.

    Sounds like the OP found what she wanted with the local cable company. Local HD stations, premium HD stations, and an HD DVR.
     
  10. Robert_J

    Robert_J Well-Known Member

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    I've read numerous postings from people who lose cable signals during rain and they don't come back for hours or even days.

    -Robert
     
  11. John Alvarez

    John Alvarez Well-Known Member

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    I get this all the time in rains using Dish. How can I check the alignment of nmy dish?
     
  12. Robert_J

    Robert_J Well-Known Member

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    Check the signal strength of each satellite location/transponder that you receive. Some are stronger than other. I know some older Dish receivers used a scale that went to 125 so make sure you not the top number you can receive.

    On my DirecTV system, my locals are the strongest at 100 out of 100. They are on a spotbeam so I was expecting that. The rest of the transponders register in the high 80s to mid 90s. If you have a multi-sat dish, it is more difficult to fine tune. If you peak a signal for one satellite location, it may lower another.

    Finally, location does factor into the equation. NE states will have the lowest signal since they have a lower angle. That means more satellite signal must pass through the atmosphere compared to us in the south.

    If all else fails, larger dishes are available. You can also replace multi-sat dishes with multiple dishes. This allows you to fine tune each dish on it's satellite location. This is not a common practice because some wives don't like their house to look like a SETI research facility.

    -Robert
     
  13. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Well-Known Member

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    You can get OTA (over-the-air) HD for the major broadcast networks. If that will suffice for your viewing habits, you can save a lot of money just by getting an antenna. I use a Channel Master 4221A in my attic and I get great reception. www.antennaweb.org can help you find out if you can recieve HD signals for free using an antenna. I use my local OTA HDTV to watch sports and local PBS stations.
     
  14. Neil White

    Neil White Well-Known Member

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    Where are you located? Is Verizon a player in your community? They are offering FiOS TV in many places now. They offer all locals in HD plus others (about 23 in total I think). It's a very competitive service and the HD hardware is very reasonable (leased).
     
  15. Paula Neese

    Paula Neese Active Member

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    Thanks again to everyone for your help!
    Paula
     
  16. John Alvarez

    John Alvarez Well-Known Member

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    Okay how do I check the signal strength. This weekend sucked with the rain we got. I live in Florida so I assume my signal should be descent?
     
  17. Robert_J

    Robert_J Well-Known Member

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    Every satellite receiver has a screen where you check the signal strength, even the POS Dish models I used to have. Every receiver is different though. Check your owner's manual for the correct location in the menu.

    Once there, write down each satellite/transponder strength combination. Some will be extremely low or zero due to the use of spot beams. Those can be ignored. Use a relatively low transponder and try to re-aim the dish to increase its signal.

    -Robert
     
  18. Brian^K

    Brian^K Well-Known Member

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    I compared the various options, and actually was half-way down the path towards deciding on satellite, before concluding that cable was the best option for me. I was swayed, to some extent, by how little money I had to lay-out up-front for HDTV via cable as compared to via satellite, and also by the issues around how the various services handle the digital signal. (Our cable company doesn't compress the signal, resulting in superior picture quality.) Also, I believe the non-financial costs of ownership, over time, would work out better for cable. If the cable company's HD receiver and DVR breaks, they replace it, no questions asked. I don't have to worry about something harming a satellite dish. I don't have to worry about affecting my cable internet rate. And so on.

    YMMV.
     
  19. John Alvarez

    John Alvarez Well-Known Member

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    Do they make a meter you can hook up to the reciever to tune it? I remember back in the C.B. days using a meter to tune my antenna's.
     
  20. Dick Boneske

    Dick Boneske Well-Known Member

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    If you get an HD TIVO, it has meter ability for both antenna and satellite. It is relatively easy to use. There is a visual and audible signal indicator. I am referring to the HR10-250, which is what Direct TV supplied when I requested a DVR. Be careful not to accept anything but TIVO, as many posts on many boards have discussed in detail. There are several ways to get this particular TIVO for very little cost. Check Direct TV first, then Best Buy, etc. It does everything you could ask of a DVR.
     

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