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Pro's & Con's about Direct TV


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27 replies to this topic

#1 of 28 OFFLINE   Christo Ramo

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Posted October 20 2003 - 04:52 AM

I am getting ready to convert from Cable to Direct TV. My main reason is I have a 1st generation Tivo and looking into getting another for a Theater I am building in my basement. I like the fact that Direct TV lets you have a Tivo that has a digital output on it. The 1st gen does not. Also I noticed that some of these newer boxes have component connections on them. Does this mean that they can accept HDTV? I am buying a 40" hdtv and would love to take advantage of that while I am in the spending mood. Does anyone know if this is possible or when somehting along these lines might be available? One other determining factor is I could get another tivo for $99 rather than $500+ - also, does anyone know if those tivo's are activated or will I have to subscribe to the service.

Hope this wasn't too confusing! Thanks.

#2 of 28 OFFLINE   Robert_J

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Posted October 20 2003 - 06:45 AM

Quote:
Also I noticed that some of these newer boxes have component connections on them.
If you are talking about DirecTV PVRs powered by Tivo (aka DirecTivo) having component conections, they don't. All DirecTivos have composite and s-video only. There will be an HD DirecTivo out next year though.

You can get a DirecTivo system with a multi-sat dish for under $50 now if you are a new customer. You can then add another DirecTivo through DirecTV's web site for $99+$15 shipping with free installation. The multi-sat dish will already be in place when you get ready to upgrade to HDTV.

Quote:
also, does anyone know if those tivo's are activated or will I have to subscribe to the service.
The $5/month Tivo fee will cover ALL DirecTivos on your account. If you upgrade to Total Choice Premiere, then the Tivo fee is waived.

Quote:
I like the fact that Direct TV lets you have a Tivo that has a digital output on it.
Other advantages are dual tuners and picture quality that is identical to live TV.

-Robert

#3 of 28 OFFLINE   Tim K

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Posted October 20 2003 - 11:01 AM

As I mentioned in your other post, HiDef receivers for DirecTV are quite expensive unless you get an older version one (RCA HD100 or Samsung T150 I think) off of eBay for $100-200. Most of the New HD receivers are $400+. That is the #1 reason I stick with Cable. The HD cable box is the same price as the regular cable box....$6/mo. Also, you may be close enough to Philly to get the Over-The-Air (OTA) network HD signals with a rooftop antenna (NBC,CBS,ABC,PBS, WB and whenever Fox gets around to it). If so, you will want to consider getting a receiver that can decode both DirectTV HD and OTA HD. I think the Samsung and RCA boxes do so.

Quote:
There will be an HD DirecTivo out next year though.


With all the stink that the Motion Picture industry is making over copy protection, I wouldn't think that anyone would release a HD capable Tivo...and if they did, I bet bet alot of studios would try to block their movies from being broadcast in HD. They are really hung up on the idea of people having perfect digital copies of their movies.

#4 of 28 OFFLINE   Stephen Tu

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Posted October 20 2003 - 12:07 PM

Quote:
With all the stink that the Motion Picture industry is making over copy protection, I wouldn't think that anyone would release a HD capable Tivo...and if they did
You think wrongly then. This is an announced product and has been demo'd at trade shows. You can find the info on the Tivo web site. It was announced officially in January, although the release has been delayed until next year due to some improvements in the spec (dual sat+ dual ota tuners). Motorola & Scientific Atlanta are also producing their own (non-Tivo) HD cable box PVR combos which are starting to roll out in selected areas.

Quote:
They are really hung up on the idea of people having perfect digital copies of their movies
They are willing to permit PVRs because it's temporary storage, and it's not easy to get the content off of the machines. They aren't scared of time-shifting; what they are scared of is people getting the content onto PCs and sharing over the internet like what happened to music. Tivos are relatively non-threatening.

#5 of 28 OFFLINE   Steve Schaffer

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Posted October 20 2003 - 01:08 PM

All HD-capable DirecTV boxes will also tune ota digital and ota analog channels via an antenna.

The quality of the ota digital tuners varies from mfr to mfr. Current Hughes and the old RCA boxes are the worst, new Sony and Zenith boxes are the best.

Like Stephen Tu, I see no problems being able to record HD content on the upcoming HD Tivo units--you probably won't be able to copy the bitstream unaltered from an HD-Tivo to a D-VHS deck for permanent copies, but timeshifting should be ok.
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#6 of 28 OFFLINE   Kevin C Brown

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Posted October 20 2003 - 02:54 PM

I have cable but have been on the fence for a long time. With DirecTV, can I watch 1 show, and record (on VHS for now) another, in 2 separate rooms at once? (I.e., 4 separate feeds.) Easy to do this with cable, but I get confusing answers for a dish.
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#7 of 28 OFFLINE   Tim K

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Posted October 20 2003 - 03:50 PM

Quote:
They are willing to permit PVRs because it's temporary storage, and it's not easy to get the content off of the machines. They aren't scared of time-shifting; what they are scared of is people getting the content onto PCs and sharing over the internet like what happened to music. Tivos are relatively non-threatening.


It may not be as simple as plugging in a cable to copy the material...but don't think that shortly after an HD Tivo is released people won't have found a way to hack it. It really is just a hard drive afterall. There are alot of really smart people who love to hack hardware....and many of them are not honorable people who would be timeshifting and "making backups".

I'm not saying they won't be released, but I will be surprised if the MPAA or whoever doesn't have a fit about it. I'm sure someone will discover an easy way to hack it, post it on the internet, and start a frenzy. I won't be surprised if a few months after this HD Tivo is released, its hacked, and then the studios block the networks from broadcasting movies in HD until this is "resolved".

#8 of 28 OFFLINE   John Robert

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Posted October 20 2003 - 04:45 PM

One West Coast advantage of satellite is the availability of East Coast network feeds. Not only do you get an extra NFL game, but it is nice to watch Letterman/Leno at 8:30 pm if you want. Also easy to Tivo 2 different shows on at the same time in your time zone...

#9 of 28 OFFLINE   Robert_J

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Posted October 20 2003 - 11:48 PM

Quote:
I have cable but have been on the fence for a long time. With DirecTV, can I watch 1 show, and record (on VHS for now) another, in 2 separate rooms at once? (I.e., 4 separate feeds.) Easy to do this with cable, but I get confusing answers for a dish.
With VHS, you would need 4 receivers. Two to watch live shows and two connected to the VCR for recording. Another option is two DirecTivos. Each can record a show while you are watching a live show. You can later dump the shows to VHS for long term storage if needed.

-Robert

#10 of 28 OFFLINE   marc

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Posted October 21 2003 - 12:06 AM

I beleive it is $5 per month per TIVO unit.

#11 of 28 OFFLINE   Robert_J

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Posted October 21 2003 - 02:11 AM

DirecTV charges $5/month Tivo fee for ALL DirecTivos on the account. If you have the Total Choice Premiere programming package, they will waive the Tivo fee. DirecTV does charge a $5/month mirror fee for each additional receiver on the account. The fee applies to all types of receivers.

-Robert

#12 of 28 OFFLINE   Kevin C Brown

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Posted October 21 2003 - 12:49 PM

Robert- Thanks! Posted Image (Comcast says they are going to raise my cable rates AGAIN in a month or two.)

And I think I know the answer to this one: on my system, the "digital" cable channels look a lot worse than the analog (they sacrifice quality for number of channels). "Digital" quality on DirecTV is much better, right?

One more: does a DirecTivo box exist with a digital DD (/DTS?) 5.1 output (coax or optical)? Can't get that on my cable system either.
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#13 of 28 OFFLINE   John Robert

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Posted October 21 2003 - 01:13 PM

Yes, there are both HiDef and SD boxes with optical out. Not alot of programs in DD though...Band of Brothers on HBO was great in 5.1!

#14 of 28 OFFLINE   Kevin C Brown

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Posted October 21 2003 - 03:01 PM

That's what I thought. Most are sent in stereo. But at least the option is there...

Oo, (sorry!) another question: is there a 1 box solution for DirecTV, TiVo, *and* HDTV?
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#15 of 28 OFFLINE   Tim K

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Posted October 21 2003 - 04:20 PM

Quote:
Oo, (sorry!) another question: is there a 1 box solution for DirecTV, TiVo, *and* HDTV?


See the second post. Due out next year.

#16 of 28 OFFLINE   Robert_J

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Posted October 21 2003 - 11:39 PM

Quote:
does a DirecTivo box exist with a digital DD (/DTS?) 5.1 output (coax or optical)?
All DirecTivos have optical DD output.

-Robert

#17 of 28 OFFLINE   Brian Fitterman

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Posted October 22 2003 - 12:34 AM

DirecTivo Advantages:

1) Can record 2 things at once while watching a pre-recorded program.
2) They record the bit stream directly from the sat. This means recorded quality is EXACTLY the same as live. There are no video quality settings. I traded the Series II SA (standalone cable) for Series I direcTivo and there is definitly better PQ with the DirecTivo.
3) A 35 hour unit will let you record over 30 hours of material since the compression is done on the DirecTV side. A 60 hour Standalone Tivo2 will get only 17 hours on best quality.
4) $5 for Tivo no matter how many units you have connect to the dish. I have 4, one has a lifetime (they used to allow that so I am grandfathered) so I pay $0 for Tivo Service. But even if I did not have that lifetime it would still only be $5/month. Each SA cable Tivo is $12 if I remember correctly.
5) All DirecTivo units (including Series 1) have optical out so they support and record DD5.1.

If you have DirecTV, it is a no brainer to get the DirecTivo.

Connection is no issue either..You hook up the DirecTivo just like any other satellite reciever except it has two feeds from the dish (for recording 2 shows at once). No IR mouse for control, no audio and video cables between two boxes. Setup is easier too, just put in your dish type and area code, and pick the phone number you want to use.

HD just came to my area in Cable. If I had Digital Cable on all my TVs (4) with HD at my main TV, with HBO it would be $94 PLUS tax. (COX cable in CT - 4 boxes - one HD with HD package $9.99) And that is with NO DVR capabilities.

My direcTV Service right now has 4 DirecTivos, and one HD (2 boxes in one room - have to in order to get HD and Tivo in my main room) So I pay $20 for 4 extra boxes, $11 for HD stuff, and $12 for HBO, but after tax its still only $93. So its still cheaper and has more channels than Digital Cable, with better picture and all the advantages of DirecTivo units. Sure it cost me about $1000 (most of that is the HD tuner) for all the equipment, but to me its worth it.

Oh and BTW the new DirecTivo unit will have 4 tuners (2 off the air and 2 Satellite). You will still be only allowed to record 2 at once (any combination of the 4).

The FCC just passed the new Digital Cable law. No on the fly downconverting of HD material, but you will not be able to digitaly record premium channels in HD, but OTA stuff you will be. I am not sure if that is what Tivo was waiting for in releasing the new HD Tivos, but it could be.

For more info on Tivo -> www.tivocommunity.com
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#18 of 28 OFFLINE   Brian L

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Posted October 22 2003 - 03:55 AM

Quote:
If you have DirecTV, it is a no brainer to get the DirecTivo.


Not unless you can get locals over DTV. If not, you need to go SA.

There are some of us out here in the wilderness that still can't get locals via DTV. That is slated to change sometime early next year, but for now its SA with a separate DTV box.

I would have done DirecTivo in a heartbeat if it had an NTSC tuner. And now that I have HD, I am waiting patiently for the HD Tivo box with two DTV tuners and two OTA ATSC digital tuners. My prayers will be answered.

Having said that, I am thinking of doing one of the $99 Hughes DirecTivo boxes for a playroom system. For $5/month, why not. It won't have locals for now, but that will change.

BGL

#19 of 28 OFFLINE   Brian Fitterman

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Posted October 22 2003 - 05:18 AM

Quote:
Not unless you can get locals over DTV. If not, you need to go SA.


Very true. How quickly I forgot...That is the reason why I got a SA unit first and then the DirecTivo. Of course I had to "move" to get locals at first, but now CT has locals on DirecTV.
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#20 of 28 OFFLINE   Kevin C Brown

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Posted October 22 2003 - 12:58 PM

Brian- Thanks. Yes, that is the conclusion I have come to as well: typical cable price *without* DVR more or less equals DirecTivo pricing. I was thinking about this, this morning:

DirecTV => DirecTivo => HDirecTivo Posted Image

I guess I need to think about whether to switch now or wait for HDTV... Good thread.
If it's not worth waiting until the last minute to do, then it's not worth doing.

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