DSS vs. Time Warner Digital Cable

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Scott Wong, Dec 4, 2002.

  1. Scott Wong

    Scott Wong Second Unit

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    Not sure if there's any Minnesota members who may be able to answer this for me. I did a search and didn't come across anything quite this specific.
    I currently reside in Eden Prairie. The apartment complex I live in does allow for DSS. I'll be moving in approx. 3 weeks to a larger two bedroom apartment... and conveniently enough, I'll actually be facing the correct way to allow for the use of DSS, if I so choose.
    I've currently got Time Warner cable. Just basic service. Nothing extravagant. I do watch television. Of course, now with Time Warner's digital cable offering, my curiosity has the best of me. I just can't justify the cost of it. When I do, I begin contemplating DSS.
    Questions:
    What is the monthly cost comparison between DSS and Digital Cable? I realize I would have to buy the equipment for DSS. I don't *yet* have an HDTV so that's not too large of an idea. Of course, I'd have to keep that upgrade in mind, as well.
    I've heard that Digital Cable, so to speak, is nothing more than "regular" cable television with a fancy on-screen guide. True? I'm not keen on paying $45-$50 per month if the quality of programming is no better. I feel by paying this much in DSS each month, I'd surely see better quality programming, right? (please say 'yes') [​IMG]
    Anyone who has either or who might be able to chime in with any other input is greatly appreciated.
    mahalo! [​IMG]
    Scott.
     
  2. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

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    Hey Scott,

    I'm in Denver, so your mileage could vary but I found DSS to be a much better deal than digital cable. Digital cable was around $100 a month for us with all the channels, had same resolution as regular cable, and had many artifacts. The one benefit was the online guide.

    Enter DSS. We switched to DISH service when we moved into our house, now we get a ton more movie and basic channels for $65, much cleaner picture, and almost no downtime. In my mind (for northern Denver area at least)
    there is no comparison: DSS just kicks butt.

    One word of advice is don't ever pay for the initial hardware or hookup of DSS service. Just keeps watching the newspaper ads and checking DISH and DirectTV website, they run specials all the time that give you the dish, set-top box, installation, and sometimes first month free. Do not go out and pay full price for a DSS system! We got our DISH setup free from Costco promotion 3 years ago and things have only gotten better for the consumer since.
     
  3. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    I had TWC digital cable from Memphis for about a month. The guide was terrible. I could be on channel 250 and when I would bring the guide up it would always be on channel 2. Also there was a lot more pixelization than I had on satellite. I re-installed Dishnetwork and have been satellite ever since.

    I started off with DirecTV in '95 and kept it until '99. I switched to Dish for the Dishplayer, the first integrated satellite PVR. I was hooked on the concept even though it crashed like crazy can could only record 7 hours of programming. One year ago I switched back to DirecTV for the DirecTivo. I will never switch back.

    Joe is correct that there are deals everywhere for new subscribers but you get basic receivers. I suggest you spring for the DirecTV PVR powered by Tivo (formerly known as DirecTivo). Dual tuners and playback that is identical to live is worth the extra $200.

    -Robert
     
  4. Paul_Medenwaldt

    Paul_Medenwaldt Supporting Actor

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    I have Dish Network and have loved it. I switched from Directv earlier this year because there was a great deal for signing up. Three free recievers and a dish, 3 months free, more channels and I purchased a PVR for $99.

    So Scott, you should be able to find a great deal for hooking up a Dishnetwork system somewhere in the Twin Cities area.

    As for the digital cable, my neighbor has AT&T digital and i have not been impressed with the quality they receive. Their program guide is clunky and it has advertising built in to the guide.

    So I would recommend the satellite over any local cable companies digital product.

    Paul
     
  5. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    I'll give you a different perspective.

    I had Dish Network for over a year (including the Dishplayer setup). Dish encodes all of their channels at 480x480 pixels, so on my 53", everything was blurry.

    I switched to TWC digital cable, not because of this, but to get HD for "free" (no cost for the cable box, vs. $600 min for the 6000). Instead, I was VERY VERY surprised by the INCREASE in picture quality. TWC's picture was much nicer. The analog channels (1-99), where the locals reside, were much cleaner than locals from Dish. The Digital channels, overall, were much nicer. TWC encodes at 640x480, and HBO and Showtime seem to be given a VERY generous bandwidth allotment, as they are WAY, WAY cleaner than anything I ever saw from Dish.

    So, I am quite content with TWC. I pay $108/month, including taxes, but that includes:

    1. Digital cable that compares to Top 150.
    2. HBO and Showtime- a total of 12 HBOs, and 10 in Showtime (which includes TMC)
    3. EIGHT HD channels (NBC, ABC, CBS, WB, FOX, PBS, HBO, SHO)
    4. Road Runner cable modem.

    Comparatively speaking, this would cost 40.99 (Top 150) + 22.99 (HBO & SHO) + 5.99 locals + 5.00 for 2nd TV. Not to mention, the cost of the HD box, and a 2nd receiver. That's nearly $75 before taxes, and NO high speed online.

    So, where I'm at, TWC is the much better deal, AND the picture quality is better than DSS.

    Todd
     
  6. David Dennison

    David Dennison Second Unit

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    I am moving to Indianapolis in a few months and am trying to determine my cable vs. satellite options. Currently I am living with miserable Comcast analog cable in Philly. I tried digital Comcast cable when we first moved here about 1.5 years ago, and saw no improvement in picture quality. All I got was a bunch more channels for twice the price.

    The most important thing to me is the picture quality along with digital sound (and maybe HD). The amount of channels are not that important. I believe I will have TWC in Indy.

    Todd, I am excited about your remarks regarding TWC because I think it would be easier to stick with cable instead of satellite. Would the quality of TWC in Indy be comparable to what you get in Orlando? I plan to have probably 5 different tv's hooked up around the house, plus I want cable modem service. Therefore, I think cable would be the most logical, convenient, and affordable solution, but I am still open to satellite service. In fact, I will get satellite service if I can't match the quality via cable.
     
  7. Dave_Mu

    Dave_Mu Extra

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    I install broadband for a living right now, so maybe I can answer...
    The quality of cable tends to vary from neighborhood to neighborhood and even from tap to tap due to variations in signal strength.
    I've seen some incredible picture quality, but I've seen some that I would personally consider un-watchable.
    Time Warner does not charge you if you cancel your service witin the first month... if you are interested in giving cable a shot. If the picture quality isn't there for you, complain. They can resolve phsical problems, amplify the signal at the tap, amplify the signal at the "Jr. Box" etc... The key here is to call and complain, then call and complain some more. Complaints usually get them on the ball...
    If they can't resolve the issue in a few weeks call Time Warner and cancel your service, you shouldn't owe them anything.
    All that said, I have DirecTV [​IMG]
     
  8. Dan Stone

    Dan Stone Stunt Coordinator

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    My experience mimics Todd Hochard's exactly. While DirecTV provided a good picture, when I switched to AT&T cable the picture was noticeably cleaner and sharper. I did prefer the DirecTV guide, but the AT&T guide is manageable and I'd rather have the improved picture quality. Also, it was a simple matter of having the cable company come out and swap boxes to upgrade to DD 5.1 and HDTV.

    My house is brand new and in a brand new development. I also paid additional to have a wiring contractor come in and run RG6 quad shield througout the house, so these factors may contribute to why I'm getting such a great picture from cable. My aunt and uncle's house is an older home that has original wiring and they have a noticeably inferior cable picture desptie being on the same system.

    As Dave_Mu says, give the cable a shot and if it doesn't meet your requirements then cancel the service. Most cable companies even give you a 30 day money back guarantee. Something that doesn't get pointed out very often is that with the free/reduced satellite offers you are usually committing to at least one year of service.

    Hope this helps,

    Dan
     
  9. Michael Lomker

    Michael Lomker Stunt Coordinator

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    Scott,

    I live in Minneapolis and have TWC. I had DirecTv for all of a month and cancelled it. Please keep in mind that there are HUGE cancellation fees if you hate your DirecTV service -- $120 in my case....and that's if you cancel 10 minutes after signing up for service. There is NO grace period with DirecTV and they have the worst customer service that I have ever experienced.

    My situation may have been unique because my apartment complex provides a roof-top dish and a distribution network within the building. The service was very unreliable and even light snow or rain would knock it out.

    If you have a Southern view and can put up your own dish then go with Dish.net. If you are interested in HDTV then forget about satellite -- Time Warner has more HDTV channels than you will ever see on a small dish. The hardware for HDTV by satellite is also very expensive when compared to standard definition.

    I'm going to move this Spring and I'm actually unwilling to leave Time Warner's service area. AT&T offers NO HDTV at all and they service most of the Twin Cities.
     
  10. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    I live in Atlanta and the DirectTV I have had for a month is liek high definition compared to AT&T digital cable. Plus the service is very cheap. Free receivers and two room hookup and competitive monthly rates with more channels plus local stations.
    My view is better video quality, same price, far better customer service.
    And it is also fun to stick it to the cable monopoly! [​IMG]
     
  11. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    Lee,
    Please explain your $55 HDTV upgrade. It cost me $420 for an open box E-86 receiver, $5 for an antenna and $9 for a Sat-C kit. Luckily, I already had a multi-sat dish or it would have been even more. I'm not doubting you, but I've never seen an HDTV upgrade from the free receivers for that little money.

    -Robert
     
  12. Mike Capulli

    Mike Capulli Stunt Coordinator

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  13. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  14. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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  15. Jan Strnad

    Jan Strnad Screenwriter

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    I had cable for a number of years, both in L.A. and Kansas, and switched to DirecTV. Never have looked back. My picture is better, it's cheaper, and I lose picture less often than I did with cable.

    When I wanted to add a second receiver, DirecTV wanted to charge me $99. I mentioned that I could get a new two-receiver system from Dish for free, and they lowered the charge to $0. You may have to wait for a deal, but you can always play one provider against the other, which isn't the case with cable.

    But...your mileage may vary. Five sets is a lot and I don't know how the cost compares with that kind of set-up.

    Good luck!

    Jan
     
  16. Mark Lehmkuhl

    Mark Lehmkuhl Stunt Coordinator

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    TWC has worked out great for me. Channels are great looking. Sports is very very watchable. And as someone pointed out, you have the high speed Roadrunner connection for PC's. As someone also pointed out, TW will work to improve your signal if you call them and complain. In a large market where TWC is, I don't understand why anyone would go the satellite route. I must admit I was tempted in years past, because it was newer technology, and had great tech-weeenie appeal. A few years ago I think it ouot-performed TWC. But today with TW's digital cable, I really see no difference in picture quality with a properly fed TW signal. You also get Roadrunner, and connections to every set without separate satellite set top boxes (BS IMO).

    Now if you lived in the Boonies, that would be a different story...
     
  17. David Dennison

    David Dennison Second Unit

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    I found out that I will not be getting TWC, but rather Insight cable when I move to Indianapolis. I don't know how their service quality is. I guess I should be prepared for satellite, but I may give the cable a try first. Unfortunately cable modem service is an extra $10/month if you don't subscribe to their digital cable service. I am building a new construction house and have to complete all my upgrades and wiring plans by next weekend so I am trying to determine whether or not to run cable for a satellite dish.
     
  18. KurtJ

    KurtJ Stunt Coordinator

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    I have ComCast in ALBQ, NM and I like the digital cable for two reasons: SVID out and Digital audio out. Svid out is not available on non digital cable here.
     
  19. Dave_Mu

    Dave_Mu Extra

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    If you are building a house, RUN CABLE REGARDLESS.

    Your cabling contractor will do a better job than your cable operator will... most likely a much better job.

    Hints:

    Run lines EVERYWHERE you might even remotely think about placing a TV or PC. Think ahead, are you ever going to re-arrange any of your rooms? If you move the TV, you want an outlet there. The unused lines won't cause any problems...

    DO NOT split any of the lines, you want home-runs... no splitters.

    Run all the lines outside to the same location as your power meter...

    If you are going to have an A/V closet run all the lines to that closet, run one line from the closet to the outside of the house near the power meter.

    Try to get your contractor to leave plenty of excess line inside and out, and LABEL each line clearly.

    If you want fancy wallplates either get them beforehand or let your cable/sat guy know that you will do them yourself. You will get either white or beige from us.

    Plan on getting high speed data at some point! Run a line for the PC too.
     
  20. Scott Wong

    Scott Wong Second Unit

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    I wantde to let everyone know I did go ahead and give Time Warner Digital Cable a try. Prior to this upgrade I was paying $41.89/mo. (all taxes included) for just basic and standard cable. This equated to approx. 30-40 viewable channels. I received lliterature in the mail this past Saturday from Time Warner regarding new channels they've added and a new pricing structure. I now have what they refer to as their Digital Into package. All taxes and equipment included (plus free install), I am now paying $45.78/mo., a mere few dollars more than I was paying before.

    The programming consists of several more channels, plus the Digital Music Choice package and the ability to order pay per view movies. Their programming guide is also included, as well.

    Their cable box as an S-Video out and a digital coax audio out, as well. The digital coax audio signal only works thus far with the digital music choice channels. It does not work for any of the other channels, as I assume they just have an analog audio signal(?) I've not tested it yet, but I'm hoping that if I were to subscribe to a pay per view movie/event, the audio would be sent via a digital audio signal.

    Picture quality is significantly better than what I had before, especially with the S-Video out going to my Denon receiver. I'm honestly astonished by the quality. Some channels are crystal clear while others don't look as though they've changed much at all. Still, I'm happy with the quality. I'd like more channels but just can't justify spending that kind of money each month on cable television. I work quite a bit so I'm still not even really all that pleased with the $45.78/mo., but since it's just a couple of bucks more than I've been paying... I suppose it will do.

    I'm moving in 11 days to a two-bedroom apartment in the same complex. I'll literally be moving to the building right across the street. I just hope that the quality of connection I am receiving in this apartment right now, will be just as good as the one I receive in my new place. We'll see though.

    Scott.
     

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