I've had it with The DISH Network. Some DirecTV (D*) vs. Dish (E*) questions

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by RAF, Apr 19, 2002.

  1. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

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    As some of you here might know, Last August I installed a DISH Network system in my home, complete with two dishes, four receivers (one a High Def 6000 and one a PVR 501) - the whole nine yards. (See my HT website for full details). The HDTV picture has been amazing and, in general, I've been pleased with the performance of the network.
    However, some recent developments have me rethinking this whole process. In the first place, while DISH was at one time the clear leader in HDTV programming, that is no longer necessarily the case. With the exclusivity of Mark Cuban's 24/7 HDNet only available on DirecTV the HD programming balance has definitely shifted. True, I get Showtime HD exclusively on DISH, but, to tell the truth, I don't watch it too much (preferring HBO HD, when I have the time for it.)
    Secondly, and more important for my immediate needs, The Dish Network has made the decision not to carry the YES network and my local cable station (Cablevision) also doesn't carry it, so that's not an option. The only way to get YES is to install a single DirecTV unit. And that's exactly what I'm doing within the next few days.
    The above scenario has me wondering about what to do in the future and I'm calling on members here who have experience with both systems (DISH and DirecTV) to come forward with comments, suggestions and ideas.
    A few more items to throw into the mix:
    • My commitment to DISH runs until 8/22/02 so switching over entirely before that point incurs a $$$ penalty.
    • I wisely "rented" the 501 and two 301 receivers (only purchasing the 6000) so that when and if I cut the cord to DISH I walk away from most of the equipment. The Switches and dishes I already own.
    • Yes, I know that there will probably be a "merger" at some point in the future but I am no longer holding my breath on this. For one thing it might be years away and DISH has even stated that even with a merger they are not guaranteeing that they will still carry the YES network on the DISH affiliates in the foreseeable future.
    • I'm not in opposition to Charlie Ergen's position in not capitulating to sports programmers' insistence that satellite providers pay what appear to be unfair charges for something that has a limited audience (Yankee games - in this case I fall into the category of people who want to be part of that limited audience.) He and Cablevision actually have some valid points. However, with Cablevision it's obviously personal (Dolan vs. Steinbrenner). With DISH, for some reason DirecTV was able to work it out but DISH didn't accept the same deal.
    • What I am pissed at is the inability to be given an option to pay a few extra dollars a month to get the YES network. I wouldn't expect other DISH users to subsidize my Yankee habit, but I also don't appreciate the inability to be able to get something that should be available for a price. This is not rocket science here (o.k. - I guess that Satellite TV is related to rocket science, but you get my point here, right? [​IMG] ) I want my YES-TV! The identity of the villain here is cloudy. Lots of finger pointing and I'm stuck in the middle.
    So there you have the scenario. I'm going to install a single DirecTV receiver for now (installation cost is free or close to it) and will suck up the $31.99/month fee (1 year commitment) for what is basically a single station (I could care less about the other offerings at the moment since I have all I need from The Dish Network.)
    However, I would also like to think a little long term on this. Hopefully, by August the merger picture will be a little clearer and I am considering two options at that time.
    1. When my DISH commitment is done - leave dish entirely and use the existing wiring (probably new switches since I don't believe Dish and DirecTV are compatible) to install four direcTV receivers, one of which would be a Tivo unit (replacing my 501) and one of which would be an HDTV capable receiver (instead of the 6000 that I would still own but could not be used with DirecTV unless the merger does something with this.)
    2. Continue with my DISH/DirecTV hybrid system, perhaps making some modifications to be able to add the HDNet station to my HT arsenal. This would probably be contingent on the status of the proposed merger and the direction that things will be going.
    So, what say you? The immediate need is to add the YES network. But I have some other concerns.
    For example, when I do this "basic" DirecTV installation should I be looking at something else that would allow me to also get HDNet shortly thereafter? I know that DirecTV uses a single dish rather than the 2 dish system of DISH but is there a different dish if you want HDTV capability as well? (Yes, I know I would need an HDTV tuner instead of the basic DirecTV box and that the Echostar 6000 is not compatible.)
    Also, I'm aware that if I eventually switch over from the DISH PVR to a Tivo or Ultimate based PVR system there are pluses and minuses. On the plus side (besides the fact I'm pleased with the quality of the picture) the DISH PVR is not fee-based where Tivo is, but on the minus side, the DISH PVR, while getting better, is nowhere near as flexible or tweak-able as Tivo. Yes, there are promises of a 721 or beyond, but I don't live my life relying on promises.
    My initial reaction, when the baseball season began and there was no YES/Dish deal, was to bite the bullet, pay the $$ penalty and switch everything over to DirecTV using existing wiring. But after cooling off a bit (my vacation helped) and thinking about it I decided to test the DirecTV waters until August, when I will go with one or the other. For the intervening months it will be a bit of a pain. I already have two lines coming into my HT (I'm not really interested in permanently adding any more) and they are both Echostar-based. One is for the HDTV and the other is for the PVR, both of which I use extensively. Things would be so much easier if an affordable HDTV-PVR combo unit was already available. Then the second line would be freed up for DirecTV with absolutely no problem. So I live with three tuners in the HT for a few months. So be it. (I'm going to have to do a bit of creative shuffling since my pre/pro is already fully populated with video inputs from a variety of sources. Maybe I watch DirecTV through the VCR chain).
    The bottom line: I know that lots of you have multiple installations (DISH/DirecTV) and have probably worked out a lot of the kinks. Any suggestions? Anything obvious that I am missing?
    I would appreciate any help on this as an installer (versed in both Echostar and DirecTV) will be in the neighborhood tomorrow.
    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

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  3. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    The cheapest way to get started with D* is to sign up for the Blockbuster deal. You will get a basic receiver and dish. If you tell them you want the Para Todos package you will get the larger dish that is capable of picking up the HD satellite. When it comes time to sign up for programming, you don't have to actually sign up for any of the Spanish language channels.

     
  4. Westly T

    Westly T Second Unit

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    I started out with Direct TV many years ago when I first got satellite. After only a few days I learned of Dish Network. At that time Dish was a better value (Cheaper for the programming I wanted and more of what I wanted). They had very flexible plans including one that allow you to choose 10 channels for $15. I found Direct TV to be very inflexible and didn't like dealing with them so I returned the Direct TV equipment and switched to dish.

    The Direct TV equipment was more "polished" but seemed to perform a little slower then dish at that time. I liked the look of Direct TV menu’s, but the line up and price of Dish. Over the years Dish was very good at taking care of equipment problems, even out of warranty ones (after all over the phone exercises were exhausted). They have allowed me to keep the original programming play at near the original price even after it is no longer available (I'm still on it). I've had the DishPlayer and used their PVR on a friend’s setup, but I current use a standard Tivo. I thing the Direct Tivo is far better then anything offered by Dish, even if it costs a $10 monthly or $250 lifetime subscription cost.

    The main reasons I've not switched to direct TV:

    1)Dish has let me keep my old original plan at approximately the original cost.

    2)Dish allows me to keep using a receiver that's not connected to a phone line (For years, with Direct they turn it off after a month or two as I remember).

    3)Dish is the only one that has UPN for my area (The local UPN station is not setup for Dish or Direct even though all the other stations are and UPN is available in other areas. Dish allows me to get a feed from another city, while Direct TV refuses to allow this. Dish may be able to do this due to the fact I've had the other city feed since long before local feeds were available and I had it before I had cable, I'm not sure you could sign up for it now or not.)

    The main reasons I’d want Direct TV:

    1)Tivo, I think Tivo’s ability to track shows with Season Pass and record programs based on what I’ve said I like is far superior to Dish offerings. It has helped me find many programs I enjoy the I would’ve never found .

    2)The menu’s are much better on Direct TV units. On basic non-Tivo units (from what I’ve looked at in the past) the menu is much nicer then on non PVR Dish menus. I like the Tivo menu’s much better then any of the Dish PVR menus as well.

    3)Direct TV’s PVR’s can record 2 stations at the same time. Last I checked Dish had still not released one that could do this, but since I switched to Tivo I’ve not looked at Dish PVR’s.
     
  5. Westly T

    Westly T Second Unit

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    PS I get my favorite 10 channels, the super station package, the west cost networks (local networks), and the HBO _ Showtime package. I currently have 3 units and a short time ago I had 4.

    If Direct offered me UPN, and didn't force 100's of stations on me I don't want I'd switch for a higher cost. If they also let me keep one receiver not connected to a phone line I'd switch with no regrets.
     
  6. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

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  7. Bob_L

    Bob_L Supporting Actor

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    Just so this tiny part of the deal is clear:

    Like DISH, DTV accesses TWO satellites if you're using standard programming as well as HD programming. Everything EXCEPT the HD (and the international programming) comes from the same "bird." As a DirecTV user, you have the option to get two "circular" dishes -- one pointed at each bird -- or the single elliptical dish which can access both birds at once. (They're next to each other in the sky.)

    If YES and HD are on the DirecTV HD satellite (and that's all you want from DirecTV), then you can get by running just one line into the house to feed a single DTV/HD receiver.

    But if YES and HD are on different satellites (which is probably the case) and/or you want to use multiple DirecTV receivers, you'll need a total of four lines -- a pair for each satellite to cover positive and negative polarity of the transponders.

    So, as described earlier, to get regular DirecTV programming PLUS HD programming, you'll have four satellite lines coming into a switcher and, as many lines as you need going to each receiver in the house. The DirecTiVo -- which is terrific, by the way -- can use up to two lines. Other receivers only require a single line from the switcher.

    Reading this again, after an edit, it's probably about as clear as swamp water. But I tried...
     
  8. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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  9. MichaelGomez

    MichaelGomez Stunt Coordinator

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    Another thing to look at is the fact that they are merging the companies. There is a link on this forum that talks about it.
     
  10. MichaelGomez

    MichaelGomez Stunt Coordinator

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  11. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

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    Bob_L,
    Actually, I followed your remarks quite easily. I'm up to speed on the number of lines needed to service LNBs (I assume D* LNBs work in similar fashion to E* LNBs) I currently have six lines coming in from my two E* dishes (a 500 and a 300) so that if I eventually move everything to D* I'm covered. For the simple D* installation for YES I'm hoping I have a line of sight on the corner of my roof that will allow me to place the D* dish there. If not, a third dish (D*) on my pole (see my HT site for pix) is not out of the realm of possibility since my conduit can easily accommodate two more lines for the D* dish).
    Thanks, all. I should have more information after the installer stops by today.
     
  12. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

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  13. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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  14. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

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    Crawdaddy. Thanks for the link. Don't worry about the Yankees. They'll be there at the finish.

    BTW, the Satellite installer came by today to check out my site for adding a simple D* dish to my pole. No problem, according to him. I'll run a single installation through the conduit and use an existing unused cable to get into the house and then the HT. Simple soution for now.

    The decision to switch from E* to D* may take a little more thinking on my part. I see that D* will start offering Showtime HD at the end of month. One question: Does D* offer HD CBS at this point over their dish? Or must you use the OTA option? Any other HD regular channels also on the D* dish?

    Anyone know?

    Thanks.
     
  15. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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  16. John Tillman

    John Tillman Supporting Actor

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    Robert:
    Very difficult and frustrating situation. I'm a Dish sub with a 6000 and two other SD receivers. With Optimum Online, I also receive the three HD stealth channels and I'm going through a painful withdrawal of Yankee stadium in 1080i, not to mention the lack of SD (YES) options.
    But that's the point for me. I'm not going to jump through hoops to get a SD broadcast. Not gonna happen. Talk to me about 1080i and I'll leap, jump and do cartwheels.
    Yes can't let the season expire on 3 million customers and Cablevision can't afford to let hundreds of thousands slip away to Direct. All the while Dish sits back and lets it evolve with no heat on them.
    For the time being, just do the CBS games and if you can pick up UHF-59 out of New Haven, you can see 5 more Redsox/Yankee games:
    http://www.wctxtv.com/html/redsox.html
    In my case, I also get to see them in 1080i from Shea, June 14,15,16 as all the Met home games are 1080i on the stealth FSN.
    Don't jump through hoops for these guys, it'll come to you if you are patient.
     
  17. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

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  18. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

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    Paul,

    Thanks for all of the additional information. I'm really sorry that D* doesn't offer any local HD programming. I've become addicted to CBS-HD and the picture is stunning. And I've had absolutely no problems with the dish PVR. In fact it keeps getting better and better. They seem to upgrade the software every few weeks and there are many new features it didn't have before. True, you can't tweak it like a TIVO (or extend its recording time, etc. via Linux)but my 501 works like a charm and greatly exceeds what I thought it would do. And the fact that you don't have to pay extra for the programming is a plus. I realize that there is a bias towards Tivo, etc. but this is one of those things that I'll wait for the merger to handle. Right now, my PVR comes with no extra cost, it's owned by E* and I can upgrade to the newer units for little or no charge once the newer models are introduced with a simple phone call.

    One thing I'll be able to do is to compare the quality of both signals once the D* is installed (hopefully this Thursday). All the other bells and whistle (either E* or a complete switch over to D*) will wait until later in the year. I have to say that the lack of HD-CBS on the D* dish is something that opens my eyes. I'm not positioned to get a very good OTA signal and I would lose something significant.

    So for now I live with my hybrid situation and let things sort out.

    Once again, thanks for the info. It appears that if I switch over for all the D* bells and whistles I end up with two dishes as well to get everything. I'll pass on that right now since, except for YES, I'm very pleased with E*.
     
  19. Maurice Verploegen

    Maurice Verploegen Stunt Coordinator

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    Paul,

    Thanks for the info. That is great information. So, to be totally clear. Ones the move to the 110 bird, all of the current HD-DSS owners need a second dish? I wonder how that is going to work. I almost ready to buy a RCA DTC-100. I thought that only 2 channels wasn't enough to justify it for me. But with the addition of HD-Showtime.... Man, if HD-Discovery ever comes, that will be nice. Thanks again for the info Paul.

    Mo
     
  20. Bill Adlhoch

    Bill Adlhoch Stunt Coordinator

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    whaths the big deal about a phone connection?

    do people think its some kind of Big Brother conspiracy?
     

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