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? ) 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.