My Dish/Cable TV saga (Basic Cable includes HDTV??)

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Bob McElfresh, Aug 5, 2005.

  1. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    (Just so you guys know - you are not alone in dealing with things).

    I have been a happy Dish Network subscriber for years. My wife really loves the Olympics. Two weeks before the Olympics, my local cable compay, Adelphia, started to offer a HDTV Personal Video Recorder.

    A eariler conversation about HDTV with my wife:

    "We could get a HD TV to watch the Olympics!" I suggest.

    "Does it have a PVR so we can pause and skip commercials?" My wife counters.

    "No." I admit.

    "Then, why bother?"

    I do some fast talking with the wife/Circuit City/Adelphia/the wife/the wife/...

    Three days before the Olympics, the cable company hooks up our new PVR to my new Samsung HDTV.

    It was fantastic! The Olympics were great, even with just 8 hours of disk space to record. On network programming, I could see the reflection of the studio lights in the eyes of the actors - outstanding detail!

    All this was running me about $48/month for cable, in addition to my $70/month for dish.

    (skip forward 3 months)...

    I got a notice from the cable company. My "introductory offer" was about to expire and my cable bill was going to jump to $98 / month.

    I sat down and listed all the things I was watching in HDTV:
    • CSI on Thursday
    • ER on Thursday
    • Desperate Housewives on Sunday (ummmmm Teri Hatcher in High Def [​IMG] )

    This was too little use for nearly $100/month. I returned the box and stopped the service. [​IMG]

    (time passes)

    My birthday came around again and .. I was having trouble coming up with ideas for a gift. My wife asked if Dish Network now offered a High Def PVR. (love that woman).

    But.... Dish does have a HD PVR, but their service only offeres 1 network channel in high def: CBS. I live in a hilly area with almost no chance of getting OTA signals. The price of the receiver would be $700, and my bill would go up about $35/month.

    I just could not see spending that much money for so little.

    For grins, I called the cable company. They tried to sell me a "digital" package with the local channels/HBO/High Def PVR for $48/month. Then it would jump to $75/month after the 'introductory offer' period. Since I am still spending about $70/month for Dish - it was too much.

    I was about to hang up from the cable company, but something about the rapid-fire packages/options caught my attention: "You could get basic cable for $28.".

    "Wait." I said. "Could I get basic cable with the HD-PVR?"

    "Sure." was the answer.

    "How much extra for the box?"

    "Well, the service is $21/month and the box rental is $6.95/month".

    "But this includes the HDTV locals?"

    "Yes."

    "And this would run $28/month?"

    "Yes."

    "What happens after the 'introductory period'?" (Ha - fool me once...)

    "There is no introductory offer, it's just our basic cable service fee."

    Doing the math:
    • HDTV with 4 networks and Fox
    • a HDTV PVR
    • Nothing to buy, no 1 year commitment.
    • $28/month

    So I signed up. I have had glorious HDTV with a PVR for a few weeks now and I love it.

    Moral of the story: Call your cable company. Dig into their different packages. You may discover a hidden gem for a low price.

    (Equipment issue)

    Just tonight (friday), my daughter calls up and complains that the dish PVR is acting 'funny'. I do a power off/on/reset and I get:


    So I call technical support and after talking for a few minutes, we realize the Dish PVR is toast. I can get a replacement for about $40.

    "Can I up-grade to a HD PVR?" I ask.

    "no. You have to buy the HD PVR from a local store."

    "Can I upgrade to the next-generation box?"

    "Yes, but there will be an install fee."

    "What will happen to my monthly fee?" I ask.

    The numbers spill out but since I am removing 1 receiver, adding a dual tuner box/commit/plug into a phone line, returning the troubled reciever/..... the net difference is: $5.00/month

    "Let's do it" I say.

    So..my modest system is getting a face-lift. [​IMG]
     
  2. Mark C.

    Mark C. Supporting Actor

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    That's great--for you, Bob. I only wish my cable company (Charter) would get around to offering HD in my area. I'll be a grandparent before Charter gets its as* in gear. The pickings on the satellite services are too slim to bother until the mpeg4 conversion. So, I sit with two HD-ready sets in the house and no HD.[​IMG]
     
  3. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    I feel your pain. I wish Sat had better HD offerings.

    While there are some good network programs, I would actually sign up for Sat HD if they had:

    - WB or UPN in high def
    - Some of the cable stations in HD (Food Network, G4TechTV, SciFi, Comedy Central).

    But many of these have pre-existing contracts and no incentive to go HD.
     
  4. Jorge M

    Jorge M Stunt Coordinator

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    Glad to hear "basic" cable is working out for you, Bob. Do you get the electronic program guide with that package? I've been tempted to go with Comcast's basic offering myself, but they don't include the EPG in the basic package, and I've grown too dependent on it to go back at this point. Of course you've got Dish as your main provider so your situation is different.
     
  5. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    The EPG seems to cover 3-4 days.. (but I have not checked the limits). But the "Moxi" software does something interesting: You can say to record "CSI", but it will record not only CSI on Thursday, but the re-runs on other nights. (Kind of like Tivo).

    This is a little annoying because for HD video, it only has enough hard drive space for about 8 hours.

    The EPG does have a search feature which is nice for tracking down when favorite shows start moving around at the begining of the fall season.

    (Like when Smallville moves to Thursday night - where it will die going up against mainstay shows.)
     
  6. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    I was stuck in Anahiem for many months for a job and the hotel had Adelphia cable.
    I still remember these 'smear' commericals they ran on Dish/ Directv .......the funniest part were the commericals looked and sounded horrible. The sound was compressed to a point the TV speaker rattled when they came on even at low volume.
    All the while they were bragging about the quality of their digital cable channels without the 'ugly' dish.

    I am sure they drove many of their subscribers off since it only aired on their own cable system and was the most incredibly annoying thing I have ever seen
     
  7. John S

    John S Producer

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    Here for Cable HD you must have Digital Cable, you only get anything beyond free OTA stuff for substantial costs.

    I got rid of our service after the 3 month intro.

    A little different for me, as I get lots of free OTA HD.

    Content is to expensive for me period anymore. I just buy media these days.
     
  8. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    I was suprised at what I got for this much money. The only trick was that it took some digging because the CSR tried to sell me a 'package'.

    So if you have a HD set and dont have something that provides HD content - call the Cable Co and see what the local networks would cost in HD.
     
  9. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    I took your suggestion since I would love to get the Fox Bay Area Sports channel in HD. Most of their other channels I get for free OTA.
    I sent them an email asking what service (Basic, Basic Extended, Standard.....) would I need to enable me to get that channel and what that price would be.

    I got a reply within a day that told me how to hook up my HDTV ....how I can hook up a toslink cable to audio system....what resolution I would need to use their HD Box.....the different connects for HDTV video......

    EVERYTHING INCLUDING THE KITCHEN SINK BUT NOT ONE FREAKING WORD ABOUT WHAT I ASKED OR HOW MUCH IT WOULD BE!!!!

    Yes, I still hate the cable company.
    VIACOM
    COMCAST
    GREAT FRICKIN CABLE COMPANY
    Don't matter what they call themselves they suck
     

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