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need help with Satellite decision


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7 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   astrohip

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 03:28 PM

Help! I need to pick a satellite service, and have no idea where to start. We have a weekend home in the country that gets no cable and is too remote for any antenna. But no tree problems, so satellite access should be good. My needs are very basic:

* I want basic HD service, mainly the OTA networks. A few "cable" channels would be ok, but are not critical (USA, TNT, Disc, Travel, whatever). Sports & movies just not a big deal. HD is a must.

* Need service in only two rooms. Want an HD-DVR for each room/TV

* We don't have Internet access (nor do I want it), nor phone service. So I need to make sure that whatever I get doesn't need to "call home". (As background, I have had TiVo for years, and understand that they must have some kind of access for the guide. I'm hoping satellite doesn't have that need.)

* I'm a 100% caption user. I am familiar with the problem of HD not handling captions properly, and HD-TVs not displaying them. I need to make sure the tuner/DVR device can output/overlay captions on the signal, so the TV can display them.

My questions are varied, and come from my lack of knowledge of satellite. Things like...

* Is there any big difference between the two (DirecTV & Dish) for my simple needs?
* How about the DVRs. Any big diff there? Is one more TiVo like?
* Price or service differences?
* Should I worry about using Dish DVRs because of the TiVo lawsuit?

And installation...how does that work? Do you call the satellite company direct? Do you use a local installer? What kind of deals should one expect? Contracts? Do you pay for installation, or is it thrown in with a contract? What else do I need to know, that I haven't even asked?

Thanks in advance.

#2 OFFLINE   jclewter79

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Posted 15 March 2008 - 02:43 PM

If only one of your tvs is HD you can go with just one receiver from dish network for both.

#3 OFFLINE   tcusta00

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Posted 15 March 2008 - 03:03 PM

Both services will give you your basic programming needs. DirecTV has more HD at the moment but things could change in the future - who knows!

I can only speak to what DirecTV offers in terms of equipment:

If you watch TV in both rooms at once you will need one HD DVR for each room. If you only watch TV in one room at a time you can get by with one HD DVR (HR21 is currently the most common model being sold) and two remotes. All outputs on the back of the HR21 are active so you could run component to one TV and HDMI to the other. You would simply buy an extra remote from DirecTV with RF (radio instead of IR). The drawback is that the same channel would show on both TVs.

The other option is to get an HD DVR for each room. Call to confirm pricing but I believe they're going for $199 each with a two year contract. If you have a Costco you may find them for $169. I'd call DirecTV directly to confirm pricing and see if they can give you any deals.

As far as calling a local installer versus DirecTV - that's up to you, but the deals may vary so you may want to call both. I got a better deal personally by calling a local installer but your mileage may vary. My local guy also did an awesome job on the install too, but again, that was just my experience.

I really like the HR21 box - it's not given me any major problems, picture is great. I have no clue about how closed captioning should work if it's considered to be working well. I just tried it on NBC watching golf and it was about 8 seconds behind, for what that's worth.

Your best bet for finding the best pricing and packages is to call each service provider directly - anything you're told on a forum could be incorrect and your decision shouldn't be based on it.

Good luck!

#4 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 15 March 2008 - 03:04 PM

You asked for "Basic HD" ... do you not want SD?

If you don't want SD, DISH Network has an HD only package for $29.99 that is the best thing going. DirecTV currently has more 'cable networks' in HD (and due to a satellite launch problem could for at least next six months).

DirecTV doesn't have a HD only package --- the least expensive package is $62.98 (Choice for $52.99 plus $9.99 for HD access). DISH's least expensive package with HD is $47.99 w/locals (AT100).

DISH Network does have the two output receiver ... but without phone or internet you will pay $5 per month fee for not staying connected. You can have the receiver disconnected ... they just access a penalty.

Closed Captioning availability on channels varies. I can't speak for DirecTV receivers but DISH Network does handle closed captioning and superimposes that captioning on the video feed (not relying on the CC built into your TV). TV2 uses the CC built into your TV (and is SD output only - you can watch SD or HD downconverted to SD on TV2).

I prefer local retailers ... I know where they live ... but calling the company's national numbers or signing up on the website also works. I would NOT call a national reseller (personal preference).

#5 OFFLINE   rotomike

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 01:37 PM

I think your best bet is the Dish $29.99 plan will get you 2 rooms(One HD and one SD) and that will get you dvr for both room also and if the other room is close enough you can run Component cables to it from the HD-DVR and get HD in there also but you will be restricted to the same channel as that first room is watching but can easily change modes on tv and get another seperate feed but it will be in SD. I think im being confusing. Explain your layout more.

Mike

#6 OFFLINE   astrohip

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 03:39 PM

Two rooms. They need to be able to watch independent of each other. I want a DVR for each room. I mentioned the HD package because I usually only watch HD. All of our locals are in HD, plus prime-time is HD. I don't care if I have SD or not.

I wasn't aware that they will sell a DVR; I'm used to cable where you "rent" the equipment.

They charge a penalty for not being on phone or internet? Why? Don't they get the guide data from the satellite feed also?

Thanks for the feedback. I'm learning! :grin:

#7 OFFLINE   rotomike

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 06:40 PM

You get a free HD-DVR and installation for free. Pay $29.99 a month for all the Dish HD plus $5 more for locals unless you can pull them from an antenna in HD. Main room will be in HD and second room will be in SD. No charge for second room and second room will have the DVR also. If you want to pay $5 more per month and buy another HD-DVR receiver up front or pay an upgrade fee not sure how much but pretty pricy for the second DVR. Nobody really knows for certain why they make you connect that phone line to these dual tuner receivers but if you dont you have to or pay an extra $5 a month. The guide does come from satellite true but they want you to rent movies which requires a phone and it also has caller ID and you can pay bills and lots of stuff extra with phone line so they like to have you connect it. You can use internet instead if you have hi-speed. This will be the cheapest way to get lots of HD channels.

Just re-read your post and this will be a leased receiver even though there is no fee but when you cancel they will want it back. Good thing about it being leased is if it goes bad they will send you another replacement free.

mike

#8 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 06:58 PM

The guide data comes via satellite ... you get guide data for your locals (in most markets) if you subscribe to whatever locals DISH offers in your market. The $5 phone line fee is more of a "because we can" fee. Nobody really knows why.




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