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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Comparing Services - do my thoughs make sense?


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16 replies to this topic

Poll: Based off my situation, should I.. (43 member(s) have cast votes)

Based off my situation, should I..

  1. Buy DishNetwork (6 votes [13.95%])

    Percentage of vote: 13.95%

  2. Buy DirecTV (37 votes [86.05%])

    Percentage of vote: 86.05%

Vote Guests cannot vote

#1 OFFLINE   rjchawk

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 06:28 PM

First off let me say, I realize there are other "d* vs e*" threads out there, and I'm not trying to recreate any of them, (nor am I trying to start a war between the members of the Church of d* and the Church of e*). Rather I am hoping people who have each service can confirm or deny my thinking based off the research I've done, and cue me in if I've failed to consider something.

So here's my situation:

  • I've been a CATV subscriber for years, so no matter which service I go to, it'll be an upgrade.
  • Regardless of which service I pick I'll likely be looking at the ~200 channel packages (ChoiceXtra for DirecTV, or the silver package for Dish)
  • I have both HDTV and SDTV (2 of each).
  • I want a good DVR with multi-tunner capability
  • I'm not a huge sports nut. I enjoy college sports, but generally don't see a need for any premium sports channels
  • I like getting movies, but wont likely subscribe to premiums such as HBO,Cinemax, etc.
  • If possible, Id really prefer to only have one dish.

So, now on to my analysis- please confirm or deny my thoughts.

1) It appears that DISH has the most channels (HD and SD) given the fact that Im looking in the ~200 channel range. Source: DishComparison dot com
2) Non Promo Pricing:
Dish: Silver=$48, HD=$10, Locals+DVR=$10 => $68/mo + any extra receiver fee
DirecTV: ChoiceXtra+HD=$70, DVR=$5 => $75/mo + extra receiver fee
*Since I'm thinking 2HD+2SD, I believe I could do 2 receivers with Dish, and need 4 with DirecTV? resulting in higher fees for receiver lease through DirecTV?
3) Am I correct in saying that only DirecTV can do single sat and still get HD and locals?
4) The consensus seems to be that Dish customer service is $#!^.
5) DirecTV has neat apps like weather, etc.
6) The DVR interface on Dish is better (so I've herd - dont know first hand)
7) With DISH I could bump up to the 250+ channel package for just $10 more, and get stars free in the process - to bump up to the next package in DirecTV is like $45 more, and still no Stars.

So my delima:

Go DirecTV and only need 1 dish, get good customer service, and slightly better HD quality, but pay for 4 receivers, plus about $12/mo more in base service
or
Go with Dish, and save a couple hundred dollars/year but require 2 dishes, and give up good customer service, etc.

What am I missing, are there any money saving tips I'm overlooking (not counting introductory pricing). I think I would prefer going with DirecTV if it wasn't for the fact that it looks like it will end up costing me quite a bit more for what I want.

Feedback and suggestions are appreciated. No flame-war please!

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#2 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 07:24 PM

Just a couple of quick things...

I believe most markets Dish can give you a single dish solution for HD and locals. There are a couple of different SAT clusters that allow single dish depending upon your market (where your locals are) and how good a view you have line-of-sight to the SATs. I do not know about Iowa to say definitively, though.

I think you'll find enough online rants to support that Dish, DirecTV, cable, and every conceivable company has poor customer service. I haven't had any CSR issues with Dish in 7 years, but I also haven't had any problems that I needed help to deal with. My father had multiple issues with DirecTV in that same span of time as well as Time Warner cable.

Dish has some apps as well, but I can't compare since I honestly don't use them and haven't ever used DirecTV to know a basis for comparison.

I like my Dish DVRs... but I've never used a DirecTV one so as far as I know they might be good too.

Right now I believe things are a "wash" with HD... Dish has some that DirecTV doesn't, and vice-versa. IF you want things like NFL Sunday Ticket or MLB Extra Innings you have to go with DirecTV... for everything else, you have to dig and see what channels are where to know if you'll miss something by picking either provider.

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#3 OFFLINE   bonscott87

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 08:18 AM

I'd suggest you don't fall into the "who has more channels" syndrome.

Print out a list of channels from both Dish and DirecTV.
Highlight the channels you *must* have no matter what. Also compare what each has the other doesn't. I'd say then choose based on which one gives you the channels you want at the price that is worth it. So if DirecTV has a couple channels you can't live without that Dish doesn't then is that worth the extra few bucks a month to you? Or if Dish has everything you want then sounds like they are the one to go with.

I'd say the DVRs are comparable, having used neither one I think you'd be happy with either coming from cable.

Customer service, both can be wanting although as you said Dish has a reputation of being worse. But how often do you really need customer service? I think I make one call a year, if that.

You mention college sports, DirecTV is bringing ESPN-U to the base package by early next year if that matters to you.

Since I'm thinking 2HD+2SD, I believe I could do 2 receivers with Dish, and need 4 with DirecTV? resulting in higher fees for receiver lease through DirecTV?


I believe Dish has a receiver that has a 2nd output but it's SD only. I'm not sure if that 2nd output is an independent program vs. what is being shown on the main TV (you'll need to check). So best case senario you'd need 2 HD DVRs, one on each HDTV with the 2nd SD output to the SD TVs. Note with Dish you'll be paying a DVR fee on *each* whereas with DirecTV the DVR fee covers all of the DVRs on your account.

Basically you need to run thru both web sites to get a total calculation for your situation. Dish is known for being a few bucks cheaper for channels packages but they really get you with receiver fees and other fees for this and that. Note that Dish charges you $5 extra for your locals so adding that in both package prices you're looking at are nearly the same. So to do a true comparison print out what each web site says for you and that will give you a true comparison.

I can tell you for DirecTV there is one DVR fee for all receivers and you'll pay $5 a month for every receiver beyond your first. So if you get 4 receiver you'd pay $15 in additional receiver fees plus the DVR fee of $6. $21 total.


With DISH I could bump up to the 250+ channel package for just $10 more, and get stars free in the process - to bump up to the next package in DirecTV is like $45 more, and still no Stars.


You can add any of the movie packages on DirecTV separately. I think it's $12 for the first one so you could add Starz for $12 but sounds like that would probably be more expensive then Dish.

#4 OFFLINE   jclewter79

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 09:17 AM

Youy do not get starz with the 250 package on E*. What you get is the encore package included with AT 250. ESPN-U has always been in a package with E* althought neither service offers it in HD as of yet.
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#5 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 09:34 AM

I'd suggest you don't fall into the "who has more channels" syndrome.

Unless it is "who has more of what I want" as you point out later in your post.

I believe Dish has a receiver that has a 2nd output but it's SD only.

It is SD only (but you can watch down-converted HD programming) and this plays well into a scenario with 2+2 as you can have four TVs with DVR service.

I'm not sure if that 2nd output is an independent program vs. what is being shown on the main TV (you'll need to check).

It is independent unless there are multiple programs being recorded at once (up to three at once for each DVR given an OTA feed).

#6 OFFLINE   Drew2k

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 11:08 AM

There used to be a thread somewhere around here comparing DIRECTV and Dish receivers and features, but I no longer see it... That could be a good resource for finalizing the decision...

#7 OFFLINE   coldsteel

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 12:48 PM

Dish does have a local weather app through it's channel 100. However, the duo-TV Dish receivers do require a phone or broadband (HD receivers) connection, or you pay $5 for that second TV connection. Plus, with Dish, you will have to pay $200 for a second HDDVR, $0 for a duo-TV HD receiver for the second HD and SD TVs.
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#8 OFFLINE   machavez00

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 01:02 PM

There is a thread comparing both system's DVRs
http://www.dbstalk.c...2&highlight=622

#9 OFFLINE   carl6

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 04:16 PM

I have never used Dish Network, so I am not able to offer any comparisons. I am happy with my DirecTV service and equipment.

Be sure to research the full capabilities of Dish Network DVRs as far as supporting one or two TV's in context of how your TVs are likely to be used. In other words, if there is little chance that an SDTV connected to the same DVR as an HDTV will be used at the same time, or would need the ability to watch separate programming, then realize that all outputs on the DirecTV DVRs are live at the same time, so you can connect a remote SD (or HD) TV to the DVR - it would just have to watch the same program as the local TV. For that matter, with enough wiring, you could run all four of your TVs off one DirecTV DVR at once as long as they were all watching the same program (granted that is not very likely or practical scenario, but is possible). I have a DVR at each TV location, so I have full dual tuner capability, as well as all live TV "trick play" (pause, rewind, fast forward) and dual live bufer (DLB) capability at each TV full time. My total monthly cost for the four additional DVRs is $20. I'm not sure that you would have the same capabilities with a shared DVR (and it may not matter to you).

I fully agree with the comments about not getting bogged down in who has the most channels. What is important is not how many channels total, but rather which channels you expect/want to watch. I would guess for most people of either service (DirecTV and Dish) there are at least a hundred channels most folks never watch (everyone's list is different of what they like and watch, so the 100 I never watch won't be the same 100 you never watch, but we'll both have a whole bunch we never watch).

Bottom line is, figure out which features and capabilities are important to you, and which channels are important to you. Then pick the service that best meets those criteria.

Rather than your poll, simply asking specific questions regarding equipment capabilities (in the applicable forum) will certainly get you quality answers at DBSTalk, both in the Dish Network and DirecTV forums. Asking for comparisons may get you "mine is better" responses without substantiating information relavent to your needs/desires.

#10 OFFLINE   deaincaelo

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 01:10 AM

I'm surprised you have so many responses for direct. Your programming and equipment needs seems better suited to dish.

then again, i think dish service is underrated.
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#11 OFFLINE   Zellio

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 03:44 AM

I'm a movie fan and I say go for Directv. The thing that keeps me with Directv is the reliability. If it wasn't far more reliable then Dish Network I would be gone :lol::lol::mad:

What is the good of tons of movie channels if they go out in sunlight, with no cloud in the sky?

#12 OFFLINE   jclewter79

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 06:20 AM

I'm a movie fan and I say go for Directv. The thing that keeps me with Directv is the reliability. If it wasn't far more reliable then Dish Network I would be gone :lol::lol::mad:

What is the good of tons of movie channels if they go out in sunlight, with no cloud in the sky?


If you had channels going out in sunlight, you had a hardware problem and that is not normal. E* and D* are equally reliable except maybe in the HDDVR arena. D* is getting better but, you still see people reporting problems.
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#13 OFFLINE   MIKE0616

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 06:49 AM

[LIST]
So, now on to my analysis- please confirm or deny my thoughts.

4) The consensus seems to be that Dish customer service is $#!^.


DirecTV's customer service is absolutely horrible. Whomever told you it was "good" was either smoking something or a D* employee. While Dish may not win any awards in that area, it would be hard to be any worse, so that is a non-issue, IMO.

The upside of the lousy CS is that you don't have to deal with them very often, but may the Lord help you if you do.

Search "csr roulette" on here and see what I am talking about. :)

BTW, I have had Direct for most of the last 12-16 years, and had Dish for 18-24 months in there (to get locals) and having used the DVRs on both, while neither is perfect, they are a quantum leap ahead of what the local cable company has and are pretty comparable.

Look at the channel lists for both services and see if the channels you like and think you will like are in which provider's package for the least total cost. Who cares if a channel is in a package if the likelyhood of you watching is nil? :)

Good Luck and don't think you can lose with either.

#14 OFFLINE   rjchawk

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 08:51 AM

Thank you guys all for your input. I ended up signing up for DirecTV. (and not just because of the poll). I had lots of friends recomending D*, and it just slightly edged out Dish, although I suspect I would have been happy with either.

As for the price concern I figured out:
I can bundle D* with my internet and save $5/mo.
I save $10/mo (for 10 months) from being referred.
I've been told I can save $10 more thanks to my AAA membership.
Plus promo is better on D* (12months of $21 savings, vs 6mo of $25)

Thanks again for everyone's input.

#15 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 09:22 AM

Sounds like you found all of the short-term promos. What's the long-term cost comparison going to look like?

#16 OFFLINE   rjchawk

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Posted 05 July 2009 - 12:42 PM

Sounds like you found all of the short-term promos. What's the long-term cost comparison going to look like?


After the 24 months it'll end up being just slightly more expensive, but i'll re-evaluate my options at that time. It was a tough decision since as you imply DTV is generally a bit more pricy, but its what i decided worked best for my situation.

#17 OFFLINE   want2cbetter

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Posted 23 July 2009 - 09:12 PM

I have had both - Dish from 1998 until 2004 and Directv from 2007 until now.

Dish started out great - pricing and customer service were wonderful. Picture quality was great too (this was in the years before HD receivers). Then I dropped satellite when I moved to Memphis (yea, I know, what was I thinking). In the last 6 months of having service with Dish, the customer service dropped notably.

In 2007 I wanted to go back to satellite and decided on Directv because of the NFL ST offer. In short, it has been great. The customer service is truly phenominal - every call except for one over the last two years have resulted in solutions that exceeded my expectations. Upgrades on equipment, a reciever that went bad, a requested credit on a PPV movie; all of them were handled very well.

Technically, Directv does cost a little more on a month by month basis, but the credits I've received (most without asking) and the great customer service more than make up for the difference.




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