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Directv vs. DISH...which is better???

Discussion in 'General Satellite Discussion' started by somguy, Jun 25, 2008.

  1. somguy

    somguy Legend

    Oct 2, 2006
    I have now had the chance to experience both Directv and DISH.
    I switched to DISH due to all of the HD DVR glitches/issues that I had hoping, and maybe some wishful thinking on my part, that DISH would be better and unfortunately I was wrong.
    Considering that DISH is only $5 cheaper for me per month, than it all came down to Features on my DVR.
    Granted DISH has some cool features like PIP and dual live tuner buffers, but by far Directv outways them in features and ease of use. It is so much easier to set defaults and recordings, etc. with Directv that I feel that they are the lesser of the 2 evils. Plus they also offer much more HDTV. The picture quality was worse and I had multiple spontaneous reboots with DISH. Plus there is too many extra things you have to do to either record a show or go back to Live TV, etc. and therefore much more of a hassel than Directv.
    Since both companies have issues with their dvr's and their pricing is about the same than for me it came down to features which I feel that Directv faired better and therfore it looks like we will be switching back to Directv.

    I guess that you don't know what you got until you don't got it no more!!
    Sometimes though you have to experience things for yourself, no matter what someone tells you and then you can make an informed decision.

    So for those of you who have been with both companies, what is your opinion on both of them? Who do you like more and why?
    Feel free to agree or disagree with me as I value all opinions and thank you for reading my post!!
  2. Strejcek

    Strejcek Icon

    Sep 27, 2006
    While my home was being built, I lived with the in-laws for a few months. They had DISH. I absolutely hated DISH. Every one of their receivers was extremely slow and hard to navigate through. I ended up getting their blessing to put a DirecTV dish up and had my DirecTV again.

    Funny thing is, now the in-laws are DirecTV customers and they are very happy for switching.
  3. burtom

    burtom Cool Member

    Sep 13, 2007
    I have been thinking about this a bit lately and these are some of the things that seem important to me right now about the two companies. I am thinking about going to DirecTV HD if they ever get the SWMLine antenna in my area. I think the cost of the package that I am thinking about, HD DVR, with 4 HR2X receivers would be $98.94 wit DirecTV, while a system not quite as good, 3 HD DVRs, would be over $115.00 a month with Dish. I originally switched from Dish to DirecTV because I got stuck in a bad refurb replacement loop that really upset my wife; 2 DOA refurbs in a row then a unit that worked about month.

    1) Good
    a) DVRs reliable and work like a DVR.
    b) For a simple system cheaper than DirecTV

    2) Bad
    a) Corny 2 TV DVRs
    b) 5.00 charge for no phone line.
    c) 4 tuner lease limit.
    d) Monthly charge really adds up with the 5.98 access fee for each DVR
    e) 2 year commitment at $10 a month with upgrade.
    f) No way around losing recordings when DVR breaks.

    1) Good
    a) No corny 2 TV DVR
    b) Pricing as you add more to system becomes cheaper than DISH
    c) Cool tech like setting DVR events on the web and the CE program you have here.
    d) No 5.00 charge for no phone line.

    2) Bad
    a) Suspect reliability of DVRs.
    b) May have hit a whole new low in customer service.
    c) $696 upfront fee for HD DVRs.
    d) Current 2 cable requirement for each DVR.
    e) Blank and missed recording
    f) 2 year commitment at $20 a month with change over.
    g) No way around losing recordings when DVR breaks.

    Have a Great Day
  4. tcusta00

    tcusta00 Active Member

    Dec 31, 2007
    FYI, it's hard to read posts that are entirely in bold. :)
  5. JLucPicard

    JLucPicard Hall Of Fame

    Apr 27, 2004
    burtom, good reasoning you've done, but with each you make a point under "bad" of no way around losing recordings when DVR breaks. I may not be sure of what you mean by that, but what DVR is there that you will be able to retain recordings if it breaks?

    There is an option with the DirecTV HD DVRs (not sure about the SD DVRs) to use an external hard drive. In that case, if something with the DVR itself (or maybe even the internal HD) breaks, I believe your recordings would be accessible if you connected the external drive to a replacement DVR (keeping in mind that it's either use the internal or an external drive - it's an either/or thing).
  6. l8er

    l8er Icon

    Jun 18, 2004
    I believe it's not that easy. External drives are usually "married" to a DVR - meaning you can't take it from one DVR and view the contents by hooking it up to another DVR.
  7. ansky

    ansky Hall Of Fame

    Oct 11, 2005
    Dish does not carry the Yes Network so I didn't even consider them as an option.
  8. Mike Bertelson

    Mike Bertelson 6EQUJ5 WOW! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    Jan 24, 2007
    For me...and speaking only for me...DirecTV is the better choice.

  9. burtom

    burtom Cool Member

    Sep 13, 2007
    Hi JLuc

    I could be wrong but I believe when you move an external drive on the HR series the first thing it does is format the drive losing all your recordings. A good item for the wish list would be if you transfer an external hard drive within the same account it would not format. That would probably be pretty hard to do though.
  10. wilbur_the_goose

    wilbur_the_goose Hall Of Fame

    Aug 16, 2006
    I think the GUI on the E* boxes is not very good. Looks like something from the mid-1990's
  11. Ron Barry

    Ron Barry 622 Tips & Trick Keeper

    Dec 10, 2002
    I moved this out of the DIRECTV forum since the question actually is more general and would be better in the Gen Sat area for all to see.

    I never have had D* so I cannot comment on the comparison of the DVRs. However, I can offer up some experiences and observations from the E* side of the support forums.

    In reading the numerous threads on the E* side of the fence there have been a lot of people that have come from the D* side of the fence and have preferred the E* DVRs interface. Also a number of people that currently have both. There have also been some others that have felt the other way around.. I would suggest someguy that after about 6 months come back and report your opinions after having some time using it and after you get your installation issues worked out. Here is why..

    1) Mac vs. Windows effect - Whenever a user moves from a Mac to a Windows box or visa versa for the first time, in most cases they are frustrated with the interface. It does not seem intuitive to them, buttons don't appear to be where they should be, How do I maximize my Mac Window etc... They may comment why they swtiched and how much better the other interface is.

    However, over time and as the user become more familiar with the interface what was pain points drift away and in a lot of case the persons opinion between the two change. Not saying Someguy that your opinion will change.. But every interface has a break in period when moving from one paradigm to another.

    1) You can't judge and interface by the look on screen shots or in person. To truly judge how well a product does it job you need time to play with it. Yes look is important but in the long run it is feel that wins. I have spent too many meetings in my life where decisions are based solely on looks. On a power point slide.. Rather than actually looking at how well it actually does its task. I just had a meeting yesterday that did exactly that... Usability concerns were tossed out the window for what the person leading the meeting felt was cool no matter what user task related issue the feature created.

    I remember a thread being created around a new interface that FIOS was getting ready to deploy. There were comments in that thread regarding how better the interface was compared to Dish and DirecTVs interfaces. I said the same comments there than I say here.. Just can't do it without a lot of time spent actually becoming familiar with the interface and using it over time to complete common tasks. But people were getting way to caught up in the bling of the slideware they were seeing. I only have one sample point of someone that actually used the interface and his comment was way to many steps to do anything..

    Well I will live this thread for others that have both interface experiences to ping in, but I did want to suggest Someguy to come back after some time and update his opinion and to offer up my experiences of what I have read over the last year when these type of topics come up in the E* side of the fence. Since User Experience is an area I am very interested in, I will be interested in hearing peoples opinion on this topic. Good topic for sure...
  12. IDRick

    IDRick Godfather

    Feb 15, 2007
    I haven't used either service but I'll reply anyway... :lol: We have a local distributer that has a functional set up for both D* and E*. Very helpful! You can go in and try out the dvr's. Great for easing potential family angst in switching services/dvr's! Easy to switch between systems and one can compare PQ between services and HD versus SD on the same new HDTV. Based on their set-up, there is little difference in PQ between D* and E* for both HD and SD. E* has our locals in SD but D* does not. In my community, E* is creaming D* because they have locals and no need for an antenna. Based on my programming interests, I'll probably switch from cable to D* next year. Our local Fox channel is available only in analog format. PQ is terrible for this local channel on E* and not much better with a roof mounted antenna. SD Fox on our cable system is acceptable (ie not great but better than the alternatives). Gotta have my NFL football this fall! The local switches to digital in 2/09.
  13. Grentz

    Grentz New Member

    Jan 10, 2007
    I dont like the way dish does their channel lineup (the groupings are just stupid IMO, directv tends to group like channels in similar number areas).

    The dish DVRs are reliable, but the interface sucks IMO, and I really actually like the 2 TV feature..would work great for me but alas directv does not have it.

    Dish packages also are not the best IMO, they make you be on a high up package for the decent channels.

    I have had both (dish at my office, directv at home) and I prefer directv.
  14. Hardin Thicke

    Hardin Thicke AllStar

    Jun 18, 2008
    I'm at a crossroads of sorts. I am prepared to switch to HD, and have been examining my options. I am a long-time subscriber to DirecTV/TiVO and have been very satisfied with their DVR, and the programming. But as I understand it, I'm going to need an additional 2 coax lines from my dish for a total of 4 lines. The current pair of coax is buried in the front lawn, for a run of about 70 feet. Dish network as I understand it, multiplexes their signals onto one or two runs of coax making digging up my front lawn unecessary. Fios is not an option, and you'd have to hold a gun to my head to make me go back to my terrestrial cable supplier. So, does Dish multiplex their signals from the antenna?
  15. Dave

    Dave Icon

    Jan 28, 2003
    I have had both systems. Right now I have DirectV. I can say that DirectV does need to look at the placing of there channel groups. One example would be right now they have the News channels all over the place. CNN at the real low 200's and Fox, Msnbc, Cnbc, Weather in the middle 350's to 360's.
    I also can say that I did like the E boxes better. My personnel opinion only. I will be going back to Dish after my DirectV contract is up. I never ever had all these lock ups and lost recordings with Dish. They, Dish just seem to have the best HD DVR going right now.
  16. rustynails

    rustynails Godfather

    Apr 24, 2008
    I have to agree with you. E has the better HDDVR hands down! If they change the sats on E to where I can get all of the programming ,I would switch back to E in a heart beat. I love the programming at D but the DVR sucks. I mean really my cheap DVD player has far more capabilities than the HR21.
  17. somguy

    somguy Legend

    Oct 2, 2006

    1. Dual buffered tuners.
    2. Picture In Picture.
    3. You can see what tuner a show will record on.
    4. When you hit record on a current show that you’re watching, you can choose how long to record it for.
    5. You can see how much HD and SD record time you have left.
    6. You can delete all upcoming recordings at once.
    7. You can delete all Caller ID calls at once.
    8. You can add an external Hard drive.
    9. You can pay your bill using the DVR.
    10. You have an All Subscription option using the guide showing only your channels that you are subscribed to.
    11. You have the ability to use an off-air antenna (only CBS & ABC showed up for me).
    12. You have the ability to see two and a half hours in the guide on the HD DVR.
    13. Ability to use DISH Pass = Wish List for movies that you would like to see and have recorded.

    1. You cannot search for a channel or a person.
    2. Title search does not start to auto-populate.
    3. You cannot auto record a show or a season pass using the guide.
    4. You cannot set recording defaults.
    5. You cannot set defaults to keep all shows until you choose to delete them.
    6. You cannot choose a date and time when using the guide.
    7. The guide only shows the next nine days.
    8. Does not offer as much HD channels as DirecTV.
    9. When you tune to a channel that you are not subscribed to, you have to hit channel up or down and cannot use the number pad to change the channel.
    10. Pressing stop does not put regular tv back on.
    11. When behind in a program, you have to choose Live TV first in order to change the channel.
    12. The DVR must daily update in order to update the guide.
    13. The hard drive is very loud.
    14. Poor customer service.
    15. When pausing, you cannot clear out the bar at the bottom of the screen.
    16. Customer service is in the Philippines.
    17. You do not have the ability to force a software update.
    18. When you are fast forwarding a show and you press play, it does not skip back eight seconds.
    19. Fast forwarding is way too fast.
    20. Cinemax is not free.
    21. You cannot hide SD duplicates in the guide.
    22. Picture quality is worse in SD.
    23. You have to use two satellites on your roof instead of one.
  18. hdtvfan0001

    hdtvfan0001 Well-Known Member

    Jul 28, 2004
    Interesting...I've had 3 HD DVR's with DirecTV now for a long time with no significant problems, and really like how they work.

    My one neighbor, who is the last in my subdivision with Dish, is on his 3rd unit....the previous 2 had nothing but lockups and self-deleting programs. Most folks here have either DirecTV or cable for their HD.

    I guess it depends on who you ask, in terms of this kind of comparison.

    Don't even get me started on Comcast... :eek2: :eek2: :eek2:
  19. jcricket

    jcricket Legend

    Nov 21, 2005
    Read the DirecTV boards about the SWMline dish that DirecTV is rolling out this year. It does sort of what you say (combines everything at the dish-end) and reduces the requirement to only one satellite cable per SWM capable receiver (the newest HD DVRs is SWM capable). So you can use one of your cables for satellite and one for OTA (if you still want OTA viewing/recording capability). Should be no need to . Plus it lets you use less fancy splitters inside the house and use old house-y wiring kind of stuff if that matters to you.

    I'm in the same boat as you, in that I'm on the fence about upgrading. It's not any additional lines, or even a potential $99 up-front free for the DVR. It's the stability of the DVR that worries me. DLB? I can live without. UI? Matter of preference, I'll learn. But my HD Tivo is stable and records what I ask it to 99% of the time. When it does crash (maybe once every couple of months), I reboot it and it goes back to doing everything normally. I've never had to reformat, etc. I know that's not everyone's experience, but it's been mine.

    I want all the new HD that's coming out, but I'm simply not willing to "try" a DVR that so many people report so many basic problems with. The WAF is a big zero for a recorder that regularly has unwatchable recordings, requires us to get a refurb from DirecTV, etc.

    And again, I know that's not everyone's experience with the HR20/21, but far too many people have had far too bad (i.e. not just minor issues) experiences. I'm pretty gunshy about it. The latest crop of software releases hasn't helped convince me.
  20. drded

    drded Godfather

    Aug 22, 2006
    Tucson, AZ
    Your source of facts, please. I read the forums across the web and don't see what you're talking about. The past year has seen nothing but positive comments about the HR20 & HR21 DVRs.

    As many posters have commented, I've had mine for quite some time and never experienced a problem with either.


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