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E* to D* Switchover Experience and DVR Comparison

Discussion in 'General Satellite Discussion' started by cnsf, Feb 4, 2003.

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  1. Feb 4, 2003 #1 of 46
    cnsf

    cnsf Hall Of Fame/Supporter DBSTalk Gold Club

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    OK, so, as promised (to many), here is my overall review of my experience converting from E* to D*.

    What I had: (2) 501 PVRs, (1) 4900, (2) 20” Dish 500s, SW64, Everything Pak, NY Locals, Superstations, 2 West Coast Networks (NBC, ABC)

    What I have: (2) HDVR2 Series II DirecTivos, (1) DRD430RGA, (1) 18” Dish, TC Plus and NY Locals, HBO and Skin-emax

    Purchase experience:
    After having done quite a bit of homework, I found my best deal at BestBuy. Got all the equipment for $840 before rebates of $200. That included a 20” dish, a 2 room package (2 receivers, 18” dish), 2 HDVR2s, a 2X4 switch (recommended by the BestBuy rep.), free installation. Did my homework and found I didn’t need the 20” dish (no HDTV – not staying in this house forever) and didn’t need the 2X4, so got $200 more back – stay with me, out of pocket $440 now (once I get the rebates). Went on to eBay and ordered a 2X6 switch for $50 shipped. Back up to $490.

    Finally got a call 3 days later and was referred to the wrong installer (too far away, didn’t accept the install). Two more days later, finally got another call and had a date ready that was my choice – 2/1. The guys came and got the job done in an hour and a half. Laughed at the 2X6 and gave me a 2X8 for free (tipped them well). The 2X6 is on eBay now…..

    Sent out my rebates the day of installation, UPC copies and all.

    All in all, good purchase and install experience.

    E* cancellation:
    Some delays in being bounced around to the “Cancellation department” but finally cancelled. Amazingly, we all prepay our E* bills and they WON’T prorate the rest of your month and credit you if you cancel before the end of the cycle. Totally unscrupulous. This is the first time I have really been angry at E* customer service. Make sure to cancel near the END of your billing cycle so you don’t lose out on cash.

    BIG thumbs down to the E* cancellation process (but it’s to be expected, just not from a financial standpoint). The experience with the cancellation would keep me from ever returning or recommending E*.

    First impressions:
    Right away, I noticed better PQ on D*. E* has really slipped and you don’t notice it until to do a quick side-by-side. Maybe it was only the channels I tuned to, but these are the channels I watch most….locals, kids channels and HBOs.

    PVR vs. Tivo: They each have their strengths. The HDVR2 guide is SLOW! Downloads are over the phone lines and there’s no power button on the remote! Amazing….they just want you to keep in on all the time….there are also grumblings about privacy issues now. See http://www.ecommercetimes.com/perl/story/8482.html

    There is no 30 second skip on the Tivo by default and in the new versions of the software, they got rid of the Easter Egg for it. No choice on this one. Also, the Tivo doesn’t have the nifty “Manage” function from what I can see for multiple deletes/protects, etc. Also, no Caller ID popup…that was nice on the PVR.

    Score the Guide speed, 30 second skip, Caller ID and Manage function for the PVR. btw - anyone who knows of Tivo workarounds to get these features, PLEASE let me know.

    Now, for the Tivo strengths. The Season Pass function is GREAT! It’s also smart enough not to record the same show twice if you just ask for “First Run & Repeat”. The Tivo also has a much nicer graphic layout and the guide has blurbs of what you are looking at. Much more customizable for look and feel. The Tivo status bar is also nice so you can see where you are in the program at first glance. Searching is much easier (by show name, time/date) and the recording options (manual/show name) are nicer. You can also see what upcoming timeslots are going to air for your Season Pass shows…VERY nice feature.

    Score Guide blurb, status bar, graphics, recording options for the Tivos. They just appear to be smarter than the 501s.

    I won’t even get into the single vs. dual tuner comparison. Don’t EVER buy a single tuner PVR if you can avoid it.

    As for the remotes, I think the bottom of the 501 remote is better, but the top of the Tivo and remote shape wins. Either way, I’m using an MX-500 Universal Learning Remote, so it doesn’t matter anyway.

    Music channels:
    No comparison. D* wins that one easily. The only one I miss from E* is the Kids music channel.

    Kids programming:
    D* wins with all the E* kids channels and the ultimate… PBS Kids channel…a MUST for any parent.

    Sports:
    No comparison. D* wins with the most programming and YES Network :D for NY DMA subs (my first reason for switching...now I have others).

    Customer Service:
    I’ve already had my calls to India for D* with the time delay. E* wins that hands down.

    PPV:
    D* has more than twice as many PPV channels as E*. Nice when it's bad weather and you don't want to head out to Blockbuster.

    Now, what to do about my costs?????….eBay my remaining E* equipment. It should fully subsidize my final outlay so I essentially will have switched for free.

    Hope to sell each 501 for $200, the SW64 for $75, the 4900 for $150, the dishes for $25 each, and had 2 SW21s ($10 each)-totaling $695. May be more, may be less, but I should, at least, break even and then some. They're all already on eBay, so sorry, don't bother PMing me......

    So, there you have it…I’ve probably forgotten a few things, but this hits the major points.

    Happy to answer any questions.
     
  2. Feb 4, 2003 #2 of 46
    dishrich

    dishrich Hall Of Fame

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    You mean you DIDN'T know this after being on this board this long... :confused: :confused:

    WRONG - if you're talking about the guide, it comes down the dish just like E*'s

    Why do you need to turn it off??? This is NOT an E*, so you never need to... :lol: :lol: :lol:

    Try switching from the grid guide to the Tivo guide. It's much faster & at first I didn't think I'd like it, but now it actually makes MORE sense to use.

    30 sec skip - while playing a recorded show, just press SELECT, PLAY, SELECT, 3, 0, SELECT & you're skip to tick/end button is now a 30 sec skip button.

    No caller ID on any Tivo yet, sorry.
     
  3. Feb 4, 2003 #3 of 46
    platinum

    platinum Godfather/Supporter

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    Welcome to D* and enjoy the Yankees..........:hi:
     
  4. Feb 4, 2003 #4 of 46
    cnsf

    cnsf Hall Of Fame/Supporter DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Rich, the SPS30S Easter egg doesn't work on the new Tivo version for Series II....tried it many times as per the various BBs.

    Had no idea about the no prorating thing. Guess I never saw it in a thread.

    Where is the option to switch to a Tivo guide? Help would be much appreciated.

    So, why does the Tivo need to dial out every night? Software updates? It dialed out for the guide info when first set up.
     
  5. Feb 4, 2003 #5 of 46
    Mark Lamutt

    Mark Lamutt Your Neighborhood Liasion

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    No 30 second skip anymore? Oh boy...my wife would not be a happy camper if that went away.

    Congrats on your switch cnsf - glad you're enjoying your new equipment. Care to try to win a 3rd HDVR2 in the survivor contest this time around? :D
     
  6. Feb 4, 2003 #6 of 46
    DBSPaul

    DBSPaul Mentor/Supporter DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Hit GUIDE to get the on-screen guide. Then DISPLAY. One of the options will be Guide Style. Select TiVo Guide. If you're used to the grid-style guide (which is all E* has), at first I'd bet you'll not like it. After awhile, you should prefer it. BTW, in that DISPLAY menu you can also set the time forward, so if you want to know what is on at 9pm, etc. that would be how to do that. But I rarely watch live tv anymore. Season Passes and Wishlists cover (almost) all the stuff I want to watch.

    There are several trivial TiVo functions that are still done via phone line. But all of the guide data on a combo box comes from the satellite .. it's called APG data and is streamed at a slow rate which your unit picks up.

    The initial setup call likely was for software and bootstrap information.
     
  7. Feb 4, 2003 #7 of 46
    spanishannouncetable

    spanishannouncetable Icon

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    The 30 sec. skip code >> Select, Play, Select, 3, 0, Select << still works just fine. Keep trying. Remember that the code is a toggle, so if it works and you enter the code again it resets it. When you enter the code and hear "ding ding ding" it is entered correctly.

    Also try the code >> Select, Play, Select, 9, Select << and see if the on-screen clock comes up.

    To switch to the TiVo-style guide, bring up the guide and hit the small "display" button. This brings up a menu screen that allows you to change from "grid guide" to "TiVo guide".

    The HDVR2 does not "dial out every night". The 3.1 software revision changed the call-outs, so now they only happen every 60 hours or so. All they do is report anonymous viewer data back to TiVo as software upgrades only happen once or twice a year.
     
  8. Feb 4, 2003 #8 of 46
    Bardman

    Bardman AllStar

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    Note that with the HDVR2 remote, the button to pull up the guide options from the guide is the "info" button.... IIRC, the series 1 DTivos don't have that button..

    Also, I have both my HDVR2s programmed with the 30 sec skip... after being a former 501 owner, I can't go without that handy button.

    After having both 501 and now DTivo2, I'll never go back to E*... long live Tivo!!!!
     
  9. Feb 4, 2003 #9 of 46
    cnsf

    cnsf Hall Of Fame/Supporter DBSTalk Gold Club

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    WAY ahead of you......

    :D :D

    My wife is feeling the same way....BUT, I got my Yankees, so she'll deal....
     
  10. cnsf

    cnsf Hall Of Fame/Supporter DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Thanks for the info. I'll keep trying.... I read you are supposed to do it while watching a prerecorded show. Is this correct?

    Also, not so "anonymous" anymore. Check out the link I posted on the privacy issue with Tivo.
     
  11. dishrich

    dishrich Hall Of Fame

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    cnsf - sorry I didn't get back on this sooner.

    It actually takes a couple nights of downloads to completely update your Tivo to current levels, just like everyone says above. If the 30 sec code don't work now, wait a day or 2 until ALL the software updates are complete, then try it again & I bet it'll work.
    (and YES, you must do it while watching a recorded show)

    BTW, congrats on being a D-Tivo convert - you won't be sorry you did in the end.
     
  12. bunkers

    bunkers Legend

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    "The HDVR2 guide is SLOW!"

    I've been saying that all along.

    And once you get hooked on the DISH 30 second skip button, the TIVO skip really is kinda clunky by comparison.

    I think your review was pretty accurate, overall.

    If you can get over the guide speed, you'll be very happy.
     
  13. cnsf

    cnsf Hall Of Fame/Supporter DBSTalk Gold Club

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    OK, fixed my two big hangups thanks to all of you.

    1) The SPS30S code (30 second skip) works now. Must have been the update issue. I heard 2.5 got rid of it.
    2) The Tivo guide is not only faster, but it's MUCH more intuitive than the DirecTV or PVR guides.

    I am 5 times happier with the conversion now. The Caller ID would be the only feature I miss at this point. Tivo is definitely a superior product to the PVR. The idea of being able to add HD space too is very attractive.
     
  14. cnsf

    cnsf Hall Of Fame/Supporter DBSTalk Gold Club

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    I believe there is a pretty easy memory/cache mod for the Series I DirecTivos that appears to be easy to install and works well.

    Try http://www.9thtee.com/tivoupgrades.htm to see if one will work with your system.

    The Tivo guide seems to be much faster....and better.
     
  15. Ryan

    Ryan Icon

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    Remember if you lose AC power (blackout, unplugged, etc) the 30-sec resets (defaults) to skip to end.

    Also, the Now Play List is sortable via a code entry.

    Remember S O R T...while in the NPL, hit Slow-zerO-Record-Thumbs up (or maybe Thumbs down, but I think it's up) and you should hear ding-ding-ding. Then you'll have the option to sort the NPL via newest (standard), oldest, or alphabetical.

    Have fun!
     
  16. raj2001

    raj2001 Icon/Supporter

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    I have the new version of the software (v 3.1) DirecTiVo, and you can get the S-P-S-30-S trick to work. You must be watching a recorded program for it to work, though. It will not work while you are watching live TV or browsing menus. Look in the underground forum at TiVoCommunity.com.
     
  17. raj2001

    raj2001 Icon/Supporter

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    The DirecTV grid guide is slow. The TiVo live guide is faster.

    I use both 30 sec. skip and I don't consider it clunky. I had UltimateTV and their 30 sec skip was about the same. Some people prefer to FF through commercials though.

    The phone line requirement is sort of a way for D* to force the phone connection on all subscribers, so they can track PPV. I have no qualms with it, and it's very light on the phone usage, making calls mostly when I am not home or when I am asleep.
     
  18. The Old Wizard

    The Old Wizard Legend

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    The phone calls that the unit makes is also for account status. The unit needs to know that you are subscibed to the TiVo service. This is left over from the days when TiVo had total control over the subsciption to D-Tivos. Also some messages & commands for Showcases are embeded in the phone calls. BTW, welcome to the Tivolution. :hi:
     
  19. cnsf

    cnsf Hall Of Fame/Supporter DBSTalk Gold Club

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    I meant the non-30 second skip was kind of clunky. The 30 second skip (now that it works) has made me MUCH happier. Must have been a version update issue as mentioned in the thread.

    I must say now....Tivo ROCKS in comaprison to the 501. For $199 after rebate nonetheless.
     
  20. raj2001

    raj2001 Icon/Supporter

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    Uhhhh not anymore. The account is tied to the access card, which is why you need a P4. DirecTV now activates and controls the service, not TiVo. The phone line connection is left so that the unit can ping TiVo for software updates, and send out anonymous viewer stats.
     
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