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Looking for DirecTV reviews from real users

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by hyedipin, Dec 10, 2008.

  1. man_rob

    man_rob Hall Of Fame

    Feb 21, 2007
    Over all, DirecTV is good, but you have to very carefully read the fine print. You will get a free HD receiver upgrade, but you will still have to pay the $10 a month HD access fee, over and above the price of your package. There is no free HD DVR, it's a SD DVR that is offered in the free upgrade, but you'll still have to pay the $6 per month DVR fee, over and above your package plan. The offer is an either/or thing, you can't get both for free.

    Picture quality is great, but there are some gaping holes in the DirecTV HD lineup. Some major national networks are missing. The Travel Channel, AMC, most of the HBO networks, as well as several others are not on DirecTV. If you have a must have HD channels list, make sure DirecTV has what you want.

    I've always had great service from DirecTV, much better than with Comcast. As long as you line of site to the satellites, (a clear view of the southern sky, as DirecTV puts it.) and you get a good installer that lines up your dish well, you should get great reception.
  2. rudeney

    rudeney Hall Of Fame

    May 28, 2007
    I switched from cable (Charter) to D* over 10 years ago and I've never looked back. The channel offerings or great as is the all-digital picture quality. One thing that always aggravated me about cable was the under-100 channel were analog and always had some level of static in them. Even the lowliest SD channels on D* come through 100% digital.

    Something that really hit home for me in knowing I had made the right choice happened this past Saturday. I was in the yard decorating for Christmas when a neighbor came over asking if my "cable" was out. I told her I had D*. The SEC Championship game was an hour away and our entire area was experiencing a cable outage. With D*, as long as your equipment is in good order and it's not a torrential downpour thunderstorm, you will never have this problem!

    I love D*'s "product". I find their receivers and DVR's easy to use and mostly reliable. Yes, I've had a few problems with the HR2x DVR's but they have been working to solve them and my system has been solid for a while now. Many former TiVo users don't like them because they lack familiar features, but since I came from UTV, I feel right at home.

    My only complaint about D* is that it is a complex system to setup and if you have to rely 100% on D*'s CSR's and technicians for help, you may find yourself not very happy. I think people who are good DIY'ers and are capable of running their own cables and setting up their own HT systems are happier with D* than the "appliance users". Really, D*'s "customer service" is not very good, but it's typical for the industry. All too often they give incorrect information or are pressured more into "generating revenue" than "serving customers".
  3. Wolly Bugger

    Wolly Bugger Cool Member

    Jul 30, 2008
    I think it's all about what you want out of your service. I've had D* for nine months and couldn't imagine going back to Dish. Where I'm located (Alaska), I couldn't get Dish in HD without massive (expensive) hardware upgrades. Plus, the sports packages are very important to me, and I'm far and away happier with Direct than I was with Dish. It all depends on what you want - for me, HD and sports access was more important than paying $5 less a month.

    I'd do what others have said - ask your friends and neighbors. They will have probably have similar interests and give you their most honest opinion. Go from there.
  4. idigg

    idigg Legend

    May 8, 2008
    That IS correct, your family is abnormal :lol:
  5. Steve

    Steve Well-Known Member

    Aug 22, 2006
    We're now empty nesters and I still have 6 DVR's and one STB active in our 4 BR home. 2 are in what have become "guest" rooms and are really only used by me for occasional testing. It's only $10 more a month total to keep them, so I figure "what the heck"... for the time being.

    The five we regularly use are in my office, kitchen, family room, living room and master bedroom. Of these 5, I could (at least in theory) get away with 2 DVR's (4 tuners) and 3 MRV client boxes, instead of our current 4 HR's and 1 H21-200. That wouldn't cost me any less than I'm currently paying, however. It would make recording management easier, tho, assuming we can delete watched shows via the client boxes.

    RE: the op's concern about weather issues, we're in lower Westchester, about 20 miles north of the ESB and I estimate we've lost signal due to snow or rain fade for 1-2 hours about 2-3 times per year on average since we've been with DirecTV, about 8 years now. For those rare cases, I have a roof antenna I can use as back-up. I remember losing cable for an hour every now and then during heavy storms. I'm not sure if cable in my area is now more reliable (Cablevision), or how reliable TWC has been for you.

  6. n3ntj

    n3ntj Hall Of Fame

    Dec 18, 2006
    If you like sports, there is no comparison. D* provides the most sports and sports packages in HD. You probably can't get MLB EI in HD or NHL CI in HD with any cable company. I've had D* for over 10 years and love it. I only see cable TV with Time Warner when I am at my parents house and can't believe how bad their PQ is and they only get approx. 10 HD channels where they live.
  7. bonscott87

    bonscott87 Cutting Edge: ECHELON '07

    Jan 21, 2003
    Been with DirecTV for over 12 years. Reason #1 I am still with them: Cheaper then cable with more channels. That simple. They have more then triple the number of HD channels then cable here (Comcast, Charter or Time Warner) and at a cheaper price. There was talk above about "gap" in DirecTV's HD lineup. While technical true it really depends on what's available to you. When cable only has 30 HD channels tops whatever gap DirecTV may have in what's available really doesn't mean a whole lot unless there is a channel in that gap you can get with another provider.
    Reason #2: They have the channels I want for that price. Wouldn't be worth it if they didn't have the channels I wanted.

    As for weather, it's really not a problem at all if your dish is properly installed and tweaked. I'll lose signal during really bad thunderstorms or in super heavy rain like when the remains of Ike went over but it's back in a few minutes. Cable when it goes out is down for days at a time. I always laugh in the cable guy's face when they show up and try to sell me cable saying I lose signal all the time with a dish. I say "really, so how about when the car knocked down the pole down the street and I was without cable for 5 days" or "how about when we got those strong winds that knocked cable out for 10 days". They never have much to say on that. :D I'd much rather have a few small couple minute outages vs. being out for days. But that's just me.

    Snow...just not a problem if you can access the dish to brush it off once in a while. I live in lake effect country where snow comes down in *feet* and just don't have a problem unless it's the real heavy slushy stuff. And if it is then since my dish is on a pole in my yard i just brush it off. If snow is a problem for you then make sure you can at least hit the dish with a supersoaker when it's installed. I would never put a dish on a roof if I can help it. On the ground you can at least realign it yourself and do other things if you need to.

    Good luck.
  8. hyedipin

    hyedipin Mentor

    Dec 9, 2008
    Thank you all for the comments and suggestions.
    The location is New York City, I have no chance of getting it installed on ground level, it must go on the roof. I checked the roof, there are few DirecTV dishes up there, but I don't know if they are active. I thought about tracing the cable and asking them if they are happy with the service.

    As for channel line up, I have a 52" TV and I can easily see all the mpeg compression artifacts and blocky picture on SD channels, however HD channels are just great eventhough they are 1080i. Sometimes I have outages on HD channels but it is mainly because of old age of my DVR box.

    Regarding pricing, I wanted to ask about that but I thought it was too early to be shooting questions, but since Upstream mentioned it, I had no idea that they would require 2 year contract and jack up the price after 1 year.

    Looking at the $49.99 plan, which states that it includes HD and HD-DVR.
    But I did not notice that even though they advertise "HD Included" it says it is only for first 3 months, and after that add'l $9.99, jacking the price up to $59.99 with HD service.

    It says "Free HD DVR receiver upgrade", so I guess it is included. It says (regularly $72.99/mo.), apparently that's what it will cost me during months 13-24, plus $9.99. Which makes it even more expensive than TWC with missing channels. (I would probably miss Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern)

    How much does DirecTV tag onto the bill with taxes and fees?
    When all this expenses are factored, there is really no big savings. :nono: Maybe I can check out DISH Network..
  9. terron

    terron AllStar

    Oct 11, 2008
    I had always been opposed to DTV until about three years ago mostly due to price and an ugly dish. I am origionally from East Texas and we had Cox for cable and Internet and the prices and service were outstanding. After moving to an isolated area of Southern Louisiana (by isolated, I mean that the cable, phone and internet providers are local and have no real standards by which they must adhere) I realized how I was getting taken from behind without so much as a read-around. For cable TV and Internet from Vision (the local provider), I was paying $140/mo; the same services in East Texas from Cox cost me $75/mo. The Motorola branded DVR which was stable in East Texas was painfully unreliable from Vision because of its ancient firmware which the techs were aware of and management was opposed to putting any money to upgrade. The TV guide data was off for a lot of childrens shows, so when my daughter's episodes of "Vegitales" were supposed to record, instead we would get "3-2-1 Penguins". It was completely assinine how they could even ask for $140/mo for their service with the above issues not to mention the complete unrealiability of their infrastructure. Each week there would always be some kind of outage lasting anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour usually blamed on shoddy equipment. Even the cable internet advertised as "5mb/sec" was never able to get it up over 3mb; sure it could reach their head-end at 5mb/sec, but they didn't have an Internet pipe capable of supporting the thousands of other customers down the bayou who had no other choice for their service. To make matters worse, the cable and DSL subscribers shared the same internet pipe so there was no real competition or any reason for one company to offer better service than the other. I dealt with it because I didn't want the two year commitment from DTV and couldn't find an alternative to cable internet. Sure, DSL is an alternative but it would have cost me $80/mo after taxes and I had no use for the POTS line since I have vonage. I finally had the last straw when Vision announced a $5/mo price hike. I returned the cable modem and DVR the next day. I called a local DTV installer and had service within the week.

    thats a lot of words

    summary: DTV is a better value than anything offered to me locally. The service is mediocre at best, but once you get everything tweaked and right, there is little that can cause you grief.
  10. Packersrule

    Packersrule AllStar

    Sep 10, 2007
    I pay more then I did for cable - I was getting all the cable channels (HBO showtime, etc) one DCR and phone for 80.00. I pay more for just showtime but I have 3 DVR.

    The quality of directv picture is much better. The cable company was unable to clear up my picture and ever time they added other feature the picture got worse.

    I have been very happy with the DVRs that directv offers and they have been improving them every month. I like sports and they have both bigten and NFL channel (in HD). I was looking the other day and every channel that I watch is in HD.

    I replaced my last tv to HD last weekend. This agian cost me other 199.00 for the DVR (and extrended my contract for 18 months). I only had two month to go on my contract but after talking to my wife we are not going back to cable so we bought the new DVR.
  11. joe diamond

    joe diamond Hall Of Fame

    Feb 28, 2007
    The same three SD receivers have been running on the same 18" dish since about 1996 without adjustment or service. The picture, superior to local cable & analog feed, has been trouble free. The PPV has never been used. The auto pay has been flawless and the price increases have been moderate and well forecast.

    I am impressed with the HD picture but not enough to invest in the equipment; English majors just do not get into sports much. NASCAR is a religion around here but I drive too much to watch cars on weekends.

    Probably going to dump it soon because of the excess commercials. May not dump it because of the music channels.


    PS Thank you Chase Carey for the nice Christmas card and kind gift (3 month of Showtime)
  12. Matman

    Matman Legend

    Mar 24, 2008
    Many have chimed in, so i will try not to repeat. Been with D* for a year (A year last weekend to be exact!) I live in Northern VT, and snow up here is a common word (12-18 inches forecast for tonight) for a good chunk of the year. I think I have lost service 2X due to snow, both times were not from snow in the air, but actually to snow piling up on the roof and covering the dishes themselves. (I moved the dishes this summer). If you get the dish sighted in well and get good signal stengths, its pretty resiliant. I'm not gonna promise you it will never cut out, but its not NEARLY as common as the cable commercials would like you to think. That, and when it does drop out, its usually for FAR LESS time then your standard cable outage.
  13. donkeylips

    donkeylips Legend

    Jul 16, 2008
    I made the mistake of allowing my dish to be installed on my roof. The installer refused to install it anywhere else unless I paid an extra fee, so I allowed it and very much regret it. I live in Northern Michigan and have been having massive snow build up on the Dish for a good week now with next to no reception. Very frustrating...
  14. bonscott87

    bonscott87 Cutting Edge: ECHELON '07

    Jan 21, 2003
    You've got your fees messed up a bit.

    The $72.00 package is Plus HD DVR which includes *all* non premium channels *and* the DVR fee *and* the HD fee. There are no extra fees other then if you have more then one receiver which would be $4.99 per extra receiver after your first one.

    The only taxes you'll have is if your stat charged sales tax. Nothing DirecTV can do about that and it would be no different with Dish as they would both have to charge you sales tax.

    So the initial deal you are getting is simply $20 off a month for this package for the first year. Simple as that. :) Not much different then the deals you get from cable or Dish for the first year and then it goes up to normal price after that.
  15. Albie

    Albie Godfather

    Jan 26, 2007
    The $72.99 package includes the $9.99 HD access fee as well as the $6.99 DVR fee. Extra fees would be if you wanted the HD extra pack at $4.99, the protection plan at $5.99 and any additional receivers beyond the first at $4.99. Any premiums are obviously extra as well.

    Edit. I see Bonscott beat me to it
  16. RVD26

    RVD26 Godfather

    Oct 12, 2007
    I switched to D* for the first time in September of 2007, after having been a cable subscriber my whole life.
    I was practically forced to do it b/c the cable service offered by apartment complex was just out of the question (no HD channels at all, not even digital at the time, and high prices).
    At the time I was bummed that I couldn't get Comcast and decided to "settle" for D*.
    Boy, am I ever glad I made that move.
    HD PQ is the best you are going to get out there and the sports packages are great.
    I can't say I'm paying any less than I was for cable (only during the promo periods) and there have been little quirks here and there (dish realignment, DVR freezes, etc) that I didn't have with cable.
    But at this point, I just can't see myself ever going back to cable.
  17. JClore1950

    JClore1950 Mentor

    Aug 27, 2007

    I live in Central New Jersey and I have DirecTV. I switched from Comcast because many of their receivers have issues with HDMI cables. I also hear from friends in NYC that Time Warner boxes also have conflicts with HDMI cables.

    It has to be a major rain or snow storm before you loose your reception and normally the loss of time is minimal.
  18. 1948GG

    1948GG Icon

    Aug 4, 2007
    Obviously, if the roof is 'stair accessible', then the roof is fine. Since you got up there to take a look see, I'll figure that your access is 24/7 (kinda unusual in NYC I would think, but the super may be either a good guy or a bit lax).

    DO NOT quibble about the pricing. I tell everyone going into this, if they somehow think that they can save $2/month between two (or more) different services, that take a harder look, because they really aren't 100% comparable. Either by channel count, type, or another other metric.

    I always tell folks, whatever you're paying now, that's probably about what you'll pay with DirecTV. Difference usually is the channel count (SD or HD), the channel types (more or less sports, premiums , or others), or some other thing (picture quality, you name it), that isn't directly comparable.

    There usually needs to be one very important thing that 'makes the deal', so to speak, to your particular situation. You're in the biggest media market in the world, and the cablecos bend over backwards to provide a premium service; but there still must be something (other than pure cost, and if that, go back to an over-the-air antenna), that is driving your 'needs'.

    With a lot of folks it is the sports. A BoSox fan 'stuck' in NY. A Mavericks fan, or any other team, likewise. An NFL junkie stuck just about anywhere. Your local cableco doesn't carry the CNBC-HD+ channel. Likewise for many other HD channels (although I'd again say, in NY, that may be pretty slim).

    But you need to identify that 'thing'. At that point, the cost (differential) is pretty minimal.
  19. joe diamond

    joe diamond Hall Of Fame

    Feb 28, 2007
    Put a black plastic trash bag on it until spring.

  20. apace

    apace Legend

    Feb 1, 2007
    Not trying to diss Dish but carefully review their fee structure. Especially if you need multiple DVR receivers. They charge an extra receiver fee and an additional DVR fee per additional DVR receiver. Although their DVR's will operate two TV's.

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