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Newbie with questions

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by TexasAggie, Aug 9, 2006.

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  1. Aug 9, 2006 #1 of 10

    TexasAggie New Member

    Aug 9, 2006
    I am a HD cable subscriber with TWC and we are now being taken over by Comcast with 25% higher cost. So, I am thinking about going to DBS.

    However, my concern is lost signal during storms. According to some people with Direct, they claim that Direct has a new dish that looks at multiple sats and has much lower lost signal rate than older dishes.

    My questions are.

    1. Is this true or just Direct hype?
    2. Dish versus Direct: pros & cons of both.

    Thanks in advance for answers to my basic questions.
  2. Aug 9, 2006 #2 of 10

    mhayes70 New Member

    Mar 21, 2006

    Yes, the new AT-9 or 5lnb dish does not loose signal as much of the other dishes. There have been several post stating that there has to be a extreamly sever storms before these have lost signals. (I am sure other people will post on here what there experiences are with the storms)

    I have had both Dishnetwork and Directv. I have been a Directv customer for about 10 years and during that time I was a Dish customer for 1 year. I personally like Directv better. They both have reciever problems, I hear that Dish DVR is better at this time but, Direct is working on improving there new DVR. Next year when Directv gets there 2 news sats. up you will see alot more HD channels. One of the main problems I have with Dish is, that it seems they always get in a contract disputes with the networks and they will drop those channels for a while until it is settled. This has happened several times with them and I don't think that has ever happened with Directv.

    I hope this helps and good luck!
  3. Aug 9, 2006 #3 of 10
    scott T

    scott T The Nth degree

    Jul 6, 2006

    :listenup: TOTALLY DISAGREE !!!! The KaKu 5LNB dish (AT9) is a P.O.S. The only hope is the NEW slimline that is coming out soon.

    If you want see the pain I when through with Rain Fade and Signal lose, take a look at the following links:

    Solving Rain Fade

    and lastly ... AT9 (KaKu 5 LNB) Comparison
  4. Aug 9, 2006 #4 of 10
    Cap'n Preshoot

    Cap'n Preshoot Godfather

    Jul 16, 2006
    We gave up on TWC several years ago. My son in Ft.Worth has Dish, we have DirecTV. He has seen mine, I have seen his. He and I both agree DTV is marginally superior and if you're a sports nut, then DTV is where you want to be. Price-wise there's only nickels and dimes between them and that goes back and forth. Same for signup incentives. One month the best offer is from Dish, the next month it's from Direct. The sports packs from DTV can get a tad expensive, but hey, if you're a sports nut, what's a few bucks to have the best seat in the house with cheap beer and brats?

    Rain fade?

    Well yes, there is that phenomenon known as rain fade, but with a properly-aligned quality antenna it's usually only when the radar ecoes have the yellow and red and sometimes purple echoes. both light and dark green radar echoes will not (should not) ever be a problem. With a bigger dish, such as the Winegard 76 CM or 100 CM dish you ought to be good even through the yellow radar echoes. Nothing can penetrate the super-heavy red & purple radar echoes.

    BUT rain fade doesn't last long, usually only a few minutes at its worst. Compare that to cable outages which can last hours and even days. Remember during Hurricane RITA that Houston TWC lost power, then an hour later lost their generator. Those of us with SAT dishes watched TV all night.

    Scott_T and I didn't have very good luck with the "new" AT9 dish DTV is installing these days and found that a separate or single-sat dish for the 101 Satellite was needed to mitigate the rain fade. Your mileage may vary. I still say there's something wrong with mine and Scott_T feels the same way about his. - but we seem to be the minority here so I'm not going to keep beating the drum.

    With my big Winegard DS3101 dish we watched TV all through Tropical Storm Allison back in 2001 and only lost signal for about 20 minutes altogether through the whole 3-day deluge of rain. We're on the West side of Houston tho and the bulk of Allison came in downtown and East. Still it really freakin' rained.

    However, I would suggest reading through both those links that Scott_T posted. Interesting reading along with some nifty pictures!!
  5. Aug 9, 2006 #5 of 10

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

    Jun 14, 2003
    Salem, OR
    The relative pros and cons depend entirely on what you want to watch.

    If you watch HD, there is little question that Dish rules.

    If you want some of the more obscure sports or can't live without being able to watch all the NFL games, DirecTV is probably the hands down choice.

    Dish Network's DVRs are probably better than DirecTV's DVRs (the ones that they would offer a new subscriber).

    DirecTV offers one additional SD local that Dish doesn't in the Houston market.

    Dish has a whole lot more International programming available.

    What it really comes down to is making a table of the "must haves" and the "would be cools" and finding which service offers the best balance. Your mileage will vary.
  6. muledoggie

    muledoggie AllStar/Supporter DBSTalk Gold Club

    Dec 6, 2004
    From a practical standpoint, I have the newer dishes (the one for locals in addition to the latest 3 LNB) and get rainfade during primetime or on weekends about 8 times a year. Usually it is for 10 minutes or less. I subcribed to Cox before this (years ago) and had interuptions that probably equaled this in terms of minutes, but usually only once or twice per year.

    FYI I have HD as well (and have had HD w/ D* for about 6 years).

    Hope this helps.

  7. TMullenJr

    TMullenJr Godfather

    Feb 22, 2006
    I've been with D* for over 10 years. I started with their original 18" dish, and I now have the phase 3 dish (triple LNB). I haven't upgraded to the AT-9 as I'm hoping the slimline comes out before I actually need it, although with the pending release of the HD DVR, I may have to. In all of the years that I have had their service on either dish, I've lost signal maybe an average of once or twice a year, and it is usually only for 10-15 minutes. It would usually be in the spring during heavy rain. Never lost due to snow.
  8. Cap'n Preshoot

    Cap'n Preshoot Godfather

    Jul 16, 2006
    I think it's fair to say that the amount of rain fade you might expect to experience is also going to be somewhat regional and climate-related. Obviously someone in Seattle is likely to have more occurrences than say someone in Phoenix.

    Although rain fade is a normal occurrence it shouldn't be considered routine or something the be expected every time it rains.

    It mostly depends upon the severity of the storm and the location of the storm cell in relation to you and your antenna-shot at the southern sky. As stated elsewhere, orange, red & purple radar echoes are pretty indicative rain fade will occur. Yellow radar echoes are indicative that rain fade might happen if you have marginal signals to start with, but the dark green echoes should not represent any threat to your tv viewing.

    Marginal signal levels are something that can be dealt with provided you're willing to go the extra mile. A larger diameter dish, perhaps one that can even be dedicated just for the satellite you get most of your programming from, seems to be the most solid fix. The multi-sat dishes, even the very newest AT9, are all a compromise and therefore cannot be expected to offer fully optimal performance.

    Don't let me mislead you either. Even with an oversized, separate dedicated dish you are still going to experience some very infrequent rain fade when the most violent storms come through. The larger, dedicated dish will hold the signal in longer and recover it much sooner as the storm passes through.

    Some may find this humorous, but one signal-fade problem I've never been able to solve is Airplane fade! My home is only 5 miles North of and in direct compass alignment with runways 17 & 35 at a nearby airport. Need I say more? The fade from an airplane flying through my signal path is measured only in milliseconds, but causes the picture to pixellate quite severely for a second or so. Solving this would require moving.

    Another issue with satellite reception is being blocked by trees or other structures. Like the TV ads say, "All you need is a clear view of the southern sky." What part about "clear" and "southern" is hard to understand?

    All in all Satellite TV is no panacea. All technologies, whether off-the-air reception of local signals or cable or satellite, each one comes with its own set of pros and cons. However, on the non-HD programming, by and large you will experience much better picture quality with satellite than either cable or OTA.

    Been there and tried it all. Satellite is where I'm staying.
  9. captain_video

    captain_video Icon

    Nov 21, 2005
    Unless you live in an area that has a 365-day a year monsoon season you'll experience far less downtime due to rain fade than you ever will with cableTV. Rain fade is also the best reason to own a DVR so that you'll always have something to watch, regardless of the weather. Cable has always been notorious for lots of extended downtime due to various reasons like someone accidentally cutting a cable line or someone hitting a light pole that also carries the cable lines, etc. DBS only suffers from rain fade and only if the atmospheric conditions are right for it.

    I used to have a 30" Perfect10 dish when DTV only had the 101 sat in use and I almost never had problems with rain fade. I eventually had to upgrade to the Phase III oval dish and the rain fade happened more often but still not all that much. I haven't tried the AT9 dish yet but the overall footprint of the dish doesn't seem to be that much larger than the Phase III dish so I doubt that there will be much difference between the two regarding rain fade.

    Just remember that the larger the dish, the more signal it can collect for the LNB and the stronger the signal will be, resulting in reduced chances of rain fade. Adding an amplifier won't help since the signal strength at the LNB is where it's most important. I don't know if there are larger dish alternatives available for the Phase III or AT9 dishes but they would be preferable if living in an area where there is severe weather on a regular basis.

    The best people to ask about rain fade are your neighbors that have either DBS system since they will experience the same conditions as you. We can only provide general information based on our experiences and geographical locations but you'll need actual data culled from your area to make an informed decision.
  10. carl6

    carl6 Moderator Staff Member DBSTalk Club

    Nov 15, 2005
    Seattle, WA
    Not sure that is really true. Seattle tends to get a lot of light rain. Rarely do we see heavy thunderstorms or the type of weather fronts that really interfere with satelltie signals.

    I have had DirecTV off and on in Seattle for over 10 years. I have never experienced rain fade. I did have one, very brief, problem with a wet snow accumulation on the dish.

    Also, it is normally not the weather at your location, but rather the weather systems between you and the satellite (south, either soutwest or southeast depending on your location). A heavy storm front passing to your south may cause you some rain fade even if it is perfectly dry at your location.

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