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Help w/HDTV…Stay with Dish, Switch to DirecTV, or Time Warner Cable???

4405 Views 36 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  jtighe
I’ve been a Dish Network subscriber for the last three years and for the most part I am very happy with the service. I have 2 Receivers, a PVR-501 in the living room, and a 4700 in the bedroom. I recently purchased a Pioneer PDP-503CMX Plasma Monitor and now have the capability of HDTV and I have it stuck in my head that I have to have it now. First off, I have no interest in OTA broadcast. My choices are as follows: :shrug:

1) Buy a Dish 6000 Receiver. I can get one from Dish Depot after trading in some older boxes for around $339 shipped. From what I’ve read it seems that the 6000 is antiquated. To get the 6000 up and running I need to have the second dish installed and a cable run done. I do not want to give up my PVR so the only solution is to have both boxes active in the living room. Basically the 6000 will only be used for HD. To add the third receiver I suppose I am going to have to change switches and possibly LNB’s on the Dish 500. Dish will install the Dish 300 for the 61.5 Sat for free because I need it to get the other locals available in my area, but I am not sure about the LNB change or new switch. This seems like an awful lot of trouble to go through to get yesterday’s receiver and still pay a premium for it. HD Channels available are HBO, SHO, Discovery, & CBS.

2) Switch to DirecTV. I can get one of the newest generation STB’s like the Samsung SIR-T160 plus a second receiver and the new elliptical 3 LNB setup for about $750 installed. This seems like better money spent than on the antiquated Dish 6000; however, I would be missing the PVR. I have no desire to go back to a VCR and a stand-alone TIVO does not thrill me. Option, add a third box. DirecTivo 2?? More money. So I am looking at about $1,000 for everything, but at least I will be up to date and future expansion should not be a problem unless the merger forces a change of equipment. I like the idea of only one dish for everything. The drawback is that the only HD channels available on DirecTV are HBO, SHO, & HDNET.

3) Go back to dreaded Time Warner Cable. TWC NYC is offering the following deal: Buy your dish and equipment (for me it would mean a credit of about $200 or so) get installation free, 3 months of DTV service including HD and Roadrunner Internet Access for free. After that it would cost me $120 a month for everything including 2 receivers and roadrunner (I currently have roadrunner now at $60 a month and my Dish bill is $87) TWC is using the Scientific Atlanta Explorer 3100HD cable box and I would receive the following HD channels: ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox (480p), PBS, HBO, & SHO. Two things bother me about this. 1) It looks too good and 2) Again I am out the PVR option until the release of the Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8000HD which will have a PVR capable of SDTV and HDTV (much like the elusive PVR 921 and JVC-9000).

4) Do absolutely nothing forget about HDTV until the merger is resolved and the new Dish Equipment released and make a decision then.

I am sorry for such a long post. Any suggestions or creative ideas are welcomed. I am sure somebody else has agonized over this and has some tips and there are others in the exact same position wondering what to do. Thanks.

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IMHO, you best option is #1. Trade in the old 4700 since you can obviously live with 2 STBs. There is nothing particularly "antiquated" about the 6000; in fact, it is now shipping as the "6000u" w/the 8PSK module included. As you say, you can get the 2nd dish installed for free so this option will get you the most bang...and sat provided HD content...for the buck.

Of course, you can "backfeed" the PVR to or from the bedroom. You will probably prefer the upconverted SD PQ from the 6000 to the normal SD PQ from the PVR on your plasma display.
I think I'd go with TWC, if you can get all the HD that you say they are offering. The 6000 is an old box, the EPG really stinks, plus you need two dishes. And if I'm not mistaken NYC can't get ABC, NBC or PBS OTA due to 9/11 and the WTC. While I like Dish I don't see how any satellite company can provide all the HD contect that a 750Mhz cable system could. Any while JVS and Dish have said they'er working on HD PVR's you still can't purchase one and I haven't heard a single firm date or price for either model yet, and I've been hearing about the Dish 921 for over a year and still no end in site.
I would say that if you can wait, stick it out for option 4.

With the uncertainty of the merger its best to wait 2 or 3 months.

If the merger does not get approved your best bet would probably be cable, as you will get more local HD channels.

However if the merger is approved the better HD offering will come from the combined Echostar / DirecTV.

I know its hard to wait, but if I had to make the decission for myself I would sit back and wait at this point.
OK, thanks for all the replies. Do any of you have Dish and the 6000 or DirecTV with HD?

Waiting is the hardest part. The more research I do, the more confused I get. I am glad that I am happy with my current equipment and the service, that will make waiting a little easier if that is the way I go. It's just I have all these new kewl toys and I feel like I am missing out on something. The 6000U @ $339 shipped from Dish Depot is after trading two old 4700's and two old original install boxes. I was trying to do things without stirring things up too much and the most economical way. With an eye towards the future I have scheduled an appointment with Dish to install the Dish 300 61.5 Sat Dish on 10/12. In the meantime I am continuing to research and hoping to find the right equipment and deal. I am not crazy about the two dish installation and the re-wire that is why I thought of switching to DirecTV. I would get a new elliptical single dish and the latest STB available. This is the most expensive option, but I should be good for a while unless the merger screws things up (see what I mean?) Oh well, back to the drawing board. Thanks again. Any further info on the 6000 and real time use would be appreciated.

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I had DirecTV with a Mits 400 STB and now a Dish 6000+8VSB+8PSK module. I preferred the interface on the Mits vs. the Dish, the 6000 looks clunky compared to the newer DirecTV boxes. I only moved to Dish since I was tired of the excuses from DirecTV on what they didn't have Showtime HD and a PPV channel that was only on midnight to 6AM Eastern. Since either of the DBS options require you purchase hardware I still think your best option at this time is to go with TWC and their rental box. If you don't like it then you really haven't lost any money on the deal.
I don't mind purchasing as long as I don't have to do it again in 6 months and that's what I am afraid of with the 6000. If I knew when the PVR-921 was coming out I would feel a lot better. It's been talked about for almost a year and because of the merger and other things whoknows how long before it comes out and at what price? The JVC TU-9000 has been reported to have a msrp. of $1,999. No way I am paying that kind of money. TWC deal does seem good, if they beat either of the DBS co's with a pvr version, I will switch in a minute. Until then, I am willing to wait unless the right combination of euipment and price comes about.

I have a 501 and a 6000 feeding my HD set. I feel the set up is fine and gives me the ability to watch one program while recording another. I also have a Dishplayer 7100 on another set.

My wife and kids record almost everything they watch and before I got the 6000, I sometimes was locked out of any TV viewing when they had them both recording at the same time.
Who was the moron who invented HD with black on top and black on bottom . I want a full picture , not some small picture .
If you have a proper 16:9 HDTV and are viewing a true HD broadcast you will not have any "letterboxing". I am not sure what you are driving at here??
Yes I have a Dish 6000 and a HDTV. :)

Again I still say wait if you can, if you wait your correct path will appear when the merger results are announced.

Just trying to save you fustration that you might feel if you buy a 6000 now (or get cable now for that matter)
Thanks Scott. I tend to agree, but I can not help myself... :)

I doubt very much I will be going back to cable. The only way I can see that happening is if they beat out SAT to an HD PVR box. At that point it becomes a no brainer. If I can keep costs to a minimum I may try the 6000 to get started and keep it in a dual box situation with the 501. It's not ideal, but for the right deal I am willing to try. Pick it up use it for a while and then sell or trade up when the new solution is announced. Still searching for answers. On the whole, I believe the DirecTV set-up (Dish, equipment available etc.) offers more choices than E*, but I know that is all going to change one way or the other with or without the merger. Thanks again.

My feeling is that eventually cable will beat out satellite when it comes to HD offerings.

There is no way that once all stations go digital that the satellite companies will be offer their digital offerings on satellite.

The opposite is true for cable, cable will be able to carry all the local stations digital signals, they will be able to get rid of the stations analog broadcasts (and instead can and will offer converter boxes which will convert the digital channels back to NTSC so folks with Analog sets can still enjoy their favorite stations.

If cable channels switch to Digital formats cable can carry them and drop the analog versions again by using a converter.

I have yet to hear a plan of what DBS is going to do with all 210 DMA's once all of them are only broadcasting in Digital Format (Could be HDTV but then again could not) there is no plan in place for when this happens.

And while we know the 2006 cutover from Analog to Digital will be delayed, the day will come when all over the air analog TV broadcasts will get shut off and switched to a digital signal.

What is DBS gonna do then?
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In a perfect world... Amazing, All I want to know is why does it seem that HDTV is a big bust. I look at it that I am really into this stuff and it is difficult for me, the average person could care less and jsut wants to watch TV. Hopefully it will all get straightened out somewhere down the road.
I was in a similar situation, debating the exact same options after I got a Philips 34" widescreen HD-ready TV. I was a happy E* customer, but the HD options through E* were expensive and the number of channels was very limited. My wife also didn't want a second dish on the house, so I also thought about DirectTV in order to reduce the cost of going to HD (new customer subsidy) and to avoid the second dish. Like you, I had a progressive local TW cable affiliate which was giving me a sweetheart deal to go back to cable. They offered HBO, SHO, PBS, PBS Demo, CBS, and NBC (and we now have ABC) in HD, with no out-of-pocket (or additional) costs. In fact, I was getting a large upfront credit and only paying $52/mo including the two premium channels for the first year. I ended up going with cable b/c I had little or nothing to lose. No contract either and ended up getting $225 for my E* equipment.

Six months later, I am pretty content with TW (I never thought I would say that). They give me more HD content than anybody else at less cost and no upfront cost. They've got a large selection of on demand movies, more channels and HBO On Demand (if you pay an extra $6). The picture quality is comparable in my opinion (digital tier channels on cable are better b/c they are not so compressed, local channels (non-HD) are bad on both (but I don't watch the non-digital anymore) and non-digital tier channels are slightly better on E*). I miss the interactive weather guide on E* and being able to program favorite lists. I don't like the guide on cable as much, but I've gotten used to it. However, I do get a 24 hour local news channel courtesy of TW and local weather on The Weather Channel. Overall, I feel like I'm getting good value (again, I can't believe I'm saying this) considering all the HD content and equipment that I am getting. Supposedly, PVR boxes are coming in the 4th quarter to Charlotte, but I'll believe it when I see it. If nothing develops, I'll probably get a stand-alone Tivo.

Bottom line is I'd go with cable under current circumstances. If someone offers an affordable HD PVR solution, I might revisit my choice, but for now I like cable. I know that a lot of other cable providers are doing a lousy job on the HD and technology front, but my local TW affiliate is doing pretty well.
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Mhorn good message.

Both Satellite and Cable companies need to learn that the more advanced customer (ie HDTV owners) will go whereever they can get the best selection of HD and the biggest bang for the buck.

Dish Network charges $7.95 a month for Discovery HD, all the cable companies who are carrying it are charging $5 or LESS for the service. And cable companies are not making people buy a $99 part to watch the channel when they already have a HD Box.

As I said cable can wipe satellites butt when it comes to HD, can eaither satellite company loose some of its best and most profitable customers?
Wow. You've said what I've been feeling. I am just trying to avoid going back to cable if I can. If it ends up being the best solution so be it. A cable PVR would seal the deal for me. I was willing to go cable and get a tivo, but the hook up on tivo is not the best. it is all analog. What I like about the "built in" PVR is the integration and digital path. Here in NYC it seems that Time Warner has there act together. There sales call is what started me thinking about all of this. Thanks again for all the input.

Of coarse there are those 2 or 3 new channels coming from Mark Cuban. If he can hold them from cable and Charlie, D* might be the way to go, but who knows.

I thought about that too. The D* choice ooks like the logical one for the short term, right here, right now. 6 Months from now it may be different. Trying to forecast this thing with the merger and everything, plus the outlay for the equipment is what is holding me back from making any quick decisions. Cable is the only no risk option, no equipment to buy and I can always go back to Sat if things do not work out. I like the freedom of choice in SAT though and I am really not unhappy with my current setup. I guess in a way I am trying to have my cake and eat it to, but with something like this I don't think it should be as difficult as it is going. Thanks again.

I am looking at a similar choice but without a cable option. I would like to see which provider is going to have the new ESPN HD channel launching in April before making a choice. Content is king.
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