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Cool Member
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My story's been heard many times before – for way too long now, I’ve been paying Charter for crappy reception and inept/[email protected]#k-that-you're-having-problems customer service. But anyway, since the divorce is almost final, and all this time I've had my cable, Internet, and phone with Charter, I've got a few questions.

#1:
Why/How did I wait this long to leave? I’ll actually take this one. I’m a [email protected]

#2:
I'm about 95% sure that I'll go with Dish - mostly because I want the HD DVR N-O-W, so I wasn’t keen with going on DirecTV’s waiting list. But is that a good enough reason to go with Dish? I really, really hate using that as my tie-breaker, but since I don’t know too much about Dish or DirecTV’s HD DVRs, that’s where I’m at. This forum definitely has a lot of information, but I feel a bit overwhelmed and not sure where to begin. So is there one place where I can see the pros and cons of each and compare them for myself? Also, do all new customers get the same equipment? Or do they give you an older, “low-end” box, and it’s up to you to know there’s something better out there and ask for it? Because from what I’ve seen so far, it looks like there’s a lot of different models out there, so I wasn’t sure how informed I needed to be when signing up.

#3:
What are some good options for an ISP and telephone service? Again, since I had everything with Charter, I’m trying to put together the best deal. I had the 3Mb tier from Charter, which worked for me, but I don’t want to give another dime to those a-holes. Any opinions? What about AT&T/SBC/Yahoo? I was starting to like their 3Mb DSL for $24.99, but I’d have to sign up with AT&T for my phone – and they quoted me around $33 for just local service. Thought that was a bit high.

#4:
Do either have free Video on Demand? With Charter, whatever movie channels I subscribed to, I had access to some movies with free VOD. I asked a Dish CSR about it the other night (along with some of my other questions), and he acted like I was trying to make up some new technology. Free VOD?! But then he finally realized what I was talking about and offered an excellent solution – – if you see a movie you like, just DVR it and you can watch it any time! Niccccce.

Well anyway, that’s about it. I guess I got in a relationship rut with Charter, and let myself get all fat by not paying attention to what other options were available. But, it definitely feels good to be “out there” again. So if someone could help a guy out by hookin’ me up with their hot sister-in-law, I mean…err…knowledge, I’d appreciate it.
 

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Godfather
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430 Posts
what is your zip code? in which market will you be receiving service? have you checked to see if dish offers HD locals in your market?

#2: see the HD Receiver comparison chart at http://ekb.dbstalk.com/

the one you want is the VIP622 - a dual tuner HD DVR. it's what most new customers get (at least the ones that want a receiver that has 2 tuners, is HD capable, and has a DVR). they don't try to give you last year's model (the 942).

#3: you'll have to check your local area. i just got an advertisement from verizon for 3MB DSL at $22 per month with a one year committment required. we already have verizon DSL (and are paying more than that, i might add) but the offer is only for new customers.

#4: some of the newer receivers do offer video on demand but it's never free. so basically what the dish csr said is correct -- you make your own video on demand by queuing up things in the dvr. we had VOD from comcast before switching to dish and my wife was initially annoyed that we didn't have that feature anymore. but now she's got so many episodes of the cosby show queued up that she can't even watch them all. as far as we're concerned, it's better than the VOD. i guess it's different with movies (which we don't really watch much of). you'd just have to keep apprised of what is going to be on and then queue it up in the dvr as needed.

hope this helps. i've been with dish for just under a year and have been really happy with everything.
 

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Cool Member
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for responding and answering my questions, psnarula. The link you provided was exactly what I was looking for.

So here's some more info and questions...

psnarula said:
what is your zip code? in which market will you be receiving service? have you checked to see if dish offers HD locals in your market?
I'm in Madison, WI and my zip is 53719. I had asked the Dish CSR if HD locals were available and he said that they were, and that I wouldn't need an OTA antenna. But after clicking on your link, and looking at the Locals Page (HD), it looks like neither are true. Is that correct? If so, do I need to buy an OTA antenna to get my HD locals?

psnarula said:
#2: see the HD Receiver comparison chart at ekb.dbstalk.com

the one you want is the VIP622 - a dual tuner HD DVR. it's what most new customers get (at least the ones that want a receiver that has 2 tuners, is HD capable, and has a DVR). they don't try to give you last year's model (the 942).
This reminded me of a question I forgot to ask earlier about the dual tuner. I have a total of 3 TVs (1 HD and 2 SD). The dual tuner takes care of the HD set and 1 of the SD sets, right? Then I just need 1 additional receiver for the 2nd SD set. If all of that's correct, do you know if Dish would let me use an existing receiver for the 2nd SD set? I actually had Dish for a brief period right before I switched to Charter and I still have the DP301 receiver. Thought I might be able to use it and save a little $$, but wasn't sure if that would nix the deal I'd be getting for signing up again. I realize that you might not be able to answer that one, but just thought I'd check.

Thanks again for the help!
 

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Godfather
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430 Posts
dish network does not offer HD locals in the Madison market. so yes, you would need an OTA antenna to get your HD locals. Dish might provide one for you if you press the issue enough and sound disappointed.

the closest market to you that has HD locals from dish network is chicago. for months, HD locals in the milwaukee market have been rumored to be coming to dish network. but so far nothing definitive has been announced. milwaukee hd locals are almost certainly going to be added before madison hd locals. when that happens, you could "move" to milwaukee and get their hd locals. basically this means you call up dish network and you lie to them about where you live (ie, you say that you moved your dish to a vacation home in milwaukee). of course, this means that you would no longer receive madison locals (unless you threw up a pair of rabbit ears to get them over the air).

if you want HD locals badly enough and you don't want to wait for milwaukee and you don't mind lying about where you live and you have no particular ties to wisconsin local channels, you can "move" to chicago or a host of other markets whose HD locals available nationwide. dishchannelchart.com has all the details. local channels (HD or otherwise) sent via the satellites at 61.5 or 129 degrees are available nationwide as long as you have the necessary dish (or dishes) in your back yard that are needed to receive these signals.

which hd package would you be getting? do you know which dish they'll be bringing you if you were to sign up? if not, call the CSR and find out. my guess is that it would be the "dish 1000".

the "dish 500" can pick up a signal from two satellite locations -- 110 and 119 degrees. some dish network HD programming is on these locations but a lot is at 61.5 degrees or 129 degrees. the "dish 1000" can pick up 110, 119, and 129. there is no single dish solution for customers who need to receive a signal from 61.5 these customers would need to have two dishes -- the "dish 500" and a second "wing" dish to receive 61.5. obviously, the dish 1000 is the better solution and it works fine but customers in the new england states are not able to pick up a signal using the dish 1000 so they have to use the dish 500 plus a wing to pick up 61.5. the HD programming that is not on 110 or 119 is mirrored on both 61.5 and 129:

http://ekb.dbstalk.com/hdchan.htm

so for you, a dish 1000 makes the most sense and that's probably what they would bring you. but you should call and make sure. assuming you'll be getting a dish 1000, you could "move" to any market whose locals are carried on 129:

http://ekb.dbstalk.com/hdlocal.htm

you would not be able to get HD locals that are on 110 or 119 because these are on a "spotbeam" that can only be picked up in the area immediately surrounding the city they are designed for (much like fm radio).

note that "moving" also changes which RSN (regional sports network) you get and it affects things like which NFL games are blacked out, etc. so if, for instance, you wanted to watch packers games, a "move" to chicago would mean you wouldn't be able to do that (you'd get the bears games instead). of course, you could always "move" for HD locals and then receive an OTA signal via a pair of rabbit ears to follow local sports.

about the three tvs -- yes, the ViP622 would feed two of them. and yes, you can use your existing 301 receiver for the third tv. you'd just need to make those arrangements with the CSR when you call to sign up.

the fact that you were a dish network customer in the past might affect your ability to get the latest promotions (which are generally only for "new" customers). you should inquire about that. if they won't let you do that, there are ways around it (like having the wife call, using a different phone number (cell phone), using a different credit card number, and adding a nonexistant apartment number to your address to that it doesn't show up in the system as a repeat address).

hope this helps.
 

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Cool Member
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Hey, I'm in the Madison area as well, and my Dish setup will done on Thursday.

I also recently dumped Charter and got 4MB DSL through TDS. It's $55/mo including a phone line with CID and CW. If you don't want a landline, I think it's $5 less. You'll have to specifically ask about that, though, because it depends what area you live in if they can offer the no landline deal.

I also signed up as a new Dish subscriber through TDS, and I get $5/mo off the bill monthly as a result of wrapping the bills all in one. I was able to get the VIP-622 for free (well, eventually it'll be free, they gave me $20 per month off for 10 months, but had to pay for the DVR upgrade fee of $200 up front). The $50 installation fee is refunded after 1 month if you sign an 18 month agreement.

Since I have a nice clear shot to the broadcast antennas, I'm going to tune HD locals with an off air antenna. (That will connect to the VIP622 and integrate them seamlessly)

Definately give TDS a call. They were great to work with and explained all the options clearly. It's nice to talk with someone in our own city, too.

HTH. PM me if you have any questions or want to follow up on how my install went..
 

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Hall Of Fame
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1,086 Posts
You have a large number of OTA digital in your area. You should really go with a nice outdoor antenna. Here is a site that tells you what is OTA for you. titantv.com . Input your local zip code and it will show you what is in your area. I have looked on antenna.org and these are all fairly close to the zip you gave in your post. You Might qualify for the a free antenna from E* not sure on that though.
 

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Cool Member
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
psnarula said:
dish network does not offer HD locals in the Madison market. so yes, you would need an OTA antenna to get your HD locals. Dish might provide one for you if you press the issue enough and sound disappointed.
I spoke to Dish and a local retailer, and neither will be giving me an OTA antenna. But since I live close to all of the TV towers, an indoor antenna should be able to do the job. So, at least I won't have to spend as much $$.

And if that doesn't work, then I'll explore my other options. But thanks for all of the tips on bein' tricky with address info.

psnarula said:
which hd package would you be getting? do you know which dish they'll be bringing you if you were to sign up? if not, call the CSR and find out. my guess is that it would be the "dish 1000".

about the three tvs -- yes, the ViP622 would feed two of them. and yes, you can use your existing 301 receiver for the third tv. you'd just need to make those arrangements with the CSR when you call to sign up.
I'm getting the HD Gold package with the dish 1000.

And after going over things with the guy at the local retailer (which I'm very glad I did - never would have gotten everything straight over the phone) I'm getting the ViP622 for just my HD TV, and then 1 dual SD receiver for my other 2 standard TVs. Decided not to ask about my existing receiver since I'll be using the dual SD receiver to take care of my other TVs. And I'm guessing it would've been more trouble than it's worth to try and figure out all of that old account/new account stuff.

e40 said:
Definately give TDS a call. They were great to work with and explained all the options clearly. It's nice to talk with someone in our own city, too.
Found out that I'm too far away to get DSL from TDS, but thanks for the suggestion. I still need to check with Verizon, but if that doesn't work, I'll prolly end up going with AT&T. But yeah, let me know how your install goes! And I actually lucked-out by being able to get one for this Wednesday, so I'll let you know what happens.

whatchel1 said:
You have a large number of OTA digital in your area. You should really go with a nice outdoor antenna. Here is a site that tells you what is OTA for you. titantv.com . Input your local zip code and it will show you what is in your area. I have looked on antenna.org and these are all fairly close to the zip you gave in your post. You Might qualify for the a free antenna from E* not sure on that though.
As I mentioned above, I think I'm going with an indoor antenna for now. But thanks for the websites, OTA. I did check them out and they'll come in handy if things change.

And thanks again to everyone for helping me out and providing a lot of great info. Without it, I wouldn't even be close to deciding what my next steps would be. I'd probably just be drunk and angry. So yeah, everything would be pretty much the same.
 
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