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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been reading a lot of information on these forums, and a lot of it has been very helpful. I wanted to post my offers here to see what other people think. A bit of background history: I used to be a Dish customer until 2003, when DirecTV got our locals in Baton Rouge. I had no major problems with Dish, but DTV got the locals, and I got a nice deal on two DirecTivos. Now, I have been bitten by the HD bug, and I'd like to sample a bit of what the companies have to offer as our local cable probably will never get HD programming, and the most I can get is OTA HD. I've tried using various products to get HD into a computer for recording purposes, but it didn't work like I would like, so I'm probably just going to upgrade. I called Dish and DirecTV, asked Dish about a coming back special, and told DirecTV exactly what Dish offered to get a fair comparison. Here's what they offered:

Dish:
Free Installation
Free Equipment (HD-DVR, which I assume is the VIP-622)
Premium Movie Package free for 3 months
Dish Home Protection Plan for free for 18 months
$100 redemption credit ($10 off my bill for 10 months)
$100 HD programming credit ($10 off my bill for 10 months)
18 month commitment

From what the guy said, my bill would look something like this:
Bronze package - 49.99
DVR Fee - 5.98
Locals - 5.00

For the first 10 months, my bill would be 40.97. For the rest of the 8 months (and beyond, I assume), my bill would be 60.97. He did mention that I would have to pay a $49 fee, but it would be credited back to my account (any reason why they do that? Is it for retention purposes?)

DirecTV:
Free HD-DVR (Confirmed HD20) and installation (would have to pay $19.95 in shipping/handling)
HBO/Showtime for 2 dollars for 6 months
Free HD for 4 months
$10 programming credit for 12 months
24 month commitment

From what the woman said, my bill would look like this:
Total Choice w/locals - 44.94
HD Fee - 9.99
DVR Fee - 5.98
Extra Receiver Fee - 5.00
HBO/Showtime - 2.00 (for six months)

For the first four months, my bill would be 57.92. The next two months, my bill would be 67.92 (HD fee kicks in), and then for the next six months, my bill would be 65.92 (dropped HBO/Showtime). She said that even though it would be a two year commitment, I could call back in a year to see if there are any specials that I could get to sweeten the deal.

I don't have a direct comparison chart for the Dish Bronze and the TC w/locals (and HD) to see what channels I would get, but from a brief look at the listings on their respective page, I would apparently get a lot more HD channels through Dish, but less Standard Def channels (I'm guessing it's the AT60 package?). I would only have the one receiver as well, although I could set that receiver to dual mode so that my wife could watch TV. With DirecTV, I keep my upgraded DirecTivo in the bedroom, but I get less HD, and a higher price.

Looking at my offers above, what would most of you do? Right now, I have to be honest, the Dish offer looks pretty darn good since I don't watch a ton of TV, and Dish seems to have more HD available. Losing the extra receiver would be a bit of a drag, but my house is wired well enough so that it shouldn't be too hard to get that signal to the TV in the back. I just wonder if the remote's signal is strong enough to punch through the wall.

Anyone have direct comparisons between the VIP622 and the HR20? They both seem to have a few flaws here and there, but how is the all important wife acceptance factor on them?

Thanks for reading this post and thanks to all who respond!
Keith
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Ok, I've worked up a quick comparison chart in Excel if you'd like to see it (or make any comparisons) between the Bronze package and the Total Choice package.

Basically, these channels are shared between the two.

A&E
ABC Family
BYU TV
Cartoon Network
CMT
CNBC
CNN
CNN Headline News
Comedy Central
Court TV
C-SPAN
C-SPAN2
Daystar
Discovery Channel
Discovery HD Theater
Disney Channel (East)
Disney Channel (West)
E! Entertainment Television
ESPN
ESPN HD
ESPN2
ESPN2 HD
ESPNEWS
EWTN
Food Network
HDNet
HDNet Movies
HGTV
HISTORY CHANNEL, THE
HITN
Home Shopping Network
Lifetime
MTV
MTV2
NASA
NFL Network
Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite (East)
Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite (West)
QVC
ReelzChannel
RFD-TV
SCI FI Channel
ShopNBC
Spike
TBS
TLC
TNT
TNT HD
Travel Channel
Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN)
TV Guide Channel
TV Land
Universal HD
USA Network
VH1
Weather Channel, The

These channels are on the DirecTV TC, but not the Bronze package:
American Movie Classics (AMC)
America's Store
Animal Planet
BBC America
Black Entertainment Television (BET)
Bloomberg Television
Bravo
Church Channel
CNBC World
Current TV
DIRECTV KIDS MIX
DIRECTV NEWS MIX
DIRECTV SPORTS MIX
Discovery Health Channel
Discovery Kids
ESPN CLASSIC
FINE LIVING
FitTV
Fox News Channel
Fox Reality
FUEL TV
Fuse
FX
G4 videogame tv
Galavision
GOD TV
GSN, the network for games
Hallmark Channel
i Independent Television
Independent Film Channel
Lifetime Movie Network
Link TV
MSNBC
National Geographic Channel
Noggin/The N
NRB
Oxygen
Shop At Home
Sleuth
SOAPnet
Speed
SportSouth
Superstation WGN
TCT Network
The 101™
The Word
Toon Disney
Turner Classic Movies (TCM)
TV One
Univision
Versus
WE: Women's Entertainment
World Harvest Television
XM: America
XM: Audio Visions
XM: Beyond Jazz
XM: Bluegrass Junction
XM: Bluesville
XM: BPM
XM: Chrome
XM: Cinemagic
XM: Deep Tracks
XM: Escape
XM: Ethel
XM: Flight 26
XM: Frank's Place
XM: Highway 16
XM: Lucy
XM: RAW - XL
XM: Real Jazz
XM: Special X
XM: Spirit
XM: Squizz - XL
XM: Suite 62
XM: The 40s
XM: The 50s
XM: The 60s
XM: The 70s
XM: The 80s
XM: The 90s
XM: The Blend
XM: The City
XM: The Heart
XM: The Joint
XM: The Loft
XM: The Message
XM: The Move
XM: The Rhyme - XL
XM: The System
XM: Top 20 on 20
XM: Top Tracks
XM: US Country
XM: VOX
XM: Watercolors
XM: Willie's Place
XM: World Zone
XM: X Country
XM: XM Café
XM: XM Chill
XM: XM Classics
XM: XM Hitlist
XM: XM Pops

These are on the Dish Bronze package, but not the TC package:
ANGEL ONE
Animania HD
BEAUTY & FASHION CHANNEL
CCTV-9 *1
CCTV-E&F *1
CoLours TV
DISH NETWORK FYI
DISH Network PPV in HD
DOCUMENTARY CHANNEL
Equator HD
Family Room HD
Film Fest HD
Food Network HD
Free Speech TV
Gallery HD
GamePlay HD
HDNews
HEALTHY LIVING CHANNEL
HGTV HD
HorseRacing TV
ISHOP
Jewelry Television
KBS WORLD *1
Kung Fu HD
Linkmedia
Men's Channel, The
Men's Outdoor & Recreation
Monsters HD
NFL Network HD
Northern Arizona University
PAX TV
Rave HD
ResearchChannel
RESORT AND RESIDENCE
Rush HD
Treasure HD
TV OUTLET MALL
TVG
Ultra HD
University of California TV
University of Washington TV
Water Channel, The
World Cinema HD
WorldSport HD

Comparing the two packages, it seems like you get a lot more HD with Dish, whereas with DirecTV, you get XM Music. Of course, upgrading these packages helps get more channels, but this was for my (and now anyone else's benefit). Note that this doesn't compare premium HD or local HD channels.
 

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Keith,

I'm going to weave some comments (BOLD and in Red) in between your thread below...

I'm currently with DirecTV and am using an HR-20 connected via HDMI to my HD Plasma and an R-15 connected to a SD TV in my master bedroom.

Please feel free to ask me ask many questions as you want. I've been a customer of both companies and NO, I don't work for either. :)

Silly Burrito said:
Dish:
Free Installation
Free Equipment (HD-DVR, which I assume is the VIP-622) -> are you sure about this? Both companies have an upfront fee of either $199 or $299.
Premium Movie Package free for 3 months
Dish Home Protection Plan for free for 18 months
$100 redemption credit ($10 off my bill for 10 months)
$100 HD programming credit ($10 off my bill for 10 months)
18 month commitment

Realize something first... The VIP-622 is a dual tuner DVR but if you use it to feed 2 different TV's in your home (as it looks like that's how they've sold this package to you) you will only be able to record 1 show at a time on each TV. If you're recording 2 shows, you will only be able to watch pre-recorded content on either TV or choose to watch what you're recording... The VIP-622 is a VERY good DVR but if you want a true dual buffer, dual tuner DVR to record multiple programs on your HD TV, you'll want to install a VIP-622 and then a separate Dish receiver in room 2. FYI: Dishes VIP-622 is MUCH more mature piece of hardware and less "buggy" then the DTV HR-20

From what the guy said, my bill would look something like this:
Bronze package - 49.99
DVR Fee - 5.98 -> You want to verify this with Dish, but I believe they charge you a DVR fee for EACH DVR you have active on your account. So if you choose to have a VIP-622 and another DVR you'll need to double your DVR fee. Check with Dish, I could be mistaken but that was the case when I was a customer with Dish a few months ago.

Locals - 5.00

For the first 10 months, my bill would be 40.97. For the rest of the 8 months (and beyond, I assume), my bill would be 60.97. He did mention that I would have to pay a $49 fee, but it would be credited back to my account (any reason why they do that? Is it for retention purposes?)

DirecTV:
Free HD-DVR (Confirmed HD20) and installation (would have to pay $19.95 in shipping/handling) -> You should know that the HR-20 is only about 2-3 months old and they are still working through many of the bugs. You definitely want to read through the posts on the DTV HR-20 threads. I personally haven't had too many problems with mine to be honest but I have an occasional bug and I've had to reboot about once a week on average. Again, the VIP-622 from Dish is NOT perfect, but hardware compared to hardware, Dishes hardware is more mature.

Keith, it's a hard decision... I was rather happy with Dish... I switched because they wouldn't offer me the new customer promo so I switched to DTV. i'm rather happy with DTV. I don't see a huge difference in picture quality. I DEFINETLY have more channels with DTV for a lower price than what I was paying Dish. If you really get comparably programming packages, you'll find that both companies are VERY close in price if not right on the money. Dish currently has more HD offerings for sure... However DTV has promises of 2 satellite launches and a plan within the next 6-12 months to have 150, yes 150 additional HD channels. Will it happen on time, hard to say but DTV does have a solid plan to be the HD leader in the upcoming year… Best of luck to you... I'm sure you'll have follow up questions, look forward to them. :)
 

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i would probably go with Dish, but like Radio engineered said if you want to use PiP and dual buffers you need to get an additional receiver for a second room. i used to have dish and was happier with them, i'm happy enough with directv though, its not a huge diffrence.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Radio Enginerd said:
Keith,

I'm going to weave some comments (BOLD and in Red) in between your thread below...

I'm currently with DirecTV and am using an HR-20 connected via HDMI to my HD Plasma and an R-15 connected to a SD TV in my master bedroom.

Please feel free to ask me ask many questions as you want. I've been a customer of both companies and NO, I don't work for either. :)
Thanks! I didn't realize the recording limitations on the VIP-622, but truth be told, we rarely watch live TV any more (usually football, and Earl/Office), so watching pre-recorded content isn't that big of a deal. As long as both TVs have access to the same programming, we should be good.

As far as if I need to pay a fee for the VIP, he did tell me that all I'd have to pay out of pocket was $49. Now, if I call back and find out that he was mistaken, that's going to be a bit aggravating. I do notice that new customer packages are going for $29 on their site, and he quoted me $49 for a monthly fee, so perhaps they're doing the math on the cost of the unit. However, the fact that I'll be paying 40 for 10 months, then 60 for the rest makes me doubt that. Of course, I'll make sure of everything if I switch.

I believe you're right on the dual DVR fee, and if we ever did get another DVR, we would be paying that. However, I'm looking at it this way: this is an 18 month committment. If it absolutely is horrible, I'm only locked in for 18 months, then we can see what new technologies both companies have. With DirecTV, it's the same, except for no extra DVR fee, but the committment is 24 months if I choose this deal.

I think in the end, I may just go Dish for the simple fact is that they have more HD now, and the channels they offer in the lowest package suit me just fine. With DirecTV, I get more SD channels, but not as much HD. Will they have more HD in 6-12 months? Maybe, but by then it'll be almost time to review the TV situation again! :)
 

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Silly Burrito said:
I think in the end, I may just go Dish for the simple fact is that they have more HD now, and the channels they offer in the lowest package suit me just fine. With DirecTV, I get more SD channels, but not as much HD. Will they have more HD in 6-12 months? Maybe, but by then it'll be almost time to review the TV situation again! :)
I would consider a few things. Firstly, how many of those "extra" HD channels on DISH are you going to watch? They dont look like channels I would even be interested in. Will you really watch them?

Second, does either company offer locals in HD to you? DirecTv has been rolling out HD locals at a rapid rate.

Third, Most DirecTv HD customers are hedging their bets that the two new satellites being launched next year will allow DirecTv to have the most HD bandwidth available to any provider, cable or satellite. If they are successful in their satellite launches, at this time next year, they should be rolling out HD galore. Will you be able to get out of your dish contract should you decide to switch?

Fourth, on the technical side, DirecTv uses a slightly higher resolution than Dish for their SD, or so I have been told. Can you compare the PQ on both systems on a HD monitor comparable to yours at a local store somewhere to see which one's SD channels look better? Since most channels are still SD, I think the SD PQ would be an important consideration.

Fifth, If you are an NFL fan, DirecTv offers the most HD NFL games (for an annual fee of course) with their Superfan package, as well as all the NFL games with the Sunday Ticket package.

Just a couple things to consider before making your decision. FWIW, my HR20 DVR has worked pretty well, only had to reboot mine about twice so far in two months. It should stabilize by years end, I am thinking.
 

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Keith, it's good to know that an long-time sat sub and confirmed old-timer like me
can still learn something from a relatively new poster. Your research and detailed
analysis is impressive and is relevant to a lot of others who may find themselves
in similar circumstances.

Although I'm currently a cable sub, following five years as a Dish sub, the possibility
always exists that I will return to tv from the sky. My four main criteria, in order of
importance to me are 1) picture quality (PQ), 2) HD channel selection, 3) HD locals,
4) movie channels, 5) channel selection and 6) value. In re-evaluating my own options,
I arrive at the following conclusions:

1) Overall PQ - cable*
2) HD channels - Dish
3) HD locals - cable (only)
4) movie channels - cable
5) channel selection - cable
6) value - cable

*Although my HD ch PQ has been excellent until recently, now that Comcast is in the
process of taking control of the local cable franchise from Adelphia, the HD channels
are beginning to have frequent pixelation, loss of audio and LOS. I have complained
so much that the cable tech and I are on a first-name basis. I am still optimistic that
the HD channels will improve once the conversion is done, but if not I'm prepared to
return to Dish. I'm not "loyal" to any one provider, but will prefer the provider who
offers the best overall package at the best price.
 

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Radio Enginerd said:
Keith,

I'm going to weave some comments (BOLD and in Red) in between your thread below...

I'm currently with DirecTV and am using an HR-20 connected via HDMI to my HD Plasma and an R-15 connected to a SD TV in my master bedroom.

Please feel free to ask me ask many questions as you want. I've been a customer of both companies and NO, I don't work for either. :)
Has DirecTV given any detail on what the estimated 150 HD channels will be? That is mighty tempting!
 

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ilkjh said:
Has DirecTV given any detail on what the estimated 150 HD channels will be? That is mighty tempting!
First, the 150 number is what their fleet of satellites would be capable of broadcasting, not that they will have 150 HD channels. As to what channels D* will start to add once D10 and D11 go active is anyone's guess since D* has not made any annoucement to that effect.
 

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I'm figuring on common sense here and if Directv launch a new set of HD channels - surely Dish Network won't be far behind because they have to stay competitive?

I am in the same boat as the original posted...
I am just about to move house, I haven't been that happy with Cable so I am going to move to Satalite. I think you get more for your money also I like obsure sports like cricket etc, that just have better coverage on satalitte.

I was all ready to sign up for Directv but then i read all the horror stories about the HD DVR box. Also the fact they don't have it in stock, and also you have to sign up for 2 years to get it. So Dish looks more appealing. No contract unless you choose and then you get the warranty for free which is tempting because if these boxes are buggy like they say they are that gives some much needed coverage.

I've done the channel and cost comparison and it is only within a couple of dollars either way. I would lean to Directv for channels and Dish for cost.

Man this is a hard decision. I think I will choose Dish against my gut feel because of the HD box being more stable....
 

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gooders said:
I'm figuring on common sense here and if Directv launch a new set of HD channels - surely Dish Network won't be far behind because they have to stay competitive?
I don't know for sure, but I don't think that Dish has any current plans to launch new satellites, which means that they would indeed be far behind. It takes years to build and launch satellites, it's not something that they can decide to do in a month or two. It's all about bandwidth, and when the next two D* birds go up, D* will have the needed additional bandwidth to make the HD offerings.

Carl
 

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ilkjh said:
Has DirecTV given any detail on what the estimated 150 HD channels will be? That is mighty tempting!
No... My guess is HGTV, Food Network and some of the other HD Networks (currently available on Dish) will probably join the lineup. If anything, a move like this by DTV would attract more networks to launch an HD version of their network. Think about it... Some of the major hold up in HD is due to lack of ANY company being able to deliver the content. In this world of bandwidth, both Dish and DTV are running out or maxed out. Until more channel slots are available, we're not going to see any more HD networks.

If you need IMMEDIATE gratification then the choice is simple, Dish Network.

If you're willing to wait, DTV seems to be a smarter "long term" decision. But I would say you have to be willing to wait 12 months to see some real changes in DTV's HD lineup.

Of course the above is if you're basing your decission on HD content alone.
 

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Silly Burrito said:
However, I'm looking at it this way: this is an 18 month committment. If it absolutely is horrible, I'm only locked in for 18 months, then we can see what new technologies both companies have. With DirecTV, it's the same, except for no extra DVR fee, but the committment is 24 months if I choose this deal.

I think in the end, I may just go Dish for the simple fact is that they have more HD now, and the channels they offer in the lowest package suit me just fine. With DirecTV, I get more SD channels, but not as much HD. Will they have more HD in 6-12 months? Maybe, but by then it'll be almost time to review the TV situation again! :)
Keith,

You sound like a pretty intelligent guy. I would imagine in 18 months DTV will have their HD offerings optimized, the HR-20 will be optimized and you can (if you choose at the time) switch to DTV. You WILL be happy with Dish. I was with them for 4 years and never had a problem. Good luck to you sir!
 

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ilkjh said:
Has DirecTV given any detail on what the estimated 150 HD channels will be? That is mighty tempting!
Don't hold your breath -- there are nowhere near 150 HD channels in existence today, nor will there likely be half that many in the next five years,
 

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Nick said:
Don't hold your breath -- there are nowhere near 150 HD channels in existence today, nor will there likely be half that many in the next five years,
Although I am not so sure, it would appear to me that many of the regional sports networks are broadcasting in HD. Making them available nationwide, so that the league packages are also in HD is a very tempting offer.

That should be about 25 channels right there.
 

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Nick said:
Don't hold your breath -- there are nowhere near 150 HD channels in existence today, nor will there likely be half that many in the next five years,
That's a very strong statement.

A little over 5 years ago a technology was introduced that would allow you to run a broadband data circuit over an existing pair of copper wire. That technology was referred to as a digital subscriber line (aka. DSL). 5 years later, look at broadband technology. I can think of several examples from the past 5 years.

I'm a specialist in the digital content delivery field and I can tell you with certainty that in 2 years the number of HD stations will DOUBLE if not TRIPLE. Will it be 150? Hard to say what the final number will be. However, I DO believe that in 5 years, there will AT LEAST be 150 HD offerings.
 

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Davenlr said:
I would consider a few things. Firstly, how many of those "extra" HD channels on DISH are you going to watch? They dont look like channels I would even be interested in. Will you really watch them?
The above post is what I was going to mention. You really have to look at what channels you would actually watch. I subscribe to DirecTV's HD package and record several HD movies a month. I don't think I would have the time to watch anything else. I am completely happy with DirecTV current HD package only because it has everything I need.

Your decision is difficult and I don't envy you. Just take a close look at the type of programming you like and decide which provider offers the best choices for your situation.
 

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Silly Burrito said:
Ok, I've worked up a quick comparison chart in Excel if you'd like to see it (or make any comparisons) between the Bronze package and the Total Choice package.

Comparing the two packages, it seems like you get a lot more HD with Dish, whereas with DirecTV, you get XM Music. Of course, upgrading these packages helps get more channels, but this was for my (and now anyone else's benefit). Note that this doesn't compare premium HD or local HD channels.
I was a D* subscriber for 8+ years with TC+ and HD and now have E* HDGold. I am very happy I switched. The only channel we've missed is PBS Kids/Sprout.

With E* you get the Voom channels. Even with the extra capacity, D* probably won't carry them. It will cost $20/month for E* HD vs. $10/month for D*. I really like the Rave and Rush channels but others might not be into that.

[This might not be in the HD Bronze/Top 60 package.] As far as music channels, D* has XM, but E* has Sirius + additional monoaural and stereo music channels. And you can record these music channels.

I do think you get better deals going from one provider to the other. I know people who switched from E* to D* because they couldn't get as good a deal. Those were SD subscribers, though. I had to pay an additional $199 for the ViP622.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks to everyone for their opinions, and a lot of you have good points. I'm about to call Dish and see if I get the same offer. My reasons:

1. As stated above, Dish has the most HD content now. DirecTV may have it in the future, but by the time they have it, it'll be time to reevaluate my situation with either company.

2. I realized that all the channels I watch would be covered by Dish's plan. Heck, adding NFL Network HD and Food HD might be enough right there, but we only really watch Comedy Central, ESPN (for LSU games), Cartoon Network, Food Network, a bit of NFL network and our local channels. We watch a bit here and there, but if I could pick a la carte, this is what I'd get. I simply don't watch everything DirecTV has to offer (and haven't for the last 3 years)

3. I've owned both Dish and DirecTV DVRs. I will admit that the Tivo interface is much better, but I've also seen that the VIP622 isn't a slouch either when it comes to reliability and picture quality.

4. I am a football fan, but only of LSU and the Saints, and I get those games locally. Sunday Ticket is nice, but I don't watch that much football.

5. Neither has HD locals, but since I can hook up my OTA antenna that I already use, at least now I can record them through Dish, while admitting that I don't know what strategy DirecTV will use when they enable their OTA tuners on the HR20.

6. Price...we don't watch a lot of TV, so the price is more in line with what I want to pay. Heck, if we could order HD alone, I probably would, but I feel that the Bronze package gives a good balance of HD and SD, for my tastes.

Ok, wish me luck, hopefully I'll get the deal!
 

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Let us know what they tell you because I'm going to call them as well tonight. I made my decision as well. Dish HD Gold. (I need Gold for the Soccer Channel)
 
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