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Legend
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So I am currently a Comcast and a DirecTV customer. One of them is going to go. I am using a Tivo Series3 with the comcast (which works very well). I have the older HD Tivo for the DirecTV and it also works really well.

So here is the problem....if I drop Comcast and go with DirecTV, I will lose my locals (I'm in Seattle), have to upgrade my dish, and then I'm left wondering how the new HR20 compares to the Tivo that I'm used to. I know I'm not going to get multiroom viewing (but I don't have that yet with the tivo either). But I have to know if the product itself sucks.

Also, comcast has more HD channels than directv does -- not sure what's on the docket for HD channels.

I just hate comcast -- their attitude during this recent weather "event" we had was pretty non-helpful. And I'm tired of outages. If Verizon were faster with the FIOS thing, I'd be with them, but that's going to be another year or more.

I have had DirecTV for well over 10 years. I want to make sure I have a great experience if I stick with them. Any advice would be appreciated.
 

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Best advice I can give you, is read around the forum.

Gauge for yourself the state of the HR20 product.
It is not perfect, and still has some issues.

Some people have next to know issues... Some have every problem in the world.

Upgrading your dish, should be part of the HR20 process..

HD channels are not really going to expand until at least Q2 of next year...
But once the SAT's go up, you can probably expect DirecTV's lineup to be extremely comparable to all the other lineups out there.
 

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Rickeame,

You've already hit upon many of the decision points, but here are a few you might consider:
Do you watch the NFL network and want to see their games in HD? Who knows when that logjam will open up.
NFL Sunday Ticket?
Do you live in an area where you can get OTA signals? If so, you won't lose your locals.
Do you have a problem with a two year commitment that Directv will force upon you? (Or do you want to buy a HD Directivo off ebay, avoiding the commitment?)

Me, I'm locked in with NFL ST for few more years at least. But even at that, I am very satisfied with my directv service and how they have treated me every time. Sure, I've had problems, but they've taken care of them like a good vendor should for a good customer. I don't have a problem switching from Tivo to the new DVR--once it becomes stable. And its been getting better every release of the software. Even my very non-tech wife has found the new DVR easy to switch to.

Now, if I had FIOS available nearby, who knows. I might switch as soon as my commitments are up. But that isn't happening in my area.

Hope these thoughts are food for your thoughts.
Merry Christmas,
Tom
 

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One thing to be concerned about is the new birds with the new HD content will be KA band and you are in the pacific northwest aka rain country. KA is more impacted by rain than KU, there are lots of articles on the subject you can google them. I found this chart about KA rain fade:



As you would expect the lower the frequency the better, if I recall correclty IEEE Ka band is ~27-40 GHz and Ku (current D*) is ~13 - 18 GHz, so as you can see if you get a lot of rain there might be problems.

But no one is going to know until the birds go live and the rain comes.
 

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The new dishes are much bigger just for that reason. And the base now gives the installer an opportunity to align the dish to a degree nearly impossible before. Together I've had much, much less rainfade than ever before.

Now I just have to work on snowfade...(Yeah, I know, get the cooking spray out...)

Merry Christmas,
Tom
 

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tibber said:
The new dishes are much bigger just for that reason. And the base now gives the installer an opportunity to align the dish to a degree nearly impossible before. Together I've had much, much less rainfade than ever before.

Now I just have to work on snowfade...(Yeah, I know, get the cooking spray out...)

Merry Christmas,
Tom
Yes bigger dish, higher power and FEC (forward error correction) can help but physics is physics, as the wave gets smaller it becomes harder and harder to get around that tiny rain drop. We won't know until the new birds go hot and the real world is involved. One more thing, if I recall correctly dry snow is not a problem with Ka but wet snow is. Since he is in rain country and he would be extending his commitment it is something to consider. You are in SLC it is hard to think of a drier place, you should have little to no worries, in Seattle they have rain like you have salt.

 

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I'm personally expecting it to be Q3 for the additional satellites, but that is just me.

However, I have never had a cable company that was as reliable, day-in day-out, as D*. Yes, there are HR20 issues at the moment but I was the one who ordered it a bit early. If I still had my HR10 in the living room I would be having fine service. The HR20 is making it a little unreliable but I expect that to pass. Cable companies were always having problems, whether car accidents, infrastructure failures, loose cables.....it was always something. So, I stay with D* and I'll stay with D*. That's just me....
 

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btmoore said:
Yes bigger dish, higher power and FEC (forward error correction) can help but physics is physics, as the wave gets smaller it becomes harder and harder to get around that tiny rain drop. We won't know until the new birds go hot and the real world is involved. One more thing, if I recall correctly dry snow is not a problem with Ka but wet snow is. Since he is in rain country and he would be extending his commitment it is something to consider. You are in SLC it is hard to think of a drier place, you should have little to no worries, in Seattle have rain like you have salt.
Ummm.... you do know that the first 2 KA birds are up, running, and sending HD locals, don't you? (asking as politely as possible.) We don't get much rain, but we have had a couple of storms strong enough to test rainfade on the new birds. No a problem at all--but I insisted on the dish being aligned very well (cuz he didn't go a good job at first.) I'm very happy with the dish performance (AT9).

Yeah, its always the first and last snows of the season--wet stuff that sticks to the dish. :) And I've been too busy to spray the dish, but not too busy to walk out with a broom twice this year already. ;)

Merry Christmas,
Tom
 

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tibber said:
Ummm.... you do know that the first 2 KA birds are up, running, and sending HD locals, don't you? (asking as politely as possible.) We don't get much rain, but we have had a couple of storms strong enough to test rainfade on the new birds. No a problem at all--but I insisted on the dish being aligned very well (cuz he didn't go a good job at first.) I'm very happy with the dish performance (AT9).

Yeah, its always the first and last snows of the season--wet stuff that sticks to the dish. :) And I've been too busy to spray the dish, but not too busy to walk out with a broom twice this year already. ;)

Merry Christmas,
Tom
Yep, this is just something to consider if you live where it rains a lot. The new new birds and the new content are an unknown.
 

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Legend
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In the four years that I lived on Whidbey Island I rarely ever saw rain that would cause fade as it does for me now. It was always a light drizzle. The only thing that causes rain fade for me are large thunderstorm cells. I don't recall seeing those very often in Washington...just dreary overcast drizzle day after day after day.
 

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nocaster said:
In the four years that I lived on Whidbey Island I rarely ever saw rain that would cause fade as it does for me now. It was always a light drizzle. The only thing that causes rain fade for me are large thunderstorm cells. I don't recall seeing those very often in Washington...just dreary overcast drizzle day after day after day.
Good point. I believe some are forgetting that local channels (what the current Ka birds carry, and what the majority content of the new birds will likely be) are delivered via spot-beam transponders, allowing greater signal concentrations in weather affected areas.
 

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btmoore said:
Yes bigger dish, higher power and FEC (forward error correction) can help but physics is physics, as the wave gets smaller it becomes harder and harder to get around that tiny rain drop. We won't know until the new birds go hot and the real world is involved. One more thing, if I recall correctly dry snow is not a problem with Ka but wet snow is. Since he is in rain country and he would be extending his commitment it is something to consider. You are in SLC it is hard to think of a drier place, you should have little to no worries, in Seattle they have rain like you have salt.

I never knew about the dry v. wet rain difference for dishes. I have had D* for 11 years now, and I have only lost signal due to snow twice, and once for 5 minutes due to a HEAVY rain. Nevertheless, the only times I have lost signal due to snow has been due to snow accumulation on the dish. I just brush it off, and no problem.
 

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nocaster said:
In the four years that I lived on Whidbey Island I rarely ever saw rain that would cause fade as it does for me now. It was always a light drizzle. The only thing that causes rain fade for me are large thunderstorm cells. I don't recall seeing those very often in Washington...just dreary overcast drizzle day after day after day.
I've lived in Seattle for 10 years now, and only experienced rain fade a couple of times. In fact, IIRC, all those times were this year, when we had record precipitation during October and November (i.e. last month).

As an FYI - It is overcast here a lot, but in terms of inches per year it rains more in places like New York. It's also temperate - the summers have almost zero humidity, and the winter doesn't get colder than the low 40s (usually).

If I had my druthers, I'd probably move back to the east coast or to Colorado (where my wife is from) - but that would involve moving closer to one or the other set of parents. I'll take soggy over passive aggressive nagging any day.
 

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Earl Bonovich said:
Best advice I can give you, is read around the forum.

Gauge for yourself the state of the HR20 product.
It is not perfect, and still has some issues.
I would say "gird yourself" rather than "gauge" :)

I'm kidding. To me, an interested DirecTV customer who doesn't yet own the HR20, the HR20 appears to be "pretty good", but I'm glad I didn't get it three months ago. Of course, I own the HR10 and R10, and enjoy those enough that I'm not switching yet. From what I can gather, the interface is very different, but pretty easy to learn and really ends up being a "non-factor" for most people. I'm hopeful that by the time DirecTV starts bringing on new national HD channels, the HR20 will be reliable enough that people will only be complaining about the lack of features x, y and z (insert whatever features you think the HR20 needs), rather than basic functionality. It also looks like DirecTV will be adding some of the "advanced" features that standalone Tivo owners currently use and love (some form of home media streaming and Internet scheduling, at least), so that's a good sign.

BTW, I'm in Seattle. DirecTV currently offers 2 of the 4 majors in HD for Seattle, and the other two are "imminent", so you won't lose your Seattle HD locals for very long (you won't have PBS or CW, but you will have ABC, CBS, NBC & Fox via HD). Right now, I get all locals except PBS via an OTA antenna pretty well. I plan to get an HR20 once the bugs are shaken out and the new national HD channels come on line.

So, if you can handle a bit of "startup pain" waiting for the remainder of the Seattle locals and with the HR20 shaking out some bugs, and can negotiate a free/almost free install, it's probably a great move. Just don't expect a perfectly seamless transition.
 

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jcricket said:
I've lived in Seattle for 10 years now, and only experienced rain fade a couple of times. In fact, IIRC, all those times were this year, when we had record precipitation during October and November (i.e. last month).

As an FYI - It is overcast here a lot, but in terms of inches per year it rains more in places like New York. It's also temperate - the summers have almost zero humidity, and the winter doesn't get colder than the low 40s (usually).

If I had my druthers, I'd probably move back to the east coast or to Colorado (where my wife is from) - but that would involve moving closer to one or the other set of parents. I'll take soggy over passive aggressive nagging any day.
It will be interesting to see how the Ka band hold up for you and others in high rain areas. I would expect and as you have experienced, Ku work ok with regards to rain fade, as the frequency increases rain causes more of a wall effect. You can't use the past performance of Ku as a future indicator of Ka. I am not saying that D*s implementaiton of Ka wont work well in rainy areas, i am just talking about the general physics of it.
 

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btmoore said:
It will be interesting to see how the Ka band hold up for you and others in high rain areas. I would expect and as you have experienced, Ku work ok with regards to rain fade, as the frequency increases rain causes more of a wall effect. You can't use the past performance of Ku as a future indicator of Ka. I am not saying that D*s implementaiton of Ka wont work well in rainy areas, i am just talking about the general physics of it.
Well, hopefully the larger dish should improve the rain-fade-resistance a bit, no? If rain fade increases to a "regular concern" for those of us in places like WA and OR, I can tell you right now I'll no longer be a satellite customer.

I can handle once every couple of years, or even once/year rain fade episodes, but not if it's often enough for me to wonder whether my programs will record.
 

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jcricket said:
I can handle once every couple of years, or even once/year rain fade episodes, but not if it's often enough for me to wonder whether my programs will record.
Well, down here in Florida rain fade outages are a concern, and definitely happen more than a few times each year during rainy season. That said, they're generally quite brief -- and total down time is less per year than with cable.
 
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