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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was really sick of ATT cable, and really wanted a PVR... so I started looking into my options. I learned a ton from this newsgroup, and had heard of some problems with the 501, but decided it was my only "free" option (see cost compare below).

Sure I was drooling over the 721, and wanted 2 PVR's (like UTV)... but I decided to sign up for the Dish digital home plan.

It was $49 to sign up, $50 for the PVR upgrade, and $60 for them to do "wall fishing" and install new cable outlets (see why below).

Total out of pocket $159
Free 3 months @ ~$55/mo = $165.
Net cost = FREE :)

and the best part... Sacramento area is out of refurbished 501's, so I got a brand new 508 !!!! WOOHOOO. I went with the digital home plan because it was no money out of pocket and covered me in case I got stuck with a bad receiver.

Been very happy with it so far. It has P154 on it, and has been very quick, and very stable, with SOOO much better quality than the ATT digital cable box I had.

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Here is a cost compare for anyone trying to make a similar decision... (comparing 2 room configs w/ Top 100 packages + locals, no pay channels)

ATT Cable
1 digital converter, 1 analog converter
$55/mo.
$0 install.
Avg cost over 24months = $55/mo.

DTV + Tivo
30hr two tuner tivo + second receiver
$31.99 DTV + $6 locals + $5 2nd receiver + $13 Tivo = $56/mo.
~$200 for equipment, dish, tax, etc. from orbitsat.com
Avg cost over 24months = $64.32/mo.

DTV + Tivo w/ Lifetime
30hr two tuner tivo + second receiver
$31.99 DTV + $6 locals + $5 2nd receiver = $43/mo.
~$200 for equipment, dish, tax, etc. from orbitsat.com
$250 for Tivo lifetime
Avg cost over 24months = $61.74/mo.

Dish Digital Home Plan
1 PVR 501 and 1 dish301
$41.99 (2 receiver top 100 digitial home plan) + $6 locals = $48/mo
$159 equip + install ($49 install, $50 PVR upgrade, + $60 for special wiring)
-$144 (3 months free @ $48/mo)
Avg cost over 24months = $48.66/mo.

=======================

Wiring and setup...

I recommend to anyone doing dish network install to ask for them to run NEW wires straight from the dish to a NEW wall outlet near your TV. The guy did great work for me, and it allows me to leave my existing house cable network alone.

Why? well I plugged the coax output of my 508 to the existing cable outlet, then went to my cable box, disconnected the incoming feed from ATT, and put the output of the 508 into the input of the splitter, so it now sends the 508 signal to all outlets in the house !!!!

And because the 501/508 have UHV remotes, I can carry the remote with me to any room, turn to channel 4, and watch something I recorded, or any live show that is on in the family room.

My next step is to multiplex the output of the 301 onto the same existing cable lines, but use channel 3... that way when the PVR needs to record something, I can switch to channel 3 and start using the 301 tuner from the other room. Of course I'll need to get an IR sender so I can control the 301 from the other room, but this still seemed like a good workaround instead of buying a 721 with dual tuners for $500. At least it will last me through the year commitment :)

Best of luck to all.
-Don
 

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Godfather
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Originally posted by jst4fun001
DTV + Tivo
30hr two tuner tivo + second receiver
$31.99 DTV + $6 locals + $5 2nd receiver + $13 Tivo = $56/mo.
~$200 for equipment, dish, tax, etc. from orbitsat.com
Avg cost over 24months = $64.32/mo.
The monthly DirecTiVo fee is $10 not $13.
 

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Don, great info. I'm going through the exact same thing out here in the Denver area (sick of AT&T Broadband, debating between DirectTv with Tivo or Ultimate TV and Dish Network PVR). I'm just praying I get a 508, too! Thanks for taking the time to detail your experience...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Originally posted by EricG


The monthly DirecTiVo fee is $10 not $13.
It used to be $10/mo. and Orbitsat still seems to say $10/mo... but if you go to the tivo.com website, they clearly say...

"Tivo Service

Remember, once you've received your DVR, you'll need to activate TiVo service (phone line required). TiVo offers a choice of subscription plans:

Monthly: $12.95
Product lifetime: $249.00 "

I'm not claiming to be correct, just going by what I read. If you can still get it for $10, that's great!

Even at $10 though, I still have a problem paying for what is essentially an electronic TV guide that is available free on the internet. Although I do like the overall Tivo look/feel/software.

Take care,
-Don
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Originally posted by scooper
Don - you might to look at getting either a channel 3 signal combiner or a channel 4 signal combiner (the ones from TRU-SPEC) to do that right. Otherwise, the 2 RF outputs may very well interfere with each other.
Hi scooper, thanks for the lead on a model. Not sure how much that one costs. Some of the channel multiplexers I've seen cost almost $200 or more if you want good stereo. Maybe the "channel 3 combiners" can be found for less. I'm hoping to spend less than $50.

thanks again, take care,
-Don
 

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Its $13 if it is a Tivo Standalone receiver. Since it is going to be only one free month free instead of three free months when they change the promotion then it is going to raise this cost per month for dish by $8 a month for the first year for getting Dish.

Maybe one should look beyond the first year at the cost then. Over the short term Dish has a better deal and even on the longer term Dish would have the best deal even if you were to pay for the equipment instead of leasing it averaging so much extra a month to compensate over the long term for the equipment price. That is the way that I see it but I suppose it depends on which route you would go and what is the better deal for the individual.
 
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Originally posted by jst4fun001


It used to be $10/mo. and Orbitsat still seems to say $10/mo... but if you go to the tivo.com website, they clearly say...

"Tivo Service

Remember, once you've received your DVR, you'll need to activate TiVo service (phone line required). TiVo offers a choice of subscription plans:

Monthly: $12.95
Product lifetime: $249.00 "

I'm not claiming to be correct, just going by what I read. If you can still get it for $10, that's great!

Even at $10 though, I still have a problem paying for what is essentially an electronic TV guide that is available free on the internet. Although I do like the overall Tivo look/feel/software.

Take care,
-Don
$12.95 for each SA TiVo, $10 for all DirecTiVos on the same Directv account. 2 DirecTiVos on my account = $5 each to use them.

"Even at $10 though, I still have a problem paying for what is essentially an electronic TV guide that is available free on the internet. Although I do like the overall Tivo look/feel/software."

Spoken like someone who has never really tried a TiVo :rolleyes:

FWIW - TIVO OWNERS ARE NOT PAYING A MONTHLY FEE FOR OTHERWISE FREE GUIDE DATA !!! We pay for a software license to use TiVo technology and for upgrades to the software and service, NOT just to use a dumb, time-&-channel driven VCR !

I own a 501 and 2 DirecTiVos and there is NO comparison. The 501 has always had (and probably will always have) reliability issues. Since my first round of corrupted and erased recordings I have never trusted the 501 to record and store what I tell it to, and the interface is still sorely lacking. Want to set up a weekly recording, then interrupt it for one week for a single special event ? Sorry, can't do that on a 501 or a 508. And don't get me started on back-to-back recordings and cold start timer events.

My DirecTiVos ALWAYS record what I tell it to record, never erase anything unless I say so, and find what I tell it I like regardless of when or where its on. Recently DARIA began running on Noggin, a channel I never watch. TiVo started recording it and voila - a hard drive with lots of Daria episodes without having to search a guide or program anything beyond one-time instructions telling my TiVo to look for Daria. It also finds shows it believes I will like and suggest them. I have the auto-record turned off for suggestions but I check the list a couple of times a week and have recorded lots of shows I didn't know were going to be on.

The $10 fee I pay to Directv every month for TiVo service is the most satisfying and useful part of my bill. I also paid $100 each for my DirecTiVos while my 501 was given to me free as a new customer (not leased, I own it outright). Even free the 501 just is not the better deal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Originally posted by spanishannouncetable


$12.95 for each SA TiVo, $10 for all DirecTiVos on the same Directv account. 2 DirecTiVos on my account = $5 each to use them.

"Even at $10 though, I still have a problem paying for what is essentially an electronic TV guide that is available free on the internet. Although I do like the overall Tivo look/feel/software."

Spoken like someone who has never really tried a TiVo :rolleyes:

FWIW - TIVO OWNERS ARE NOT PAYING A MONTHLY FEE FOR OTHERWISE FREE GUIDE DATA !!! We pay for a software license to use TiVo technology and for upgrades to the software and service, NOT just to use a dumb, time-&-channel driven VCR !

I own a 501 and 2 DirecTiVos and there is NO comparison. The 501 has always had (and probably will always have) reliability issues. Since my first round of corrupted and erased recordings I have never trusted the 501 to record and store what I tell it to, and the interface is still sorely lacking. Want to set up a weekly recording, then interrupt it for one week for a single special event ? Sorry, can't do that on a 501 or a 508. And don't get me started on back-to-back recordings and cold start timer events.

My DirecTiVos ALWAYS record what I tell it to record, never erase anything unless I say so, and find what I tell it I like regardless of when or where its on. Recently DARIA began running on Noggin, a channel I never watch. TiVo started recording it and voila - a hard drive with lots of Daria episodes without having to search a guide or program anything beyond one-time instructions telling my TiVo to look for Daria. It also finds shows it believes I will like and suggest them. I have the auto-record turned off for suggestions but I check the list a couple of times a week and have recorded lots of shows I didn't know were going to be on.

The $10 fee I pay to Directv every month for TiVo service is the most satisfying and useful part of my bill. I also paid $100 each for my DirecTiVos while my 501 was given to me free as a new customer (not leased, I own it outright). Even free the 501 just is not the better deal.
Woops, didn't mean to offend the Tivo crowd. Glad I finally understand the $10 vs. $13 monthly charge. And actually I do understand that you get more than a channel guide.

I agree, they have a clearly better product. If I wasn't on a strict budget due to an upcoming wedding (UGH) :) I would go straight to the store and buy two Tivo's today with lifetime subscription.

But my goal was to be less expensive than ATT cable over 2 yr period, and have at least basic PVR cability, viewable from both rooms. So far, I think the 508 will meet my needs, but we'll see if I change my tune in a few months :)

well, I take that back, I do have 1 gripe already, I do wish they would improve the 508 "timer" list to tell us the show name instead of just the channel and time...

thanks for the feedback, take care,
-Don
 
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Originally posted by jst4fun001


Woops, didn't mean to offend the Tivo crowd. Glad I finally understand the $10 vs. $13 monthly charge. And actually I do understand that you get more than a channel guide.

I agree, they have a clearly better product. If I wasn't on a strict budget due to an upcoming wedding (UGH) :) I would go straight to the store and buy two Tivo's today with lifetime subscription.

But my goal was to be less expensive than ATT cable over 2 yr period, and have at least basic PVR cability, viewable from both rooms. So far, I think the 508 will meet my needs, but we'll see if I change my tune in a few months :)

well, I take that back, I do have 1 gripe already, I do wish they would improve the 508 "timer" list to tell us the show name instead of just the channel and time...

thanks for the feedback, take care,
-Don
Nah, no offense taken. I read that old "why do people pay for guide data? " argument all the time and it just irks me. :)

I've always told people that the 501 (and now 508) have the POTENTIAL to be good, basic click-the-guide-to-record DVRs, and if you get it free, well, "it's worth at least what I paid for it" :D , but the 501 still has a ways to go and in Cheap Charlie's hands it may never fulfill its potential.

And $550 for a 721 ? Holy crap, dude ! What was Charlie's team smokin' when they priced that thing ? I'll bet a Series II DirecTiVo w/a lifetime sub will go for $100 - $200 less when it comes out (next month ? September ?), and since the sub covers ALL DirecTiVos on the account, each unit after the first gets cheaper to own.
 

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It really all comes down to what you can afford! Now I have messed with the 501 and it works good for what you pay for...which is nothing per month. For a basic PVR I think its great. The menu's are fast, I really liked it for what it does.

However, for just $10 a month and really very little up front $$ you can have dual turners, really never miss a recording and season pass (lifeline for most of us :))
 

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Originally posted by Neil Derryberry
That ridiculous price tag on the 721 is what sent me over the fence to the D* side.... I love my UTV!!
As a long-time UTV (one year) owner, I totally agree with this. Here is my average per month if I had your same setup:

Ultimatetv receiver - $39.99 + $123 for 120GB (105 hours) hard drive so a cost of $163 for my newest receiver amortized over 24 months is $6.83. My standard receiver was $49 so over 24 months the cost would be $2.00

Ultimatetv fee is $9.95 - for software licensing and box functionality.

Total Choice w/locals, $37.99

2nd receiver fee, $4.99

Net monthly cost - $61.76.

You must also consider that TC on D* has more stations than AT100 (fifteen to be exact). IMHO, I feel that I receive a good value for my dollar spent, plus I own my equipment (may or may not be an advantage).

To be fair, though, I think you (just4fun) are getting a good deal for what you are getting. Enjoy your setup.
 

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I will have to admit that a lot of features that people had asked for on the 501/508 and the 721 are and have been on the Tivo and other units for a good while now and for a big tv watcher would be worth the extra investment, and the fact that you can get a lifetime subscription and a unit for about the same price as a Dish PVR unit and can connect it to cable, off air, or any satellite receiver or system, it has more capabilities, in which you cant do if i the unit is built into a satellite receiver.

I have never used a Tivo or other PVR unit before but from what I have heard, it seems like a great experience that I would like to try, and wish Dish could come out with a product that can compare to a Tivo or similar unit at a decent price or do some software upgrades to have it perform more like a Tivo unit.
 

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How does that DirecTivo and UTV work on picking up all the programs that are on the Superstations? OOOPS, can't -- doesn't get them. Hows does DOOM or You Don't Know Jack perform on your DirecTivo? OOPS, doesn't have them. Each side has its very positive aspects. DirecTivo and UTV would be nearly useless for me because 75% of the shows I record are one the Supers that E* carries.

Always is such a subjective term, I laugh when people throw that word around so cavalierly.

I understand you sentiment, but your evangelism is misplaced on an electronics product.

It works great for you in your circumstances and is worth your money to you, that is all you can say with any certainty.
 

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Originally posted by jst4fun001


Hi scooper, thanks for the lead on a model. Not sure how much that one costs. Some of the channel multiplexers I've seen cost almost $200 or more if you want good stereo. Maybe the "channel 3 combiners" can be found for less. I'm hoping to spend less than $50.

thanks again, take care,
-Don
Since there is a strong OTA channel 3 signal in the Sacramento area that could get into your distribution system and cause interference, you might want to consider modulating your receiver outputs (RCA video and left-right audio) to two unused UHF channels. Of course, that would exceed the $50 budget.

You'll probably need the extra cash to rent the rose garden downtown for the wedding, right? That's where I got married. I don't want to say we're cheap, but, well, we are... :hi: :lol: :rolleyes:
 
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To spanishannouncetable:
I'm glad for you that you trust your Tivo to record for you over your 501...

For me it is the opposit, The 501 never misses a beat in recording what I tell it to record, But the Tivo has missed enough programs that I told it to record for various reasons that I cannot trust it to record what I want. And of course I hate suggestions, they were the first thing I searched for and turned off.

The much vaunted Tivo method of choosing recordings, is to me a pain in the neck. The menus are slower. Some features are nice but not enough to make me use and trust it. The one recording it does reliably is a manual recording. The 11:00 news and that has to be manual since it runs 11:99 to 11:35... And I want a show occasionally that starts at 11:30pm. I hate having to go in and constantly play with recording priorities. To me tha Dishplayer method of handling conflicts was best follwed by the 501, Last is the Tivo.

Bye
 

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Are you comparing a Directivo to a 501 or a Stand-Alone Tivo? You need to compare apples to apples. With a Directivo, you wouldn't have to worry about conflicts, unless you are trying to record three shows at once. To be fair, the 721 also has that feature. How does you 501 handle if a show is pre-emtped by the broadcaster and shown at a different time? Will the 501 follow it and record it for you anyway? Can you tell your 501 to not record repeat episodes of the same show? Can you tell your 501 to record all episodes of a show whenever it is on or whatever channel it is on? Can you do search on a 501 two weeks in advance? Both D* PVRs can do these functions. While the Dish PVRs have become more stable, there are some features they lack that make using a PVR much more satisfying. You get what you pay for, so for me the $9.95 per month is money well spent. YMMV.
 
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