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Are Ya Happy with your Satellite TV Service?

 
 
Reply Sun 12 Dec, 2004 09:53 am
We're planning to make the switch from cable to satellite TV. We've done all the basic research in anticipation of such a "momentous" decision. I know about the converter boxes, cost, etc. Those who have satellite claim they are pleased. To help us make our final decision, we'd love to hear from folks who have satellite but are NOT particularly happy with it -- and why not. From what we've seen and heard, satellite pictures are awesome. Our cable picture quality is inconsistent, ranging from reasonably acceptable to just plain poor. It seems that everytime our cable provider adds a new junk channel (and ups the price by $3.00), it further weakens the overall signal strength. The provider says in essence, "like it or lump it!"

Some say, well, actually everyone says that during bad weather you'll lose temporarily loose the satellite signal. But to me that would be acceptable. I'd rather have 100 percent 95 percent of the time than 70 percent 100 percent of the time.

We would sincerely like to hear what able2know users have to say about the issue. Thanking you ahead of time.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 12,478 • Replies: 66
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Dec, 2004 10:47 am
< nothing bad to say about my satellite service, but I thought I'd better post so you can tell people are reading the thread - and - welcome ! >
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Dec, 2004 10:58 am
The first direct-to-home consumer satellite TV in the US went commercial in June of '94, when DirecTV began taking subscribers for their service. For some months previously, it had been in "Beta", available to select dealers and other individuals. By April of '95, over a million folks had joined the crowd, making it, despite the fact the equipment cost was considerable then (several hundred dollars at the beginning) - the fastest-growing consumer electronic device in history. Today, around 30 Million small-dish satellite systems are in place in the US and subscriber growth continues - that oughtta tell ya something.

The video is suberb - it is DVD quality. The audio also is outstanding; both are far better than anything provided by most cable systems, even so-called "Digital Cable". Weather interference really isn't a significant problem, and even that can be reduced by being certain your dish is accurately aimed. For those in snow country, snow-shedding shrouds and even dish-warmers are available, and for the really persnickity, somewhat larger dishes than the standard 18" model can be used to even further reduce the potential of signal loss due to weather. Progam material selection is mind-boggling. If you have kids, you easily can regulate whats available for them to watch while leaving yourself able to watch anything you want. Pay-per-view events and movies abound for those who night be interested, and many can be had nowhere else. And, though additional equipment and subscription are required, the High Definition programming available is absolutely breath-taking. Personally, I dunno of any reason a TV fan big on quality who can "Go Small Dish" might not want to do so. Nothing else out there comes even close, IMO. And if you have a decent Home Theater rig, its the ONLY way to go. The only folks with bad things to say about small-dish TV are the folks in the cable industry.
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Dec, 2004 11:04 am
<psssssst, timber, s/he was asking for negatives - if these are your negatives, you should be marketing the buhgers>
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Dec, 2004 11:07 am
Like I said, ehBeth - the only folks I know of who have bad things to say about small dish TV are the cable industry Laughing
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easyasabc
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Dec, 2004 11:43 am
... no, no, no. I'm sorry. I know I gave the impression that I was just asking for negatives. We'd appreciate and welcome any and all comments anyone might have about cable vs. satellite television. Our thanks to all. Embarrassed
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kickycan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Dec, 2004 12:44 pm
The only reason I don't get a satellite dish is that they tell me it has to face a certain way, and if there is anything in the path of the signal, it might not work. I have a 40 or so story high-rise directly in that path, so I'm stuck with this horrible **** they call cable TV. :sad:
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Dec, 2004 12:50 pm
Dunno if there's hope there, kicky, but have you had a professional installer do a site survey of your location? Most installers will do it for free. Often, what you think might be an obstacle really isn't, and sometimes an "outside-the-box" look at where to mount your dish can overcome real obstacles confronting more conventional places for dish location. Just thoughts. Might be somethin' there to go for, might not.
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Dec, 2004 12:56 pm
I had a dish when I lived in Virginia. It was subjected to rain fade at times, but the main obstacle was the hills.

I am thinking right now about getting direct TV. Pissed off to the max with Cable TV.
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JustBrooke
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Dec, 2004 01:03 pm
Has direct tv. Wanted to try dish network but I couldn't get the NFL package that direct tv offers. Also my direct tv has yet to offer local channels like dish network does in my area.

So....the fact you can't always get your local news channels on a dish, would be the only major drawback that I can think of.

I compensate for that by switching over to a tv antenna when I want local stations....so not a huge big deal.

Not sure how cable prices are VS satellite. With direct tv I was paying over $100/month with the full package and 2 extra receivers....one for my basement and one in my bedroom. I dropped the movie channels and the price dropped almost $40. I hardly watched em' cause I never have that much free time.

When it storms real hard I will lose signal for maybe 1 or 2 minutes. Rarely happens for me.
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Chrissee
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Jan, 2005 08:24 am
Here is an excellent article on Cable vs. Sat

Cable/Sat comparison

One of the main factors to consider is whether or not you want hi-speed internet, I dumped my DirecTV, which goes out every time there is a bad storm and got Comcast Cable. I only subscribed to the expanded basic but it has all the channels that are the most popular and having the cable internet blows away DSL, I find myself watching less and less TV, so why pay all that money for channels I don't watch? Comcast now has On-demand pay per view, which is great if you like movies. According to the article, cable is better for hi-def as well.

Some of the people who dis' cable paint with a broadbrush, I worked for Adelphia Cable and their service sucked. I have also worked for other cable companies whose service was not that great. After signing up with Comcast, I am so impressed by the service (phone call answered in THREE minutes by live human) that I am considering a position in marketing with the company. When you think about it, having every individual home needing its own receiver is a terribly inefficient way of delivering a signal. I really feel cable is the future. Comcast is also rolling out telephone service.

DirecTV has an excellent marketing plan that locks customers in for a year and gets them hooked on their product. They constantly blitz their customers with on-air self promotion about how great they are during the local avails, the time cable companies sell to local advertisers. Anyway, after awhile dish customers get brainwashed and fail to properly evaluate their options. A lot of people think of the cable company as the bad guys but doesn't Rupert Murdoch own DirecTV? Very Happy

Now don't get me wrong, DirecTV is a good product (had them for three years) and one learns to live with the outtages but, especially for those wanting internet, cable trumps the dish. Even without internet, if you want the TV channels that most people watch, and want it in multiple rooms, cable is cheaper and more reliable, even after the promo period.

One final note, as the article states, which one is better is a personal choice, for instance, if you are the ultimate couch potato and want all the movie channels and every sports package known to man, DirecTV might be your choice. OTOH, you could subscribe to basic cable for about $40/mo in multiple rooms and get the movies you want to watch from netflix for $14.99/ mo. This would save you about $25.00 per month over DirecTV's complete package.

OH BTW, I didn't mention it, if a little storm knocks your dish off course, get your checkbook ready.
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Jan, 2005 10:08 pm
I you have an HI DEF TV there is no other choice but VOOM. Their special hi def programming is peerless -- a total of over 35 hi def channels. On their ten cinema channels, they've broadcast such classic films in hi def as "Z," "The Manchurian Candidae" and "The King of Hearts." On their Equator channel, they feature fly over documentaries over Italy, France, England, Spain, and Greece. Their gallery channel features tours of the world's galleries, shows on working artists and a series on the old masters. The sound is always 5.1 Dolby Digital.

It's $49.95 and right now it's $1.00 to install in up to two rooms.
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Jan, 2005 10:09 pm
(They have never charged me for any service to adjust the dish and even upgraded my off-the-air local channel antenna at no cost).
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Montana
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Jan, 2005 10:21 pm
For the same price as cable I have over 100 more channels on the dish and I would never go back.

The only 2 channels I miss on the cable is a local news channel and the local town channel that tells about all the stuff going on in your town and my mother and I use to play tv bingo every saturday night, which was fun. Other than those 2 channels, I have no use for cable at all. The dish is the way to go :-D
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Montana
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Jan, 2005 10:28 pm
Chrissee
I live in Canada on the east coast where the winds get really strong during a storm and it never did anything to my dish. Sometimes the wind is so strong you can't see 2 feet in front of you and we even lose a few shingles off the roof every now and then, but the dish doesn't budge.
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Jan, 2005 10:57 pm
VOOM has been out three times to make upgrades and adjustments with no questions asked.
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Jan, 2005 10:10 am
Properly mounted and secured, a satellite dish is unlikely to be misaligned by wind. Even if a misalignment does occur, realignin' is a relatively simple proceedure readily accomplished by the dish owner - the receivers have built-in signal0strength meters to guide you. The mulkti-satellite dishes - the larger eleptical ones, are a little trickier than the smaller round dishes, but patience and care are all that are required. The aiming point has to be set very preisely, and the more accurately it is set the less effect weather will have on signal. For those who's location offers significant environmental challenge, larger surface area (somewhat bigger diameter) dishes are available - greatly reducing weather effect.

I've seem VOOM, and worked on a few installations. Don't have it yet myself, but it is a value if HD is what you're after. Dunno as I agree with LW that its HD image quality is higher than that of DirecTV - seems pretty comparable to me, but then thats just me. VOOM's HD programming selection is extensive, and will grow, so thats a real point in its favor.

I do think DirecTV's signal quality generally is better than that offered by DishNetwork, but again, thats just me and based on some pretty nitpicky, highly subjective stuff. Most folks won't discern a difference one way or the other. A sports fan or a real gear-heavy tech-freak is gonna be better served by DirecTV than by DishNetwork, the typical general entertainment customer who doesn't have several thousands of dollars tied up in AV gear really has little reason to select one or the other over its rival. Without an excellent surround sound system and a top-line big-screen HDTV display, there's gonna be little or no viewing experience difference.
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cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Jan, 2005 10:18 am
I think Comcast is employed by the Homeland Security department. They are constantly walking up and down our street, sometimes ringing on doorbells, selling their services and checking to see what you have (especially looking for illegal cable hookups). They are the TV nazis.

If you can't have a dish, then go with them, otherwise, I vote dish. Yes, a BIG storm will knock out the signal, but it's only temporary, and here on the west coast, we typically only get heavy rain. It takes a T-storm to really knock out the signal, which is so rare, all I can think is that Chrissie must have had a really poor signal to begin with. Perhaps a problem with line of sight, or a misaligned dish.

I get well over 200 channels, including six or so HD channels, plus my local channels, for $55/month. Plus, when I ordered NFL Sunday Ticket this year, in addition to the standard def games (which I rarely watched), they gave me up to 12 games a week in HD, for free, since I already have the HD package. It was awesome.
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Jan, 2005 10:46 am
I wasn't specifically trying to say that VOOM's HD TV picture quality is better than DirectTV per se. It's the programming where the latest digital cameras with advanced lenses are used that make the difference. DirectTV and cable (especially cable) still have a paltry choice of programming where this kind of hi def utilization of the latest technology even shows up. Discovery HD is one channels shared by cable, Direct and VOOM and there is virtually no difference in the 1080i image quality on their shows using the latest digital cameras. It's that VOOM has considerably
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cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Jan, 2005 11:15 am
You are the first person I've ever heard of talk up VOOM before LW. Not that I have anything against it.

By 2007, DirecTV will have four new satellites up, expanding their HD programming to 500 HD local channels and over 100 national HD channels. It will require a new STB (HD tuner) to receive them, as they will be using MPEG-4 compression which current tuners cannot decode. The local HD channels will use something called "spot beam" technology.
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