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Are Ya Happy with your Satellite TV Service?

 
 
Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Jan, 2005 11:29 am
That's the law! It's that VOOM is now offering four times as much HD programming than is offered by any other cable or satellite service. That's NOW. Not 2007. VOOM will be mandated to be all HD. That will be wonderful to see such channels as TCM in wide screen HD as now on that input, their wide screen is 480i and cropped on all four sides to deliver about half the screen. About the same resolution as videotape. But Direct and cable are both saddled down with this and as I've said elsewhere, I can get a full streched screen image by switching to my DMR input and using the remote.

It's not just the HD VOOM is delivering, its the quality of the programming. Being an art aficianado, the Gallery Channel is indespensible. If you're a soccer fan, they've got most of the major games ESPN doesn't have in full HD. If you like concerts, their RAVE Channel has, right now, the Montruex Jazz Festival (well, a lot of rock and pop artists), the Soundstage series that PBS sometimes will broadcast and many more most pop music concerts. Their ULTRA Channel is a style channel which reviews restaurants around the world, fashion, architecture and is very comprehensive. They've even got an Auction Channel which gives previews and results of collectibles from Snow White to Rauschenberg to Vermeer. Check it out:


www.voom.com
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Jan, 2005 11:33 am
I'm watching Paul Signac and Provance right now and coming up is The Palace Museums "Six Dynasties" showing the stunning calligraphy of the Six Dynasties period. It's in HD, of course, on the Gallery Channel and in 5.1 Dolby.

I sometimes watch TBS HD which has movies and series in curiously not-so-great HD (reruns of "The X Files" which, like most TV film, not really a high quality film source to begin with) and the new UPN, Universal's commercial free collection of movies.
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Feb, 2005 03:05 pm
The news now is that VOOM is still operating but Cablevision who owns Rainbow LLC has sold the satellite to EchoStar (Dish Network) and the programming is being bought by the principals of Cablevision, the Daltons (Father and Son). This could mean that Dish may take over and offer the programming or a great portion of it. It's also news that Time Warner could be purchasing the rights to the programming. Well, sheepishly, I have to admit that Time Warner cable made an offer I couldn't refuse when I called them about my final billing. I was able to reconnect with HBO and Showtime (and their HD channels) for 10.00 a month for both. I had dropped both on my VOOM because the series I watched were at the end of their runs in late fall. VOOM wanted too much to add them back in (can't get the same deal as the sign-up). I did have some technical problems and another service call which did partially solve it but I made the decision since I'd seen just about everything VOOM had to offer on their art and travel channels as well as the cinema and style channel that I decided to quit. Then it turns out the programming could appear on Time Warner cable which now has four special HD channels that are on sale for $4.95 per month for six months. I think VOOM's programming was too sophisticated for the average viewer and it will be a few years before they can turn it into a profitable concept. Charles Dalton, one of the principals in Cablevison, is a multi-billionaire who was in on the ground floor in creating HBO.
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2005 08:52 am
The latest news on VOOM:

VOOM SATELLITE NEWS

Another reason I went back to Time Warner cable was the On Demand feature which is no longer at extra cost (at least to a new subscriber). It's unfortunatly not hi-def but I am having them come back so that I can hook up my DMR (Digital Media Recorder) and I can watch them at least in wide screen.

It looks like Charles Dalton wants to operate VOOM as an experiment similar to his HBO which was not profitable in its early days. I do hope its high quality programming does make it to other media such as my local cable but I doubt it. It's almost 40 channels of hi-def, much of it not carried by my local cable! VOOM had StarZ, Encore, Cinemax, TMC, Universal and other existing hi-def channels. Cable so far does not.
Over the time I had it I had seen just about everything they had to offer that was unique and it's now clear why new programming was slow in coming. They were running out of money after investing 400M. This is an enthralling tech story and is making more news each week.
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BUTCH
 
  1  
Reply Sun 27 Feb, 2005 11:57 am
It depends on where you live, some cable serves are really bad, and some are good, I went back to cable, they were more relabel then my Dish, every time we had a storm, or ice and snow, I lost the picture.
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Sun 27 Feb, 2005 12:11 pm
The cable service has improved in my area but there are still systemic problems like sound sometimes clipping because of data overload on the hi def channels. They assured me they are working on it. With the VOOM service, what they sold had a beaming technology which was revolutionary and I had some minor signal problems during heavy rainstorms but really only incidental. The real problem was that the hired out installer company (not a VOOM in-house company) were like the Laurel and Hardy of installers. They had layed the cable across a doorwell on top of tack strip and finally found it on their last tech call! It was only a matter of time before people coming in and out of the door punctured the cable. I told this to the cable installer and he couldn't believe it.
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Mar, 2005 08:27 am
The OC Time Warner cable is better than the dish networks offer here even though there are many more hi def channels on VOOM. I'm sure this will change as the specialized beaming satellites which can handle hundreds of hi def channels are launched. I still get some technical problems but with the rainstorms here in So Cal, the dish is worse. Very rarely have any pixalization problems (alhtough with digital transmissions when they used fast motion photography, the picture will start to digitize no matter what medium) but the sound problems sometimes crops up. This is often the original transmission as on American Idol on Tuesday where some audio would drop out every few minutes. The problem dissapeared on last night's transmission. The standard TV comes through with absolutely no problems.
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Mar, 2005 08:54 am
Pewrhaps of interest, LW - I've noticed what seem to me to be a disproportionate number of minor audio glitches - and an occaisional bit of pixelization - on FOX over DirecTVHD AND OTA from the Minneapolis FOX affilliate. Minor stuff really - a bit of audio dropout, some audio clippin' at the upper end, and the odd video artifact here or there - never have had both transmission schemes up simultaneously for side-by-side comparison, though. The glitches are minor, infrequent, and appear to have no discernable pattern of causality. The programmin' involved mostly has been NASCAR - which is about all I watch on FOX. Gotta say FOX' choice to go 720p seems to give them the edge over the 1080i competition when it comes to program material involvin' rapid subject movement, particularly accross a complex highly-detailed background. Dunno 'bout FOX' audio though - at least here, it seems a bit under par, OTA or DTH, HD or NTSC.

Frankly I doubt most folks even would notice though, apart, perhaps, from the occasional - and pretty rare - audio dropout.
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Mar, 2005 09:22 am
The sound dropout on "American Idol" was acute and I doubt it would do me any good to call the cable company as I'm sure they will tell me it's systemic. They will have to improve on the lines (such as optical cable directly into the box) and the satellite signals before they can get rid of all or most the gliches. FOX here is full 1080i, at least on "American Idol." The only another chronic problem are loud popping noises in the rear channels on ABC when switching from a commercial to the programming. This was much worse when I first begin getting hi def on the TW cable but is somewhat improved now.

VOOM on the other hand, although the hi def programming is outstanding, was having problems here (they're less than two years old and have been sold) would experience a loss of signal during the recent heavy rainstorms but no sound problems. It was their independent installers who caused most of the problems from the outset. The original installers referenced something that finally led me to believe they were giving me a snow job about the reliability of the off-the-air signal. After installing a better antenna even though I finally got an uninterupted signal, they still screwed up by messing up that antenna on their last service call. I let VOOM know what a joke their installing company was (although I've had cable installers who didn't know their you-know-what from a hole in the ground).
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Mar, 2005 09:26 am
BTW, as far as sound quality, I don't notice any high end clipping on the 5.1 digital sound nor any attenuation of dynamic range (in fact, lateat night I will often switch my home entertainment receiver to the "night" setting which does attenuate the dynamic range). The LFE signal seems intact on movies.
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SydneyPerson2005
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Apr, 2005 09:22 pm
In Australia there really is no diffrerence between cable or satellite because they are offered by the same company. the only difference is weather affecting the signal and the cost of satellite is less because you dont pay for the cables having to be run to every house needing it. Back in the day there used to be 3 companies in Australia each offering thier own channels but 2 were of the companies were bought by the third and now we have one service offering all the channels. This company does not offer internet service either
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Bella Dea
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Apr, 2005 11:03 pm
Yup. DirecTv is great. Better prices and better service. Comcast is the devil. They told me the reason we still didn't have our cable modem working (after 1 month of interruped and still paid for service) is because I didn't call soon enough and didn't press to have someone come out. Shocked Question Ok......... We never got reimbursed for the 7 days we didn't have internet access. Evil or Very Mad
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Apr, 2005 09:22 am
I have always been insistant with RoadRunner when I had it to be reimbursed for down time but I did call immediately and even with a one or two day interruption, they usually would give me a week's credit. On the TV signal, ditto. No Internet service yet form satellite which could cause me to change. VOOM is still hanging in there with their more sophisticated programming and is now up to 32 hi-def channels. It was the repetion of the programming plus the weather outages and the poor in-house service that caused me to go back to cable. Too bad -- I hope they survive as I could be convinced to go back if there are improvements. The INHD Plus channels on my cable are $4.95 for the first six months but at $9.95 it is truthfully not worth it as they repeat too many movies and too many documentaries, just to name two. Most of their movies are the IMAX which I have on DVD, although their is a small amount of improvement in the hi-def picture (they seem to not be able to reprocess the giant image on the IMAX screen to a wide screen hi-def image without losing something and the DVD image is almost indistinguishable from the hi def).
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Apr, 2005 11:06 am
Bad news on Voom, LW; Voom is doomed, Voom fall down go boom[/i][/u]

Quote:
Cablevision to shut its Voom satellite service
Published: April 9, 2005, 5:32 AM PDT
By Geraldine Fabrikant
The New York Times

Cablevision Systems said Friday that it had decided to shut its Voom satellite business ...
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Apr, 2005 10:56 am
I figured that had to be inevitable.

Hope they can find places on the other satellite and cable systems for the programming but methinks it's just too high falutin.
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LoafDogg
 
  1  
Reply Wed 1 Jun, 2005 09:07 pm
Leaving DirecTV
Evil or Very Mad Evil or Very Mad Evil or Very Mad Evil or Very Mad Evil or Very Mad

When my family and I switched to satellite TV some years ago the service couldnt have been any better. Great picture quality and a good channel selection. It's true though, don't expect the directv service to work AT ALL during any kind of bad weather (sometimes being overcast is all it takes). Recently however, Our dish was hit by a lightning strike which fried all of our receivers. We called directv and we were told by a service representative that we would be receiving 3 brand new boxes for free when the technician arrived the following day. So the nightmare began... The first technician had absolutely no idea why he was there he simply asked " What seems to be the problem? " implicating that the technician we had spoken with on the phone made no note of our problem. So, the 1st visit was a waste of time, no receivers, no dish, no TV. After a 2nd tech guy came to the house and told us THE EXACT SAME THING we decided to just go out and buy new receivers. We bring them back home and hook them up just to see that we had no signal from the dish. After a few different tech people on the phone they say we're gonna have to pay some charge just to have a tech come and check the dish. Not to fix or replace...just to check the dish. At this point it became entirely too much to handle. It was decided that weather and lightning strikes would become to expensive a risk. So,we switched to Comcast Digital service and everything is cool now. PLEASE DONT GET SERVICE WITH DIRECTV UNLESS YOU WANT TO BE SMACKED WITH LOTS OF SERVICE CHARGES WHEN THE SLIGHTEST THING GOES WRONG!
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Wed 1 Jun, 2005 09:51 pm
Gotta say I've been a DirecTV subscriber for almost 10 years - never paid a service charge. I do have an occasional weather issue, but it doesn't last long, and they certainly aren't frequent. I check regularly, and my signal strength on all transponders ranges in the 90% bracket across the board. If it does start to drift a bit, I just tweak the dish's aiming to bring things back into line.

All lines are heavilly surge-protected, the dish "floats" relative to the house's ground, and all receivers are on voltage-regulated, surge-protecting battery-backup power supplies - as is all my electronic gear. I live on a hilltop, and have a 35' tall antenna tower - I get lightning hits from time to time. I have no problems - the installation is proper.

I've paid for newer, upgraded receivers several times over the years, and I've replaced a couple LNBs, but other than that, its been trouble-free. There was an issue with a particular model of receiver - a dual-tuner PVR - went through 3 of 'em in a few months, all hard drive failures, but that wasn't DirecTV's fault, that was Thomsen/RCA. Finally got it sorted out, and the 4th receiver has been operating fine for a couple years now. I run 8 receivers, counting 2 dual-tuner PVR boxes.
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Bella Dea
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2005 06:45 am
I agree iwth timber....never had more than a 5 -10 min outage during bad weather and it was really bad weather. And the only time we had someone come out, we didn't get charged.

In fact, we moved (for free) and they came out with a new dish and installed everything in three rooms. No charge. And the guy spent 4 hours hooking everything up. He had to run cables from the basement to get it to work in the bedrooms. But at no charge.

I think something is wrong in your situation that you are paying all these service fees. It's probably the local contractor for DirecTv that is charging you.
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2005 11:58 am
I should prolly mention I've done all my installations myself, as, for many years, did almost all subscribers. Untill just the past few years, self-installation was the routine; the installation industry sprang up as a profit-generating revenue stream and was pushed along by the satellite broadcasting industry's concerns over signal hijacking. Hacked access cards and unregistered receivers were a huge concern of the broadcasters. Industry-instituted countermeasures, including "Professional Installation", among other things, such as the infamous "Black Sunday" electronic countermeasure deployed by DirecTV just prior to the 2001 Superbowl (an event wich, for about 72 hours, made an obscure usenet newsgroup frequented by satellite signal hackers the busiest-ever place on the internet), brought the incidence of signal theft to a much lower level. It still can be done, of course; its just that now its beyond the convenienient reach of those essentially clueless when it comes to cutting-edge high-tech.
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cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2005 12:01 pm
I did my installation myself until I switched to the triple LNB "Aspen" dish for HD reception. Even the "pro" had trouble getting all three of them lined up right.
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