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post #1 of 18 Old 01-04-2007, 07:57 PM - Thread Starter
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I got lucky this past week and had Dish HD, Directv HD and Time Warner HD all hooked up at the same time to compare which is better in my neck of the woods... Here's a link to my findings

HD Cable vs. Dish Network vs. DIRECTV


The comparison is based on Time Warner Digital Cable with HD channel package (TW), Dish Network's HD (DN) package which included VOOM and DIRECTV's HD (D*) offering. Some of the cable providers may be providing better more sophisticated packages based on Fiber Optics to the door. TW does not provide this in my area.



Technologies tested:

Dish Network (DN) HD DVR/PVR 921 and HD 811

DIRECTV (D*) HD10 & HD20 DVR

Time Warner (TW) HD Scientific Atlanta



For a few days this past week I had all three up and working long enough to do some true comparisons. All three vendors off some sort of special discount rate for 1st time customers. All three can be argued into giving you a HD DVR as part of the initial package at no cost. It does require haggling and often times requires a discussion with the disconnect department who ultimately can make changes and offer deals that the sales people can not. It is not unrealistic to anticipate that you could move from one vendor to the other over the course of 12-18 months and thereby reduce your home entertainment costs annually by 500+ a year.



On the surface, most would consider the number of HD channels as the definitive answer to this discussion. I would disagree with that - Content of those HD channels and the quality of that content are the real questions.



I have had Dish for about 24 months and before that I had TW Cable HD. I recently switched to DIRECTV. In addition, for a few days had access to all three services (I still have TW for Cable Modem and had them set me up temporarily with their latest HD box.)



The easy first question; which is the worst? That is TW. They are still upconverting analog signals to 1080i and therefore still have a lot of pixelization and static that is digitized into the broadcast. End result is the quality still suffers and head to head 480i broadcast of Sci-Fi Network, TW was the hands down worst. Across the board, Showtime HD, etc was the same. So given the quality issue and the fact that they are by far the most expensive of the three services, they easily are the first vendor voted off the island.



DN uses two small dishes (16 inches across) to accommodate their regular line up and to get the VOOM channels. D* on the other hand uses a much larger 23 inch single dish to get both SD and HD programming. Both are going to MPEG4 standard and all new customers and more importantly all new channels will be distributed in MPEG4. So existing customers must upgrade to an MPEG4 receiver, which neither will do for free, unless you're a new customer (even this will take finesse to accomplish.) Both offer upgrades to existing customers for a leased unit for about $199.00



All of my dishes were professionally installed and have clear line of site to the satellites they use.



So if you've never used either then you have a good chance of negotiating a good deal for yourself and save yourself several hundred dollars a year. If you with one, then your best bet may be to switch to the other and reap your one year of savings.



In a head to head comparison between H10 and 811, I found the DIRECTV H10 produced a significantly better picture in all cases. Whether I was looking at a 480i or 1080i image, consistently it was brighter, more detailed with the H10 for exactly the same shows. It was even more obvious when compared to the 921. I was quite surprised to find this out. Colors seemed to be more washed out on the 811 than on the H10. While the H10 does have the advantage of doing MPEG4 and 811 is only MPEG2, this doesn't matter for 90% of the programming since only HD Universal and a very few others are using that codec at this time. Most everything today is still transmitted MPEG2. Again using Sci-Fi network as the base (480i) images where much clearer and brighter coming from DIRECTV. For those of you who are Sci-Fi fans such as myself, you get an added benefit of going Satellite; Universal HD replays several Sci-Fi programs in HD such as Battlestar Galactica.



Content is important and Dish Network has far more HD channels than DIRECTV. Now, lets talk about what that gets you. Most of the channels come from an acquisition DN made of VOOM. These include channels like RAVE, RUSH, Kung Fu HD, Monsters HD, Destination HD, and several others. Unless you're into some fairly esoteric stuff or dig Haunt Culture fashion shows, these channels are totally useless. Seriously, take the time and look at the programming these channels offer. Granted this is very subjective - your mileage may vary, however I found that all the meaningful content was on channels like TNT HD, Universal HD, World Cinema and Discovery HD. Everything else was pretty fringe content. Which isn't bad, but was fairly undependable when it came to quality programming. World Cinema is an exception and as far as I know Dish is the only one providing it. It is Internal Movies in HD - this I found to have high quality programming consistently. So if your tastes tend to be fairly mainstream, your going to find that there is no difference between the two vendors. Yes one has more channels in HD, but that doesn't matter if you don't watch them. There is much discussion on this topic for 2007 since both networks are slated to add additional satellites for HD programming.

In conclusion, DIRECTV provides a significantly (noticeable) better image over Dish Network. However Dish has more channels. If I were new to both, I would go to Dish for the added channels, IF I found the programming to be something I would watch. If the channels I watch were the same mix as DIRECTV's then unquestionably I would go DIRECTV for their quality of image. If I were a Cable customer I would change to a Satellite service if for no other reason than quality of product and cheaper price.






Regards

Max
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post #2 of 18 Old 01-05-2007, 01:54 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maximus_Bellum View Post

I got lucky this past week and had Dish HD, Directv HD and Time Warner HD all hooked up at the same time to compare which is better in my neck of the woods... Here's a link to my findings

HD Cable vs. Dish Network vs. DIRECTV


Technologies tested:

Dish Network (DN) HD DVR/PVR 921 and HD 811

DIRECTV (D*) HD10 & HD20 DVR

Time Warner (TW) HD Scientific Atlanta


The easy first question; which is the worst? That is TW. They are still upconverting analog signals to 1080i and therefore still have a lot of pixelization and static that is digitized into the broadcast.

DN uses two small dishes (16 inches across) to accommodate their regular line up and to get the VOOM channels. D* on the other hand uses a much larger 23 inch single dish to get both SD and HD programming.

While the H10 does have the advantage of doing MPEG4 and 811 is only MPEG2, this doesn't matter for 90% of the programming since only HD Universal and a very few others are using that codec at this time.

In conclusion, DIRECTV provides a significantly (noticeable) better image over Dish Network . However Dish has more channels. If the channels I watch were the same mix as DIRECTV's then unquestionably I would go DIRECTV for their quality of image. If I were a Cable customer I would change to a Satellite service if for no other reason than quality of product and cheaper price.

There's really no nice way to put this.

You should have saved your money - or you might make a living doing reviews and predictions with BSlimmy.

Regards

HDTVFanAtic
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post #3 of 18 Old 01-05-2007, 02:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maximus_Bellum View Post

I got lucky this past week and had Dish HD, Directv HD and Time Warner HD all hooked up at the same time to compare which is better in my neck of the woods... Here's a link to my findings

HD Cable vs. Dish Network vs. DIRECTV


The comparison is based on Time Warner Digital Cable with HD channel package (TW), Dish Network's HD (DN) package which included VOOM and DIRECTV's HD (D*) offering. Some of the cable providers may be providing better more sophisticated packages based on Fiber Optics to the door. TW does not provide this in my area.



Regards

Max

I have ALL three providers that you mentioned, I can record all HD programming except TW premium channels because of 5C. I have disected and squinted through all HD channels (SD channels doesnt matter to me) and I and others here have come to the same conclusion, that TW (or almost any cable co.) and E* are on top PQ (EXCEPT for the HD-Lite channels namely HDNET and HDNTM) and D* is by FAR the worst and just almost unwatchable. So by claiming D* " . . .produced a significantly better picture in all cases" you are basically contradicting what everyone has observed for several years.

Prepare to get flamed.
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post #4 of 18 Old 01-05-2007, 02:17 AM
 
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Considering the number of 100% verifiable statements that are 100% wrong, why would one think his conclusion would be anything less?
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post #5 of 18 Old 01-06-2007, 10:34 PM
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existing customers must upgrade to an MPEG4 receiver, which neither will do for free, unless you're a new customer (even this will take finesse to accomplish.) Both offer upgrades to existing customers for a leased unit for about $199.00

I'm an existing customer of D* with the HD package and pay the monthly service fee. I was sent an H20 at no charge, without even knowing it was being sent. I even got them to install the new dish (which I didn't need at the time) for a two year commitment agreement. Maybe you are talking about the HR20 and not the H20? I don't know. But they sent me the HD20 for free without me even asking for it.
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post #6 of 18 Old 01-06-2007, 10:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maximus_Bellum View Post

I got lucky this past week and had Dish HD, Directv HD and Time Warner HD all hooked up at the same time to compare which is better in my neck of the woods...

You should probably know a few things:

First, this is an HDTV Forum. No one is interested in what the SD looks like, from any provider.

Second, using the 811 for an evaluation is not a good idea. It's well known that Dish Network sent a download last year that altered the black level of the video output, and has never fixed it. Unless you calibrate your display (HDTV) for this specific input, it will look washed out with poor color and non-existent blacks, compared to other HD sources.

Third, to compare two, or more, different service providers, you need to calibrate for each one to do a fair appraisal. A calibration is even necessary when looking at two identical units from the same provider, since differences exist in the STB outputs.

Fourth, well, that's enough for now.

'Better Living Through Modern, Expensive, Electronic Devices'

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post #7 of 18 Old 01-07-2007, 12:44 PM
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Not to be knit-picky, but if this was a university paper with APA citing I would debate this statement: "D* on the other hand uses a much larger 23 inch single dish to get both SD and HD programming." DN DishPro (500) round reflectors are 20", their phased out Stupid/Super Dishes are larger and the Dish1000 which pulls in SDTV and HDTV is 20". For DIRECTV the standard phase one round reflector is 18", the international dish is larger and even the new AT9 ka/ku reflector is not that size. Their ka/ku is the 5LNB dish that gets SDTV and HDTV programming. From my experience working with both the only 23" dish is a D* like this , now phased out http://www.thetechnuts.com/satellitedish23.htm the only 23" Elliptical Satellite Dish that will allow you to connect to two satellites.

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Originally Posted by hometheaterguy View Post

Not to be knit-picky, but if this was a university paper with APA citing I would debate this statement:

We've already determined the facts are so wrong that the paper would receive an F in any school system.
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post #9 of 18 Old 01-07-2007, 02:47 PM
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Just to stir the pot, the fact is, the 811 has incorrect black levels. So technically, the H10 is superior.

I can't wait until this summer, THEN the real debating can start.

Currently testing 3D with Sammy DLP, shutter glasses, and HTPC
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post #10 of 18 Old 01-07-2007, 05:46 PM
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Hi,


I just want to chime in with my thoughts on thsi. I have had Dishnet ViP622 and HD Gold package with a Sanyo PLV-Z2 projector. I had a Dishnet 811 prior and I think it is not as good as the 622. I was recently at a DirecTV store (not a dealer, but a DirecTV store at the Natick, MA mall or at least it was named DirecTV so I assume so because I imagine another company couldn't use that as their store name) and they were showing off their ESPNHD and another HD channel on 40-50" plasmas and I immediately thought the picture quality was a noticeable lesser quality. The ESPN was not as sharp, noisier as was the noise on the other channel. The other channel was sharper than their ESPN, but still not up to the Dishnet quality I have experienced and that is with a 92" diag screen. I left generally unimpressed with the picture quality of the 3 channels that were being shown.





YMMV,

Dennis
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post #11 of 18 Old 01-07-2007, 09:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by taz291819 View Post

Just to stir the pot, the fact is, the 811 has incorrect black levels. So technically, the H10 is superior.

I can't wait until this summer, THEN the real debating can start.

Not to worry - the OP has the only H10 in the world that can do MPEG4 so I am sure his comparisons will be just as valid then as they are now.
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post #12 of 18 Old 01-08-2007, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by HDTVFanAtic View Post

Not to worry - the OP has the only H10 in the world that can do MPEG4 so I am sure his comparisons will be just as valid then as they are now.


Currently testing 3D with Sammy DLP, shutter glasses, and HTPC
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post #13 of 18 Old 01-08-2007, 09:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maximus_Bellum View Post

I got lucky this past week and had Dish HD, Directv HD and Time Warner HD all hooked up at the same time to compare which is better in my neck of the woods... Here's a link to my findings

HD Cable vs. Dish Network vs. DIRECTV


The comparison is based on Time Warner Digital Cable with HD channel package (TW), Dish Network's HD (DN) package which included VOOM and DIRECTV's HD (D*) offering. Some of the cable providers may be providing better more sophisticated packages based on Fiber Optics to the door. TW does not provide this in my area.



Technologies tested:

Dish Network (DN) HD DVR/PVR 921 and HD 811

DIRECTV (D*) HD10 & HD20 DVR

Time Warner (TW) HD Scientific Atlanta



For a few days this past week I had all three up and working long enough to do some true comparisons. All three vendors off some sort of special discount rate for 1st time customers. All three can be argued into giving you a HD DVR as part of the initial package at no cost. It does require haggling and often times requires a discussion with the disconnect department who ultimately can make changes and offer deals that the sales people can not. It is not unrealistic to anticipate that you could move from one vendor to the other over the course of 12-18 months and thereby reduce your home entertainment costs annually by 500+ a year.



On the surface, most would consider the number of HD channels as the definitive answer to this discussion. I would disagree with that - Content of those HD channels and the quality of that content are the real questions.



I have had Dish for about 24 months and before that I had TW Cable HD. I recently switched to DIRECTV. In addition, for a few days had access to all three services (I still have TW for Cable Modem and had them set me up temporarily with their latest HD box.)



The easy first question; which is the worst? That is TW. They are still upconverting analog signals to 1080i and therefore still have a lot of pixelization and static that is digitized into the broadcast. End result is the quality still suffers and head to head 480i broadcast of Sci-Fi Network, TW was the hands down worst. Across the board, Showtime HD, etc was the same. So given the quality issue and the fact that they are by far the most expensive of the three services, they easily are the first vendor voted off the island.



DN uses two small dishes (16 inches across) to accommodate their regular line up and to get the VOOM channels. D* on the other hand uses a much larger 23 inch single dish to get both SD and HD programming. Both are going to MPEG4 standard and all new customers and more importantly all new channels will be distributed in MPEG4. So existing customers must upgrade to an MPEG4 receiver, which neither will do for free, unless you're a new customer (even this will take finesse to accomplish.) Both offer upgrades to existing customers for a leased unit for about $199.00



All of my dishes were professionally installed and have clear line of site to the satellites they use.



So if you've never used either then you have a good chance of negotiating a good deal for yourself and save yourself several hundred dollars a year. If you with one, then your best bet may be to switch to the other and reap your one year of savings.



In a head to head comparison between H10 and 811, I found the DIRECTV H10 produced a significantly better picture in all cases. Whether I was looking at a 480i or 1080i image, consistently it was brighter, more detailed with the H10 for exactly the same shows. It was even more obvious when compared to the 921. I was quite surprised to find this out. Colors seemed to be more washed out on the 811 than on the H10. While the H10 does have the advantage of doing MPEG4 and 811 is only MPEG2, this doesn't matter for 90% of the programming since only HD Universal and a very few others are using that codec at this time. Most everything today is still transmitted MPEG2. Again using Sci-Fi network as the base (480i) images where much clearer and brighter coming from DIRECTV. For those of you who are Sci-Fi fans such as myself, you get an added benefit of going Satellite; Universal HD replays several Sci-Fi programs in HD such as Battlestar Galactica.



Content is important and Dish Network has far more HD channels than DIRECTV. Now, lets talk about what that gets you. Most of the channels come from an acquisition DN made of VOOM. These include channels like RAVE, RUSH, Kung Fu HD, Monsters HD, Destination HD, and several others. Unless you're into some fairly esoteric stuff or dig Haunt Culture fashion shows, these channels are totally useless. Seriously, take the time and look at the programming these channels offer. Granted this is very subjective - your mileage may vary, however I found that all the meaningful content was on channels like TNT HD, Universal HD, World Cinema and Discovery HD. Everything else was pretty fringe content. Which isn't bad, but was fairly undependable when it came to quality programming. World Cinema is an exception and as far as I know Dish is the only one providing it. It is Internal Movies in HD - this I found to have high quality programming consistently. So if your tastes tend to be fairly mainstream, your going to find that there is no difference between the two vendors. Yes one has more channels in HD, but that doesn't matter if you don't watch them. There is much discussion on this topic for 2007 since both networks are slated to add additional satellites for HD programming.

In conclusion, DIRECTV provides a significantly (noticeable) better image over Dish Network. However Dish has more channels. If I were new to both, I would go to Dish for the added channels, IF I found the programming to be something I would watch. If the channels I watch were the same mix as DIRECTV's then unquestionably I would go DIRECTV for their quality of image. If I were a Cable customer I would change to a Satellite service if for no other reason than quality of product and cheaper price.






Regards

Max

It sounds like you're writting a magazine article and want to validate your conclusions on this forum . Anyway, good luck.

Walter
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post #14 of 18 Old 01-10-2007, 04:28 PM
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We've already determined the facts are so wrong that the paper would receive an F in any school system.

LOL

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post #15 of 18 Old 01-10-2007, 11:37 PM
 
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And it appears Maximus-Blowhard won't be showing up again for a good long time anyway.
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post #16 of 18 Old 01-11-2007, 09:19 AM
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The order is cable then Dish then Directv...everyone knows that.
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post #17 of 18 Old 01-11-2007, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by wsmith_1972 View Post

The order is cable then Dish then Directv...everyone knows that.

Well, everyone who's smart enough to check here first, anyway .
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post #18 of 18 Old 01-12-2007, 09:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walter L. View Post

It sounds like you're writting a magazine article and want to validate your conclusions on this forum . Anyway, good luck.

Exactly what I was thinking!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maximus_Bellum View Post

Content is important and Dish Network has far more HD channels than DIRECTV. Now, lets talk about what that gets you. Most of the channels come from an acquisition DN made of VOOM. These include channels like RAVE, RUSH, Kung Fu HD, Monsters HD, Destination HD, and several others. Unless you're into some fairly esoteric stuff or dig Haunt Culture fashion shows, these channels are totally useless. Seriously, take the time and look at the programming these channels offer.

This is a load of BS. I guess if you like absolutely nothing on any VOOM channel, then you shouldn't watch them...but useless? esoteric?

I've had these channels for 1 month and here's only what I remember watching: Robert Plant concert, Peter Gabriel concert, Styx concert, Sheryl Crow concert...ok enough of the concerts. How about Akira Kurosawa's Hidden Fortress? It looked better than my Criterion DVD. Time Bandits, an 80s classic. At least 10 Jackie Chan and Chow Yun Fat movies. Lots of travel shows, was it the Equator channel? I even watch some of the collector shows.

So are they each 24 hours of Soprano-quality content? No. But if I watched as much of HBO as I've been watching VOOM-HD, I wouldn't have gotten rid of HBO.
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