Directv HD vs Comcast HD - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 02-15-2008, 10:01 AM - Thread Starter
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I currently have Comcast HD, and i am not to happy with most of there HD channels. I can also get Directv cheaper, and apparently they have 90 or so HD channels. Money is not the issue however. I am just wondering if i will lose PQ if i switch to Directv. And do the 90 or so HD channels actually broadcast a lot in HD?
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post #2 of 15 Old 02-15-2008, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by metal83 View Post

I currently have Comcast HD, and i am not to happy with most of there HD channels. I can also get Directv cheaper, and apparently they have 90 or so HD channels. Money is not the issue however. I am just wondering if i will lose PQ if i switch to Directv. And do the 90 or so HD channels actually broadcast a lot in HD?

Hello neighbor!

I made the switch to D* last October from Comcast (formerly SusCom) in the Brunswick, ME. area and am very satisfied. Comcast here is running Scientific Atlanta equipment including circa 2003 SA3250HD STBs with DVI. When I asked for a box with HDMI, I was offered the SA8300HD DVR at more than twice the $$$. And the cable system here is "bandwidth constrained," a big excuse not to add more HD channels. No local FOX in HD for World Series and Super Bowl. Are you kidding me? When D* added our local FOX station in HD in time for the Red Sox in the WS, I said "Good Bye Comcast." So did lots of others from what we have learned on the Portland-Auburn DMA thread. Well, waddaknow. Somehow, Comcast managed to find the bandwidth for carriage of our local FOX in HD for the Super Bowl. So all the "technical problems" were suddenly solved when they started losing subscribers.

I personally subscribed to D* in 2004 to get our Portland CBS station in HD OTA for Patriots games since cable wasn't carrying it. But, I had kept cable TV for other family members and cable internet. When Comcast bought out SusCom in May 2006, I dropped D* thinking Comcast would upgrade the local cable system. They did bring the local CBS HD channel onto the system. (They had to since Sinclair Broadcasting has a national agreement for HD carriage with Comcast.) But, otherwise, my high expectations for lots more HD channels were not realized. This fall I left Comcast for good after 25 years of continuous cable subscription.

Coming back to D* felt to me like finally i was on the cutting edge again. The STBs are really up-to-date with good-looking, functional firmware. Really lots of HD channels, many of which are HD fulltime. The PQ is at least as good as on Comcast. The old stories of HD-Lite with MPEG2 that I recall from 2004 are just that - old stories. MPEG4 is terrific.

Bottom line. Would I go back to cable? Not on your life. And, incidentally, I got off cable internet as well. I was paying big bucks to Comcast there, too. Now I have DSL that's working just fine, combined with internet phone service that Comcast still doesn't offer here. I couldn't care less.

BTW. The DSL/internet phone service is with GWI.net which offers the same in some NH areas.

Dana

"If you think you can, or think you can't, you're probably right." Mark Twain
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post #3 of 15 Old 02-15-2008, 06:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello neighbor!

I made the switch to D* last October from Comcast (formerly SusCom) in the Brunswick, ME. area and am very satisfied. Comcast here is running Scientific Atlanta equipment including circa 2003 SA3250HD STBs with DVI. When I asked for a box with HDMI, I was offered the SA8300HD DVR at more than twice the $$$. And the cable system here is "bandwidth constrained," a big excuse not to add more HD channels. No local FOX in HD for World Series and Super Bowl. Are you kidding me? When D* added our local FOX station in HD in time for the Red Sox in the WS, I said "Good Bye Comcast." So did lots of others from what we have learned on the Portland-Auburn DMA thread. Well, waddaknow. Somehow, Comcast managed to find the bandwidth for carriage of our local FOX in HD for the Super Bowl. So all the "technical problems" were suddenly solved when they started losing subscribers.

I personally subscribed to D* in 2004 to get our Portland CBS station in HD OTA for Patriots games since cable wasn't carrying it. But, I had kept cable TV for other family members and cable internet. When Comcast bought out SusCom in May 2006, I dropped D* thinking Comcast would upgrade the local cable system. They did bring the local CBS HD channel onto the system. (They had to since Sinclair Broadcasting has a national agreement for HD carriage with Comcast.) But, otherwise, my high expectations for lots more HD channels were not realized. This fall I left Comcast for good after 25 years of continuous cable subscription.

Coming back to D* felt to me like finally i was on the cutting edge again. The STBs are really up-to-date with good-looking, functional firmware. Really lots of HD channels, many of which are HD fulltime. The PQ is at least as good as on Comcast. The old stories of HD-Lite with MPEG2 that I recall from 2004 are just that - old stories. MPEG4 is terrific.

Bottom line. Would I go back to cable? Not on your life. And, incidentally, I got off cable internet as well. I was paying big bucks to Comcast there, too. Now I have DSL that's working just fine, combined with internet phone service that Comcast still doesn't offer here. I couldn't care less.

BTW. The DSL/internet phone service is with GWI.net which offers the same in some NH areas.

Dana

Hey Neighbor
Wow thank you for that detailed description of your experience. I really appreciate that. I guess the only reason i am researching first and not just trying it is because of the 2 yr contract. But i still think i may just end up going with Directv.
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post #4 of 15 Old 02-15-2008, 06:45 PM
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Since there's no hurry, you can also watch for whatever seems to be the best promo deal.

BTW. If you're in the market for a new TV, BB has been offering $300. off as part of an incentive to join D*. Maybe CC, too. There's no CC store that's local here.

Dana

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post #5 of 15 Old 02-16-2008, 12:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by drbonbi View Post

Since there's no hurry, you can also watch for whatever seems to be the best promo deal.

BTW. If you're in the market for a new TV, BB has been offering $300. off as part of an incentive to join D*. Maybe CC, too. There's no CC store that's local here.

Dana

I actually just bought a sammy 5271 last week. Do you think they would still honor that 300 dollars off if i switch to Directv soon?
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post #6 of 15 Old 02-16-2008, 04:07 AM
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I actually just bought a sammy 5271 last week. Do you think they would still honor that 300 dollars off if i switch to Directv soon?

I think so because you're within the period when you could take the TV back and get a refund, no questions asked. Then start over. Talk to them. My guess is that they get reimbursed from D* so it's no skin off their back to give you the D* discount.

Good luck!

Dana

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post #7 of 15 Old 01-21-2009, 05:19 PM
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I know this thread is about 1 year old, but I wanted to share my experience with Directv versus Comcast Cable. I had my Directv installed on a Sunday and called to cancel the same day. Yes, I had every channel possible and much more HD channels, but the HD picture quality was NOTICEABLY lacking compared to Comcast. I gave it about 4 hours of watching football and began switching back and forth and decided that I wanted quality over quantity. I called Comcast to let them know that I currently had Diectv installed but would like to stay with them if they can possibly repackage me...they took care of me. Directv picture quality looked like a stretch SD channel, but not with the "lemon head" factors of stretching. The picture wasn't as colorful, detailed, and was very grainey. I called to cancel and they asked if I tried different settings on my TV (same thing the installer said when I noticed the picture looked funny), but I told them that I have, but it shouldn't make a difference going from Comcast's HD-DVR receiver to Directv HD-DVR receiver using HDMI.

I started doing some web researching beforehand and saw the complaints of HD-Lite and down res'ing channels, etc. In my case with two HD TV's, one 40 ince, another 56 inch, quality is much better than channel quantity, especially when it comes to HD programming. Just my 2cents.
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post #8 of 15 Old 01-21-2009, 11:52 PM
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I can almost guarantee you had something set up wrong. I have both DirecTV and Comcast Hi Def right now and DirecTV is definitely better quality on everything except maybe the local channels. I'm using a Hitachi 65F710A so don't think my screen isn't big enough to see the difference.

If you really did your research you would have found that HD lite is a thing of the past. Now that DirecTV has switched over the MPEG4 they no longer downscale.
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post #9 of 15 Old 01-22-2009, 09:13 AM
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One problem with all of this is that there is no such thing as "Comcast". There is only "your Comcast", the one available in your local area. There can be a big difference between the service provided by the Comcast system in your city and the one in mine. So a comparison is difficult unless you can get information from someone who lives in the same city as you.
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post #10 of 15 Old 01-22-2009, 09:29 AM
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Well...based on the Comcast HD service I'm getting in Indianapolis, the picture quality is far more superior to Directv's. What other settings could I have done?? Lowest signal was 95% on Directv and even the installer said to try some different settings on my TV. Why not on Comcast??

I also did some research and the HD Lite is still present on stations that were offered before the new satellite and MPEG4 compression. I haven't found anything that indicates that all of their HD offereings are now using the MPG4 compression. If all HD is now MPEG4 for Directv, the picture quality is still worst than Comcast in my area. I compared the local channels which the football games were on and then the premium movie channels HBO and Starz HD. I'll stick with Comcast until they start downsampling my HD picture to fit more channels and if I even notice it...I noticed it right away with my Directv installation!
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post #11 of 15 Old 01-22-2009, 09:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by famosbrown View Post

Well...based on the Comcast HD service I'm getting in Indianapolis, the picture quality is far more superior to Directv's. What other settings could I have done?? Lowest signal was 95% on Directv and even the installer said to try some different settings on my TV. Why not on Comcast??

You could have had a few issues:

- Your box may have been set to output SD instead of HD.
- The installer may have been clueless and connected things via analog SD outputs instead of HDMI or component.
- You may have actually been tuning to the SD stations, but the box was set to zoom the image full (cropping the top and bottom without stretching, so it filled the screen.

Signal strength doesn't help image quality - it only prevents the signal from breaking up or dropping out. If you're getting the signal at all, it will look like HD. I don't think you were actually watching HD.

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I also did some research and the HD Lite is still present on stations that were offered before the new satellite and MPEG4 compression. I haven't found anything that indicates that all of their HD offereings are now using the MPG4 compression. If all HD is now MPEG4 for Directv, the picture quality is still worst than Comcast in my area. I compared the local channels which the football games were on and then the premium movie channels HBO and Starz HD. I'll stick with Comcast until they start downsampling my HD picture to fit more channels and if I even notice it...I noticed it right away with my Directv installation!

The MPEG2 HD stations are still there, but they also have better quality MPEG4 versions. The stations in the 70's are the old ones, while the stations in the hundreds are the new MPEG4 ones. The channels in the 70's are due to go away at some point in the near future.

Ii'm not sure what the issue was, but you weren't watching HD via D*. My picture looks great compared to Comcast here. I honestly think you had a bad install.


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post #12 of 15 Old 01-22-2009, 09:56 AM
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What channel number were you watching HBO on? The channels in the 70s are the old MPEG2 channels, and yes they are lower quality. They are going to be shut off in the next month or two though, and there really isn't a reason to watch them unless you have old equipment that can't get the MPEG4 channels. The HBO and Startz channels in the 500s are the new MPEG4 channels and they should look much better than what you get on Comcast. I took the 70s channels out of my guide a long time ago since I don't use them.

My guess is the box wasn't set up to send out the hi-def signal correctly, or you were watching the old MPEG2 stations.
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post #13 of 15 Old 01-22-2009, 10:00 AM
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What channel number were you watching HBO on? The channels in the 70s are the old MPEG2 channels, and yes they are lower quality. They are going to be shut off in the next month or two though, and there really isn't a reason to watch them unless you have old equipment that can't get the MPEG4 channels. The HBO and Startz channels in the 500s are the new MPEG4 channels and they should look much better than what you get on Comcast. I took the 70s channels out of my guide a long time ago since I don't use them.

My guess is the box wasn't set up to send out the hi-def signal correctly, or you were watching the old MPEG2 stations.

I'd say it may have been a combination of both.

Even the MPEG2 stations wouldn't be that much worse to look the way he described. They're worlds away from the MPEG4 channels, but they're still better than cable or satellite SD.


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post #14 of 15 Old 01-22-2009, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by texasbrit View Post

One problem with all of this is that there is no such thing as "Comcast". There is only "your Comcast", the one available in your local area. There can be a big difference between the service provided by the Comcast system in your city and the one in mine. So a comparison is difficult unless you can get information from someone who lives in the same city as you.

I think most Comcast systems use CMC HITS.
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post #15 of 15 Old 01-23-2009, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by NetworkTV View Post

You could have had a few issues:

- Your box may have been set to output SD instead of HD.
- The installer may have been clueless and connected things via analog SD outputs instead of HDMI or component.
- You may have actually been tuning to the SD stations, but the box was set to zoom the image full (cropping the top and bottom without stretching, so it filled the screen.

Signal strength doesn't help image quality - it only prevents the signal from breaking up or dropping out. If you're getting the signal at all, it will look like HD. I don't think you were actually watching HD.


The MPEG2 HD stations are still there, but they also have better quality MPEG4 versions. The stations in the 70's are the old ones, while the stations in the hundreds are the new MPEG4 ones. The channels in the 70's are due to go away at some point in the near future.

Ii'm not sure what the issue was, but you weren't watching HD via D*. My picture looks great compared to Comcast here. I honestly think you had a bad install.

both boxes were setup for HDTV output and I even hid the SD duplicates. I went into the Receiver setup trying to see if there was something missing. The picture was not in a zoom mode or anything...I actually played around with that trying to figure out if I could help the picture.

I was using a Monster HDMI cable for both boxes when swapping to compare the pictures.

I checked just about all of the HD channels including the channels I don't have with Comcast like the extra Showtime HD's.

My perception of HD picture quality may be different than others. I have a PS3 and only watch Blu-Ray movies. If you've seen a Blue-Ray movie, no need to elaborate. Comcast HD picture quality isn't that MUCH different than what I've seen watching a Blu-Ray...just a small difference, but as noticeable. Directv HD Picture Quality was so FAR off compared to Comcast, it was unbearable after about 4 hours or so.

I've been accustomed to clear bright HD, so when I had Directv installed, it definitely disappointed me. I even had my wife and some friends come check it out to ensure I wasn't blind. I read somewhere that ESPNNEWS HD had a good picture and it did look a little better, but nothing was going on...just the logo around, with the usually streaming news and some highlights.

I asked the installer a lot of questions about the SWM and other stuff and he said he had been doing this for over 8 years...don't know.
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