Direct TV worth it?? - AVS Forum

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HDTV Programming

gtrscort's Avatar gtrscort
01:25 PM Liked: 10
post #1 of 43
08-15-2011 | Posts: 137
Joined: Jul 2009
Hey everyone...im thinking of making the switch from comcast to direct tv...comcast is asking waaaaay too much money for such a small channel lineup...i already have permission to have a dish installed from the apartment landlord...do u all think its worth it? is there any "small print" that i should be aware of that direct tv wont tell me about?

In my area, direct tv would be teaming up with qwest for my internet...are they any good? let me know what u all think as i am looking to call them this weekend...any help is greatly appreciated!!

Thanks in advance!
Rammitinski's Avatar Rammitinski
01:50 PM Liked: 20
post #2 of 43
08-15-2011 | Posts: 17,437
Joined: Sep 2005
As far as "small print", I would advise going to their website and carefully reading all of it you can find - because there's plenty of it from the satellite companies that they won't "tell" you about up front.

I guess the biggest differences are that with cable you don't have to pay to upgrade anything - with satellite, you most likely will. Also, with Direct, you cannot avoid the two-year commitment, and everytime you upgrade anything, they will "re-up" you on that.

Comcast broadband would probably be better for internet than Qwest with Direct. Lots of bad reviews about Qwest on the internet.

Have you at least tried to get Comcast to lower your bill first?

As far as "more channels", that depends on what you're looking for. More sports or movies? I could see that. Because if you just want more of those "standard" type cable channels, those are just as repetitive and uninteresting as the ones in the basic package, unless there's something in particular there they have that you want (can't imagine what, though - stuff like "DIY", "The Cooking Network" and "History International" show mostly redundant programming. If it's that you've gotten dissatisfied with the declining quality of the basic channels, those aren't really any different now, either. They all show stuff that was shown on the "parent" networks, or other networks owned by the same corporations in the not-so-distant past. Most of it you've probably seen before. "History International" is even known to take footage that they've used before, such as from their "Nostradamus" programs, and re-assemble and re-edit it into something they can get away with calling an entirely new program, with a new date stamped on it. And "The Cooking Network" shows a lot of old cooking shows, like Rachel Ray reruns, from when before "The Food Network" went to all "reality", and "that's awesome, dude!" shows. You should at least probably check Dish, too, to see if you'd actually like the programming you'd get for your money better. It's not "more", but "what").
dbalone's Avatar dbalone
02:14 PM Liked: 10
post #3 of 43
08-15-2011 | Posts: 175
Joined: Mar 2006
The best way to think of Directv is to think of them as a cell phone company. You have a contract and they have you for two years. I have not had any problems with them myself. The quality of the HD is the best I have seen. No, they do not have every single channel in HD. Price wise, the first year is great after that there is not a whole lot of difference between them and your typical cable company. They have been good to me to give me discounts here and there. I stay with them for one reason - the quality of the HD picture.
Lone Wanderer's Avatar Lone Wanderer
02:16 PM Liked: 12
post #4 of 43
08-15-2011 | Posts: 783
Joined: Aug 2009
Beware of all the hidden equipment fees, and fees for not hooking to an internet connection, and your dish going out during a storm.
jpillar's Avatar jpillar
02:40 PM Liked: 19
post #5 of 43
08-15-2011 | Posts: 280
Joined: Sep 2005
I like D* for the sports. As one poster noted the HD picture is great. I live in new jersey and it was pretty heavy rain all day yesterday and the rain fade was the worst I experienced, but we got 5 inches of rain. If you can live with that, then get it. I had satelite internet and it sucks. TV great internet no.
LCDSpazz's Avatar LCDSpazz
02:51 PM Liked: 18
post #6 of 43
08-15-2011 | Posts: 134
Joined: May 2008
I signed up last month. The only important catches are you have to sign a 2 year commitment and they will auto-enroll you in the protection plan, which you need to cancel before 30 days or be charged. Other than that there were no equipment or other hidden fees. You don't need to hook you receivers up to a phone line anymore either.
spaceywilly's Avatar spaceywilly
02:54 PM Liked: 10
post #7 of 43
08-15-2011 | Posts: 41
Joined: Dec 2005
My sister recently signed up for DirectTV and it is great. I can't speak to the contract, but the quality of the picture and the number of channels you get is fantastic, and she pays less than I do for FIOS with less channels, but faster internet. Overall I was very impressed with DirecTV from what I have seen at her place. My dad is going to make the switch over from Charter as well. Charter really sucks so it's a no-brainer. The free NFL Sunday Ticket almost had me signing up for it too, but I don't think I could switch away from FIOS internet. Overall, it is a really great service, and seems to be a much better value than the other guys as long as you can get decent internet service to go with it.
grubadub's Avatar grubadub
03:27 PM Liked: 32
post #8 of 43
08-15-2011 | Posts: 1,023
Joined: Nov 2006
go to satelliteguys.us/forums for more info.

i can concur with the comments on the hd quality. it's very good.
Rammitinski's Avatar Rammitinski
03:40 PM Liked: 20
post #9 of 43
08-15-2011 | Posts: 17,437
Joined: Sep 2005
You could always keep the Comcast internet and go with satellite for TV, although you're not going to get any "bundle deals" that way. But the first year of satellite should be really cheap, with the introductory offer.
ambesolman's Avatar ambesolman
03:40 PM Liked: 466
post #10 of 43
08-15-2011 | Posts: 3,696
Joined: Jun 2009
I've had Directv for years and no problem with them. PQ is awesome (HD) and channels don't cut out like they did with cable. Comcast did have better on demand. All satellite programming goes out with real bad weather but then I just watch what's on the DVR.
I had Directv and quest dsl when living in CO and had no problems with either while in an apt.
Rammitinski's Avatar Rammitinski
03:50 PM Liked: 20
post #11 of 43
08-15-2011 | Posts: 17,437
Joined: Sep 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by grubadub View Post
go to satelliteguys.us/forums for more info.
The only problem with that is that it's more of a dedicated fanboy site, as each forum is dedicated to a specific service.

It's best for "continuing questions", after you already have the service, or for more specific inquiries about each one if you don't yet.

You're actually more likely to get fairer-balanced comments here, if you're not any further than the blank slate, "should I go with this or that service" stage yet.

But I guess it can't hurt to just read there, as long as you're the type to not let any unavoidable biases sway you.
Cawdor's Avatar Cawdor
03:58 PM Liked: 10
post #12 of 43
08-15-2011 | Posts: 71
Joined: Jul 2007
I switched from Comcast to DirecTV about 18 months ago. I have no regrets.

DirecTV's DVR is much better than the one offered by Comcast in Houston.

DirecTV has more HD channels. (This was the reason I left Comcast.)

It is not necessarily any cheaper. I have the Premier package with DirecTV and had the similar offering from Comcast. Once the discounts disappear, the price is about the same; DirecTV may even be a little higher.

The protection plan may be worth it. One of my DVRs failed in the first 6 months. It was replaced at no cost.
pappy97's Avatar pappy97
04:09 PM Liked: 15
post #13 of 43
08-15-2011 | Posts: 3,160
Joined: Dec 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by spaceywilly View Post
My sister recently signed up for DirectTV and it is great. I can't speak to the contract, but the quality of the picture and the number of channels you get is fantastic, and she pays less than I do for FIOS with less channels, but faster internet. Overall I was very impressed with DirecTV from what I have seen at her place. My dad is going to make the switch over from Charter as well. Charter really sucks so it's a no-brainer. The free NFL Sunday Ticket almost had me signing up for it too, but I don't think I could switch away from FIOS internet. Overall, it is a really great service, and seems to be a much better value than the other guys as long as you can get decent internet service to go with it.
So don't. I do FIOS for internet, and DirecTV for TV. No reason you couldn't have both, but for different purposes. I literally pay $46.64 each month for 25/25 internet from Verizon FIOS. Can't beat that deal.

Also, IMHO, dbstalk is a better forum for dedicated DBS talk, especially DirecTV discussions.
PiratesCove's Avatar PiratesCove
04:10 PM Liked: 122
post #14 of 43
08-15-2011 | Posts: 4,077
Joined: Jan 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post
You could always keep the Comcast internet and go with satellite for TV.
+1, That's exactly what I have.
schan1269's Avatar schan1269
04:12 PM Liked: 10
post #15 of 43
08-15-2011 | Posts: 2,914
Joined: Apr 2011
I have the "premier" package with all the extras(which includes MGM HD, Sony HD etc) with 3 HD DVR, 1 regular DVR, 1 regular HD and 3 more SD receivers.

My bill is $175/month and I won't ever drop it. Yes, directv gets you with having to buy your DVR and whatever else. But, at the end of the day, when I go to friends houses and their Fios or Uverse picture pixelates every 5 minutes...it drives me nuts.

95% of the time, Directv is as clear as OTA HD(Comcrap/Fios/Uverse don't come close to OTA)
vfxproducer's Avatar vfxproducer
05:16 PM Liked: 93
post #16 of 43
08-15-2011 | Posts: 1,973
Joined: Mar 2002
I've had DirrecTV for many years, and have been very happy with it. In particular, I think they have pretty good customer service, which is important to me. But I get my internet via DSL through another provider. I saw no need to get internet through DirecTV.
mikeny's Avatar mikeny
06:10 PM Liked: 10
post #17 of 43
08-15-2011 | Posts: 1,093
Joined: Jul 2004
I've had D* for almost 10 years and they've been very generous with programming and hardware comps. In my case I'm always weighing the switch to FiOS TV where I would pay more than I ever did with D* to get the 3 DVRS we use. I would likely have to give up multiple DVRs or possibly go to 2. Having more than 1 gives so much more flexibility.

The DVRs are great. Their new MRV (Whole Home DVR Service) is excellent. Dbstalk.com is a lot of fun and has a lot of helpful posters as someone said.

You don't need to have the protection plan. If you don't have one, they'll still replace your DVR but for $19.99 S/H. One of mine just went bad and they send a tech to replace it as a "loyalty" service. He even changed a bad piece of the dish for nothing too.

I'm just losing patience with losing the signal in storms. We've had several thunderstorms and snowstorms in NY this year and even with peaked signals you'll lose it. Someone said that's a good time to watch what's on the DVR. That's often a suitable option but not when when you're trying to record something or when you're watching a live sports event.
scorpiontail60's Avatar scorpiontail60
07:11 PM Liked: 11
post #18 of 43
08-15-2011 | Posts: 419
Joined: Jun 2011
lol, so much misinformation in this thread

First of all, FiOS has better picture quality than DirecTV. The reason for this is very simple. They don't re-encode anything. If the network sends them a 17 Mbps MPEG2 feed like HDNet does, they pass it on through untouched. If the network sends them a 7 Mbps MPEG2 feed like AMC HD does, they pass that on through as well. That is why there is a quality difference between FiOS channels: some networks just have crappy feeds. It's not Verizon's fault and if the channel looks like ass it's time to write complaints to that channel.

I can tell you that they shouldn't look any better on DirecTV. In fact, they should look worse. DirecTV re-encodes every feed they get to 5-7 Mbps H.264 due to the limited capacity of satellite. Assuming they're getting the same network feeds as Verizon instead of their own sweetheart feeds of 5-7 Mbit/s H.264 sent to them directly from the networks, they will look worse than FiOS. So let's re-cap: Verizon passes through everything untouched, including your local over-the-air HDTV channels like CBS, NBC, etc. They will look identical to the OTA broadcasts. Comcast varies by market. DirecTV always re-encodes everything.

Secondly, Verizon has 23 more HD channels than DirecTV has so this claim that DirecTV somehow has this awesome HD lineup is false. DirecTV's HD lineup is actually rather pathetic these days, falling far behind every other one of the big cable/satellite/telcoTV companies except for Charter, Mediacom, Suddenlink, Insight, and CableOne.

You can get 25/25 Mbps uncapped Internet access + Most HDTV channels on their system + Phone from Verizon FiOS for $85-$99 in most markets. For $115-$135 a month you can get that Internet connection upgraded to 35/35 Mbps and every single HD channel on their system including all premiums like HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc. I fail to see how Verizon is not the cheapest option anywhere. Period.

Now as for Comcast, it depends on your area. They don't have a unified national channel lineup and video encoding standards like Verizon and DirecTV do. Some Comcast areas will have pathetic channel selection and will re-encode everything to lower bitrates to fit in more HD channels when they don't have enough capacity. Prices can vary dramatically. Asking if DirecTV is better than Comcast without telling us where you live is not helpful at all.

The last thing I will address here is the Internet connection. Comcast has bandwidth caps. That should be a deal breaker for everyone. Qwest does not have any set usage limits. So the answer on this one is simple: Get Qwest.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeny View Post

I've had D* for almost 10 years and they've been very generous with programming and hardware comps. In my case I'm always weighing the switch to FiOS TV where I would pay more than I ever did with D* to get the 3 DVRS we use. I would likely have to give up multiple DVRs or possibly go to 2. Having more than 1 gives so much more flexibility.

Then it's time to get a CableCARD and a CableCARD tuner such as the Ceton InfiniTV 4. Paying $50 a month in rental fees for a bunch of DVR units? Time to ditch 'em. The Ceton InfiniTV 4 can record four channels at once and you can put it in a PC with unlimited storage capacity and a much better interface than any of the DVRs any of these companies put out. You can have a Ceton InfiniTV 4 paid off in less than a year with the amount of money you'll be saving by not having to rent expensive DVRs from the cable company.
moob's Avatar moob
07:37 PM Liked: 48
post #19 of 43
08-15-2011 | Posts: 1,596
Joined: Jan 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by vfxproducer View Post

I've had DirrecTV for many years, and have been very happy with it. In particular, I think they have pretty good customer service, which is important to me. But I get my internet via DSL through another provider. I saw no need to get internet through DirecTV.

I have the same setup.

I will say this however...although DirecTV does have good customer service, and they will usually offer you some great deals, if you do sign up with them, check your bill every month. You can read the DirecTV thread and just last week you have a couple AVSers talking about extra charges on their bills. Every time I've made a hardware or programming change, every time, they manage to charge me for something I either didn't order or charge me for something they said they weren't going to charge me for. It's the one and only major complaint I have with DirecTV...they have some pretty questionable billing practices.
mikey mo's Avatar mikey mo
09:07 PM Liked: 16
post #20 of 43
08-15-2011 | Posts: 2,385
Joined: Jan 2002
All posters, except one, seem to rave about PQ on D*. I have no complaints witht he PQ and I find it comparable to E* which I also have.

At one time, I did a comprehensive comparison of the DVRs from D* and E*. You might do a search for that post. There is a difference in the bells and whistles. Also in the programming. D* does not offer AMC, BBCA, or TCM in HD while E* does This is important to me (can you say Mad Men and Walking Dead. Don't get me started on the Killing).

My main complaint with D* is the slow speed of the DVR. I have 4 D* DVRs and they are slow as in "freeze up".

I agree with the admonition to check your monthly D* statement.
afrogt's Avatar afrogt
09:08 PM Liked: 417
post #21 of 43
08-15-2011 | Posts: 23,407
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As a new subscriber you get free NFL Sunday ticket this season. If you're a NFL fan that makes the deal even more appealing.
scorpiontail60's Avatar scorpiontail60
09:22 PM Liked: 11
post #22 of 43
08-15-2011 | Posts: 419
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikey mo View Post

All posters, except one, seem to rave about PQ on D*. I have no complaints witht he PQ and I find it comparable to E* which I also have.

The simple fact of the matter is that most people don't know **** about picture quality. There's people over in the U-verse thread who think it looks "just fine" and time and time again I see reviews of the latest poorly transferred, DNR molested, edge enhancement ruined Blu-ray on all the big sites, including this one, raving about the amazing picture quality. The Big Lebowski is the latest example. That DNR infested mess managed to net a 4/5 star review in the picture quality department.

It's best to stick with the technical specs, and on paper, DirecTV is inferior to most cable providers. The only thing they seem to be universally superior to is Dish Network and AT&T U-verse.

Lacking BBC America HD, AMC HD, and TCM HD is the least of DirecTV's problems. "Turner Classic Movies" has never shown anything in high definition. Not once. It's a bigger waste of space than MTV HD. At least MTV HD had one show once that was native HD (The Seven) and occasionally has an awards show or something that is native HD.

AMC HD is another useless channel, with its master feed now so bitrate-starved that iTunes looks better:
http://screenshotcomparison.com/comparison/67771
http://screenshotcomparison.com/comparison/67772
http://screenshotcomparison.com/comparison/67773
http://screenshotcomparison.com/comparison/67774

The channel might as well be SD. You're better off getting your AMC shows from their Blu-ray releases, iTunes Store downloads, or even Netflix streaming I bet has better picture quality than AMC HD does now.

BBC America is also mostly useless, broadcasting UK shows with as much as 15 minutes of content edited out (!) to make room for commercials. Not to mention most of its schedule seems to consist of old American science fiction shows and upscaled 16:9 SD BBC documentaries these days. Again, you're better off waiting for the Blu-ray releases.

So if not having any of these 3 channels in HD is a concern for you, it really shouldn't be. They're nothing special.
mikeny's Avatar mikeny
09:41 PM Liked: 10
post #23 of 43
08-15-2011 | Posts: 1,093
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scorpiontail60 View Post



Then it's time to get a CableCARD and a CableCARD tuner such as the Ceton InfiniTV 4. Paying $50 a month in rental fees for a bunch of DVR units? Time to ditch 'em. The Ceton InfiniTV 4 can record four channels at once and you can put it in a PC with unlimited storage capacity and a much better interface than any of the DVRs any of these companies put out. You can have a Ceton InfiniTV 4 paid off in less than a year with the amount of money you'll be saving by not having to rent expensive DVRs from the cable company.

I'll look into this but from I read it can't stream to your other [FiOS]receivers; only to a media center connected TV. Ok, I have a 360 so there's one room I can stream to but not 2 or 3 others. Not to mention, that I don't particularly have a HTPC at this time. So you lose some flexibilty but it's an option. I remember last year I was considering the Moxi units as well as an alternative to FiOS boxes.
mdavej's Avatar mdavej
09:44 PM Liked: 429
post #24 of 43
08-15-2011 | Posts: 10,211
Joined: Sep 2006
Even if those screenshots of yours are indeed iTunes quality, they're a heck of a lot better than DirecTV's sub-VHS quality content. I for one value BBCA, AMC, TCM, etc. HD content quite a lot, flawed though it may be. Many of my favorite programs are on those channels, and they were completely unwatchable when I had DirecTV. I'm much happier with Dish than I ever was with DirecTV. Of course if I were a big sports fan or shared your dislike for AMC and BBCA, then DirecTV would be the way to go. So the OP needs to evaluate what content he's likely to watch and decide if having that content in HD is important to him.
scorpiontail60's Avatar scorpiontail60
10:00 PM Liked: 11
post #25 of 43
08-15-2011 | Posts: 419
Joined: Jun 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeny View Post

I'll look into this but from I read it can't stream to your other [FiOS]receivers; only to a media center connected TV. Ok, I have a 360 so there's one room I can stream to but not 2 or 3 others. Not to mention, that I don't particularly have a HTPC at this time. So you lose some flexibilty but it's an option. I remember last year I was considering the Moxi units as well as an alternative to FiOS boxes.

This is true. You could purchase additional used Xbox 360s on the cheap to use solely as receivers from your central HTPC with a CableCARD tuner. The thing I like the most is the space. Say you build a PC with a motherboard that has 10 SATA ports - you could stick up to ten 3TB SATA hard drives in there and have a master DVR with a whopping 30 terabytes of storage space.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

Even if those screenshots of yours are indeed iTunes quality, they're a heck of a lot better than DirecTV's sub-VHS quality content. I for one value BBCA, AMC, TCM, etc. HD content quite a lot, flawed though it may be. Many of my favorite programs are on those channels, and they were completely unwatchable when I had DirecTV. I'm much happier with Dish than I ever was with DirecTV. Of course if I were a big sports fan or shared your dislike for AMC and BBCA, then DirecTV would be the way to go. So the OP needs to evaluate what content he's likely to watch and decide if having that content in HD is important to him.

BBCA and AMC do show HD content. TCM does not show any HD content at all. So those two are valid improvements over their SD counterparts. TCM HD should be identical to its SD counterpart.
mdavej's Avatar mdavej
10:44 PM Liked: 429
post #26 of 43
08-15-2011 | Posts: 10,211
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scorpiontail60 View Post

... TCM does not show any HD content at all. So those two are valid improvements over their SD counterparts. TCM HD should be identical to its SD counterpart.

It should be identical, but you forget that DirecTV then downrezzes and compresses it until it looks like a blurry, blocky mess. So you could see at least near DVD quality TCM on a provider that carries it versus youtube quality on DirecTV.
scorpiontail60's Avatar scorpiontail60
11:00 PM Liked: 11
post #27 of 43
08-15-2011 | Posts: 419
Joined: Jun 2011
YouTube is better quality than DVD and AT&T U-verse.
mdavej's Avatar mdavej
11:16 PM Liked: 429
post #28 of 43
08-15-2011 | Posts: 10,211
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scorpiontail60 View Post

YouTube is better quality than DVD and AT&T U-verse.

Bad analogy on my part. I should have said VHS. I forgot that of the millions of crappy videos on youtube, there are a few HD ones.
Jedi Master's Avatar Jedi Master
02:19 AM Liked: 22
post #29 of 43
08-16-2011 | Posts: 1,627
Joined: Jan 2009
Your going to find the same high prices and the same redundant channels on DirecTV that you will on Comcast or any pay TV provider. You might as well stay with Comcast. The only way to save money is to go OTA and Netflix.
grubadub's Avatar grubadub
10:04 AM Liked: 32
post #30 of 43
08-16-2011 | Posts: 1,023
Joined: Nov 2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jedi Master View Post

Your going to find the same high prices and the same redundant channels on DirecTV that you will on Comcast or any pay TV provider. You might as well stay with Comcast. The only way to save money is to go OTA and Netflix.

not true. i saved ~$400 in the first year with direct over dish network with a comparable plan. i suspect he can do similar with a change from comcast to direct.

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