Originally Posted by joeinma
I am kind of in the same boat. Currently have DirecTV without HD and get my HD from local cable company (BELD - Braintree Electric Light Department). BELD is very slow at adding HD, they still don't have ESPN2 or NFL Network like everyone else. I want to switch everything to FIOS or everything to DirecTV...but cannot decide which way to go.
Go with FIOS and deal with current glitches and their growing pains...but get great picture include their non-HD channels.
Stay with DTV and add HD. Will cost me $$ for three HD boxes unless retention will give me a good deal. Get locked in for another 2 yr. commitment. HD quality worse then FIOS? Average SD picture.
What to do, what to do? Anyone know if the new DTV HD channels are as compressed as they were before the new satellite?
The way I've heard it, there are two flavors of DTV HD:
1. The pre-existing DTV HD channels are MPEG2, and include ESPN, ESPN2, HDNET, HBO (east), etc...
2. The newly added HD channels, which are MPEG4, including SciFi, etc.
The MPEG2 are talked about as HD lite, are bit starved and provide noticeably worse picture quality (PQ) than the MPEG4, which are very close to over the air (OTA). OTA is the highest quality possible, as it's broadcast without compression.
Some people have done measurements in other forums which show that the MPEG4 DTV channels, although high quality, are doing some compression. This may not show up on your HD TV, depending on the size of the screen.
The MPEG2 channels are not going to be transitioned soon to MPEG4, maybe not until the next DTV satellite goes up. This means that for the short term (don't know when the next satellite goes up) channels like ESPN, ESPN2 and HDNET, which are some of my favorites, will remain in HD lite.
FIOS HD channels are uncompressed, so you get OTA quality in both HD and SD. I get HDNET, ESPN... in very high quality. I also get the local channels in that quality. I notice you're from Mass, so I can tell you that I've become hooked on Channel 5's Chronicle program since it's done in HD. NESN (New England Sports Channel) is also on FIOS HD.
I faced the same issue with DTV (5 years as a customer), I had 3 DirectTivo boxes and talked to DTV about upgrading. They didn't make much of an effort to cut down on the expenses, and I couldn't take the extra fees they leveraged on HD customers which FIOS doesn't have.
I'll be patient and ride it out with FIOS. The glitches don't outweigh the great quality, I get the HD channels I want (I like sports) and the customer service has been great.
My advice is to look at the channels you want to watch in HD, see which are in HD lite, which are in MPEG4, and make your decision.