Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Chattanooga, TN
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My situation is a little different. I have Comcast lifeline basic so I can get the high speed internet cheaper. I have had DirecTV for ten years now so between my OTA antennas, cable plus HD service, I can see different kinds of signals for sure.
I decided to switch to EPB to consolidate billings and for a more consistent internet speed. I'd agree that Comcast has upgraded their speed where I'm at off Hwy 58, but it is still inconsistent depending on time of day and day of the week.
I took the basic phone service, internet 30 and the Essential TV service with HD and DVR. The install was last Friday and I can't say I was very impressed with the installers. They were polite and did an adequate job but didn't seem to know anything about the services (couldn't answer questions about the DVR model or its capabilities, when I might get a smart meter, when or if they might offer 3D content, how to add email accounts, etc.). After they left I noticed that the TV in the bedroom only had channels 2-13 and had lost the HD locals OTA. I guess I need to rescan to see if the OTA signals will return.
I called EPB today with some questions and in answer about how the DVR priortizes recordings, they said that it would simply record the first two HD programs in its queue and would error you if you asked it to record a third program that conflicted with the first two. Surprisingly, there is no detailed manuals for the DVR. They told me I had a 160 GB model with 40GB partition for the system, leaving 120GB for recordings which equals only 30 hours of HD recordings. He said it was the only model they install as well. I will check online later to see if I can find more info on the DVR. The little getting Started guide doesn't really go into much detail about anything but the basics. You have to create another account in order to add email accounts. It seems confusing to me to have so many differnt logins and passwords for all of the PEB services.
The support guy didn't know when or if they might add 3D content or when I might get a smart meter. He did say there was no technical reason they couldn't offer 3D content as they had plenty of bandwidth.
For the moment, I haven't yet cancelled my DirecTV so I can compare the pictures. I haven't had much chance to do it yet but so far, looking at ESPN HD and CNN HD, the pictures seem to look about the same. I would say the SD channels seem to be inferior to the Comcast channels although I can't directly compare them now. The EPB SD channels seem to look fuzzy and soft. It is kind of hard to describe exactly. At least some of the HD channels seem a little dark and I notice that the volume levels seem to vary from channel to channel a lot more than I remember with DirecTV. The overscan varies from channel to channel and the white bars along the top on some EPB channels is distracting.
The internet speed is pretty much the same as Comcast except that the upload speed is about the same as the download speed. This isn't as important for me but I expect the EPB service will be more consistent.
I like the EPB telephone service so far as I had the most basic AT&T service with no long distance provider. I'm sure I'll enjoy some of the digital features when I learn them.
Cost wise, this move will save me about $25/month if I keep the TV service but I may eventually cancel the TV service after I evaluate it more. I have considered calling DirecTV to see what they could do for me since I would need a newer model HD DVR to receive any 3D signals. I figure it would be the standard 2 year commitment to get new hardware plus their prices continue to creep up. I'm not sure how much I'd watch 3D content if it was available but I face the possibility that EPB might not offer anything for some time.
Programming-wise I am looking forward to seeing Mad Men in HD on EPB's AMC-HD channel. I am surprised that DirecTV has never offered it in any tier of service and I don't think Comcast offers it either. The EPB VOD seems comparable to the DirecTV VOD but I very rarely pay for PPV movies so this less important to me as well. The EPB TV service is a mixed bag for me; I'll have to evaluate it more within the next few weeks.