Originally posted by EJKrew
Which is better? DirecTV or COX ? Is the quality difference noticeable?
You just had to open that can of worms, didn't you?
They both have their pros/cons and a lot depends on what services you anticipate getting. I'll be up front and tell you I'm a cable guy, never had satellite, never had a Tivo. But, AFAIK the HD PQ on cable, satellite, and OTA is virtually the same. There can be minor differences due to different tuners/HDTVs, etc., but I think you'd be hard pressed to quantify a difference across the board. This is not to say that some folks don't see differences when switching from OTA to cable to satellite, but most of the posts I've read say they are all the same.
Now, one of the biggest drawbacks to cable is the PQ for the analog channels (HGTV, Food Network, and the like). Until cable starts broadcasting all digital, analog PQ will suffer and if you watch a lot of that, you may not be happy with cable for that reason.
The other drawback can be price. I have broadband internet, telephone, and total cable (HBO, SHO, MAX, et al, including HD DVR) and I pay less than I would with satellite (without HD DVR), Qwest telephone, and Qwest DSL (lower speed), but if you don't want the complete package, then satellite and separate internet/telephone services will probably be cheaper on a monthly basis.
One of the biggest drawbacks to satellite is the initial cost (I believe it's still about $400 to upgrade to HD) that has to be amortized into the overall monthly cost.
The other major drawback is the $1,000 cost of the HD Tivo. Even with some service discounts, it's still in the $650-$700 range and that is a lot IMO. To be sure, the HD Tivo is much better than the SA8300HD DVR provided by Cox, particularly the Wish List feature, but I timeshift 20 hours of HD just fine with Cox.
The DirecTV dish can be fitted with an OTA HD antenna, correct?
Yes, but most folks do not get good reception with that type of antenna and most folks say it's over-priced.
Does DTV give you a choice regarding the type of tuner?
I do not know, but I'm sure a phone call will get you an answer and I think it all depends on how much you want to pay.
I am presently a DTV subscriber in Oregon, SD only. I'm hooked on TIVO timeshifting and would relish the prospect of an integrated HD receiver/DVR combo.
If you are hooked on Tivo and not just timeshifting, my guess is that you would probably be happier staying with DirecTV (though the $1,000 outlay to time-shift HD is steep in my book). I suggest you contact their retention folks and see what kind of a deal you can work out with them to upgrade to HD service when your house is finished. If you are simply hooked on time-shifting and not specifically the Tivo unit/interface, you could always try Cox and cancel it if you were unhappy with it. Once you get sucked into satellite, you're hooked for at least a year, so it's a bit expensive to try something else after the fact.
I'm sure others will provide additional comments and things to consider.
You didn't mention what brand/model HDTV you have or intend to buy or what type of HD programming you would subscribe to. That all makes a difference when discussing the pros and cons of OTA, cable, and satellite. Right now, Dish is the cheapest and DirecTV is getting ready to start adding HD locals and you may not even need an antenna here by the end of the year.