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Should I go w/ DirecTV or Dish?

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
I know this has been rehashed here many times as I study the past threads. However, it seems to have been a minute. The prices have come pretty close to each other so that shouldn't be a huge issue (although renting the DirecTV HD DVR at 199 is a little high). Obviously, DirecTV has more curent channels and more to come, but I would surmise that Dish won't be far behind. That brings me to this. I just bought a th-50ph10uk, a harman kardan 247, and a full set of reference onix. With this set-up, would one dvr be better than the other? I can't see how either seems to be much better. Does it all just come down to channel availability? Because if so, it seems I should go with DirecTV. I wonder if I searched hard enough if I could get someone to throw in a HDDVR with DirecTV so I wouldn't have to drop the extra couple hundred? Any suggestions here? Am I on the right path? Sorry to rehash worn out topics, but I need a little current guidance. AVS has led me right so far with my other purchases. Thanks.
post #2 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Henahan View Post

I know this has been rehashed here many times as I study the past threads. However, it seems to have been a minute. The prices have come pretty close to each other so that shouldn't be a huge issue (although renting the DirecTV HD DVR at 199 is a little high). Obviously, DirecTV has more curent channels and more to come, but I would surmise that Dish won't be far behind. That brings me to this. I just bought a th-50ph10uk, a harman kardan 247, and a full set of reference onix. With this set-up, would one dvr be better than the other? I can't see how either seems to be much better. Does it all just come down to channel availability? Because if so, it seems I should go with DirecTV. I wonder if I searched hard enough if I could get someone to throw in a HDDVR with DirecTV so I wouldn't have to drop the extra couple hundred? Any suggestions here? Am I on the right path? Sorry to rehash worn out topics, but I need a little current guidance. AVS has led me right so far with my other purchases. Thanks.

Assuming you have a clear view of both D* and E* sats, I would base your decision on these 2 factors:

1. Which DVR do you think you will like better? Both have pros and cons. I personally chose the E* DVR since it had features I prefered over the D* DVR, but I could easily see someone else making the opposite decision due to different preferences.

2. Does one company offer something the other does not that you want? For instance, many people go with D* for Sunday Ticket.

Ted
post #3 of 35
Thread Starter 
thanks. thats great advice actually. can someone tell me which company can change channels the fastest? also, does one company offer hbo cheaper than the other? i actually did check the site, but can't seem to find the price to add hbo on top of the hd packages.the slow speed of channel changes has always irked me. my cable changes quickly but sucks in general after that.
post #4 of 35
You aren't going to get "quick" channel changing on anyone's DVR, it takes a second to reset the buffer.

D*TV has just added several HD channels and will be adding many more (see their website) in the next couple of months, and they are high bandwidth channels (no HD-lite here). Dish does NOT have the capability to add more anytime in the near future.

In addition, D*TV gives you access to sports packages unavailable elsewhere, if you care. The first movie package you add with D*TV is $12/month, I think you get 4 HBO stations with that (all in HD). Additional packages go down by $3/month for each one you add. (Adding Starz - also in HD now - would cost an additional $9/month.)
post #5 of 35
I personally chose the E* DVR since it had features I prefered over the D* DVR, but I could easily see someone else making the opposite decision due to different preferences.

I decided to switch to E* for this reason. I want more HD content but I don't want to give up the dual live buffer that I'm used to with my HD Tivo (HR10-250). Why D* chose to omit this from the HR20 is a giant mystery to me. I also resent having to call D* repeatedly and beg to get a meaningful discount on the HR20. I originally didn't expect to switch providers but Dish is offering me a free ViP722 and six months of free HD. D* wants $220 for the HR20 and didn't offer any service discount. Since I can get all the content that matters from Dish for a little less than D* I see no reason not to jump ship.
post #6 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by rynberg View Post

D*TV has just added several HD channels and will be adding many more (see their website) in the next couple of months, and they are high bandwidth channels (no HD-lite here).

This is correct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rynberg View Post

Dish does NOT have the capability to add more anytime in the near future.

This is not. DISH DOES have the capacity to add several more HD channels should they choose to do so. Not as much capacity as D*, but plenty to add 5-7 channels without too much effort. Someone over at DBStalk actually did a pretty good job of explaining this. DISH also has 2 more birds scheduled for launch in 2008.

Ted
post #7 of 35
Also, if you don't have OTA capability, it might be worth checking to see if one or the other has high def locals.
post #8 of 35
Don't get caught up counting which service provider has more HD channels in their lineup. It's pointless because most of the programming on these "HD channels" is not HD quality. So, even if one service provider has a couple more HD channels over the other service providers, the amount of actual HD programming provded will be very comparable. I recently switched from DirecTV to Dish for a couple of reasons:
1. To receive new D* HD channels you need their new slimline dish which requires 5 separate cables to be connected. I can only run two cables because I live in a condo. E* only requires two cables to be connected to their Dish 1000's.
2. E* just came out with a new DVR that is very comparable to TIVO and IMHO superior to the D* HR-20.
3. E* only requires an 18 month committment, D* requires 24 months.

I really had no choice other than going with Dish. So far, I have no regrets.
post #9 of 35
how does it work with local channels and sat tv ?

if i wanted to get local channels from 2 markets but my zip code only covers 1 market, can i get 2 accounts with 2 dishes and 2 receivers and have one of the accounts signed up under my brothers address ?
post #10 of 35
It may be helpful to list a few things the Dish 722 DVR can do that TIVO cannot do:
1. run two TVs at same time
2. instant 30 second commercial skip button
3. record three shows at the same time
4. filter programing guide to display only channels you subscribe to, or only
display all HD channels, etc.
5. Picture In Picture, Side By Side
6. Multiple External USB HD support (up to 750 GB each)
7. Broadband Dial out support (Enabled ethernet jack) - TIVO may do this as
well, not sure.

Anyone care to take a stab at listing features that D* DVR can do that E* DVR or TIVO HD cannot do?
post #11 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by hifikid View Post

It may be helpful to list a few things the Dish 722 DVR can do that TIVO cannot do:
1. run two TVs at same time
2. instant 30 second commercial skip button
3. record three shows at the same time
4. filter programing guide to display only channels you subscribe to, or only
display all HD channels, etc.
5. Picture In Picture, Side By Side
6. Multiple External USB HD support (up to 750 GB each)
7. Broadband Dial out support (Enabled ethernet jack) - TIVO may do this as
well, not sure.

Anyone care to take a stab at listing features that D* DVR can do that E* DVR or TIVO HD cannot do?

Here are three:
1. Be used on multiple HDTVs (I'll explain later)
2. Record two shows at the same time from the OTA antenna (Dish can only do one)
3. Be set to native res (i.e. 720p shows are fed to the TV as 720p, and 1080i shows are fed as 1080i; Dish has to be set as 720p or 1080i for all programming. That means that the Dish STB is doing the processing rather than the TV, which most likely has a better processor.)

All of the outputs on the HR20 are live. This means that I can connect the HDMI cable to one HDTV and the component cable to another HDTV. If someone had more than two HDTVs, they could buy an amplifier for the component signal and connect it to a TV in the kitchen, one on the porch, etc. The one problem with this is that they all show the same thing, so you can't watch one show on one TV and another show on another TV.

The main problem holding me back from the HR20 is the multi-room viewing. If they release a new DVR that has this capability, then I think I could go with DirectTV. As it is right now, I'd have to get a second DVR for my second TV. I'd also have to set up both DVRs to tape mostly the same thing, because we want to be able to watch our shows on either TV.
post #12 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by kalrith View Post

Here are three:
1. Be used on multiple HDTVs (I'll explain later)
2. Record two shows at the same time from the OTA antenna (Dish can only do one)
3. Be set to native res (i.e. 720p shows are fed to the TV as 720p, and 1080i shows are fed as 1080i; Dish has to be set as 720p or 1080i for all programming. That means that the Dish STB is doing the processing rather than the TV, which most likely has a better processor.)

All of the outputs on the HR20 are live. This means that I can connect the HDMI cable to one HDTV and the component cable to another HDTV. If someone had more than two HDTVs, they could buy an amplifier for the component signal and connect it to a TV in the kitchen, one on the porch, etc. The one problem with this is that they all show the same thing, so you can't watch one show on one TV and another show on another TV.

The main problem holding me back from the HR20 is the multi-room viewing. If they release a new DVR that has this capability, then I think I could go with DirectTV. As it is right now, I'd have to get a second DVR for my second TV. I'd also have to set up both DVRs to tape mostly the same thing, because we want to be able to watch our shows on either TV.

I have to say that even though the E* DVR can be connected to a second SD TV, the SD picture quality is not that great. It's watchable, but it's not the best SD picture I've seen. I wonder what future D* multi-room HD picture quality will be like?
post #13 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by hifikid View Post

I have to say that even though the E* DVR can be connected to a second SD TV, the SD picture quality is not that great. It's watchable, but it's not the best SD picture I've seen. I wonder what future D* multi-room HD picture quality will be like?

There's talk of networking the DVRs together so that any DVR can play any show from another DVR. You might also be able to play shows from a DVR from a non-DVR receiver. If they do this, I might just go with two HR20s for the ability to record 4 shows at once.
post #14 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by hifikid View Post

1. To receive new D* HD channels you need their new slimline dish which requires 5 separate cables to be connected. I can only run two cables because I live in a condo. E* only requires two cables to be connected to their Dish 1000's.

It should just be one cable for one receiver. The DishPro Plus LNB can stack two signals on a single wire, giving you any two choices of satellite and polarization (tune any two stations) on one wire. I have one wire going into the room with my 622, which is then split into two with a little box (DishPro Plus Separator) provided with the receiver, and the second cable from the dish goes to a room with a 211 in it.

I knew I wasn't imagining this:

http://www.dsswiki.net/DssWiki/index.php/DishPro_Plus
post #15 of 35
New user here with a quick question.

Apparently, my "Local Channels" come out of Charleston, West Virginia, even though I live over 200 miles from Charleston, in OHIO. Unfortunately, these channels are NOT in HD. According to an online chat I had with DISH, if I get DISH, I won't get the four major networks in HD at all! This is completely unacceptable. I won't pay $70+ a month and not even get the networks in HD. Is there any way either on D* or DISH to NOT get your local channels, but get the national HD ones instead?
post #16 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Henahan View Post

...The prices have come pretty close to each other so that shouldn't be a huge issue (although renting the DirecTV HD DVR at 199 is a little high).

I'm really pleased with the HR20-700 DVR and D*'s HD programming choices and picture quality are excellent now, compared to just a few months ago).

I don't think $199 is too high, considering that a leased D* STB has a free lifetime replacement if it becomes defective. You just call their tech support department if the box is defective and they FedEx you a replacement, along with a prepaid return shipping label for the old one. What can you buy that has that kind of warranty?
post #17 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by arxaw View Post

I don't think $199 is too high, considering that a leased D* STB has a free lifetime replacement if it becomes defective. You just call their tech support department if the box is defective and they FedEx you a replacement, along with a prepaid return shipping label for the old one. What can you buy that has that kind of warranty?

E* has treated me the same way with their free DVR. I've had it replaced 2-3 times in the past 5 years. They always tried to charge me some $20-$50 replacement fee, but I always talked them out of it. I might have had to pay $15 shipping, but I could pay that 13 times and it would still be less than the $199 DirectTV cost.

I will most likely go with DirectTV for other reasons. The $199 up-front lease fee is definitely not one of them. Also, if I get two HR20s, according to the website the second one will cost $299.
post #18 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by kalrith View Post

...I will most likely go with DirectTV for other reasons. The $199 up-front lease fee is definitely not one of them. Also, if I get two HR20s, according to the website the second one will cost $299.

I have stayed with D* since 1995 because they have programming I want and can't get elsewhere, not because it's the cheapest deal around.

If you get two HR20s, don't order them online. Call and tell them you'd like to switch to D* but if you can't get a better deal on the up front costs, you'll just stay with your current provider. They will nearly always give you a better deal than the web site, if you are polite but persistent.
post #19 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by arxaw View Post

I'm really pleased with the HR20-700 DVR and D*'s HD programming choices and picture quality are excellent now, compared to just a few months ago).

I don't think $199 is too high, considering that a leased D* STB has a free lifetime replacement if it becomes defective. You just call their tech support department if the box is defective and they FedEx you a replacement, along with a prepaid return shipping label for the old one. What can you buy that has that kind of warranty?

There is a major catch that they don't tell you about... When D* ships you a "free" replacement DVR they also require you to agree to another 24 month service committment! That IS NOT a great deal. Make sure you know what you're getting into with D*. This happened to me and I was not happy. The CSR didn't utter a word about another 24 month service committment when they offered me a "free" HR-15 DEV replacement. I'm still pissed about this!
post #20 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by hifikid View Post

There is a major catch that they don't tell you about... When D* ships you a "free" replacement DVR they also require you to agree to another 24 month service committment! That IS NOT a great deal.

I have had 4 replacement receivers over the years (two for defective boxes and 2 that were hit by lightning) and have never had my contract restarted.
post #21 of 35
Just added on D* this morning:
CNBC HD+
MGM HD
National Geographic HD
Food Network HD
post #22 of 35
For me, DISH was a much better deal. I have an HDTV and a regular TV, and I wanted to have DVR functionality on both of my TVs. To do this with DirectTV, it would have cost $300. Also, I would have had to sign a contract (I think it was 18 months). With DISH, it was free, and I didn't have to sign a contract. I can cancel anytime I want for no charge. So I can switch over to DirectTV whenever I want. I probably will if/when they get Comedy Central in HD.
post #23 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by arxaw View Post

I have had 4 replacement receivers over the years (two for defective boxes and 2 that were hit by lightning) and have never had my contract restarted.

Are you sure? They don't tell you. I had an original D* TIVO SD DVR. When the hard drive gave out I called D* and they sent me a D* HR-15 replacement. I thought it was totally free. I happened to call D* a couple weeks later and asked how much time I had left on my contract, they told me I just re-newed for 24 months when they sent me the replacement DVR. I was totally pissed!
post #24 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by hifikid View Post

Are you sure? They don't tell you. I had an original D* TIVO SD DVR. When the hard drive gave out I called D* and they sent me a D* HR-15 replacement. I thought it was totally free. I happened to call D* a couple weeks later and asked how much time I had left on my contract, they told me I just re-newed for 24 months when they sent me the replacement DVR. I was totally pissed!

I talked to tech support once and the retention department the other two times. I specifically told them if they restarted the commitment to replace a defective receiver I leased from them, I would cancel immediately. I have had CSRs verify that my contract has not been restarted.
post #25 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by arxaw View Post

I have stayed with D* since 1995 because they have programming I want and can't get elsewhere, not because it's the cheapest deal around.

If you get two HR20s, don't order them online. Call and tell them you'd like to switch to D* but if you can't get a better deal on the up front costs, you'll just stay with your current provider. They will nearly always give you a better deal than the web site, if you are polite but persistent.

Thanks for the tip! I'll be moving in a few months and won't get my plasma until after that, so I'm not going to subscribe to an HD package until then. Hopefully D* will have the multi-room viewing resolved by then. If not, I'll still go with them and just get two DVRs. I can't see going with Dish HD right now. For SD they have a good price on a DVR that serves two TVs. For HD the up-front costs are lower, but the monthly costs are the same for many fewer HD channels.
post #26 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by kalrith View Post

Thanks for the tip! I'll be moving in a few months and won't get my plasma until after that, so I'm not going to subscribe to an HD package until then. Hopefully D* will have the multi-room viewing resolved by then. If not, I'll still go with them and just get two DVRs. I can't see going with Dish HD right now. For SD they have a good price on a DVR that serves two TVs. For HD the up-front costs are lower, but the monthly costs are the same for many fewer HD channels.

I wouldn't choose any provider based on the number of "HD channels" they claim to carry. D* may carry a couple more "HD channels" than E* right now, or it may be the other way around. Regardless, very few "HD channels", if any, provide HD programming 24x7. I've noticed that new "HD channels" mostly broadcast widescreen SD or upconverted SD programming. The reality is there is very little HD programming out there. Most HD programs come from the major networks. I have HBO HD, for example, I've seen very few HD movies so far... I think D* and E* will basically provide comparable HD programming going forward. I say choose the provider who is offering the best deal.
post #27 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by hifikid View Post

I've noticed that new "HD channels" mostly broadcast widescreen SD or upconverted SD programming. The reality is there is very little HD programming out there.

I hear some of the new channels are using "Stretch-O-Vision" on the upconverted SD (TNT-HD apparently always has).

And you can be sure the price for all these new channels they're adding will go up considerably come Feb. or Mar.

So if you're going to be stuck with it for a year and a half or whatever, you'd better be sure you're going to be satisfied with it.
post #28 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by hifikid View Post

I wouldn't choose any provider based on the number of "HD channels" they claim to carry. D* may carry a couple more "HD channels" than E* right now, or it may be the other way around. Regardless, very few "HD channels", if any, provide HD programming 24x7. I've noticed that new "HD channels" mostly broadcast widescreen SD or upconverted SD programming. The reality is there is very little HD programming out there. Most HD programs come from the major networks. I have HBO HD, for example, I've seen very few HD movies so far... I think D* and E* will basically provide comparable HD programming going forward. I say choose the provider who is offering the best deal.

It's not ONLY the number of HD channels. I like that the HR20 can be set to native rather than a specific resolution. I like that the HR20 can record two OTA channels at the same time. D* is supposedly bring HD locals to my area early next year. Also, for the same price as the E* Top 250 plus HD, I can get all those channels I want plus the D* Sports Pack, which would give me all of the regional FSN channels. I know that pro sports outside of my area would be blocked out, but college sports (which is what I mostly watch) aren't blocked out.

If I were already with E* HD, I might stick with them for a while. However, I'm just on E* SD right now, so I'll have to either upgrade to E* HD or go with D* HD. It will probably be a few months before I switch, so I'll wait and see what the two companies do in that time.
post #29 of 35
"1. To receive new D* HD channels you need their new slimline dish which requires 5 separate cables to be connected. I can only run two cables because I live in a condo. E* only requires two cables to be connected to their Dish 1000's."

Thie above is not true. D* H20 only needs 1 coax from dish to receiver.
post #30 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by hifikid View Post

It may be helpful to list a few things the Dish 722 DVR can do that TIVO cannot do:
1. run two TVs at same time
2. instant 30 second commercial skip button
3. record three shows at the same time
4. filter programing guide to display only channels you subscribe to, or only
display all HD channels, etc.
5. Picture In Picture, Side By Side
6. Multiple External USB HD support (up to 750 GB each)
7. Broadband Dial out support (Enabled ethernet jack) - TIVO may do this as
well, not sure.

Anyone care to take a stab at listing features that D* DVR can do that E* DVR or TIVO HD cannot do?


Quote:
Originally Posted by kalrith View Post

Here are three:
1. Be used on multiple HDTVs (I'll explain later)
2. Record two shows at the same time from the OTA antenna (Dish can only do one)
3. Be set to native res (i.e. 720p shows are fed to the TV as 720p, and 1080i shows are fed as 1080i; Dish has to be set as 720p or 1080i for all programming. That means that the Dish STB is doing the processing rather than the TV, which most likely has a better processor.)

All of the outputs on the HR20 are live. This means that I can connect the HDMI cable to one HDTV and the component cable to another HDTV. If someone had more than two HDTVs, they could buy an amplifier for the component signal and connect it to a TV in the kitchen, one on the porch, etc. The one problem with this is that they all show the same thing, so you can't watch one show on one TV and another show on another TV.

The main problem holding me back from the HR20 is the multi-room viewing. If they release a new DVR that has this capability, then I think I could go with DirectTV. As it is right now, I'd have to get a second DVR for my second TV. I'd also have to set up both DVRs to tape mostly the same thing, because we want to be able to watch our shows on either TV.

-----------------

Trying to evaluate HR20 vs Dish 722... the post by hifikid is very helpful... howabout a D* HR20 user replying with a contrast of the HR20 to hifikid's feature list?

Also, kalrith, I am confused... you indicated that the HR20 can support multiple HDTVs... apparently an HDMI set and a component set or set(s) with a splitter (?), but then said you are held back from the HR20 because of multi-room viewing... can you elaborate please?

Thanks...
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