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post #1 of 28 Old 04-14-2019, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Satellite TV questions

I'm not sure if this is the right forum but looked thru the other forums and even did a search and couldn't find any answers. Moderators, if this isn't the right forum can you direct me please?



I've never had satellite TV and have a few questions (would prefer to hear from real users and not hearsay). I've read some on-line reviews but would rather address it to people who like their TV viewing at it's best. I'm satisfied with the picture and sound quality of cable (digital and HD) but looking at less expensive options

1) What's the picture/sound quality compared with cable?
2) Any setbacks or regrets going from cable to satellite?
3) Is the reception affected by weather?
4) I know about the NFL package difference, but which service is considered better, Dish versus Directv - receivers/DVR performance, picture/sound quality, customer service, technical assistance when needed, etc...?


I'm not ready to just jump into satellite without feeling comfortable about the quality compared with HD cable.
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post #2 of 28 Old 04-14-2019, 04:43 PM
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Allegedly DirecTV has better picture quality than Dish, according to opinions expressed here previously. But sometimes weather related dropouts may still affect satellite services, although that has supposedly improved. But sometimes the cable goes out as well. And then there is the question of which service has the best DVR performance and channel selection.
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post #3 of 28 Old 04-15-2019, 07:23 AM
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Cable PQ quality varies from provider to provider, city to city. The same company can have a great looking picture in one city and terrible in another. Your best bet is to use the Local Reception thread for the city and the cable company you're comparing. They can tell you.

Yes, DirecTV has a little more bandwidth and tends to have better PQ than Dish for most cable-network channels. Broadcast network channels are rebroadcasts of local affiliates and that PQ will depend on the local affiliate.

Yes, weather is a factor. A really good thunderstorm or snowstorm can interrupt the signal for brief periods of time. A really well-positioned dish will mitigate that (tip your installer). For DirecTV, weather interruptions are less impactful on their legacy, standard-definition channels as they're on a different band. (I'm currently in Florida. Storms knock out HD channels, but not the SD ones). All that said, weather's really not much of a concern if you have high-speed internet. Most channels offer some form of live streaming to Cable/DSS subscribers. See a storm coming? Watch the stream instead of the satellite.

FWIW, I've had both DirecTV and Bright House - now Spectrum - simultaneously for a long time. Weather outages for DirecTV are brief. Cable outages can last for hours or days. I'd say the downtime between the two for any given year for me is a wash. HOWEVER.. power outages are a different thing. I have a generator. As long as I an power my DirecTV box and TV, I'm good. If cable goes down with a power outage, that's that.

For your fourth question, it all depends on your own personal preferences or tolerances. Users seem to like Dish's equipment better, but prefer DirecTV's PQ and 4k capabilities. Customer service is always a dice roll. I see horror stories, but have not had anything but kind and efficient customer service. That said, I rarely call them for anything other than adding or removing HBO, Showtime, etc. Like cable, service calls are going to vary by city. The DirecTV contractor in Detroit was outstanding. Here in Tampa, I've heard otherwise now that AT&T crews are handling things. Again, YMMV.

Yes, NFL Sunday Ticket is quite an ace for DirecTV. There's no other way to view out-of-market Sunday games in their entirety. A lot of defectors from D* to cable have found NFL's RedZone channel sorely lacking. Especially if you're a fan of a particular team on a Sunday where RZ does precious few live look-ins. It all depends on what your football is worth to you. There are rumors the NFL will opt out of the remaining years on its NFLST contract with DirecTV to front its own ST streaming service. Count me among those who doubt that, but still think it'll happen at the end of the contract.

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post #4 of 28 Old 04-15-2019, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDon View Post
For DirecTV, weather interruptions are less impactful on their legacy, standard-definition channels as they're on a different band. (I'm currently in Florida. Storms knock out HD channels, but not the SD ones).
That's really strange. Why? Because D* and Dish both use Ku and Ka (primary) bands, which are real close to each other. If they used a more weather resistant band, it would be C-band, which would require a dish that is 9', or larger. Ku and Ka use the pizza-pan sized dishes. Maybe it is power related.

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post #5 of 28 Old 04-15-2019, 09:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses. I did check local reception thread but the closest to my area is 1 hour away and there were only about 10 responses since 2014 and the newest was about a year ago. Seem to be leaning towards Dish due to the better rated receivers and more stabilized pricing.
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post #6 of 28 Old 04-18-2019, 04:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrvideo View Post
That's really strange. Why? Because D* and Dish both use Ku and Ka (primary) bands, which are real close to each other. If they used a more weather resistant band, it would be C-band, which would require a dish that is 9', or larger. Ku and Ka use the pizza-pan sized dishes. Maybe it is power related.
Rather than band, could it be modulation differences? In Europe most SD services use DVB-S, whereas HD services use DVB-S2. DVB-S2 is arguably a bit less robust, and therefore HD stations disappear first in very heavy rain, or other challenging signal conditions?
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post #7 of 28 Old 04-18-2019, 02:14 PM
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I switched from cable to Dish 19 years ago and never looked back. The weather related issues for satellite depend on how good a job of aiming the dish the installer did. I had an installer install mine many years ago and it got 100 on the best channel and 80 on the worst. During a storm it went to 80 and 50 and the weaker channels dropped out. I personally re-aimed it taking considerable time to do so. Then I got 120 on the good channels and 100 on the worst. During storms it went to 100 and 80 with no dropouts. After my personal re-aiming I got one 20 minute dropout in 5 years.


When I had cable it would go out for the weekend once or twice a year.


I really like the Dish equipment. I have their Hopper 3 which allows me to record up to 20 shows simultaneously (15 satellite, 4 network and one OTA).


Dish doesn't have the Season Ticket out of market NFL package but I wouldn't pay $300 to $400 to watch the 2 or 3 games a year that would interest me.


Also Dish has an extensive line up of foreign channel packages. My wife is from Hong Kong and we subscribe to the Hong Kong channels. While I watch Science Fiction she watches Hong Kong soap operas. As far as she is concerned switching to anyone but Dish would not be acceptable.



Just my $.02 worth.


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post #8 of 28 Old 04-18-2019, 08:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Rick
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post #9 of 28 Old 04-18-2019, 09:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sneals2000 View Post
Rather than band, could it be modulation differences? In Europe most SD services use DVB-S, whereas HD services use DVB-S2. DVB-S2 is arguably a bit less robust, and therefore HD stations disappear first in very heavy rain, or other challenging signal conditions?
Good question. The Lyngsat listings for D* do not list the modulation schemes. And yes, DVB-S and DVB-S2 even makes a difference via C-band.

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post #10 of 28 Old 04-19-2019, 11:32 AM
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I have had similar experiences to Rick but with D*. I had Cox cable which I hated because of a terrible picture and service. It also routinely went out regularly, and when it did, it was out for at least 15 minutes and often days. I actually decided to switch to D* in 1994 due to this. My favorite sport is hockey, and I have been a NY Rangers fan for over 50 years. At the start of the third period of the seventh game of the Stanley Cup finals in 1994, Vancouver versus Rangers and the Rangers leading 3-2, a thunderstorm came through RI, and I lost the cable for 25 minutes. I missed the first 12 minutes of the third period. That was enough for me! I put up a satellite antenna a few months later. Since then, I do get occasionally outages from heavy rain. On one occasion I had no satellite for several hours due to a very heavy wet snow which coated the satellite, and until it melted off I had nothing. Had it been urgent, I could have done something to get the snow off. That happened once in more than 20 years.

I think that D*'s equipment has been good, not great. It is not as fast as some other's I've seen, but it has been improved on regularly. D* was the first with HD programming in 1999 or 2000, and it is now the first with 4K programming, not that there's a lot or that I even have the equipment to watch it currently. But it's there. I have a "genie" and two HR DVRs. This gives me 9 tuners, there is newer D* equipment which provides more. The one thing I like with D* over either Cox or the now available FIOS in my area is that I can use an antenna and integrate OTA with satellite on the same DVR. This allows me to get programming from Boston I would otherwise not receive. Another thing I can do with D* is add another hard drive to the DVRs to increase the storage capacity. Cox and FIOS don't let you.

And the most important thing to me is the reliability of the DVR. Being somewhat anal I tend to record shows I really don't want to miss on more than 1 DVR, but I actually can't remember the last time a show failed to record on any of the 3 devices. The "trick play" buttons work perfectly, and I have no issues with dish management, the guide, or setting up or deleting recordings.

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post #11 of 28 Old 04-19-2019, 11:37 AM
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One other thing. If you are interested in sports other than NFL, all the D* sport programming, such as NHL Center Ice or MLB extra innings, is in HD, and you can watch either team's feed (except for stupid blackout rules). I know that's not true here in RI on either Cox or FIOS. Half of those games are in SD and you can usually only get one team's feed. They are greatly inferior to D* in this regard. I don't know the status of these packages on Dish.

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post #12 of 28 Old 04-19-2019, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sneals2000 View Post
Rather than band, could it be modulation differences? In Europe most SD services use DVB-S, whereas HD services use DVB-S2. DVB-S2 is arguably a bit less robust, and therefore HD stations disappear first in very heavy rain, or other challenging signal conditions?
I think I know what you're getting at, but saying DVB-S2 is less robust than DVB-S is not a good way to state it.


You have to compare apples to apples. For the same bitrate, DVB-S2 is about 2 dB better than DVB-S.


What I believe you're saying is that DVB-S2 with 8PSK is not as robust as DVB-S with QPSK.

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post #13 of 28 Old 04-19-2019, 05:30 PM
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I think I know what you're getting at, but saying DVB-S2 is less robust than DVB-S is not a good way to state it.


You have to compare apples to apples. For the same bitrate, DVB-S2 is about 2 dB better than DVB-S.


What I believe you're saying is that DVB-S2 with 8PSK is not as robust as DVB-S with QPSK.
Yes - I'm comparing them in 'real world' experiences in the UK, where the higher bitrate HD stuff on DVB-S2 8PSK stuff doesn't always hold up as well on poorly aligned dishes in heavy rain, as the lower bitrate DVB-S QPSK stuff.

Totally agree that apples-for-apples S2 is better than S.
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post #14 of 28 Old 04-20-2019, 05:39 AM
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What I believe you're saying is that DVB-S2 with 8PSK is not as robust as DVB-S with QPSK.
That is the way I took it since all my DVB-S captures are QPSK and all of my DVB-S2 captures are 8PSK. When the uplinkers went to DVB-S2, then went to 8PSK as well. At least the transponders that I tune in.

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That is the way I took it since all my DVB-S captures are QPSK and all of my DVB-S2 captures are 8PSK. When the uplinkers went to DVB-S2, then went to 8PSK as well. At least the transponders that I tune in.
Some European broadcasters introduced DVB-S2 with QPSK but now the majority of S2 stuff I see is 8PSK (the BBC only switched to 8PSK relatively recently)
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For HD services, United States DBS providers prefer to use proprietary forms of 8PSK modulation that include a more aggressive forward error correction strategy than ordinary 8PSK. Dish Network uses a method called "8PSK Turbo," while DirecTV's method is sometimes referred to as "DVB-S2D." In either case, the providers are able to obtain a more robust signal than ordinary DVB-S2 8PSK, but I believe they have to sacrifice some of the data throughput they would otherwise be able to achieve.
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post #17 of 28 Old 04-21-2019, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agus0103 View Post
For HD services, United States DBS providers prefer to use proprietary forms of 8PSK modulation that include a more aggressive forward error correction strategy than ordinary 8PSK. Dish Network uses a method called "8PSK Turbo," while DirecTV's method is sometimes referred to as "DVB-S2D." In either case, the providers are able to obtain a more robust signal than ordinary DVB-S2 8PSK, but I believe they have to sacrifice some of the data throughput they would otherwise be able to achieve.
I believe 8PSK Turbo predates DVB-S2. The DVB folks considered turbo codes, but picked LDPC instead.


I've just recently acquired a DVB-S2X decoder that implements the higher order constellations.


https://www.digital-devices.eu/shop/...spectrum?c=156


Video:


http://www.w6rz.net/sx8.mp4


128PSK:



HD MPEG-2 Test Patterns http://www.w6rz.net

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post #18 of 28 Old 04-22-2019, 01:00 PM
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Comparison

Having had all 3 (cable, DirecTV, Dish), here's my opinion.
The best, money wise, is Dish. DirecTV has slightly better PQ, but is more expensive. Some think that Dish has better equipment, but I found DirecTV's DVR to be better.
Cable promises much, but has a bad rep re: customer service.
Weather can affect reception, but here in Southern Nevada it is really not a factor.
So....DirecTV if your budget allows, but Dish if you want to save a few bucks and are okay with (as they say in the commercials) "just okay" PQ.

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post #19 of 28 Old 04-22-2019, 08:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Taking the plunge, signed up for Dish earlier this evening with install set-up for Saturday.
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post #20 of 28 Old 04-28-2019, 08:59 PM - Thread Starter
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24 hours since install and so far no complaints at all. Great picture (no difference from cable) and receiver box is much better.
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post #21 of 28 Old 04-29-2019, 05:52 PM
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Having used both Dish and DirecTV equipment, I prefer Dish's user interface. DirecTV's not bad, but Dish equipment makes it so easy to navigate menus (and even back up) with the digit keys (0-9) on the remote.
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post #22 of 28 Old 05-03-2019, 03:31 PM
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BTW, I went to Dish from cable in the summer of 2000. I considered both Direct TV and Dish and picked Dish because at that time they had 2 HD channels (HBO and Showtime) vs Direct TV with one (HBO). I have been happy with Dish since then.



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post #23 of 28 Old 10-19-2019, 03:32 PM
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Reliability of Satellite Reception

My cable company is incredibly reliable. I can’t remember the last time we could not get reception (except when we had no power.)

However, I am thinking of switching over to satellite. The cable bills are north of $300 a month and they no longer carry two of the networks i care about (MASN & MASN2)

My concern is on how often weather blocks out reception.

I would appreciate any thoughts existing users have on reliability.


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post #24 of 28 Old 10-19-2019, 05:25 PM
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For me, I'd guess once every two months for 5 to 10 minutes. Main thing is to make sure your disk is properly peaked. All continental satellites should be in the 90s in signal strength.
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post #25 of 28 Old 10-20-2019, 07:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomM_MD View Post
My cable company is incredibly reliable. I can’t remember the last time we could not get reception (except when we had no power.)

However, I am thinking of switching over to satellite. The cable bills are north of $300 a month and they no longer carry two of the networks i care about (MASN & MASN2)

My concern is on how often weather blocks out reception.

I would appreciate any thoughts existing users have on reliability.


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I cant get cable where I live and I get the top package and my cost is over $200/month, weather wise if it rains really hard i will loose the signal but like the other poster said, that is rare and when it happens its not out very long. Signal strength in the 90's.

Been with DTV for about 22 years.
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post #26 of 28 Old 10-21-2019, 06:41 AM
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Moved to HDTV Technical, though this question has been answered many times here and in the DirecTV Master Thread.

In a nutshell, it will depend on where you live, the quality of the installation w/r/t dish pointing and the kinds of weather you get. In Detroit, I get perhaps one heavy snow that'd fill the dish enough to knock things out until I could get up and brush it off. The rest of the year, never lost it at all. Cable would go out with power outages, people crashing into utility poles and backing over curbside connection boxes. As we had a generator, we didn't lose DirecTV even during power outages.

In Tampa, it takes a heavy thunderstorm to knock it out, but I usually only lose HD channels while the SD counterparts are unaffected. It was glitchy during Hurricane Irma, but watchable.

All of that said, it's not nearly as big of an issue as - with a provider login - you can just switch to the stream if/when it happens.
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post #27 of 28 Old 10-21-2019, 07:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDon View Post
Moved to HDTV Technical, though this question has been answered many times here an in the DirecTV Master Thread.



In a nutshell, it will depend on where you live, the quality of the installation w/r/t dish pointing and the kinds of weather you get. In Detroit, I get perhaps one heavy snow that'd fill the dish enough to d, it's not nearly as big of an issue as - with a provider login - you can just switch to the stream if/when it happens.

Thank you for your response. I had looked for existing threads but did not find any. I apparently was looking at the wrong place.




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post #28 of 28 Old 10-21-2019, 07:09 AM
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Threads merged.

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