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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm trying to help out my father-in-law who recently bought a 42" LCD. He has DirecTV with non-HD programming and thus has a D11 box. The picture doesn't look that great. The cables going from the box to the tv are RCA's (box doesn't have HDMI). I've got some questions about what we can do to improve the picture...


1) Getting an HD box to get better picture doesn't require HD programming, does it? I was checking out the DirecTV website and only a few channels are available in HD anyway. An HD box has HDMI connections so that should help out the picture quality.


2) Why is DirecTV quoting him one time $99 for the box PLUS $10/mo and it's not his at the end. What's up w/ the $99? If he were to get the box at Best Buy, would that be doable just changing out the programming card to the new box?


3) Does he have to get a DirecTV HD box? Is there a 3rd party box he can just insert the programming card to get the box to work?


Thanks
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by majik /forum/post/14170035


I'm trying to help out my father-in-law who recently bought a 42" LCD. He has DirecTV with non-HD programming and thus has a D11 box. The picture doesn't look that great. The cables going from the box to the tv are RCA's (box doesn't have HDMI). I've got some questions about what we can do to improve the picture...


1) Getting an HD box to get better picture doesn't require HD programming, does it? I was checking out the DirecTV website and only a few channels are available in HD anyway. An HD box has HDMI connections so that should help out the picture quality.

HDMI cables are not going to make the picture magically better. Trust me. If you're using composite video now, S-Video cables might give you a *slight* boost, but 480i is 480i, and on a large format TV, it's not going to look so hot. 480i over HDMI is not going to look better than 480i over S-Video cables. It just won't. Save your money.

Quote:
Originally Posted by majik /forum/post/14170035


2) Why is DirecTV quoting him one time $99 for the box PLUS $10/mo and it's not his at the end. What's up w/ the $99? If he were to get the box at Best Buy, would that be doable just changing out the programming card to the new box?

The $99 is for the one-time lease fee for the box. You see, as of a few years ago, all new D* receiver hardware is *leased* - you don't own it anymore. You pay a one-time fee for a long-term lease, plus a monthly box service fee. Whether you get it from D*, or get it at Best Buy, Circuit City, or wherever, that box is still D*'s property. Also, I'm not sure you can just pull the access card and pop it in another box - newer boxes require different access card families, and it *may* lock to the receiver; haven't used D* myself in awhile. Maybe someone else can say, or call D* and find out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by majik /forum/post/14170035


3) Does he have to get a DirecTV HD box? Is there a 3rd party box he can just insert the programming card to get the box to work?

If he wants to be able to get the latest in HD programming at any point, then yes; the D*-branded (and leased) boxes are the *only* ones that will do the new MPEG-4 HD channels. There are older D* receivers, like the Samsung SIR-TS360, which will receive MPEG-2 HD channels (and OTA NTSC and ATSC programming), but HD via D* in MPEG-2 has a timer attached. Its time is limited. However, if he doesn't want to go with HD programming anyway, as I mentioned previously, getting the HD box and HDMI cables is just tossing good money after bad - it's not going to gain you *anything*.
 

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You absolutely cannot pick up a box at BB and then swap cards. Cards are married to the receiver they're activated with, and the new receiver will simply say "insert correct access card." The Access Card Actions group at DirecTV can marry old cards with new receivers, but they won't unless you have a very good reason for doing so.


At one time DirecTV would allow you to have HD equipment on your account without paying the $10 monthly HD access fee, so that you could use the receiver without an HD subscription. That time is over as of about 8 months ago. They will require the HD access fee with any HD equipment activation. There is no getting around it. Further, after the $99 equipment lease fee, they will also slap on a 2 year contract extension. No getting around that either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Looks like there's no way avoiding all those extra fees to enjoy HD


Quote:
Originally Posted by joed32 /forum/post/14171072


The picture will only get better on HD channels and there are a lot more than "a few".

You're right...I'm checking the site again and I don't know why I got the impression that there were only a few channels in HD.
 

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You'll need a new 5 LNB dish to go the the new receiver, ordering it through Directv will cover the dish and install also.
 
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