Cable vs. Satellite - Experiences?

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Cable vs. Satellite - Experiences?

Postby spnorm » Thu Feb 12, 2009 1:33 pm

Can anyone share experience with satellite providers in town, as an option to Comcast? I was wondering if the signal was reliable and how the channel offerings are (including HD stations). It' very hard to compare costs, since none of the companies will give you a straight answer about price after the introductory deals run out. So if there are any established dish users out there, I'd like to hear from you.

My main goal is to see if there is any savings to be had by switching from Comcast digital starter with HD (around $70/month altogether) to satellite TV.

(Oh, by the way, I'm on the north end of town, so if air traffic affects the signal, that could be an important factor.)

Thanks.
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Re: Cable vs. Satellite - Experiences?

Postby mglr536 » Fri Feb 13, 2009 6:48 am

I have Dish Network. Love it. Have had for about 8 years.

1st great item was the installation. On the 2 house installs I've done, both techs spent about 45 minutes surveying my house & TV locations before doing any install work. he talked with me, explained everything and asked questions. My neighbor had DirecTV and hated their install.

In 8 years, I've had maybe 5 problems where I've called tech support and the were also excellent and pleasant. The problems were eventually fixed within minutes by resetting the satellite box by turningthe power off for awhile and powering back up. Occassionally, when it rains heavily the signal will go away, but that hasn't really impacted me in 8 years. Snow has never been an issue. Planes no issue. the dish itself was mounted in an area selected mutually by myself and tech, so to get a signal and blend into the roof.

Channels - I had the 180 package for most all of 8 years, I think. Now I have the same channel count with HD service. 4 TV's are connected with the capability to record (DVR) on all TVs. 2 TVs are HD. Picture and sound are great. The remote takes care of all my needs, as the tech did all the programming and then explained how to use it. My upgrade to HD runs me about $75 per month. I negotiated any extra charges out being a long time customer angle. I was able to get $10 off the normal price for 12 months, too. So, after the promo period, my service will be about $85 per month and that includes any taxes if any.

I had DirecTV and cable in my life at primary and secondary homes. Have had neighbors with all 3 services, too. I prefer Dish because of professional install, excellent customer/technical service, little problems/issues, cost comparable. I don't have NECN or local Merrimack TV, but I have plenty of entertainment choices that have satisfied me for 8 years and would highly recommend the service.
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Re: Cable vs. Satellite - Experiences?

Postby spnorm » Fri Feb 13, 2009 1:07 pm

Thanks for the detailed reply. That's very helpful. I'll have to review the current packages against the channels I want. I may or may not come out any cheaper, but might get a little more for the money. Part of me wants to change even if it's the same, just for the satifaction of telling Comcast what they can do with their latest price increase.
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Re: Cable vs. Satellite - Experiences?

Postby Debra Huffman » Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:16 am

I also have Dish Network and have been very happy with them. I have a clear shot at the southwest sky, so I get great reception.

I do regret not having the local government channels, but they wanted several thousand dollars to bring the line up my 850' driveway so satellite won.
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Re: Cable vs. Satellite - Experiences?

Postby Michael Pelletier » Mon Feb 16, 2009 9:33 am

We've had Dish for so long that the tech commented on how low our receiver number was when he came out to upgrade our DVR unit, which was incompatible with their new HD-compatible encoding. Since about 1998 or so, as I recall.
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Re: Cable vs. Satellite - Experiences?

Postby cosmo » Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:32 am

We have been a Dish subscriber since we moved to Merrimack in 1998. Cable was not even an option so it was one of the satellite co.
Did the upgrade to HD and the DVR last winter due to the decent incentive pkg they were offering.
The only time I have an issue is very heavy rain/snow and also when there's snow build-up on the back edge of my roof. This partially blocks out one of the satellites, but other than that no complaints.
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Re: Cable vs. Satellite - Experiences?

Postby bobandgeri » Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:20 pm

Another positive experience with DISH Network. We had DTV for a couple of yearsm then switched to DISH due to better offerings at the time. A year ago we had a 3rd receiver installed that required a new piece of hardware. The installer that came out went way above and beyond , to the point of running new cable to our existing receivers.

Maybe once or twice a year we experience "rain fade" during very heavy rainfalls.

We have two HD DVR's that we wired ourselves so that we can watch either from any of our 4 HD tv's (okay - yes we like our tv shows :>) You can get extra remotes that work from anywhere in the house. We have ours configured so all tv's will see the same show, but you can also configure them so that tv's on two rooms could watch two seperate shows.

With the recent Ice Storm still on our mind, the on thing I would add is to pick up a UPS battery supply for each receiver so that any power glitches where the power goes out for a few seconds doesn't make the receiver have to recycle and find the satellite. That can take 5 minutes which can be anoying if watching a show.
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Re: Cable vs. Satellite - Experiences?

Postby spnorm » Fri Feb 20, 2009 1:41 pm

Thanks to everyone for sharing their experiences. Sounds like either everyone with Dish Network is happy, or those that aren't are not posting their complaints. Since most folks complain when they are not satisfied, and are silent when they are, I'm guessing Dish hasn't ticked off too many people.

Just a question on multipe TVs. Does each TV need a box? With cable, we have a box for the living room TV, but I just plug the cable directly into the other sets. I only get the lower tier channels on those (up to channel 70 or so), but as long as they get Nick & Disney, were fine with that (guess who watches those!) I figure if I don't need to spend a couple dollars extra per month on the boxes, why do it?

Regarding the UPS suggestion - it's probably similar to waiting for my cable box to reboot when the power goes out. But if there is a risk of power interruptions, I usually don't watch the TV and sometimes even unplug it. The surges that come with the power going off and on can fry delicate electronics, and I only put so much faith in surge suppressor strips.
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Re: Cable vs. Satellite - Experiences?

Postby bobandgeri » Fri Feb 20, 2009 4:38 pm

If you want to watch differant shows on differant tv sets, then you either need to have a box for each or share a box that allows each tv to watch differant shows such as the DISH 625 DVR, 622 DVR 22 DVR, or 322 Receiver. These boses will let one box be used by two tv's and watch seperate shows. If you want to watch the same show on all the tv's in the house, then you only need one box.

Go to this page:
http://www.dishnetwork.com/receivers/hd/default.aspx
to see the HD receviers


You can then click on the links on the left to see DVR and non HD receivers.
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Re: Cable vs. Satellite - Experiences?

Postby mglr536 » Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:06 am

Your Question "Just a question on multipe TVs. Does each TV need a box?"

I can't comment on the model of receiver box, but I can say that I have 2 receiver boxes that permit me to watch TV on 4 sets in 4 seperate rooms.
I can watch 4 different shows on those TVs at the same time. If you want to have 5 or more, then you need additional receiver box which will cost extra.

The reason is that my box has 2 tuners inside: TV1 and TV2. So, you have a box under TV1 with a remote. No box under TV2 just a remote. That TV2 remote uses wireless to communicate with the tuner in the other room.

Hope that helps.
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Re: Cable vs. Satellite - Experiences?

Postby Michael Pelletier » Sun Feb 22, 2009 11:21 am

Just a question on multipe TVs. Does each TV need a box? With cable, we have a box for the living room TV, but I just plug the cable directly into the other sets. I only get the lower tier channels on those (up to channel 70 or so), but as long as they get Nick & Disney, were fine with that (guess who watches those!) I figure if I don't need to spend a couple dollars extra per month on the boxes, why do it?

The tuner in the box is what converts the gigahertz-range encoded satellite signal into something that your TV can understand. Thus, each TV needs some sort of box to make that conversion.

The reason that cable works without a box is that the cable company is still putting analog signals over the cable wire which are the same kind of signal that you'd get over a TV antenna from an analog over-the-air broadcast. So the TV set simply sees what's coming in over the cable wire as analog VHF and UHF television signals as if they were coming in over an antenna and tunes them accordingly. The cable companies send the digital channels over a different set of frequencies which require the cable box to decode, just as with the satellite signals.

It'll be interesting to see if in the coming years the cable companies start offering digital UHF and VHF signals in their basic tier.
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