Rate DirecTV & Comcast

chisueNovember 18, 2006

We have an HDTV and need to choose a service to provide HD feed. We've had DirecTV for five years and have been happy, but now will need new box and dish (and DVD).

Please tell me your experiences with either service and about difference in costs, too if you know that.

Our TV is a Sony XBR; been happy with that, too. We're in the Chicagoland area.

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There are advantages and disadvantages to each. Big eventual advantage to Comcast is that you will eventually be able to piggy back your tv package, telephone package, and internet package with one provider at a discount.

If you are a big sports fan (Baseball and Football) and want to watch out of market games (lets say you are a NY-er now living in Atlanta but want to watch the Yankees) DirecTV is your only choice--same with pro football. Dish network would be more for the non-sport enthusiast. Not that don't carry sports, but not major Pro sports, unless they happen to be on ESPN or network.

I would imagine both Dish and DirecTV are working on symbiotic deals with internet and phone companies, so they can offer similar packages as Comcast. But since Comcast will be able to deliver all their services through their own last mile lines, they should have the better deal.

But DirecTV does offer a hell of a lot of channels.

f you are a Cubs, White Sox, Bulls, Blackhawks, and/or Bears fan--since they are mostly all broadcast local and by Comcast - a digital Comcast connection may be the way to go.

First look at both both sites and see what programming is important to you.


    Bookmark   November 20, 2006 at 12:59PM
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Thanks, Greg! DH is a Cubs/Bears fan, but not interested in other cities' teams. Nor golf, bowling, soccer, whatever -- thank goodness! So we could go with either one.

We have At&T land line and computer (w/2 year "contract"), so I guess we will stick with DirecTV for the new hookup and DVD-R.

The Chicago Tribune's official geek had an article last week about choosing his own new HDTV & feed. He chose a Panasonic plasma and Comcast, thinking the resolution or whatever was superior to DirecTV's. I doubt we would notice any difference -- not being "cutting edge" in this department. Ours is a tube Sony XBR, five years old.

Should I be concerned about the rest of the components, which are also five? Yamaha receiver? I think we should buy a new DVD player before the tech comes. What should I look for? Need an HD-DVD player? Costs? (I assume the tech will replace old wiring when making the connections.)

Another advantage of Comcast would be the relative ease of connection. Our dish is mounted just below the roof ridge on our 10/12 pitch roof. Five years ago the tech refused to climb up there and our general contractor's assistant did the work.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2006 at 9:52AM
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I am a former Comcast customer. I will do everything in my power to never be one of their customers again.
Comcast cable is running under our sidewalks, but I have a DIRECT TV dish and have been their customer for about 4 years.

The problem with COMCAST is customer service and their attitude. At one point I spent one entire week receiving a picture every 20 seconds out of each minute. When I asked for any type of discount they said that since I "HAD" a picture for 20 seconds this would not count as an outtage so I would have to pay the full price for that month. OK try watching something for 20 seconds out of each minute and then tell me what the show was about?

The last straw was when the service tech was supposed to replace my two cable boxes on a Saturday. The tech arrived and was on his cell phone. I opened the door and he barged into the house(never opening his mouth) walked into the living room looked around, didn't see a TV and then said "where is it at?" He brought one box and when I questioned him about it he said that was all I was going to get. I called the office and they confirmed that I was supposed to get two boxes. The tech then told me to go to hell. NO ONE IS TELLING ME TO GO TO HELL WHILE I AM IN MY OWN HOUSE AND THEY ARE STANDING IN IT TOO!

This long story ended at 10pm with me missing my dinner date and with the COMCAST suppervisor telling me that what I did wrong was call the wrong COMCAST service center. I pointed out that there was only one number to call so how was I supposed to call another service center.

The next month I got DIRECT TV. I even had trouble taking the cable boxes back. The service center was a complete zoo, and at one point one guy was yelling "Do you people even want to have customers?"

With DIRECT TV I have a ton of stations,more than I ever watch, have had no problem with the dish or equipment, and I am upgrading to HDTV in January. New DISH and tuners, and my Dish is on top of my 3 story house. The cost will be $19 to upgrade everything.

I will not consider COMCAST for phone service or any thing else they want to offer me. I have Verizon phone service and high speed DSL which is fast enough for web surffing and large file downloads.

DIRECT TV is also about to increase the number of HDTV channels, so I am very glad to stick with a company that offers many channels, delivers a good picture to my current sets and values their customers.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2006 at 1:09AM
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I checked back here to post a RANT, and discovered it's already here! Thanks jerrod6! Misery loves company.

Here's my story of fun and games with BOTH providers.

We supposedly had the DirecTV HD DVR and HD Receiver (and new dish) all set to go last month. I paid $299 for the equipment and was told I'd hear from an installer. Nobody called, so I called DirecTV again. After taking a telephone tour of the USA for an hour, I was given a date and told the installer would phone to confirm. You guessed it; no call.

I called DirecTV again for another tour of the country -- five cities, as I recall, having to recite my story over and over to each new contact. Another date was set. This time I asked for the phone number of the installer. Of course I didn't hear from anyone and when I dialed the installer's number I got a recording: We no longer service the Chicagoland area. Another call to DirecTV to learn that there is no record of my order or of a date to install anything, anytime. But they will "look into it" and call me.

Now Mother Nature steps into the picture. We have a freak snowstorm (8 inches all at once) and the following week is freakishly cold. I call DirecTV and ask them to cancel the upgrade and credit my account. I don't see anyone climbing our roof in this weather. An hour after I cancel, DirecTV calls back and is ready to set a date for install in two days. Having finally wised up to their games I repeat: CANCEL THE ORDER AND CREDIT MY ACCOUNT! And...I call Comcast.

Comcast takes my order and sets a date for installation. The installer shows up *early*, but says he only has the HD DVR and a "regular" receiver. (Read on to see if you think he was lying.) Another date is set, a week later.

Yesterday another Comcast guy arrives. He puzzles why the first guy didn't complete the installation. We look at the first guy's order sheet and the second guy's sheet; they are identical. Hmmm. Well, then second guy goes out to find the Comcast connection box. THERE IS NONE! Our next door neighbors have Comcast. Comcast has sent two techs out to do an install. BUT...

The nearest box is down the street. We will need "Dig and Drill" to lay a line from the box to our house. The second guy assures me they'll do it next week and I should hear from scheduling "tomorrow".

I call Comcast after he leaves, wanting to confirm that this will actually happen and am told that all "Dig and Drill" has been suspended in our area...until April.

I can't guess how much time I have now wasted on this project between the hours waiting for installers to show up and hours on the phone tapping responses to prompts that don't address my situation. (And how much has this cost each of these companies?!)

We are giving this another try. I called DirecTV again. They will come here January 4 and install the HD Receiver/HD DVR box -- and new dish 30 feet up on our 10/12 pitch roof. HAAAAAAAAH-HAAAAAAAAHh-HAAAAAAAAAAH! Yeah, sure they will. Can't you see the techs volunteering for THIS order?
(to be continued) -- if I'm still alive after Jan. 4

    Bookmark   December 15, 2006 at 12:29PM
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Sorry to hear of your misery with both companies. I will usually do my DIRECT TV stuff online via their web site so that is another way to deal with them. Did DIRECT TV give you a confirmation number. If so, you can use that in your communications but this will only work if they are keeping records!

Hope you get your install. I hope I get mine too. I tell them in advance to be leave instructions from the installer to prepared to get on the roof of a high 3 story house. It worked the first time, I hope it does again.

Let us know how it works out.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2006 at 5:16PM
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Oh, I had a work order number. Unfortunately only *I* had it. Thanks for the web idea. I'll try that! I did tell them to bring a roofer's ladder; they said they'd send "the 40-foot ladder". (It isn't about height, it's about the steep slant.) I'll come back and "tell" if you will.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2006 at 2:27PM
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Thought I would post a follow up regarding my DIRECT TV HDTV upgrade.

The installers arrived on the scheduled date, climbed up the ladder to the roof of my 3 story house. Installed a 5 LNB dish which is capable of getting the HDTV feeds from the new satellites, installed two new boxes to my new LCD and Plasma TVs and that was it. I now have HDTV, my local stations and my local stations in HD.

So this install went very good. In January Direct TV announced that they will be adding more HD channels later this year--I think 100+(some of these are probably local sports) and I think one of these will be CNN HD so I will wait to see what happens.

And for a $19 upgrade fee....I am still a happy customer.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2007 at 12:54AM
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I have to agree with jerrod6 and chisue who hammered Comcast. They deserve it. We had comcast for 23 years before moving and everything negative mention above we had happen to us. That's one of the problems with having no competition for services.

Right now we have Charter Cable for our televisions and internet access. The service is superior, the choices are better and the price is half of comcast's charges!

So go with the dish!

Enjoy the journey.

eal51 in western CT

    Bookmark   February 4, 2007 at 1:52AM
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I have had DirecTV for about 12 years now and, except for a few misques, love it and the customer service has been great! My biggest complaint is that they are now calling periodically to sell me services I am not interested in even if its only 5 bucks more a month.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2007 at 6:14PM
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breezy, the next time they call just tell them to put you on their do not call list. Works like a charm.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2007 at 1:21PM
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I need to reduce the cost of watching TV. I currently have Comcast and I am thinking about DirectTV. It seems to offer at least the same channels,and is less expensive. Could someone tell me if they think it's a good idean to make this change?

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 9:39PM
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Also compare to DISH. May or may not be a little cheaper, but the service is about the same as Direct TV. We've one back and forth between the two (cable is not an option here), and they are very similar. We like the remote on the DISH a little better. Note that the main cable channels are shown at East Coast time, regardless of your time zone. Local channels/network programs are not affected. Fine with us here in CA, we get the Daily Show at 8 instead of 11.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 10:30PM
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I guess I'm in the minority as to Comcast and their service, but when ever we have had a problem they've been super nice on the phone and when they send a technician, they are always pleasant and efficient..I live in MA. Now the down side is they are VERY expensive and the rates just keep going up and up but being a couple of cynics, we hesitate to change anything that works..every time we do we end up with a nightmare on our hands.

Verizon has in the past 2 years, installed FIOS in our area and we still have to enquire with a few neighbors as to the service and reception..we are toying with the idea of this winter going through the "change" if the prices are significantly lower, which I know they are. My old theory the Devil you know is better than the Devil you don't know..or just call me chicken remains my main reason for not going with FIOS..but Comcast is going to price themselves right out of business..

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 3:45PM
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