Need Reviews/info RE: Satellite TV

kellyengJanuary 26, 2009

I need to see if I can cut the cost of my cable. We are major TV watchers and have all the premium channels, On Demand, DVR, blah-blah-blah.

We've never had satellite and I know nothing about how it works. For instance, is it true that if you have multiple TVs in the house (all with receivers) that you are limited to only watching one station at a time?

Any info or reviews (Direct TV or Dish Network?) would be greatly appreciated.

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We have Directv. DH wanted "more" than what cable offered. He didn't think cable had enough channels to surf. We have 1 dish - HD on 2 tv's with basic on 1 tv. We have the Total Choice package with Starz - not sports watchers so no extra sports channels and our bill is $94 a month. The one down side I see with satellite is it DOES go "out" more than cable ever did in bad weather. Gets fuzzy at times when a storm is coming in and the satellite with go black during the storm. But overall I am very pleased with the channel selection. I watch alot more educational/nature than what was available before. We've had it for about 4 years so I don't know what improvements Comcast has done since then to compete. (And we have no kids so I can't give you any reviews on that end).

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 3:50PM
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We have Directv too--didn't have a choice here since cable stops down the road. We used to have cable in our last house. It's not true anymore that you all have to watch the same channel. We have two tv sets but I think you can have up to four. I'd agree that it does go out in bad weather. It's not as much of an issue here in TN, but people who had it in Buffalo used to have problems with it icing up. We get everything--all the premium channels and DVR on both sets (can't live w/o my DVR) and we pay $136/mo. Probably should get rid of some of the premium channels and lower the price, but it's so confusing the way they tie in certain channels with others. DH was upset when he bought the NFL and ESPN football packages and then found out it was an extra charge to get them in HD. Whichever way you go, Cable and Satellite are both expensive. But, let's face it, we can't live without it!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 11:46PM
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We have Direct TV and have been pleased with it.

It does go out in severe weather such as a major rain storm but for us it has never been more than 15 minutes about 6-7 times a year.Once during a snow storm, the signal went out and we washed the snow off the dish with a water hose which restored the signal.

We have 5 TVs hooked up and have to rent a converter box for each one. That way we can watch different stations on each TV.

Our bill started about $50 a month 4 years ago and has gone up steadily to $80 now for the same service. That does bother me.

We do not have access to cable.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2009 at 12:23AM
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Another DirecTV user here. We've had DirectTV ever since it first came out - except for one year when we rented a house while our new home was being built. We used Comcast that one year and we experienced more outtages during that one year than in all of the years with DirecTV combined.

So service-wise DirecTV was far better in our experience.

You are not limited to one channel, BUT it does cost extra.

We have the Total Choice Plus package with HD - it's about $80/mo. The HD is amazing.

Although cable is not an option for us, I would not go with cable if it were available.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2009 at 2:55PM
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Hubby and I love watching's a good value compared to the cost of going out to the movies and other entertainment options!! We had tossed around the idea of switching to DirectTv , due to budgetary concerns but ended up staying with Comcast.

For comparison purposes I'll throw in my cable information. I am on a Comcast Triple Play 2 year contract for $175.00 a month ( I find it to be a decent value).

Here is what I have:

6 total televisions hooked up.
1 High Definition/Digital DVR cable box, 2 regular digital cable boxes. (the 3 kids' tv's just receive basic cable) The digital cable package is "expanded digital" with Starz, HBO, Cinemax, Encore and Showtime.

Package also includes cable internet and phone service (all features including voice mail and unlimited long distance)

Before being put on the Triple Play Package our bill was about $250.00 a month. I called Comcast to drop some services because I felt it was too expensive and was able to lock into the $175.00 a month price for 24 months. You might be able to negotiate with the cable company and lock into a cheaper's worth a try!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2009 at 6:04PM
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I've had Directv, Dish Network and cable and by far prefer Directv. My monthly bill runs about $125 for all the movie channels (HBO, Starz, Showtime, etc), the Total Choice Package and an extra charge for HD access, two leased receivers, and the protection plan. I only have two receivers because I elected to get the HD receiver for just one tv and had to get the regular receiver for the other tv.

If you go with satellite I strongly recommend the service protection plan. Directv equipment only comes with a three month warranty otherwise you pay a $60+ service visit and any extra they deem necessary. I've had to use the plan twice already. The HD receiver conked out after about 9 months and another time my satellite dish had to be re-aligned after a wind storm.

I do get frustrated losing my satellite in bad weather and Directv's customer service sucks in my opinion, but I admit to preferring them far and above cable.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 1:32AM
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Anybody have anything bad to say about Dish? I have Directv but have been thinking about switching. Most of my neighbors and a couple of relatives have Dish and seem to be happy.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 5:46AM
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Aleshel - We "lease" our Directv boxes so I don't think we don't have a service charge if anything goes wrong. (I could very well be mistaken - I know I've had to call them when things get screwed up and they have to "walk" me through resetting some of the buttons). And there's never been a charge. We had friends that had Dish but switched over to Directv after watching ours.
And I think the original conception of having to watch all one channel was in the beginning with the one dish, you needed multiple dishes (for each TV). Now one dish does it all, multiple receivers gives you the diversity.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 7:30AM
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Anybody have anything bad to say about Dish?

No personal experience but a friend of ours had it. They kept raising his bill so he called to complain. They offered some extras at no charge so he said "fine". Then he got a bill for the extras. He called and got nowhere so cancelled his service. He's refusing to pay for the extras so now his credit rating is taking a hit - right when he's thinking about refinancing his mortgage (not smart imho)

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 1:01PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

I have Dish, and am fairly pleased. I have one receiver and it will run 2 different TV's on 2 different channels. If I added another TV or 2, I would be required to have another receiver unit for an additional $5 (I think) a month.

Before committing to anything, be sure you know what all the charges are and what they are for. Most times the installation is free, but you must commit to at least a one year contract on a certain package of channels which is not the smallest, but isn't the biggest either.

Another friend has an 'older' installation with Dish, and she has 2 TVs and each has its own receiver so she has to pay an additional $5 for the second one.

I quit Direct when they started adding $5 per month for the second receiver on the second TV after it had been free for the preceding years.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 3:26PM
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I've had Dish Network for 6.5 years. Not really any complaints. Only have one receiver. The price does seem to go up. Started out paying $23 per month (was 60 channels back then) and now have maybe 100 channels plus local channels (I added the local channels which is maybe $6 extra) and it is $40 month which isn't bad. cheaper than cable. It does go out in storms but I have never had an outage that lasted more than an hour. Normally its just a few minutes and it comes back on. I dont' have Starz or HBO or anything like that. Installation was free (no start up costs at all) and I own my receiver now. Only thing I had to pay to replace was the remote (button went bad last year) and that was $30.

I've never had Direct Tv so I can't compare the two but from viewing their prices online, they seem to be more expensive than Dish and also have higher cancellation fees if that is a concern.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 4:07PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

Only thing I had to pay to replace was the remote (button went bad last year) and that was $30.
newhome, I recently just bought a universal remote (about $10) and found the satellite programmed into it just fine.

I had asked Dish about getting extra remotes back when it was installed and was told they were $25 (!) and that probably did not include shipping and handling. I like having 2 remotes for each tv. That way BF can go to sleep with one in his hand, and I have one handy to switch the channel as soon as he is all zzzzzzzzzzzed out.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 6:36PM
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We've had DirecTV for eight years. Have one (old) dish that feeds to our kitchen TV and one new one that is HD with a DVD-recorder (like Tivo). Total bill is $75/mo. for basic services -- no HBO, etc. (We rent DVDs from the library and can get HBO movies; don't care if they are a year old.)

The DVD-R is slick. You can watch one program and record another, or record two at the same time.

When we get home from vacation I want to look into who has the best deal for a combination package of TV, Internet and Phone. Or, maybe we'll dump the landline.

BTW, dealing with ANY of these services is surely h@ll! They are growing much too fast to train their employees.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 10:09PM
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Dish Network, no premium movie package (they seem to show the same movies over & over) Local channels, 2 receivers - one is DVR, 4 TV's, signed up for auto pay total about $72/month. Heavy rain will block the signal, but then you can just catch up on the DVR recordings. Customer service is difficult - PIA, but I think that is the standard today. Decent selection, more than I want to pay, but again, that is just the standard everywhere.
Six of one, half dozen of another.
BTW, we cannot get cable or even broadband as we are waaaayy out in the country.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 10:39AM
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I switched from cable tv to DirectTV about 4 years ago and have been very pleased. When I switched over, I immediately noticed that the quality of the picture seemed better than what I was getting from cable. We have only had about two outages of less than an hour in that time, and it was due to a severe weatherfront moving through. I live in the Seattle area where we have clouds and rain for many months, and this doesn't generally seem to affect the reception. The only downside is that I have three tv's and a receiver is needed for each. The installer ran two cables to my main tv (which has the Tivo-type box) so I can watch one channel and record another at the same time, or record two programs at the same time. Since I get it as part of a bundle with my Verizon home phone and DSL service, I get a fairly decent discount compared to what I would have to pay if I got DirectTV only.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2009 at 2:18AM
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Dish user here, and I seem to be in the minority on this thread. I have the 250 channel package, dvr and the dual tuner receiver with local channels, my bill is a tick over $65 each month. For the channels we watch, Dish was better than Direct for us, at the time, things might have changed, but I doubt it, they seem to keep their channel lineups pretty much the same, and just change prices. Very few outages, only when a bad storm roles through, or is south of us and blocks the signal, only happens 2-3 times a year, which isn't bad considering the storms I get out here in the Midwest, tornado alley. Had Dish for about 5 years now.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2009 at 9:12AM
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We have looked at switching from cable. However I just took back my cable box and remote, and had the movie channels removed to save 38 a month. We have 3 tv's and receive cable on all but only had one box for movies. Our cable rarely goes out, usually when electricity goes out. It is still high for what we get ($45 + tax and franchise fees).

Michael,I have to admit that your deal sounds great with Dish. Something I will check into this fall. DH loves sports on tv - football, baseball, and college games.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2009 at 2:26PM
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