I've always been a cable customer but when I bought an HDTV a few years ago, I wanted to take advantage of HD programming. My cable provider, Charter Cable didn't have much HD to offer. After much research online and speaking with a few customers, I decided witched to Dish. The quality was excellent, price was right and there was a great selection of channels. I particularly like the Red Zone channel during football season. The regional sport channels were a miss, however. Roughly six times in the past year I lost service during a snowstorms when the dish became covered in heavy, wet snow but those were the only issues. I was able to wipe the snow off the dish. I really liked the two room DVR service with only one cable box. The downsides were that only two programs could be watched/taped at a time and only one of the TVs could be HD.
Jump ahead to the present. After Dish stopped working, I switched back to Charter to see if service had improved - it hadn't. The service was expensive, low quality, poor user interface and had frequent interruptions. I had toyed with the idea of going back to Dish, getting an introductory rate and getting a Google TV for $179 (Dish discount). However, ultimately, I decided against it. I decided to give Directv a try and I'm glad I did. Details of my DirectTV nstall:
Dish: Single, installed on the roof. Unfortunately, DirecTV couldn't install the dish in the same place where the Dish Network satellite was (southern exposure, back of house, not visible from street) since Direct needs to point southwest. The DirecTV technical had to install the dish on the peak of my house where it's visible from the street (unfortunately)
TVs: Two. One in the family room (HD, plasma) and one in the bedroom (SD, tube). I am looking to upgrade the bedroom TV to HD during the holiday season with a "deal." Probably a 42" plasma.
Equipment: Two cable boxes (HR24, H21) one DVR utilizing SWM. Whole house DVR enabled (killer feature), Directv Cinema (on demand, not yet working, the installer needs to come back), ChoiceXtra package.
- Less expensive than inferior cable service
- HD quality and selection. Much better than cable and noticeably better than Dish
- Easy to use, customizable interface and channel guide. I can even record programs from Apple iOS and Windows Phone 7 via a free application
- I can add more TVs as needed with whole house DVR service
- Unlike Dish Network, I'm not limited to a single HD TV
- Separate cable boxes for each TV provides additional failover (Dish has one). In addition, the one cable box configuration with Dish used RF to change the channel and was sometime finicky
- RedZone channel only available as part of NFL package. With Dish it was available separately. I'm a big fan of RedZone since they switch back and forth through all the games when teams are inside the twenty yard line and threatening to score.
- Each PPV channel needs to be removed individually from channel guide - no way to remove them all with one setting. At least all adult channels can be hidden with one setting
- Wasn't able to hide the dish from being visible from the street. In addition, I won't be able to easily access the dish if I need to clear it of snow or adjust it (I did sign up for the $5.99 service plan)
- DVR storage can be increased via SATA drive but it replaces (rather than compliments) internal storage. Dish Network had this capability. More storage is always a good thing
- Needed to sign a two year contract. Price goes up after one year