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Any Dish Users Out There?
Old 08-03-2006, 02:46 PM   #1
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Any Dish Users Out There?

Looking like the new casa is going to become a member of the Dish Network due to lack of cable.*
Having never messed with satellites before, I'm wondering what to watch out for, pros and cons etc.
The price isn't bad and I'll be able to hook up 4 individually controlled TVs with one being HD. As the whole house is wired already they plan to use existing wire.* I do anticipate a tree problem though, but the install guy told me on the phone I always find a way
So what do y'all think? Dish good? or dish bad?
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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?
Old 08-03-2006, 02:52 PM   #2
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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?

I have Dish Network and I think it sucks. the 'boxes' have ongoing problems. I have exchanged 5 sets of 'boxes' in the last 2 years. That is bad enough but factor in the ongoing signal problems - Everytime it rains - no signal. High winds - no signal. too hot - no signal. I am going back to cable....
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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?
Old 08-03-2006, 02:58 PM   #3
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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?

My kids have Dish Network and I've had Direct TV (for 7+years). They agree that Direct TV is a little easier to work with as far as the user interface, online menus etc. But both have been good from a quality/reliability standpoint.

I've had no interference problems other than for a few minutes during a heavy rainstorms. No problems related to wind or heat, which might indicate a less than stable mounting of the antenna.

Other than that, no real pros/cons that I can think of. I get HD off the air with an antenna and don't subscribe to their HD service, so I can't speak to how that performs.

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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?
Old 08-03-2006, 03:18 PM   #4
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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?

I assume there is a universal measurement for signal strength as I've been told to not accept less than a 75.* So do they tell you your reading before install and is there a way to check on the signal strength 2,3-6 months later?
Are they tapped into your phone line and if so, does it degrade your phone service in any way?
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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?
Old 08-03-2006, 03:29 PM   #5
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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPatrick
I assume there is a universal measurement for signal strength as I've been told to not accept less than a 75. So do they tell you your reading before install and is there a way to check on the signal strength 2,3-6 months later?
I did my own install and yes, you can check your signal strength anytime via an on-screen menu (Direct TV). Mine shows the reading for 32 separate transponders on the satellite with strength ranging from a low of 78 to a high of 97. Most readings are in the mid 80's.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPatrick
Are they tapped into your phone line and if so, does it degrade your phone service in any way?
Until I went totally wireless a few months back, I did have their box plugged into my phone line. I saw no impact at all to my phone service.

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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?
Old 08-03-2006, 04:43 PM   #6
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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?

Dish Network was the worst customer experience I've ever had in my entire life. The equipment stinks, their DVR stinks, their signal quality on local channels is awful, and their customer service is the absolute worst ever.

Directv and dish both use percentage signals. Different gear can take a 'lock' at different minimum levels...generally 40-50 is the minimum. Either you have a lock or you dont. The higher signal level lets you take more 'rain/snow fade' or other inclement weather/bird/zeppelin type situations. You dont want a tree anywhere between you and the southern sky about texas vicinity. There are two and sometimes three satellites involved, and the dish is pointed to take them all in to varying degrees, hence the differences in transponders. Check your levels on several. Adjusting the dish is not rocket science, there are two lock screws that let you tilt the dish and turn it. I usually drag a 13" tv and a receiver outside on an extension cord so I can see the signal strength while I tweak. Despite the pathetic comcast commercials, you do not need to adjust your dish ever again for any reason other than it not being tightened down properly.

The telephone connection is just to send up any PPV information for what you've bought and to check in and make sure all of your receivers are still in one place. Frankly they're a little lax in the latter area, but that can change, and quickly. I think all it does is a little 2-3 minute call once or twice a month. The DVR's may call more often.

You should NOT use the existing house wiring unless its qualified to carry a satellite signal, and most existing cable tv wire is not. It might work, but you'll lose 5-10% of your signal. If you live in an area with little or no severe rain/snow, that may not be a problem.

This is standard Dish Network install...use a gable mount, run some 2" screws up through the bottom of your roof and puncture your tar paper, hook it up with 10' runs to existing cable tv wire, get the dish to 70-75 signal and run. Ideally after charging you extra for the gable mount.

Directv isnt as good customer service wise as they used to be, its often sent to Bob in India now, but their equipment is far better, their dvr is far better, their customer service actually does try to help, not taunt you, and they actually give some bandwidth to the local channels through their spot beam satellite so your local channels dont look like washed out crud. Even comcast and my tv antenna gave me better local channel picture quality than Dish did.

Dish does have a slightly cheaper basic package than Directv, but IIRC its missing 2-3 really good channels, like sci-fi or comedy central or one of those. Scrutinize the basic 'top 40' vs the top 100 package to see what they've carved out.

Do note also that Dish has been sued (successfuly) in several states for how they treat customers, specifically overcharging them or trying to extort money from them when they decide to cancel the service. I'm pretty sure even crappy comcast hasnt been sued to that extent.
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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?
Old 08-03-2006, 06:40 PM   #7
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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
Dish Network was the worst customer experience I've ever had in my entire life.* The equipment stinks, their DVR stinks, their signal quality on local channels is awful, and their customer service is the absolute worst ever.
Damn! Sounds like the best I can hope for is getting run down by a Mack Truck some time before they show up on Monday
I am a bit concerned about the 18 month contract they want me to sign.* Guess I'll be reading fineprint while they are looking for a path through the trees
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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?
Old 08-03-2006, 06:51 PM   #8
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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?

18 months? Interesting -- didn't know they ran that long.
We've had DISH for a little over a year, with the Top 60, which gets us pretty much what we want.
The equipment ain't so great .. the DVR can be a bit flaky, and we had a problem with the dish itself. (BTW, you probably get the warranty with this contract. If they come out, they'll fix the problem but it will cost you $30.)
On the other hand, neither cable or DirectTV has offered me a good enough deal to switch...
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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?
Old 08-03-2006, 09:21 PM   #9
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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?

Have no experience with them but IF they have an option to choose a larger receiving dish take the larger dish as it will give you a larger fade margin and your system will tolerate rain ect better. They probably don't have the option .

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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?
Old 08-03-2006, 09:22 PM   #10
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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?

yep, read your contract. Regardless of whatever problems you have with their product, you will pay the entire 18 months, or some kind of cancellation fee, and at the end, you have to remove the LNB from the dish (hopefully its somewhere you can reach it without risking life and limb) and box it up with the receivers and mail it back to them. If they dont get the gear within a short window of time, they charge your credit card for about $400-500.

I got into a nice long talk with their VP of customer service. His favorite things to say were "it says so in the contract!" and "if it doesnt say that in the contract, we're not going to do it!"

Bruce is right, the 25" dish gets a much better signal and has lower rain fade. Its usually a hundred or two more expensive and you'd be surprised how much larger a 25" dish is than an 18"...
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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?
Old 08-03-2006, 09:46 PM   #11
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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?

Do these guys show you what signal strength you will get before you sign on the bottom line?
Like I said, I'm going to have a tree problem(I'm pretty sure) and I don't want 18 months of marginal reception
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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?
Old 08-03-2006, 10:20 PM   #12
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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPatrick
Do these guys show you what signal strength you will get before you sign on the bottom line?
Dunno, since I did my own install.

Why not tell the installer you aren't going to sign anything until he proves to you you can get good signal strength? If he says no, tell him you're going to see if his competitor is a little more customer friendly.

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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?
Old 08-04-2006, 08:05 AM   #13
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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?


When we first got a dish service we were able to compare* at the same place. Now they aren't at the same places anymore. One at radio shack and another at best buy or places like that...and now the dealers know nothing about the programs and such. It is harder and harder to find a local dealer since they can't have both servies.You can check them out on line for what they offer but I recommend having someone local come and install it so you have some local place to deal with.

We've had dish network with the dish 500 for a few years I usually try and pay up a year at a time, what I don't like is that they put the money in my account and deduct the monthly charges off that. It is supposed to be cheaper when I pay the year up front.* They won't let me pay for my locals a year in advance so I try and pay that when they send me a bill for* about 10 months ahead it is really confusing on the billing. They also screw around with the time frame on you.

We have the 120 package and were pretty satisfied with it.

I think the DVR is dumb becasue I would want to watch one show and tape another and it doesn't allow that.

We don't have a lot of problem with the service not working. We have 2 receivers and occasionally one of them it is out but not for very long I know that cable goes out a lot more. We have friends that have cable and want to change to dish or direct because of service and cost.

I also recommend having a TV in another room with just an antenna(rabbit ears) so if your service goes out you can at least get your local programs just in case.

Becareful If you order movies you have to keep good track of what you order with them.*

We used to have a big dish and it was easier so all this is a pain but the big dish is going the way of the dinasour.

I wouldn't lock my self in for more than a year we also never signed any long term contracts we first signed 6 months so we wouldn't have to pay for the dish ,receivers, and it came with a special promotion like a movies package. Check and see what each service is offering when your ready they offer different promotions different months.

Goodluck
Kathyet

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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?
Old 08-04-2006, 08:23 AM   #14
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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?

No satellite experience; have had fairly good luck with Comcast, althought they're expensive as heck...

Apparently, Time Warner has bought Comcast, so now, rates will undoubtedly rise?? and soon I'll have to change my email address (not sure when yet).

DGF has DirectTV; seems to work ok.
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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?
Old 08-04-2006, 09:25 AM   #15
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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?

We had Direct TV before Katrina in eastern N.O. - worked well except in real severe thunderstorms.

Not cheap - but no cable in Lake Catherine. On cable here in MO - local company - not cheap either.

May get wild and crazy - come start of regular season football.

heh heh heh

P.S. - 12 foot pilings plus another 8 foot to the eave of the sunporch - line of sight for the dish was a clear shot.
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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?
Old 08-04-2006, 09:30 AM   #16
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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?

We have Dish for our building. We had a number of installation problems but they came out and resolved each one for free. Our service has been good except during bad thunderstorms.

We also had them put up an antennae at our cabin. There were lots of trees there. Sometimes when it was very windy or stormy we had some problems with our signal, but for the most part it worked fine. We took our reciever back and forth to the cabin.

What I don't like is not getting local channels in our service area. We have an antennae to get those channels, but you have to toggle off the dish. PITA. BTW, we can get the local channels when it is stormy and can't get the dish.
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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?
Old 08-04-2006, 02:58 PM   #17
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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?

Thanks for the good info so far---
Here's another Dish question.
If I dump the DVR option and go with the standard receiver would I be able to use my VHS?* There are some occasions when I need a hard copy of a program and the DVR's would not do that for me. (I guess??)
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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?
Old 08-04-2006, 06:11 PM   #18
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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?

Can't answer your first question .. can tell you that at my house, DH has the vcr hooked up so that he can record stuff as it's being played from the DVR. Very handy for movies that we want to keep a hard copy of.
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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?
Old 08-04-2006, 06:18 PM   #19
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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPatrick
Thanks for the good info so far---
Here's another Dish question.
If I dump the DVR option and go with the standard receiver would I be able to use my VHS?* There are some occasions when I need a hard copy of a program and the DVR's would not do that for me. (I guess??)
Yes, both the DVR and non-DVR receiver have video out, so you can record to VHS (or DVD). If I were you, I'd ignore the complaints about the DVR and get it. It may not be perfect, but it is *light years* ahead of not having the ability at all (or any of the kludgey alternatives).
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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?
Old 08-04-2006, 06:56 PM   #20
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Re: Any Dish Users Out There?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wab
Yes, both the DVR and non-DVR receiver have video out, so you can record to VHS (or DVD).* *If I were you, I'd ignore the complaints about the DVR and get it.* *It may not be perfect, but it is *light years* ahead of not having the ability at all (or any of the kludgey alternatives).
If you're not in the same time zone as the coasts then the DVR is almost mandatory to avoid having to timeshift your viewing habits.

FIL has plenty of room on his Dish DVR, but he downloads to a VCR when he wants a hardcopy.
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