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Direct TV or Comcast
Old 03-21-2008, 02:48 PM   #1
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Direct TV or Comcast

I am going to be moving in a couple of months. I currently have Direct TV and I am happy with it (though I wish it were less expensive) Where I am moving they have Comcast cable (as well) and have a package deal with cable and telephone combined. It might be a little less money with the phone service including long distance, but I know that Direct TV is reliable and I think the picture is supposed to be better, though I can not say that for sure. The other plus with the cable is operating my TIVO, which I absolutely love. With cable service, I would be able to record dual channels (two at the same time) or watch a TV show while recording another.

You can not do this with Direct TV, and it happens frequently that there are two shows on at the same time and I must choose which one to watch and forgo the other.

Anyone out there who has experience with both types of reception that might have an opinion.

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Old 03-21-2008, 05:17 PM   #2
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I love the way Directv has that info superimposed on the screen when you change channels. My only experience with cable was at my FIL's house and his cable (Comcast-northern Virginia) didn't have that.

I have a Directv Tivo and I can record two channels at once and watch recorded stuff anytime. It may be model dependant.

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Old 03-21-2008, 05:27 PM   #3
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I have both Directv and cable. I cant see the difference in reception. i tried to get rid of Directv, but DW likes it so it stays.
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Old 03-21-2008, 05:41 PM   #4
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We have Comcast cable, been thinking of going to Direct TV - the yearly price increases are becoming annoying and out of line. It seems difficult to get a straight answer from Direct TV about what their cost will be after the promotional period. I will grant that Comcast has been reliable for us but I've heard from others who were disgusted with it.

And the fact that all Direct TV promotional brochures have print so fine that I have to use a magnifying glass to read it is a big "red flag" to me. All I want to know is "what channels do I get?" and "How much?"

It shouldn't be that hard.
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Old 03-21-2008, 05:58 PM   #5
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I had Comcast cable and went to DirecTV about 3 years ago, no regrets. Where I am we lost cable a lot, DirecTV offers about 3x the channels, better picture (marginally) for about $2/month more and reliability is equal or better. I don't have either but I thought you could watch one program and record another, or record two programs with a DirecTV DVR - and avoid the TiVo subscription fees. I upgraded to HD about 15 months ago too, it's spectacular...
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Old 03-21-2008, 06:04 PM   #6
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This one is easy for me. I had Comcast when I lived in Northern Virginia. It was by far the worst cable/television experience I have ever had. The cable internet worked sporadically and the cable television worked only a little more often. I would say that they came out to my place no less than twelve times in a two month period. Of course, you have to be there every time they come and they give you a nice four hour window when they'll arrive, so you basically waste half a day waiting on them. Maybe our place was an isolated case and they are great. But dealing with their customer service and the company in general that entire time, I will never again do business with them.

When I moved to Florida about four years ago we got DirecTV. I have had absolutely no problems whatsoever. A couple times one of the spare bedroom televisions wouldn't get a signal. Five minute phone call fixed it both times. They have outstanding customer service and a lot of exclusive sports packages (if you're into that kind of thing).

Also, check with the other telephone service providers or DirecTV. They work package deals with the telephone service providers in almost every area. I have BellSouth and I get ten dollars off that bill and ten dollars off my DirecTV bill b/c of this arrangement. It's their way of getting customers who like the package deal that some of the cable companies like Comcast can offer.
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Old 03-21-2008, 07:20 PM   #7
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A D-Tivo (a tivo that is made just for directv) works far better than a plain Tivo and cable. It stores the programs in the compressed format that they were delivered via the satellite and are decoded at viewing time. Thus the Tivo playback resolution has no degradation from the original signal. D-Tivos have dual tuners and because of the compression, store more programs per gigabyte of disk space. Additional D-tivo's are priced the same as an additional decoder box ($5/month - I think). You used to be able to get free D-tivo's with a yearly subscription.
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Old 03-21-2008, 08:52 PM   #8
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I personally like Comcast cable. I find the dish tacky and one more thing to worry about.
The biggest factor for me is the cable internet. I love it and satellite internet just isn't acceptable for my situation.
However, if you don't need/want cable internet, DirectTV is a better price, so I would go with that if you have the choice. I would also call Comcast and let them know that the price factor did it for you
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Old 03-22-2008, 12:11 AM   #9
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Curious what are the monthly costs for each are. W/ Direct, don't you need an additional internet provider?
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Old 03-22-2008, 07:41 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by oma View Post
Curious what are the monthly costs for each are. W/ Direct, don't you need an additional internet provider?
I'm at about $90 per month for directv with 4 HD receivers (1 DVR)
I have Comcast for internet only (and 1 tv jack that I dont use) for about $50

In our area, you can get satellite internet with Directv, but I dont know the cost or reliability
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Old 03-22-2008, 08:33 AM   #11
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Satellite internet is pretty awful compared to cable or dsl, unless its your only option, then its pretty good. Its better than it was years ago but people used to wire based broadband will probably be disappointed in both the cost and the performance. Last time I checked you either had to ante up about $500 up front for the equipment and then a pretty big (bigger than cable) monthly fee, or have a humongous monthly fee with no upfront cost, and a long commitment for service.

Comcast in most areas gives you a break on internet cost if you have cable tv. The little secret is that in most areas, if you add the $8-10 super basic CATV package, they'll give you a $10-12 discount. And then at least you've got your local broadcast channels on each cable outlet sort of for free.

Comcasts "digital voice" is VOIP based and my experience with that was poor as a primary line. Too many things to go wrong between your house and the phone company, then all the phone company problems to boot.

Really, your cable picture quality experience will vary based on the age and quality of your neighborhood cable plant and the run to your house + whats inside the house, unless you get digital cable. Even with DC, your first 99 channels will still be analog so unless there are digital duplicates in the >99 channel range, your PQ wont improve.

In general my comcast experiences have been lousy. Mixed picture quality, occasional outages, poor customer service, and high prices. My directv experiences have been decent. Good PQ, very few outages, and fair to good customer service.

The DVR thing is another matter altogether. Tivo and Directv pretty much hate each others guts. I think the odds of that relationship improving are about .02%. You cant buy a true "tivo" for directv anymore unless you get a used one, and then they'll charge you extra activation fees to get it going and if it breaks, you're SOL. The directv dvr runs different software and in their efforts to avoid tivo's thick book of patents, the product seems a bit disjointed and lacks a few things that I like. We just replaced our directv tivo's with the directv dvrs. Long learning curve. The directv remotes are lousy compared to the tivo remotes, but they can operate through RF so you dont need line of sight to the unit. The directv dvr is faster to operate, but there are no suggestions and wishlist type functionality is very limited. The directv dvr has a hard time figuring out the difference between first run shows and reruns, so you get a lot of reruns on your first run season passes. Seems to me after a week of use that the directv dvr is more glitchy and somewhat more problematic than the old series/x tivo's and directivo's.

Comcast has patched up their relationship with tivo and is rolling out tivo software on their dvr boxes. Sort of. Turns out that its more like tivo menus on top of the old comcast software, with some of the tivo patented features rolled in.

I've got a couple of friends who, like me, have gone through comcast, dish network and directv. Nobody liked Dish network. The PQ stinks, the customer service is the bottom of the bucket, and their dvr is awful. Most seem to think the HD offerings on directv are better than the comcast offerings in selection and quality. Most seem to like the directv dvr more than the pre-tivo comcast unit.

I've also always found a place on the house to hide the dish where its not particularly visible.

Directv has a pretty good deal running right now if you want plenty of channels. $63 a month for two months for their 'platinum' which has all the channels including all the premium movie channels, then $80-something a month for ten months. Free dish, free HD receiver or DVR. If you sign up through fatwallet you can get a $35 fatcash rebate. Sign up for debit payment ("go green") and get another $20 credit. Use the "refer a friend" program if you have a friend with directv and you'll both get a $50 billing credit. Buy a new HD tv and sign up for directv through comcast and you'll get a $150 rebate.
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Old 03-22-2008, 12:37 PM   #12
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Dish Network/Echostar for sat TV service: Seems better than DirectTV for content and pricing each time I've compared them. Definitely cheaper than Comcast for similar packages, and more content.

I use DSL service for internet access. Comcast cable is in this area, but both terms of service and packet filtering prohibit the use of VPN (Virtual Private Networks, the method my former employer used to get remote employees onto the company network.) Comcast would let me use VPN if I bought a business package, pretty expensive, and only available to customers in the business district of town!
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Old 03-24-2008, 11:13 AM   #13
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Comcast: What GatorBuzz said. I have Comcast--the plus side is that I downgraded to a plan that is less than $20/mo.

DirectTV: Ugly ugly ugly! I'm not normally an agressive person but when an installer tried to put one of those round disks with the ugo phallic symbols smack in the middle of my view, well, let's say he put it somewhere else. Two tenants moved out leaving those ugly circles behind, to add to urban blight.
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Old 03-24-2008, 11:29 AM   #14
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We had Wild Blue Sat. for internet. It was OK, but the latency between the ground and satellite made it seem slow. We use Dish for TV. Next door neighbor used Direct. His opinion is to change every 24 months between Direct and Dish, and get all new equipment. With their specials it may just be worth it.
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Old 03-24-2008, 01:59 PM   #15
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I've had directv and Tivo for years. I would never never go back to cable. Inferior product

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