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Discussion Starter #1
Thanks for reminding me to update the HD offerings posts for the new year. With all the members here now going to the HD relm I need to update you on the best providers.

As you know TV and Media is a huge hobby and was a career of mine as I owned a Cband big dish store back in the early 90's. By all rights I should hate Hughes or better known as Directv. They rolled out in 1994 and put us dish guys out to pasture.

However as the norm of TV life is now going HD. It is top of mind with lots.

The leader until last year was Dish Network. However even though there model 622 HD Dvr is still the best made on the market. THey have been slow to get a new satellite launched and do not have the bandwitdth to roll out HD as fast as they wanted. After being with them for 9 years I have not switched to the HD leader in Directv.

As it pains me to say, Directv for once deliverd on a promise. That promise to be the HD leader and offer over 75 channels of HD by year end. They surpassed that with over 85 channels and more coming. In fact almost every regulare SD channel is now offered in HD. From MTV, SciFI, HGTV, History, Nick, and so on and so on to all the Sports paks and locals to just HD channels like Smithsonian, National Geographic, and loads more. It is almost hard to find a channel not offered in HD on Directv.

Plus the price is lower then Dishnet and much lower then Comcast. Plus there box the H-10 is catching up to Dishnet in quality. Its also MPEG 4 and now has Video on demand as well in HD and SD.

I would usually go into how much better it is then Comcast but the proof in in the offerings. They are so far out of it that its not even tv.

Fios offered by Verizon seems to be getting more widespread and will be better then all the above. Hope I can get to be a beta tester here. I have connections.

Anyway, Here is the PROOF, take a look at the link.

I have installed many a system. Feel free to PM if you have any questions.
Also, Big Worm is the TV expert here for any questions on Hardware. The man knows his stuff!! I just know the Cable and Sat part.

http://www.directv.com/DTVAPP/global/co ... d=P4380110
 

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Ice, do you have to get a new dish from Directv when upgrading to HD or does the dish I have now work? What is the total cost (ballpark). I was looking at their web site and HD is about another $10 to $15 a month but of course the other costs aren't listed.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
mayfly0013 said:
If I switch now I lose all my Hawg Quest Tdown:
Hawg Quest if offered on Direct. You dont lose them???
 

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Discussion Starter #6
DBAppraiser said:
Ice, do you have to get a new dish from Directv when upgrading to HD or does the dish I have now work? What is the total cost (ballpark). I was looking at their web site and HD is about another $10 to $15 a month but of course the other costs aren't listed.
great question. Yes they put up the new HD dish. Its a multi LNB dish that is more sturdy and similiar in design to the old Primestar dish just not as big. I will post picture. It makes it possible to receive up to 5 satellites with one single dish. No more having an extra dish for HD.

As for the price. You just add the 10 bucks to ANY package they offer. From the 34.95 package up. I have the Directv Plus pak with HD for 69.00 a month. Unlike with Dishnet, you dont pay for locals. They are included.

If your a new customer or have not had service in over 1 year then you can get new customer deal.

I did the $99.00 for HD dvr model H10 and free extra regular second room DVR with free installation. I will reasearch best deal now.

It is always best to buy a new Directv system in summer before NFL season starts. They always offer killer deals.

I bought in August and got NFL package for free by subscribing to 69.00 Package for 4 months.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
http://www.expertsatellite.com/directv- ... inition-tv

You can get from 29.95 a month plus 10.00 for hd. Very nice.
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commitments required.
 

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The only issue I have with Directv (and I've been a customer for 4 years) is the way they nickle and dime you for access to HD channels- want Sunday NFL ticket? No problem, $400- UNLESS you also happen to want NFL Ticket in HD. Then it's an upcharge to get NFL RedZone (or whatever it is called) which ALSO gives you access to the Ticket HD channels. I guess $400 wasn't enough. Lately, they've been siphoning off access to HD channels (UHD and HDMN for start) that I previously had access to- want access again? There'll be a small upcharge. The excuse is "well, it costs us more to provide HD channels so we are just passing that along". I guess the fact that I pay for access to ALL the channels, PLUS NFL Ticket (well over $100 a month for everything) really doesn't mean much to them in the face of a $5 a month upcharge for some stupid additional HD. When I pay for the Ticket I should get FULL ACCESS to every channel that is playing Ticket games, HD included. $400 is a crapload of money and who the hell wants to watch standard def games on a 8' x 5' screen when you have an HD receiver and a 1080p display? It looks like total crap in standard def. Screw them for that.

Realistically, I won't switch because of the Ticket. However, if I didn't have that, I would be gone in a second because of their business practices. I truly hate how they treat their loyal customers.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
chuck danger said:
The only issue I have with Directv (and I've been a customer for 4 years) is the way they nickle and dime you for access to HD channels- want Sunday NFL ticket? No problem, $400- UNLESS you also happen to want NFL Ticket in HD. Then it's an upcharge to get NFL RedZone (or whatever it is called) which ALSO gives you access to the Ticket HD channels. I guess $400 wasn't enough. Lately, they've been siphoning off access to HD channels (UHD and HDMN for start) that I previously had access to- want access again? There'll be a small upcharge. The excuse is "well, it costs us more to provide HD channels so we are just passing that along". I guess the fact that I pay for access to ALL the channels, PLUS NFL Ticket (well over $100 a month for everything) really doesn't mean much to them in the face of a $5 a month upcharge for some stupid additional HD. When I pay for the Ticket I should get FULL ACCESS to every channel that is playing Ticket games, HD included. $400 is a crapload of money and who the hell wants to watch standard def games on a 8' x 5' screen when you have an HD receiver and a 1080p display? It looks like total crap in standard def. Screw them for that.

What the heck are you getting charged for? The Sunday ticket was mid $200's Then yes they did charge another 99.00 for HD and superfan. However they did get so much flak for it that they are rumored to drop the extra charge next year. I think the NFL ticket is high. However they overspent in the tune of like 100 mill for a 10 year exclusive. So we the consumer has to pay. But at least you do get all the games.

As for the HD charge. There HD charge is the same as Dish and Comcast at $10.00. Yet you get 35 more channels then Dish and over 50 more then Comcast. Yes they do have a 5 buck surcharge for a couple channels that were clearly only offered free as posted for intro period. They are being charged for those HD channels so they are not going to give them for free. Direct TV is still by far the cheapest and best offered tv.

All Cable and Sat companys unfortunatly will nickle and dime you. Some rent even the remote to you. In the end its your choice of what you want. I want my NFL and the best HD and I feel as the reviewers do that currently Direct wins. However I agree they could lower that HD NFL package and I think they will.

Realistically, I won't switch because of the Ticket. However, if I didn't have that, I would be gone in a second because of their business practices. I truly hate how they treat their loyal customers.
 

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Iceshark,

I have a question for you. I recently dropped my DIsh Network and now I'm running with just my OTA digital/HD channels. I'm able to pull in all the basics, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX plus 4 PBS and some religious and shopping channels. They all look so great that I just decided to live with them and drop satellite and cable.

Here's my question: Is there any value in the two satellite dishes still mounted on my house? They aren't connected to anything anymore, but could I be using them for something? Can I use them to pull in some free stations? What would I need to do?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
SalmonSeeker said:
Iceshark,

I have a question for you. I recently dropped my DIsh Network and now I'm running with just my OTA digital/HD channels. I'm able to pull in all the basics, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX plus 4 PBS and some religious and shopping channels. They all look so great that I just decided to live with them and drop satellite and cable.

Here's my question: Is there any value in the two satellite dishes still mounted on my house? They aren't connected to anything anymore, but could I be using them for something? Can I use them to pull in some free stations? What would I need to do?
YES! If you like International programming and or sports backhaul feeds. (games without commercials) Then you could buy a FTA or FREE TO AIR reciever and have hundreds of free channels. There is other use for them but I dont do that and it is grey area on legality. I use legal FTA and get lots of fun finding network feeds.

Good choice with off air. I too use OTA antenan as HD is in its purest on off air channels.
 

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I'm seriously considering switching to Dirctv, I'm just worried that after the one year is up, the price will sky rocket just like with cable but I'll be stuck with a big dish on my house. Anyone have any information about what happens to the price after the one year is up?

BTW, the commercial with Comcast showing the scale and outweighing all the Dirctv HD channels is complete BS.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
srchn4salmon said:
I'm seriously considering switching to Dirctv, I'm just worried that after the one year is up, the price will sky rocket just like with cable but I'll be stuck with a big dish on my house. Anyone have any information about what happens to the price after the one year is up?

BTW, the commercial with Comcast showing the scale and outweighing all the Dirctv HD channels is complete BS.
Comcast was served today by the parent company of Dish Network. (Echosphere Corp) for decieving advertising for billboards around the country stating they offer the most HD choices. I have not seen one but I guess its widespread. It is total BD! Directv and Dish both have much more HD then Comcast.

Directv does not change price of package after 1 year. They do however like Comcast and Dish sometimes offer intro packages like free Directvplus for 3 mnths then regular price of 49.95 however no they dont bait and switch and jack price up. In fact if you take all the HD they offer for 10 bucks added to any regular package from 29.95 then you really are getting lower priced then when only SD.

I am a tv junkie so I have Directv Plus package with HD (directv does not charge extra for locals like Dishnet) and this package with HD cost me 69.95 a month plus taxes and one extra room charge for second reciever for 5 bucks. (comcast now also charges for second room reciever) My brother has the basic 34.95 package (most normal cable type package that is 45.00 at comcast) and HD for total of I believe 44.95

Its all in what yo watch.
Another plus with Directv is they have a brand new high powered Satellite in space so they have more room for HD being added every month. Plus you only need 1 dish on your house to get all channels not like Dishnet.
 

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Thanks Ice, I think I'm sold on the Directv, but what do you guys do for internet? Comcast is up to either 44.95 or 49.95 for high speed cable internet and that is just too much. So what do you do when you are using Directv?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
srchn4salmon said:
Thanks Ice, I think I'm sold on the Directv, but what do you guys do for internet? Comcast is up to either 44.95 or 49.95 for high speed cable internet and that is just too much. So what do you do when you are using Directv?
If Clearwire is available in your area its a good deal. Go to there website and check. I had it but wanted more speed so I went back to Comcast for Internet only. My company pays part of it however it is way overpriced to begin with. I needed it for video speed.

Clearwire is 1.5 down 230 up.
 

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I have a 65" mitsubishi DLP HDTV 1080i,1080p. Let me tell you, I have hooked both direct tv and comcast to it. And tried both HDMI and Component videi connections with both. There is absolutly no comparison to the HD channels through comcast. The picture is WAY WAY WAY better through comcast if you want HD. I will never own a satalite again after seeing it first hand. They may offer more HD channels but in my opinion they are very low quality HD. I hate the monopoly comcast has with the tv, internet, phone thing, and i hate the bill. lol. But if you want the best pic. Comcast is the way to go
 

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Iceshark said:
YES! If you like International programming and or sports backhaul feeds. (games without commercials) Then you could buy a FTA or FREE TO AIR reciever and have hundreds of free channels. There is other use for them but I dont do that and it is grey area on legality. I use legal FTA and get lots of fun finding network feeds.
So, what particular FTA receiver would you recommend and where should I buy it?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
northriver said:
I have a 65" mitsubishi DLP HDTV 1080i,1080p. Let me tell you, I have hooked both direct tv and comcast to it. And tried both HDMI and Component videi connections with both. There is absolutly no comparison to the HD channels through comcast. The picture is WAY WAY WAY better through comcast if you want HD. I will never own a satalite again after seeing it first hand. They may offer more HD channels but in my opinion they are very low quality HD. I hate the monopoly comcast has with the tv, internet, phone thing, and i hate the bill. lol. But if you want the best pic. Comcast is the way to go
Sorry and not to offend but that is not possible! Comcast runs down res below 720I and is in no way as clean as 1080I from Dishnet or Direct. Only cleaner picture is is OTA (Off air locals) Dont want to offend you. Just stating facts as I am in the industry. Your Comcast here in WA is in fact some of the worst in the country. They run Rg11 in 150 foot increaments with 10db line amps. EVEN IF YOU LIVED next to the first run it would not be possbile to have same bandwith as Satellite.

In English and for non industry types. This will explain it more clearly,

1. Satellite gets the uplinked HD feed and that feed is sent to the High powered KU band satellites rotating the earth on the Clark belt.
Then that signal is directly recieved by your satellite dish and full signal is sent at focal point (like a camera) to the LNB and to your receiver in your home and then your TV.

2.Comcast and Cable gets its signal from the same Ku satellites at its dish farm. Then the signal is line amp delivered for miles and miles. All the while downgrading in quality as it goes up your block and thru amps. By the time it reaches your TV it has been downgraded in qaulity to fit all the other channels bandwith needed thru RG-11 coax and finally to an inferior Motorola HD reciever to your TV.

The reason off air is cleanest is it is going from TV station tower straight to you off air antenna straight to your TV for the cleanest HD signal.

Kinda strange how what was once the most primitive signal delivery is now the best wink: wink:

As for HDMI, DVI, or component. I find Component delivers the best HD signal to my 47inch LCD. However some feel HDMI is better with color conversion. Big Worm who is an expert on the TV side of it can answer that part much better then I.

I can post some industry reviews and hard facts to support why it is not possible for Cable to be better then Satellite delivery if anyone would like.

Facts are facts, Satellite direct HD is head and shoulders above any Cable delivery to date. Fios fiber optic delivery will challenge that when Verizon gets there act right. But for now, your getting ripped off if you settle for Comast paltry offerings of HD channels and high price with there barely digital locking weak HD. Facts prove it.

Peace wink:

Here is a tech overview of how its tough for Cable to handle HD signal without suffering bandwith,
What It Takes to Get HDTV on Cable

translation PLEASE
By Leslie Ellis
From The August 5, 2002 Edition Of Broadband Week

Leslie Ellis
Last time, we toured the route of the high-definition television signal, pausing to peek at the rough spots along its way. This time, a more thorough look at what it takes, technically and operationally, to offer HDTV over cable.

Despite the techno-politics and daunting economics that have long occluded the HDTV migration, the plumbing used to deliver it over cable isn’t all that difficult, technologists assure. Get the signal, manipulate it, stuff it into the transmission mechanism. At the house, a new box.

An HDTV signal arrives at the cable headend from one of two places: satellite or broadcast. Broadcasters increasingly send their television payload (both analog and digital) directly over a fiber link, although most still transmit their stuff over-the-air, for the sake of consumer TV sets equipped to receive digital signals from the antenna on the roof.

Step two â€" signal manipulation â€" is fairly similar to what gets done to “standard-definitionâ€? digital TV signals.

“Standard definition� means a digitized and compressed version of regular old analog TV. SD, then, is what “digital TV� is today: Multiple channels, usually 10, of digitized and compressed TV, slotted into one 6-megahertz channel.

DIGITAL DEFINITIONS
HD is also a digitized signal. It also uses the MPEG (Moving Picture Expert Group)-2 compression mechanism. The difference is, what’s being compressed contains a lot more information â€" more than 6 times that of a “regularâ€? digital video picture.

In that sense â€" and before we go any further â€" it’s useful to note that what’s “digitalâ€? about “digital TVâ€? is the journey, not the destination. It’s the transmission mechanisms, not the set itself. TVs themselves are not “digital,â€? really. The vast majority of sets, for example, don’t yet have a digital input connector.

A TV sold as “digital,� then, is a TV that contains the receiver circuitry to pluck a digitally transmitted signal out of the air, or off of a wire, and display it.

So, when people talk about “digital HDTV� sets, they’re usually referring to high-end sets that can display the extra information that comes with a digitally-conveyed HDTV signal.

HD sets are built to display a different type of “pixel� (shorthand for “picture element�) that’s square instead of rectangular, and they’re capable of rendering those pixels in a widescreen format similar to movie screens.

Before any HD channels can be squirted into the plant to travel to connected homes, a few bandwidth decisions must be made. Six times more picture information has a predictable effect on bandwidth: HDTV needs more.

TWO PER CHANNEL
In raw numbers, a compressed HDTV signal needs 19.2 megabits per second (mbps). By contrast, most SD signals currently take up about 3.5 mbps.

As discussed many times before in this column, cable uses a modulation type called “QAM,� for “quadrature amplitude modulation,� to move digital signals from headend to home.

The earliest form of QAM was 64-QAM, which affords about 27 mbps of useable bandwidth. Today’s implementations run at 256 QAM, which boosts the rate to just under 39 mbps.

Simple math (19.2 mbps times two) shows that two HDTV signals can fit into one 6-MHz channel modulated with 256 QAM, and that’s exactly what some MSOs are doing. In some cases, three HD channels can slip into a 256-QAM channel, depending on the source material. Talk also persists about further manipulating the incoming HD signal to pack even more bits into the transmission pipe.

(In practice, resqueezing HDTV pictures will probably elicit skirmishes. Remember the early days of video compression, when 24 channels of video were going to fit snugly into one 6 MHz channel? That much snug affected picture quality, which made content creators grimace. Now, most operators don’t push more than 10 or so SD channels into one 6 MHz channel.)

MEANWHILE …
At the house, two things can happen, depending on which digital set-tops are in use for “regular� digital TV.

Some suppliers, like Scientific-Atlanta Inc., offer an “integrated� HD set-top. That means that the stuff that knows how to recognize and deal with HD signals is built-in.

Others, like Motorola, offer a “sidecar� HD device. When HD signals enter the existing digital box, it sends them off to the sidecar for processing.

The output of the HD box, the last few feet of wiring that moves the HD signal from the box to the TV, and the input to the TV is perhaps the most contentious of HDTV’s techno-political conundrums.

It’s about piracy. Digital pictures don’t degrade, and thus are prey for perfect copies. The contentious details of this discussion will fill a future column.

In short, cable technologists involved with HDTV launches are almost ho-hum when discussing the to-do list. It’s no more remarkable, or unremarkable, most say, than any other new-service launch.

So, if the devils of HDTV transmission are indeed in the details, they’re not in the tactical particulars of launching the service.
 
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