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05-26-2004 09:18 PM #1
My own "comparison" chart & questions
I bought an HDTV by Mitsubishi two years ago. I've never had Cable and never subscribed to any form of Satellite TV -- I hate the idea of paying for TV broadcasting. But all those "reality" shows are forcing me to finally abandon normal TV. I can't stand it.
I'm considering VOOM as my first foray into this field. But I'm one of those "difficult" types that simply has to look at where the best "value" is for my dollar -- which is hard to do because the definition keeps changing.
Last weekend I sat down and listed every Channel listed by all three providers (Dish, DirecTV, and VOOM), across their respective Plans. The only one I haven't compiled, yet, is Dish's "Everything" plan. This is not entirely easy because different programs are listed differently at all three websites.
Station counts are pretty impressive at a casual glance. VOOM kills everybody else for HD channels -- but you all know that. The off-putting part of that situation, however, is I keep finding comments in Forums that say the Quality of all those HD broadcasts varies considerably. Complaints about poor-quality videos, etc.
Next, I started eliminating those Channels I considered worthless to me. Then those that are semi-useless. Then those I'll probably never watch. This eliminated virtually all Sports stations, although I watch the occasional Redskins game here in the DC area. All foreign stations are off the list. All women's-interest. All religious. And a few I'm not sure about because -- who knows -- I might actually WANT to watch a rural station talking about the tractor models available this Spring... nahhh!!!!
This leaves mostly educational, science fiction, science, investments, men's programming, news, home living, etc. -- those areas I have real interests in. But fighting that is the desire to mostly buy HD programming for that damned expensive HD set I paid for. I feel like I'm not really feeding my "baby" the right food these past two years. I'm curious about what I'm depriving myself of...
Getting down to a tally for "Most-Watchable Channels", I come up with the following counts...
DirecTV Plus Plan = 19 Channels
DirecTV Premier Plan = 21 Channels
Dish Top 180 Plan = 18 Channels
VOOM = 10 -- and only one is an HD show I recognize
VaVaVOOM = 11 -- and only one is an HD show I recognize
This is ignoring HD programming on VOOM -- which is unfair, in a way, because that's why you buy VOOM. My conclusion there might be that -- not including HD -- VOOM offers half as many of the normal Channels as I would find appealing on the other options.
Easing up a bit and including "Watchable Channels", the numbers increased to...
DirecTV Plus Plan = 64 Channels
DirecTV Premier Plan = 89 Channels
Dish Top 180 Plan = 72 Channels
VOOM = 57 -- but 10 of those are Cinema10
VaVaVOOM = 82 -- but 10 of those are Cinema10
This seems the most fair, to me, but I still have no experience to know that the exclusive shows on VOOM are any more "watchable"" than those on Dish or DirecTV.
This completely surprised me -- although, admittedly, I'm not experienced at this. That means I have NO WAY to evaluate the likelihood that I'll watch this-or-that without having actually had access to them for at least a year. But when I asked friends at work, they all said the same thing: "We actually watch only about 10 channels or shows on a repeated basis. The others we just flip through or never view."
Some questions I have include...
a) If the bulk of channels show Sports or Movies, do you find it "helpful" to have access to, say, 10 or 15 Movie Channels -- or do they pretty much repeat themselves? If they repeat themselves, do I count maybe only 2 or 3 Movie Channels? Are these all no-name shows that nobody rushed out to the theaters for, anyway?
b) Am I correct in assuming that two identically-named Channels listed as "East" and "West" are simply different Time-Zone rebroadcasts of each other? From my point of view, there's very little value in that.
c) Is it accurate to believe that having 5 different versions of Discovery Channel -- as an example -- available on DirecTV is no real "advantage" over one HD version on VOOM? How much Discovery can a person watch? Do you find yourself seeing shows being shared across those various Channels? Or does one standard version of Discovery pretty much cover all the other divisions?
For my personal comparisons, I "eliminated" all the music channels. Dish includes Sirius satellite radio, for example, but I doubt I'll listen to it through my TV. This was an interesting experiment for me, and I'd be happy to share the Excel spreadsheet to anyone who wants to create their own Preferred Channels Tally. Just don't harp on me about the mistakes I'm sure it's riddled with (wrong format indications, wrong availability listings, whatever). Most of it is probably right without my having to pour over every last little notation.
Thanks for reading and responding to a Newbie!
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05-26-2004 09:28 PM #2
I can answer question B for you. The answer is yes.
05-26-2004 09:48 PM #3
a) I like to have access to all movie channels. I don't mind the repetiations because I find myself doing other things so it is good to know that I can catch them later in the month.
b) The answer here is yes but to me there is value until DVR comes around. I can always catch the movie or program 3 hours later if I feel like it.
c) I only watch one discovery --> HD. I have pretty much given up on SD channels so everything I am watching right now is HD. I do not watch F/X, USA, Sci-Fi, or any SD channels. The only SD channel I watch is ESPN. To me is not worthy to watch these HD channels on a big screen (this is only my own opinion).
Everyone has different formulas to get what they want. My formula is simple -- give me as much HD channels and content as possible and I'll be happy.
05-26-2004 09:54 PM #4SatelliteGuys Freshman
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Are the picture quality issues still existing with VOOM that are reported here in other areas since last September? Jittery pictures. Pixelation. Sparklies and streaks. Or have the images improved in the last few months?
I guess it doesn't hurt to try it for a few months with the current offer. Then I'll know.
05-26-2004 10:24 PM #5Originally Posted by Guy Owen
05-26-2004 10:27 PM #6Member
Discovery Wings: All about airplanes, usually military. Hour long documentaries on the F-4, Stealth, B2, etc.
Discovery Science: Mostly nature and geography.
Discovery Times: Very similar to the History channel, but not as good. Lots of Walter Cronkite stuff, so you won't like it if you don't like his politics.
Discovery Health: Obviously, health related stuff. Inside an ER, specials on babies and women's helth.
Dish and Direct also let you get TechTV, which does alot of programming on computers and high technolgy.
If this is patronizing, I'm sorry. You said your not a pay TV customer, so I'm trying not to assume anything.
If I were you, I'd go with Dish. Unlike DirecTV, Dish requires no commitment. If you don't like it, cancel it. Voom also has the same offer, but only through 5/31. You might try Voom first, since this might be the only chance to enjoy the no committment. Just don't go DirecTV. You'll have to pay $250 upfront for the HD receiver, and they require a year or 2 minimum commitment. Since you're not too familiar with cable and satellite programming, it's best to not get locked in. Hope this was helpful. Good luck.
Also, I don't know what you mean by men's programming? If you mean wink wink, nudge nudge, Dish has the widest selection. Voom has the best HD channel in the genre.
If you didn't mean that, sorry. Everybody has Spike TV, TNT, TBS. These are probably the most masculine type channels.