I made the switch from TimeWarner. Overall they were pretty good but increasing prices every year and my bills were not the same each month even though I had the same plan. All my dish channels are clear on m 52 inch hdtv. I'm really happy I made the switch. Now that I got locals in my area I won't ever have to go back. The only thing I hate is thebuggy 811 box. It sucks! It works 80% of the time. The other 20% is when my wife uses it and she always has problems. For the most part it works good and ota channels are great. I get a ton more pluses with dish (like HBO\Cine) for the same price as TW basic no digital package.
At the time I first got Dish, the picture was much better on Dish (3+ years ago). Time Warner has been pretty busy upgrading their cable plant, now I would say the cable picture is better in many ways, but TW charges significantely more money. Local channels I get OTA digital (via 811/6000s) and they picture of course blows away TW since they do not have HD at all.
All in all I feel I get a better deal with Dish over my local cable company. But, of course this is here where I am, every single neighborhood is different. Even if they are in the same city since picture varies depending on how close the fiber trunk feed is to your house and how much sharing (splitting) you do with your neighbors.
There is no way for anyone to tell you about your cable situation, you have to compare the picture quality and pricing for yourself. Asking opinions across the country is pointless. Unless you live next to me, it is unlikely my experiences mean anthing for your situation.
I switched and it is the best TV-related thing I ever did. Here, the cable company is privately-owned by a rich family that practically owns the whole town from what I've been told. When I moved here in 1999, their cable system was stuck somewhere in the 1970s. They have tried (and horribly failed) to upgrade to a more modern system. They added "digital" cable (about 15 channels that everyone else in the free world had been getting for the past decade) in 2002. That would have been nice had it worked worth a crap. Fast forward to this year...they added HD channels. I got my HDTV (50" Hitachi LCD-RPTV) and my god the analog channels looked horrible. I might as well been using rabbit ears. The digital and HD channels worked occasionally at best. I couldnt even watch a whole HD TV show w/o the signal tiling out or disappearing completely. After three months of customer service hell trying to get the HD to work (departents blaming other departments, failing to show for service appointments, not returning calls, and just plain rudeness...these are cocky folks since they figure they have the monopoly), I switched to Dish and told the cable folks where to stick it. That's not even mentioning the escalating price of cable (that was waaaaaay overpriced to start with!), and constant delays at them putting out a DVR box.
I have been very happy with Dish so far...in fact, I find it hard watching TV at my friends and family's houses that still have cable!
I too am switching from TWC - actually getting E* installed today, so I can't yet comment on PQ. But I figure for less $ I get more channels, as well as locals, AND the OSG AND the DVR. And with the DHA, no commitment. I hope I don't have to author one those horror stories about the "installer from hell", and the sequel "csr from hell". So far though, E*'s CSRs and techs have politely answered any questions I've had. Maybe 'cause I'm still a new customer.
On a side note, since I'm really new, and still trying to get up to speed, I've found that the information here is good, even if a lot still goes over my head. Maybe after I've had E* for a month or two all of the system's potential might be more intriguing. That's my $0.02.
I switched about two years ago and am very happy I did. We have Comcast here, it is often out early in the morning and they kept raising prices and dropping channels. they are now forcing everyone to go digital if you want anything other than basic cable. Comcast sucks.
I switched from US Cable to Dish in December of 2002 and the only thing I regret is that I didn't do it sooner. For years, I and several others had problems with the PQ on the local channels(St. Louis) and their explanation is the interference from the power lines coming into town was affecting the pq. We couldn't get TBS half the time either. The only reason I had stuck with US Cable for as long as I did was the hopes of having high speed internet packaged with my cable. However when I recently called US Cable about when cable internet was going to be deployed, their answer was the same as when I dropped them a year and a half ago-"We're still looking into it."
I tried Time Warner Cable for a month in April of 2001 and boy what a mistake that was. Their digital channels were full of pixelation and picture freezes. Some times the picture would disintergrate into blocks. It made watching a movie a joke. I rehooked up my receivers with Dish and paid the 25.00 reconnect fee . Time Warner Cable didn't and still doesn't have a dvr. I couldn't make it without a dvr. I have a 50 inch big screen and the picture looks fine with the proper calibrations with Dish . On the flipside I also tried Directv last year and I noticed it too looked fine with my big screen but the adjustments to my tv were different than for Dishnetwork.
When I lived in Duluth, the local cable company would put the local channels on other channels (3 was 4, 6 was 5, 8 was 12, 10 was 13 and 21 was 11), but then they would put other channels on 8 & 10, so you would get a combo of the cable 8 and OTA 8. Their digital cable was horrible. Major pixelation and it seemed more compressed than Dish.
Now where I live, there is no cable available....but if you live in the town and really want cable, here is their lineup (no Im not kidding...this is their actual lineup)
6 KARE (NBC)
9 KAWE (PBS)
12 KCCW (CBS)
13 WDIO (ABC)
14 FOXNET (I didnt know this still existed
Now why would someone pay 26.95 for the above when for 29.95, you get alot more??
I used to have Mediacom. 52 dollars plus change for enhanced basic, and locals came in sometimes fuzzy, sometimes flashy! Outages would last an hour or so. Since switching, locals are great, and only outage has been temporary, not even a minute long, and only during the heaviest deluge, except for one Japenese Beetle that decided to take a stroll across my dish. Other than that, it has been good!
In my hometown, we currently have Charter (which use to be TCI then just a locally owned cable company before they sold out to TCI) which use to mean either have cable or a big antenna. Only the well off could afford the big dish and they usually lived outside the town limits because it was such a hassle to get local approval for a big dish.
With Dish and Directtv, many here have told cable to stick it. I was with Charter in whole or partly due to local networks while having Dish programming. I did try the digital package with Charter when it was made available here but it did not appeal to me because the picture quality was not that much better than the standard cable that I had. When I first connected to Dish in 1999, the picture quality was very much clearer and sharper and when I switched off the satellite to watch my local channels on cable, it looked grainy and stale.
The only reason I would have cable for anything now is if they can get DSL service up and running. I have been checking with Charter off and on and they have told me once they run a fiber optic cable in my area it would allow them to offer this service. They had initially promised when they rolled out the digital cable that DSL would be available within 2 years. I can't get DSL through the phone company because of where I live and I wish that satellite would be cheaper to purchase and install.