HDTV, who do I go with?

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veander

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Jan 18, 2004
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I know this is all over the place in these forums but to be honest it's taken me long enough to figure out this "D*" and "E*" abbreviations that I am really at wits end. hehe

I am going to be moving to the Minneapolis area (about 22 miles from their network towers which offer HD) and I would love to know what to do. I am a current DirecTV subscriber which is why I placed this post in here (though it applies to everyone)

From what I have gathered here is how it stacks up:

Comcast cable: I can get all network channels in HDTV. Their Set-top box is virtually free ($30 one-time charge). Total monthly is about $55 which includes their Digital Basic (or whatever it's called). Negative is that you don't have quite as many channels (like Noggin, National Geographics Channel, Nick West, etc.). No NFL Ticket.

Dish Network: Current deal looks like the 811 for free as long as you sign up for their $10 per month for HDTV special programming. However you dont get any of the locals in HD EXCEPT this new CBS-HD - which their Customer Service said will only be seen with the $10 a month HDTV package. I am beginning to wonder if that Customer Service person was right. No NFL Ticket. Price per month is right there with Comcast cable due to the $10 a month HDTV package you have to have. Only other thing is this shortage of 811's people talk about. Not sure what that means for me.

DirecTV: Seems I have to buy a E86 HDTV reciever for $369 and that's the cheapest. Even on Ebay you don't find them too much cheaper. Now from what I gather in here AND what a Customer Service rep for DirecTV said CBS-HD will be free to those in the right markets (Minneapolis included - yay). NFL Ticket! Most have said HD on DTV is probably the worst due to their transponder issues.

Now I love NFL Ticket, but if I really want to make use of this 57" Hitachi HDTV I need to get ont he bandwagon I think. And from the comparisons it seems Comcast is the better deal over all. I know Cable companies can be problematic for some, but I have heard horror stories and such from all companies.

Am I correct with the above or am I seriously off target? Please help!
 
Mike500

Mike500

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 7, 2003
1,338
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Thiepval
Have you thought about keeping the current setup you have? Do you have an HDTV OTA tuner. Since you are only 22 miles from the tower and all the transmitters are in one direction, an amplified OTA antenna like the Winegard GS2000 Sensar seems to be a good option.

Since, you are not obligated to pay for local channels, satellite would be better than Cable.

Then, you might think about the HD DirecTivo or the Dish 921.
 
M

MagicConch

Active SatelliteGuys Member
Jan 9, 2004
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There is also Voom which is a satellite company focused around HDTV.


In your case I'd go with Comcast, cheapest starting point, and least commitment. You can always shift over once things shake out with the satellite companies.
 
C

cking2

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Sep 27, 2003
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veander said:
DirecTV: Seems I have to buy a E86 HDTV reciever for $369 and that's the cheapest. Even on Ebay you don't find them too much cheaper. Now from what I gather in here AND what a Customer Service rep for DirecTV said CBS-HD will be free to those in the right markets (Minneapolis included - yay). NFL Ticket! Most have said HD on DTV is probably the worst due to their transponder issues.

Am I correct with the above or am I seriously off target? Please help!

Directv will sell you a HD receiver for $99 installed if you have been a customer for 2 years and your account has remained in good standing. You will be able to get the CBS network HD if you live in a O&O (network owned and operated affiliate market).

I have the HD pack from Directv and enjoy the HD...I can't compare it to E*, but it is good.

Look cable will be cheaper at first...I think if you dig you will find they are waiving their set top box fee's, at least that is what TW is doing here in KC.
How long will they continue to do it...who knows.

I wouldn't hold my breath for HD locals from Directv...at least for the next couple of years. E* and Directv will require a OTA to receive your locals with the exception of your network feed.

Later

Rick
 
V

veander

Thread Starter
Well-Known SatelliteGuys Member
Jan 18, 2004
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Mike500 said:
Have you thought about keeping the current setup you have? Do you have an HDTV OTA tuner. Since you are only 22 miles from the tower and all the transmitters are in one direction, an amplified OTA antenna like the Winegard GS2000 Sensar seems to be a good option.

Since, you are not obligated to pay for local channels, satellite would be better than Cable.

Then, you might think about the HD DirecTivo or the Dish 921.
Ok, i currently live in another state and my setup is 2 room, regular cheapo RCA recievers. I would appreciate moving to HDTV, and actually I was told by a DirecTV customer rep on the phone on two occasions I could cancel and restart a subscription with DTV as a new customer. Just don't tell them I was an old customer. That's beside the point really, though.

So I guess my question is what's involved with OTA, DirecTV, and HDTV? Being in Burnsville, MN, I am about 22 miles from the towers based on that one page that tells you your distance (can't remember the link). Now, would an omnidirectional antennae like the one you mentioned bring in all the stations in digital quality. Seems odd to me people would get these antennaes for HDTV if it's static-ridden like I remember rabbit ears were back in the day. The house is in an open area with little to no hills around. Also this is going to be a rental home, so I won't have the ability to be running big old metal poles up the side of my house to put up any antennae, thus what do these OTA antennaes requires. Lastly, doesn't dish have a setup where you use an extra dish for your OTA - hence in place of the one you mentioned above?

Sorry so many questions but I can't seem to get a straight answer out of the companies on the phone about OTA and HDTV.
 
V

veander

Thread Starter
Well-Known SatelliteGuys Member
Jan 18, 2004
32
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MagicConch said:
There is also Voom which is a satellite company focused around HDTV.


In your case I'd go with Comcast, cheapest starting point, and least commitment. You can always shift over once things shake out with the satellite companies.

Voom is still $750 up front right?

You have a point about shifting over to Sat when things shuffle around a bit more.

Thanks
 
V

veander

Thread Starter
Well-Known SatelliteGuys Member
Jan 18, 2004
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cking2 said:
Directv will sell you a HD receiver for $99 installed if you have been a customer for 2 years and your account has remained in good standing. You will be able to get the CBS network HD if you live in a O&O (network owned and operated affiliate market).

I have the HD pack from Directv and enjoy the HD...I can't compare it to E*, but it is good.

Look cable will be cheaper at first...I think if you dig you will find they are waiving their set top box fee's, at least that is what TW is doing here in KC.
How long will they continue to do it...who knows.

I wouldn't hold my breath for HD locals from Directv...at least for the next couple of years. E* and Directv will require a OTA to receive your locals with the exception of your network feed.

Later

Rick

Haven't been a customer that long. However, I am going to call DirecTV right now and see how long I have been a customer, if that deal actually stands, and maybe i will wait. Goodness that's a nice bit of news. Right now I would be charged $99 for a TiVo upgrade, so I was thinking if I stayed with DirecTV and didn't go with HDTV (if the other two options not being what I wanted) then I would resign on in the new address as a new customer and get the $40 TiVo deal that's been floating around. Then I would just buy an HDTV reciever outright or something. Gah, if only D* offered something like E* with HDTV. I can't be without Brown's and Redskins football next year and NFL Ticket is the only option. Hmm.
 
V

veander

Thread Starter
Well-Known SatelliteGuys Member
Jan 18, 2004
32
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Ok, I just got off the phone with another DirecTV persona nd she said that though it depends on what "area" or market you live in, if you get the HDTV reciever and locals and your local stations broadcast in HDTV, YOU CAN GET YOUR LOCALS IN HD without this OTA business.

Does she know what she's talking about or am I simply learning this way too slowly? I will be moving to the Minneapolis area, as I mentioned, so I will be in the right market.
 
C

ChrisPC

SatelliteGuys Pro
Nov 27, 2003
263
0
TN USA
veander said:
Voom is still $750 up front right?
The Voom forum is saying it's now $399.
veander said:
Ok, I just got off the phone with another DirecTV persona nd she said that though it depends on what "area" or market you live in, if you get the HDTV reciever and locals and your local stations broadcast in HDTV, YOU CAN GET YOUR LOCALS IN HD without this OTA business.

Does she know what she's talking about or am I simply learning this way too slowly? I will be moving to the Minneapolis area, as I mentioned, so I will be in the right market.
You will soon be able to get NYC or LA CBS and FOX HD on D* in network owned markets. Minneapolis qualifies for CBS HD, but not for Fox HD, AFAIK.
 
J

jabroni

SatelliteGuys Guru
Nov 25, 2003
149
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I would stick with Direct, get the $99 HD receiver and put up the antenna with a powered amplifier. If you are only 22 miles away, it will be easy to receive the signals. These channels are free and the PQ will ALWAYS be better than what you get with another provider. Unless, of course, they are multicasting.

I live 55 miles from the towers and I get all the digital stations that are using maximum power.
 
Tyralak

Tyralak

SatelliteGuys Master
Oct 21, 2003
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veander said:
Ok, I just got off the phone with another DirecTV persona nd she said that though it depends on what "area" or market you live in, if you get the HDTV reciever and locals and your local stations broadcast in HDTV, YOU CAN GET YOUR LOCALS IN HD without this OTA business.

Does she know what she's talking about or am I simply learning this way too slowly? I will be moving to the Minneapolis area, as I mentioned, so I will be in the right market.


She's probably speaking from her posterior cavity. I'll explain the whole deal about OTA, etc. Many local network affiliates now broadcast both analog and digital signal over the air. Any TV will do to pick up the analog feed. To pick up the Digital feed, you need a TV (usually an HDTV) with a digital tuner built in, or a TV with an over the air set top box designed to decode the digital off air signals. These boxes can be expensive. $200 at the cheapest.
DirecTV and Dish Network add the capabilities of the off-air set top box in with their HD recievers. So the DirecTV and E* HD recievers have 3 capabilities built in. Regular satellite channels, High Definition satellite channels, and off-air digital decoding. The reason they do not offer local channels in high definition re-broadcast over the satellite is simple. They don't have the room. I have my doubts that (barring some magical uber-compression technology) they will EVER be able to offer locals in high definition. True high definition can take 6 to 7 times the transponder space of standard programming. They have a hard enough time carrying all the locals that they do now. As it is, they have to compress the hell out of their channels just to make room for all the locals they have to carry. There are times when I've seen better streaming web video than some of these channels. The locals are particularly mutilated. If they were forced to carry locals in High Definition, they would have to have several more satellites in the sky just to handle the traffic from the locals. You would likely have to have a second or third dish just for locals. The fact that D* and E* have to carry locals at all has been the main reason our picture quality has gone in the toilet the last couple of years.
There is really no way around it. If you want satellite delivered HD locals, expect enormous rate increases and multiple dishes. (Satellites and slot space in the sky aint' cheap.) They would also likely lower the quality of the HD signal to the point where it's more like HD-lite or a pseudo-HD signal. Your best choice for HD reception is getting it with an OTA antenna. You may be able to get a nice amplified indoor job, or one you could mount in the attic. Just stay away from Terk. Hope this helped.
 
V

veander

Thread Starter
Well-Known SatelliteGuys Member
Jan 18, 2004
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ChrisPC said:
The Voom forum is saying it's now $399. You will soon be able to get NYC or LA CBS and FOX HD on D* in network owned markets. Minneapolis qualifies for CBS HD, but not for Fox HD, AFAIK.
OK I talked with DirecTV INstallation techs this morning and he said I would have to fill out a waiver in Minneapolis even though it's an O&O city in order to get the CBS-HD. I had thought being in an O&O in Minneapolis I wouldn't need the waiver situation, but if I get OTA it doesn't matter anyway.
 
V

veander

Thread Starter
Well-Known SatelliteGuys Member
Jan 18, 2004
32
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jabroni said:
I would stick with Direct, get the $99 HD receiver and put up the antenna with a powered amplifier. If you are only 22 miles away, it will be easy to receive the signals. These channels are free and the PQ will ALWAYS be better than what you get with another provider. Unless, of course, they are multicasting.

I live 55 miles from the towers and I get all the digital stations that are using maximum power.
The D* guy this morning said there is no such deal available for a reciever for $99 w/ being a 2-year customer. In fact the deal cking2 mentioned in this thread isn't existant as far as I can find with D*. Maybe I need to call some "special" reseller" or something, I dunno.

He DID give me another deal after I told him about Dish's wonderful free deal. Initially he and the lady I spoke with last night at D* said for any customer there was one deal where I would upgrade to HDTV and have an OTA setup installed: $450+ $15s&h + taxes. Then after I told the guy this morning that Dish has a free HDTV tuner deal he told me about a $199 deal. Basically I pay the $480 up front and they credit me an amount up $199 upon activation of the equipment. The activation is the only catch. So I may end up going with that deal, though I surely wish they would properly compete with Dish. Is it true the E86 HDTV from DirecTV is better than the Dish 811? The guy said that the DirecTV model was closer in features to the Dish 6000.

So would the OTA antenna is offereing to install goign to be enough? Does it have an amp? Or do I have to buy somewhere else. I can guarantee I won't install it myself. I don't have an attic in the new house (haven't moved yet) and it's going to be a rental. We aren't comfortable enough in the area to buy yet - job location change.
 
V

veander

Thread Starter
Well-Known SatelliteGuys Member
Jan 18, 2004
32
0
DirkFunk said:
She's probably speaking from her posterior cavity. I'll explain the whole deal about OTA, etc. Many local network affiliates now broadcast both analog and digital signal over the air. Any TV will do to pick up the analog feed. To pick up the Digital feed, you need a TV (usually an HDTV) with a digital tuner built in, or a TV with an over the air set top box designed to decode the digital off air signals. These boxes can be expensive. $200 at the cheapest.
DirecTV and Dish Network add the capabilities of the off-air set top box in with their HD recievers. So the DirecTV and E* HD recievers have 3 capabilities built in. Regular satellite channels, High Definition satellite channels, and off-air digital decoding. The reason they do not offer local channels in high definition re-broadcast over the satellite is simple. They don't have the room. I have my doubts that (barring some magical uber-compression technology) they will EVER be able to offer locals in high definition. True high definition can take 6 to 7 times the transponder space of standard programming. They have a hard enough time carrying all the locals that they do now. As it is, they have to compress the hell out of their channels just to make room for all the locals they have to carry. There are times when I've seen better streaming web video than some of these channels. The locals are particularly mutilated. If they were forced to carry locals in High Definition, they would have to have several more satellites in the sky just to handle the traffic from the locals. You would likely have to have a second or third dish just for locals. The fact that D* and E* have to carry locals at all has been the main reason our picture quality has gone in the toilet the last couple of years.
There is really no way around it. If you want satellite delivered HD locals, expect enormous rate increases and multiple dishes. (Satellites and slot space in the sky aint' cheap.) They would also likely lower the quality of the HD signal to the point where it's more like HD-lite or a pseudo-HD signal. Your best choice for HD reception is getting it with an OTA antenna. You may be able to get a nice amplified indoor job, or one you could mount in the attic. Just stay away from Terk. Hope this helped.

She certainly was speaking from her butt, though to give her credit she did say a couple times that she wasn't the authority on the subject and to call who I did the next morning.

I am starting to understand the folly of the amount of locals being offered on satellites. I think it was inevitable though, though IMO, cable companies would have been better suited to offer some kind of really cheap deal for folks with satellites but no locals. I remember myself being upset in Cleveland a few years ago that UPN wasn't on D*. Now I wish I had just not sent D* letters about it and got cable (though again the base cable was really expensive at the time - $16).

I asked above but I will ask you since you mention the OTA antenna. D* installs something for me on this deal. DO you know what it is? Is it good enough for being in Burnsville, MN, which is 22 miles from all of the Minneapolis towers?

Thanks for all the help EVERYONE!

V
 
Tyralak

Tyralak

SatelliteGuys Master
Oct 21, 2003
5,702
167
Secure, Undisclosed Location
veander said:
She certainly was speaking from her butt, though to give her credit she did say a couple times that she wasn't the authority on the subject and to call who I did the next morning.

I am starting to understand the folly of the amount of locals being offered on satellites. I think it was inevitable though, though IMO, cable companies would have been better suited to offer some kind of really cheap deal for folks with satellites but no locals. I remember myself being upset in Cleveland a few years ago that UPN wasn't on D*. Now I wish I had just not sent D* letters about it and got cable (though again the base cable was really expensive at the time - $16).

I asked above but I will ask you since you mention the OTA antenna. D* installs something for me on this deal. DO you know what it is? Is it good enough for being in Burnsville, MN, which is 22 miles from all of the Minneapolis towers?

Thanks for all the help EVERYONE!

V

Without knowing the details of the antenna, or being able to see it, it would be hard to say for sure. If you got to www.antennaweb.com they can help you out with the size and type of antenna needed. Just enter your address, and it will tell you what you need for what channels.
 
V

veander

Thread Starter
Well-Known SatelliteGuys Member
Jan 18, 2004
32
0
DirkFunk said:
Without knowing the details of the antenna, or being able to see it, it would be hard to say for sure. If you got to www.antennaweb.com they can help you out with the size and type of antenna needed. Just enter your address, and it will tell you what you need for what channels.
I used that site a couple days ago. It gave me all my channels in yellow, thus the small multi-directional antenna.

I guess I will find out if this is going to work. I think I might take the package.
 
G

GFT

Active SatelliteGuys Member
Jan 30, 2004
20
0
St. Paul, MN
OK here is the scoop on HDTV in Mpls St. Paul from a local resident (me). Around here our hd local stations are all very easy to receive and look superb! All 9 of our local stations are clustered together with transmitters in the NE suburb of Shoreview on top of towers about 1400 ft tall. Burnsville is a southern suburb about 20 mi from Shoreview. Most of Burnsville is located high on a bluff overlooking the Minnesota River valley with a clear view to Shoreview. Reception of both analog and digital signals in the area is very good. So here is what to do: If you want to combine your existing D* service with HDTV, pick up the Hughes E86. Its the sat. receiver with the over the air digital tuner. Go down to Menards or Home Depot and get the rooftop ant thats the VHF-UHF combo for about $28-$30 and put it up on a small rooftop tripod or chimney strap mount. With good quality coax and connectors you will have excellent reception on both analog and digital signals. If you cant go with a rooftop ant, try the Silver Sensor, a small uhf only indoor ant available at Best Buy. You should have enough signals even indoors to pick up the digitals with no problems. Forget about HD locals via cable or satellite. Neither provider has all the stations yet, and I think they are a bit pricey, esp since its so easy to pick them up ota.

As a preview of what you can see here with an antenna, we have all the networks in hd, including CBS ABC FOX NBC and WB. UPN is on with a digital signal but not HD. PBS has two digital signals, one full time hd, the other is a multicast of 5 separate program sources in sd on one signal. They are PBS Kids, PBS You, radar wx, and simulcasts of the 2 analog pbs stations. We also have ind. station KSTC/45 on digital 44, which is co-owned by the ABC affilliate KSTP/5. On KSTC-DT you will find a multicast of the analog source on 45 and a special hd feed of HD Net intended for local broadcast use. Its pretty unique, I guess only a handful of stations are carrying the broadcast version of HD Net. We are fortunate to have one of them. Trust me, you cant get all this on Comcast!

Good luck with your move to MSP. Im sure you will like it here, and will really appreciate our quality of life at -24 deg. F. Thats what it was this am! We just like to think it keeps out the riff-raff.
 
ScottChez

ScottChez

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 2, 2003
1,650
142
Dont fall for the Comcast Cable trick.

Channels 1-80 are ANALOG and do not look very good.

The Digital channels above 80 look perfect.

Determine what channels you watch the most, if they in the 1-80 range then dont use cable.
 
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