Moved from Dish to Direct (Likes and Dislikes) (1 Viewer)

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Cognato

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
May 10, 2006
77
0
Background:
I have been on Direct TV now for 3 days.

I had been with Dish for 8 years and was using a ViP622 located in living room. It was connected via HDMI to a 60” Sony LED backlit LCD TV with an Onkyo 7.1 surround sound receiver. TV2 was connected to a 27” Sharp CRT in bedroom via RF. Programming package was Top 250.

New setup is H24-200 in Living Room on the Sony 60” and a second HR24-200 in bedroom on a 32” LG LCD. I also had a standard def receiver installed in a spare bedroom. Free install so I got it to get new cabling into the bedroom. I intend to return it in a month to stop the $6.00/month charge. Programming package is Choice Extra.

Why the move:
First I wanted to increase the number of my recordings since 3 was not enough in a lot of cases, also OTA recording eat up 3x the disk space. Also getting an HD TV for the bedroom was a contributing factor. Using the RF standard def off the ViP622 was not giving me a picture I could live with on the new TV. Not knowing when Dish would be out with their Whole House solution. I decided to make the switch. I did not wait for the HR34 since it was not guaranteed it would be out in October and my 622 was empty. With the new TV season starting I would have it filled in no time and would not have the time to watch it all. So this was the time. Canceling Dish was very easy no hassles and just had to talk to one person and the whole presses took about 7 mins. I always have had good experiences dealing with Dish I hated to leave them. Price was another concern. Stacking the AAA discount along with a referral, bundling, and the current offers I calculated a savings of over $750 over the 2 year agreement compared to staying with what I had with Dish. That included a $90 cancellation fee from Dish for leaving with 9 months left in my 2 year agreement (HD for life upgrade that came along with a $10/ month discount) and all shipping costs, taxes and additional costs for the second DVR. That savings does not include any costs benefits for the 3 months of movie channels or NFL Season Pass, all that is icing on the cake.

Installation:
The install was a little disappointing. Installer was an independent contractor not associated with a local installation company. He had only been installing for about 3 to 4 months. I currently had my Dish mounted on a block wall next to the house protected on 2 sides. He said he could not install it there and had to install it on the roof. I insisted that this would be a better location, easy access, unobstructed view, protected from wind, solid concrete filled block to mount to. I told him I have had no problem with Dish mounted that way for 8 years and he was not going to put it on the roof. He made a call he said was to Direct and then said he could install it there.

The house is wired with RG 59 except for the one run that ran from the dish location to the living room where the Dish DVR was. He had to run new lines from the bedrooms and add a splitter in the attic. No problem after I told him how I wanted it run and where to put the splitter. I am impressed with Direct TV’s SWiM technology for Whole House installations. Seem to work well and easy to install.

The installer did not force a fresh download of software and did not program one of the remotes for the TV. His instructions were “this is how you turn it on”. When questioning him on some of the basics I knew he knew very little about the system. I made sure I had playback from each DVR on both TVs before I signed the approval paperwork.

First Impressions:
The HR24 seem a bit sluggish compared to the ViP622. Menus will hesitate at times and the Skip 30 had more of a delay than the ViP622, just enough to be a bit annoying. Nice quiet box with very little fan noise and no middle of the night reboots with fans set to high. I don’t think I could live with a ViP622 in the bedroom but the HR24 is fine. The menus seem to not be as user friendly to me and harder to read, especially in the listing of recorded show. It may be I just need to get use to the HR24 but for now I find the ViP to come across a bit more refined in its operation.

The Guide:
The HR24 only has 1½ hours in the guide display compared to the 2½ hours (or was it 3) in Dish. It was nice to see all of prime time at once. Dish cuts the guide off at about 9½ days while Direct opens it up to 14 but the data is incomplete as you get further past the 12 day mark. The programming detail such as cast and crew are nice and a big plus for searches but I miss the episode numbers in the program description that Dish has. I also find it annoying that you cannot see the original air date in the synopsis and have to press the info button. Setting the recording with the record button from the guide is covenant. I also like the fact that you can change the channel and have transportation controls available while you are in the guide. Also you have a channel description if you curser over to the channel list on the left side of the guide and if you select it, it will tune to that channel without leaving the guide. Nice touch that Dish does not have.

Programming:
I guess I did not do may research that thoroughly since I was very disappointed that some of the channels I enjoyed in HD on Dish were only available in SD on Direct. Such as DYI, History International, E!, and The Cooking Channel. So much for their advertizing of having the most HD channels than anyone else. I am not a big sports fan but Direct TV has a ton of sports available. If you are a sports fan this is your provider. The free VOD in Direct rocks compared to Dish. I find it even better than Comcast. Of course anything would be better than Dishes VOD. The amount and the way it is organized works well. I could even watch HD VOD in real time (20meg DSL) compared to Dish where you had to wait about 20 minutes. Paid VOD movies always worked well but I find the cost of them to be a bit high on both services. Picture quality is OK on both services and I have not seen a big difference between them. Both have MPEG artifacts but they are not distracting if viewed from a distance. If I had to choose I would say Dish was better on HD and Direct better in SD, OTA is always noticeably better.

The DVR:
I did not anticipate the inconvenience it would be to have to deal with managing two separate DVRs. I had about 60 timers set on the 622 and knowing I had to deal with a limit of 50 in each HR24 and also wanting to record most of the shows in the bedroom so the tuners were free in the living room for last minute recordings and the use of the dual buffering (tuner swap / Dual play). The problem with this is that you cannot see what is scheduled to record on the other DVR. So I have to keep a written log of what is set on each DVR or have to go into the bedroom to see if a particular show is actually set to record. This is a big hassle especially now while I am trying to reset the 60 plus timer I had in the 622. I am beginning to regret not holding off for the HR34.

Another big loss, especially with the large disk space, is not being able to organize the recordings into user created folders. I am very disappointed in that there is no frame advance. On the ViP622 you could advance the paused picture a frame at a time. I was surprised that this was not on the HR24. It seems like a feature that would be basic for all DVRs. I know it is a programming nightmare to reproduce a frame from the MPEG stream on the fly, and I believe that some of the code for that is in the TIVO lawsuits but still I miss that big time. Direct does have bookmarks that can be set and jumped to but you have to be paused on the spot to set it. I can see this being more use full if you could set it on the fly and then get back to it. Of course that means a fast response of the DVR something the HR24 struggles with.

Also Dish finally got rid of the banner on the paused image so you can read something on the lower third of the screen. Now with the HR24 I am back to having any text on the bottom of a paused image covered up.

I know the HR24 does not have Picture in Picture but that is something I won’t miss, never been a big fan of it. What I do use is the tuner swap or dual play. I am still getting use to the HR24 implementation of this feature. I do not like that you have to activate it and it only stays active for 2 hours but I like the fact that it seems to buffer both tuners even while watching a recorded show. I also noticed that it seemed to buffer the recording. In other words I had previously recorded a show after the recoding had stopped the tuner was still on that channel and buffering the next shows. When I swapped over to that tuner I was able to rewind back not just through the buffer but all the way to the start of the recorded show. That is something I will have to spend some more time experimenting with. Bottom line though, overall I find the ViP622 a superior DVR and I am going to miss it.

Search:
The active search is something I fine very useful. That it incorporates VOD and YouTube is great! I have not played with the advanced features but I feel I will learn to depend on this a lot in the future.

Remote Controls:
I like the idea of the remotes being programmed by the DVR so it has current codes. All my equipment was available including my Onkyo receiver (usually a problem). The layout is nice but I do not think I will be using it in the living room due to its limitation on not have a macros, specifically not being able to turn on or off the AV tuner without having to select AV2, power, and then returning to DirctTV on the remote. Plus my wife will probably use it while I use the $20 universal learning remote I had programmed for Dish. I would think that Direct would understand that if you have a remote programmed for an AV receiver it most likely needs to be turned on along with the DVR and TV and that that should be included in the all ON and OFF buttons. Just a note, I set the Remote to RF in the bedroom (IR was the default) and the response seems to be better. I do not think I will be able to use RF in the living room due to the use of IR remotes.

Receiver Extras:
So far the Apps and Direct Access seems as useful as Dishes. In other words basically useless. The apps might be something that could work out in the future. I did not activate the community features such as Direct TV community, Facebook or Twitter yet. Having to register with a third party stopped me for now.


I hope this will be a help for anyone considering the move from Dish to Direct. Since I have only been on the Direct for 3 days I am probably missing a bit, If you know of some features that I was complaining about, miss represented or have not included please post so we can all be informed.
 

smitbret

SatelliteGuys Family
Sep 24, 2010
76
0
East Idaho
It's almost as though I could have written it myself.

Had my D* since February and I've learned to adapt to most of the changes and the laggy performance compared to the E* receiverss but the 1.5 hour program guide and the dual DVR management problems just drive me crazy. How hard would it be to tackle the dual DVR recording check with a firmware update?
 

Iceberg

The No Pain Train
Supporting Founder
Nov 17, 2003
282
35
None Your Business
If the DVR is set to 30 skip where it looks like it fast forwards here is how you chnage it to 30 skip
http://www.satelliteguys.us/directv-forum/235339-today-directv-install-day.html#post2393384

Another big loss, especially with the large disk space, is not being able to organize the recordings into user created folders. I am very disappointed in that there is no frame advance. On the ViP622 you could advance the paused picture a frame at a time. I was surprised that this was not on the HR24.
press pause then the ff button. That is frame advance

Also Dish finally got rid of the banner on the paused image so you can read something on the lower third of the screen. Now with the HR24 I am back to having any text on the bottom of a paused image covered up.
press the exit button when in pause. It removes the bottom banner
 

Cognato

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
May 10, 2006
77
0
Iceburg,
Thanks a lot for the tips. It is just the kind of things that I was looking for to make the experiance more enjoyable.
And yes I have it set to 30 second skip not slip.
 

smitbret

SatelliteGuys Family
Sep 24, 2010
76
0
East Idaho
Iceburg,
Thanks a lot for the tips. It is just the kind of things that I was looking for to make the experiance more enjoyable.
And yes I have it set to 30 second skip not slip.

Yeah, me too. It's just got more lag than the ViP Dish receivers. You'll get used to it.
 

mdram

SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 24, 2005
4,025
770
Md
i actually like the slip, i can see if im going past the begininng of a show
i just hit it 4 or 5 times and watch it fly by
 

Cognato

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
May 10, 2006
77
0
I don't think the installer had a clue regarding this. It came in Slip30 I set it to Skip30.
 

JerseyMatt

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 17, 2010
1,193
0
Midwest
That included a $90 cancellation fee from Dish for leaving with 9 months left in my 2 year agreement (HD for life upgrade that came along with a $10/ month discount)

They will pay your cancellation fee for switching to them. Call 1-800-Directv and ask for the details. IIRC it involves mailing in your final Dish bill with the cancellation fee on it and they send you a Visa gift card.

The HR24 seem a bit sluggish compared to the ViP622. Menus will hesitate at times and the Skip 30 had more of a delay than the ViP622, just enough to be a bit annoying.
Be patient, there is a new GUI in the works. Some of us are currently testing it, and it offers marked improvement in the receiver's responsiveness.

The HR24 only has 1½ hours in the guide display compared to the 2½ hours (or was it 3) in Dish.
TBH, having used both guides, I find the 3 hour guide to be annoying because it becomes too small to read across the room without squinting, even on a big TV. But it's all a matter of preference.

Also you have a channel description if you curser over to the channel list on the left side of the guide and if you select it, it will tune to that channel without leaving the guide. Nice touch that Dish does not have.
Tidbit: If you cursor over to the channel number and then hit Info, it'll bring up a list of everything on that channel for the next 7 or 14 days. ;)

I guess I did not do may research that thoroughly since I was very disappointed that some of the channels I enjoyed in HD on Dish were only available in SD on Direct. Such as DYI, History International, E!, and The Cooking Channel. So much for their advertizing of having the most HD channels than anyone else.
They do have the most HD.. There's just a handful of mainstream channels that haven't been picked up yet for one reason or another. Honestly I wouldn't hold my breath for E! though, because that's a Comcast channel and there's major bad blood between Directv and Comcast.


I did not anticipate the inconvenience it would be to have to deal with managing two separate DVRs. I had about 60 timers set on the 622 and knowing I had to deal with a limit of 50 in each HR24 and also wanting to record most of the shows in the bedroom so the tuners were free in the living room for last minute recordings and the use of the dual buffering (tuner swap / Dual play). The problem with this is that you cannot see what is scheduled to record on the other DVR. So I have to keep a written log of what is set on each DVR or have to go into the bedroom to see if a particular show is actually set to record. This is a big hassle especially now while I am trying to reset the 60 plus timer I had in the 622. I am beginning to regret not holding off for the HR34.
That's exactly how I keep track of my recordings.. Collaborative scheduling is a highly requested feature on the wishlist, so it might happen at some point.


I know the HR24 does not have Picture in Picture but that is something I won’t miss, never been a big fan of it. What I do use is the tuner swap or dual play. I am still getting use to the HR24 implementation of this feature. I do not like that you have to activate it and it only stays active for 2 hours but I like the fact that it seems to buffer both tuners even while watching a recorded show. I also noticed that it seemed to buffer the recording. In other words I had previously recorded a show after the recoding had stopped the tuner was still on that channel and buffering the next shows. When I swapped over to that tuner I was able to rewind back not just through the buffer but all the way to the start of the recorded show. That is something I will have to spend some more time experimenting with. Bottom line though, overall I find the ViP622 a superior DVR and I am going to miss it.
Double play stays active as long as you are playing with it. It times out after 2 hours of inactivity (ie: you haven't flipped tuners in the past 2 hours) The main reason for this is to reduce unnecessary wear and tear on the hard drive. Two live buffers = double the drive activity, so if you've stopped watching the second tuner, there's no reason to have the second buffer running.

The tuner will remain on the last channel and buffer continuously until the channel is changed (even when the receiver is "off"). It also assigns all timers to the inactive tuner first (unlike the 622 which either makes you set a default tuner or choose when you set the timer - which is why their "TV2" setup sucks so hard). It also buffers 90 minutes, versus one hour on the 622. So if the show you recorded ended less than 90 minutes ago, then yes you will be able to rewind all the way to the beginning of the recorded show.

The advantage to the larger buffer is you can go back and dump a buffered show to disk even if it already ended. So say there's a half hour or hour show that ended already, but your wife decides after the fact that she wants to see it, you can rewind back to that show, hit record, and it will save.

And again, once the new GUI is released nationally, it'll take a lot of the 'superiority' away from Dish's DVRs.
 
Last edited:

Cognato

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
May 10, 2006
77
0
Thank, A lot of good information there. As I get use to it I the HR24 to be laid out well. It is just that getting use to it takes a bit of time. Do yo know if custom folders on on the horizon?

Also I will try and see if they can help out on the cancellation fee!
 

Cognato

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
May 10, 2006
77
0
Just gave them a call and they are no longer picking up cancellation fees. They my start it up again but for now they don't.
 

Cognato

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
May 10, 2006
77
0
Just a quick question... Cn you disable the screen saver when paused. It is set for 10 mins or so and I would like to get rid of it or at least change it to a longer duration.
 
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