Noob question: Advise on Sat TV, Dish/Direct vs big dish?

Z10

Member
Jul 26, 2013
8
0
United States
I can't seem to find any primers or forums geared towards someone who is trying to decide what is best to go with.

I have had Dish before, it was ok, nothing great. I had Comcast, got tired of going broke, so we canned them.

My wife wants more than OTA TV. I like the idea of a C Band Dish, she doesn't, but a Ku band or other smaller dish would be fine.

I need to get some ideas of programming for the bigger dish's, receivers, etc. I think there used to be a C Band dish here before, or if not, there is a nice cemented in mast in the back yard for one. So just about anything could be installed there.

FTA doesn't seem to have much on it that my family would want to watch that often. Unless I am missing something.

I like the idea of being on master feeds instead of paying for Dish/Direct/Cable downloading the master feeds and selling them to me rebroadcasted.

If you can, please point me to the right place
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Thanks!
 

navychop

Member of the Month - July 2014!
Pub Member / Supporter
Lifetime Supporter
Jul 20, 2005
52,774
17,825
Northern VA
Question 1: Do you just want to watch TV, with good knowledge of what is on what channel and when, or do you want a new hobby?

If you and your family are interested in the hobby approach, go to FTA immediately and do not bother to read the rest of this post. Just left click on the bold blue FTA.


Question 2: If deciding against the hobby approach, do you absolutely MUST HAVE the Sunday Ticket, realizing it might be free or low cost at first, but will likely cost around $200 later?

If you answered yes, go with DirecTV. Read no further.


Question 3: If you decided against the hobby approach and the ST is not the sole determinant- what do you value more, sports or movies (& maybe international programming)?

DirecTV tends to better cover sports, Dish tends to better cover movies and internationals. Not night and day difference.


Question 4: Is the speed of the equipment, such as scrolling thru the EPG and channel changing, important to you?

Dish equipment, especially the Hopper, operates faster. Except the latest DirecTV equipment, the Genie, is reputed to be almost as fast.


Question 5: Part A: How many TVs need concurrent independent viewing? Part B: Do you want a DVR?

Answers may determine older D* equipment vs Genie vs ViP series vs Hopper series.


Plus- you might consider Roku, especially if you already have Amazon Prime.

And: :welcome
 
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Teehar

SatelliteGuys Master
Pub Member / Supporter
Sep 29, 2010
8,355
174
WNC
Your not going to find much for free/unencrypted,on C-band,these days.You'd find more to watch via ota.How is your internet speeds?Streaming services such as netflix and amazon,are also good choices.
 

Anole

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 22, 2005
11,819
12
L.A., Calif.
location, location, location

Since you didn't give us any sort of reference as to where you are, it's hard to give the best advice.
I live in the Los Angeles service area, so there are 90-100 OTA channels here.
If you live in the sticks, your options are different.
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FTA doesn't seem to have much on it that my family would want to watch that often.
doesnt really tell us anything.
How old are they, and what DO they like?

And lastly, you are not going to see any master feeds on a regular basis.
You might see some sporadically, but they are rapidly being encrypted.
.
 
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Z10

Member
Jul 26, 2013
8
0
United States
I am about 90 miles outside Chicago. I am looking to pickup a 100in long boom UHF antenna to try to pickup Chicago OTA. I can pickup a couple stations in Madison, WI (PBS and WKOW), but the rest are marginal and often not worth watching). Chicago has a lot of OTA stations.

Kids are 11-18, the oldest doesn't care, he just streams movies from Netflix, the youngest is glued to Disney channel, which we despise.... The same shows over and over and over and over..... AAHAAAHHAHAHAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Streaming is what we do now, month isn't over yet and we have streamed over 310 GB. Just crazy..... We are told the limit is 350. I might need to throttle the data soon if this keeps up. Hence the need for some sort of TV that they will actually watch. I can't even get them to look at OTA. Maybe turn the net off for a day and force them to watch it or find something real to do.

Don't care on sports tickets, nothing gained there, not home enough to watch it.

I would be happy getting the network feeds for the major and minor networks, and if I can, local TV stations from around the country would be cool.

I like the idea of FTA, the lists I have seen are mainly religious and foreign language. That wouldn't be interesting for long. I thought the locals were often on FTA. Are they?

Thanks!
?
 

jayn_j

Press On Regardless
Supporting Founder
Sep 29, 2003
10,691
3,301
Sheboygan, WI
Hmmm, 90 miles outside Chicago and can pick up Madison. Janesville area?

I lived in Rockford for several years. The people who were doing OTA there were using deep fringe antennas on tall masts, like 50' or so. Also a rotor so they could get both Chicago and Madison. Here in Milwaukee, we have 15 or so stations worth watching and the towers are close together. If you are east of I-90, it might be worth a try.

As others have said, satellite choices are DTV and DISH. Cable is whichever monopoly serves your area. Possibly ATT UVERSE. Agree FTA is a hobbyist media, and frankly, the ROKU is as well. Roku has Netflix, Amazon and HULU+, but so does every BluRay player, smart TV, etc. The rest of the stuff is mostly public domain, people trying to get stuff on the air, public service, etc. Occassionally a gem shows up, but it doesn't seem to stay around long.

You might look into the intro packages if cost is the issue. Cost is low as is the selection. Usually no HD in those packages either.

The data cap numbers don't mean much unless you know when the cycle starts. If it is first of the month, then you are on track to hit it about the time it renews, so you are OK. These days, many ISPs will throttle your bandwidth instead of cutting you off. Often higher bandwidth plans also have higher caps. Might be cheaper to bump up the data plan rather than add cable.
 

Z10

Member
Jul 26, 2013
8
0
United States
Yup, Rockford.....

Comcast said it starts on the first of the month. So we are ok, but sheesh we download a lot.

I haven't tried to see if I can get Milwaukee yet. Figured it was too far.

?
 

Anole

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 22, 2005
11,819
12
L.A., Calif.
If Chicago OTA is a possibility, I might concentrate on that first.
And do it right; not half a$$ed, then give up.

How about DVDs for the younger kid?
Or dust off the old VCR and record the shows he likes to see over and over.
Actually, DVD recorders are cheap.
I've paid a dime to a quarter for blank discs. ;)
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As to cable vs DirecTV vs DishNet, I'm not going to weigh in.
I've had both US and Canadian satellite in the past.
Weather is dry here, so rarely any problems with Ku reception.
I understand from a buddy in Louisiana, that the heavy rains take out his HD channels on DirecTV.
(they're on the higher frequency Ka band - so get independent verification from neighbors if going that way)

You could get a $200 hardware package from one of our sponsors if you wanted to try the waters in FTA.
If you found it useful, you could expand to two rooms and 2-3 dishes for under $500 (estimate).
That isn't too bad when you consider $50-$100/ month for sat/cable.
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Shopping locally for cable or either sat provider is pretty straight forward.
It's just a big matrix of channels, hardware/features, and monthly cost.
While I'm not trying to sell you on the idea of FTA, if YOU choose to go that way, we have enormous resources and many friendly members in the FTA subforum who will help, guide, and educate you. :up
?.

Edit: as to FTA satellites, see The List at the top of every page.
Here are some to start with:
125w: PBS
97w: big mixed bag of everything
30w: a little gem you'll have to read about on the forum. ;)
.
?
 
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jayn_j

Press On Regardless
Supporting Founder
Sep 29, 2003
10,691
3,301
Sheboygan, WI
Rockford has the big 4 and the CW as a subchannel. Nothing great.

Milwaukee is out of the question. The tall antennas were for Madison and possibly some Chicago. I wouldn't bank on it because of hills.

FTA is fun, but more of a hobby thing than a TV thing. As Anole says, go check out those forums. I seem to recall a couple of unused C band dishes on Hwy 173, west of the river. I know it isn't 173 west of the river, but you know what I mean.
 

Z10

Member
Jul 26, 2013
8
0
United States
Just ordered me a UHF yagi, 100 inch boom. $32 on Amazon + $9 shipping. Hope it works out well! Now to dig me up some twinlead too (has much lower loss than coax) and see just how well I can do with it....
 

Z10

Member
Jul 26, 2013
8
0
United States
Got the big yagi in yesterday and tossed it up, coarsely aimed it and I picked up 35 stations and majority were Chicago coming at "good" on signal, no drop outs like we used to have with the much smaller yagi. I lost Madison stations, but I am aimed at Chicago.

Anyone know where to find out where the bulk of the transmitters are for Chicago and an easy way to plot a heading to them?
 

jayn_j

Press On Regardless
Supporting Founder
Sep 29, 2003
10,691
3,301
Sheboygan, WI
run a tvfool.com report using your address. The Chicago stations will show up in the azmith chart and that is where you should point the antenna. In reality, since you are getting them, just turn the mast until they are max signal strength.
 

jayn_j

Press On Regardless
Supporting Founder
Sep 29, 2003
10,691
3,301
Sheboygan, WI
I ran a report from my old address in Rockford, and it looks like you are a good candidate for a router. If you can get the chicago stations at an azmith around 110-115 deg, you should also be able to get Madison very strong at 335 degrees or so and Milwaukee at 45 to 50 degrees. Of course the local Rockford stations are mostly to the south and west of my old location on the NW side but would vary for you.

If you put up the rotor and programmed it, it looks like close to 100 stations in reach. Be advised that Chicago and Milwaukee are very weak and you will have periods where they are unavailable. Time of day, weather, season of year, sunspot cycle will all affect reception, so it is best to plan for options.
 

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
16,881
2,922
Salem, OR
If I may summarize...

If you want conventional cable channels, you need to subscribe to cable, telco or DTH satellite TV. FTA and BUD are not for those who aren't willing to spend a goodly amount of time fussing and searching.

There are no primers because people's needs vary very widely and no one solution has everything (all channels, lowest price, best hardware). You simply have to state clearly (and comprehensively) what you're looking for and ask for recommendations.
 

Z10

Member
Jul 26, 2013
8
0
United States
What is BUD? Big Ugly Dish? I sure wish I could! I think my wife would shoot me....

I am hoping to get enough stations that the family won't "want" more than that. My daughter wants to watch a show on ABCFamily, I don't think that one is OTA at all. Is it on FTA?
 

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
16,881
2,922
Salem, OR
What is BUD? Big Ugly Dish?
Yes, that is what BUD stands for.
My daughter wants to watch a show on ABCFamily, I don't think that one is OTA at all. Is it on FTA?
It is not available FTA or OTA.

The other thing you need to understand about BUD and FTA is that different programming often comes from different satellites and you may need significant discipline in working out what satellite(s) the dish(s) is/are pointing at at any one time if there's more than one TV in play.
 

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