Questions: Poor Picture Quality & Getting Out of 24-month Commitment

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thirdeye99

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Nov 6, 2007
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Hi all -

Long time Charter Cable user here in Saint Louis, but needed to make the move to satellite in order to get the Big Ten Network (a necessity for me). Yesterday I had DirecTV installed with the HR20 HD DVR. I'm very disappointed in the picture quality compared to Charter Cable and have a sinking feeling I've made the wrong choice. Both SD and HD are significantly softer and more pixellized/compressed. SD content is almost unwatchable. It is enough so that I am strongly considering trying to get out of the 24 month commitment and moving to DISH. I have tried hours of calibration settings on my TV as well as both HDMI and component cables with no real improvement. All connections are solid and signal strength is good. The PQ is just poor.

1) Is it possible to get out of the contract without incurring a boatload of fees? I have read mixed thoughts on whether D* gives you a grace period or not. Maybe 72 hours? Maybe 30 days?

2) Is DISH an improvement in PQ (even slightly)? Both SD and HD are important to me, so any comparisons would be appreciated.

3) If I cannot get out of the commitment, is there anything else I can do to improve the picture quality? A different HD DVR? Is the the HR20 the only HD DVR they have available?

Thanks very much for any thoughts / advice you can give on these questions.

TV: 40" Sony Bravia 40V2500
DVR: HR20 HD DVR
 
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Hemi 6.1

On Vacation
May 3, 2007
12,056
1
Wayne County,Pa
I never had Charter cable. so I can't comment on it. I have E* and D* D* is my all around provider. E* I use for DNS ,Super Station pack and Cinemax. SD not great with Dishnetwork,and I dropped HD. D* on my 52 inch XBR D* SD look perfectly fine with me ,and the HD looks fantastic. Same on my 37 inch Phillips LCD. If your unhappy D* then you better call them and tell them . And hook your cable back up.
 

gadgtfreek

SatelliteGuys Master
May 29, 2006
22,105
862
Lower Alabama
Im very surprised that you find Charter better than D*.

Had Comcast twice and then E*. D* is better than all in terms of PQ.
 

CoachGibbs

SatelliteGuys Family
Oct 19, 2005
67
0
As far as looking for better PQ on E*, it really depends on what channels you're looking for. E* has better PQ on SD channels(D* has the worst SD I've seen out of 4 different providers) and a few HD channels like ESPN, ESPN2 and the HDNets. The rest goes to D*(except HD locals which vary by market on both).

E* does have a much better HD DVR, if that's important to you. But really lousy customer service.
 

boba

SatelliteGuys Master
Dec 12, 2003
11,350
1,033
Dorchester, TX.
Look for a problem someplace in your system, maybe even a bad receiver. Definitely call Directv and question how long you have to cancel, 3 days I believe is the correct answer.
 

dishrich

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 8, 2003
3,290
342
Springfield, IL
2) Is DISH an improvement in PQ (even slightly)? Both SD and HD are important to me, so any comparisons would be appreciated.

I have both E* & D* for SD - if you are not happy with the SD quality on D*, don't bother wasting your time with E*, either.

As far as HD, judging from all the accolades about the HD pic quality on the new MPEG4 on D*, I'm surprised to hear this. Again, if you are THIS dissatisfied w/D*, I just don't see you being satisfied w/E* HD.

Is it possible you don't have your TV adjusted properly for your new satellite service? Since you are obviously using a different HD box, maybe you need to tweak your TV settings to compensate.
 

Indiana627

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 6, 2005
410
0
Vestal, NY
Just a quick trouble shooting idea: on your HR20, do you have native resolution set to On or Off? And what screen resolutions do you have turned on in the HR20 (480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i)?
 

Slick Vic

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 24, 2007
160
0
Jax., FL
i think d* did away with the 30 day trial. so ur stuck with it for 2 years. all the receivers work the same. even if u put sd box on ur hd tv ur not going to notice a big difference. especially on larger tvs. also, what tv are u using for hd? I think im going to stick with indiana on this one, check ur native on the hddvr to see if its on. this will down-convert and up-convert as u change channels. u will notice a delay for the receiver to change resolutions though.
 

ONUOsFan

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 14, 2007
2,160
0
Fishers, IN
My original impression when I switched from Insight to D* was that the picture quality was worse. However, I had the luxury of still having them both hooked up, so I hooked them both up to my TV and switched back and forth, and discovered that I could not tell much, if any difference. But this was several months ago when all the channels were MPEG2 and the new ones are significantly better.

Definitely make sure your resolution and "native" settings are right, but beyond that, I would be really surprised if there wasn't something else going on, because I haven't seen any cable that is that much better (if at all) than D*'s new channels.

I've even been to my Uncle's house and watched his FIOS and was not blown away, although I can't say for sure what his settings, etc are.
 

ONUOsFan

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 14, 2007
2,160
0
Fishers, IN
Just out of curiosity, what are your signal strengths? They need to be at least in the mid to high 80's or higher, especially for HD.

Apart from that, I'm not sure what to tell you, except that if you wanted SD quality, you should have stayed with cable. Neither satellite provider is that great, but with 50+ HD channels, who cares? :)
 

thirdeye99

Member
Nov 6, 2007
7
0
Thanks much for the replies so far. I got a DirecTV rep to say in an email that I have a 3 day window to cancel the service without incurring cancellation fees. I have until tomorrow to cancel. But the initial $200 DVR lease fee is unfortunately non-refundable (even though I've used it for only 1 day!).

So the question is - do I eat the 200 and cancel to go to DISH? I've read so many differing opinions (including a few in this thread) about picture quality of D* vs. E*. Any more thoughts and comparisons of both SD and HD would be much appreciated. I know moderator Scott did a direct comparison a few months ago and came down on the side of E*.

To answer the questions posed to me:

- My TV is a 40in Sony Bravia 40V2500 flat panel LCD. Capable of 1080p.
- Signal strengths are all strong in the 90's. Except for three sporadic 0s on the 12th, 18th and 28th transponder. Probably is normal?
- I have Native turned On and all 4 resolutions checked
- I have tweaked & calibrated settings for hours on both the DVR and my TV without any significant improvement.
- I still have my Charter Cable box and hooked it up to do a side by side comparison. The PQ on Charter (both HD and particularly SD) is clearly better.
- Satellite is a necessity because I need to get the Big Ten Network. So no going back to Cable.

So far in this thread - one vote for E* having better SD but D* having better HD, one for D* better in both, and one for no difference between the two.

I don't mean to turn this into a DirecTV-bashing thread. I just want to know my options and others' thoughts. Thanks again.
 
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