Satellite/cable/more...newbie questions - Illinois


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New Member
Original poster
Jan 25, 2004

I am new to this and have lots of questions so I appreciate your input and time reading this long post.

A little background first...I live in Schaumburg IL and wanted the most bang for the buck broadband internet and cable I could find. It used to be that comcast offered cable internet and TV for like $45 and that was awesome but now it is $83 for both and that is rather expensive. Internet only is $57 through comcast and they offer basic cable for $40. If you get both the internet access is discounted to $43 a month which makes the total $83. I am looking at other possibilities and want some advise as this no longer seems like a good deal.
I could get sbc yahoo dsl for $27 a month which is a great deal. Then I'd have to get a phone line too and a dial tone only is about $14 per month. I didn't need a phone line since I always use my cell so that doesn't buy me anything. Therefore, my dsl option really costs me $41 which is still a bit cheaper than through comcast.
Then that means I can get any tv programming I want and so I was looking into satellite offerings. Dish network has the 50 pkg at $25 a month and great promos so I am thinking this may be the way to go.
I do not have a HDTV currently but that will come in about 3 months I am guessing. I just have to decide what I want to lay down that large sum of money on (maybe benq8700 DLP HD 16:9 projector, sony lcd at 50" or 60", ...). HD channels would therefore be important in the near future.

1. Is satellite offering better or worse than cable in quality? Other advantages and disadvantages?
2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of Dish to DirecTV?
3. What pkg from what provider would work best for me? I could care less about sports as I never watch them. I like the learning channels like discovery.
4. Are any of the channels in either comcast cable, dish, directv in HD for the basic packages? It looked to me like I had to get a special HD programming pkg for like $10 more per month to get any HD channels for the satellite offerings. Is this true?
5. looked like it had a great promo where I can get a DVR, HD receiver, and SD receivers for free along with $200 credit. Is this the best promo out there? Is vmc good to order through? Do they install and give the same equipment as if I just ordered right from dish?
6. Should I be looking at a different provider like voom and is that a better bang for the buck?
7. I looked at the programming packages for directv and dish and I'd have to get the bigger pkgs to get many of the learning channels. Basically the basic contains tons of stuff like sports that I'd never watch. Is there a way to get the channels you want without having to pay for the biggest pkg?
8. I think both directv and dish require 1 yr commitments right? Does this mean I own the equipment after that or is it always leased?
9. Is there anything else I should know or pay special attention to?

Thanks so much for your input.
Well I hate to say it, but you will pretty much have to research it all for yourself. The main reason is that every cable system in the country is different in pricing, channels, and picture quality. Some are great price, great linups and great picture quality, some are rotton on all three.

Go to both DIRECTV and Dishnetwork's web site and compare packages and prices. Look for the channels you want to watch and find the best priced package from each site for you. Then compare that to what your cable is offering you, you will have to remember that you will get a discount off the cable price because of the internet bundling.

See if a neighbor has satellite and see if you can check out the picture quality, and compare it to your cable.

Current HD content on satellite is fairly limited. You would most likely have to get your local channels with an over the air antenna. Both have an HD Package for about $10/month with a few channels in it.

Dish has a lease program where you always lease and never end up owning. Both companies allow you to buy equipment at a big discount, and you own the equipment after your year commit and can sell on Ebay if you want.

The key is figuring out what channels you want first. Then work to see what it costs with each option to give you those channels.
Thanks that did help. I will focus on channels first then. If anyone is local and could offer advise I'd appreciate it. I am in Schaumburg IL which is one of the NW suburbs of Chicago. I still can't figure out the channel lineup for the different packages through comcast cable. They show a channel lineup that I saw but not per package.
With the equipment leasing issue...If I took say the promo on vmssatellite for the dvr, hd receiver, and other standard receivers would that be a lease then since it is free? Doesn't the stuff change so often when it isn't worth buying (especially if you don't pay to lease it)?
Unfortunately I don't know any neighbors who have the different systems to check out. I don't know how much help that would be unless one of them was really into it anyway because their setup could make a certain provider look worse than another when that may not be true. Most people don't have their a/v equipment optimally setup.
Finally, I am something like 29 miles from Chicago where most local channels are broadcast from. Would I have to have a roof mounted antenna and approximately what cost am I looking at? Where is a good resource to find out more on which antenna to buy and maybe you could give me some links explaining this topic in detail if you have any.

Check out it should show you where the towers are and what type of antenna you need to have. I would call the cable company and ask them for the lineup, they will probably be more than happy to send it to you. 29 miles is not very far from Chicago, I plugged in 60159 zip code (if that is close to you) and it shows a small antenna should work for you, also you are lucky that most of the channels are in the 117 degree direction from you. If you went with a big antenna it looks like you could pick up Milwaukee, Southbend, Elkhart, etc.

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