Switching from cable, debating between D* and E*...

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linebackeru

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Jan 22, 2006
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I am about to switch when my cable's NHL Center Ice subscription ends. I am back and forth over which to get and have some questions for the D* people.

I keep reading how bad the HD DVR's are with D*, slow response times mainly. Is this a big problem, has anything been done to correct it?? Also, I see there is an HR23 out now, should I try for one of them instead of the 21 or 22 or is it just whatever they want to give you?? As far as equipment, I see people have posted about the lease fees and having to return equipment that they feel they had purchased from Best Buy or other retailers. Does D* charge a lease fee and reclaim your equipment no matter where you'd buy it from?? I see receivers on craigslist and ebay all the time, would those be subject to lease fees and turn in if I purchased one that was owned outright?? Also, if equipment breaks after the 30 day warranty, will they replace it without renewing your subscription for 2 more years?? My cousin said he had this issue and top get a receiver replaced for free, he was forced into 2 more years. What kind of content is on demand...is it all pay/premium stuff or does it work like cable??

I am mainly interested in HD content, sports programming and channels for the kid. I don't subscribe to premiums other than center ice. NFL ticket has no impact on me as I get Steelers games here locally anyhow.

Thanks for any help or advise in advance.
 
DodgerKing

DodgerKing

SatelliteGuys Master
Nov 14, 2007
16,776
26
SoCal
You will see many post on here ranging from their DVRs being rock solid to being a piece of junk. I for one have never had an issue with my DVR. It has never been slow, never missed a recording, and never had to be reset (except for those 2 nation wide software issues) in the 2+ years I have had my receiver. I have had several TiVO units for a few years and TiVO has always given me problems (plus I do not like their interface). When compared to TiVO, the HR's are many time better IMO.

Doing research and listening to those that have had or currently have both Dish and Direct the common consensus is that Dish's DVRs are better than Directs. Most of them also say that Directs DVRs do not suck. There ares some thing they prefer on one and other things they prefer on the other.

Most of the criticisms are from those few that do have issues (you also heare criticism from the Dish side as well) or those that have never used a Direct DVR (figure that one out). Remember only those that have problems usually post. You are not going to get someone to start a thread simply saying, "I have not had any issues with my DVR."
 
L

linebackeru

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Jan 22, 2006
55
0
How many programs can you record while watching another live program??
 
satjay

satjay

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Pub Member / Supporter
Jun 30, 2005
12,661
822
Michigan
I am about to switch when my cable's NHL Center Ice subscription ends. I am back and forth over which to get and have some questions for the D* people.

I keep reading how bad the HD DVR's are with D*, slow response times mainly. Is this a big problem, has anything been done to correct it?? Also, I see there is an HR23 out now, should I try for one of them instead of the 21 or 22 or is it just whatever they want to give you?? As far as equipment, I see people have posted about the lease fees and having to return equipment that they feel they had purchased from Best Buy or other retailers. Does D* charge a lease fee and reclaim your equipment no matter where you'd buy it from?? I see receivers on craigslist and ebay all the time, would those be subject to lease fees and turn in if I purchased one that was owned outright?? Also, if equipment breaks after the 30 day warranty, will they replace it without renewing your subscription for 2 more years?? My cousin said he had this issue and top get a receiver replaced for free, he was forced into 2 more years. What kind of content is on demand...is it all pay/premium stuff or does it work like cable??

I am mainly interested in HD content, sports programming and channels for the kid. I don't subscribe to premiums other than center ice. NFL ticket has no impact on me as I get Steelers games here locally anyhow.

Thanks for any help or advise in advance.

In Regard to HD content, its pretty close National Channel wise. For specific channels, check there websites and see if they have the ones you are looking for.

Sports content: Directv has an edge on that if you are looking for out of market packages. Both have NFL Network, NHL Network and NBA Network, though I think with Dish some of these Networks are on different Tiers. Dish has a few more package Tier's then Direct has

MLB Network, Direct Has dish does not.



Kids Channels: Both seem to have the same, though Noggin and the N are two seperate channels on Directv as Dish Splits them one one channel. Not sure if that is a deal breaker for you!

DVR's: My Experience with Directvs has been fine. It is slow if you are trying to do major channel surfin, but other then thats my experience has been well.
 
L

linebackeru

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Jan 22, 2006
55
0
In Regard to HD content, its pretty close National Channel wise. For specific channels, check there websites and see if they have the ones you are looking for.

Sports content: Directv has an edge on that if you are looking for out of market packages. Both have NFL Network, NHL Network and NBA Network, though I think with Dish some of these Networks are on different Tiers. Dish has a few more package Tier's then Direct has

MLB Network, Direct Has dish does not.



Kids Channels: Both seem to have the same, though Noggin and the N are two seperate channels on Directv as Dish Splits them one one channel. Not sure if that is a deal breaker for you!

DVR's: My Experience with Directvs has been fine. It is slow if you are trying to do major channel surfin, but other then thats my experience has been well.


The boy watches alot of noggin, so that may actually be a factor. I was set on D*, but the new 922 box coming out intrigued me back to E^. That said, I could just buy a seperate sling and have it in case I ever switched to another service anyhow as opposed to only having a catcher for my tv on deck or in my workout room. I really don't want to run more wire to those spots or buy another box for them.
 
D

dslate69

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 23, 2006
782
0
NC
The boy watches alot of noggin, so that may actually be a factor. I was set on D*, but the new 922 box coming out intrigued me back to E^. That said, I could just buy a seperate sling and have it in case I ever switched to another service anyhow as opposed to only having a catcher for my tv on deck or in my workout room. I really don't want to run more wire to those spots or buy another box for them.
The 922 will not be free either.
I switched to D* from E*, more or less for SPIKE-HD. I made the comment on the forums that I would not watch another season of UFC TUF in SD and I am a man of my word. No regrets here, the E* 622 was a nice peppy dvr with less software features than the HR22 I have with D*. Some swear by the dual zone with SD out but I got a second HR22 for my second HDTV and my bill is $3 less after after my 2 years of incentives fall off.
If you do go with D* call the AAA number, even if you have to sign up for AAA it will save you a ton.
 
L

linebackeru

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Jan 22, 2006
55
0
The 922 will not be free either.
I switched to D* from E*, more or less for SPIKE-HD. I made the comment on the forums that I would not watch another season of UFC TUF in SD and I am a man of my word. No regrets here, the E* 622 was a nice peppy dvr with less software features than the HR22 I have with D*. Some swear by the dual zone with SD out but I got a second HR22 for my second HDTV and my bill is $3 less after after my 2 years of incentives fall off.
If you do go with D* call the AAA number, even if you have to sign up for AAA it will save you a ton.


AAA, like the Auto club??

I am already a member, thanks for the heads up,that will be a nice extra savings
 
J

JosephB

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 21, 2004
1,254
160
Atlanta
Receivers are leased, no matter where you get them from. I would not buy them from ebay or craigslist or any individual. When you 'buy' them from Best Buy, etc. you actually sign a disclaimer that states you know you are leasing them and the fee you are paying is a lease fee and not a purchase.
 
satjay

satjay

SatelliteGuys Master
Pub Member / Supporter
Jun 30, 2005
12,661
822
Michigan
The boy watches alot of noggin, so that may actually be a factor. I was set on D*, but the new 922 box coming out intrigued me back to E^. That said, I could just buy a seperate sling and have it in case I ever switched to another service anyhow as opposed to only having a catcher for my tv on deck or in my workout room. I really don't want to run more wire to those spots or buy another box for them.


Noggin runs from 6:00 AM-6:00 PM, not sure what the kids schedule is, but you may be able to DVR during those times...Just a thought!
 
L

linebackeru

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Jan 22, 2006
55
0
If you upgrade, do you have to extend your agreement?? I believe I read that somewhere, is it true?? That is the 1 thing I really don't like if it's the case. If I want to add another DVR in 6 months, I don't want to automatically extend my service agreement.
 
D

dslate69

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 23, 2006
782
0
NC
AAA, like the Auto club??

I am already a member, thanks for the heads up,that will be a nice extra savings
I got an extra $10 off a month for 24 months and you can get your second HD receiver for FREE or a second HD DVR for $99. That of course is on top of the $23 off for 12 months thru D* and an extra savings for autopay can't remember how much and for how long. Good luck.:up
 
L

linebackeru

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Jan 22, 2006
55
0
I got an extra $10 off a month for 24 months and you can get your second HD receiver for FREE or a second HD DVR for $99. That of course is on top of the $23 off for 12 months thru D* and an extra savings for autopay can't remember how much and for how long. Good luck.:up

WOW< that is sweet. I want to get a second HD DVR, that will be great. Thanks again.
 
Ronnie-

Ronnie-

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Aug 28, 2007
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If you upgrade, do you have to extend your agreement?? I believe I read that somewhere, is it true?? That is the 1 thing I really don't like if it's the case. If I want to add another DVR in 6 months, I don't want to automatically extend my service agreement.
Generally speaking whenever you add a box, you extend the commitment.
 
L

linebackeru

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Jan 22, 2006
55
0
Generally speaking whenever you add a box, you extend the commitment.

Adding an additional box or replacing one of my current boxes?? I just want to be sure because I will pay up front for xtra DVR if that's the case. Also, if one of their recievers break, do they replace them since you are leasing??
 
Ronnie-

Ronnie-

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Adding if I am not mistaken. Perhaps someone else will chime in on replacing since i have not had to do that
 
L

linebackeru

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Jan 22, 2006
55
0
Also, if it matters, the DVR I would additional swap a standard box for would be a standard def DVR, not an HD one.
 
R

robx46

SatelliteGuys Family
Sep 13, 2008
42
0
The boy watches alot of noggin, so that may actually be a factor. I was set on D*, but the new 922 box coming out intrigued me back to E^. That said, I could just buy a seperate sling and have it in case I ever switched to another service anyhow as opposed to only having a catcher for my tv on deck or in my workout room. I really don't want to run more wire to those spots or buy another box for them.

I had E*, and things were OK for a while, but then they started falling behind in national HD, and still are. Then they still haven't added HD locals for our area (are you pittsburgh market? If so you get them with D* or E*, if you are altoona market like myself, you can only get them via D*, who has all HD locals including pbs.

Then, E* started doing some really funky things with our bill in the waning months of our contract, and their practices are downright awful sometimes. Like how our bill went up $26 (only $6 of which we were able to knock back off after a lengthy phone call as they added optional insurance crap we never wanted).

Earlier in the contract when we wanted to upgrade our package, it was super easy, upgraded in like 5 minutes! But when they jacked up our bill way more than they should have, and can apparently get away with it, we tried to change our package again to something cheaper, and of course we were NOT allowed to do that!
Hypocritcal.

We considered D*, they they said they would throw in 12 additional months of showtime package for free on top of the normal promotions. We got a free HD DVR even though we never asked for it, so it was definitely time to swtich. Oh, and D* said we can adjust our package at any time during the 2 yr commitment, unlike E*. And after the 1st 12 months they said they would likely throw in another promotion to make the non promotional period more worth while.

So we cancelled E*, got D* setup a week ago, and have zero regrets, its been great so far.
I honestly just don't think anybody should be singing up with E* right now, they have a lot of work to do to pick up their game.
Besides, there isn't much of anything E* offer's that D* can't. D* is better for sports, period. Kids programming, D* seems better there, and they currently have Nick in HD while E* is still waiting on that, apparently.

As for the HD DVR's, we were lucky enough to get the new HR23's, and it isn't that bad. Also the HR23 hasn't had the # of updates yet that the HR21/22 have had, thus it will probably only improve as time goes on. But it's a damn good looking reciever.
The whole interface definitely seems more in depth and technologically newer than E*'s 722, which we had. The 722 was pretty solid, but they aren't perfect.

We've had ours overheat to where I needed to add additional cooling (laptop cooler) under it. And my grandma's 722, which is even newer than ours, just completely died recently.
Can't comment on E*'s 922, but probably no guarantee that is what you would get. Honestly, I wouldn't put much stock in the hardware at all, cuz it works, focus more on the programming you'll be getting and resign to the fact that all hardware has some pros and cons. The installer comes and makes sure its working up to par, and everything is covered so long as you lease everything through D*. So yeah they will cover repairs.
And this can go along with your question about buying used/new recievers, most will advise against it.

Anything used, you'll need to pay $20 for a new access card anyhow, and it won't be covered by D*. Same with buying new, it may come with a warranty of some type, but it won't be under D*'s contract to fix it. You just don't want to take those chances, especially when the price of a good used reciever plus the $20 for new card or a new reciever won't be much less than just leasing it from D* anyhow, where it is covered.

We considered the same thing in regards to possibly buying the 2nd HD DVR we wanted rather than pay $199 through dish, maybe save $40 or $50 getting one through amazon for an HR21/22.
So instead of taking chances, we decided to get one through D*, but I explained to D* how the high price of the 2nd HD DVR was a bit too steep & I asked for a possible $99 rebate that some people get.
They weren't able to do that, but instead, for leasing the reciever through them, they easily gave us the additional 1 free yr of showtime package (which actually includes 5 HD showtime channels and 1 The Movie Channel HD).
On top of that, the recievers ended up being HR23's, which of course are newer than the HR21/22's we considered buying.

With the HR23, there is a little lag sometimes, but you adjust to it after a week or two to where its a non-issue. IMO, its not bad enough for me to really complain about. And as far as the remote stuff, the built in RF is real nice. Basically don't let hardware comments make or break which provider you choose, neither D* or E* is perfect in this regard.

Lastly, want to note how great my D* install went (which if you have multiple TV's scattered about the house, this might be a big deal). First off, with E* we needed to have 2 dishes on our roof, kind of an eyesore. With D* we just got the 1 slimline dish.
Anyhow, my main concern was that since we have 3 or 4 TV's is how complicated the install might get cuz with E* we just had 2 dual tuners set in the same part of the house, and for all TV's to operate, the E* install was a bit of a hack, the dual tuners saving the install from being A LOT of a hack!

Thus when I learned D* required each TV to have its own reciever, I thought this might be good in the way that we would now have 2 seperate DVR's in different rooms, and it would help the remotes work better (where before, E*'s remotes were far away from the recievers on 2 of the TV's and didn't always work without finding a sweet spot, was kind of a pain).

However, with each TV needing a reciever, I was thinking the worst, that holes would need drilled on the other side of the house, new cable lines might need run, a potential nightmare.
But once the installer got here, told him how our cable lines were run and told him my concern, he said that there won't be any problem at all because he's been using SWM LNB's for the past 6 months & then I learned how all that worked. So we were saved from any trouble, but glad we got D* installed now rather than 6+ months ago.

He got the dish up real fast, was able to use old E* cable run so once he mounted the dish, he just needed to re-attach the E* cable to the D* dish, and that was it!
At that point, the recievers very simply just hooked up to our existing cable run (which is 30 yrs old and contains multiple splitters). Which really surprised me. This SWM LNB stuff must be a life saver for saving installers a lot of work, and keeps house damage to a minimum. All our guy needed to do was mount the dish on the roof, other than that our house was untouched.
And aside from the HR23's, we ordered 1 regular reciever, and instead he gave us an HD DVR for free! Normally $99.

Finally, the last week+ of watching TV since the install has been just fine. No issues, the HD looks as great (although as far as HD PQ, I don't feel there is much difference between D* and E*, if the HD broadcast is a good one, then it should come across as good as possible with D* or E*). It does seem D* might have better PQ as far as SD channels, but I don't watch much SD anyhow.

Given your situation, it sounds like you are better off with D*. Plus D* has more going for them right now regardless, and you should have less trouble with them as far as customer service, crazy bill issues, & other frustrations. I'm know D* isn't perfect, but I'd reckon they are the lesser of 2 evils!
 
L

linebackeru

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Jan 22, 2006
55
0
I had E*, and things were OK for a while, but then they started falling behind in national HD, and still are. Then they still haven't added HD locals for our area (are you pittsburgh market? If so you get them with D* or E*, if you are altoona market like myself, you can only get them via D*, who has all HD locals including pbs.

Then, E* started doing some really funky things with our bill in the waning months of our contract, and their practices are downright awful sometimes. Like how our bill went up $26 (only $6 of which we were able to knock back off after a lengthy phone call as they added optional insurance crap we never wanted).

Earlier in the contract when we wanted to upgrade our package, it was super easy, upgraded in like 5 minutes! But when they jacked up our bill way more than they should have, and can apparently get away with it, we tried to change our package again to something cheaper, and of course we were NOT allowed to do that!
Hypocritcal.

We considered D*, they they said they would throw in 12 additional months of showtime package for free on top of the normal promotions. We got a free HD DVR even though we never asked for it, so it was definitely time to swtich. Oh, and D* said we can adjust our package at any time during the 2 yr commitment, unlike E*. And after the 1st 12 months they said they would likely throw in another promotion to make the non promotional period more worth while.

So we cancelled E*, got D* setup a week ago, and have zero regrets, its been great so far.
I honestly just don't think anybody should be singing up with E* right now, they have a lot of work to do to pick up their game.
Besides, there isn't much of anything E* offer's that D* can't. D* is better for sports, period. Kids programming, D* seems better there, and they currently have Nick in HD while E* is still waiting on that, apparently.

As for the HD DVR's, we were lucky enough to get the new HR23's, and it isn't that bad. Also the HR23 hasn't had the # of updates yet that the HR21/22 have had, thus it will probably only improve as time goes on. But it's a damn good looking reciever.
The whole interface definitely seems more in depth and technologically newer than E*'s 722, which we had. The 722 was pretty solid, but they aren't perfect.

We've had ours overheat to where I needed to add additional cooling (laptop cooler) under it. And my grandma's 722, which is even newer than ours, just completely died recently.
Can't comment on E*'s 922, but probably no guarantee that is what you would get. Honestly, I wouldn't put much stock in the hardware at all, cuz it works, focus more on the programming you'll be getting and resign to the fact that all hardware has some pros and cons. The installer comes and makes sure its working up to par, and everything is covered so long as you lease everything through D*. So yeah they will cover repairs.
And this can go along with your question about buying used/new recievers, most will advise against it.

Anything used, you'll need to pay $20 for a new access card anyhow, and it won't be covered by D*. Same with buying new, it may come with a warranty of some type, but it won't be under D*'s contract to fix it. You just don't want to take those chances, especially when the price of a good used reciever plus the $20 for new card or a new reciever won't be much less than just leasing it from D* anyhow, where it is covered.

We considered the same thing in regards to possibly buying the 2nd HD DVR we wanted rather than pay $199 through dish, maybe save $40 or $50 getting one through amazon for an HR21/22.
So instead of taking chances, we decided to get one through D*, but I explained to D* how the high price of the 2nd HD DVR was a bit too steep & I asked for a possible $99 rebate that some people get.
They weren't able to do that, but instead, for leasing the reciever through them, they easily gave us the additional 1 free yr of showtime package (which actually includes 5 HD showtime channels and 1 The Movie Channel HD).
On top of that, the recievers ended up being HR23's, which of course are newer than the HR21/22's we considered buying.

With the HR23, there is a little lag sometimes, but you adjust to it after a week or two to where its a non-issue. IMO, its not bad enough for me to really complain about. And as far as the remote stuff, the built in RF is real nice. Basically don't let hardware comments make or break which provider you choose, neither D* or E* is perfect in this regard.

Lastly, want to note how great my D* install went (which if you have multiple TV's scattered about the house, this might be a big deal). First off, with E* we needed to have 2 dishes on our roof, kind of an eyesore. With D* we just got the 1 slimline dish.
Anyhow, my main concern was that since we have 3 or 4 TV's is how complicated the install might get cuz with E* we just had 2 dual tuners set in the same part of the house, and for all TV's to operate, the E* install was a bit of a hack, the dual tuners saving the install from being A LOT of a hack!

Thus when I learned D* required each TV to have its own reciever, I thought this might be good in the way that we would now have 2 seperate DVR's in different rooms, and it would help the remotes work better (where before, E*'s remotes were far away from the recievers on 2 of the TV's and didn't always work without finding a sweet spot, was kind of a pain).

However, with each TV needing a reciever, I was thinking the worst, that holes would need drilled on the other side of the house, new cable lines might need run, a potential nightmare.
But once the installer got here, told him how our cable lines were run and told him my concern, he said that there won't be any problem at all because he's been using SWM LNB's for the past 6 months & then I learned how all that worked. So we were saved from any trouble, but glad we got D* installed now rather than 6+ months ago.

He got the dish up real fast, was able to use old E* cable run so once he mounted the dish, he just needed to re-attach the E* cable to the D* dish, and that was it!
At that point, the recievers very simply just hooked up to our existing cable run (which is 30 yrs old and contains multiple splitters). Which really surprised me. This SWM LNB stuff must be a life saver for saving installers a lot of work, and keeps house damage to a minimum. All our guy needed to do was mount the dish on the roof, other than that our house was untouched.
And aside from the HR23's, we ordered 1 regular reciever, and instead he gave us an HD DVR for free! Normally $99.

Finally, the last week+ of watching TV since the install has been just fine. No issues, the HD looks as great (although as far as HD PQ, I don't feel there is much difference between D* and E*, if the HD broadcast is a good one, then it should come across as good as possible with D* or E*). It does seem D* might have better PQ as far as SD channels, but I don't watch much SD anyhow.

Given your situation, it sounds like you are better off with D*. Plus D* has more going for them right now regardless, and you should have less trouble with them as far as customer service, crazy bill issues, & other frustrations. I'm know D* isn't perfect, but I'd reckon they are the lesser of 2 evils!


Wow, thank you very much. That was a very informative post. I am in the Pittsburgh market. I am going with D*, the extra AAA promotion really made it a no brainer. I am used to a bit of lag with my crappy comcast DVR anyhow, so I imagine it can't be any worse. Hopefully I get 23's as well!!! thanks again for all the info.
 
s10zr2

s10zr2

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 26, 2006
241
3
Cincinnati, Ohio
Receivers are leased, no matter where you get them from. I would not buy them from ebay or craigslist or any individual. When you 'buy' them from Best Buy, etc. you actually sign a disclaimer that states you know you are leasing them and the fee you are paying is a lease fee and not a purchase.
So if you purchase them do you still pay and additional receiver fee? If so why would someone purchase them, if directv will give them to you for free?
 
L

linebackeru

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Jan 22, 2006
55
0
So if you purchase them do you still pay and additional receiver fee? If so why would someone purchase them, if directv will give them to you for free?

The way I understand it is that you are paying up front for the upgrade, whether you do it through DirectTV or go to best buy and purchase it. They seem to rationalize it in comparison to a car lease....you pay up front, plus still have a lease fee.
 
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