Switching from Dish to DirecTV, Answers + Questions

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soledade

soledade

Thread Starter
Pub Member / Supporter
Mar 2, 2004
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San Diego
I wanted to start this post by letting everyone know a little bit of history.

I was a DIRECTV subscriber for many years. I began purchasing their service when a new home I built in 1997 did not have cable service. Back then you paid two bills (USSB and DIRECTV I think) and the SD picture quality was outstanding! We owned a SONY receiver with UHF remote. Over the years the picture quality just detiriorated to the point I could barely stand the macro blocking.

Sometime in 2004 I switched to VOOM. Prior to VOOM, I had just bought an HDTV and most of the programming I enjoyed was OTA. Despite the many critics, I enjoyed the VOOM service. The picture quality was very very good.

When VOOM was shut off in 2005 I went to Dish. The World Sport programming was a big draw, and at the time I thought the DISH HD picture quality was superior to DIRECTV.

Given that I am always chasing picture quality, IT IS NOW TIME TO SWITCH BACK TO DIRECTV! Dish picture quality has softened significantly over the last year or so. Even their MPEG4 channels don't have that looking through a window feeling I got from VOOM. With the the recent satellite launch troubles I don't want to wait forever.

So I have read and read the posts looking for answers to a switcher's questions. This is what I found so far. I decided to post the questions and answers so you guys could find and correct any mistakes. Your review of this stuff is greatly appreciated!

Maybe this list will help other people considering the switch...

(1) Which receiver do I want or will I get?

If you care about OTA you want an HR20. However they are hard to find so you will most likely get an HR21. You can get two OTA tuners on the HR21 with the addition of the AM21 accessory to be released any minute. DIRECTV said the AM21 will cost $59 bucks. Solid Signal is taking pre-orders for $99. With the AM21 the HR21 behaves just like the HR20. The OTA channels integrated into the guide. The AM21 appears to contain a slightly better performing pair of OTA tuners than the HR20. The AM21 connects to the HR21 through one of the HR21's rear USB ports.

(2) I love the Dish x22 receiver, can I record three things?

No. You will only be able to record two things at once, from any of the 4 tuners (2 SAT + 2 OTA) in the HR21 + AM21 combo.

(3) Can I watch any program while the receiver is busy recording something else?

Yes. Here are the supported combinations:

-If both SAT tuners are in use recording you can watch something from one of the OTA tuners.
-If both OTA tuners are in use recording you can watch something from one of the SAT tuners.
-If one OTA and one SAT tuner are in use you can watch something from one of the remaining OTA or SAT tuners.
-You can watch recorded programming while any tuners are being used to record.

(4) I love the Dish x22 receiver, do the HR20 and HR21 have an independent TV2 output.

No. You can choose to install multiple receivers to make up for this, or you can try one of these other suggestions.

You can hook up a modulator to one of the SD outputs of the main receiver and send what is on that receiver to all other TVs in the house. This setup works especially well with a UHF remote. The only caveat is that all the TVs will be linked to the output of the first receiver.

Someone pointed out that a second receiver that accepts a UHF remote together with a modulator will give you an independent TV2 equivalent.

I was not able to figure out what secondary (lesser than an HD-DVR) receivers accepts a UHF remote. Does anyone know?

(5) Is the picture quality better than Dish?

On the HD MPEG4 channels the consensus seems to be YES!
On the HD MPEG2 channels the consensus seems to be about the same.
On the SD MPEG2 channels the consensus seems to be NO.
The SD material on HD channels (like CNN or Speed) looks a lot better than the original SD channel.

Since I don't care about SD channels this works for me. The HD MPEG2 channels are scheduled to become MPEG4 channels sometime in the next year now that the D11 satellite is successfully launched.

(6) What are the HD MPEG2 channels?

I can't get this one straight. I think HBO and ESPN. Someone pointed out a list on Wikipedia. Then the next set of posts complained that the Wikipedia page was very out of date.

Does anyone have the definitive list?

(7) How many dishes will I get?

I could not get this one confirmed either. I think the answer is two dishes or one slightly larger dish with up to 5 lnbs?

(8) How long is the contract?

2 years?

(9) Can you use an external hard drive to archive programming?

No. Does anyone know if this feature has been announced?

(10) Can you get an HD only package?

No. It seems nobody is willing to sell me only HD. :)
 
GregLee

GregLee

SatelliteGuys Family
Apr 1, 2005
41
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Waimanalo, HI
7. One dish, though there are variations for special circumstances. (I have two dishes because I'm in Hawaii.)

9. No archiving on an external drive has been announced. But you can use an external drive to substitute for the HR2x internal drive. I've used a 750G drive since Dec. -- works fine.
 
Jimbo

Jimbo

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Lifetime Supporter
Jul 14, 2005
64,694
4,685
NW Ohio - Buckeye Country
(6) Mpeg 2 channels are the ones still located in the 70's.
I expect the rest of the mpeg 2 channels to be moved to mpeg4 sometime after the new sat is up and operational.

(7) IF you do NOT need locals , you can get everything from 1 dish (5 LNB )

If you do need locals from D*, many are available with still only one dish, but there are many that are currently on the 72 sat that DOES require a 2nd dish, I do not have a list handy of the locals and what sat they are on...

Eventually all locals will be available from the 5lnb dish, so the second dish will not be needed.

There also is talk about a new dish coming out soon pointing at the 99-101 sats only, this will probably be a smaller dish as it doesn't have to catch as many sats.
D* must be ready soon to move channels around and get them off the 110 and 119 sats, theres not many on those sats currently anyways.

Jimbo
 
JAG72

JAG72

SatelliteGuys Master
Feb 16, 2006
8,524
57
Earth
(3) Can I watch any program while the receiver is busy recording something else?

Yes. Here are the supported combinations:

-If both SAT tuners are in use recording you can watch something from one of the OTA tuners.
-If both OTA tuners are in use recording you can watch something from one of the SAT tuners.
-If one OTA and one SAT tuner are in use you can watch something from one of the remaining OTA or SAT tuners.
-You can watch recorded programming while any tuners are being used to record.

If you are talking about what you can do with Directv then this statement is wrong. Here is what you can do. If you are currently using two tuners to record and then you can only watch one of the two programs or a pre-recorded program. During This process you can also watch an On Demand program. You can only utilize two tuners for any combination of watching or recording.
 
soledade

soledade

Thread Starter
Pub Member / Supporter
Mar 2, 2004
84
0
San Diego
If you are talking about what you can do with Directv then this statement is wrong. Here is what you can do. If you are currently using two tuners to record and then you can only watch one of the two programs or a pre-recorded program. During This process you can also watch an On Demand program. You can only utilize two tuners for any combination of watching or recording.

Thank you for the clarification!

Somewhere (I don't recall the exact post), I read that with the HR20, and the guys testing the HR21 + AM21 you could watch OTA tuners when the the 2 SAT tuners are in use. I will edit the original post to reflect your answer.

Thanks again!
 
Van

Van

SatelliteGuys Master
Jul 8, 2004
9,316
1
Virginia Beach
Something I noticed that I think you should look at ( OP ). You stated that with each provider your PQ has went down over time and then you would switch or had to switch in the case of Voom. With each new service was new coax run from the antenna to the receiver and tv? Did you ever have any service calls for the PQ issue and what was the outcome from them? With each new install did the technician calibrate your tv sets or did you or was it even done at all?

There are many people on and off these boards that have been with either provider for years and years and they have the same PQ so I'm wondering if there's another issue causing yours to decline.
 
soledade

soledade

Thread Starter
Pub Member / Supporter
Mar 2, 2004
84
0
San Diego
Something I noticed that I think you should look at ( OP ). You stated that with each provider your PQ has went down over time and then you would switch or had to switch in the case of Voom. With each new service was new coax run from the antenna to the receiver and tv? Did you ever have any service calls for the PQ issue and what was the outcome from them? With each new install did the technician calibrate your tv sets or did you or was it even done at all?

There are many people on and off these boards that have been with either provider for years and years and they have the same PQ so I'm wondering if there's another issue causing yours to decline.

That is a really good question. OTA quality has stayed the same. The OTA channels still give me that looking though a window feel (with the exception of our local PBS station that added a bunch of sub-channels). Also our up converting DVD player (oppo) has been extremely consistent. This includes going through one DLP bulb change and a color wheel change.

For the reasons above, I don't think it's the TV. The satellite runs were replaced when my 622 was installed. I am admittedly a very critical viewer. Macro blocking and mosquito noise tend to jump out at me like someone is waving a hand in front of my face... :-(
 
B

BigTetto

SatelliteGuys Family
Jan 14, 2007
67
0
Manchester, CT
Thank you for a very informative post.

I'm giving thought to switching from E* to D*. What is the process as far as my current E* equipment? I understand I'll be returning the 622 to Dish... what about the two dishes on my roof? Would the D* installer remove those, and use the existing coax runs from the roof?

Just curious about the logistics. Thanks.

Mike
 
Van

Van

SatelliteGuys Master
Jul 8, 2004
9,316
1
Virginia Beach
One of the things I've noticed with customes who are "critical" is that they are never satisfied wich is the sign of a true aficianado to never be satisfied. That being said I always adjusted the picture for my customers wich generaly would get oohs and aahs and the criticals would get right in there with me fine tuning it.

Power outages if long enough tend to reset a tv to factory defaults wich happens to my vizio. Kids and wives tend to play with remotes and settings driving us guys nuts and has lead to service calls and a few cancellations that I know of.

I know that I have went out on service calls to fix picture issues and on some have done nothing more than repoint the dish and lock down some less than tight hardware. I've also replaced lnbfs and the issue has went away along with other problems while on others even a complete reinstall did not correct it and no resolution could be found.
 
topgman

topgman

SatelliteGuys Family
Dec 6, 2007
37
0
LI NY
Thank you for a very informative post.

I'm giving thought to switching from E* to D*. What is the process as far as my current E* equipment? I understand I'll be returning the 622 to Dish... what about the two dishes on my roof? Would the D* installer remove those, and use the existing coax runs from the roof?

Just curious about the logistics. Thanks.

Mike
I just made the switch myself & the D* technicians reused all the E* cables ... E* is sending prepaid boxes to return my 2 DVRs ...the installer also took down the 2 E* dishes from the roof ... switching to D* was the best decision I ever made ,I love the extra HD
 
DishDave

DishDave

Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Sep 16, 2003
898
9
How many cables come from the Dish to the HR21 ?

Also is a phone line required ?

Also the new 5lnb dish does it need support arms or can i just get mouted where my old dish was ?



Also how noisey is the HR21 ?
 
JAG72

JAG72

SatelliteGuys Master
Feb 16, 2006
8,524
57
Earth
How many cables come from the Dish to the HR21 ?

Currently two cables are needed for the HR21.

Also is a phone line required ?

No. It is only needed if you want to order PPV with your remote. You can also hook it up to an Ethernet connection instead of using the phone line. I would suggest doing this as that is how the On Demand works.

Also the new 5lnb dish does it need support arms or can i just get mouted where my old dish was ?

The 5LNB dish uses a different size mount than any of the older dishes. A new mount would be required.

Also how noisey is the HR21 ?

Don't know about the HR21 but the HR20 is no noisier than any other DVR.
 
DishDave

DishDave

Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Sep 16, 2003
898
9
Does the new slimeline 5 lnb dish have extra support arms ? Right now i have a dish 500 could i just use the same mounting holes ? I Don't want to use a roof mount.
 
L

lilexecutioner

SatelliteGuys Guru
Aug 15, 2004
133
2
Chicago, IL
By any chance can directv do the same thing that dish can where they can put a dual tuner box on one cable and split the signal with a dixpler? I only have one cable coming through each wall and i want to keep it that way i just hope they don't have to do dual cable throughout the house.
 
mattopia

mattopia

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 3, 2005
409
33
Parma, OH
By any chance can directv do the same thing that dish can where they can put a dual tuner box on one cable and split the signal with a dixpler? I only have one cable coming through each wall and i want to keep it that way i just hope they don't have to do dual cable throughout the house.

No, not yet. Supposedly it exists but isn't used for residentia installations.

In another thread someone posted an eBay auction selling an SWM for about $300. So, if it's worth it to you, you might be able to buy one and have your D* installer use it.
 
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