1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

opinions on satellite tv

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by orangecrushcj7, Dec 4, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. orangecrushcj7

    orangecrushcj7 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Messages:
    352
    Loc:
    Barre MA
    Lately I have been getting increasingly more and more fed up with my cable TV service. The rates keep going up and up, and the service is not getting any better. I also hate the fact that the cable company has a monopoly in each town they are contracted with. We just got in the mail a notice stating the rates were going up yet again. So I am now seriously considering either Direct TV or Dish Network. All I really want is the basic 100 channels or so, I don't care about premium channels, etc. I plan to keep my cable internet, because DSL is not available in my town.

    I have heard that the weather can adversely affect reception. is this true?

    What other hidden fees/taxes are there beyond the rates quoted online?

    Do you also need to have a land line telephone to hook up to the reciever? I don't have one. We use cell phones primarily, Though I do have a Vonage phone service that uses my cable internet modem to get to the outside world.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. disjointed

    disjointed New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Messages:
    3
    Loc:
    SE ohio
    i have DirecTV, but i dont necessarily prefer it.
    both have their ups and downs, and different channel selections/packages.

    I lose reception in severe weather for short periods of time (5-20 minutes), but i dont have 100% clear access (too many trees, around 90% signal)

    The phone line is not required, but saves you money on Payperview movies (i think), its probably just there to track your usage (must randomly dial-in)

    I have the 49.99 package (pretty decent selection), and actually pay around $52 (taxes fees etc).

    hope that helps.
    good luck
  3. orangecrushcj7

    orangecrushcj7 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Messages:
    352
    Loc:
    Barre MA
    hmmm. I also have alot of trees. when I try to look at my house from the google earth satellite pictures, I can't even see my house. that might be a problem too then.
  4. InTheRockies

    InTheRockies New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    Messages:
    366
    Loc:
    Northern US Rockies
    Actually, I prefer hulu.com. I just dropped Direct TV after seeing rates go up over the past 8 years. I'm showing my age, but it gulls me to pay for programing, the quality of which wasn't great to begin with but continues to deteriorate. I'm not a big TV fan anyway and the content on Hulu is more than adequate for me. I don't mind the commercials either, since I'm not paying more than $600 a year for it.
  5. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,938
    Loc:
    Peru, MA
    I put in DirectTV when I built my house (cable unavailable in my town) and moved to DISH the day my 2 year commitment was up with Direct. Both services were more or less identical, but DISH offers my local channels adn Direct doesn't. The local channel issue is very much like the local monopoly that cable providers have...only one satellite provider is permitted to offer your locals in any given town, so if you want your locals make sure to check the providers.

    When I moved to DISH, my bill went down $10 a month and I got a 2 room DVR that I didn't have with Direct...at the time I was using a comparable package. Times have changed and so have the offerings of course so it pays to do the research, but the most important thing is researching your neighbors. As you drive down the street, look at people's houses and see which dish they have on the side of thier house...odds are good that you'll see a definite preference of one over the other.

    As far as inclement weather issues are concerned...in the 6 years I've been using satellite, I've lost my picture only once...we had a severe ice storm and the dish got a coating of ice and snow built up on the reflector. I went outside and smacked it a few times and the picture came right back on.
  6. orangecrushcj7

    orangecrushcj7 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Messages:
    352
    Loc:
    Barre MA
    Mayhem,
    I have looked into it, and both claim that locals are available. Direct includes them, Dish charges you an extra $6. I have noticed a predominance of DirecTV vans that drive by. Do you too only have about $3 in fees, etc beyond the advertised package price?

    what about your landline? do you have to have it connected to the receiver? In my researching last night it appears I would need a landline to get NESN so I can watch the Red Sox. apparently thats how they transmit the regional sports signal?
  7. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    659
    Loc:
    NJ
    I had DISHNetwork when I lived with my parents but my new house has way too many trees to get reception. the guy came and said it was 50/50 so I had to go cable. My father has DISHNetwork and although you do not need a phone line, with his DVR and settop box, DISHNetwork charges you $5 per month if you do NOT have phone access. This used to not be the case, but now it seems to be a reality. It really sucks and you might be able to finangle your way out of it by threatening them to move to DirectTV. They have no power to change that, apparently, until you complain enough!!!

    Anyway, I'd go satellite in a heartbeat if I could for the same reasons mentioned here, increasing rates and the monopoly. I'd love to go Verizon FIOs too but they are not in my area..

    Jay
  8. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    14,865
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    I switched to satellite TV for the same reason . . . rates just kept going up and up with nothing to show for it. However, be forewarned . . . satellite TV will most likely do the same thing . . . maybe not quite as often or as dramatic and you will "get" something for it -- of course that something is usually the Jewelry Shopping Network, Game Shows from the 1970s Network and the Watching Paint Dry Network.

    Overall, I'm more or less happy with DirecTV . . . but I would take a look at all choices and prices and when my "time" is up I may look at other offerings. DirecTV in my area now offers local channels . . . but it's an additional cost and honestly I can get most of the local channels in HD anyways with my regular antenna. I pay about $65 a month which also covers the cost of a second receiver and a DVR (which I love).

    Weather is a non-issue to me. I have lost signal a few times . . . but it's not like the cable TV ads lead you to believe. You will not lose signal every time it rains. Pretty much the few times I have lost signal was when it was a very heavy downpour or in a very heavy snowstorm . . . most rainstorms and most snowstorms don't affect the signal.

    Telephone line . . . as mentioned . . . pretty much there to facilitate ordering PPV movies . . . something I never do . . . so I don't have my phone line running to either DirecTV receiver.
  9. triptester

    triptester Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2006
    Messages:
    258
    Loc:
    S.E.Wisconsin
    The landline is for ordering pay per view. When my Dish sat was installed I didn't have a landline for about a week,no problem. The second box has never had a landline connected and we take it with us when we go to the cottage , where we only have a cell phone.
  10. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Messages:
    3,700
    Loc:
    CNY
    We have DirectTV since there's no cable out here. We're happy with the picture but with all the channels there's only about 7 or 8 we consistently watch.

    Can't really say I'm pleased with the service...but I'm not displeased either. Lately it's become a hassle to watch TV the commercials are way too loud and all come on at the same time so you can't surf. So the XM music channels are on more often than some show.

    I do like the news and sports mix channels where you can monitor 8 channels at once...that is like way cool. We use to get HBO but canceled that after it got stale.

    DTV is always running deals for new subscribers and their customer service has some of the best trained and accommodating people you'll ever you'll ever deal with. I can't think of any industry that can equal their service and customer support.
  11. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    27,374
    Loc:
    Northern Virginia
    If you call the support number you may be talking to my sister's son-in-law in Texas who is sitting in his underwear at the kitchen table with a headset on. :lol:
  12. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    659
    Loc:
    NJ
    Yes, this is how it used to be, like I said, I used to be a DISHNetwork customer and never had a phone line. When my father told me he was being charged $5/mo for the lack of a phone line, I thought he was nuts. So I looked at DISHNetwork's website and did some googling, sure enough, it is true.

    This is different than DirecTV so YMMV and my father has a fancy DVR model one but not HD.

    Jay
  13. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    14,865
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    Well they did say "best trained" . . . not "best dressed." :) ;)
  14. matt701

    matt701 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2008
    Messages:
    69
    Loc:
    Syracuse, NY
    For the rain/snow fade in your satellite signal, you can buy a 30" dish from ebay or somewhere and eliminate that problem, the one you get is 18" and with the bigger reflector, you'll have a much stronger signal. I have cable now and I really miss the commercial skip button dish network had on their DVR's.
  15. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    14,865
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    You've noticed the louder commercials too . . . some of them just about blow you away. Very, very annoying . . . which is why I typically use the DVR for most of my "favorites" and then skip right over the ads when I watch them at a later date.
  16. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,938
    Loc:
    Peru, MA
    When i was a Direct customer they wanted $5 a month for the local package (if available), Dish charges the same...$5.95 now. I also pay a $5 per month additional fee for the DVR, but nothing for the second TV because its operated off the one box in the living room.

    Phone line is "required" by both providers so the box can call home for pay per views and such. They both clearly state that you will be charged a fee if you don't have a landline, but you may be able to work this out with them. We lost our landline for a week or so a couple years ago and the TV started yelling at me that I was gonna get dinged if I didn't plug it into some dialtone soon. Calld DISH and explained to them that my phone was out for an extended period of time and the nice lady turned that message off on my box in a matter of a few moments. The signal for NESN is not transmistted via landline, but the callhome feature is required for you to use any of their special packages. There may be no way around the landline for this issue, but you won't know until you ask.
  17. orangecrushcj7

    orangecrushcj7 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Messages:
    352
    Loc:
    Barre MA
    louder commercials happens with cable too.
  18. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,938
    Loc:
    Peru, MA
    Satellite too...its not cable, its the broadcast.
  19. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2008
    Messages:
    2,291
    Loc:
    West Michigan
    I currently pay $59.99 out the door for DirecTV for a slew of HD channels, all locals, HD DVR. Basically everything except for movie channels. I did have to drop $200 on the HD DVR but it's worth it for me. I'm quite pleased with the service. It's quite a bit cheaper than my local digital HD cable service provided by Charter. I don't think I'll ever go back to cable. It will either be dish or over-the-air. I've only had signal issues 2 or 3 times in 12 months. They have either been in super heavy, super wet snow and it only affected the HD channels or it has been in very, very high winds that only lasted 10 minutes or so. My cable went out 10 times more frequently than my Dish has had issues....
  20. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,467
    Loc:
    SE Mass
    I have a cousin who worked at the local TV station and he claims the commercials are not louder, they are "saturated". I refuse to drink that koolaid.

    Mom's sat works fine in the Winter but she loses the local channels in the Summer when the leaves are on the trees. There was no tree problem when the dish was on the roof, but it got moved down under the eave because of icing in the Winter. It no longer gets wet, it no longer gets ice, it no longer needs to be adjusted to work right again. Being up on that roof in January was not my favorite thing to do. The sat would go out from squalls/fronts with really high dense clouds, hail and rain or snow. Usually just a couple minutes while the front goes through.
    Sometimes its just 1 tree that's in the way. Might make good firewood.
  21. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Messages:
    2,120
    Loc:
    Midwest
    A decade ago, I used to have DirecTV (things might have changed now, but...)

    - Signal dropped out during heavy storms and/or if snow got on the dish (bigger dishes, dish heaters, mechanically brushing snow away all help)
    - Changing channels was slow. With cable, surfing through the channels only takes about .5 second per channel. Signal coming off the bird took 1-2 seconds for each channel to load up and start playing.
    - No high speed internet on the bird. I think there are some packages for high speed download, but upload still goes through phone lines. If you want to keep cable internet service, the cable provider may charge you an additional fee (I think mine would be $10 per month on top of a $30 internet bill) just for the cable connection 'service'
    - I think the local channel issue has largely been resolved.

    - If you do enjoy any HDTV, you might check what the latest/greatest bandwidth is for both. Seems like it's been back and forth but I don't know if cable or sat is on top now. Tho my cable HDTV looks pretty dang good when they really crank it up!
  22. orangecrushcj7

    orangecrushcj7 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Messages:
    352
    Loc:
    Barre MA
    that was one of my concerns too, though not a major one: the delay for changing stations. It took getting used to when we went with digital cable. I will lose my $10 "discount" on my internet that I get because I bundle the internet with television. We don't have HD, so that is a non-issue. Do I need to have the dish on a specific wall, i.e. west wall?
  23. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    2,140
    Loc:
    Waxhaw, NC... Formerly North shore Mass
    All satalites orbit around earth so if your in the northern hemisphere you point thedish south.........Southern Hemi.....well you get the idea... ;-)
  24. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    2,140
    Loc:
    Waxhaw, NC... Formerly North shore Mass
    Back in the day's when I was up in Mass....
    I had mediaone roadrunner, they sold to at&t;they sold to comcast........It was never on the 1 bill they talked about my e-mail changed 3 times in 3 years customer service sucked it was always.....Unplug the cable box for 2 minutes and then plug it back in, this would cause me too loose the guide for hours till it fully rebooted.....
    went to direct tv and loved it, can't speak for dish but my parents got it a short time ago and they have to have 2 dishes on the roof??????? I still don't know why.....
    anyhow.... moved down here and rented till my house sold and was back in cable he!!, dime warner down in this area.......... Back to unplugging the box weekly etc........ digital phone where you can't hear people on the other end but they can hear you and that annoying clicking on the phone lines......................
    Back to direct tv for me now......They have the Sunday ticket and it's the only way I can see the Pats games..........

    The only time I loose signal and it does that funky digitized screen is during severe t-storms and heavy rain, and its only for 10 minutes or so........
    Wind storms and ice storms take out cable lines more frequently IMHO
  25. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Messages:
    2,120
    Loc:
    Midwest
    Forgot to mention that...there are some dish pointing calculators out there such as : http://satellitetv.digitalinsurrection.com/dishpointing.php you pick your location and what bird you want to look at.

    Depending on Dish network, DirecTv, etc - ideally you'd have an unobstructed view of the south or southwest sky an an elevation of 20-40 degrees. The dish can "kind of" see through light foliage like a single branch of a tree, but generally thick trees will block the signal - as will any buildings or solid objects.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page