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DTV or Dishnet...uhmmm

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Old 12-22-2006, 11:53 AM   #1  
High Definition is the definition of life.
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Default DTV or Dishnet...uhmmm

Hello all. Need some insight. I've been looking at Dishnet, mainly because they have 29 HD channels compared to about 8 or so on DTV. I get local HD channels via OTA. When I talk to DTV they stated that they will have upto 100s of HD channels by the end of 2007 and that I need to upgrade to the newer system (free of course) but lock in to 2 years . Now before I make that commitment for something I've heard for awhile now (more HD channels) I need to hear from those that have experience with Dishnet. Anyone have any experience with Dishnet - Pros and Cons?

Help me.

Thanks
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Old 12-22-2006, 12:58 PM   #2  
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I am a current DishNet subscriber so I am biased but I believe that both DTV and Dish have awesome potential for more HD in the future. Right now, without question, Dish has the advantage, more HD channels at the present. Both DTV and Dish are in the process of making more and more local HD channels available to their subscribers. I believe this might be what DTV is talking about when they tell you about 1000's of HD channels coming. That is what you need to decide for yourself with the help of these kind people on this forum "who has the most potential for HD channels in the future"?

After all the incentives and discounts are over, the pricing for both are pretty even. One more thing to keep in mind is to take SD channels into consideration as well. I found some of the channel lineups that I wanted to be more favorable with DTV but then the HD package I wanted with Dish had those channels available as well. If pricing is a major concern you may be able to get a cheaper programming package, then add HD and get all the channels you want anyway. If you are a fan of sports this can be the driving force for choosing DTV because they have exclusive Sunday Ticket with the NFL. Regional Sports Networks(RSN's) in HD are available with DTV now but not with Dish just yet. (They are uplinked but not yet available to subscribers - they promise us "very soon").

My bottom line is with the competition between the two satellite giants - customers of both can be confident that HD will be a priority now and in the future.
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Old 12-22-2006, 02:50 PM   #3  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Methodical
Anyone have any experience with Dishnet - Pros and Cons?
I've had DirecTV since 1994, and had an active Echostar sub between 1997-2003. Forget all you hear about 'customer service', there are a full range between glowing and well as dispicable in both. So, you may decide strickly upon technical merits (or lack thereof) in both.

Both services are rolling out Mpeg4 compression on newer services, and having just about equal problems.

DirecTV is moving toward Ka band satellite (18Ghz+) vrs. the original dbs-band (Ku at 12Ghz). This has allowed them to concentrate their signals at a much narrower 'slice' of the sky (99deg-119deg for now, 99-103 in the near future with Ka) vrs. Echostar, which has several Ku-dbs band sats between 61-148deg spread. Many will attempt to tell you that all you 'really need' with Echostar is the sats at 110-129, but you end up paying for channels that simply arn't there, are only located on the other sats.

DirecTV, because of the movie to Ka, currently has about triple the HD stations as Echostar, and growing fast. Right at this 'moment in time', Echostar does have more Ku HD national signals than DirecTV, but at a price; those SD stations (it takes about 10 SD vrs. 1 HD in bandwidth), have been moved to the 'outer sats' that require more dishes to 'pick up'. People will tell you different, BUT you need a minimum of 4-5 dishes to pick up the main Echostar programming, 61.5/110/119/129/148. One of the 'Superdishes' can get the triple pack at 119/119/129, but you'll still need additional 18" dishes at 61.5 and 148.

Yes, you can 'get away' with the core three, but it depends on how you like paying for services you can't recieve...!? That was the main reason I quit Echostar, I live in the far west and can't recieve the 61.5 sat, and at the time that was where most of the HD programming was. Great if you live in NY or NJ, lousy if you live on the west coast.

Depending on your locality, you may require an additional dish to pick you your locals (SD) as well, with both services. However, DirecTV is moving it's local spot beams to the more central sats a the 101 location; Echostar has not announced any such plan, they simply don't have the 'core' bandwidth.

All DirecTV HD locals are on Ka band (except for the national NY/LA signals, available only to those in those cities or in 'White' areas unserved by local stations, approx. .001% of the US), at the 99-103 location. All the future national HD signals will be Ka at those locations as well.

The two companies have different directions; with Echostar, it was utilizing current technology that DirecTV pioneered in the 1990's, to spread their service across the sky. Each sat location can only handle 32 frequencies, or some 200 SD or a quarter that in HD channels, at the Ku-DBS band. But it requires the subscriber to be able to recieve all those.

DirecTV took a good look at that, started to move in that direction (that's why they have Ku sats at 110 and 119 that carry some SD and HD as well), but decided some 3-4 years ago to pursue a different frequency band (Ka) where there was bandwidth in abundance. Of course, required new technology, comewhat unproven, but hey, that's what they did in the 90's with Ku to begin with, when C-Band (4Ghz) was king.

But DirecTV is already reaping the advantages of moving to Ka, look at the number of HD locals they currently carry, and the potential to expand much more as they build the system out.

So, you may be able to put up the dishes where you are, get all the signals you want, and for a time get what you want. But the Ku sats Echostar uses are pretty well maxed out, they'll have to build and launch more (requiring yet more dishes), and the sky is full of them already (need those FCC licences, too; FYI the space between 61 and 101 are filled with Canadian dbs sats...). So it comes down to how ansy you are right now. Then again, you didn't list where you live, so it's possible (since DirecTV now covers 70%+ of the US with HD locals vrs. half that with Echostar) that your locals are available on one and not the other, and that may be the deciding factor.

But in six to 9 months, this will all be moot. Right now, the decision (as I see it, maybe not you) is going with what has most now, that has limited expandabilty, vrs. what will have (and already does HD locals wise) far more in the near future.

Last edited by Beck38; 12-22-2006 at 02:54 PM..
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Old 12-22-2006, 03:26 PM   #4  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpfrasier
My bottom line is with the competition between the two satellite giants - customers of both can be confident that HD will be a priority now and in the future.

Boy-- I feel all warm a fuzzey NOW
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Old 12-23-2006, 09:08 AM   #5  
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5 satellites for Dish full program lineup - BS. I have all including 35 HD with 1 500 dish and 1 facing 61.5 for locals. Located in NJ.

Pat
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Old 12-23-2006, 02:45 PM   #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patmurphey
5 satellites for Dish full program lineup - BS. I have all including 35 HD with 1 500 dish and 1 facing 61.5 for locals. Located in NJ.
You verified by your comment what I said; in addition, I guess you like paying for the signals on 148, which you don't have an additional dish to pick up. Too far west to get?? Easy for those on the west coast, maybe as hard as 61.5 is for the west coast.
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Old 12-23-2006, 02:53 PM   #7  
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There is no station in my subscribed (AE Platinum HD plus locals - networks in HD) package that I don't receive with the 2 dishes mentioned. What's the problem?

Pat

Last edited by patmurphey; 12-23-2006 at 02:55 PM..
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Old 12-23-2006, 07:25 PM   #8  
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Very nice write up by jpfrasier and Beck

JP
Being a Dish sub you were very fair.
Beck,
As usual, you covered all angles.

Very nice guy's

Jimbo
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Old 12-23-2006, 08:17 PM   #9  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patmurphey
There is no station in my subscribed (AE Platinum HD plus locals - networks in HD) package that I don't receive with the 2 dishes mentioned. What's the problem?

Pat
You need the 2 dishes you mentioned.And Beck38 said it may take up to 5 dishes to receive all channels.
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Old 12-24-2006, 09:02 AM   #10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patmurphey
5 satellites for Dish full program lineup - BS. I have all including 35 HD with 1 500 dish and 1 facing 61.5 for locals. Located in NJ.

Pat
That's still twice as many as I need!
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Old 12-24-2006, 02:41 PM   #11  
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I think the main point of what PatMurphy said was to look at the channels offer for the price, and what you'll watch....compared to what each service has to offer. Personally, for what I watch, D* w/HD and the 5 DVR I have in the house is a much better deal. I don't mind paying the additional ird fees, because I need the capability to record 4 channels at once in my office. the other three units are spread around the house. Personally, having family members having Dish and me having D*, I prefer D*'s customer service, but you are right, both companies have good and bad experieces associated with them. As far as the satellites are concerned, with D* it largely doesn't matter where you live, if you want HD, you need to pick up the 99, 101, 103, 110, 119 locations...and maybe the 72 for locals. Fortunately, if you pick up the 101, then you'll get the 99 to 103 toooo...only the 110 and 119 can be an issue. The locations of the satellites could come down to Line of Sight. If you choose Dish, and live on the East Coast but can't get LOS to the 61 sat, you are SOL....same token, if you go with D* n can't get the 119 then you are SOL. I think with BOTH services, it's a max of 2 dishes.....I KNOW this is the case with D*, not 100% positive with Dish.....
just my . 02 worth
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Old 12-24-2006, 05:26 PM   #12  
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The history of Echostar/Dish with moving signals around to their multiple sats, esp. with HD signals, is a varyied one.

In the 2001-03 time frame, most HD 'nationals' were on 61.5, only a couple or so were 'cloned' onto 148, making those on 61.5 unrecievable by subs on the west coast (unless they lived in the desert with no eastern mountain ranges in sight). Then they decided to 'consolidate' those HD signals, particularly to a new sat at 129; but in doing so, they had to move many locals around (like to the 61.5 as confirmed by one of the responses out of NJ or thereabouts), and that got them into BIG trouble with the FCC. But they did get most (if not all) of the national HD signals at the 110/119/129 'triple pack/Superdish2' locations. But in requiring many subs in 'major markets' to put up a second dish (either at 61.5 or 148) is what got them into trouble; I really don't know how that all turned out, because about that time is when I turned off my subscription.

I have, however, been following some of the FCC goings on with Echostar, in particular in regards to their recent attempts to get Ka off the ground (in more ways than one). Their initial request for a slot was denied after they failed to make the first payments on construction (I think with Loral), the second was after they failed to file the correct paperwork this last year. But they did finally get a slot (temporarily at 113 I believe), after filing revised paperwork. From that filing, it looks as though they are thinking about doing Ka sats around the 110 location (their major national Ku sat), as DirecTV has around the 101. Only thing is, they're about 5 years behind, as they haven't actually committed to construction yet, or come up with the bucks to start it.

Meanwhile, it's like I pointed out, way too many sats spread out over far too wide a dispersal, way to much 'cloning' of services on several sats due to inability of subs to realistically recieve the signals, and in some cases really not enough of that ' cloning'. I think eventually they'll get there, just many (5+) years behind DirecTV. So it 'looks good on paper' when doing a raw A/B of both services, but the reality may not equal what's 'on the ground'.
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Old 12-24-2006, 05:28 PM   #13  
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Maybe it's because I live in Dallas/Fort Worth but I receive all my channels HD and SD, with one Dish. There are only 4 HD channels I do not receive but if I decided to get those it would not require an additional dish, they are on 110 or 129, which I have access to. I already receive 30 HD channels which are fine for me... for now But who knows? In 2 yrs if the HD landscape shifts as Beck predicts it has, then I'll switch. Right now, I really enjoy my programming package, my HD/DVR and the ability to receive HD locals without OTA via the HD/DVR.

Last edited by jpfrasier; 12-24-2006 at 05:35 PM..
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Old 12-24-2006, 06:19 PM   #14  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpfrasier
In 2 yrs if the HD landscape shifts as Beck predicts it has, then I'll switch.
There is a big difference between a 'prediction', however, and what has been bought and paid for (both satellites and launch facilities), FCC licences and orbital slots applied for and awarded. As folks will confirm, it's a long and involved process, and requires years of planning.

The DirecTV 10 and 11 sats to be launched next year have been under construction for over 3 years by Boeing/Hughes, and are almost complete. Of course, they need to pass final inspection, both at the factory, before launch, and final in-orbit tests. At any point, some monkey wrenches can be thrown into the process, and of course the rocket can fail (although the Proton and Zenit/SeaLaunch have yet to), so until it's 'up and running' all final bets are off.

Since you mentioned DFW HD locals, you should keep your eye on DirecTV rollouts, as they already have 3 more channels available (on Ka of course) than does Echostar (KDFI and both FoxSports Southwest channels, Dallas and Houston). Perhaps the CW station (KDAF) will be added at some point fairly soon.
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Old 12-24-2006, 07:56 PM   #15  
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Beck,
I don't doubt you know your stuff and have been following this process for a while, whereas I am really new to this. But, as you pointed on in your first post, the technology DirectTV is exploring is somewhat unproven. I applaud them for looking in a different direction but the opinions regarding which is better suited for the future of HD are mixed.

A friend of mine consulted an installer for DirectTV he met one day before he made his purchase and this guy told him how unhappy he was with their technology and claimed Dish was superior. Then I read a post from another board, sorry I don't have the link, and he spoke about how "everyone" he talks to says how superior DirectTV PQ is over Dish and how he can't stand to do installs for Dish and would never sell them if he had a choice. Just depends on who you ask and who you listen to, you can find whatever opinion you want on whether or not DirectTV is doing the right thing in exploring this new technology.

The point of my first post was competition between the big two is going to be great for us. If I find after my contract runs out that your prediction is true, I say prediction because "the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry," then I will strongly consider switching. I did not mean to imply that this was all speculation. I believe you when you say that these satellites are currently in production and hope to be launched soon. I'm just saying let's wait and see, hope that both companies find ways to develop more HD channels and that broadcasters will develop the programming to go along with it. Until then I enjoy what I got and be thankful for it. Without a doubt I want more but contentment is wanting what you already have and I am very happy my friend.

Thanks for the info on DFW locals, the HD RSN's have been uplinked for awhile we are just waiting for them to become available. When I was making my decision 4 months ago one of the main reasons I chose Dish was I could get my HD locals with the HD/DVR and at that time DirectTV only had them with the HD receiver and not the HD/DVR. The extra HD channels was another plus because the price was about the same. I know OTA HD is usually better but at the time I didn't want to make any additional purchases.
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