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Comcast vs Dish vs DirectTV for the new HDTV viewer?

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Old 04-15-2007, 07:11 PM   #1  
A couch and an HDTV to go please.
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Default Comcast vs Dish vs DirectTV for the new HDTV viewer?

Hi,

I just got on the HDTV bandwagon with Samsung HL-S5687 1080P TV and Toshiba HD-A20 HDDVD player.
I am currently a DishNetwork subscriber but evaluating my options for HDTV setup.
Dish probably is out of running since they still do not provide local channels in HDTV in my area (Naugatuck, CT) and I got bubkas off air due to living in a valley. So it's up to DirectTV and Comcast unless Dish wins on other points.

I would like to get your opinions on which service is better and has more potential. These are my criterias, going down in importance:

1. Best PQ quality of HD lineup (who is better cable or Sattelite?)
2. Best HD channel lineup
3. Best HD+DVR receiver
4. Local HD channels are very nice to have
5. No commitments or as little as possible
6. Price

Cheers,

netscorer.
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Old 04-15-2007, 07:24 PM   #2  
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IMHO between D* and C*:
1.C* I've compared both side-by-side and C* wins by a landslide
2.C* we currently have 23 hd channels (D* less than 10)
3.C*moto 3416 or 6412 very fast and reliable
4.C*all local hd in full res
5.C* cancel anytime
6.C* ("triple play" internet,phone,tv - best deal out there)

With Comcast, cancel anytime if something better comes along. I would steer clear of D* until they start adding more HD channels. That might not be until sometime next year (too long to wait especially with a two-year committment).
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Old 04-16-2007, 12:05 AM   #3  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fastep View Post
IMHO between D* and C*:
1.C* I've compared both side-by-side and C* wins by a landslide
2.C* we currently have 23 hd channels (D* less than 10)
3.C*moto 3416 or 6412 very fast and reliable
4.C*all local hd in full res
5.C* cancel anytime
6.C* ("triple play" internet,phone,tv - best deal out there)

With Comcast, cancel anytime if something better comes along. I would steer clear of D* until they start adding more HD channels. That might not be until sometime next year (too long to wait especially with a two-year committment).
Generally I agree, however you really need to check specifically for your own area.
1. Comcast in Phila, PA actually doesn't appear as crisp as Dish HD to me, although the comparision were not made side by side, or even on the same model TV. We rotate NFL games through a few friends and most of us agreed that Dish looked better than Comcast.
2. Comcast has more HD than Dish? Including all the premium and all the fluff there's 21 HD channels in Phila,PA (less than Dish with all their fluff channels)
3. I like Comcast's box a little better than Dish's 622. Sometimes I forget a program is on, then find it after it started and with Dish you can't get it from the beginning. With Comcast you can get the whole program from the start. Nice!
4. Looks like in YOUR area cable would win. Dish offers all my locals in HD, so that's fine for me.
5. I did pay the 49.99 installation with Dish so that they would waive the commitment. Directv (at least in January) would NOT waive the commitment at all. Cable generally has no commitment.
6. Long term, Dish was the better deal. I have a real phone line and dsl for <$50, when I compared Dish to Cable for the same number of boxes, premiums, HD and DVR, Philly Comcast was more (way) than Dish. This could vary by area, cable provider and also timing though. You really need to check YOUR area.
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Old 04-16-2007, 06:05 AM   #4  
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Comcast here in the Shenandoah Valley of VA, only 17 HD channels including locals,but the PQ is far above what Direct or Dish offer. Have done side by side and others in the area confirm my findings. I would rather have a quality picture than quanity.Direct keeps boasting all this new HD but I would wait and see what they really roll out and when, plus I am really not fond of the 1-2 years contracts.
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Old 04-16-2007, 08:29 AM   #5  
A couch and an HDTV to go please.
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Thanks everyone for good advices. I hate signing commitments. Currently enslaved by AT&T on their 1 year DSL service that has high exit penalty price. And, as I understand, both Dish and Direct TV try to sell you their equipment instead of straight on leasing it. That makes it very tough to upgrade down the line.
Cable in my area used to be own by Adelphia until Comcast bought it out couple of years ago. I used to have Adelphia for a while and their analog cable sucked big time. I hope that Comcast made some improvements and that Digital cable should remove noise even on SD channels.
Couple of questions to all of you:

- if I call Comcast to clarify their signal throughput for HDTV lineup, what should I ask for to better understand whether in my area they have good quality;
- is there a web site that have direct user comparisons of HDTV signal for different areas?
- goBirds wrote that Comcast have two Motorola boxes. Can I ask for a specific one or is it up to Comcast to decide what they will deliver to me? Which one should I ask for?

Thanks again,

netscorer.
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Old 04-16-2007, 08:41 AM   #6  
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netscorer,

Dish will give you a zero up front cost (after rebates) HD DVR lease. They encourage leasing for up to 4 tuners. Noone has more HD national channels than Dish - the only issue should be availability of locals in HD at your location if you can't get them over the air.
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Old 04-16-2007, 09:37 AM   #7  
A couch and an HDTV to go please.
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Originally Posted by patmurphey View Post
netscorer,

Dish will give you a zero up front cost (after rebates) HD DVR lease. They encourage leasing for up to 4 tuners. Noone has more HD national channels than Dish - the only issue should be availability of locals in HD at your location if you can't get them over the air.
Locals are ~ 50% of my regular viewing, so not having them in HD really puts a dagger in Dish proposition. I also do not want to sign any commitments, even if rebates will take care of the immedeate box upgrade. Dish policy has been so far that you own the equipment they give you and so are responsible for any maintenance, unless you pay them additional $6 a month per receiver (which I do). Dish has been good to me but for me PQ quality and commitments would outweight the immedeate channel line up I can get.
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Old 04-16-2007, 10:04 AM   #8  
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As for PQ, it depends on your location. I had C for years and switched to DN a couple of months ago. Without a doubt, DN has better PQ here in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you factor in the free DVR, most HD channels, DN is the way to go FOR ME.
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Old 04-16-2007, 10:19 AM   #9  
A couch and an HDTV to go please.
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PQ is an important factor. However, I have no way currently of directly comparing the two, as none of our neighbours have yet to upgrade to HDTV. So it is up to the anecdotical data of which provider is better at handling the signal. I wonder if I can drill Comcast (or Dish for that matter) on any details for what kind of signal they carry through. As it is my understanding, content providers dictate the resolution of the signal, while content carriers may choose the encryption level and the latter is a primary factor in PQ difference between carriers. Cable should have better theoretical throughput, so they can afford to use lesser compression then Sattelite but that depends on how up to date your local cable operator equipment is.
Please correct me if my assumtions on this are off base.

Netscorer.
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Old 04-16-2007, 10:23 AM   #10  
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Dish HD lineup....

A&E HD
Animania HD
Discovery HD Theater
DISH Network PPV in HD
Equator HD
ESPN HD
ESPN2 HD
Family Room HD
Film Fest HD
Food Network HD
GamePlay HD
Gallery HD
HBO HD*
HDNet
HDNet Movies
HDNews
HGTV HD
Kung Fu HD
Monsters HD
National Geographic Channel HD*
NFL Network HD
Rave HD
Rush HD
Showtime HD*
Starz HDTV*
TNT HD
Treasure HD
Ultra HD
Universal HD
World Cinema HD
WorldSport HD

*Premium

Last edited by daleb; 04-16-2007 at 10:27 AM..
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Old 04-16-2007, 10:17 PM   #11  
A couch and an HDTV to go please.
 

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Default Dish wins in a landslide

Quote:
Originally Posted by daleb View Post
Dish HD lineup....

A&E HD
Animania HD
Discovery HD Theater
DISH Network PPV in HD
Equator HD
ESPN HD
ESPN2 HD
Family Room HD
Film Fest HD
Food Network HD
GamePlay HD
Gallery HD
HBO HD*
HDNet
HDNet Movies
HDNews
HGTV HD
Kung Fu HD
Monsters HD
National Geographic Channel HD*
NFL Network HD
Rave HD
Rush HD
Showtime HD*
Starz HDTV*
TNT HD
Treasure HD
Ultra HD
Universal HD
World Cinema HD
WorldSport HD

*Premium
I went from 3 years of Directv in SD (so can't comment on their HD) to Voom with 41 HD stations (until they went under) to Comcast for one year with all the HD that they had (which was not much) to Dishnetwork. I have been away from Comcast for nearly one year and they have only added one station in HD here in Baltimore (which was ESPN2......which everyone else had already anyway). Infact, in some markets Comcast as recently in 2006 did not even have TNTHD. Dish has added 3 more in the 11 months that I have been with them. The one advantage I think that Comcast has (in addition to true on demand) is that you don't need an off air antenna to get HD locals. That said, my HD locals are significantly better in picture quality with my off air antenna compared to Comcasts HD locals. For the most part Dish HD picture quality is somewhat better than Comcast's HD on most stations to much better than Comcast on other stations. The final knockout punch in favor of Dish is their HD DVR the VIP 622 which is so much more advanced than the Comcast's Motorola DCT-6412 and 3412 that there is no comparison (much larger Hard Drive size, ease of use, built in 30 sec skip forward and backward buttons (which had to be programmed on the DCT 6412 at least)...and so much more. I might even stay with Dish even after FIOS gets here to Baltimore City (they are already in Baltimore County but are not even negotiating with the city......Verizon Cherry pickers!).
In summary I have 31 national HD stations and 6 more HD locals and numerous digital locals using my off air antenna. Why would I dream of going back to Comcast for TV (though I have and love their high speed internet)?
Wayne
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Old 04-17-2007, 04:15 AM   #12  
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Me be in agreement with Wayne. Comcrap, oops, comcast be lacky in delivering HD content. The 2 moto boxes comcast has so graciously allowed me to lease from them are daggy at best. Me service is comcast silver (1 premium channel) and medium speed broadband (6mgps). Attached to me bill is one HDVR and one standard box - $154 per month. The broadband is okay, the rest of their service is lacking. To get me locals, a homade yagi and a Samsung OTA receiver blows comcast pq back to the days of B&W when it comes to HD.
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Old 04-17-2007, 12:47 PM   #13  
A couch and an HDTV to go please.
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Originally Posted by patmurphey View Post
netscorer,

Dish will give you a zero up front cost (after rebates) HD DVR lease. They encourage leasing for up to 4 tuners. Noone has more HD national channels than Dish - the only issue should be availability of locals in HD at your location if you can't get them over the air.
Patmurphey, would you point me to discussion where I can get free HD DVR upgrade? All I see on Dish site is $129 fee after rebates and I called Dish where they basically repeated what is printed on the site:
https://customersupport.dishnetwork....entUpgrades.do
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Old 04-17-2007, 03:38 PM   #14  
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I had Comcast (formally Adelphia) at my old house up here in Burlington, VT and I can say without question that Dish has a much better PQ. With Dish what you see up here is what you will see anywhere you can get a signal from their sats. With cable it's hit or miss, some people say it's better but lots would argue that it's not.

For me I could see it in the reds. Discovery HD usually was good but some of the other HD channels it looked like there was only 4 or 5 shades of red and the lines between each color got old. All the colors did it but red was the worse, think someone said they called it orange crush. After about 10pm the pixelization got so bad during the summer it was almost impossible to watch HD. I got an excuse of "all of our techs are done at 10pm so we can't troubleshoot it". All the HD locals have been broadcast OTA for about a year now yet Comcast just added the third and keeps saying soon the last two will be offered (they've said that for almost as long as the signal has been broadcasted).

So far with Dish all I've had for problems is the paint fell off one of the remotes for the 622, within two days I had a new one at my house. Dish has never said when they are going to offer HD locals to my area, I ended up putting up an antenna. Hopefully they will offer them soon, if not I might look into DTV if/ when they do. Otherwise I'm very happy with dish.

Comcast in your area could be great, or it could be bad. If you do go that way and notice things like some HD channels look better than others or the same channel looks great one day and not as good on other days (could also be the show) it might be a sign Comcast isn't giving you the best PQ they could be.
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Old 04-17-2007, 06:14 PM   #15  
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In my area I have compared OTA HD with comcast cable HD using the sony hd dvr and IMHO I think the cable-fed hd pq was as good (if not a little brighter/sharper) than OTA HD. My sd pq is also excellent and a huge reason for staying with comcast as I watch alot of sd programming as well.

It is too bad there is no way for you to do a side-by-side comparison like I did with D* and recently with Fios tv. I cancelled D* because of their lack of hd content and their UNWATCHABLE sd on my mits 73713. I cancelled fios mainly because their sd pq (not horrible but not as sharp as C*) and they were about $50 / month more than C* for all channels /dvr/internet and phone.

If your tv has an hd tuner, get comcast and compare their hd pq to the tv's hd pq. If the tv tuner hd pq is noticably better - get Dish. If not, price out both and do a cost-benefit analysis to what's important to you. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

Last edited by fastep; 04-17-2007 at 06:32 PM..
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