Anyone have experience dealing with DishNetwork?

I’m considering ditching my Direct TV service for DishNetwork. DishNetwork’s pricing seems more competitive. Additionally, their DVR solution doesn’t require that I keep a land line just so it can dial home. I’m currently paying SBC $30 for a land line just so my stupid DirecTivo can talk to its home base, since the Tivo won’t work over our VOIP phone. If I can eliminate that expense but still keep good quality TV programming service, I would be very happy.

And for all DirecTV says that they are rated #1 in customer satisfaction, their customer support really sucks, in my experience. Almost always long hold times when I call and the support staff just read from scripts; they don’t have any actual product knowledge if you have tough questions.

But I digress… If anyone has experience with both DirecTV and Dishnetwork in terms of quality of service, customer service experience, etc., I would love to hear it.

I’ve had Dish for a couple of years now and have had zero problems with them–the two times I’ve needed to call their customer service department resulted in top-notch service with minimal wait times.

I’ve never used DirectTv, so I can’t compare the two. We signed up with Dish Network the first time because they were cheaper than DirectTv, and had the channels we wanted. We signed up the seond time because they gave us a free dual-tuner PVR, and three months of HBO on top of our regular service.

Things I like.
The dual tuner is amazing. You get the ability to record two channels at the same time, watch live tv while you’re recording something else. It’s nice not to have to decide between two shows to record.
You can upgrade your service on the web, adding premium channels or packages. When we upgraded from the small to medium package, my daughter was watching Noggin by the time I got from my office to the front room.
Never had a problem with customer service, When I complained about a PPV movie having garbled sound in the last 15 minutes, they sent me coupons for 2 free PPV movies.
Occasional downloads add features to the PVR capabilities, it’s now closer to Tivo than it was before.
We’ve never had problems with signal, other than one or two heavy snowstorms, two minutes with a broom fixed the problem.

Things I don’t like.
The cheapest service doesn’t have as many channels as the cheap DirectTv service, of course it’s cheaper than DirectTv (if I remember correctly).
You can’t downgrade your service on the net, you have to call in. This sucks if you are one of those people that only signs up for HBO for 3 months to watch Sopranoes.

My last complaint is the one I have about every cable and dish company. We are on the medium package for one station. Yes, we paid to double our amount of stations because the next package up had the one channel we wanted. I wish there was a system where they said “for $30 you can choose 20 stations from column A, 10 from column B, and 5 from column C”. We have so much crap that we’ll never watch, our filtered list cuts our stations by almost a third. We aren’t fltering to get rid of sex or violence, we’re filtering to get rid of shopping networks, Spanish networks and 700 club-type networks.

Thanks for the detailed response Jeremy. Can you confirm that your DVR doesn’t require a phone line to dial out for any reason?

I think all dish systems will need that; isn’t the dish merely a receiver?

Nope! Even the pay-per-view can be ordered using an existing internet connection :).

I had dish for 4 years- I asked them to give me the DVR free deal.

They said no, it is for new subscribers only.

I said fine, i am now an ex-subscriber.

Went to DirectTV.

2 Tivos, all the same stations, AND my bill dropped 9 dollars a month.

I have to say though, my 4 years with Dish were great- they were always helpful and always spent the time for the few times I needed tech support. In the end, they were not willing to give me a deal that was offered to new customers so they lost my 60 bucks a month.

I now pay 51 and get 2 Tivos… so no brainer for me.

It sounds like your deal money wise is better with Dish- they also have Sirius radio channels-- a cool thing.

I expect that if you are happy with the price, you will be happy with Dish.

But DirecTV has the NFL Sunday Ticket, which is just awesome if you love your football.