DirecTV: is there any way to make it competitive with cable?

I’d really like to get NFL Sunday Ticket (so I’m no longer subjected to local blackouts changing a scheduled game broadcast into an infomercial just because the 49ers are busy getting their asses kicked in their sold-out stadium on another channel), and I’m used to having 2 HD DVRs with Comcast. I’ve got a reasonable monthly fee for those, and no long-term commitment.

I’ve been shopping DirecTV, and as far as I can tell it’s not competitive as far as startup costs go. The quotes I’m getting are $498.00 (that’s 2 HD DVRs – they have no rental option). And it requires a 2 year commitment (sure… where’s the part where they guarantee not to suck for 2 years? :)).

The building is already wired, so there’s no dish involved in this order. I have read that they offer great deals to keep existing customers. What about trying to take over existing Comcast triple play accounts?

What? They offered me free install and with a little bit of sweet talk, at least one free hd-dvr. You need to keep calling and get a better rep or use one of their referral deals.

Also note that they required an upgrade of the old homeowners dish. So even though you might have that equipment already, they may need to upgrade it. For me it was a no brainer. I get four HD channels only on cable. It’s horrible. With DTV I will get a TON more plus they offer my local channels as well. Then again I live in a smaller burb outside Charlotte where the local cable company was recently sold to Time Warner and they have not yet upgraded their infrastructure.

I live in a town with well-established Time Warner and they still aren’t competitive with DTV’s current HD lineup.

Time Warner’s shitfuckery makes me long for the good old days of loving caring Ma Bell.

Amen. Preach it brother. I’m paying 80 a month for a cable modem that goes out way too often, 4 HD channels, and “digital” cable that looks like snow covered stuff that faded out 10 years ago with shitty rooftop antennas. And don’t get me started on the crappy DVR.

Wow, never paid a dime for DTV…When I upgraded to HD they GAVE me my HR20…Right now I pay 60/month for 1 HD DVR, one SD DVR and and HD channels. Plus DTV is putting up like 75(?) new HD channels.

I can get you (or any currrent subscriber can) get you one of the referrals and we get 50 bucks and you get it all free.

TWC cable charges me $60 for a 2048/384. Althought, to their credit, they have unofficially been upgrading speeds over the last three years so it’s closer to 4800 / 384kbs (600 Kilobytes a second down, 35 Kilobytes a second up.)

I had great pleasure in calling TWC a few years back to disconnect my service. To my surprise, I didn’t get any transfer to retention or offers for free HBO for 6 months. I wouldn’t have taken it, as I had Directv running by then, but I kinda wanted the satisfaction at saying, “No thank you.”

Ciparis, that $500 really seems like a LEASE cost. As far as I know DTV much prefers to lease out equipment, it’s difficult (thought possible) to outright buy it. To be honest that’s probably a better way because the hard drive in the unit will fail. I have a unit in the living room for which they shipped three separate units in quick succession - it really was a hard drive click of death. The last time, I finally got around to putting a big UPS in the unit and all problems were solved.

TWC also had the absolute best HD signal I’ve seen - A two hour loop by PBS on Western European cities and landscapes. It was a running screensaver!

I wish my TV had the ability to measure bitrate so I could see how much DTV nerfs the signal.

This is the only thing I’ve found but it’s last update was Feb 2006:

Here’s some screenshots. Very obvious compression artifacts:

They launched a new satellite and are moving to Mpeg4 so theoretically there will be more bandwidth around. However, they are also broadcasting “1000 new HD channels” (most of them HD locals) so I really wonder. No worries! By the time they are online my eyes will provide with extra AA/AF.

Well, aside from having no way to provide the phone service, and no credible option for high-speed internet, I don’t know.

What a ripoff, Comcast in Massachusetts is $42/month(+$3 if you rent a modem) for 6M/384k

I should point out that they are my employer, but still, TWC is expensive. :p

I live in a co-op so I get a special deal on the basic cable part of the package. I don’t lease a set-top box, I have a tivo with two cablecards. With a standard digital package plus HBO and their “premium” 8down/1up cable modem service, I pay $125/month. No phone.

That’s if you in fact have cable TV service with them… Otherwise tack on another $10 or so. So it’s just about the same price.

I should point out that I can’t stand Comcrap and I recently dumped them and went with DirecTV and DSL (which is a bit slower, but a lot cheaper - and I can deal with that)

Just got my 'net access installed in preparation for shutting off the cable Internet connection. DSLReports speed test: 30Mbit down, 8MBit up – this is over wireless draft-N at 5GHz from inside a closet on the other side of the condo. Going to have to do another wired comparison test on this one. With cable, which saw a fastest test of 26Mbit, there was no difference between wired and wireless… love the 5 GHz frequency option – huge improvement over 2.4 in my case (probably loads of 2.4 interfrence here). This is $40/mo, and it’s a shared 45MBit symmetrical connection for the building.

Turns out I can’t use the standard DirecTV installation number anyway, since the building is wired for it – that means I have to go through the local installer.

Walter, I’m happy to give the referral thing a shot (and thanks!). PM me whatever number I need for it.

I just pm’d you with the info-- should be totally free with a bunch of bonus’.

As far as the DirecTV PVR boxes, if you look closely, the cost for the HD PVRs is a lease cost not a purchase cost (there are stickers all over the box saying it belongs to DirecTV).

Startup costs seem higher for sure, but the amortized cost over your use is lower. Consider the 1st HD PVR: it’s $199 over 24 months minimum contract, so the monthly “rental” cost is $8.30 a month. That’s competitive with my Comcast charge of $11+ a month for the PVR, plus it’s a crapload more HD channels.

The monthly cost for DirecTV is around $65, that compares with the Comcast cost (again, for fewer HD channels).

The 2nd HD PVR is $269 (at Costco) so it’s a bit more expensive. So it’s $11.20/month for 24 months - pretty much what Comcast charges.

Also note if you use DirecTV for greater than 24 months, the monthly cost for these drops. So really, it’s a pretty good deal, especially since you can tell Comcast (in my case) to shove it.

Unfortunately, I just had the DirecTV guy out today and he says we don’t have good enough line of sight for the HD dish. I’m getting a second opinion next week (trying a pole mount) but if it doesn’t fly then, I’m gonna be relegated to… STANDARD DEF… (cries).

Goofy anecdote:

I have Comcast for internet only. It’s $45/month, with a $3/month (I think) modem lease. That’s after the $15/month discount for having a cable TV package. Of course, “Limited Basic” is $9.95 a month. So it’s cheaper for me to get that then to NOT get it.

Even stupider, there’s really no such thing as “Limited Basic” because they apparently can’t block the rest of the basic tier, so I get full basic for free. I got HBO free until they moved it off of channel 5 and up into the digital channels.

Yeah, I do the same thing: barebones cable TV in order to make internet cheaper.

I’ve noticed in some locations basic (vs. expanded basic) will in fact give you 1-99 vs what it should 1-23 or so. Those locations that this happens tends to be places like Condo or townhouse areas, who most likely have some type of agreement with comcast.

Yeah, but I live in a single family house which is what made me chuckle (having lived in apartments, I know what you’re talking about).

I want to meet the people who have cable internet and NO cable TV.

Erm. Me.

Actually you can get it for $45 if you get Earthlink over TWC infrastructure (if they are still in business). I never bothered cause I had too many accounts linked to my TWC email address.

Me too. DSL came very very late to my market & AT&T customer service still can’t make up its mind as to whether they can serve me or not, despite my neighbors on both sides having DSL service.

DTV is a quality service, never given me a bit of trouble.