HD: Comcast vs. Dish vs. Direct TV — West Sea RRs?

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    Dear All:

    I just bought a HD TV and it is being delivered tomorrow. I have normal Comcast Cable, but I dislike Comcast (Value, Customer Service are my beefs), and would like to explore other possible HD sources.

    My main concern is how well these work in West Seattle in terms of HD picture quality (PQ) and the local vendors. Secondly comes price. My sister pays $100 plus for her Comcast HD and that seems steeper than the real (not intro) costs of Dish or Direct. If Dish is $59, Direct is $49 (for instance, for similar lineups) then PQ and equipment/service would be the deciding factor. From my exploration on the web, I’ve seen that PQ is a local thing, and connected to quality of installation, and cable equipment, dish set-up.

    If Comcast is really superior in PQ (Because, with HD, PQ is key) then maybe it is work sucking it up. But my experience has been less than Comcastic and I am willing to change.

    Thanks for your advice – JayDee



    If you put “cable or satellite?” in the search WSB box (upper right corner), a recent thread with a lot of comments comes up.



    I have had Comcast for many years, and have had great reception and service. I like the company because it’s locally managed, and they do a lot of community service projects in the city. I think Comcast gets a bad rap, because compared to dish companies, they provide many many local jobs and are involved with their communities. When was the last time you heard of any dish company contributing anything to the neighborhood?



    OK, my bad JT for not searching more — Of course I am not the only one searching for the right answer.

    As to Acemotel, community service is great, but I currently pay $58/month for basic cable, and despite “competition” — promised so long ago when Cable was deregulated — The monthly cost has never decreased. The problem with Cable/Satellite is that while it is certainly not a public good like electricity or gas, it is certainly more valuable than when I when I grew up.

    The differential costs add up, month after month, and I am not willing to pay $25-$40/month year after year, even if they provide community service projects. Comcast has never shown me that my business is worth anything to them, or gone out of their way. While Verizon is a similar type of company, I never hang the phone up wondering if I’ve gotten the worst part of the bargain.

    Acemotel, I will check out the thread reccomended and if Comcast offers the best deal or PQ at a reasonable, if not the lowest price, I will go with them.

    Thanks – JayDee



    after a year and half of being fed up with Comcasts User Interface and lack of HD, I’m going to Direct TV.



    If you’re lucky, on a Comcast main trunk, in a popular area for them then you’ll do fine. If there’s a lot of Comcast folks in a single neighborhood, they respond fast if one of them has a problem, they don’t want to generate a serious customer migration. We’ve got two digital set boxes – now about 5 years old, and two equally ancient remotes. The Comcast software is only slightly less sucky than the AAT MotoRazr software on my cell phone – which is to say they both suck a lot. But they work, and like an old microwave, they do what you tell them to do even if it takes some weird contortion of the buttons to do it. If you’re in some isolated Comcast, single customer, zone, I’d expect your service would get pretty bad even if you had their latest set boxes and fancy, back-lit, remotes. Ask around, if other neighbors in your area have Comcast and are happy with it, then you in the right area for Comcast. If you see a lot of dish antennas on people’s houses or balcony’s, see which one has the most logos and ask a couple of folks what they think.

    I personally think it totally depends on where you are in West Seattle. I think Highland Park/White Center is a dish network area. Gatewood Hill seems to be a fairly happy Comcast area. The Junction seems to be in love with their DSL (and why not, the freakin’ switch is about 100 yards from everyone).



    grr, Comcast recently dumped the Microsoft-created user interface for a new one. It’s definitely an improvement. And they do have HD channels, just added 5-6 new ones for a total of about 20.

    I’ve never gone the dish/direct route because I don’t want to mess with it and I like having OnDemand. I do wish we could move into “a la carte” with cable where you could pick and choose the channels you want, as there are many (most!) that I never watch.

    I’ve been pleasantly surprised with Comcast service, especially compared to other utilities and services.



    I am released from comcast bondage and save about 70.00 a month. It would have been more but I had a grandfathered plan that they kept trying to force me to upgrade so they could double the price. The last straw was after the 06 windstorm when they dropped power to my block by 40% and refused to fix it as long as I could get a signal on most of the channels when I moved the tv to within 10 foot of the demarc. I had paid for two boxes and full slate of channels for 12 years.

    Dish and direct are both good. I have dish and a friend is a direct installer. They both have a good deal on HD DVRs.

    The downside for some people is you lose the semi local cable news channel and the weather channel does not give the local radar and forecast “on the 8’s”. TWC just cycles through the regional current temps and the national radar. Also MSNBC is only available on the highest priced digital plan so Keith Olbermann viewers have to pay a few bucks more per month.

    On the other hand, some channels come in both east and west coast editions. (three hours earlier)Nikelodeon? (twice the spongbob seems to tickle the 7 yeaar old.)

    My DVR has totally released me from the tyranny of the tv schedual and fast forward at 4x spped through commercials keeps me from falling asleep and missing the last 15 min.



    I had Comcast for years and was fed up with it after continued bumps on their rates etc. So when I moved about 6 months ago, I researched the different costs between Direct TV, DISH, and COMCAST. After doing all of my homework I went with Direct TV for the “value” I thought I was receiving. Since then, I have had to replace my receiver twice (and all tv goes out) and on two other occasions due to the weather my disk just shut down and stoppped working. When i would call their customer support line I didnt receive any support and in fact both times had to pay shipping for new receivers. Needless to say, after 6 months, I am now going back to Comcast. Paying more for reliable service and a bit better customer service is worth it in my book.



    Thanks to all. I am really in a dilemma; half the Direct TV/Dish Subscribers really like it, no problem. beachdrivegirl had some really negative experiences with Direct TV, and Comcast has a spotty rep, some good, some bad, but generally higher prices.

    Now Ken tells me that I will lose my local Weather Channel station input if I upgrade to satellite…This is the one thing that may keep me from switching–As a weather foamer (being rabid about it, that is) I switch between whatever station I am watching and the weather channel for a local radar/forecast shot when a commercial hits . While it seems obvious that I would miss this with satellite, I’d overlooked it.

    I may just remain with Comcast for awhile, get a few upgrades from my current package, and see how this whole HD thing sorts itself out. However, for those doubting the move to HD: Do it, it is truly amazing what the quality difference is. My old TV was a stunner in it’s time, but 14 years later is nearly Jurassic Park for TVs.

    Thanks all – JayDee



    Weather foamer – ha ha, I’ve *never* heard that one before!



    Just a note on an option.

    I always have a computer with a tv card connected so I can watch tv in a window and capture bits I want to save or record entire shows for later. My DVR also does this but I also connect the output from my telescope and video camera to record digital video for later viewing or editing.



    We just upgraded to an HDTV and have debated switching to a dish from Comcast. We’re at the top of Gatewood Hill, and our Comcast service is generally pretty spotty. Can’t tell if it’s the signal or crappy interface, but we’re getting tired of turning on the TV and seeing a blue screen or else hitting pause during a show and then the whole thing freezes up. The only reason we are keeping Comcast for now is On Demand. We use that feature a lot and it’s not available with dishes from what I understand. monopoly!



    funny..one of the reasons I’m dumping comcast is BECAUSE of On-Demand…I just refuse to pay MORE money to watch something on demand (mostly movies)..and I DVR’d most other shoes I wanted.

    I find Comcasts HD Advertising VERY deceptive…Sure..they have a lot of HD CONTENT, because they include all their OnDemand stuff.

    -HD Channel wise, there’s simply no comparaison to Satellite. The main thing I’ll miss is the local PBS in HD, but, I’m sure I’ll survive..I’ll have Food TV HD and SciFi HD..that’ll hold me over.

    and I’ll just use my computer for my weather forcast. It’s SEATTLE in Winter. It’ll be 48 degrees and raining. Next.



    My two cents worth: Have had Dish for several years now. I cannot live without my Free Speech TV! For years I’d catch part of Democracy Now on KUOW but watching the show is like the day versus night. Being informed in this day and age is priceless–if you only watch Fox or CNN you’re liable to think Bush is a great man and Hillary is a lefty!

    As for the Weather Channel, I’ll never forget watching the regional satellite images of Katrina bearing down on Louisiana’s coast and thinking, “New Orleans is toast”. We watch “on the 8’s” and our local weather and that has served us well.



    PS we work at 5 a.m. and have to hit the sack at an unreasonable hour, so the three hours ahead allows us to watch all our favorite late shows before we *lose consciousness* I mean fall asleep.

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