HDTV Service: Anyone switch from broadband cable to satellite (or vice versa)?

I currently have broadband cable and like it fine. However, I’ve been getting flyers in the mail from one of the satellite TV companies that list an amazing number of HDTV channels – more than twice as many as I have now. And the price seems similar (and I know about the teaser rates that go away in a year or two, but cable has those as well).

I’m considering switching – I know there will be an initial hassle with the equipment and installation, but after that, what can I expect?

Right now I have Comcast broadband, which includes a DVR as part of the cable box. My expectation is that, aside from a few cosmetic and/or functionality changes (menu options, process to set recordings, etc.) – that post-conversion my experience with my service and picture quality will be pretty much the same, only I’ll have more channels to choose from. Where am I wrong?


Yeah, pretty much the same, except: what are you doing for internet service right now? If it’s from the cable company, you can theoretically stick with them, but it may be easier and cheaper to find another provider.

We used to have internet and TV through our cable (Comcast), but about 18 months ago switched to satellite TV and DSL internet from the phone company.

Advantages to switching (YMMV):

  1. Cost – making the switch was significantly cheaper for the first year due to introductory rates; but even when those ended we are spending $10-$15 less than we were before (if you add internet, TV, and phone bills together).

  2. Quantity – as you indicate, satellite provided us with a greater number of channels and HD channels.

  3. DirecTV’s DVR is much, much better than Comcast’s was. Just a lot faster and easier to use.

  4. The cable internet service with Comcast was terribly unreliable. It would go down for an extended period (an hour or more) at least once or twice a month. When it was up, it was often slow.* With our DSL, we have not had a single problem with outage.

In the 18 months, our satellite picture was down twice – once during a very heavy rainstorm, and once in a snowstorm. We’ve had plenty of other rainstorms but it only affected our picture that one time.
*One thing that always ticked me off about Comcast: whenever I called to complain about the internet being down, they would try to upsell me to their phone service. I always would tell them “If your phone service is as reliable as your internet service, how would I contact you ever few weeks to let you know it wasn’t working?”

A couple of years ago, roommates switched to satellite; while they were looking for a house to buy, they specifically searched for one with the right access for it. <Had to be clear ‘to the east’ or somewhat; might want to call and have them come out <for free> and determine whether you could even get it>

I loved the switch. Being able to use the remote to search for whatever the hell you want, instead of flipping up and down hundreds of channels = awesome. That alone was worth it.

Skammer pretty much said everything I would have said, except that I switched from Time-Warner Cable instead of Comcast. I’d also like to add that one time my phone service went out and I had to have AT&T come out twice to get it fixed, but my DSL service continued unaffected, except for briefly during the technician’s visit, when he had to disconnect it to repair the bad phone connection.

I’ve had both.

There’s not significant difference, honestly. Once in a blue moon, during a terrible storm, you’ll lose picture.

Yar. I was on the Chesapeake Bay, and won’t argue that once or twice a week the picture would freeze up for a few seconds, but I don’t think it ever was longer than maybe 20 minutes, and that’s in Virginia; it rained CONSTANTLY. Lots of wind, too; major storms. Still reliable service.

Out of curiosity, what kind of download speeds do you guys get on DSL?

I have Cablevision phone, internet and cable service, and the internet tops out at 1.7 megabytes per second.

I’ve got AT&T DSL, and according to Speedtest I have a download speed of 6.42 megabytes per second, and an upload speed of of .43 megabytes per second.

If you like using Comcast VOD, satellite will be a disappointment.

Cool site! Here’s a link for others if they’d like to compare speeds:

Just to clarify, speedtest measures in megabits, not megabytes. My figure of 1.7 megabytes per second is based on actual download speeds I regularly get downloading Howard Stern daily shows. (Pretty much the most active torrents on the net.) There are 8 bits in a byte, meaning a megabyte is 8 times the size of a megabit.

My speedtest results are 15.60 mbps download and 2.10 mbps upload. Dividing by 8 I get 1.95 megabytes per second maximum, which is pretty close to the 1.7 I actually top out at. (Your 6.42 mbps means you top out at just over 800k per second.)

I’m curious if anyone has a DSL connection that approaches cable speeds. I’m also curious to see how Cablevision (my service) compares to Comcast and Time Warner.

I haven’t used Speedtest at home; my computer has to be on a wireless connection, so that throttles it a bit, but I still download regularly at about 600K/sec. The Xbox and Dish Network boxes are on wired connections, and seem to be pulling down decent speeds; I never lag on Xbox Live. The DSL I have from AT&T claims a top speed of 6.0 megabits.