Satellite vs Cable TV Questions.

My COMCAST bill is now up to $ 49.00 per month if I want to get the cartoon channel for the kids because of the package (tier) of programming I need to buy to get it.

Me: Why did my bill increase $ 18 over last month?

COMCASDT: “Well sir… the package you had was specially priced for a 6 month period and now that special is OVER!” -(Insert insane, echoing laugh here)

As a minor league gearhead and ex-Radio Shack Manager (Long, long ago in a universe far, far away) I’m pretty handy with video and audio hookups and computers but I know next to nothing about my options for satellite TV.

Where should I start?
Is it all it’s cracked up to be?
Are there hidden costs? (trying to be between 30-40 a month max)

Any suggestions, hints or real life experiences appreciated.

Can I assume Comcast is your cable co?
I don’t know much about the small dishes 12gig but I know a lot about the 4 gig dishes.
If you are looking for a deal buy a used 4gig system. You can buy them for very little.
You’ll get the whole 22 satelite band and there are still some free channels.
Looks like the programing runs from $21 to $52 a month.
Buy a good dish and you can use a 4-12 lnb and get 21 KU satelites also.
Buy a 4DTV reciever and be envy of your block.
Orbit sat viewing guide has a website available at Their mag is where I got the prices I just quoted. There are other programmers though.

I built a house last year and had to make that agonizing decision myself… cable or dish. I have a nice TV and wanted a digital signal. I looked at what cable cost and what I got versus what satellite cost and what I got and the dish systems beat the cable people hands down.

I pay <$40 a month and get 100 channels on my Dish Network system (Direct TV is pretty similar). They were running a special deal at the time where the equipment and installation was free ($299 offer) I had a clear shot at the SouthEast sky so I was good to go. So far there have been no price increases although they constantly try and upsell you to buy more channels… I have all the good ones (including Cartoon, Comedy, E Entertainment (Howard Stern) etc.) but not too many movie channels (which is what I wanted). I would recommend dish over cable for the exact reason you mentioned… cable companies are impossible to work with.

If you are insane like me, you can get a 10 foot dish. Pay no satellite costs whatsoever. You just aim it yourself & presto! Free programming. I don’t have one but I once thought of getting one. You can get raw US News that way, news before they censor it. You can see the US shooting foreign people tsk.

Ask your question here…
It’s the sat info group.

I had cable, got pissed switched to Dish.
Got pissed at dish, switched to DirectTV.
Got pissed at DirectTV, switched to netfilx.
Have you considered Netfilx. I think its a good cable alternative. They have movies, documentaries, tv series, educational videos, etc…

I used to sell DishNetwork and DirecTV systems.

With either one of these, you should save money and heartache over a cable company. DishNetwork gives you more channels for less money than DirecTV, and my customers always reported a more favorable customer-service experience with DishNetwork.

There are some drawbacks, however:

  1. Weather interference. If you’re in a place where it snows a lot, or have a lot of cloud cover on a consistant basis, you might have signal problems. Spray your dish with Pam to prevent snow build-up, but NEVER, NEVER use any silicone-type product hoping to save your ass from climbing up on the roof every so often. Silicone fractures the signal. There are also nice dish covers on the market which work pretty well. If you have a lot of trees obstructing your view of the south west horizon you could also have signal problems. If you have a lot of trees around byour house, reconsider getting a dish, or have it mounted on a pole in a clearing. Some unscrupulous dealers will go ahead and do the installation when there isn’t a good shot, and you’ll have no end of grief.

  2. You might be in an area that doesn’t allow you to have your local stations on the dish. You can check availability in your area by going to DishNetwork’s and DirecTV’s websites and entering your zip code.

  3. Sports: DishNetwork usually doesn’t carry a lot of sports. You can get college football games on Dish, but DirecTV has the corner on that market, and their NFL package can get pretty pricy.

DishNetwork occasionally runs their free-dish-free-install program. I don’t think it’s available right now, but they always bring it back, due to customer demand. This program requires a year committment of $39.99, but it comes with a lot of channels, including three different cartoon channels, and two Movie Channels. (This is their Top 150 package.) You can also get instead their Top 100 package plus a movie package of your choice. You must give them a current cable bill to be eligible, and also have a credit card.

DirecTV doesn’t run as many free this-n-that promotions. Usually, you have to purchase the equipment, and you get so-much off of your programming price.

As I said, I had a lot more positive feedback from my customers through DishNetwork than I did with DirecTV. DishNetwork has been consistent with their prices thus far. I’ve heard they’re going to raise the package price a dollar or two soon, but this is the first raise that I can remember. DirecTV raises their prices more frequently, and has so much money wrapped up in their NFL package that they cannot afford to add new channels the way that DishNetwork does frequently. DishNetwork also has more bandwith, IIRC, and has more room for new channels, where DirecTV doesn’t.

Good luck

I will agree with ** Lissa ** (on this one :wink: ) and recommend the DISH Network as well. I’ve used them for years and I will say that their service is indeed 2nd to none.

Perhaps…but I’ve lost my signal less than 6 hours in an entire YEAR! Certainly this has to be rather much less outage than anyone could expect from cable!!!
I suppose the only disadvantage to satellite systems is that if you want to put it on multiple televisions then you have to have a receiver for each television that you wish to have it on (if you have a single receiver and wire to other TVs from that, you’ll only be able to see what’s on the main receiver). Other than that, I would unequivocally recommend it over cable (in my neighborhood, there are probably 3 dishes per block…mostly because Erie Cablevision sucks!!!)

Another DishNetwork user here. When we moved into the new Casa de Mully, we were deciding between the old standby of cable and the now possibility of a dish. Once we learned that getting a dish led to more channels at a lower price with better quality and service, it seemed pretty obvious. For approl $36 a month, we get the DishNetwork 100, 30 music channels, local stations, and the sports package so there is always something on worth watching.

Cable prices just got jacked up again in our area, so it seems that the decision just keeps getting better.

Dish installation was actually pretty easy, and I am far from skilled at that kind of thing. We have yet to lose service for even 1 minute after about 5 months. Unless something changes in a miraculous way, I don’t ever see us going back to cable.

Also you need a clear Southern view for the dish to see the satellite.

Still, I like the idea of having free programming with a 10’ dish. has tons of used or new dishnetwork, etc dishes if you want to save some bucks.

After rereading my post and the others I wasn’t clear about 4gig ,the 10’ dishes.
Most of the good programing is scrambled.
You would be very disappionted if you thought that you were going to get much free.
One of my favorites,The Outdoor Channel is still free.
My dish is 8’ and it does a great job. It is a MAcom Prodelin,IMHO the very best dish made. It is a fiberglass dish and has had a tree fall on it. That would have destroyed any other dish.
One drawback about dishes is that you do not get local programing. You need a U/V antenna. Something else to maintain.
Still if you are somewhat of a jack of all trades you would probably like the freedom of a dish.
Your Radio Shack experience probably gives you the knowlege to install one without much trouble.
If you need help I’ve installed a ton of them.

Do NOT buy a used dish!

If the person before you racked up a huge bill and didn’t pay, you could be responisble for the charges and have to pay them before you could get the dish turned on. It is also a very BAD idea to buy used access cards, etc. for the same reason.

DishNetwork also had a rebate offer going a while back. I’m not sure if it’s still valid, but the full cost of the equipment was refunded to you after a few months if you signed a year’s contract.

Perhaps I should have made myself a little clearer.

Ice and snow and heavy cloud cover can cause signal loss, but it’s rare if your dish was installed properly. Imporperly installed dishes are the main cause of signal loss, such as when water gets into the line, etc. The entire time I worked there, the dishes in the shop went out only a couple of times, and the DirecTV went out more often than the DishNetwork. Signal loss due to bad weather usually only lasts a few minutes.

When getting a dish installed, investigate the company thougoughly. Call your local Better Business Bureau, or talk to someone who had the company install the dish. Even if you order your dish through DishNetwork, it will be installed by a local contactor, and some are less scrupulous than others. A good portion of our buisness when I worked for a DishNetwork/DirecTV dealership was going out to homes where another local company had done a piss-poor install. Some installations were slapped together, and some were done where there was no signal due to trees, and some weren’t completed, causing the customer a lot of grief. They had to call us to come out and fix the problem, and we charged $99 bucks for the service, so make sure that you don’t end up with the same problem by doing your homework.


Another thing:

Unless you’ve heard good reports from them, don’t have your dish installed by BestBuy or other large electronic store chains. A good 3/4 of the screwed-up installs that we had to fix were from large electronics chain stores. These guys are washing machine repair men. They may have taken a quick class on how to do dish installs, but that’s not their specialty, and generally, you’ll not get the same level of professionalism or workmanship from a large chain store that you would through an independant dealership. Your wait for installation will generally be shorter and if you do have a problem during your warranty period, you’ll get faster service.

Do you know of anyone that actually had to pay someone elses bill before they would turn on the system?
I would think that there is someway around that.
Washing machine repairman sometimes know a lot more about what makes stuff work than say ahhh salesmen.

Got this free Directv dish offer in my email:

Cool thing about dishes is you can get them ummm programmed to get free service, I suppose.

This issue has been discussed many time on the board I linked to above. Don’t buy a used dish box unless you really know what you are doing. It could be a big waste of money.

Do you have a cable modem? Do you want one? Some cable companies won’t allow you to have a modem unless you are also a cable subscriber. My local company, Cablevision(motherf&%^ing monopoly that they are) requires a minimum of I think the $30 or $40 a month plan for you to be eligible to get a cable modem. That and the fact that I don’t have a clear southern exposure forced me to give up my dish dreams.

I got a great picture through cable tv. The store up the street has a satellite dish but the picture isn’t anywhere as nice as the one I get. I thought they were supposed to have superior pictures?

Cable has 2 advantages, cable modem and ease of use. With cable you can hook up as many TVs as you want with no extra equipment. You can even run a cable over to the neighbors and split the bill (not that I would reccomend such a thing :D)

Thanks to all esp. Lissa for all the useful info.

handy, could I please ask you to stop advocating illegal activities in this thread?

No, wait, let me rephrase that.

handy, I’m officially telling you to stop advocating illegal activities, in this thread or anywhere else. Got that?