Wednesday, August 03, 2011

The Truth About DirecTV

All right, yesterday I switched from Time Warner Cable to the satellite-based DirecTV. Over a longer span of time, I'm sure I'll get a better sense of the pros and cons. Hopefully, the service will continue to evolve for the better (esp. since it looks like I'll be stuck with this albatross for 24 months). I share this experience with the internet in case anyone else is considering the switch. [I'm a mid-town Manhattan resident.]

First things first. I had "verbal consent" from the landlord to plant this satellite dish on the rooftop. That's all you need. When the installer arrives, just affirm that you've got the permission and he'll get to work.

The appointment was scheduled for sometime between 12pm and 4pm. Installer called to tell me he'd arrived around 11:30am. The entire process took about 3 hours. It involved taking ACs out of windows and moving furniture and drilling holes in walls. A lot of things I could've prepped in advance that the email reminders don't tell you about. The installer was really nice and patient and didn't bitch about anything.

The website FAQs and the salesperson on the phone will tell you that you need a landline installed in your home to take advantage of On-Demand and Pay-Per-View programming. As I mentioned in my updated entry yesterday, the installer informed me that this is not true. If you have a connection to the internet, that'll be all you need. The box needs to connect to the internet every so often in order to update its programming.

My cautious, initial reactions:

This thing looks pretty good...

The menu interface is more responsive and easier to navigate than TWC's "Mystro" cable boxes. I'd been told that DirecTV didn't have BBC-America or the Independent Film Channel—and to my surprise I actually had access to both channels...

... though only in Standard Definition.

Yes, there are plenty of channels in HD but there are also a range of misfit channels that only appear in SD on DirecTV. On TWC, I enjoyed having Investigation Discovery in HD. Now I've just got it in SD.

The worst news: AMC is only in SD on DirecTV.

I've got to watch BREAKING BAD—the best television show ever made—in shitty 480i, stretched. That pisses me off.

A smaller loss: no G4TV. Neither in SD or HD. (Goodbye, Attack of the Show.)

Small consolation prize: apparently, since it's moved from basic cable to DirecTV exclusive DAMAGES has nudity now.

I'm sure I'll find more things I've sacrificed along the way.

For folks with multiple TV hookups, you can have one DVR service multiple sets. Which is what we're doing right now. Though if my roommate figures out how it works and starts filling it up with a bunch of bullshit (like 20 hours of THE OFFICE reruns) then I may have to consider getting a second DVR for the added harddrive space. Because if he keeps a DVR the way he keeps the refrigerator, there's going to be a lot of rotting shows on that harddrive.

At the end of the day, it's just friggin tv. So far, I don't see enough advantages to warrant the switch we just made but we'll see how it plays out down the line. Especially during stormy weather.



Anonymous son_of_the_mourning said...


8/03/2011 05:14:00 PM  

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