Technology Geeks: Dish Network Versus DirecTV Part 2

dish picWell, the installers arrived to hook up my new Dish Network DVR and satellite dish for my TV. (You can check out part one of my satellite dish review here.) I’m about to put myself through the process of cutting off my DirecTV service, which should be easy. (Not!) Meanwhile, I thought I’d tell ya what I think of Dish Network so far.

First, I noticed that this unit only uses a single cable despite being a dual tuner. DirecTV used two for their dual tuners. That means they would only need to drill one hole in my wall instead of two (if I didn’t already have two to begin with). When DirecTV added the extra cable back in January of ’07, they actually hit a line in the wall and cut out my refrigerator. (Again, I really didn’t like their installer.) I have no idea how badly mangled the wires are, but the fridge still works. I just had to hit the breaker to get it going again. At any rate, now I only have one cable to bury in the yard instead of two.

Here’s something that changed since I was last a Dish subscriber: the new Dish Network guide isn’t as nice as the old one. I can’t see as much programming on a single page because it only shows me about an hour instead of an hour-and-a-half like the old guide. Or the current one for DirecTV for that matter. It’s a minor problem which I will get used to. There doesn’t seem to be an option to change this in the settings. The DVR will allow me to see more channels at a time if I turn off the small TV screen that lets me see what’s playing while I’m scanning through the channels. But that doesn’t really help. I thought the program guide had changed on my new Dish Network DVR (when compared to the old one) but I was able to get it to switch back. The “Enhanced” version was already set up, which had bigger text. Apparently I’m not totally blind, so I don’t need it at that setting.

The picture quality is still better than DirecTV, just as I remember it. This unit also allows me to backup programming to an external hard drive. But it looks like I have 150 hours of programming on this bad boy, so I’ll only need it if I can pull the video stream off the drive with my computer. I know you can do this with TIVO, but I’ve never heard of it working with Dish Network receivers.

One other minor annoyance. The lady I spoke with on the phone said that a second service offered all network channels without the local blackout imposed by my jerk-wad local affiliates. (%@%&$#!!!) So I called the number and it turns out they also have these networks blacked out. Even worse, they charge more per channel. Thanks, lady. At least it didn’t cost me anything to call.

If you’re thinking about getting a satellite dish installed, I would recommend Dish Network. I would also recommend you get it done in the Summer time. Then you’ll avoid having an installer who walks away knowing that he pointed your dish right at a tree that will block the signal when its leaves grow back. (Dirty rotten…) Shoot the Cable guy in the face as soon as he knocks on your door. Just don’t tell anyone who suggested it.

-the Atheist Geek-

About The Atheist Geek

The Atheist Geek is a former Jehovah's Witness turned secular humanist. He's a lifelong sci-fi geek and a writer wannabe.
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