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Coytee

Direct TV & HD "update"

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Interesting that I ran across this thread, because earlier today I switched over from Directv to Dishnetwork.  I bought a Samsung 56-inch HD DLP about 6 months ago, and have been waiting for DTV to add HD channels to sign up for six months now.  I got tired of waiting, and at first decided to just call up DTV and add HD. Unfortunately their system is set up to let you talk to a live human being only if you are signing up for a new account.  When following the automatic call director (ACD) instructions I was given a series of voice recognition prompts and questions, and though I tried twice, I was not able to get through the system, because I was unable to answer some of the questions regarding programming.  Soooooo, I compared the two at this point in time, and decided to switch over.  Here are the reasons, which may or may not apply, or matter, to your particular situation :) 


1) It ticked me off that I have been a customer of DTV for two years now, and I was not afforded the opportunity to talk to a representative without being forced through their ACD.  The catch-22: couldn't answer all the ACD questions without first talking to a sales rep to ferrent out what I needed, and couldn't get to a sales rep because I couldn't answer all the right questions.  They also incorrectly assume that I know all their lingo, jargon, and trade names for products, as though DTV is my whole life or something. 

2) DTV wanted to charge me $200 for the PVR.  Dishnetwork gave it free. The Dish PVR had more recording capacity.

The Dishnetwork PVR also has the ability to allow you to add an EXTERNAL drive of your choice to their PVR if you need more capacity ($40 on-time charge applies for this capability, probably software-activated).  For you guys building video/music libraries this may be a big deal.  Paired with the already noted ability to record music using Dishnetwork's PVR it might be a show-stopper for some folks, allowing integration with existing music servers and systems.

3) Dish gave me:
a)HD free for the first six-months on an 18-month contract ($20 thereafter)
B) On site service plan is free for the first 12 months (6 bucks thereafter)
c) Installation is free.
d) Sign-up fee is free after rebate.
e) HBO and Cinemax free for the first 3 months.

4) Having had Dishnetwork for a few years prior to going to Direct, both my wife and myself like the egonomics, logic flow, and operation of the Dish menu significantly better.

5) Dish had 18 non local HD channels vs DTV's 8.  Both had HD local channels. So I had a known quantity of the channels we watch the most - already available NOW, vs. continued uncertain promises by DTV of when and what they would have.  The Dish guy told me that the majority of the DTV additional 100 channels are local HD channels, not nationwide HD channels.  The DTV guy I talked to when I called to disconnect said they would all be non-local.  Not sure who to believe here, but DTV has given me empty promises for months.  Try and get a straight answer about exactly what additional channels are going to be offered, and then exactly when they will be available.  All you get is vague language about future possibilities.

When I called DTV to disconnect things got interesting. First I noticed that if you either are calling for new service, or calling to discontinue service, its easy to get a human to talk to.  If you're trying to upgrade the service you have, good luck. I can understand trying to cut costs by allowing those who prefer to sign themselves up on-line, but the on-line service should be comprehensive, and should be offered as an option, and not forced on you.  The guy at DTV wanted to know why I was leaving, and I told him all the above.  He said that he could check my history and possibly get the $200 PVR charge waivered. But its still not as good a PVR, has no external drive, and requires two of the pigtails if you have dual feed.  He also tried to tell me about how many channels they are going to have, but again, its very vague as to what and when. Why not offer these advantages to a current customer with a known track record with no hassle, no problem, rather than trying to bail out the boat once its already sinking?  

Most any business will tell you that it costs far more to get a customer than to retain one. My corporation places a premium on minimizing "churn" and spends a lot of money to accomplish and emphasize the importance of this concept. (Apparently no-one has told Dish or DTV about this phenomenon, because they both essentially offer better packages to new customers than to existing ones.)  This is a stupid way to do business.  And sadly, with the way these carriers choose to do business, if you want HD, probably the best thing to do is switch carriers and take advantage of the new customer offers.  Ironically, in some cases you might actually be better off paying early termination penalties and switch, than to absorb the upfront cost of an upgrade to stay where you are! 

Somewhere there's some gleefully happy beancounter who showed these corporations how much they could save by virtually forcing the customer to do virtual business with them.  Unfortunately he didn't -and can't - as easily show them how much business they lose by forcing these options.  Similarly many companies are forcing direct billing on parties that don't want it.  How to you quantify and calculate the cost/benefit of a customer that is no longer there? 

Personal service will be the key differentiator for corporations to remain competitive, as cost differences diminish.  
Personal service will be THE key differentiator for success in the marketplace in the next decade.

I thought this info might be helpful to others considering HD.  In my case I wound up with the HD channels I wanted, at a lower monthly cost, with no up-front cost with Dishnetwork. YMMV.  But then I may miss out on alllllll those new vapor-HD channels, if and when they are ever actually offered, and if they aren't just local channels for somewhere that I don't live, lol.  In the meantime, I'm, good for now.

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I have Dish and couldn't be happier. When I call them....even at all hours of the night I always get a person.....and quick. Plus Dish has a REAL independent dealer network and our dealer is just down the road. A retired NASA engineer....the guy is great to talk to and very knowledgeable. He has a store front with everything running. You can go in and actually see all the equipment in operation before you buy. The only other thing he does is alarm systems and he has a dedicated installation crew.

We have well over 30 HD channels right now. I have not yet said to myself "dang.....we don't get that channel". Most all the good ones are already there.

The Dish equipment is excellent in my opinion. I have the dual HD reciever with DVR, a standard dual reciever with DVR, and a standard dual receiver. 6 TVs hooked from just 3 boxes. With Dish you back feed the signal out the box to the second TV and use a UHF remote control for the second TV.(really smart and nice). If your house is prewired to a juncion box it is a piece of cake. I have very neat wiring in my junction box with only a single Dish switch in there.

Also, I have a single 3 LNB dish....3 wires coming from it to the box. Again....very compact and neat.

My only complaint would be that the 129 (HD satellite) is low in the sky and I had to cut down 4 trees. But that's done.

The quality of the HD is breathtaking. It still amazes me that we even have it. The NASCAR races and sports are unbelieveable on my SONY Bravia. Everthing HD is really.

I never had DTV but everyone who has seems to complain.

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I had Dish for 13 years, I was one of their first customers.  It has always been a Love/Hate relationship, but I was pretty happy with the service, and the improvements over the years were noticeable.  All this came to an end in July.  I moved in January, and re-upped with Dish after I was settled into my new house.  I negotiated a rate for my new service, and received 2 validations from two different telephone associates of my rate.  I kept copious notes with names and ID Nos. for every associate I spoke to.  I pay by the year, and sent my check off for one years service.  In July, I received a bill for the next month's service.  I called them up and asked why?  I spoke to a number of associates before being connected to a "supervisor".  He looked over his version of my notes, and basically called me a liar, saying that there was no record of my calls and they could, under no circumstances, do the rate I was quoted 5 months earlier.  As I said, I had notes, and I had broken everything down, but no go.  He gave me his supervisor's phone number, and he promised to call me back the following day.  He never called, of course, and I was never able to reach him again, nor was I able to reach his supervisor.  I tried for two weeks to reach either person, with no luck. 

 

After the one week had passed I contacted DirectTV, negotiated a deal, and set up installation for one week out.  I cancelled Dish, and explained why.  DirectTV installed everything on time, and pulled out all of Dish's stuff.  Dish has called me five times since asking why I quit them.  I explained each time.  

 

As with Dish, DirectTV representatives said they do have access to a computer with internet capabilities, so I was not able to get a confirming email confirming my negotiated years rate, and I am still waiting for a $100.00 rebate for my HD Box.  Both companies look pretty sleezy to me.  As for operation, Dish menus are far easier to use.  IMO, Dish's content is better also.  I truly miss RAVE.  Picture quality on HD, seems to be about the same.

 

Lou 

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Sunday Ticket. I have to have it. Not only that, I think the CS is pretty good. I had my older HD TIVO box crap the bed 3 weeks ago and they sent out a new updated version that arrived in 3 days. Not only that, but each time I have moved they have installed new dishes for free. I don't know how much better it could be for me.

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I have had a few ups and downs with DirecTV over the 10 years that I have been a customer but they always make things right when they piss me off. They stood me up on a HD install but took $20 a month off my bill for a year to make up for it. I am not planning to make the jump to HD until they have the additional channels in place. I could care less about the music channels, and or any DVR recording ability because the signal is compressed and only mediocre sounding, there are alot better sources to get my music from and I don't record any TV whatsoever.

I called recently called (early this year) Dish Network to inquire about their services since I was interested in their HD content due to the recent purchase of my HDTV. I was strongly considered the service, the associate asked for my credit card information and stated it was "only for validation" he went through his spiel on the rules, regulations, stipulations of their service etc. He started talking about some of the financials and some of the stipulations did not give me that warm and fuzzy feeling and I decided to decline the service. They charged my credit card $50 without my authorization, and I had to make a series of phone calls to get them to credit it back. First person said it was all taken care off, and a week later when I called to follow up I found out it was not, I had to keep on them to get my money back and never even got an apology. It took them weeks to credit my $50 back to my account. My thinking is if this is the way they do business I do not want any part of it, glad I did not make the move to Dish!

I suppose there are pros and cons to both companies and cable is not an option for me since I live in a rural area and it isn't available. I even get my internet connection via Satellite.

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I suppose there are pros and cons to both companies and cable is not an option for me since I live in a rural area and it isn't available.

That is probably the crux of the matter. For me, the deciding factor was easy.... NFL ticket.

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Notice the trend........the major complaints about either company are always having to do with the customer service.

Each company's technology is different and ends up being incidental it seems here. Minor complaints about differences in operation and such.

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Well, I finally, got my HD service installed! [:S]

However, other than the snafu about somebody showing up on the 1st and neglecting to tell me, they did show up on the 20th. The tech actually showed up right at 1 o'clock and went and exchange my old 18-inch round dual-LNB dish to the new oval 5-LNB dish. It only took him about 40 minutes or so to complete the operation. I've already setup the DVR the night before and actually got it to work with the local OTA channels. When I went to call to activate the new reciever (and to take my old one off), I did manage to get a human and had a full-working receiver in a matter of minutes. I guess I am either getting lucky or I may have a little more patience with than some of these folks. So far, I have been happy with it. Admittedly, seeing Lord of the Rings : The Return of the King in full HD and 6.1 surround that I grabbed off of TNT-HD was pretty friggan sweet (and gotta love being able to skip through those damn commercials!)! My old reciever is one of those Ultimate TV reciever, which I left hooked up in my system, but not plugged in the satellite (I unplugged it before I "deactivated" it, thus it never got the "kill" signal, so at least the DVR part still works in that I can watch my pre-recorded programming). As a result, I can still watch all the programs I still have in it as well as dump off the ones I want to keep to my DVD recorder.

As for the music channels, yeah, that would be cool to be able to record off of them, and there was been the very rare, occasional time that I wish I could've, but for the most part, I have better ways to get my music, plus a lot of the music that I like to listen to is not even heard on those music channels So for me, that is not a show stopper at all. Also, there is an eSATA port on the back of the DirecTV HD DVR, so the potential to add more harddrive storage is there. However, I don't know if it is "turned on", though. One of the first things that happened after I hooked up the DVR was that it found and installed a firmware update, so maybe the eSATA port is or will be activated in a future firmware update.

So far, I've been happy with my DirecTV service. However, I do wonder about these new mystical 70 channels of HD that is supposed to be turned on. I did ask the tech that installed my dish about these channels and said that they are going to be channels like Discovery Science, Discovery Military, and so forth. I am hoping with all hope they will add National Geographic HD (he did say they will). They keep saying this Fall (I even heard maybe the end of September, beginning of October). Well, all I can say is that I'll believe it when I see it.

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As with Dish, DirectTV representatives said they do have access to a computer with internet capabilities, so I was not able to get a confirming email confirming my negotiated years rate, and I am still waiting for a $100.00 rebate for my HD Box.  Both companies look pretty sleezy to me.  As for operation, Dish menus are far easier to use.  IMO, Dish's content is better also.  I truly miss RAVE.  Picture quality on HD, seems to be about the same.

 

Lou 

 

Ha, and so it begins!!!  I called this morning to ask about my $100.00 rebate.  The CS Rep that I spoke too said that since I didn't buy thru a retailer, I wasn't eligible for the rebate.  When I protested, saying that it was offered to me, I didn't ask for it, when I signed up, and paid for my HD Box in advance, she admitted that the notes said that they had made a mistake, and discovered it last month.  AND, there was nothing they could do about it.  Is it just me or what????  Of course I argued with her, how can you sell me something and then change the terms?  I only received an apology.  I asked to speak to a supervisor, when she returned to the phone she told me that her supervisor authorized her to give me $50.00, when I said no, she raised it to $75.00.  I still said no, and she said she could not go higher.  Don't they get?  This is not a negotiation, this is a mistake on their part, and they need to make it right.  I finally spoke to the supervisor and got the same song and dance.  He then offered to have this expedited up the chain, and promised to have someone call me.  To DirectTV's credit, they did not lie about this mistake like Dish did, but heck, is this what it's going to be like.  It's really not worth the aggravation. 

 

Lou 

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I dropped them when I could get cable here in the new house. I did because it was already cabled and I was tired of dropped signals in storms/rain.

DTV sent me a letter "we want you back" and I went back for their special. They told me because I was an old customer (10 years) that I would not be charged a rentla on the equipment. They came out and f'd up the new installation but I was in too deep. I didn't get run in every room I wanted and fell through the ceiling helping their whinning installer.

Several months later I got a bill for rental on all the revievers. When I called to question they said they never had that agreement with me. I responded that if not then why was I not being charged for the past 6 months. They told me I am lucky they would not back charge me. I tried on three occasions to talk with them about it and even had my wife (medical professional) do the talking one time just in case I was me not being able to get my point across. Even she commented that she has never seen anything like their rude customer cervice.

I have a two year contract so I can't leave. I therefore cancelled everything but my basic service, HD and all.

I wrote a letter to the office of the president and they responded in a very kind manner. They said they would give me HBO free for 3 months and the boxes free for 6 months. I agreed and said I guess under the situation this would be acceptable. I was on the phone with this person for 45 minutes and they were very pleasant.

Now the sh*t. To date, we have not recieved any of the free service they said we would get. I am sick of these @$$holes. I am yet again going to cancel all service except the basic and count the days until the contract expires.

This company has grown too big and has completely forgotten about customer service. They deserve to loose market share and watch their stock plummet as a result. They are spending big advertising dollars but I'm convienced that unless they change how they serve their customer, they will become a secondary service provider.

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