Review by Badonkadonk
Good "Great picture quality. Hopper is convenient"
- Location: Naperville,Du Page,IL
- Cost Contract price not specified.
Bad "On demand is hideous and parental controls aren't very good"
Overall "Worth the money and better value than Comcast."
|Pre Sales information:|
Value for money:
On 22nd December I switched from Comcast to Dish Networks. Based on the their promotional pricing for the first two years, I save over Comcast. So far it's gone well. I chose their 200 channel package.
Installation - The installer came on the day he was scheduled. It took approximately 8 hours to do the complete installation. He had to run quite a bit of new cable since my home network is MOCA based. He had to do three new drops, but charged us for only one. The two networks are completely separate so there are no problems at all in terms of interference. The physical dish itself was placed in a very inconspicuous spot behind the chimney so it can't be seen from the front or side of the house. And even from the back, it's not terribly noticeable.
Hardware - We ordered and received 2 Hoppers (whole home DVRs) and 6 Joeys (remote terminals). Each Hopper has three tuners. In all, eight TVs are being serviced. All TVs can access content from all DVRs. It's very convenient. The Joey remote units are about the size of the older cable company DTAs (about the size of a cable modem). The Hoppers are about the same size as a cable company DVR. The system uses RF remote controls instead of IR, which is very convenient. Apparently, although not necessarily mentioned by Dish, a third Hopper and three additional Joeys can be added if needed. Cableguys forums has more information. The system also has remote locators in case you can't find what you did with the remote. The remotes themselves feel fine in the hands, although I think the Comcast and WOW remotes have better layouts.
The DVR has a 1TB hard drive for storing general programming. In addition, it has a 1TB storage area for storing prime time programming. If you watch network primetime shows, the Hopper lets you record all 4 network shows using a single tuner during the primetime hours. It will store 8 days worth of Primetime Anytime programming. If you want to keep the show longer, then you can store it onto the general programming disk space. An external drive up to 2TB may also be added via USB port.
Service and Support - Don't know. We haven't had any issues yet (knock on wood). But I hear that Dish S&S is not going to win any awards anytime soon.
Programming. On demand sucks. It's basically a video streaming service that uses your internet connection. Since I have a 50/15 internet service from Comcast, the videos load quickly and play smoothly. I don't know how it would be on slower connections. Fast forwarding is mostly out of the question. But the real issue here is that the programming choices are terrible. Very limited. But there are plenty of channels from which to choose, so we don't miss it too much. I liked Fearnet on Camcast, which I miss (even though it really wasn't that great).
Maybe it's my imagination, but the picture quality on Dish seems better than on Comcast.
Also, the parental control choices seem good at first, but they actually suck for movies that have been edited for viewing on TV. For example, an R rated Movie may be reclassified as a TV-14 program when shown on a regular cable channel. However, both classifications continue to apply to the show. So, if you want to restrict actual R movies but allow the PG-14 versions to be shown, it's impossible. The parental controls will lock out the PG-14 version.
Summary. Worth the money for now. I don't know what my feelings will be in two years as Comcast ups its game.
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