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Old 03-23-2017, 04:00 PM   #1
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DIRECTV or DISH Network

My Satellite receiver will support either DIRECTV in standard definition or DISH Network in high definition. Wondering which one to get. This is for use in the USA. I'm not much of a TV watcher, mostly the news, so the program package will likely be their most basic. I care less about high definition and more about which company is easier to deal with. What's your experience?

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Old 03-23-2017, 05:02 PM   #2
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I had DirecTV with a KVH system on my boat several years ago and we now have DirecTV at home. DTV is very easy to work with as a customer service organization, particularly compared to the cable companies.

I did have to escalate my call to terminate service to a supervisor when the call center person wanted to charge me for remaining months on my KVH receiver that I paid for and owned. Why she wouldn't just look up the contract date (there wasn't one with a customer owned KVH system) and the supervisor had to tell her that. But I attribute that problem to very few boat subscribers and she hadn't dealt with one before.

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Old 03-23-2017, 05:04 PM   #3
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In my experience, both have done everything possible to minimize the cost of interacting with customers, so be prepared to talk to a computer, then to a person whose english is limited and whose only real skill is reading from the same script that the computer tried to give you. Their incentive seems to be to keep you from talking to level II support, etc. Still, I would give the edge to Dish, as ATT's acquisition of Direct seems to have forced a further focus on standardization and efficiency. Plus, Direct tries to stick you with fees for what used to be free. For example, if the receiver you rent on a two year commitment stops working correctly, they are going to try to charge you for a house visit, and if you need new equipment they are going to want you to sign a new two year commitment. I am not sure Dish is any different in that regard. I know HD doesn't matter to you, but in the end it was HD that sold me on Dish (my KVH M7 wouldn't work in HD when Direct changed its signal), and then when Dish changed its signal to be no longer compatible with my KVH, I replaced the KVH with Intellian and switch the boat to Direct because it costs only $5 / mo extra, while Dish charged separately for boat and home. All in all, I look forward to relying exclusively on internet as my video provider.
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Old 03-23-2017, 06:27 PM   #4
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I have been with DirecTV for 20 years and they have been amazing for the entire time. But on the boat, we have a Roku. With a few tiny subscription fees for a couple of app channels, we get plenty of TV for the boat. And with our DirecTV subscription (it works for all the other providers too) you can get access to tons of channels that you get at home.

Food for thought.
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Old 03-23-2017, 08:08 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
I did have to escalate my call to terminate service to a supervisor when the call center person wanted to charge me for remaining months on my KVH receiver that I paid for and owned. Why she wouldn't just look up the contract date (there wasn't one with a customer owned KVH system) and the supervisor had to tell her that.
This is the exact reason I left DirecTV and got Dish. I had a cheaper deal with DTV, but the time spent on the phone explaining to the CSR that (1) I didn't sign a contract and (2) I owned my own equipment, was just too much for me. I think they do this intentionally, because most customers will stop fighting it rather than argue till the cows come home...
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Old 03-24-2017, 08:03 AM   #6
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Honestly, if all I wanted was news, I would just put up an antenna and get the local stations. With either of these services, if you want local news you usually have to put up an antenna anyway.

If I really HAD to have satellite service, I would go with DISH. I have never had satellite service myself, but I have heard a lot of horror stories about poor service after the sale from Direct.
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Old 03-24-2017, 08:34 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Patemey View Post
This is the exact reason I left DirecTV and got Dish. I had a cheaper deal with DTV, but the time spent on the phone explaining to the CSR that (1) I didn't sign a contract and (2) I owned my own equipment, was just too much for me. I think they do this intentionally, because most customers will stop fighting it rather than argue till the cows come home...
There is another important difference between the two services, that is, getting local stations when one moves out of their service area. With DISH, a boater can get an RV account. Yes, I know that boaters aren't "supposed to" but the fact is, getting an RV account with DISH is really quite simple. The folks at SolidSignal.com will set up an account for you (no cost to you and no relation to me). With the RV account, the user can change service locations at will. That enables the user to get network stations anywhere while cruising. Plus, the service can be turned on and off for a $7 fee.

Solid Signal will sell you the required receiver for $100. No need to go through the leasing baloney. And, changing plans can be done on-line also at will; no 2-year commitments.

For us, it was no contest and never mind that with DISH getting HD signals is not an issue. With our Intellian dome we get both the SD and HD signals for many of the channels. The difference in the picture quality is stunning. Some may not care but we do, especially for sports broadcasts.
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Old 03-24-2017, 09:19 AM   #8
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We've been a DTV customer forever and my experience is that the customer service has gone downhill since AT&T bought them out. However, one of the benefits of that merger is that now we can stream DTV to our phone and iPad without using any data. I don't have a dish on the boat, so I bought an Apple TV box that allows me to mirror my iPad to the TV. So I can pull up the DTV app on the iPad, select my show, and have it mirrored to the TV regardless of whether we are at the marina or at anchor. This does require a WiFi network to accomplish.
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Old 03-24-2017, 09:54 AM   #9
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My boat came with a KVH3 and DTV. I purchased the basic DTV bundle and never looked back. It's been terrific and last year on a 70 mile jaunt to Catalina Island I turned it on to see how it held signal while underway. Absolutely no hiccups or burps!
I don't have an HD antenna but the resolution is quite good as is.
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Old 03-24-2017, 10:00 AM   #10
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A few years back I bought a used KVH M-7, non HD. $400 later for program and circuit board updates, I brought my DTV DVR receiver from the house and it works great as of today. I received a signal all the way to Juneau. I did loose local channels around Port McNeill.
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Old 03-24-2017, 10:30 AM   #11
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This is how the local channel, national channel thing used to work 6-7 years ago for both DTV and Dish:

You can register for the national feed- LA or NYC. This lets you get these one of these two feeds anywhere in the US. You have to give them an RV registration to do this, unless you just tell them you live there and use a marina address. Why an RV and not a boat? BoatUS blew it when the bill was going through Congress and didn't lobby for it like the RV industry did. It also helped that a key Congressman was a big RV fan.

You can also change your base location to anywhere and get the local TV stations. But these have a narrow footprint and if you move 200 miles you won't get them anymore.

So I kept our LA address (we lived there when I did this), didn't register as an RV and used the LA stations across the country. It was a little bit of a pain to watch the 6:30 news at 9:30 on the east coast.

This situation is caused by regulations that protect the local TV stations, and the fact that local stations are only available in a small footprint. The LA and NYC stations are the only ones that are available (if registered properly for them) across the US.

This may have all changed by now.

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