Sunday, October 05, 2008

I Need Your Help

There was a time when I was a media shill. A shameless promoter of cable TV. I was good, too. I worked hard at it and there was, for a while, talk of larger prospects. But even with the words of Bill Hicks echoing in my ear about being cast off the artisic rollcall for pimping my ass for The Man, I'm not going to say I'm not proud of it. I had a blast and I got cheap-as-free cable. Including the movies. And, at one time, every NHL game. I had no problem extolling the virtues of what I considered to be excellent value for money. Did it matter that the public at large paid considerably more than I? Not a jot, mate. They were big enough to make decisions for themselves and if they, like I, thought that cable was excellent value for what they paid, more power to them. I certainly thought that the service I got was worth what I paid.

Well, now I'm culturally irrelevant. A media nobody. And with irrelevance comes anonymity. And irrelevant anonymous ex-media personalities don't get free stuff. So, for the past six months, I've been paying what Joe Schmoe does for his cable. And lemme tell ya... it's not such a good deal anymore. My three-figure cable bill gets me reasonably good internet, but rotten telly. When I lived in a place where I was a big media slag, where people knew my name and quoted my catchphrases, we had toys. A cable box made in the 90s - with s-video and coax digital sound - and real on-demand channels. Now that I've moved to Bedford Falls, our cable box only handles RCA outputs, the picture quality and channel line-up is rubbish and it doesn't get on with my Tivo. If I'm lucky, it manages to change the channel on ye olde cabbel boxe 30% of the time. And that's if I'm lucky. And that's not even mentioning the cost of it all.

But don't cry for me leaving the media elite, just help me to make the right decision:

There are advantages and disadvantages to both DirecTV and Dish Network. DirecTV offers slightly more channels for the monthlies for the first year, but the price jumps $13 for the second year of the contract. Dish Network has that two-room-one-receiver type dealio, but getting two DVR receivers with DirecTV would mean twice the storage.

The package I've selected on both systems would have all the channels I want (and more), so that's not at stake. What I want to know from yous guys who have one or the other, or have dabbled in both, is this: which is better? And why?


2Lane4Life said...

If you can get high speed internet through your phone service, give up the cable/satellite altogether and watch it all online, w/ movies via Netflix.

Truly. It can be done.

All Click said...

Let me know what you choose! I am a slave to cable and hence broke.

I don't know how much you use your dvr but if you use it a heck of a lot then get the double box. I'm always disappointed when I'm watching tv upstairs and remember I can't rewind stuff.

Spike Nesmith said...

@2Lane4Life I have a had a few people suggest this route, but I'm just not ready for it. A crappy computer plus a sneaking suspicion that my ISP secretly caps bandwidth - and I use quite a lot - and enjoying the element of surprise that comes with discovering new shows means that at least for the forseeable future, I'll be relying on "proper" telly. I was plenty impressed by Joost and Veoh, though - even if they were irritatingly stuttery last time I tried 'em.

@All Click I do use my DVR quite a bit, but the Dish deal means that I can access my recorded programmes on two tvs, rather than just one. The DirecTV option would have meant two independent DVRS, but Deesh's dual receiver means we can watch two different shows with full DVR functionality in two rooms without plonking down a hundred bucks for the second box. But if you're feeling skewered by cable, check out the equivalent package prices on satellite. My in-laws pay around $160 for their cable service which consists of low bitrate internet and pretty much everything on't telly but PPV. They want the locals, so Dish Network is their only option in our market, but even with all the movie packages and the top shelf HD programming (they have a good telly) and two-room DVR, it was still going to cost less than $100 per month. I currently pay $108 and I don't even get movies. Hell, i don't even get G4! (not that I want it, but y'know...)

If you want some help wading through what you want and the pros and cons of the two companies, feel free to email me. I've done A LOT of research on them both in the past few days!

All Click said...

Sadly enough I WOULD like to discuss this further! Cable costs a fortune and their customer service is crap. Words like "satellite" and "dish" scare me though.