I currently have Dish Network, but I really dislike their customer service, so I might switch in July to Direct tv. I am wondering about the video recorder units you can now get with these two fellers. If I don't have a phone line in my house, can I still use these? If I can still use them to record what features or functions might I miss. We live outside of town and about a year ago went with wireless internet and cellphones in our house, so as much as I would like to use these devices, I don't see getting a phone hooked up and paying $25 for basic service just for that.
04-26-05, 07:35 PM
With the DirectTV you need a phone line for the initial set up, and after that you'll just get nag messages saying it hasn't been able to make a call but it will work fine as it gets the guide data from the satellite.
You can take the unit to a friends house with a phoneline and hook it up to their TV to do the set up, it doesn't need to be hooked up to the satellite to do the set up.
04-26-05, 07:38 PM
You can use the DirecTivo w/o a phone line connected. I think you'd need to initially set it up connected though, so just take it to somebody's house and do the initial setup. I think everything else after is downloaded from the dish.
Tivo Community is a great resource... http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=7
The thing w/DirecTV is...they aren't going to be partnered with Tivo (at least for new products, the current ones will still be supported AFAIK) starting late this year. DirecTV is introducing it's own hardware. This might be bad news, as the Tivo name is synonymous with quality DVRs. The hope is that the new DTV hardware will offer more features than the DirecTivos, like being able to share shows on all the DVRs in your home via a network, and cheaper HD DVRs (currently they are like $1000 I think).
I can't compare DTV to Dish as far as DVRs go, since I've never seen or used a Dish one, but I can say this much - the DirecTivo is just amazing. Also, certain things *can* be done to network your DirecTivos, it's just not supported.
04-26-05, 07:41 PM
I have a dish 508 dvr, and it never needs to be connected to the phone line unless I want to order a pay-per-view movie/event. Even then, you only hook it up to avoid the extra charge for ordering via phone instead of via remote (seems very odd considering the remote will access the same info as you would manually over the phone, but I believe that's how it works). My first 508 was great, but the hard drive failed after about a year of heavy use. My second one has a common (although very annoying) issue - it randomly skips forward a second to a few seconds, basically not recording sound and/or video during those seconds. No rhyme or reason to when it happens or what channels cause the problems.
04-26-05, 11:04 PM
Thanks for the info everyone. I guess I will just have to decide which provider to go with now.
04-26-05, 11:50 PM
You can rent your DVR's from Dish...DirecTV will require you to buy, but SD Tivos can be had for less than $100.
Is an HDTV in the picture?
04-27-05, 02:09 AM
I've had a Dish PVR-721 for a year and a half and love it. As WarriorPrincess said, the Dish PVRs (now called DVRs) never have to be connected to a phone line, even during initial setup.
My 721 does not have a monthly service fee, but Dish's current DVRs have a $5-a-month TiVo-like fee. I don't know what DirecTV is charging.
If you go with DirecTV, make sure you wait until they begin using MPEG-4. If you get an MPEG-2 recorder it will become a paperweight when they switch over to MPEG-4.
04-27-05, 03:19 AM
The DirecTV switch to mpeg-4 is still quite a ways off for most people, Salty. If he lives in any of the top 12 markets, he is still looking at somewhere between July and September before he can get any mpeg-4 stuff, and even then there will be no DVR unit for a while.
If he isn't in any of the top 12, then it likely won't be an issue until mid to late 2006 anyway. Even with all of that being said, the current mpeg-2 equipment will not be rendered useless for quite some time after everyone has been converted over to mpeg-4. Direc won't be shutting off the mpeg-2 feeds for a long time.
Considering the fact that you can buy a DVR unit for 100 bucks or less (I see them for $79.99 all the time), I would just get one and enjoy it while you can. On top of that, most people in the know are saying that when Direc switches over, they will swap out your equipment at either no cost or a very minimal one, so it won't likely be a case of him wasting money.