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I'm thinking of going to DirectTV and have a few questions

Old 09-23-03, 11:58 AM
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I'm thinking of going to DirectTV and have a few questions

I've finally decided the time has come to drop cable and go with a satellite system. At this point I'm leaning towards DirectTV over Dish Network primarily because I'd rather have the DirectTivo than Dish's PVR. We own our home, are eligable for locals and have no line of sight problems. We just want two rooms hooked up, DirectTivo downstairs and a regular reciever upstairs. We'll be going for DirectTV's Total Choice Plus with locals and the HBO package.

My first question is how cheaply can I do this? I looked around at www.tivocommunity.com and found this deal. Look at the deals at the bottom of the post. We're thinking of going for the 2 room system for $89. That includes an 18" dish, Tivo HDR2 Receiver, DIRECTV HBH-SA Receiver, and Standard Professional Installation.

Is that a round or eliptical dish and why would I care either way? I do know that HDTV isn't an issue at this point. Nor do I care about spanish or any other foreign language channels. So does the dish really matter much at this point? Also I'm a little confused about if I would want one of those triple LBN's.

$89 sounds like a great price and if I use the guy who posted the links (jimbocobb), he'll split the $55 referral fee with me. So after the shipping rebate, that brings the total price down to $62.49. Does that sound like a fair and honest deal? Does that package sound adaquate for our needs? Is there a reason we should spend the extra $20 to get the triple LBN package instead? We're probably at least two years from switching to HDTV in our home if that helps.

Next, I assume the professional installation includes everything, right? Is there any hidden costs I'll need to be aware of?

Speaking of hidden costs (can you tell I'm a cable subscriber? ), what about DirectTV? I know it's $39.99 for Total Choice Plus with locals, $12 for HBO, another $4.99 for Tivo service and another $4.99 for the second receiver. Is there any other costs I should know about?

I have a silly question about hooking everything up. I'm psyched that I'll finally be able to take advantage of HBO's "available in 5.1 surround sound where available" . Couldn't do that with our digital cable. But is it possible to hook it up to the receiver for 5.1 sound and also to the TV? My wife will be highly annoyed if she has to mess with the receiver during the day to just watch regular TV. She would rather just use the TV speakers. And I'd rather use with sound system for my viewing. Will we have to pick one or the other or can we have both?

Also, is it hard to setup the Tivo to properly record something like ER that likes to start early? I don't want the first minute or two cut off.

That's enough for now. I'll add more later if I have any more questions.
Old 09-23-03, 12:13 PM
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Re: I'm thinking of going to DirectTV and have a few questions

I'll try to take some (until it gets moved to the TV forum):

At this point I'm leaning towards DirectTV over Dish Network primarily because I'd rather have the DirectTivo than Dish's PVR.
Wise move!

Is that a round or eliptical dish and why would I care either way?
Well, the elliptical dish is necessary if you want the NASA channel. It's also needed for some of the Chinese/Jade/Para Todos international type channels that I don't have. But if you want HD any time in the future via D*, you would need the elliptical. Usually, it's cheaper to get it now than it would be later (and why pay for 2 a second dish when you can just have it now)

Most folks will use "Triple-LNB", "Multi-satellite", 18"x20", or just the word "elliptical" or "oval" to describe these dishes. If only one measurement is used, and it is 18", I assume they mean round. If the one measurement is 20", they usually mean elliptical. (I am referring to NEW setups of NEW equipment, not something odd/old.)

If you are talking about the deals by "Jimbo" in that thread, you can see the difference in his second post listing the "Triple LNB" 2 room setup at $20 more for the elliptical. (his post on 9/13) That's a decent deal, with his hokey "split the referral" thing, which to me is like a rebate I might not get.

I got mine a couple months ago from valueelectronics.com. I paid $99 + 19 shipping for my "installed" 1 tivo, 2 receiver, oval disk setup. and that was before FFDVR. I'll talk more about the install costs later.

I understand that the place in that thread you mentioned sometimes (now?) offers shipping rebates as well. And some places also will give you a cheaper price (up to $50?) if you can install yourself. But I liked who I worked with, and being in my attic and mucking with the dish in the heat of summer was something I would rather they do for me. It's worth calling them and talking to Robert, asking for the best "tivo community deal" for what you want and seeing what he says. Do a search for Value Electronics on tivo community to hear more about them. YMMV.

If I only had a need for 2 rooms (for $10 more I might be convinced to add the third receiver, though that is another $4.99 monthly) I'd try and work out a deal on the oval dish. But if you are just using a linked deal and aren't physically working with a person for your order, you could to a LOT worse than $82.49 or whatever for the system with the oval dish.



We're probably at least two years from switching to HDTV in our home if that helps.
Never underestimate the need for an upgrade. After slapping two 160GB hard drives in, I was shocked when I had a conversation with my wife asking her about adding a second Tivo in the house.


Next, I assume the professional installation includes everything, right? Is there any hidden costs I'll need to be aware of?
Wrong.
The installers are NOT employees of your hardware seller. As such, there is often a disconnect between them and your seller. Expect that they may just want to install the dish, and drill a hole into your house there, and run the line to that wall, and then staple the rest of the line around the house to your other room where they will do the same.

If you already have cable in the same place your non-tivo will be, then they can tap into that (possibly) but you will need a second line for the second tuner of your tivo. If you want it done right, and at least one of them is to an interior wall (i.e. not straight from the outside) and they muck about in the attic, it may cost you. It's always a YMMV thing. If they don't like you, I would expect the cost to be more. Provide them access to cold sodas/water upon arrival. It's all negotiable.

I'm also not sure the compexity of a 2-story installation.



I know it's $39.99 for Total Choice Plus with locals, $12 for HBO, another $4.99 for Tivo service and another $4.99 for the second receiver. Is there any other costs I should know about?
That sounds right to me, but you MIGHT think about going with the Premiere package for the first 4 months. Even if you don't like the NFL, if you pay for the Sunday Ticket when you activate (over 4 months, it ends up being $59.75 per month) you get the premiere for "free". That covers your tivo service and HBO. So instead of payiong your $40 + 12 + 5 = $57, for 3 bucks more you get all the rest of the multi channel movie channels, and the sports package. You can switch to the lower package after the 4 months are over.


But is it possible to hook it up to the receiver for 5.1 sound and also to the TV? My wife will be highly annoyed if she has to mess with the receiver during the day to just watch regular TV. She would rather just use the TV speakers. And I'd rather use with sound system for my viewing. Will we have to pick one or the other or can we have both?
I need to buy an optical cable first, so I can't help you with this one.



Also, is it hard to setup the Tivo to properly record something like ER that likes to start early? I don't want the first minute or two cut off.
No. Tivo uses the guide fed to it by NBC. Since NBC says that ER starts at "9:58 Eastern", then tivo knows to start then... No need to 'pad' (add extra minutes manually)

The problem you MAY have (which has been discussed as nauseum) is that if you also like CSI, then CSI doesn't end until 10:00pm Eastern, so for those two shows there is an "overlap" of 2 minutes, causing you to have a 'conflict'. This won't be a problem since you have a second tuner UNLESS you like another show that is on also during that time. Those overlapping 2 minutes will cause one of the three shows to not want to record. You can use manual settings to get around that, but if you don't have 3 shows during that time, no big!



Does this help?

Last edited by Y2K Falcon; 09-23-03 at 01:33 PM.
Old 09-23-03, 01:16 PM
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Re: I'm thinking of going to DirectTV and have a few questions

Originally posted by MEJHarrison


But is it possible to hook it up to the receiver for 5.1 sound and also to the TV? My wife will be highly annoyed if she has to mess with the receiver during the day to just watch regular TV. She would rather just use the TV speakers. And I'd rather use with sound system for my viewing. Will we have to pick one or the other or can we have both?
this is easy, sound comes throught the TV for me, although I always have the volume down. As long as the reciever is off then no sound from the big speakers.

Your wife will probably get used to it, especially when she discovers the peanut remote for the DTivo controls just about everything.

the only thing it does not do for me is switch from TV/SAT to DVD/LD on the Reciever.
Old 09-23-03, 01:16 PM
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In my area, I have heard radio spots for free installation for 3 rooms with new DirecTV subscribers. I'd do that then jump on the DirecTiVo deal right afterwards. Perhaps you could even talk the rep into letting you combine the two and saving them an installation appointment/trip.

BTW 5.1 receivers are required to receive 5.1 sound. These cost extra per receiver. The basic receiver typically included in the deal like above do not support 5.1 stereo.
Old 09-23-03, 01:19 PM
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Boy Y2K, you've got too much time on your hands. Great job.

But is it possible to hook it up to the receiver for 5.1 sound and also to the TV? My wife will be highly annoyed if she has to mess with the receiver during the day to just watch regular TV. She would rather just use the TV speakers. And I'd rather use with sound system for my viewing. Will we have to pick one or the other or can we have both?


Regarding this question, I'm not 100% sure, but I believe you can output both optical and RCA audio cables out of the Directivo. I have optical out of my Directivo's, but I may also have RCA cables going out also. I'm not at home so I cannot check. But I don't think one cancels out the other. Someone may be able to give you a more definitive answer.

Chris
Old 09-23-03, 01:24 PM
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And if anyone is interested in a pretty good receiver, that is low price, this PIONEER VSX-D811S RECEIVER http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...category=39799 might give you all you need. I don't have this one yet, I have the previous model that is about 2 years old and it's been a great receiver. This newer model has component video which is a great plus. The reviews have been good on this receiver and I will soon be upgrading to this. It also comes in black, but they are harder to find. The price has steadily been going down. You can get them for about $200 now thru Ebay.

Chris
Old 09-23-03, 01:56 PM
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Re: Re: I'm thinking of going to DirectTV and have a few questions

Originally posted by Y2K Falcon
I understand that the place in that thread you mentioned sometimes (now?) offers shipping rebates as well. And some places also will give you a cheaper price (up to $50?) if you can install yourself. But I liked who I worked with, and being in my attic and mucking with the dish in the heat of summer was something I would rather they do for me. It's worth calling them and talking to Robert, asking for the best "tivo community deal" for what you want and seeing what he says. Do a search for Value Electronics on tivo community to hear more about them. YMMV.
I'll check out Robert. I'm sure I've heard his name kicked around here before, but I couldn't find it.


If I only had a need for 2 rooms (for $10 more I might be convinced to add the third receiver, though that is another $4.99 monthly) I'd try and work out a deal on the oval dish. But if you are just using a linked deal and aren't physically working with a person for your order, you could to a LOT worse than $82.49 or whatever for the system with the oval dish.
With only two TVs to worry about, why would I pick up the extra receiver? Would that just be to get the elliptical dish?

I'm not for or against any deal. I'm just trying my best at this point to find an honest, reputable and good deal.

Never underestimate the need for an upgrade. After slapping two 160GB hard drives in, I was shocked when I had a conversation with my wife asking her about adding a second Tivo in the house.
I'm just shocked she's going for this deal period as she doesn't consider TV to be that important. I'm surprised she even wants to get a Tivo period.

The installers are NOT employees of your hardware seller. As such, there is often a disconnect between them and your seller. Expect that they may just want to install the dish, and drill a hole into your house there, and run the line to that wall, and then staple the rest of the line around the house to your other room where they will do the same.
That sucks. So is it just a crap shoot to get a good installer? Anything I can do to get a good guy to come out?


If you already have cable in the same place your non-tivo will be, then they can tap into that (possibly) but you will need a second line for the second tuner of your tivo. If you want it done right, and at least one of them is to an interior wall (i.e. not straight from the outside) and they muck about in the attic, it may cost you. It's always a YMMV thing. If they don't like you, I would expect the cost to be more. Provide them access to cold sodas/water upon arrival. It's all negotiable.
Thanks for the sodas tip. The Tivo will be on an exterior wall, ground floor, probably straight down from where the dish will be installed (based on other homes in the neighborhood). The upstairs reciever will be non Tivo but on an interior wall, so hopefully they can use the existing cable lines somehow. It's only a 10 year old home, so hopefully it won't need different coax run in there.

That sounds right to me, but you MIGHT think about going with the Premiere package for the first 4 months.
I'll check that out. It would be worth an extra $3 a month.

Thanks for the help.

As for the sound issues, it sounds like it might work. The biggest problem is we have a one year old baby, so we tend to keep the doors shut where the receiver and DVD player live to keep little hands away from it. If we needed to use the receiver all the time, we'd have to keep the doors open all the time. Not a good situation as they're at floor level. And I'm not replacing the wood doors with glass ones until the little booger is older So I'd like to run it through the receiver for favorite shows and/or movies at night when he's in bed, but not use it for the greater part of the day when he likes to play with the knobs.
Old 09-23-03, 02:18 PM
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Originally posted by rfduncan
BTW 5.1 receivers are required to receive 5.1 sound. These cost extra per receiver. The basic receiver typically included in the deal like above do not support 5.1 stereo.
The Tivo box has 5.1, right? That's the only one I'd be concerned about at this point.
Old 09-23-03, 02:26 PM
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Originally posted by MEJHarrison
The Tivo box has 5.1, right? That's the only one I'd be concerned about at this point.
Yes.
Old 09-23-03, 02:30 PM
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Re: Re: Re: I'm thinking of going to DirectTV and have a few questions

Originally posted by MEJHarrison
So I'd like to run it through the receiver for favorite shows and/or movies at night when he's in bed, but not use it for the greater part of the day when he likes to play with the knobs.
[bad joke]
Man, the little one can watch TV and breast feed at the same time. Impressive.
[/bad joke]

Back on topic: Would recommend Robert at Value Electronics as well.
Old 09-23-03, 02:43 PM
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Originally posted by djbrown
Yes.
Glad to hear that, dj!

I mean, I know I have a digital 5.1 optical out of the dtivo, but until I actually use it, I'm not sure.

I mean, I've got the useless USB port back there too.
Old 09-23-03, 05:35 PM
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Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm thinking of going to DirectTV and have a few questions

Originally posted by djbrown
[bad joke]
Man, the little one can watch TV and breast feed at the same time. Impressive.
[/bad joke]

Back on topic: Would recommend Robert at Value Electronics as well.
What's even funnier was my wife's reaction when she read your reply. She didn't notice the knobs joke at first and wanted to know what I've been telling everyone

As for the problems with the receiver, I'm thinking the Tivo can go on an upper shelf where the cable box used to be. And since the VCR will be collecting dust, I might just buy a baby guard for the receiver to keep him from playing with the dials and I'll just stick it where the VCR used to be. Then if it's an issue, we'll just use the receiver and skip the TV speakers. It could probably use a little extra ventilation anyway.

That's several recommendations now for Robert. I believe I'll be giving him a call in the next few days.

After considering the NFL package DirectTV is running right now, I think I'll end up passing. I'm not an NFL person and I prefer my movies on DVD (this is DVD Talk after all. ) It's only another $3 a month, but I honestly don't see myself getting much value for my $3. I might check out the occasional movie to see if it's worth buying, but I'm so far behind on the DVDs I already own, I don't have time to check out new stuff anyway. And if it's a movie I'll enjoy, I'd rather own it. I only want HBO for the Six Feet Under, Soprano's and I still need to check out the new show.
Old 09-23-03, 05:50 PM
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm thinking of going to DirectTV and have a few questions

Originally posted by MEJHarrison
After considering the NFL package DirectTV is running right now, I think I'll end up passing. I'm not an NFL person and I prefer my movies on DVD (this is DVD Talk after all. ) It's only another $3 a month, but I honestly don't see myself getting much value for my $3. I might check out the occasional movie to see if it's worth buying, but I'm so far behind on the DVDs I already own, I don't have time to check out new stuff anyway. And if it's a movie I'll enjoy, I'd rather own it. I only want HBO for the Six Feet Under, Soprano's and I still need to check out the new show.
I understand exactly what you are saying, but would like to add my third cent here.

I don't want to tell someone how to spend three of their hard earned dollars, but I'm the same way NFL wise. I didn't watch/tivo a SINGLE SECOND of my Sunday Ticket last weekend (ironically, I did season pass NFL Prime Time ). But NFL has nothing to do with it.

There is a TON of stuff worth watching (but not worth buying separately) and you'll be amazed at how your quality level increases when you don't waste ANY time surfing (which many folks do, spending an hour on some crap they don't even really like cause that's what's 'on now'. Even when they have an unopened DVD on the shelf behind them).

And there is the 'try before you buy' factor.

But for 3 bucks, I'd do it to see Dead Like Me, Chris Isaak, or The L Word on Showtime (when does Bullshit come back on????). But that's just me.
Old 09-23-03, 05:53 PM
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm thinking of going to DirectTV and have a few questions

Originally posted by MEJHarrison
I only want HBO for the Six Feet Under, Soprano's and I still need to check out the new show.
Yes, you do need to check out Carnivale. It is quite different than anything that is on right now.

Chris
Old 09-24-03, 01:00 PM
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I'm getting close to figuring this all out, but I have another quick question.

I read today that unless there's a west coast version of a channel (like the Disney Channel for example), you get east coast feeds. Is that right? I ask because we normally let our six year old watch Cartoon Network a little before heading off to bed. But now during his normal cartoon time, he'll be seeing cartoons that would normally air at 10 or 11 at night. In addition to him not seeing what he would expect to see at that time of night, it's possible that some of the shows (we'll have to check) really wouldn't be appropiate for him. Plus we'll have some adjusting to do as well (although I'm hopeing the Tivo will help out there )

Of course that's just the excuse I've been looking for to add a second DirectTivo upstairs, but that's an additional $90 and a more complicated install since we'd need a second line on an inside wall upstairs. Plus I'll still have to convince the wife it's worth another $90 so the six year old can watch his toons. And to be toally honest, I'm not sure anyone else would ever use that Tivo, so it does seem like a lot of money.
Old 09-24-03, 03:32 PM
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Well regarding the Disney Channel, you will get both East & West Coast feeds, with the West Coast being 3 hours behind the East Coast. I think the Cartoon Channel is only 1 feed, but I might be wrong. With Total Choice you will get both East & West Coast feeds of each channel that has them (where applicable). Of course this does not apply to the network stations!

Chris
Old 09-24-03, 03:58 PM
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Originally posted by mrpayroll
Of course this does not apply to the network stations!

Chris
That would sure resolve some of my "three shows at the same time" conflict problems.





Well, I'll be. It looks like Comcast holds the signal (or does CN just send it twice) to show the same Cartoon Network shows at the same time in Portland as they played on the East Coast. Meaning, tonight at 8 on the East Coast is Ed, Edd 'n Eddy, and it it also at the same CLOCK time on ComCast Portland Channel 42. But in Portland DirecTV, it shows up at the same moment as the east coast (so friends on both coasts are seeing the same show if they were to be on the phone together or somethig), so 5pm for that.

That could be a problem for watching "live tv", if he wants to see Yu-Gi-Oh at 8:30 instead of Futururama... Hmmm... I never knew this.

My 13 year old was happy to be the first to have dtivo in his house. Get one for the 6 year old and teach him to use it! My 10 year old girl uses it all the time.

She knows that if any of "mommy or daddy's" shows are deleted by kids, then the offending child will not get access to tivo for a week.

Last edited by Y2K Falcon; 09-24-03 at 04:01 PM.
Old 09-24-03, 07:04 PM
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Originally posted by Y2K Falcon
That could be a problem for watching "live tv", if he wants to see Yu-Gi-Oh at 8:30 instead of Futururama... Hmmm... I never knew this.
That pretty much nails it. He's going to hate not seeing Ed, Edd 'n Eddy and Yu-Gi-Oh when he's used to seeing them.

Originally posted by Y2K Falcon
My 13 year old was happy to be the first to have dtivo in his house. Get one for the 6 year old and teach him to use it! My 10 year old girl uses it all the time.
I'd love to get one for the six year old. But my wife feels he doesn't need one. Maybe after we use our new Tivo for a while we'll be sorry we didn't get a second one. But for now, he's just going to have to change his TV watching habits.
Old 09-24-03, 07:44 PM
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the only "bad" stuff on cartoon network might be stuff like family guy which starts at 11 et, and anime for adults at around 1 am et
Old 09-24-03, 10:45 PM
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Originally posted by Rypro 525
the only "bad" stuff on cartoon network might be stuff like family guy which starts at 11 et, and anime for adults at around 1 am et
I don't know, those Looney Toon cartoons are pretty violent. It's made me who I am today!

Chris

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