You have probably seen your share of mini-satellite dishes around town and are wondering what the hype is all about. You have questions about whether your local channels are available, or if the service goes out when it's cloudy or raining, or if they carry your favorite channel. You've probably seen one of the billion commercials your local cable company has put out warning you of how terrible satellite TV is, and it seems confusing. You might not be sure if you're TV is going to work when the 2009 Digital Conversion goes into effect. You have questions.
You're not quite sure what to do. And, guess what? You're not alone. But don't worry, TV service is not "Rocket Science". It's just TV. Cable companies WANT you to be confused and scared. They spend millions of dollars to do just that. And, it's because they know that most people don't like change, even if it saves them $ 20- $ 60 (yes $ 60) a month in doing so. You can save a BUNDLE if you ask the right questions. And yes, both offer local channels for NO EXTRA CHARGE and both give you FREE Equipment and Professional Installation to up to 4 Rooms.
Pitfalls. Ask, ask, then ask again what the REGULAR prices are. Ignore the promos. They are confusing and you'll never get straight answers.
With DirecTV, you'll pay an additional $ 4.99 for EACH additional TV over and above the first. With DISH Network, you pay for every OTHER TV. Be sure to ask about additional charges. A common mistake is to look at the advertised price and assume that price will be your total charge because the "ad" says "4 Rooms FREE". It means the standard EQUIPMENT is free, not the programming. Also, as of today, May 18, 2008, be advised that DirecTV advertises 150 Channels for $ 34.99. Remember, that is for one TV. The fine print reads "For 12 Months". The price skyrockets $ 18 / mo. after that 12 months. And, it's a 2 year agreement. Also, the $ 18 savings does NOT start right away. You must mail in a rebate form AFTER you get your first bill, then photocopy your bill and send it in with a completed "Redemption Form" that you must print out from their website. In 4-8 weeks, your discount will begin. So, be prepared to pay FULL price until that happens. Then, full price after the 12 months. Also, with DirecTV, they advertise that you can get a "FREE" upgrade to High-Definition (HD) OR DVR. Fine print says that you must subscribe to their $ 57.99 / mo. or higher package to qualify. (Again, that's for 1 TV) Then, you'll pay an additional $ 5.98 for the DVR Service Fee. Same goes for the HD equipment. So, if you're wanting to upgrade your equipment, remember to ask what the REGULAR prices are for the package for ALL tv's in your home.
FREE Movie Channels. This is an easy one. You MUST cancel them BEFORE the 3 months are up, or you'll get hit for almost $ 40 JUST for the movie channels. Advice: If you know you won't keep them, tell them to NOT give them to you for free. You don't HAVE to accept the free movie channels. It's just another teaser.
For an upgrade to a standard HD receiver, it's free for one TV when you order the $ 57.99 / mo. and above package. To upgrade to a HD-DVR, it costs $ 199 up-front, then you get a Mail-In Rebate for $ 99 that takes a couple of months to receive. DirecTV is the exclusive provider of the NFL Sunday Ticket. (All NFL games for ALL NFL teams EVERY Sunday)
With DISH Network, it's a little easier to know what the regular prices are because they don't advertise "Promotional" prices. With DISH, the advertised prices are for 1 or 2 TV's. DISH uses "Dual Tuner" Receivers. What that means is you can have 2 TV's connected to one receiver, both independent of each other, but you just don't have to pay for that second TV. How does this work? Great question. The remote for TV # 1 where the physical box is at is an infrared (IR) remote. Meaning, you point the remote towards the receiver to change the channel, just like any other type of remote. Then, on the back of the receiver, there's a small antenna, and the remote for TV # 2, where there is no receiver, is a Radio Frequency (RF) remote. Meaning it goes through the walls, upstairs, downstairs, up to 200ft. It's completely independent viewing. Pretty cool stuff. The advantage that this gives DISH is that for a 4 Room setup, you're paying just ONE $ 5 extra charge for the second Dual Tuner Receiver. That results in a big savings.
Also, another significant difference is the package prices. For about 120 Channels with DISH, the REGULAR price is $ 39.99 / mo. for 2 TV's, both with DVR (Digital Video Recorder / TiVo) and it includes local channels. $ 44.99 / mo. for 4 TV's. Compare that with DirecTV for $ 78.99 / mo. for 4 TV's with ONE DVR. BIG difference. With DISH, there are no rebates to mail in to get a discount.
DISH Network currently offers a FREE Dual Tuner HD / DVR for FREE that handles 2 TV's. The current DISH promotion is: Free Activation. DISH normally charges $ 49.99 as an Activation Fee. That is being waved right now. Also, DISH advertises "3 Months FREE". Fine Print reads, "$ 39.99 Credit on your 1st Month, 10th Month, and 20th Month of Service".
Now, some common misconceptions about satellite TV.
Myth: The satellite goes out when the weather is bad, or it's cloudy, or there's rain.
Fact: Cable companies are actually satellite companies themselves. (Funny, huh?) They get their tv signal from a satellite dish the same way. (Ever see the big satellite dishes at the cable company hidden behind big trees?) So, if that were true, cable would go out when the weather is bad. Doesn't happen. They just RUN cable to your home from their dish. That's where they got their name. Interesting, huh?
Myth: They're going to have cable lines running all over the outside of my house.
Fact: Satellite dishes now tap right into your cable junction box, making all of your cable outlets live for satellite TV. EZ as pie now.
Myth: Satellite charges extra for local channels.
Fact: It's the opposite. Because so many people can get their local channels from an antenna, satellite offers a $ 5 DISCOUNT if you can do so. Try This: Call the cable company and order JUST local channels. Then ask how much it will cost. Then when they tell you (it'll be about $ 12- $ 15 / mo.), Tell them that their commercials say that only satellite charges for local channels, but they don't, so you'd like them for FREE. (hee, hee)
Myth: If I move, it will cost an arm and a leg to get set up at my new residence.
Fact: It's free. The beauty of satellite is that it is not limited by location.
Myth: Someone will be drilling holes into my roof
Fact: A satellite dish will NEVER go on a roof. It must be secure, and it cannot be on a roof. It is securely mounted to an eve on the side of the roof.
Myth: If my signal goes out, I have to climb on the roof to repoint my dish.
Fact: Satellite TV has 99.9% uptime, compared to cable at 96% uptime. Oh, and customer service is open 24/7/365. Ever call the cable company after 5 PM. GOOD LUCK!
Myth: Cable doesn't charge for High Definition.
Fact: This is partly true. Cable doesn't charge for High Definition PROGRAMMING. But, who WOULD for 15 or 20 channels, right? (Satellite TV carries about 90 HD Channels for $ 9.99 / mo.) But, what cable DOES charge for is the High Definition Access Fee for the receiver. It's just a play on words.
Myth: My cable company says that I won't have to change anything in 2009 when the Digital Conversion happens.
Fact: What they're NOT telling you is this: You'll have to purchase Digital Converter Boxes at $ 40 each for EVERY television you would like service on. (Some will provide vouchers for up to 2 TV's if you sign a 2 yr. Agreement at DIGITAL CABLE PRICES ON ALL TV's.)
These are some facts that may help you decide which satellite TV service to look into, and when you do, you'll be educated and know what questions to ask so you can be certain that you're getting an accurate quote. Knowledge is power, and hopefully this article has empowered you.
Source by Chris Lamb