Thinking Of Cutting The Cord? Programming We Can’t Live Without

I tried an experiment. Several months ago I cut my DishNetwork package from the 220 channel package down to the 120 channel package. My thinking was that my wife and I watched mostly broadcast stations and we could live without some of our favorite programs like Lifetime Movie, AMC, Turner Classic, Military channel, History International and a few more. We were going to watch more movies from Netflix streaming via our Roku.

Guess what? I miss my favorites. So I am making a switch. Yesterday I signed up for DirecTV and will get all of my favorites back plus more, for the same price I am paying for DishNetwork. Yes, it is one of those special one year deals with a two-year commitment, but I will get a better choice plus a HD-DVD and HD receiver for free. I will also be getting our local stations in HD on both of our HD TV’s.

So when I read about what others are watching and why cord-cutting is so hard, I thought I would share what I learned.

Broadcast still rules, but… Here’s some ammo for the broadcasters to bring into whatever the next standoff with distributors will be regarding retransmission-consent fees. The Big Four finished 1-2-3-4, which is somewhat surprising given the notion that the broadcasters are the TV equivalent of wallpaper, nice to have in the background but not essential. However, Martin also noted that most respondents who wrote in one broadcaster, wrote all of them. That may validate the criticism that each broadcaster has no real brand because they try to please everyone. “Most folks think of the four broadcasters as a monolith,” said Martin. “This may be because consumers actually watch shows on all four broadcast networks, or it could be because they have no idea which network their favorite shows are on.”

HBO subs really love their HBO. While it may not seem all that impressive that HBO finished behind all four broadcasters and three cable channels, it actually is quite noteworthy given that HBO is in less than one-third of the homes as those networks and costs an additional charge as a premium channel. “This equates to a 33% rating (similar to the broadcast networks) after adjusting for the relative audience sizes,” said Martin. No wonder Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) CEO Jeff Bewkes keeps dangling the prospect of HBO Go being offered outside the usual bundles.

I must admit I fell for the hype. I really thought I could dump my favorites and stream from the Internet to get the same content. But the reality is that streaming is not ready for prime time. Maybe someday in the future, but not today.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Source – paidcontent

Dish Network DVR Hard Drive Failure – Fast Replacement

Wednesday evening while watching the tube our screen froze. No matter what I tried I could not get a picture so I did a hard reboot of the DVR. When it fired back up, I got a ‘Hard Drive Failure’ notice. Sure enough the DVR didn’t work, but I was still able to watch life TV. On Thursday morning I went onto the Dish Network site and had a chat with technical support. Once they confirmed the problem, they went to order a replacement. No joy. The system was being updated so I need to call back.

Now I must admit that my thoughts were not kind. In the afternoon I went back to Dish Network chat, and completed the order for a replacement. My wife asked when I thought a replacement would arrive and I figured about Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. Thursday evening I received an email notifying that the receiver had shipped from Denver was coming over night air. Interesting. So when I checked this morning when I got up, I checked with UPS and sure enough the receiver was out for delivery.

At 10:00am the door bell rang and their was a special UPS driver with the replacement in hand. Following the simple to follow directions I was up and running within an hour. Now I just have to set up my favorite channels and I will be finished.

It is rare that we ever thank a corporation for the customer service, but in this case I just want to thank Dish Network. Thanks for the excellent technical support I received and for a fast replacement being sent over night.

Comments welcome.

Logitech Revue Companion Box With Google TV – Amazon Reviews Not Favorable

This morning I received a blurb from Amazon stating the the Logitech Revue Companion Box With Google TV was available for ordering. I haven’t paid much attention to this unit, since I personally think that $300 is expensive. I am getting the Roku HD unit for my birthday — which is this Sunday — and believe that $80 is enough to pay for streaming video. I did take a look at the Google TV box and I was surprised that the reviews for the device were less than stellar. In fact the unit was rated only 3 stars out of a possible 5 by 46 reviewers.

Here are some of the less favorable comments being made:

First things first I want to save time for those readers who have a dial-up or don’t have a cable box or if you have your PC connected to a TV and using it as a DVR or in a similar fashion, you can stop reading now; this thing is not for you.

First, you should know that I’m a gadget/tech hound. I’ve had everything there is out there, from Amiga to Zenith. Remember the WebTV? I had one some 15 years ago. I bring that up because, frankly, I don’t see much difference between that failed attempt at bringing the “web” (as it was called then) to TV and Google’s latest try.

The concept of Google TV is very neat and I’m excited to see where it goes, but the only place my Logitech Revue is going is back to Best Buy.

Interesting. But are these reviews fair? I went over to Best Buy to see what was being said:

First and foremost, before purchasing this product, I knew it was not ready for public consumption, but I had to try it out.

The software itself is really in beta. Lots of quirks, bugs, slowdowns… similar to how Android initially was, however it has the potential to be what Android is like today. In 6-12 months this could truly be a great platform.

Similar to another review I read, I am very tech savvy and have been installing home theaters for years. I’m sorry I have to write this negative review because I was so excited about this product. If you have an A/V receiver (I have a flagship Onkyo, not a piece of junk receiver) everything will go fine until the screen comes up that says you should see your tv picture showing. The picture appeared for a sec, then disappeared, and the sound would continue to flutter on and off. I then hooked the unit directly to my TV and it did work, but I no longer could get 5.1 audio out of my FiOS, no matter what I tried I was stuck with 2.0 stereo. I bought a $1000 receiver for the convenience of A/V switching for 5 HDMI inputs. I bought it Sat night and returned it Sun night.

Not going to go into the details covered by others, but I just want to point out that currently, Google TV does *not* fully integrate with DirecTV DVRs, only Dish Network. What this means is that, aside from controlling basic functions with the remote, you won’t get what this product is meant to do with an attached DVR — the ability to search for TV content from your DirecTV service and DVR and access it through the Google TV Interface.

On the Best Buy site the device was rated at 3.7 stars our of 5 stars by 20 reviewers.

To be fair there were also many positive reviews from both Amazon and Best Buy Web sites. Some people had no issues hooking up the device and were able to stream without flutters or stutters. I think this one statement says it all:

The software itself is really in beta. Lots of quirks, bugs, slowdowns… similar to how Android initially was, however it has the potential to be what Android is like today. In 6-12 months this could truly be a great platform.

This is not earth shattering news. It usually takes any company about a year to fix the bugs, add features and get any product fully functioning for mass consummation. I believe this is going to be a super device in about a year or so, PLUS, it will be cheaper. LOL

Next week I will let you know how the Roku works. I am still practicing my surprise look when I open the box.

Comments welcome.

Source – Logitech Revue Companion Box with Google TV and Keyboard Controller

Dish Network vs. DirecTV – Who’s Really Cheaper? You Decide

We have seen the commercials from both Dish Network and DirecTV, both claiming they are cheaper than each other. The only thing they both can agree upon is that anything is better than cable. No offense cable users, but I have tried cable TV on and off for more years than I care to recall, and I have never been satisfied with the service nor the pricing. Just my two cents.

But is Dish Network or DirecTV really cheaper as they both claim? I personally doubted the claims of either company and here is the reason why. Each of us have different requirements for our homes. The options from both companies make comparisons difficult, because each uses different types of equipment.

Example. I have Dish Network using an HD-DVR set top box that works for two televisions. For DirecTV you would need one HD-DVR box for one TV and another HD receiver for a second TV.  DirecTV states with this setup you can then watch recorded programs from either TV. But, with two boxes, you have to pay an additional $5 for the second box. Does this matter? Nope, not at all.

Once you compare the two services, pricing is fairly close. I used my current system and tried to duplicate the same with setup using DirecTV. As I previously mentioned, I have both DVR and HD service, I have the 250 channel setup [don’t ask – LOL], the HD Premium service, and local HD channels. Last month my bill was $71.60.

I went over to DirecTV and tried to match a similar package and came up with a price of $70.88. Like I said, the pricing is very close. One must also remember that the pricing for DirecTV was for new customers only.

But as of six months ago, I was paying $91.60 a month. So I called Dish and said I wanted to cancel because I could save $20 a month going with DirecTV. The nice folks at Dish decided that since I was such a wonderful human being, that they would knock off $20 a month to keep me as a happy customer.

Bottom line is this. Both Dish and DirecTV have their good and bad features, but I believe that pricing is fairly close.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Want Local Stations In HD From DISH Network? You Need Two Satellite Dishes

About six weeks ago I got a notice from DISH Network, my current satellite company, informing me that my local channels were available in HD. On my Dish receiver, I have connected a external antenna and have been receiving over the air channels which come in perfectly. I am fortunate to live within 10 miles of our local stations and my signal strength for all HD channels is 90% +. Most stations come in at a signal strength of 100%, and are crystal clear.

But if Dish was going to offer the locals in HD, and was going to do this for free, I figured why not? So I setup an appointment to have what I thought was my satellite dish to be replaced. When the tech. arrived he informed me that I would need a second dish satellite on my roof to get the locals in HD. No thank you Mr. Tech-man, I’ll stick with my antenna. Even the tech-agreed that was the way to go.

I thought I would pass this on in case you were considering adding local HD channels to your system, and you are a DISH Network client.

Comments welcome.

Universal Remote MX500 Reviewed

One of my son-in-laws named David, owns his own home theater installation business, and during the Thanksgiving holiday brought me a universal remote model MX500 linked below. Most of us now have a range of different remotes around our homes in which to control various devices. In my case I had four. TV, Dish Network, home theater and DVD/VCR combo player. For watching TV the Dish Network remote controls both satellite and TV functions. But when it came to movie time, I was juggling all four remotes to get things functioning properly.

When I first say the MX500 being configured by David, I must admit I was somewhat intimated by the unit. When he was finsihed setting everything up he gave me a brief explanation about the functions and how to use them. But he also knows as I do, we are both hands on users. Another words, take a hike dude and let me play with it for awhile. So after he and his family left I sat down and starting pushing buttons. Some features I couldn’t get to work. So for the first week or so, I was still using my handy Dish Network remote.

But after a few days I learned where everything was and like with most devices, found it very easy to use once I programmed myself. :-)

Over this past weekend I was able to program a few added functions using the handy guide that came with the unit itself. Sure it was trial and error at first, but after a few missteps, bingo! All was well and working properly.

If you are in the market for a universal remote to replace all the others in your home, [up to 10 devices], take a look at the MX500.

If you have a universal remote that you like, please share your experince with us.

Comments welcome.

Additional information for the MX500 is here.

[tags]universal remote, mx500, devices, tv, dvd, vcr, satellite, dish network, [/tags]

Customer Service – Unbelievable

Oh the shock of it all! How about the Mom who buys her daughter an iPod for her birthday from Target, only to find ‘rocks’ inside the box when the girl opens her present. Back to the store it goes, another iPod is exchanged but Mom is smarter this time. She opens this iPod box in front of store employees only to find another one filled with rocks! No refund, sorry says the clerk. Target policy is to give a store credit but not your money back. Target must have rocks in their head!

Me worry? No way says the lady who calls Dish Network to cancel her service after her home is leveled in one of the recent California fires. The rep asks if she was able to remove her Dish equipment before the home burned. No answers the victim You’ll have to pay $300 on your next bill for the destroyed equipment because it says so on my computer screen and there are no exceptions. Say what? Sure, at the next fire I will let my family burn to death while I remove the Dish receiver!

Lost your cell phone? No biggie. Just buy another. Or in the case of one woman pay a huge cell phone bill. Seems that while this lady was on vacation, thieves made off with her cell phone back home. They run up a $26,000 phone bill on the stolen phone. Cingular says ‘Our customers are responsible for unauthorized charges before they contact Cingular.” There is no law to protect consumers like when your credit card is stolen. But there should be one for cell phones also.

Comments welcome.
[tags]iPod, target, cingular, cell, phone, dish network, fire, [/tags]