by phrubin - 12/11/05 12:09 PM
In Reply to: Cable vs DirectTV by Bob Werth
I've had both. In a word, NO! They are different.
I've had cable in 3 different locations. They can vary widely in quality.
At the first location the cable had horrible ghosts, about 4 deep, and almost no text was readable on screen. At that location I switched to DirectTV. Keep in mind that location can have major effects on satellite reception. I was lucky, no major buildings or trees to interfere, and South enough to have an antenna angle high off the horizon. Location, location, location!
I had several complaints with DirectTV.
1) During heavy, and I mean heavy rainstorms, the picture would freeze up, or simply die and I lost all reception.
It could last several (2 to 15) minutes, and as someone else observed, always at a climactic part of a movie. For those who have seen it, the picture starts to break up into boxes, sometimes called pixilation, before all goes out. I have seen a similar "boxiness" on old telephone modems downloading a picture from the internet. Depending on the technology, the picture filled in completely, but in boxes that got smaller & smaller until the complete picture was downloaded.
2) I have emphasized this boxiness for a reason. Although the picture was normally great, when the picture on the screen changes dramatically from one frame to the next, I saw the first few frames of the new picture do what the telephone modem did. That darned boxiness!
I had a friend in the neighborhood who also had DirectTV although a different brand receiver, and the picture on her set did the same thing. Although my friend didn't see it, it bothered the heck out of me. It was most noticeable when an explosion of light happens on a dark part of the screen. Technology and bandwidth are the primary cause. I haven't had Dish, so I can't comment on it.
If you have different friends with DirectTV, the Dish, and cable, it is best to talk to them, or, even better, look at their picture quality.
3) Internet connectivity - At that time DirectTV offered a 1 way connection, downloading, while uploading was through the telephone modem (at a package price). It wasn't all that fast downloading.
AS FOR CABLE:
As previously mentioned, the first location was terrible, but the next-to-last (North Babylon NY; Cablevision) was extraordinary! Great! It had probably the fastest internet connection I've seen from cable, exceeding 8 Mb/Sec (1 MB/Sec). The service was distributed by fiber and the picture quality (digital on many channels) was excellent, though I did not have HD. It also had the best surround sound, and didn't require adjusting rear speaker volume when changing channels as I have here. There was an interactive connection, so movies on demand, as well as regular programming on demand and DVR were offered. It was top rated by PC Magazine.
I'm back within 5 miles of the first location. The cable picture quality here is very good (Comcast, outside Nashville TN) but internet connectivity is not as good, although it recently improved and will continue to do so. I now can get upwards of 4-5 Mb/Sec, up from 2 Mb/Sec.
Each company is different. This goes for both cable & satellite. Some charge about $5 per month per box, some don't. On cable, you need the box only for scrambled extra cost channels, which, depending on the company, may include HD. Picture quality varies with location for both. In addition to blocking of signal (line of sight required) for satellite, things like wire vs fiber distribution for cable, and quality of general maintenance, cusstomer service are additional factors.
Hope this info reaches you before your final, final decision.
Best of luck and enjoy,
---- Remember the WTC -----