Actually, some of the providers (Comcast at least) has a combo HD/Tivo box, which is pretty damn good PQ. I have a Fujitsu Plasma with the combo box. The only downside for now is that its a single tuner box, but Comcast is rolling out a dual tuner replacement soon (or so they say, their techs are beta testing them now). I dropped Directv and have not regretted it. Some cable providers will give you a $25/mo credit for 16 months for trading in your sat box. Biggest advantage, IMO on cable is better refresh times on guide and info, as well as no issues with bad weather affecting availability. If you are a Maine- iac, then snow/ice on the dish and heavy snow in the air does affect availability of the Sat signal.
I myself have stuck with Directv and have found their HDTV quality FAR better than the cable offering (as compared in my neighbours 4 houses down the street). The colors are somewhat bleeding on the cable HD signal while the picture is a bit fuzzy, atleast to my eyes. My immediate neighbour tried cable HD for about 2 weeks and he went back to Directv! Thus, the comparison with my "further" neighbour. We all have good access to the southern sky and in my case my dish is about 20ft high on side/edge of my house- no signal issues. Besides, Directv is adding more sats and content/channels should increase.
Had DTV and am now using Comcast. NO comparison in terms of picture quality. That is, DTV is FAR superior in every aspect. Am thinking about giving Dish Network a try very soon.
The quality of your cable signal will have a LOT to do with your individual location, the age of the cable lines, etc... My local lines were all recently upgraded as they had been installed some 20+ years ago. While the picture improved, it is still nowhere near the quality of a strong satellite feed, at least not in this area.
Why not call up your local cable provider and ask if there is somewhere that you can view / test their product? Tell them that you're a satellite subscriber and want to see how they compare. They may have something set up just for this purpose. Sean
I beleive the new Direct TV HD/PVR has two tuners, and is out for ~$1000...watch the sales, a friend of mine talk the local dealer to $850 per if he bought two.
I live and Florida and while I still have cable and HD, we all seem to have issues with cable handling the bandwidth, and the picture can frequently pixleize (SP?) YMMV
The dual tuner comcast PVR boxes are available. I've had one for about two months.
My digital channels and digital HD channels improved dramatically when I swapped HD cable boxes. I previously had a Scientific Atlanta HD XXXX (can't remember the exact model). I swapped it for a new PACE box that supported DVI (but I'm still using the component output, like before). The pixelization on non-HD digital channels went away. It also "upconverts" to either 480p, 720p or 1080i.
Sean's comment that it depends on local conditions matches what I've heard. A Comcast repair guy told me that I shouldn't bother w/their HD yet, because of problems in my neighborhood.
As a DirectTV / Tivo user, I'm reluctant to switch to any cable-provided DVR that doesn't include Tivo and two tuners. IMHO, the Tivo software is what keeps my family happy.
Unfortunately, that leaves me waiting to get HD. Given that the Samsung DirectTV/Tivo requires the new oval-shaped dish and even on sale, $850 is just too high. Hoping that by next Christmas, $300-400 will buy one of these or a competing model from Hughes etc. Considering all the ads on DTV pushing for HD, you'd think the hardware to support it would be more prevelant, and not require you to take steps backwards regarding Tivo, etc. Cheers,
I have recently upgraded to HDTV on Comcast. Continue to think anout sat. One advantage of the Comcast HD-PVR is that it only costs an additional $5 per month, instead of the $850-$1000 for HD Tivo. Also, the HDTV reception noticably improved when I replaced Comcast component cables with aftermarket (Audioquest YIQ-1 $150 for 2 m).
The above varying responses must reflect geographic differences. I live in the DC metro area and I have Directv with HDTIVO. My parents have Comcast cable with their HD PVR device. The difference between the two for picture quality, ease of use, etc. is not close. The satellite is just superior although you do have to have an antennae with DT. My parents really want to switch but not sure they want to spend the money.
The cost factor is indeed one of the reasons. The Comcast box is a Motorola and is rentable for cheap. Considering the pace of technology change, that $850-$1000 vs $5/month is a considerable factor. Plus Comcast will give you the credit for trading in a dish and sat box. In New England with snow issues and teh sat being pretty low in the sky, I had major compression, pixelization, and lack of availability issues. Obviously, others have gone the other route and seem to be very happy. YMMV.
Get an antenna. TV service should be free as intended. After all you still have to watch commercials.
I have COX cable and the HDTV channels have a green color tint and the sound of each channel is at different volumes. HDTV pixels sometimes as they shift bandwidth around. Check out VOOM for the largest amount of HDTV programming. I use to own Dish HDTV and it looked way better than my COX cable HDTV.
Interesting. Thanks for all of the responses. One option in staying with DirectTV is using my current TIVO on one of the lines to record non HD programs and living without TIVO for HD (I hate the thought but parting with $900 on top of a new TV and stand, etc. makes it a real possibility).
Another vote for DTV. We just switched last month from Comcast. No comparison, DTV has much better picture resolution, color and better motion.
It is quite interesting and amazing that quality of signals (or reception) can vary between neighbors, each having Satellite and between others, each having cable.
I am sorry to say that this discrepancy can be greater than we find here on audiogon with our own audio equipment.
I live in a major metropolitan area where OTA (off the air) HD signals have been around for some time and my little Terk $35.00 antenna brings in a better picture than my Dish Network HD feed. this could be my Dish receiver as it also has the ability to pull in OTA signals but my stand-alone HD receiver pulls in better HD signals. This is certainly the case for Monday Night Football and the local PBS station.
I do suggest you pay attention to what is available OTA in addition to whatever you decide for you main provider.