Monday, July 14, 2008

TV From the Sky

So, last weekend, Melissa and I made the switch from cable to DirecTV. We had had a series of horrid customer service experiences with Time Warner and just weren't that impressed with the product. We have been much happier with AT&T as our internet provider, so we cut the cable company out entirely.

Installation was pretty painless. They sent someone out on the 4th of July. I felt bad for the technician who was working the holiday, but I couldn't argue with the convenience. Instantly, it was an improvement. The HD-DVR they gave us (pictured) doesn't sound like it's constantly overheating the way our cable box did. The picture quality seems a little more stable and less compressed than what I was seeing from Time Warner. The DVR options and interface are much more robust than what I was seeing before. Oh yeah, and we also went from getting about 20 HD channels to getting about 50. And more are scheduled to be added in September.

And what did all of this upgrade cost us per month? Well, full price, the whole package will end up being about $10 cheaper than our cable service. However, we won't be paying full price for another 2 years. For the first year of service, we get $23 a month off of the package's full price (plus they threw in free Showtime for a year. Score!). On top of that, we get a AAA discount of an additional $10 of for 2 years. So, where our cable bill had been a little over $100 a month, after adding a ton of channels and getting better equipment we will be paying under $50 for the next 12 months. Not bad.

Of course, there are a few quibbles. We haven't experienced any weather outages yet, but they'll probably come. Apparently the new technology is less prone to interference, and I live in southern California (where it never rains, dontcha know), so I'm not expecting huge problems. If I do miss something, sites like or BitTorrent provide me with everything I might miss. The only real complaint I have is that the majority of the cable channels are shown in the east coast feed. While most channels still reair their shows late at night for the west coast, it's taking some getting used to. Daily Show coming on at 10pm and Adult Swim starting a half hour later doesn't feel right yet. And TBS is tricky because when I want to watch My Boys, it comes on at 6:30. With the DVR, though, I don't think I'll notice it much. I'll get a new late night TV schedule set and everything will be fine.

I look forward to many nights of television being beamed into my house like on Star Trek. The future is now!


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