Cable vs. Direct TV – Your Thoughts

There’s one bad thing about HD TVs (or at least the one I have): while HD channels look awesome, MOST regular channels look like crap. This is disappointing since Time Warner Cable only offers 12 HD channels (and one of those is off the air most of the time).

Yesterday I was looking through the paper and noticed a flyer for Direct TV. They offer 71 HD channels! I could have watched my beloved Red Sox on HD! That said, I do have reservations about satellite TV. I have heard that thunderstorms can knock out service, which is the time when I really want to watch TV! Of course Direct TV says that’s not so but I would expect them to say that since they sell satellite systems. This leads me to the following questions:

Do you have Direct TV? If so, what are the positives and negatives to the service?

Oh, and I’m not sure if this still matters or not, but my family only has one TV so we would only need one box. I’m definitely considering making the switch but not before I get some more information.

38 thoughts on “Cable vs. Direct TV – Your Thoughts”

  1. We’ve had Direct TV for years…fantastic service, but yes, bad rainstorms and snow (not YOUR problem) do knock it out! There’s hell to pay when Nick JR is out!

    Another service from Direct TV: hi-speed internet via Hughes (satellite)…price is finally coming down and we may have to do this if we move, as SBC isn’t in THAT part of our subdivision. If anyone uses this, can you tell me how consistent the service/speeds are? Thanks…

  2. We have DirecTV as well. Yes, the service will go out, but in our experience, only during armageddon-type thunderstorms. I’ve been in bars though and have seen that their service goes out because of too much sunlight, but is only limited to the fall and spring (weird, I know).

    That said, their customer service is top-notch and prices are generally lower than cable.

  3. I have the DirecTV HD package, it is AWESOME. MLB playoffs in HD were great. Football, Golf, etc. is all great in HD and DirecTV has a ton of HD channels. I have had satellite for about 4 years and it has gone out maybe 4 times. 3 of those were during VERY heavy thunderstorms and the other was because an ice storm came through, I just hit the dish with a broom and it was back on.

  4. My family has been with DirectTV for several years and nothing but compliments for them. The only time we have ever lost service is during major thunderstorms, maybe once or twice a year at most.

  5. I do not have Direct TV, but I know people who do. There was sometimes interference that made the signal go out. The menu was also clunky and slow, but I suppose you’d get that with a digital cable box, too.

    I have basic cable but my cable company recently gutted my channel selection (from 70 channels to about 20) and raised my rate so I’ll probably be in the market for an antenna instead. Cable is nice but for our income level isn’t worth the $100+ you have to pay just to get something better than local broadcasts.

  6. We just got DTV about 3 months ago, mainly because of the ability to get the NFL package. They just added a bunch of HD channels and I love it. Especially the golf channel!!!

  7. I used to have DTV, same experience. I don’t even live in an area with lots of storms but sometimes it does get windy. Knocked out my service over and over and sometimes during an exciting part of a game the channel will freeze and move frame by frame like an online streaming video. I got frustrated and moved back to cable. But DTV and dish network do offer way better prices than cable. I don’t know if there is a way to prevent the outages and the disruptions.

  8. Hey JLP

    I switched from Comcast cable to Directv about a year ago mainly because Comcast pissed me off that much… I don’t really care too much about HDTV or anything so I have a pretty basic package. If it gets extremely cloudy it can interrupt service and it definitely cuts out when it rains. I’m probably going back to regular cable soon (when the contract ends) 🙂


  9. I have had DirecTV for a number of years and I could not be happier. The programming is comparable if not better the the local cable companies in Southern California. From what I see, the pricing is pretty much the same as digital cable. If you are a sports fan, you would love DirecTV even more. The NFL Ticket is awesome. More importantly the customer service is top notch.

    In regards to service interruptions due to weather; I have not too much trouble (though I’m in sunny California). I have lost service momentarily due to the weather, but not to the point were it became a problem.

    The only problem is programming is synced with EST, which means I may miss a few shows. It is not that bad since I have a DVR. That brings me to another issue; the cost of the receiver. If you get an HD box you may be able to get it free by signing up for new service, however the cost of an HD DVR can be a couple of hundred dollars (not sure on the exact price). And with cable you can probably rent the same for a few dollars a month.

  10. Thanks everyone for your comments.

    My issue is the weather. We get a lot of rain in my area (I’m 40 miles from the Gulf of Mexico). I need to check with people in my area to see what their experience has been. Anyone in Southern Texas using Direct TV?

  11. Living in Birmingham, AL and have Directv. We do experience problems when its raining REALLY hard or have some strong winds, but I would say that I have noticed this first hand less than 7 or 8 times a year. One complaint: they installed our HD dish wrong the first time, and when I finally called to complain about it, they sent someone out. Since it was outside of the first 3 months that I had a new dish installed, they wanted to charge me $70.00 for a service call to fix something they did wrong. I realize they want to discourage people from having someone come out when their picture is slightly fuzzy, but I thought that was ridiculous. I had to pull the “remove it from my bill or I’ll cancel” to get them to remove it.

    That said, all of the HD channels are nice, and the HD Tivo has improved after several software updates. Good luck with the choice.

  12. I bought Directv a little over a month ago to get the Big 10 Network and NFL Network along with the Sunday Ticket. It was a great deal. Comcast (our only cable option) was complaining that they couldn’t possibly add the Big 10 Network (I live in Penn State country) because they’d have to charge everyone another $1. Then 4 weeks later they take away a couple channels and raise rates $3.25. My picture on network channels on Comcast was fuzzy at best most of the time. On Directv every channel I ever frequent is now offered in High Def. The price is more than what I had with Comcast, but well worth the money and a comparable comcast package (if they offered all the channels I get now and all in High Def would certainly be much more). I don’t see me ever returning to Comcast. I’ve only had the signal go out once during a violent Storm and it was for about 5 minutes. That’s something I can live with.

  13. We use Dish Network. It does go out during VERY BAD weather. We live in SW NM so we get a lot of the same weather you do. When it’s completely CLOUDY outside, pouring sheets of rain, WINDY, thunder & lightening – that’s when it goes out. But that’s not often and it’s never for very long (a few minutes to a couple of hours). Normal rain storms don’t make it cut out.

    I don’t know about DirectTV, but Dish and our phone company offer a package – Dish, local & long distance, plus internet service. We pay less with the package than we did paying individually.

  14. Go with neither…use the what is FREE…an ANTENNA. Not enough time, or quality programming to PAY for TV.

  15. We had satellite for a while before we moved and loved it. Yes, it would go out in very heavy thunderstorms, but we had DVR and had plenty of stuff to watch in the short time that it the actual reception was out. DVR was a feature that, after having it, we couldn’t understand how we lived with out it before. Gone was the feeling that I HAD to be home for a tv show. I found that I actually watched less TV. I would end up watching all the shows that I normally did during the week in several hours on the weekend. 15-20 minutes of commercials for a one hour show were now gone.

    Go for satellite.

  16. I got digital DishTV because Comcast is way overpriced in Baltimore.

    PRO: I like the pricing. Also, the signal is so much clearer, no snow. Of course, if a plane flies over, you will get glitches. Also, no Comcast to deal with.

    CON: I agree with the others about the signal going out in bad or windy weather. Plus, you have to make sure the dish is aligned. They offer a $100/year maintenance agreement.

  17. I have thought about just doing to an antenna as well. You can get HD channels with the antenna now. However, I just can’t do it because I love sports and I need my ESPN and Fox Sports to see my teams play.

  18. I have Direct Tv and I love it. There is always a great deal and you can’t beat the monthly price. Comcast is way to expensive. Same thing here, it only goes out during bad weather. During that time that it goes out I switch the TV input to the my roof antenna and get local HD channels just fine. So there is always something to watch. Good luck!

  19. If you have Verizon FIOS service in your area, I suggest you switch to that. This is all digital and depending on what package you take you can get upto 35 hd channels. I have had Dish Network for long time but I switched to Verizon Fios as soon as it was available in our area about 2 years or so back and never looked back.

  20. Why not try to go ALL internet without TV? The only thing you might be missing is live broadcast, but even so, simulcasts on the internet are becoming popular.

    I have a Mac Mini connected to my TV which downloads content automatically, and I have a playlist ready to go when I want to watch TV.


  21. Cable vs. DirectTV. I have my DirectTV service bundled with my phone bill and was able to get the service at a reduced monthly cost. DirectTV also offered a rebate on the cost of the digital TV recorder/receiver. Yes, I had to pay $100 for the box, but I got it back. I recommend DirectTV over cable. You can generally get more “basic” channels than cable for about the same price.

  22. My parents have had it since like 1994, and the types of storms that knock it out are the ones that are directly in your southern exposure and are HEAVY rain. I’d say total loss of viewing time is only a few hours per year, if that.
    There are more channels in HD, and you can also get a TiVo receiver if you want (and you SHOULD SHOULD SHOULD).
    I would get it if I didn’t live in places where I’m not allowed to mount a dish.

  23. My thoughts. I work for a cable company and we offer a program called dish buy back. Wich is where if a customer has dish, we buy there dish and boxes from them and install our cable service. I will tell you that we are taking dish customers ALL of the time. Dish customers end up hating dish and ALWAYS complain about outages. Also, the biggest complaint is customer service. Compared to cable, we come out the same day you call, dish tells you they will be there within a week. That being said, cable is higher on prices, but it is well worth it. Armstrong Cable Company

  24. We’ve been with Direct TV for more than 8 years and it’s always been pretty reliable but we now we find ourselves leaning towards Cable. Recently we tried to get HD DVR from Direct TV and they said that couldn’t hook it up because we didn’t have a “clear view of the southern sky”. We would have to spend $600 for someone to come out and cut down our trees that block the view THEN we could get it. I hate leaving but if we want that HD I don’t have a choice.

  25. I've always had comcast, and when I got to friends houses who have DirecTV or Satellite, I miss most of my premium channels, I miss ONDemand. I like being able to watch series when I want, I miss not being able to rewind shows, I miss not being able to watch movies at any time I want. Whereas on Satellite ONDemand is at scheduled times, on Comcast I can watch whatever, whenever I want.

    All of them find ways to overcharge you, and bundles are usually best. But there are some things I can't sacrafice.

  26. Comcast Stinks. The customer service is horrible. The triple play package leaves you in debt. They dupe you with their ‘additional fees and surcharges.’ The internet is slow as hell and their East Coast partial-monopoly (time warner bums) makes me sick! They need a class action lawsuit broguht against them for their practices. I HATE COMCAST! If you want to Save Money, get More HD Channels, a better Sports Package for those Sunday Beef & Beers and enjoy your television programming experience… Support my business and order Direct TV here…

    Thank you.

  27. In response to that last comment, it’s not a monopoly if there are other choices for your service, and there are in the form of DirecTV, Dish Network, and FiOS.

    That being said, BOTH DirecTV and Dish network are currently in lawsuits for unfair business practices and hidden costs and fees, so that should give you something to think about.

  28. I appreciate all the honest information you have all given. I had a dish once and switched back to cable because of the interuptions when it rained. I was considering Direct TV, but now I know to stay with what I have

  29. I have cable for one reason. I want to watch TV and not pixilated pictures on TV. You get what you pay for.

  30. I’ve had Directv for 3 days, and my service has already went out. I figured I’d give satelite TV the benefit of the doubt. Huge mistake!!! It’s 88 degrees here in Va Beach. There are beautiful clouds in the sky and my service has been “searching for signal” for 10 hours now!!! I’ve complained about cable tv for 10 years now, but you know what? Everytime I turned my TV on I watched TV. I’m a believer now. That extra cash for cable is well worth it. Period.

Comments are closed.