So I recently sent my Perfect TV Service list to Dish, DirecTv and Comcast for them to comment on. I told Comcast, they have to try and keep me, and Dish and DirecTv they have to try and win my business.
Here is how each of them responded to my list. I grade each out of 3.
3 points = got it covered.
2 points = kinda, or its coming.
1 point = they have it, but didn’t tell me about it.
0 points = no way jose
1. Multi room DVR.
Dish Network has their VIP 622, VIP722 series of DVR’s. It is not a true multiroom dvr, as it is not networked, but it does allow me to watch my recordings in 2 rooms. DirecTv is working on it, but cannot give me details. Comcast did not even comment on it.
Dish: 3, DirecTv 2: Comcast: 0
2. HD content.
All 3 providers provide some level of HD. DirecTv has the largest lineup followed by Dish, and then Comcast. However, Dish do not provide Fresno CA DMA local channels in HD, they do provide an alternate HD feed.
Dish: 2, DirecTv 3: Comcast: 3
3. Same channel number for HD and SD
Channel Mapping as it is called. Dish and DirecTv both provide this, as well as the ability to view only subscribed channels etc. Comcast forces you to remember 2 distinct numbers.
Dish: 3, DirecTv 3: Comcast: 0
4. True HD – and no twisting the figures
So this cannot really be measured unless I have all 3 services, so I did some research on the internet. No provider provides full HD, it is all transcoder somewhat. Both Dish and DirecTv seem to offer the best picture out of the 3, with comcast coming in slightly behind. Despite my best prodding no information about the down resing was forthcoming from the providers.
Dish: 2, DirecTv 2: Comcast: 1
5. My must have channels
As I mentioned Dish does not have my locals in HD. Dish does not offer MLB extra innings, but does carry Setanta. Comcast does not carry Setanta. The only carrier to provide MLB in HD is direcTv so once again DirecTv is the winner here.
Dish: 2, DirecTv: 3, Comcast: 2
6. Low hardware lease costs – minimal startup costs
Comcast has the lowest startup costs – free. Dish does have a startup cost – the installation fee, which can be waived if you sign a 2 year contract. DirecTv has the largest start up cost (by far), with installation, equipment and other fees. For each provider I had the following startup costs for similar packages: Comcast: $0, Dish: $50, DirecTv $250.
Dish: 2, DirecTv: 0, Comcast: 3
7. OnDemand HD Content
Comcast’s OnDemand content is very strong. They have instant on HD content. DirecTv also has a lineup that is rather large, although you have to wait before the content has downloaded enough to your hard drive before starting to watch it. Dish has a very limited lineup, but does offer 1080p pay movies. But what about the free content?
Dish: 1, DirecTv: 2, Comcast: 3
8. Reliable Equipment and Service, and good support when needed
So I felt I had to split this up into 2. Firstly lets talk about hardware: The Dish network equipment is recognized throughout the industry as being exceptional. DirecTv suffered a horrible start to the life of its HD DVR equipment with a lot of bugs, although these seemed to have calmed down somewhat recently. In my opinion the Comcast equipment is exceptionally frustrating to use. It also has suffered a lot of bugs that are starting to get fixed after 2 years of frustration.
Dish: 3, DirecTv: 2, Comcast: 0
Now, I really did not know what to expect from the emails and calls I made to these providers. Firstly, DirecTv is excellent. Really, they were prompt in their responses (usually a couple of hours), always courteous and always well written gramatically correct english. Dish left a lot to be desired. Their emails took on average 24 hours to be responded to. The answer to direct questions was usually a canned sales pitch, which is very frustrating. When I asked them not to send me another pitch, they half answered my question, and then waited 24 hours for the second half of the question. Comcast’s customer service is poor. Despite numerous call outs I still have my cable internet drop out fairly frequently. I was waiting for a service credit 2 billing cycles, only to call and be told it was not happening as it was in a hold queue. Somebody had forgotten to enter a reason for the credit. Now the office of the president is dealing with me things have become a lot more courteous, and my contact is obviously more capable. But not everyone will get to deal with a senior customer service rep.
Dish: 1, DirecTv: 3, Comcast: 1
Dish: 2, DirecTv: 2.5, Comcast: 0.5
9. Remote Scheduling of my DVR
Comcast have been promising this for about a year on fancast.com. No show just now. DirecTv offer this for all their DVR’s as do Dish, although I have reports of the Dish Online Scheduling only working for some DVR’s (Specifically the VIP722).
Dish: 2, DirecTv: 3, Comcast: 2
10. Multimedia Center
DirecTv allow you to connect your DVR to a Intel Viiv PC to view photos, music and more. A cool feature! If it could also stream movies, that would be great. Dish does not have network media sharing, but will allow you to plug in your digital camera to store the pictures on the hard drive. Comcast has no such feature.
Dish: 2, DirecTv: 3, Comcast: 0
And the winner is…
DirecTv is the winner with 23.5 points. Dish follows closely with 21 points, and Comcast sweeps up the rear with 14.5 points.
Let me know what you think about what I wrote. I now have decided to bump comcast for definite. The multiroom dvr thing is still making me lean towards Dish right now, as is the startup cost associated with directv, but on pure features DirecTv certainly has Dish beat. Besides, I want my locals in HD.