Caught Between an HD Rock and a Hard Place...And a Hard Place
June 29, 2007 11:34 AM   Subscribe

I have just moved from Berkeley, CA to Austin, TX and have to move my TV service with me. We were using DirecTV in Berkeley and I was perfectly happy with my (hacked) HR10-250 HD TiVo unit. Now I am faced with a choice. D*, cable or Dish? What service do I go with if I want to have TiVo and HD? I seem to be screwed in one way or another. More inside...

I called D*'s Mover's Connection and they will only install the 5 LNB dish for free, which according to them, does NOT work with the HR10. So if I want HD and a PVR, I have to go with their HR20, which by many accounts has gotten terrible reviews with a few "ehs" thrown in. Then there's the whole "HDlite" controversy.

If I go with Time Warner Cable, I can get their crappy HD DVR or I can get the TiVo series3 with two cable cards. HOWEVER, I will not get all their extended national HD feeds for some technical reason that no one wants to explain, plus I will be paying more per month and that's without the TiVo monthly service added in. Add in the fact that I also have to spend around $500 for the hardware and it is not attractive either. If I can upgrade my cable cards in the future to get those extra national feeds, this would be the way to go, even with the extra price. I don't want to pay extra for a (semi-?)crippled setup.

Option 3 is Dish. I never liked them, their DVR or more recently, the fact that they are owned (or at least pushed) by AT&T. I do hear that their HD is the best quality.

I would like to stick with a TiVo interface because it is easy to use and my wife, while very technical, does not like unintuitive interfaces or massive retraining.

What to do? What to do? If it matters, I live in the Milwood subdivision in the Northwest part of Austin.
posted by JLobster to Technology (5 answers total)
The first decision is Tivo functionality or no.

If you have to have Tivoness (like me) you have two choices.

Keep your HD DirecTivo and use your existing dish. You don't get the new HD channels that are coming on the new satellite, but you do get to keep Tivo. (This is what I do)


Get a Series 3 Tivo and get cable. This is a great option for features, but does require a hefty spend to get there. The only drawback is no access to the DirecTV sports packages in HD. If that's not an issue, it's probably optimal. (My wife is a NFL fanatic, so we have to keep DirecTV.

Consider this option, buy the Series 3 Tivo and sell your HR10-250 unit on ebay to recoup costs. Since those units are out of stock, people will pay a good amount for a working unit and even more for a hacked one.
posted by Argyle at 12:05 PM on June 29, 2007

What I personally do is I have directv with an H20 for HD, and a DirecTivo (old hughes one 30gb) for my SD. Since the vast majority of what is on right now is not in HD, this serves me quite well. I give up the HD-DVR functionality for HD programs, and in exchange, I get the sweet Tivo for the other 97 percent of what I watch.

This keeps DirecTV happy, because I've got a newish HD box, and a 5LNB dish (and a single dish as well - not totally sure why - but the installer did it) and I still mostly get what I want.
If I had an HR-20 instead of an H20, I think it'd be perfect.

This of course does not address the HD-lite issue; but thats another story.
posted by heh3d at 12:30 PM on June 29, 2007

Best answer: You might also check out Grande Communications. They're a TW competitor and are often much cheaper, especially if you bundle their (traditional) phone and cable modem service.

You'll have to check their website to see if they're in your neighborhood (they're not everywhere in Austin).

They'll have pretty much the same service as TW, but it may be cheaper.
posted by nightwood at 12:51 PM on June 29, 2007

Response by poster: nightwood:

D'oh! Sounded like an awesome plan, but they do not service my area.
posted by JLobster at 1:48 PM on June 29, 2007

Best answer: Time Warner Austin does NOT get all the channels on cable card, so you'll be missing quite a few (from my understanding) if you choose that option for a Series 3 TiVo. We've been waiting for something to change because we desperately want HD, but refuse to give up our pal TiVo. There is some very good information that is germane to Austin Time Warner in this thread. Just search for "Austin" in there.

Grande is as far west as the Tarrytown area - they are not west of the river yet. From what I've read, they have pretty good reviews, so if your neighborhood will have them, that might be a good option.

The technical reason that you won't have full access to the HD & other channels on cable card has to do with switched digital video - any channel that is SDV won't come to the cable card.

Good luck!
posted by Addlepated at 1:58 PM on June 29, 2007

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