HD Cable or Satellite provider in NYC?
November 2, 2007 4:48 AM   Subscribe

We bought an HDTV. Which provider would you recommend? Should we go Cable or Satellite? What are your experiences? We're in NYC. TIA!
posted by Jujee to Technology (7 answers total)
RCN broadcasts its "Standard" lineup in HDTV unencrypted. They seem to be reasonably competent, though that is by the standards of the cable industry. They're not available everywhere though.
posted by Skorgu at 5:42 AM on November 2, 2007

We have RCN in Chicago, and they have been very good and very reasonable. We have TiVo HD, and it works beautifully with a $1.50/month cablecard that allows us to both record two channels at once and skip rental of an HD DVR. We get about 15-20 channels in HD.

DirecTV seems to be positioning itself as the HDTV leader, soon offering something absurd like 100 channels in HD for only $10/month over your ordinary monthly charge. That's well more than any other system I've seen. If you can get a clear shot at their satellites, it wouldn't hurt to look at their packages.
posted by AgentRocket at 7:09 AM on November 2, 2007

We have both. DH wants the local channels to keep up with the immediate area's news and sports, but as the OP mentioned DirectTV is ahead of the pack on HD for price and number of channels offered. The only complaint that I have with DirectTV right now is that they want $299 up front for the receiver with recording capabilities and then a fee per month.
posted by msbaby at 8:06 AM on November 2, 2007

Well, gotta chime in with a vote for Dish Network. We've had them for a couple years now and just upgraded to their enhanced HD package. Lots of HD channels (all locals, Discovery, National Geographic, Food, HGTV, etc. and all the Vooms) with a sweet 200-hour HD video recorder. We pay about $95/month with no premium channels. YMMV.
posted by Work to Live at 10:46 AM on November 2, 2007

My TiVo S3 is on Time-Warner Cable with two cable cards - I used to have to call in for re-authorization of the cards every few weeks but they've been stable since the summer. The HD signal itself has occasional drop-outs (sound goes for 3-5 seconds, then the picture goes weird for .5 second and it all comes back). Other than that, Time-Warner has been fine.
posted by nicwolff at 10:57 AM on November 2, 2007

None of the above? Unless you absolutely, positively want the 'extra channels', I've been incredibly happy with just plain ol' OTA HDTV. The quality from OTA ATSC is at least 2-3x better than satellite's 'pseudo-HD' content, and has slightly better quality than QAM cable, which is what you would be getting.

Do not, DO NOT, DO NOT go for satellite if you care at ALL about picture quality. They lie when they claim their signal is at all 'HD'. Legally, it might 'qualify', but it's so compressed that it looks like crap in my opinion.

Depending on where you are in the city, pick up a 'Silver Sensor' style antenna, and be on your merry way. Paying for TV is for suckers. Remember, you're picking up ATSC digital signals, not NTSC analog signals, so ghosting and all the other crap that used to come with OTA TV is a thing of the past. I continually wow my friends with how much nicer the OTA signal looks compared to their cable.

As a bonus, you'll usually get subchannels that cable systems don't carry. In Philly, we've now got the 'World Championship Sports Network' coming over the air attached to another broadcast channel. It's great, really.
posted by Geckwoistmeinauto at 11:26 AM on November 2, 2007

I live in a co-op in Brooklyn and it's a Time Warner cable building. If you live in an apartment-type place, check with your super to make sure you can get whatever service you want.

As it is, I have two roommates, and two of us have HD sets. I got a digital HD box from TW and occasionally, when my set's in the DTV mode, it'll cut out or hold a shot on the screen for a few moments, then correct itself. This is most obvious during commercials, though, and if none of my friends are in those spots, I don't care. However, it can be annoying when Jack McCoy's about to give a criminal one of his patented legal beatdowns and suddenly the (good and sharp) picture hangs on the judge's face while the sound continues. Boo. Then again, I have a 2nd gen HD set, and it's a CRT to boot. You may not have that problem with the newer LCD or plasma models.
posted by droplet at 7:18 PM on November 14, 2007

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