Back in January, I decided to make some changes in my household. One of those changes involved finally getting rid of Charter as our cable provider and making a move to Direct TV.
At the time, I had plenty of doubts. But, even though there were some things I found I didn’t love about our new satellite provider (including the fact we didn’t get Madison stations); I thought it was a good decision.
Now that I’ve had the service for a little over 6 months, I’m starting to re-think that choice.
I’m going to be fair and start this out by saying there are still quite a few things about Direct TV that I prefer compared to what I had with Charter. I’m currently on a promotional price that will be up at the end of the year and will eventually pay the same amount for the service that I did with Charter. But, I do get more channels for the money. In fact, there are channels that I hadn’t even heard of before I got Direct TV; like Sleuth and Sprout (which my daughter loves). Because of this, I usually can find something to watch.
I have had some limited dealings with Direct TV’s customer service and found I do like their reps better than Charter’s reps (who I couldn’t understand half the time). And, even though I had some doubts about the picture quality from a small dish that was placed near a tree, I haven’t had any issues with static or fuzz.
However, as is usually the case, I am discovering some things about the service that I really am not a big fan of.
I already mentioned the issue with not being able to get Madison stations. Well, I learned later that I also sacrificed a couple local, Beaver Dam, WI stations too; including one that used to broadcast school information. I’m able to live without them. But, I do miss them; especially during the winter when we have to watch for school delays and closings.
When we got our Direct TV dish set up, we were given an instruction book to go with it. While that book has helped us in some situations, there are quite a few things in it that just don’t seem to add up. For example, from what I read in the book, I’m supposed to be able to get Direct TV on demand (which is supposed to allow me to get shows off of certain stations at any time) simply by hooking my box to my internet modem via an Ethernet cable. Well, it turns out the box I have doesn’t have a spot to plug in the Ethernet cable despite the fact it is supposed to be the exact same box described in the book. Oh, and I’ve pretty much given up trying to program the remote they gave me to work with my TV. The most it will do is control the volume. I can’t even turn the TV off with it.
Also, while the picture quality is excellent, the sound quality leaves a lot to be desired. At first, I thought the fact I couldn’t hear anything unless we cranked the volume was caused by a problem with our TV. But, we don’t have that issue with any thing else (DVDs, video games, etc.) and it’s also an issue on our daughter’s TV. So far, I haven’t gotten a clear answer if that’s normal or if there’s an issue.
The thing that really bugs me about Direct TV though is how it simply does not work in bad weather. It made it through winter OK, despite some snow. But, we’ve had several storms this summer and, as soon as raindrops start to fall at any sort of steady pace, we lose our signal. It doesn’t have to be a down pour for this to happen and you can pretty much expect to be without service for at least a half hour.
I actually willing to live with this at one point; figuring I could still watch something off the DVR. But, a couple weeks ago, we had tornado warnings and the TV was pretty much useless when I was trying to get as much information as possible. For all its faults, I never had that problem with Charter.
I still have 6 months remaining on my Direct TV deal and intend on sticking with the service at least through that. But, once that deal is up and Direct TV raises their prices, I probably will give switching back to cable some serious consideration.