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Yet Another Bleg: TeeVee and media

Long story that I won’t get into but I’m firing Dishnetwork. They suck and I hate them. I’ve had four DVRs in six months and they’ve all gone Tango Uniform. And every time, we lose all our programming. And every time, we have to set it all back up. Be kinda nice if they had a back up function.

That said, I’m looking at TeeVee options. Charter has decent cable and on demand things. We used to have Directv but dumped them once they dumped TiVo. I’ve even been pondering getting one of those Windows Media Center PCs. Anyone have any experience with the Media Center set up? And experience with Charter? And does Directv do TiVo again?

I’d appreciate any input.

update
: Looks like TiVo and Directv kissed and made up.

18 Responses to “Yet Another Bleg: TeeVee and media”

  1. matt Says:

    I use media center; being vista, it’s flaky and sucks.
    I would have gotten rid of it in favor of a real TiVo, but I use it for computery-stuff, too (napster, playing videos off my file server, etc).

    I need to reboot it several times a week. Don’t go there unless you really, really want to have an actual computer in entertainment center for other reasons.

  2. Alcibiades Says:

    Maybe your power outlet has some sort of problem? Losing four devices would indicate that as the problem.

  3. SayUncle Says:

    Doesn’t affect any other devices

  4. Jake Says:

    Alcibiades: “Maybe your power outlet has some sort of problem? Losing four devices would indicate that as the problem.”

    SayUncle: “Doesn’t affect any other devices”

    From my (miserable) year working as tech support for Dish Network, I can tell you that their receivers can sometimes be ridiculously sensitive to power outlet and grounding issues. Unfortunately, that means that you can’t rule it out just because it doesn’t affect anything else. The DVR’s were the most common ones that had that problem, too. Inadequate or improper grounding on the outlet is usually the culprit, or something’s gone bad. It could also be a problem with the ground for the dish itself, which can have a similar effect.

    If the first one lasted a while, this could mean that something has changed at that location. It may be worth it to have someone who knows electrical stuff take a look.

    Or it could be just really, really bad luck – but I doubt it.

  5. SayUncle Says:

    I think it has to do with the fact the first one was new (it lasted three years) and the last three were refurbs.

  6. Robert Says:

    I dumped Charter because they were just too frickin expensive. 80 bucks a month and we only watched about 6 or 7 channels at best. Right now I’m only doing over the air but in the mountains, that’s spotty at best. And now that digital is here, it’s either a good signal or none at all. My wife is raising hell though so I’m going to have to do something. Probably Direct TV or Dish and I’m not really interested in a DVR.

  7. kirk Says:

    I have FIOS and my own TIVO HD with an external HD. I use Cable Cards from Verizon and am very happy. Verizon frequently ask me to use their cable box but it is not TIVO.

    Sorry but to me it is all about the Interface not sucking…

    DirectTV screwed me a long time ago and I never went back.

  8. Lyle Says:

    Hmm. Our DN DVR has been chugging along for a couple years with no problems other than a couple required reboots to restore normal operation. The thing I hate about the service is that now, instead of having 50 channels of total crap on cable, we now have something like 1,100 channels of total crap from the satellite. Instead of having six channels of program-length advertisements, we now have hundreds of program-length ads, and very little else unless you really like reruns of 1970s sitcoms, cooking shows and fashion contests, which I don’t. There’s really nothing worth pay to see. My recommendation is to forego the whole damned mess.

  9. Kristopher Says:

    Basic TV ( local channels + public service crap ) costs me $0.68 in addition to my cable internet bill.

    I can tune in to local news and weather.

    EDverything else I can get from the internet, as that is my major entertainment source anyway.

  10. alan Says:

    I don’t have a TV and I don’t miss it.

  11. bwm Says:

    If you’re comfortable fumbling around in linux:

    http://www.mythtv.org/

    Have had my boxes running for about 4 months now and it absolutely blows away tivo and cox cable dvr – no comparison… once you have it setup and working that is…

  12. TheOtherLarry Says:

    You could consider a Mac media center: http://www.tuaw.com/2009/07/24/behold-my-mac-mini-media-center/

    There are lots of websites that provide easy step-by-step instructions.

    More expensive than a Windows Media Center, but more options (iTunes, Hulu) and easier to use, in my opinion.

  13. Jailer Says:

    Media center is flakey at best. I’d stay away unless your the adventurous type when it comes to computing and want a “project”. I’ve gone through 3 Directv receivers, one of them a Tivo unit, in the last 5 or so years so it’s not just dish. Have you had any problems with phones? Maybe it’s your phone line. I’ve gone through 5 cordless phones in 6 years and they are the only 2 things I’ve had problems with. Still haven’t figured it out but we are on cell phones now so I don’t worry about it any more. Directv replaces em when they die so I don’t care if they do.

  14. Ben Says:

    Just Curious why you didn’t get the non TiVo DVR that DirectTV offers that is what I use

  15. Stranger Says:

    Well, the most common causes of repeated failure of solid state equipment are NOT crappy products. In order, they are:

    1.) A defective “whole house ground” at the ground rod under the meter socket. Locate the lead, and tighten it. Shake the rod and make sure it is NOT loose. Examine the earth around the rod and make sure a lightning strike has not turned dirt into Fulgaritic glass. Cautiously, of course, since you can have up to 234V AC there. (When there is no load on one side of the service, and a heavy load on the other)

    2.) Something (usually a motor starting capacitor) dumping a voltage spike on the AC line serving the device. A “high Joule” surge suppressor at the outlet serving any SS equipment that costs more than the suppressor is highly recommended. As is a “whole house surge suppressor” across the meter.

    Stranger

  16. Robert Says:

    In addition to Strangers comments, an electrician can use a clamp-on ground tester to measure the resistance of your ground rod connection. You should have no greater than 25 ohms of resistance, and less is better. I’ve seen many a case of hardware dying and customers saying “your stuff is crap” when they have grounds that measure 200 ohms or more.

  17. Oakenheart Says:

    Electronics tech here with 20+ years working on consumer stuff. I’d agree with checking the grounding and making sure you aren’t getting surge from a central unit or something during start-up.

    Another option is to lurk here a bit:

    http://www.abadss.com/forum/104-pc-fta-cards/

  18. Ray Walters Says:

    When I had Charter in Sevierville, cable and internet service were awful and expensive, but Charter was the only option for high speed. Your mileage may vary.