No Easy Decision: Choosing Between Pay-TV Services
In recent years, many shoppers have decided to cut the twine. This means that they can substitute pc TV with over-the-top (OTT), streaming services and products for their viewing pleasure. While price is one aspect, changing your viewing behavior has been another.
As a journalist who covers pay-TV products, services, and all aspects, I was tempted to go wrong and have for some time had both satellite and cable: Dish Network and Comcast Xfinity.
It allowed me to relate with Michael Scott, the fictional TV host, who said he had cable TV and satellite TV as an “against up”. I used to be on the evaluation program for Dish, while I paid a monthly bill to Comcast for service that included my home office phone and Internet access.
It used to be the best of both worlds. This is not a proverb I was quoting, it used to be true in this instance. While I was able to appreciate the great things about each product and service, I was also able to resist any of its downsides. To quote another proverb, all good things must come to an end. Dish’s evaluation time is over.
It is difficult to go from two services or products to one after you have had them all.
It would be easiest to revert to my Xfinity cable viewing. However, Dish has too many things I love. Although the irresponsible phase may well have followed the TV doofus and saved both the pay-TV products and the services, it would still mean a bill of about US$400. This is not including Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu OTT services which my spouse and I also subscribe to.
Most likely, it is not necessary to disclose that we watch a lot of tvs. We don’t hide it or shame ourselves about it. We all have our favorite presentations and we pay for them. However, there are restrictions on what we can and cannot afford to do.
We had to decide whether to stay.
Comcast is the Cable Provider
Since 2010, we have been Comcast triple-play subscribers. This includes phone, internet, and cable. Since 2010, we have largely accepted the Comcast problems as there weren’t many alternatives. We tried to switch to WOW (Way Out West) for 24 hours, but Comcast was not available. After that time we decided to return to Comcast.
It was the case of the lesser evil.
It’s obvious at this point that Comcast doesn’t have many reasons why we should stay with them. The cost of the bill is high and the provider has experienced its fair share of problems. The Internet is reliable, and the phone provider allows calls to Canada without any charges.
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Before we upgraded to Xfinity, the greatest problem with Comcast was that it was difficult to stream content from the secondary box. We had no less than 12 visits from Comcast over three years to solve the problem. The problem was not resolved completely, so we decided to eliminate the secondary box.
Worse, however, was the fact that Comcast allowed us to record only two techniques at a time while simultaneously gazing at a third on our DVR. This may sound plausible, but take a look at what’s on every Sunday night! It was simply a matter of recording the programs we wanted to see and then juggling which one we were watching. This is a common mistake for TV junkies.
Xfinity Marks The Spot
We made the upgrade to Comcast’s Xfinity service a few years back in the hope that it would improve our situation. This made matters worse. It was difficult to record programs and it made it frustrating to watch them.
Xfinity has added voice support but the experience of talking to the remote was not much better. It was difficult to use voice functionality or the menus.
Both fast-forwarding and rewinding during a show were annoying. We could either go at a slower pace to skip ahead, or we could sprint so far ahead that we would have to rewind.
We often found that it was more enjoyable to watch commercials than the actual programming. Comcast is the owner of NBC Universal and other channels, so perhaps that was the point. It’s not good for the bottom line to make it so easy to skip paid segments, is it?
Xfinity has never been able to resolve the problem with the channel placement. The channels that are standard-definition and hi-definition are poorly intermixed. Local channels, basic, and premium cable channels appear randomly placed. It was not easy to find channels or programs even after many years of using the service. This is not ideal for channel surfing to put it mildly.
Dishing on Dish
The dish is a much simpler case. They are well grouped. The local TV channels are placed at the same “quantity”, as their over-the-air counterparts. Hence, Fox2 is on channel 2, while NBC is just right on channel 4. AMC, FX, History, and so forth are the main channels. The main channels — AMC, FX, and History — can be grouped.
An on-demand channel can be found with top-rated channels like Starz and Showtime, and basic channels such as History and FX. You can quickly access their on-demand content material by clicking on the links. This is now intuitive.
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The dish makes it much easier to fast forward with Dish. The auto-hop capability will be offered by three major networks: ABC, Fox, and NBC. This means you don’t have to miss any advertisements. Dish’s high-quality anytime feature was also what my wife and I fell in love with. It routinely recorded high-quality content material from these 3 networks, along with CBS. It would have been great if CW or PBS were incorporated. However, we are satisfied to know that nearly all community presentations are reported robotically.
This helped reduce the number of options we had to choose from each week. Although the main drawback was that a local associate could preempt the community in positive cases, these occasions are rare and far between so it was worth the compromise. A dish is a powerful tool that has many benefits.
Dish’s ability to transmit content material as we travel was another highlight. We could even watch the recordings in our living rooms while we were going back and forth from Vienna to Vienna! It was once the best way to travel — and I will admit that I am one of those people who worries about missing shows while I’m on vacation. A Holiday for me will be a way to get rid of pressure and work, not the problems in my life.
The Sling generation with Dish allowed us to take in Europe’s culture and view our displays before we went to bed.
Inequity has now begun to offer equivalent options for far-flung viewing. We have also used it in the United States, even though we have not yet examined it in Europe. Dish performed better in all scenarios when compared head-to-head. Although there were a few instances when Xfinity appeared to have the edge, it is possible to see a lot more.
The dish was able to stream our content in most cases better than Xfinity.
The dish isn’t the best, but it is certainly not the most expensive. The dish is a satellite-based service. We live in Michigan, which can experience dangerous snowstorms and rain squalls during the spring and summer. The satellite provider has largely overcome weather problems — but there may still be some good work to be done. It is possible for snow to accumulate on the dish and it must be cleared.
The literal dish is not on the roof, but rather is in the backyard. This way, I don’t need to risk my life or my limbs to view my programs. It would be worth it, but it is not an enjoyable way to start a cold day with an ice storm.
The dish does not provide the Internet or telephone. We believe that Dish’s plan is comparable to what Comcast offers in a triple-play package. We can expect to pay $40 to $80 per month more for Dish and the Internet by selecting Dish. Working from home means that each phone and internet connection is essential.
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Dish’s biggest problem is its ongoing feud with HBO. This has been ongoing since November, and there are no signs that it will be resolved. We are sympathetic to Dish’s decision to keep its floor and stand by them. But Game of Thrones continues, which is a favorite of ours.
The dish could resolve the issue by purchasing HBO Go or MAX Go. However, this will only add to our final analysis and those are streaming products and not cable channels. The cost of Dish protection could increase our bill for pay-TV to the tune of almost $100. This is a significant amount of money. It’s enough to support a few freelance writers.
And We Decide…
It will be difficult to swallow another $100 at the top. This money can be used to buy food, splurge on something else, or save money for rainy days.
But, the cost of dealing with Comcast Xfinity is not worth the savings. If Comcast were our only option, we may be content living with it. We might be proud of it if Dish hadn’t been available. We like Dish.
If this means that I have to write another story each month to make it more difficult, then it’s a fair tradeoff. Dish has changed one thing that we experience. It could have been simpler for me to just ditch Netflix and Hulu. We have to consume both the products and services of each. In reality, it is not common for us to watch a single show for weeks without engaging with them.
Cable is something I grew up with. I remember the date when we first connected. Although I am cutting down the actual cable from Comcast I will be keeping the cable that delivers Dish to my pc via satellite tv.
I will have to join HBO Go as smartly until Dish and HBO settle their differences. I hope this happens soon. But, I believe we can all expect more protection between content suppliers and the pay-TV services.
The next decision is whether I bother preserving Comcast’s phone and Internet, or if I choose to look at another service. Although I know this is not the best decision, it is the only one I will be able to make.