As mentioned in the Subject line I have had, at one time or another, the major entertainment suppliers from Comcast, and Charter, Cable to AT&T U-Verse, Direct-TV and DISH Network. Up until recently, today that is, I never paid an early termination fee just to be able to go back to one of the other providers but today I cancelled Direct-TV (AT&T's DirectTV) and switched back to DISH Network. I can't be more satisfied in a decision.
First of all I had heard stories about how Direct-TV would change (raise) rates during the term of a contract but I never thought much about it. While in Sam's Club one of the Direct-TV representatives, or contracted sales folks, talked me into trying Direct-TV. At that time my DISH Network contract had expired and I was under no obligation to continue with anyone else. Never having Direct-TV I chose to give it a try since many people said their satellite and dish was more immune to weather outages. What I found though was that they were no more immune to those sever weather outages than DISH/ Network. As for the performance of Direct TV it was not what I had expected.
Many people brag on their Direct-TV and I'm glad they enjoy it. In my case Direct-TV was much slower in changing channels, provided far less storage space than their competitors do on their Recording DVRs. Cable and U-Verse had far more storage capacity in their DVR Units and DISH had the most. Other things I noticed was that when I would attempt to view an On-Demand movie it would load and start playing but so often it would just quit in the middle of the show and take me back to whatever was playing on the channel it was tuned ot at the time. That would happen whether it was hardwire connected to the internet or by wireless connection.
I had DISH Network before I switched to Direct-TV and to DISH Network I returned, paying AT&T 12 months worth of early termination fees in the process. Upon returning to DISH Network the newest Hopper (Recordable DVD player they have), the Hopper 3, was such an awakening experience. Not only was it so much better and feature rich but the remote became, like Comcast Cable supplies, a voice remote where you can use your voice to change channels. Additionally one of the DISH features that I missed the most the remote and Hopper has a "Find Lost Remote" feature that if you misplace the remote control you can push a button on the Hopper (or Joey remote) and the remote control will start beeping at an increasing volume level to allow you to find it. It actually helped me in the past locate a lost remote that was found in our garbage can, one of our grandchildren accidentally dropping it in the trash can. Another, new, feature that DISH Network had added since I left it before was that now DISH Network interfaces with Amazon.com's Alexa/ECHO system where I just have to use my voice to announce to the device to what channel I want to watch and immediately DISH's Hopper/receiver tunes to it and it's on the screen.
The greatest awakening was the $50+ increase in monthly cost that AT&T/Direct-TV had implemented on me in May. I had received a letter back in January of this year advising me if I didn't subscribe to AT&T Wireless and/or their internet service that I would see a $50-$56 monthly increase in my TV/Direct-TV bill. I called AT&T and disputed this advising them I never had any such provision put on my service or was I ever told of such and I was completely reassured multiple times that such was not the case and my bill would not increase. I accepted this up and until I checked my email on last Wednesday when I got my AT&T/Direct-TV billing notice and there it was added to my bill .. the $56.00 additional charge.
When I first contacted Direct-TV about this pending increase I at that time also contacted DISH Network and Cable Company looking for their best deal. DISH, at that time had the best offer so I secured it and kept putting them off until I could find out if DirectTV was going to raise my rates. When I saw this did happen, on Wednesday, I called AT&T and cancelled Direct TV and called DISH and confirmed the appointment to install it for this weekend. I will say DirectTV did refund the pro-rata portion of the additional $56.00 charge and they did cancel my service, I'm sure charging me the $20/month ( I was all along told it would be $10/month) early termination fee. EVERYTHING ALWAYS CHANGES with AT&T and DirectTV to the point I just can't trust them anymore.
Now that I have DISH connected again and see their new equipment the decision to come back to them was even more reinforced and makes it worth the early termination fee, much of which I will recover back in savings DISH offered me over the Direct-TV rate.
Which is the best entertainment service provider? Based upon my experience(s) I would rate them:
- 1st & Best - DISH-Network with their Hopper 3's features and recording time. Also they utilize the internet connection for providing some new features which work apart from the dish supplied entertainment.
- AT&T U-Verse but the problem is it is so sparely available to people because you have to be close to an AT&T SLIC/portal. Also there is no weather interruptions due to extreme weather.
- Cable TV (Comcast/Charter) with their voice remote and higher recording time (than DirectTV) with their DVD. Also faster tuning and no extreme weather outages due to a blocked dish.
- DirectTV - I have to put DirectTV in last position because it belongs here with their performance that I have observed, their tendency to change rates on the user/customer, and experience with OnDemand shows dropping out after loading into memory as well as the smallest DVR/recordable storage capacity.