I guess it all started 6 years ago with Charter Cable. We moved into a Duplex, as there were coax cables (way too many of them), in every room, hooking up by Charter seemed a piece of cake. I liked the price, as I recall it was $39 a month. Unfortunately I got off to a bad start with Charter, the idiot installer claimed that the only live coax cable was the one that terminated in the laundry room.

It was clear that the installer had no interest in getting dirty under the house to find where the other cables went, so, frustrated (logic had not worked) he left me a full role of Coax and a bag of connectors. My free installation was indeed free, I had to do it myself. I didn’t grumble, OK that is a lie, I swore up a storm, but, I got all three rooms hooked up.

Each month Charter seemed to manage to charge more and more. After 2 years the bill was approaching $100 a month! As I have interest in very few channels this seemed like a ridiculous sum of money. My wife watches Jerry Springer and the soaps, I watch the news, History, and Discovery.

It was time to jump ship. My wife suggested we try DirecTV. Once again the price was right, something like $39 per month. The installer actually did do the installation, I was impressed!

Of course no one told me about what happens when it rains.My wife suggested I get a rain jacket and hold an umbrella over the dish. My idea was more automated.

tv brolly
You can read my grumpy article here. I was frustrated and the article got the problem out of my system. Then the emails and phone calls started. Apparently some knuckle head had posted my grumpy article on the DirecTV internal web site. The VP of keeping people happy called me, and two days later we were knee deep in DirecTV technicians. Realigned, rewired, and tuned, we were good to go. To sweeten the deal they also cut the monthly bill by $10 a month. But as usual, the monthly bill started to grow again. As it approached the $100 mark I was less than happy.

My wife suggested that we jump ship and go with Dish TV. It sounded good, so off we went. The deal offered was to hook up 4 rooms. The living room, two bedrooms and the kitchen. The installation went ok, but I am still a little unclear why I have a small black box plugged into the wall by my desk that has an Ethernet cable to my Router. Apparently it has something to do with the Kitchen, but that is only a guess.

After a year of Dish TV I realize that there is a subtle difference between DirecTV and Dish TV. Oh it is not the cost, Dish TV has managed to get my bill close to the $100 a month mark. Were it not for the fact that I annoyed DirecTV with my article I seriously doubt that there is a great deal of difference between customer service. Dish TV however takes the prize. The connection to the kitchen failed, neither my wife nor I are spring chickens, we don’t want to (can’t) move TV’s and boxes around unplugging and plugging stuff in. I was pretty sure that that is why we pay $8 a month for support, should something break, Dish TV will dispatch someone to fix it. Sounds good, but what happens when you call? Short of the small dish being hit by lightning they have no intention of dispatching anyone.

The other difference is weather. I am a huge fan of rain, I love to sit out on my porch and watch it. I check weather.com every day to see what the chances of rain are. Of course predicting the weather is a hit and miss business. While Dish TV may not offer long term forecasts, they are amazingly accurate. It can be sunny outside, the satellite signal will go out, and 10 minutes later the rain starts. For that reason Dish TV is clearly better than DirecTV, those slouches alerted you only when the rain had already started!
You will notice that the weather forecasting aspect is missing from the TV ads. Maybe Dish TV is keeping it a secret, and I am a beta tester? Well Dish TV, much though I appreciate the weather updates, but at $100 per month it seems a bit steep for telling me the obvious, it is going to rain.

It might be back to Charter, their installation sucks, the cost sucks, but at least the service works when there is a rain shower. What blows my mind about Dish TV is that they want to charge me even when it is raining and I have no signal.

Simon Barrett


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