If you're thinking of getting rid of DISH network because it no longer has a favorite local station (like Portland's KATU, in our case), don't hesitate to jump to DirecTV.
That's what I decided to do, and after five days of experience with DirecTV -- the installer came last Thursday -- I'm wondering why I didn't dump DISH sooner.
Since we have several Qwest services (local line, unlimited long distance, DSL), adding DirecTV shaved another $10 off our bill. It's hard to compare the costs of DISH and DirecTV, given the many programming and receiver options, but it looks like we're going to save at least a little each month with DirecTV.
And now we have a considerably better picture, which isn't only due to getting the HD package (which we didn't have with DISH).
Basic digital programming is sharper on DirecTV, a conclusion echoed by a friend who also recently made the switch. A recent Consumer Reports issue found that DirecTV subscribers are considerably happier with their satellite service, including picture and sound, than DISH subscribers.
Now I know why.
The installation guy was on time and professional. The HD DVR is considerably more advanced than our old DISH DVR, which admittedly was several years old. I much prefer the channel guide set-up on DIrecTV, as well as how the listed recordings show up.
One of my qualms about switching to DirecTV was losing my beloved 30 second skip on the DISH remote control, which happens to be almost exactly the time between a play being whistled dead in a college football game, and when the next snap occurs.
Indeed, the DirecTV remote doesn't skip, but slips -- since the button takes three seconds to advance 30 seconds, and you see the televised images whizzing by (I guess this is a bone thrown to advertisers, since you get a subliminal exposure to ads).
I'd prefer to have a genuine skip button, but I'm adjusting to the DirecTV version. Maybe someday they'll switch to a real skip so I can save a bunch of three seconds each day and apply the time to some other important activity, like napping.
My only other gripe with DirecTV is how it records The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, plus other programs, I'm sure, that are repeated after the initial showing.
I indicate that I only want new shows recorded, but every day the HD DVR dutifully records every single episode of these two programs. So every day I dutifully delete all but the new show every evening.
Some Googling reveals that this problem seems to be caused by the content in the online programming guide that DirecTV uses, so I guess there's nothing DirecTV can do about it.
Still, I wish the DVR had the option of recording a particular program at a certain time, rather than having to get all new episodes (which, as I've found, often aren't really new).
Anyway, aside from these minor gripes I'm much happier with DirecTV than with DISH network, even leaving aside DISH's dropping of our local ABC station.
The Washington state Attorney General has a pretty good description of this issue here.
I realize that DISH and Fisher are both responsible for the dropped stations, but it still was irritating to miss the first episode of Lost's new season last Wednesday (fortunately a friend put it on DVD for me; it also was repeated a few days later).
Bottom line: switch to DirecTV if you're ticked off at DISH. Based on my experience, you won't have any regrets.