Dumping Dish

As I was writing my last entry about Ultra HD televisions, one of the considerations was whether I would have fast enough internet to stream UHD content. It takes at least 25 Mbps, which is right about what I am getting from Xfinity right now for the introductory price of $20 per month. The non-intro price is $60 per month, which is crazy since Google Fiber will charge $50 for 100 Mbps service (the problem being Google Fiber isn’t available yet at my house). I checked AT&T Uverse, but their rates are even worse and they pretty much require you to bundle cable television, which I don’t want to do. When I throw in Uverse cable and internet plus their ridiculous extra fees for modem rental (I bought a modem for Comcast for about $40) and HD television, it was still more than I am paying now. So no thanks. I have had Dish for many years and they seem to be the cheapest cable I can find, even though their prices have creeped up to about $55 per month, including HD and a DVR to record shows and skip commercials. Plus I bought an external hard drive and have stored hundreds of hours of shows on it that I have yet to watch including the last couple of seasons of Hawaii Five O, all the episodes ever of Blacklist (never watched one episode), most episodes of Twilight Zone from a SyFy marathon, including the rarely shown season of hour-long shows, and tons of movies and Game of Thrones episodes from free weekends of HBO (I watched a couple of episodes of Game of Thrones and decided it was too dark for my tastes).

But my introductory year of cheap internet ends in a couple of weeks, so I went ahead and called Comcast. Given the choice of adding new service or cancelling service, I chose cancel since really I figured I would be downgrading my internet speed from the very comfortable 25 Mbps to the kind of pokey 6 Mbps that still would have been $40 per month. They asked what kind of cable TV I had and I said Dish. They said they could give me 25 Mbps internet plus local channels (and some worthless shopping channels) for $50 per month. Or they could give me 75 Mbps internet plus local TV stations and a decent helping of basic cable except for ESPN for $65 per month. If I wanted a DVR (and I do!) then it was another $10 per month, so just like that I am going to dump Dish and all of that programming, but I do get a free year of HBO from Comcast. I don’t know if that includes HBO Go so that I can go back and watch old episodes of shows. But I do like that there are a lot of xfinitywifi hotspots that I can connect to using my iPod while I am wandering around town.

The neat thing is it buys me another year for Google Fiber to show up and if I do upgrade to an Ultra HD TV, I can try out 4K streaming from Netflix and maybe others before I cut the cable cord. I also thought I could play around with setting up a TV antenna again in an effort to get free local channels and hopefully a device that could record shows. Most of what I watch is network TV anyway, now that Jon Stewart is gone. If I can get local channels and maybe Netflix, then I could possibly cut cable and just rely on Google Fiber at $50 per month. They were ready to come install it the day after tomorrow, but I said I would rather they wait until my introductory year is almost up, so now they are coming on the day before Thanksgiving. That give me time to maybe watch some of the stuff I have saved on my Dish hard drive which will be useless once I cancel that service.

Actually, looking a little more closely at the packages on their website, this isn’t much of a deal. They have $40 introductory packages that include 25 Mbps internet and more channels. My package, being one rung from the bottom, has CNN, Comedy Central, AMC, and some other cable channels, but not in HD (not true, see reply below). Only the local channels appear to be in HD. So that is kind of useless. But most of what I record is on local channels, so maybe not that bad.

5 thoughts on “Dumping Dish

  1. They came today and did the install. He actually got there a few minutes earlier than the 8-10 AM window, which was good for me (it helped that I got in the shower about 8:40 because then he called at about 8:50 and said he was outside).

    All of the channels that should be in HD are available in HD, so that is great. I couldn’t try out the DVR yet because the program guide hadn’t downloaded past an hour or so and I still need to set up favorite channels so hopefully I can skip all the garbage when I scroll through channels. I also did a speed test on the internet and got 75.9 Mbps, so everything seems great. I will keep Dish this weekend and try to catch up on some things on the DVR before those are probably lost forever. I have two more episodes of Downtown Abbey to watch and three or so movies. I hate to lose all of the Twilight Zone episodes I have recorded, but I can buy the whole series on DVD for about $50 if I really want.

  2. I called Dish today to cancel. They said since I had been a customer for 14 years, they would give me a $30 per month discount for a year if I stayed. I pointed out it was already a done deal, so they will mail me a box to return my DVR, remotes, and the LNB (the receiving part of the dish) and charge me $10 for the return.

    I was researching how to add hard drive capacity to the Xfinity DVR, but it isn’t as easy as with the Dish where I just hooked up a USB hard drive. Instead I have to use an eSATA cable which seems to be a USB alternative that nobody uses anymore. I can pay $26 for a powered hard drive enclosure with an eSATA port and $6 for an eSATA cable, which is probably worth it. Then I can take the 2TB hard drive out of the external drive I used with my Dish receiver and put it in the new enclosure (which also has a USB 2.0 port).

    PBS was re-running the last season of Downton Abbey, so I recorded the last two episodes onto the Xfinity DVR and can watch those later. Meanwhile, over Thanksgiving break I watched recorded movies from the Dish DVR before they are disabled: American Sniper, Spy, Skyfall, and The Theory of Everything.

  3. Pingback: Xfinity Setup | Ted's Blog

  4. My first Xfinity bill was about $200, but it included installation and a partial month that was almost a complete month. But I got my first regular bill today and they had added a $10 fee for HD Technology and a $5 fee for local channels that they had not mentioned previously. I called them and they agreed to strike the $10 fee, but would not get rid of the $5 fee, which is okay I guess. They also gave me three free months of HBO which will cancel itself. I did go ahead and get an UltraHD TV last night after my old TV died. I may install the antenna in the attic again and see what kind of reception the new TV gets.

  5. They continued to charge me the $10 fee they said they would take off in January. I called them today and they said they could not remove that fee or lower the price of my current package. It didn’t seem to bother them that they had consistently lied to me since November. Even this person said my call of January 24 never happened (until she admitted it did happen). Their counteroffer was to give me a “Limited Basic” package of essentially broadcast channels only, but with 3 premium channels to include HBO, Showtime, and Starz. But I lose TrueTV (I have been watching The Carbonaro Effect), Disney (they have a movie of the week that is usually decent), and my other cable channels like AMC, Comedy Central, A&E, and Animal Planet, which I realize I don’t actually watch very much. So I figure having the premium channels makes up for that and the new total will be $70 per month for a miserable cable package plus pretty fast internet at 75 Mbps. And I can keep my DVR. Originally the total was going to be about $80 per month (I had been paying $75 per month with Dish and AT&T internet), but the actual total was $93. This offer now expires next March, but I don’t think it is a contract, so maybe I can back out. Ideally I would switch to Google Fiber when they get here, but their lowest internet fee is $50 per month for 100 Mbps and if you want TV and internet it is $130. I could do the $50 and maybe get some kind of streaming service and then hook up an antenna (and hopefully a DVR) for over-the-air service.

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