The countdown is on until closing on the house (39 days!) and all of those pre-move activities need to get in gear. One of those things is figuring out how our information utilities – TV & Internet. Currently I’m paying a hefty $150 check to Comcast each month for both digital cable and Internet. If you were to itemize my bill you would see:
- 1 HD DVR Digital Receiver
- 1 Standard Digital Receiver
- Cable Internet (I own the modem)
- Digital Plus (or whatever it’s called) that includes the music videos tier
- Sports Tier package (thanks Comcast v. NFL Network)
- HBO (to watch Inside the NFL)
One of the advantages of moving is to reassess whether you’re using all of those services and better define your needs. Things have changed since I originally subscribed to this package and I’m realizing I don’t need the bazillion channels that I’m not watching. I also no longer need HBO as Inside the NFL has been canceled from the network. A good HD package is important to me, and I want a DVR that actually works rather than the piece-of-crap that Comcast gives us. I also want the NFL Network, and do resent paying an extra $5 a month to Comcast just to get it. The music videos are nice, but not really necessary. With that in mind, I’m evaluating my satellite options:
DirectTV: $55.96 (for 12 months, rates hike back up to $73.96). Setup Costs: None, but $99 DVR purchase fee. Pros: You get Sci-Fi in HD (good for BSG) and they have a good offering of HD channels (includes NFL Network on standard HD tier). They also have the NFL Sunday Ticket package available, something I may be interested in having in the fall. Cons: Their DVR is rated as moderate, price hikes $20 after 1 year.
Dish Network: $52.99 (no indication of price hike) Setup Costs: $50 (opted out of 2 year agreement), doesn’t indicate about DVR costs. The HD channels are good, not as many as DirectTV but it does have the NFL Network. Pros: Cheapest solution and offers the best value of HD that I watch. The DVR is the highest rated on CNet. Cons: Not sure about DVR charges, no NFL Sunday Ticket option.
Comcast: $102 but if I remove HBO it’ll drop $11. Setup Costs: Unknown since it would transfer. Decent selection of HD channels. Pros: It’s what we know and most convenient to move. Cons: Crappy DVR, still need to pay $5/month for NFL Network, no Sunday Ticket option.
The Internet Wrinkle
Dish Network looks like the best option to go with for now, but now comes the Internet wrinkle: I want high speed Internet, and Comcast offers the fastest download speeds. I like to game from my Xbox Live, so a consistent speed is needed as well. However, I’m pissed about their throttling and wouldn’t mind canceling the service. DSL isn’t an attractive option because of the slower download speed and the fact that I we may need a phone line (don’t know about naked DSL in Fort Collins). There are some WiFi providers in Northern Colorado, but I’m concerned that my HOA will prevent me from putting an antenna on the roof.
The ideal situation: I would like to go Dish + Comcast High Speed. My friend Kyle told me that he had it done before and a splitter can be installed, however this result in momentary connection loss, which can be very bad for gaming. The other thing I’m not sure about is that there are currently only 2 cable drops in the house (Living + Master Bedroom) so it may be difficult to split those cables as well. I could always run another cable to the office area, but I realize what a pain it is to run cables through finished walls.
If anyone has any ideas about the Internet solution (either naked DSL or some Comcast tips), I would greatly appreciate any input.
Update: After further research Qwest advertises up to 7mbps and offers naked DSL for $45 a month – comparable to what Comcast is doing. I’ll have to research this.