Satellite TV provides the best television viewing signal quality for your home theater rivaling that of your DVD player. Evolving from the Big Dish days, modern digital video broadcast (DVB) satellite signals are now received with a dish not much bigger than a pizza pan. The two major players in the battle for home satellite signal delivery are Dish Network and Direct TV. A recent newcomer to the scene is a high definition signal provider Voom. Then there’s the old standby – big dish C-Band satellite and its 4DTV digital format… Below is an overview of each system. Follow the links of each category to further information for equipment and programming reviews and opinions.
Dish Network – number one on my list
I am a Dish Network subscriber and have been for many years. Their customer service and programming selection is extremely good. Their on screen menus are clean and easy to navigate, the signal quality is excellent and the equipment can be set up by technically minded individuals such as myself with relative ease. I have installed numerous Dishnet systems for friends, family and associates. Installation was trouble free, achieved with minimal difficulty and the equipment performed as expected. It’s estimated that over half of Dishnet’s customers install their own equipment. Such relative ease of installation combined with their lineup of receivers which includes Personal Video Recorders (PVRs) including HD PVRs and a new portable PVR – Dish Network has taken the lead in satellite TV customer satisfaction.
Direct TV – Bigger is not always better
In order to provide “equal time” I’ll inform you that Direct TV has its legion of fans as well. They actually have the largest subscriber base in the US. Bigger is not always better though. Perhaps it is their NFL Sunday Ticket package that boosts their subscriber base over rival Dishnet. Direct TV has recently teamed up with the TiVo personal video recorder service in order to attract a new subsriber base. You will find some afficianados of Direct TV who will swear DTV is better than Dishnet – however it reminds me of the “Ford vs. Chevy” feud in auto racing circles – it mostly depends upon personal preferences and with which brand you are more familiar.
C-Band – The original turns to 4DTV digital
The “Big Dish” C-Band satellite system is still alive – mostly in rural areas of America which have long been geographically inaccessible to cable TV. Since they already had the dish in place many big dish owners adopted the General Instruments 4DTV digital transmission stream which evolved along with the popularity of DVB and the little dish revolution. C-Band satellite TV still offers analog in-the-clear and Videocipher IIplus (VC-II+) encrypted programming – some of which (such as blocks of syndicated show feeds) is uniquely interesting and unavailable to DVB little dish owners.