A few days of changes as far as technology goes.
I was a DirecTV customer for 9 years. My moving to satellite was more of a statement against cable at the time. The satellite picture was amazing compared to cable. The pricing was better. Customer service was excellent. But times change. Once I upgraded to an HDTV TV, the game changed. Suddenly the issue was content. I wanted more HD content. DirecTV does offer some HD channels, but not many. The biggest issue is not offering my local channels in HD until “some time in 2006.” Add to this that we will never be without a DVR again. DirecTV offers the HD Tivo. When I started calling them about adding HD the thing cost $999. I called in twice to talk about it and that was the price. They wouldn’t budge. No help with the costs. No credits offered. They told me today the price had dropped to $749. You can go buy it at best Buy for $699.
So I started doing my homework and found that Comcast offered all of my locals in HD, has the same HD channels that DirecTV does, and offers the HD DVR for $9.95/month. Since I was coming over from satellite, they gave me their Digital Plus package plus HBO, Showtime and some other movie channels for $29/month for a year. Add to that the $9.95/month for the HD DVR and I will be paying WAY less that I would pay with DirecTV for the next year. But what about picture quality? The channels that are digital compare pretty well with the channels on satellite. The analog channels are not very good in my opinion. I’ll be happy once everyone has to be digital. Satellite is 100% digital, but DirecTV’s picture has gotten a little “soft” over the years as they added more and more channels and added more and more compression. They will be making a huge technical change by going to MPEG4. Who knows, I may be back to DirecTV in a year if I think they are better at the time. Funny how things work when you go to cancel though. This time when I called I got transferred to Customer Retention and spoke with a very nice lady that offered me a lot of stuff to stay a customer. I told her I would still be a customer if either of the 2 guys that took my calls from the HD Install team had offered me what she had. She told me they should have transferred me to her department when I called. I would probably still be there. I am keeping the dish up in case I ever want to go back.
Then I took it a step further and added high speed Internet service with Comcast as well. Impressive. Very fast. My sDSL is 512k/512k. My cable modem is getting approximately 3.7Mb download, which makes me very, very happy. I worked for a long time with my DSL provider and they could never get me any more speed. I told them I would start looking for another solution. I guess they’ll believe me when I call to cancel this week. OK, so the download speed is fantastic, but what about the upload speed? Well, when I signed up they told me it was 4Mb down and 1Mb up. They lied. Plain and simple. I called. I complained. The upload is really around 384k, which is no longer a problem for me because…
I am out of the hosting game. I moved my own site to an external host and am very happy with it so far. All of the other sites on my systems are gone except for one, and it is supposed to be gone this weekend. Once that happens I will take a final backup, move all of the files to my Mac Mini, and shut the servers down. July 4th may have been last Monday, but for me today is Independence Day. I’m excited to just be a User. So, for me to cancel my DSL, it leaves me with a really inadequate phone plan with my local telephone company. So I started looking around at what my options were and became really intrigued by the VoIP solutions out there. I was really leaning towards Vonage. Good price. Great features. As I started finding forums on the Internet to see what others thought of the service, the majority of people really seemed to like it. They really loved the service. But, the one common thread was issues with porting your existing phone number to them. Many people had been trying for months to get their numbers over to Vonage and had still not had success. I couldn’t convince my wife to start fresh with a new phone number, so I decided to do more research. And that’s
when I ended up right back with…
Comcast! August 1st I will be switching all of our phone service to Comcast as well. Unlimited local, regional, and long distance calling for a year for $34/month. It’s $10/month more than Vonage but they guarantee that it will not take more than 9 days to port my number over to them. Plus they add a box right next to the phone company’s box outside my house and it uses my existing phone wiring. When the power goes out I will still have phone service, unlike VoIP solutions. If I have congestion on my Internet circuit I will still have phone service, unlike VoIP solutions. If my Internet service goes out for any reason I will still have phone service, unlike VoIP solutions. So, I’m weaning myself off the standard telcos slowly. I’ll check out the VoIP providers again before my 1st year of Comcast phone service is complete.
So, for the next 12 months I’ll at least get to enjoy greater than $70/month savings. That’s $840 for the year. More phone features, faster Internet, and more HD channels, all while saving $840 for the year. Competition is a great thing and I couldn’t be happier to be a User again.