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Showing posts with the label DirecTV

SlingTV and AirTV - Getting Ready to Cut the Cord

We've been huge fans of DirecTV and its Genie product. Our original review - back in 2012 - was an unqualified rave. At the time, DirecTV was offering the only HD interface, and the only whole-home DVR. We could store a massive amount of programming on the internal hard drive, and access it from every room. But next month, we're moving on entirely.

DirecTV Adding Voice Search to its iOS App

In all of the excitement about Apple's earnings announcement, I missed the story about how DirecTV is adding a voice search to its incredible iOS app  later this year.

Review - WOW Ultra TV vs. DirecTV HR34 Genie

Here in the Chicago suburbs, we had two options for whole-home DVR services. We initially went with WOW Ultra TV, and after about 4 months, we switched to DirecTV's HR34 Genie system. (Neither Verizon FIOS nor AT&T UVerse were available in our area, so we can't review those. I haven't used Dish's Hopper, either. This is a straight compare/contrast review of WOW vs. DirecTV.) Both Ultra TV and Genie have their plusses and minuses. Both offer 1080p output, but that's primarily for the menus, as most TV content is provided at lower resolutions.  Both systems have a similar design architecture - a central hub, with multiple tuners and a large hard drive, recording and storing all TV shows, and distributing them to televisions around the house upon request.  Both systems also bring a number of "add-on" apps and have ways of accessing "on demand" content.  We've had each system for enough time to really put them through

Further unbundling - back to AT&T landline, Comcast Internet.

A few months ago, we moved to DirecTV, which has been fantastic. the HR34 DVR (now called the "Genie" in marketing material) is, two months in, still essentially perfect. We're finally finishing with WOW, switching our phone to AT&T - WOW never managed to make the VOIP work with our security system - and switching our net to Comcast for the time being. I recently purchased an Arris cable modem for $40 on eBay, which will pay for itself in about 5.5 months now that I'm not paying the $7 modem rental fees. WOW is currently charging us about $80 monthly for unlimited phone and 20 Mbps Internet. Under the new plan, we'll pay AT&T about $35 (plus, granted, 7 cents/min for long distance) and Comcast $30 (at first- they'll raise the price after 6 months or so). We'll get 30 Mbps instead of 20, and the combined price will be 65-70-ish, at least at the outset. But really, trying to save a little money is secondary. We just want a system that wo

DirecTV's iPad app is mindblowingly good.

In my last post, I raved about the DirecTV HR34 media center box. You have to pay $99 for it, but it's more or less a perfect set-top box. (UPDATE 1/14/12: The HR34 has been re-named the "Genie", and is has been free to new customers for a couple of months. Get it immediately.) When it's paired with an iPad and the DirecTV app.... well, you kind of have to see it to believe it.

One day with the DirecTV HR34 - Get this gadget!

There's been quite a bit of chatter about the HR34's growing pains. Sluggish menus, old SD interface, missed recordings. Many of those issues have been addressed and fixed throughout 2012. I was still a bit nervous as our tech left after yesterday's install. Well, consider me impressed. This is, without a doubt, the best set-top box I have ever used. It's a leap forward, in the way that the TiVo Series 3 was a leap forward in its day. It can record 5 HD channels while playing a sixth - with no limitations. Whole home DVR. Beautiful on-screen GUI, with snappy scrolling. Massive (expandable?) storage. It has YouTube, Pandora, and a slew of DirecTV-centric presentation goodies (All MLB games + a scoreboard? Sure. Weather? Twitter? No problem.) For $99, this is money very well spent. For DirecTV, this is an all-too-rare move by a market leader to not only stay ahead of the competition, but to exponentially outpace them. (UPDATE: And now, the HR34 "Ge

Totally unbundled - Making the switch to DirecTV.

After two and a half months of WOW UltraTV, we finally gave up. The internet service has been rock-solid, but the phone service won't connect to our ADT system, and the TV service just isn't ready for prime time. (Literally. We are constantly losing all high-def channels at the worst possible times, including yesterday during Breaking Bad.) When you factor in that our WOW bundle cost in excess of $160/month, making the decision to unbundle was pretty easy. We're going with DirecTV, AT&T for their barebones landline, and - for the moment - keeping WOW for internet. More on that later. With DirecTV, we'll be going with the Choice Xtra bundle. At the outset, we're going to be saving an absolute ton of money - TV is going to be about $50/month to start - meaning our "unbundle" will be about $40 cheaper than our bundle.

The DirecTV HR34 Home Media Center - A Work In Progress?

Hope you had a good Memorial Day weekend. As I mentioned in my last post, we've opted to go with WOW for TV in the new house, while we figure out where we'll be able to mount a DirecTV satellite. And when we do switch to DirecTV - probably in the next 2-3 months - we'll be getting the HR34 Home Media Center, despite the fact that it costs an extra $100 at signup, and the fact that message boards around the internet are calling it a "work in progress". First off, it's (generally) only available to new customers at the present time, and I don't want to miss the boat on a 5-tuner whole-home DVR. Second... well... the original HD DVR from DirecTV was once a work in progress, too, and these days it's an absolutely rock-solid experience, with the absolutely gorgeous new DirecTV HD UI. (The new DirecTV HD UI is everything I'd always imagined TiVo would eventually achieve... but these days they seem to spend more time and energy on patent litigation t

Project 1 - One Week Until Close, Let's Talk TV Mounts

At the moment, I'm strongly leaning towards WOW for all services, at least initially. Primarily because I'd like to see the new house in person for a few days, and plan out how a DirecTV dish could (or should not) be attached, prior to having an installer show up. Were it not for the installation issue, I'd be going with DirecTV and WOW in an unbundled group. Regardless, WOW works without contracts, so I should be able to make that change if/when we choose - (have to confirm that the $70 phone/internet is available to current customers as well as new customers, however... or it's back to Comcast as a "new" customer.)  With one week to go, our energies are strongly focused on fixing up the city condo - got to make it nice for our tenants. Painting all the walls, filling nail holes, that sort of thing.  However, it's also time to talk about TV mounting and installation .  We have a Sony gorilla glass 55" LED TV. It basically looks like

Unbundled - DirecTV with Comcast (or WOW) Internet

As a satellite television provider, DirecTV is more or less unable to provide broadband to its customers directly. Sure, they occasionally advertise bundles with AT&T, but that would be for DSL - a workable solution, but still, an internet solution which  advertises speeds that are between 1/10 and 1/5 as fast as what we can get from the cable internet providers. (DirecTV's website has other internet-providing partners listed, but they aren't in the Chicago area.)  When I called DirecTV about the AT&T bundles I'd seen online, they had absolutely no idea what the bundle pricing would be and told me I'd have to work with AT&T directly. And, a quick look around the net indicates that this "bundle" isn't much more than 2 companies working in complete separation. I can build that kind of bundle myself! In yesterday's post, I weighed WOW's UltraTV offering against Comcast XFinity's Triple Play. Similar offerings, similar pri