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Author Topic: DIRECTV on Demand product review  (Read 1533 times)
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Desmond
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« on: October 25, 2008, 12:06:53 AM »

In the live chat on Wednesday, I discussed the DirecTV on Demand service.  This service is essentially a library of TV programs from select networks.  To see a program, go to the channel's "home page" (1269 for History Channel, 1607 for Speed, and so on), select the program from the drop-down menu, and wait for it to download to your receiver.  (This has to be an HD recordable receiver.)

Last night/this morning, I tried it out.  It was not what I was looking for.

I chose an episode of Friday Night Lights to download and watch.  The episode was 44 minutes, without commercials.  It took over three hours to download! Angry  During the show, the show stopped running and I had to wait because the original download was still not complete at the time I watched the program.  Worse yet, I slept through the middle of the show, because it was about 1 in the morning! (I have saved it and will watch it again later tonight, in place of the Cup qualifying I was supposed to watch but which will not happen.)

Worse yet is the equipment cost to access the service.  I had to buy two adapters at $32 each, a modem at nearly $100 (and that didn't work, so I had to replace the Ethernet cable for my computer with the one for DirecTV), and a 14-foot cord to connect one of the adapters to the receiver.  This cord replaced the six-foot cord DTV sent because the six-footer was too short.  That meant spending an additional $28.  I visited Best Buy three times on Wednesday and Thursday to buy all of this.  (By comparison, Time Warner's on-demand service, which I had in around 2005 in the den while I had DirecTV in the bedroom, requires no new equipment.)

Oh!  And my parents, who I still live with, opposed even the very decision I made to use DirecTV on Demand.  Their recent experiences with installation and the new boxes have left them bitter.  (It didn't help that the HR20 and up receivers failed twice this month, forcing viewers without service for about 30 minutes each time.)  They thought that my receiver would be forever ruined or that I would have to pay extra.  (The answers: My receiver is still good and the on-demand service is free.)

My advice would be for those on the forum who may have a HR21 model (HD DVR) to avoid DirecTV on Demand, at least temporarily until the download speeds go up.  Cheryl was right: recording right off the DVR is so much faster - and better, too!
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Cheryl
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« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2008, 03:20:21 PM »

As I said the other night, Desmond, I'm just not sure why this was such a hassle for you.  Of course, we already had a wireless network in our living room (right above the TV).  When this service came out several months ago, all we had to do was hook a cable which we already had to our wireless router and it worked just fine.  Also, we have Verizon FIOS high-speed internet service, so that probably made the downloads quicker.  But I've only used it like 3 times.  Two times for some "muscle car" programs on Speed that I've never seen listed on the guide and once for a "preview" of the new Staz series Crash.  And that program picture quality was really horrible (it was not available to preview in HD). 

But frankly, I don't see the real advantage to VOD at all.  I guess if you don't have a dvr or don't want to take the time to set up season passes, it's okay.  But I spend a lot of time scouring the Tivo guide and finding upcoming movies (which premiere every Sat night), so I program to record them when they premiere each week.  I also have a ton of season passes set up from HBO original programming and network shows.

So I certainly wouldn't spend any extra money on cables and stuff for "on demand."  It's really only a gimmick to compete with the cable service. 

Cheryl
« Last Edit: October 27, 2008, 02:05:47 PM by Cheryl » Logged
Desmond
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« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2008, 06:27:46 PM »

You're right, Cheryl, on the download speeds.  I only have DSL from NetZero.
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