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Charter Expanded Basic VS;

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Charter Expanded Basic VS;

Postby MadMind75 » Sat Aug 07, 2010 12:27 am

OK, Charter has taken two more channels away from Expanded Basic customers and placed them into digital cable and/or package deals. This is a trend with them lately and it doesn't seem likely that it's going to let up. And no matter how many channels they take away, prices only raise, never lower.
So it's time to take a serious look at the competition available.
Let's have some hard facts - price and number of channels. Please do not list introductory prices, or packages without local channels included. List all stipulations.

This is where we're at with Charter;
Basic & Expanded Basic - $54.99 per month (67 channels)

My first thought was to check out AT&T U-Verse, but after entering our address into the website, it says it that it isn't available at our address. So I guess I'm gonna have to scratch that idea, though I'd love to see a direct comparison anyhow just in case U-Verse availability expands.

Others of course include Dish and DirecTV.
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Re: Charter Expanded Basic VS;

Postby beenie » Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:49 pm

Wow, a subject in the Techno forum with which I have some experience. ;) Even so, my answer will still be pretty vague.

Full disclosure: I used to work for Charter's residential sales department, and I currently work in a position where I sell Dish Network. The first question I ask people when they want to compare companies and packages is two-fold: what channels do you absolutely have to have, and do you need a DVR? The reason I ask is because while two packages may look similar on paper, there are a few differences (example: Dish Network's base package sounds better than Charter because it's only $39.99/mo., but there are several channels that are make-or-break for some people that are included in Charter's Expanded Basic package, but aren't available in Dish Network's or DirecTV's basic packages. So it's not necessarily comparing apples/oranges, it's more like comparing Golden Delicious/Granny Smith/Red Delicious. Number of channels doesn't mean diddly-squat if that number includes a bunch of crap you don't want and nothing you do.

Your best bet, rather than to solicit generic information that is readily available at each service's website (but if you can get someone else to do your dirty work for you, more power to you), is to figure out what channels you absolutely have to have, decide whether you want a DVR and find out who gives you what you want/need for the best price and terms you can live with (customer service is fairly equal across the board - each company has good reps and bad reps - your neighbor might think Dish's customer service is the bees' knees and Charter sucks, but a coworker might think Charter is worth their weight in gold, while the cashier at your favorite megamart thinks DirecTV reps walk on water - YMMV).
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Re: Charter Expanded Basic VS;

Postby MadMind75 » Tue Aug 10, 2010 2:53 am

Spoken like a true representative! :|
I'd rather have the pricing (standard pricing, introductory doesn't mean diddly squat if you plan on keeping it) and channel listings laid out before me, rather than having to tell someone which channels I cannot live without. What can YOU do for ME?
If cable companies went ala-carte this would be a non-issue.

DVR is not important since it costs extra. If I want to get that job done free of montly fees, I'll purchase a stand-alone consumer DVD-R player with a built-in hard drive.

One of the downsides of digital cable/dish/direcTV is that you have to pay extra monthly rental fees for a box for each television.
Well, maybe you don't have to have a tuner from Charter for digital cable if your HDTV has a digital tuner built-in. Not sure about that one.
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Re: Charter Expanded Basic VS;

Postby beenie » Tue Aug 10, 2010 3:49 am

MadMind75 wrote:Spoken like a true representative! :|


Well, gee, thanks. Considering it's what I do for a living, it's nice to know that I sound like I'm supposed to. :twisted:

I'd rather have the pricing (standard pricing, introductory doesn't mean diddly squat if you plan on keeping it) and channel listings laid out before me, rather than having to tell someone which channels I cannot live without. What can YOU do for ME?


Since it's clear to me that you want to have all the information laid out for you so you can spend some time coming to your own decision, what I can do for you is direct you to the information and let you sort it out for yourself. Because really, do you want to sit on the phone with a rep while that rep lists off all of the hundreds of channels available? Isn't your time worth more than that to you, especially when you can easily get the information you're looking for online, having already been neatly aggregated for your convenience (ASSuming you have the Internet, since you're posting here and all)?

It's clear that you don't have all the information you want (because you're asking for it here), and you've also made it clear that you don't want someone who has more information than you do (i.e., any representative of any company whose services you may be interested in purchasing) to try to help you in a way that takes up the least amount of your time (which is why reps ask what channels you want - the rep will automatically know what option(s) that leaves on the table, and what options not to bother you with). So find the information yourself and make an informed decision. How hard is that? Or maybe I'm just not understanding what exactly it is you do want.

Both Dish Network and DirecTV have channel lineups and package information (with both introductory and regular pricing) laid out on their websites. My colleague, Mr. Google, can assist you from here.

One of the downsides of digital cable/dish/direcTV is that you have to pay extra monthly rental fees for a box for each television.


As I'm sure you're aware, cable doesn't require a box at all, unless you want digital channels. With DirecTV, yes, you'll need a box for each TV. Dish caries dual-tuner receivers - you only need one box for every two TVs (and yes, both TVs running on a dual-tuner box can watch different programming at the same time).
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Re: Charter Expanded Basic VS;

Postby LargeMarge » Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:02 am

Channel line ups and prices are out there on the company web sites. I am not a representative, but I have no idea what you want either since you don't want a representative to help you nor do you want to find the information yourself. I looked this stuff up after I was disgusted by the raise in Charter prices.

My only options are Charter and DirectTV. (I live in a condo so I can't install an antenna or dish outside my window. We have DirectTV installed on our roof.) DirectTV only recently became available. The prices were very similar to Charter. I stuck with Charter for two reasons:

1. DirectTV had some high upfront installation charges.
2. DirectTV doesn't always work in bad weather at my location. Bad weather is the one time I really want TV.
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Re: Charter Expanded Basic VS;

Postby MadMind75 » Tue Aug 10, 2010 3:14 pm

That and I hate it when Charter makes impractical channel changes. Before they had all the "music channels" in one spot. VH1 on 68, MTV on 69, and MTV2 on 70. Well then they take out MTV2, leave VH1 on 68, and put MTV on... channel 25??? Why not just leave MTV on 69 next to VH1? It's nonsensical stuff like that that makes me wonder who tha f**k is in charge at our local Charter HQ. I can just see some twenty-something hired on cheap blindly flipping switches over there.

beenie wrote:Or maybe I'm just not understanding what exactly it is you do want.

Wasn't it obvious? To have someone else do all the legwork for me! :D
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Re: Charter Expanded Basic VS;

Postby TAsunder » Tue Aug 10, 2010 3:41 pm

For me, DVR is the most important factor in this discussion. A DVD-R isn't even 1/100th as good as a good DVR. Furthermore, depending on the DVR/company, you can avoid charges for additional TVs. Last time I used one, the Charter DVR was absolute garbage compared to Tivo, Dish, and DirecTV. Wonder if it has caught up...

Also, when I had charter, the taxes/fees were a LOT higher than local tax rates, because of the passed-through fees (franchise fees, etc.). I only get charged local tax rates for Dish.

Anyway,

$90/mo for dish is what I pay after bundle discounts. Excluding discounts, it's:

HD DVR usable from two different TVs and ~70 hours of HD ($6)
America's top 200 ($55)
HD add on ($10)
HBO + Showtime ($22)
Taxes (~$5) = $98

Priced out similar features/offerings on charter just now and was quoted $125.
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Re: Charter Expanded Basic VS;

Postby MadMind75 » Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:08 pm

TAsunder wrote:A DVD-R isn't even 1/100th as good as a good DVR.

I didn't mean burning television shows onto a DVD-R itself, just meant there are stand-alone DVD-R players with built-in hard drives where you can record shows directly to the hard drive just like Tivo, but free of any monthly fees!
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Re: Charter Expanded Basic VS;

Postby fisticuffs » Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:20 pm

but free of any monthly fees!

Just like TiVo.
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Re: Charter Expanded Basic VS;

Postby TAsunder » Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:10 pm

I haven't looked at dvd-recorders in detail for a while, but last I checked there were none that even come close to the featureset of the very first tivo even. Except the ones that actually have Tivo software on them. Anyway, if for some reason you do not have interest in comparing DVR features, then the price comparison should still be useful, and you should be sure to include any pass-through franchise fees in your calculation, which none of the websites will do.
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Re: Charter Expanded Basic VS;

Postby Remember_Me » Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:51 pm

I figured it was just easier to log into my Directv online account and copy and paste my bill to show what we pay.

Start End Description Amount

Previous Balance 134.94
07/18 Payment - Thank You - VISA -134.94
Current Charges for Service Period 07/30/10 - 08/29/10

07/30 08/29 TOTAL CHOICE Monthly 57.49
07/30 08/29 HBO, STARZ!, SHOWTIME, & CINEMAX Monthly 44.00
07/30 08/29 DIRECTV HD EXTRA PACK Monthly 4.99
07/30 08/29 HD Access Monthly 10.00
07/30 08/29 DIRECTV DVR Service Monthly 7.00
07/30 08/29 DIRECTV on DEMAND Tune to Ch. 1000 for more info 0.00

Fees

07/31 Leased Receiver 5.00
07/31 Primary Leased Receiver 5.00
Adjustments & Credits

07/31 Primary Leased Receiver -5.00 Credit
Taxes

Sales Tax 6.46

AMOUNT DUE $134.94
For immediate closed-captioning issues, call 1-800-DIRECTV, fax 303-483-6266, or email ClosedCaptions@directv.com. For formal inquiries, contact C.Schrum, Sr. Manager: ClosedCaptions@directv.com; fax 303-483-6266 or mail to ClosedCaptions@directv.com, P.O. Box 6550 Greenwood Village, CO 80155-6550.
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Re: Charter Expanded Basic VS;

Postby MadMind75 » Wed Sep 08, 2010 6:48 pm

To sidetrack for a moment here, does anyone know if there are Blu-Ray players similar to the Magnavox MDR513H-F7 DVD-R player with a built-in hard drive?

fisticuffs wrote:
but free of any monthly fees!

Just like TiVo.

Wrong. TiVo is a paid subscription based service.
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Re: Charter Expanded Basic VS;

Postby david cohen » Mon Sep 13, 2010 7:07 pm

I must say I've been very happy with my DirecTV since I dumped Charter 2 yrs ago. I've found that I do get reception during inclement weather, but very heavy storms (snow & rain) will interrupt the HD reception. The normal version of each channel will still broadcast typically. If you don't need HD, the price is right. If you do need HD, the options are endless. Avoid DISH Network at all costs. Subpar service, hardware, programming, etc.
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Re: Charter Expanded Basic VS;

Postby c02 » Tue Sep 14, 2010 9:21 am

I'm with david. It's been just under 2 years. The one instance when I felt the need to call customer service at Directv, the issue was resolved. I don't recall how much time I spent on the phone. Anytime I called Charter I was dealing with an imbecile who couldn't think beyond his/her problem solving matrix in front of them. That's if I made it through to a human at all. If cable went out, the internet followed. My neighbor who was a Charter technician once laughed and said to me, "It's a good day to not be a Charter customer" as his, television, internet and phone were all out for the better part of the day. As Charter customers our cable went out on an almost regular basis and calling them was fruitless during an outage.

My only big issue with Directv is the location of our dish is such that it's a pain to clear the snow off if need be. The weather issue does place a damper on things but I usually have enough DVR'd material that it doesn't matter.
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Re: Charter Expanded Basic VS;

Postby Remember_Me » Wed Sep 15, 2010 7:38 pm

c02 wrote:
My only big issue with Directv is the location of our dish is such that it's a pain to clear the snow off if need be. The weather issue does place a damper on things but I usually have enough DVR'd material that it doesn't matter.


I go up to my roof twice a year and give my dish a good coating of Pam cooking spray. I use paper towel to spread it around perfectly and leave an even layer. There's other sprays and de-icers you can use, but I've found Pam to work just fine and it's cheap.

I do it right before reports of our first decent snowfall and then again toward the end of Winter when our April showers arrive. It helps repel the rain as well which will also help reception as the rain doesn't stick.

After almost 7 years of having DirecTV, I swear by it.
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