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DVRs and TCM


222characteractor

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> {quote:title=talkietime wrote:}{quote}

> I use TY 8x Premium Line DVD-R discs because my Panasonic recorders are friendlier with the ?-? format and my Magnavox and Philips also work well with the ?-? format. My Magnavox and Philips HDD/DVD recorders have 10x (2160A), 8x (2160) or 4x (2080/3575/3576) DVD Drives so they do not need 16x discs for high-speed dubbing. (I do very little DVD burning with my computers that have 20x and 22x DVD burners.)

>

> As my primary concerns are DVD burn quality and extending laser assembly longevity, I?ve settled upon TY 8x discs as the best media for my use. This Wajo post confirmed my 2008 decision to transition from 16x Verbatim, Maxell and Sony media to 8x Taiyo Yuden DVD-R media:

>

> http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showpost.php?p=12298494&postcount=20#DVDcare3

 

As I said, I use DVD-R too. I use 16x because my newer Pioneer HDD/DVD recorders can only do high-speed dubbing to 16x. My primary concern is saving time and I have never had any burn problems with the 16x TY discs. I have had problems with other brands of 16x discs so I do not use them anymore.

 

My older Pioneer HDD/DVD recorders can do high-speed dubbing to 8x, and I still use Taiyo Yuden 8x with them.

 

>

> While I usually purchase my TY discs in the very sturdy original TY 600 disc shipping box I sometimes purchase TY discs in smaller quantities. Two cake boxes from SuperMediaStore arrived yesterday. One of those cake boxes had its upper portion compacted down over the base section making that spindle difficult to open. The small SMS shipping box hadn?t evidenced any kind of shipping trauma. The compacted cake box wasn?t actually damaged nor was there any damage to the discs themselves. I?ve also found a few cake box center shafts that have snapped after leaving the factory but that didn?t damage the discs. My practice has been to place TY discs on non-TY spindles as soon as a cake box is opened. TY puts the quality into the media, not the cake box.

 

As I said, my problem is with the peanut dust that can get into the cake boxes, which is why I do not order my Taiyo Yuden discs from supermediastore anymore. I could sometimes literally see the white bits of peanut dust in between the discs. I would not insert those discs in my recorders and risk damaging them, so I always insisted supermediastore replace them, but this was a big hassle. supermediastore is sometimes difficult to contact to obtain an authorization for a return or exchange, with long wait times on the phone. The TY boxes have plastic wrap around the sides but not the bottom--maybe there are tiny holes in the black bottom which is where the dust gets in--I don't know.

 

I have always ordered in quantities of 400 or 200, so they are not shipped in airtight TY shipping boxes. Maybe the 600 quantities are. But I have found another supplier that sells at the same price, also ships for free, ships faster to me, and uses bubble wrap, so I have no reason to use supermediastore anymore, regardless.

 

In fact, I first contacted this supplier and asked if they used peanuts or bubble wrap, citing the problems I had with peanut dust with supermediastore. They told me they never used peanuts, for the very reasons I described. Apparently I am not the only one who has had problems with peanut dust.

 

I was just talking with a Fedex employee the other day and he told me they never use peanuts for the same reason. I was telling him about the peanut dust in the discs from supermediastore and he said he has seen peanut dust literally inside DVD drives and other sensitive equipment shipped in peanuts.

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> {quote:title=markfp2 wrote:}{quote}

> > {quote:title=voranis wrote:}{quote}

> > I am a long-time DirecTV subscriber and it seems to me that it used to be that you owned the box outright in the old days.

> >

> > I guess you can look at it as the $99 being part of the lease but it sure feels like you are buying the box and then still having to pay a monthly lease fee. At least with cable you don't have to pay $99 up front for a box you don't own.

>

> I too signed up in 1999 and back then they didn't have any lease plans and you bought and kept the boxes, but remember, those where just simple cheap receivers not expensive DVRs. When they first introduced DVRs the prices were several hundred dollars and folks balked at that so they came up with the lease plan. They don't publicize it, but you can still buy them outright if you want, all you need to do is call DirecTV, but it's going to cost a lot more than $99.

 

The DirecTV receivers that replaced my RCA receivers several years ago are cheap receivers too. They are not HD and they are not DVRs. (I prefer to record to standalone HDD/DVD recorders.) They have no more capabilities than the RCA receivers--in fact, the RCA models had faster, easier-to use menus, while the "DirecTV brand" receivers have sluggish, clunky menus. But I still had to pay $99 up front for each receiver and yet I do not own them as I did the RCA receivers and I have to pay a lease which I did not have to pay with the RCA receivers. So the "expensive DVR" theory doesn't apply in my case. Did I get "taken" by DirecTV?

 

>

> As for paying $99 up front, it's no different than leasing a car. You usually have to make an up front payment and then pay a monthly lease fee too. It just keeps the monthly payment lower. A lot of cable systems are starting to charge up front fees now for equipment too (especially HD). The one here just started in January.

>

> They might as well have them back when we're done, after all, the DVRs are absolutely worthless if they aren't hooked up to DirecTV and won't work as a free-standing DVR or with cable or Dish. A lot of times, if it's an older model, they'll just tell you to throw it out instead of returning.

 

And if turns out not to be one of those "lot of times" and instead is one of those "rare" times when they make me return the receivers...do they pay the cost of returning them, or do I have to pay the shipping cost?

 

I don't think car leasing is a good comparison as it is a different industry. Our local cable company doesn't charge any up front fees for equipment, including HD. Just because some do doesn't mean all of them necessarily will, and DirecTV's behavior cannot be justified by citing "anticipated" behavior of cable companies that has not come to pass.

 

>

> As a long-time customer, you should call them with your concerns and they may give a few months of a premium channel free or something else to help offset the cost. I got a deal recently. I upgraded the old standard receiver we still had in one of the bedrooms to a DVR and for being a "good" customer who pays his bills on time they didn't charge me the $99 and shipped it by Fed-Ex for free. They also told me to trash the old receiver.

 

I also had to have a receiver replaced once that was damaged in a lightning storm and they required me to commit to a new contract just to replace a receiver, which I didn't mind too much at the time since I had no intention of leaving DirecTV at the time. But recently I tried to have DirecTV HD installed but the installer said there is not enough line of sight for an HD dish in my subdivision because of all the trees. He also said he was surprised I was still getting good SD reception and that it might not last forever. So I don't want to commit to any more contracts because I don't know how much longer I will be able to receive DirecTV. I would like to stay with DirecTV as long as possible but as soon as a receiver malfunctions, I may have to go to cable because I don't want to commit to another contract just to replace a receiver. Ironically, they could keep me longer as a customer if they didn't force contracts on me...

 

I have been with DirecTV since 1999 too. But I am obviously not as happy with them now as when I signed up with them back in 1999.

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As a long-time customer, you should call them with your concerns and they may give a few months of a premium channel free or something else to help offset the cost

 

Hopefully DirectTV is a better company than Cablevision. I was a customer since 1982 and they wouldn't give me the $10. off a month they gave me the first year I switched from analog (due to their theft of 10 of my channels) to digital.

 

Meanwhile, they had done just that for another customer who was in line ahead of me when I had to exchange a modem, and he offered me the same deal. My subscription wasn't up, and, silly me, I passed.

 

Why couldn't I get the 'deal' when I did go back? Oh, simple. There was another person behind the desk and she would not honor the first guy's offer to me.

 

So, I left for FIOS, which isn't much better. Hopefully, the owner of the Knicks is enjoying the money he is stealing from someone else.

 

I wish those who are having Channel 7 stolen from them today good luck.

 

As for paying $99 up front, it's no different than leasing a car.

 

Yeah, it is. With a leased car, you can buy the car at the end of the lease and sometimes get a pretty good deal.

 

With a plastic piece of junk cable box, you can't do nuthin' with it when it is obsolete.

 

Bottom line, all cable companies are crooks. Some are just bigger crooks than others.

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> {quote:title=primosprimos wrote:}{quote} > Hopefully DirectTV is a better company than Cablevision.

 

Cablevision doesn't serve this area so I don't have any first hand experience, but from everything I've read on satellite/cable forums it's one of the worst when it comes to customer service.

 

Having had a monopoly in most communities for decades, many cable companies have an arrogant "take it or leave it" approach with customers. That's one of the reasons that so many people have been leaving cable for alternate services like satellite or FIOS.

 

As for DirecTV, it's always rated very high when it comes to customer service and in 11 years I've always found it to be so.

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> {quote:title=markfp2 wrote:}{quote}

> > {quote:title=primosprimos wrote:}{quote} > Hopefully DirectTV is a better company than Cablevision.

>

> Cablevision doesn't serve this area so I don't have any first hand experience, but from everything I've read on satellite/cable forums it's one of the worst when it comes to customer service.

>

> Having had a monopoly in most communities for decades, many cable companies have an arrogant "take it or leave it" approach with customers. That's one of the reasons that so many people have been leaving cable for alternate services like satellite or FIOS.

>

> As for DirecTV, it's always rated very high when it comes to customer service and in 11 years I've always found it to be so.

 

I originally signed up with DirecTV in 1999 because of the arrogance of the cable company in our area. When viewers complained about them not carrying the other cable news networks, the local government's response was: "The cable company already has a 24-hour news channel owned by their parent company. Why should they be forced to carry their competitors' channels?" This apparent conflict of interest between the provider of access and the provider of content angered many customers and led to people flocking to satellite TV in droves, myself included.

 

But still, markfp2, you said the reason we could pay $99 and own the satellite box outright in the old days was because they were cheap boxes, not DVRs--DVRs are much more expensive to own outright. Yet the DirecTV brand boxes I had to get to replace my RCA boxes were simple boxes, not DVRs and not HD. In fact, their menus are clunkier and harder to use, and slower, than my old RCA boxes. Yet I had to pay $99 for each box and I do not own them and I have to pay a lease. Again I ask, did I get "taken" by DirecTV?

 

And although as you say, they often just tell you to toss the old boxes, if it turns out I have to return the boxes when I switch to cable--do I have to pay myself to ship them to DirecTV?

 

When I first signed up with DirecTV, I had to sign a 1-year contract. This seemed reasonable--they had invested a lot in setting me up with special rates for the first year and needed to be sure they would earn back on their investment. But when I had to replace a damaged box, I didn't like having to sign a new contract, even though I knew I was staying with DirecTV. And when they were going to set me up with HD service, the contracts are now 2 years!

 

Their customer service by phone is good. But if you need a person to come out to your property, it's hit-or-miss as to what you get. There was a period around 2005 when we didn't have any companies in our area that serviced DirecTV. The installer that DirecTV sent out recently to try to set up HD didn't seem to be very good. He said there was no line of sight for HD and that I might lose my existing SD reception soon and he actually recommended I switch to cable! I still don't know if he was being truthful or just didn't feel like doing the work. Admittedly, all the HD equipment was going to be free since I was a long-standing customer, so that part was good.

 

When I had cable back in the late 90s, the people they sent to my house to do the work were excellent. At least with cable I feel like I can get someone who works for the cable company and has an interest in keeping his job to come to my house and do a good job.

 

I'm not saying cable is perfect--as I mentioned, I originally went to DirecTV because of how poor the channel content of our cable provider was back then. DirecTV already had Boomerang and TV Land and lots of other channels I wanted and our cable provider had none of them. Also, I would hate having my recordings of TCM movies interrupted by the emergency test broadcast signals that the cable company runs late at night. There are good and bad points with each. DirecTV forced our cable company to get better--they added all the channels that DirecTV had and now they even have more movie channels than DirecTV. Competition is a good thing.

 

Since I may not be able to get good reception forever, I don't want to commit to any more contracts. If one of my DirecTV receivers fails, I may have to switch to cable sooner to avoid the contract that would be required to replace the receiver. Ironically, their contract policy may force me to cable sooner rather than later! As long as my reception is OK I intend to stay with DirecTV. I wonder if I could call them and explain my circumstances and tell them I will stay with them as long as I can as long as they are willing to replace any receivers that fail without requiring me to commit to a contract. Then I'll get to see how good their customer service is.

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Although the boxes may seem like a simple cheap box, over the years since your first one, there have been many technical changes that make the boxes cost more.That's one of the reasons they extended the commitment period, it takes them longer to make back the higher cost of the receiver.

 

If you decide to cancel, after your commitment has ended, and they want the receivers back they'll send you prepaid boxes for the return. The return won't cost you anything.

 

Rather than getting into long discussions on the forum, you'd be much better just to call them at 1-800-531-5000 and one of their customer service people will be happy to answer your questions and hopefully put your mind to rest that your not getting ripped off.

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> {quote:title=markfp2 wrote:}{quote}

> Although the boxes may seem like a simple cheap box, over the years since your first one, there have been many technical changes that make the boxes cost more.That's one of the reasons they extended the commitment period, it takes them longer to make back the higher cost of the receiver.

>

> If you decide to cancel, after your commitment has ended, and they want the receivers back they'll send you prepaid boxes for the return. The return won't cost you anything.

>

> Rather than getting into long discussions on the forum, you'd be much better just to call them at 1-800-531-5000 and one of their customer service people will be happy to answer your questions and hopefully put your mind to rest that your not getting ripped off.

 

Well, actually, I had to call them today. One of the receivers has begun to malfunction--an audio problem in which there are periodic bursts of static. At first I thought it was just a temporary glitch, as after I restarted the box the problem disappeared. However, it has occurred again and my last two days of recording from that DirecTV box are ruined. This is in addition to the day of recordings that were ruined the first time the problem occurred. It is only happening with one receiver which is an older model than my other receivers.

 

So I called them to see about getting a replacement box and seeing if I could do so without getting stuck with another contract. I couldn't even get that far. They won't do anything until the problem occurs again. I don't know if it's because I have the total protection plan and they would have to replace the box for free and they're trying to do everything they can to avoid that. At any rate, the person said I have to call them when the problem occurs again so they can diagnose it, which means I have to risk more ruined recordings when the problem recurs. He said they will replace the box after I have called in at "at least 3 times" to report the problem.

 

I don't think their customer service is so great. I don't believe I could trust them to give me an honest answer about whether I got ripped off when I purchased the current receivers or not. If you ask a company, "Did you rip me off?" they are obviously going to say no. That's why I thought I might get a more objective answer in a forum where there is no financial interest in protecting a company, but I guess not. Originally you said the old boxes were cheap because they weren't DVRs, then when I pointed out mine aren't DVRs, now you say all the newer boxes aren't cheap. The story keeps changing to defend DirecTV at all costs.

 

The installer that DirecTV sent out to try to set me up with an HD dish said that he often finds that when he gets to a customer site, the customer has been told incorrect information by DirecTV customer service because customer service will say anything to make a sale.

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Having had a monopoly in most communities for decades, many cable companies have an arrogant "take it or leave it" approach with customers. That's one of the reasons that so many people have been leaving cable for alternate services like satellite or FIOS.

 

Quite right, markfp2. But the people in America have no one to blame but themselves. We've quietly allowed ourselves to be ripped off by them for over 20 years, and the government has aided and abetted them, thanks to money exchanging hands under the table.

 

By the way, FIOS isn't much better.

 

Then I'll get to see how good their customer service is.

 

voranis, my guess is that you will hear: "drop dead", in customer service-ese.

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> {quote:title=primosprimos wrote:}{quote}

> Having had a monopoly in most communities for decades, many cable companies have an arrogant "take it or leave it" approach with customers. That's one of the reasons that so many people have been leaving cable for alternate services like satellite or FIOS.

>

> Quite right, markfp2. But the people in America have no one to blame but themselves. We've quietly allowed ourselves to be ripped off by them for over 20 years, and the government has aided and abetted them, thanks to money exchanging hands under the table.

>

 

Yep, just like our local government was defending the cable companys' poor selection of channels 10 years ago which caused many of us to flee to satellite. I wrote a letter to the local newspaper (this was back when they were still relevant) complaining about the conflict of interest in which the cable company was owned by a cable network conglomerate and the cable company was refusing to carry channels owned by competitor networks. The spokesperson for the city didn't respond to my letter, but he did respond to a letter sent in by someone else complaining about the poor choice of channels by saying something like "the city negotiated the channels with the cable company and so it's not the cable company's fault." I wrote another letter saying, "Well then the city did a poor job, since I know people living in larger metropolitan areas as well as small rural areas who are getting more channels from their cable company than we are getting."

 

Many of us fleeing to satellite (in fact, we were cited in a national report as one of the fastest growing satellite markets in the country at the time) forced the cable company to get better. So even though I have some problems with DirecTV I am glad for the competition they provide.

 

> By the way, FIOS isn't much better.

>

> Then I'll get to see how good their customer service is.

>

> voranis, my guess is that you will hear: "drop dead", in customer service-ese.

 

It's amazing how polite they can be when they are essentially saying, "Drop dead." :-) Their response was actually worse than I had expected.

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Yep, just like our local government was defending the cable companys' poor selection of channels 10 years ago which caused many of us to flee to satellite.

 

voranis, Cablevision had a lock on Westchester, NY, for over 30 years. I'm surprised FIOS ever convinced the crooks in local govt. to allow some, albeit price-fixed, competition. I'm sure their bribes were bigger than Cablevision's bribes.

 

Their response was actually worse than I had expected.

 

I'm sorry to hear that. I keep looking to the day when my misanthropism and cynicism will be proved purposeless...but then I am disappointed.

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