beam me up!
January 8, 2001 5:26 PM   Subscribe

beam me up! the ultimatetv thread made me wonder which satellite TV system would be best for me (and why is directTV evil?) -- anyway with this gadget you can watch DISH channels plus upload AND download via satellite IP. too good to be true?
posted by subpixel (12 comments total)
Has anyone tried starband yet? I'm too far from the CO to get DSL currently and cable modem's aren't available where I am either (and no, I don't live in the boonies). I'd be curious to hear what people think of this service.

posted by milnak at 5:37 PM on January 8, 2001

Friend of mine tried Starband at the home of someone he knows, and he said it's fine if you can live with 900ms latency...
posted by kindall at 6:33 PM on January 8, 2001

It's not too good to be true; it's just not too good. It tends to be overpriced, compared to DSL and cable modem, for speeds that are generally slower. (This service tends to attract subscribers out in the middle of nowhere, people that don't have a snowball's chance of seeing DSL or cable for a decade or more.) They "reserve the right" to throttle any user that engages in "bandwidth hog" activities such as streaming audio/video and file-sharing ... you know, the very things you'd want it for in the first place. And as kindall noted, it's got a long latency, so things like multiplayer games, live webcam & voice chats and Net2Phone won't work very well at all.

So it's the real deal. But it's far from optimal.
posted by aaron at 9:33 PM on January 8, 2001

But why is DirecTV evil?
posted by sudama at 11:30 PM on January 8, 2001

I don't think DirectTV is evil. They price well below the comparable digital cable service, and (at least in NY) below the price of a similarly premium analog cable service, while offering vastly more channels. (E.g., I have 15 more basic and expanded basic channels, and instead of the 3 premium cable stations I have 3 full "families" -- 18 total).

Also, satellite down-time appears to be minimal to non-existant, weather effects are essentially imperceptible (in a _heavy_ blizzard we still only lost signal for maybe 2 periods of 15 minutes total) ... overall, far more reliable than the wired cable.

The box, dish and installation are essentially free -- we paid more because we bought the box with built-in TiVo, but that's just us.
posted by MattD at 6:24 AM on January 9, 2001

Well, I just want it to be evil. Seriously, for Satellite TV service, Dish Network is better in my opinion. Free equipment and installation, monthly costs same as cable and DirectTV. There's also Charlie chat. The only minus would be that there isn't as much ppv sports packages. But, I'm not very much into that.

Well, ok, DirecTV is not evil, At&t is evil, very, very evil. It makes me wonder why the cable tv industry's even alive.
posted by tiaka at 6:40 AM on January 9, 2001

Here's one evil thing about DirecTV... don't ever subscribe to their monthly magazine. It is A) auto-renewing and B) non-transferrable and non-refundable. When I called to cancel my subscription, I was told that they'd be willing to stop sending it, but I couldn't get a refund. After bumping my call to the supervisor's supervisor, I was able to get a partial refund.

posted by crunchland at 7:51 AM on January 9, 2001

DirecTV isn't the devil, folks. We were trying to go with Dish Network, but couldn't because of our neighbor's trees (DirecTV's satellite is at a different angle of elevation) and we were pleasantly surprised! Yes, you need to pay for installation, so your startup costs will be more expensive; but monthly costs are comparable between Dish and DirectTV; in my area, too, you're still getting more bang for your buck than what Cablevision's got. (Cablevision -- now *that's* the devil, 'specially since they're upping the rates in New York.)
posted by metrocake at 9:40 AM on January 9, 2001

>StarBand consumers can expect download speeds up to
>500 kbps and upload speeds up to 150 kbps.

that's not slower than DSL. my DSL gives me 80k/sec when i'm lucky.
posted by subpixel at 10:15 AM on January 9, 2001

subpixel, 500kbps means you'd see a maximum download rate of 62.5kb/sec (8 bits = 1 byte), but I assume a real world max to be in the 50kb range. DirectPC was known to throttle "heavy" users in the past without them knowing it, so hopefully these StarBand folks won't do the same.
posted by mathowie at 1:11 PM on January 9, 2001

Where *is* DoublePostGuy when you need him?
posted by baylink at 2:05 PM on January 9, 2001

You don't need to pay for installation with DirecTV. Before Christmas, Circuit City and I assume other vendors were offering free installation with a one-year contract, basically the same as Dish Network.

Or you can install it yourself. It's not rocket science. I got impatient (they were so backed up on the free installations it was gonna be three weeks, and plus I live in an apartment complex where they allow dishes but require them not to be mounted to the actual building) so I did it myself. Friend of mine crimped some RG-6 cables up for me, I built a stand from a concrete pier block and a 4' 4x4, and had 70% signal strength within thirty minutes from a dead start.
posted by kindall at 8:56 PM on January 12, 2001

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