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In days gone past the one thread that was sure to spark fireworks was to ask the question, which is better StarChoice or ExpressVu? By early 2005, the general consensus among HD and PVR owners seemed to be ExpressVu had the edge primarily due to having a PVR and more HDTV channels.

In December 2005, I started the Star Choice Vs. ExpressVu - Which is Superior? thread for folks to battle out which system they thought was superior.

The results when I closed the thread today was ExpressVu 41%, SC at 34%, 12% said it depends on your requirements and 13% said they didn't know.

Since much has changed since 2005, I thought it time to start this new thread so my question going into the summer of 2007 is which system do you think is superior and WHY - ExpressVu or Star Choice?

If you sell or service either system or work for either company, please state that in your answer or you will be ridiculed when it is found out and your posts deleted.

When answering think about pricing, programming, equipment, service and the intangibles and please leave out the rhetoric and the rants!

Lets remember that one system may not be best for everyone so try and keep that in mind.

Finally, if you found this thread and are interested in which system is superior, I recommend you first glance through the thread listed above because it is still a source of a lot of good information when making a decision.
 

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starchoice at the low end for sure

If you are like me and just want networks, CBC Newsworld, and TSN, then you can get that from StarChoice for $23/month. If you live in the Senators region your A-Channel Ottawa will get you about 20 sens games too. Stepping up to HD, canadian timeshifting, and a sports tier is $45. RDS (loads of hockey if you don't mind listening in French) is not available at all though.
 

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I am not sure if *C receivers have this or not but I don't think they do or at least working properly.

dual tuners
2nd TV out to distribute around the house.
NBR

Recording 2 HDTV (or 3 with OTA tuner) programmes and watching shows anywhere in the house is not an option anymore. We are so use to it now that it would be an issue not being able to access the hard drive anywhere.

NBR.......a few have had issues. A few compare to TIVO and say the VUpass sucks. For me not ever using TIVO, NBR or vupass is an absolute must. I would have missed so many shows without it. If I hear a show is coming a month down the road, I just vupass the name and I'm done.

So love the equipment. HATE BELL.

For me the equipment matters the most and the capabilities of the equipment.

I pick EVU.
 

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Waaay back in 2003 when I moved to Ft. McMurray and I was researching Satellite services, I picked Expressvu for a couple of reasons. I liked their programming packages and how they grouped the channels in the packages a lot better then Starchoice did at the time. The other major reason was the number of High Definition channels available. I think EVU had about four or so and Starchoice may have had 2 (my memory is fuzzy about the numbers, I just remember EVU had more).

Funny thing was, I didn't get a HD receiver until the 9200 came out so I was making a calculated guess in 2003 that EVU would have more of the HD I'd want when I was ready to make the HD plunge.

The other reasons I picked EVU was to get channels that SC didn't carry at the time, like SCREAM, Drive-In Channel, MuchMoreMusic ,etc (even now I don't think SC carries DriveIn or MMM).

If I were to do it again now, I'd be slightly tempted to switch to SC :

Why?
  • I love movies and SC offering AMC and TCM make me jealous big time!
  • Technically, I think SC has the slight upper hand with digiCipher 2 technology, the move to 8PSK, using more then one uplink faclity ,etc.
  • The flexibility to change programming and the lack of contracts is a good thing.
  • By most accounts, superior customer service.
  • Less Simsubbing!
  • While SC still doesn't have the sheer number of HD channels as Bell, they have what I would watch. I'm not much into watching grass grow as you see too much with a few of EVU's HD channels like Equator, Treasure, Oasis, etc. Now with SC having all the nets in HD, HDNET, HDShowcase and HD Discovery that's all I'd need.
So Why Stay with EVU?
  • The 9200 receiver is the biggest reason by a mile. For me it's been stable. The 2 tuners running 2 TV's is an argument saver in my house and the ability to access the hard drive from both TV's is tres cool. SC's 530 can't do that and never will and it's stability is still questionable from most accounts after more then a year of being released. I need stability more then anything for wife/kid acceptance factor alone.
  • It's a little thing, but I prefer the way EVU lays out its channels by grouping together cities rather then by networks. That way you have all the Toronto stations together, the Edmonton ones together etc. It's great for timeshifting as you know the early 200's are where to go to catch the prime time shows early for the East coast networks and you know the mid-late 200's are where to catch them late night.
  • I still prefer the guide and menu layout of EVU but that's just cosmetic.
  • The cost to switch is the other biggie reason, frankly unless SC offered an exchange program and free installation for my EVU equipment, I'm not interested and I know that won't happen.
For newbies looking at both providers, my advice is simple. First research both services' equipment, programming and prices from their websites or at the retail shops. Next come here to DHC to read the respective threads of both providers to get the feel of the positives and negatives of both providers and if you can visit a family member or friend that have SC or EVU and talk to them about their satisfaction and "play" with the remotes and check out the pic quality, the menu and guides of both to see which one you prefer.

Both providers are very close in terms of quality, choice and prices. No provider is perfect so it's a matter of deciding what's important to you and choosing a provider that is the closest in meeting that need.
 

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The other reasons I picked EVU was to get channels that SC didn't carry at the time, like SCREAM, Drive-In Channel, MuchMoreMusic ,etc (even now I don't think SC carries DriveIn or MMM).
SC does offer DriveIn (ch. 586) and MuchMoreMusic (ch. 581).
 

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"Starchocies' HD feeds are ALL 1080i and deemed very high quality
Bells' HD is often downressed to 720p and heavily compressed." -- ARR
ARR's factual posts speak the truth. His personal opinions of ExpressVu and their subscribers is a different issue.

The pq differences between hd feeds on channels they both carry is hard to see (at least for me). Bitrates can be measured, but using your own eyes, you can be fooled.

In a fair side by side test, very few people would be able to tell which channels were from which provider. Seeing these hd feeds in a store is not a good way to judge pq, for alot of reasons.
 

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What, me lie? Never!

That's why I have a single component switcher that can instantly tune the same channel from each provider (Shaw, Starchoice and Bell) to make the comparison through all the same equipment and calibrations.
 

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Pretty sure this is not OT, but if it is, forgive me:rolleyes:

I'm approaching the end of my patience with BEV. Have been a subscriber for 5+ years and have generally been happy, but recent events have me seriously thinking about *C. Events include:
1. Major BEV billing screw up that took 6+ months to resolve:
2. Technology issues, most notably, 3100/2700 receivers not working properly with DP setup and MAJOR rain fade issues suddenly developing (used to experience rain fade once or twice a year, now experiencing prolonged rain fade every couple of days).
3. Whole "MPEG4" mess (see BEV forum).
4. Whole "having a dish at the cottage" stupidity (see BEV forum).

Anyways, before I do the big switch (and as an attempt to fit this post within the topic), I'd appreciate confirmation of the following by someone (ARR?) familiar with both providers:

A. Current BEV set up is 3 6100s, 2 3100s and 1 2700. What would be the equivalent *C receivers?
B. I've done some research and it appears to me as if "old" *C receivers may not be readily compatible with current *C signal (8spk, correct?). If true, does this mean I should avoid "legacy" *C receivers?
C. Is there anything *C is facing in the near- to mid-term equivalent to BEV's "MPEG4" issue, i.e. if I go to *C now, am I facing major hardware upgrades at potentially considerable cost in the next few years?
D. I'd like to avoid more than two cables into the house from the dish. I'm able to do this with BEV by using DP34 switch. Can *C be setup this way as well, or am I pretty much stuck with four cables in to a multiswitch to feed six receivers?
E. Does the *C (non-PVR) HD receiver have USB/firewire "outs" and, if so, are they active?
F. Being in western Canada and all other things being equal (i.e. no line of sight issues, etc.), I'm more likely to get a stronger, more consistent signal with less rain fade with *C than with BEV, correct?

Final question: if I do decide to make a switch, what's the best deal I can expect from *C, given I'll need to replace 3 HD/3 SD receivers, such that a nominal "switch" credit from *C ain't really going to cut it.

All responses much appreciated.
 

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A) 3 X 505 HD receivers + any 3 SD receivers

B) SD receivers, whether new or legacy, are not 8PSK capable. No plans to change SD to 8PSK

C) 505 + 530 have slot for MPEG4 upgrade card

D) Find an older stacked dual LNBF setup. This requires only 2 lines into a multiswitch. Any standard 2X6, 2X8 or 2X16 22kz tone switch will work (except those designed to work with DirecTV triple LNBF HD setups)

E) Not active

F) correct

Finally good luck with that one. You can always buy used. Call the U/A # into SC before purchasing. They will tell you if the unit can be activated.
 

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Pretty much DEAD on summary.

As for receiver equivalents, to be precise:
6100 = 505
3100 = 317
2700 = 315

I say that becasue the 3100 is OpenTV and the 2 new low cost DSR207/317's ARE Opentv boxes.

Your 2700 was not and had no picture in guide so 205/315 or any legacy is about the same.

207/317 replaced the 205/315 series and introduced the NEW guide with OpenTV and Picture in guide.

You want to make your selections from 207/317/505 and 530
207 has NO modem and cannot order impulse PPV.
317 has Dolby Digital and a modem
505 is 8PSK HD
530 is dual tuner HD PVR.

The Dual Stacked is the equivalent of DishPro technology, but not sold new anymore, so get a spare LNB if you can as well.
The Eagle Aspen 4x8 and 5x8 multiswitch can handle Dual Stacked as well as QUAD LNB's in case you need to change in the future.

You've done your homework and your reasons to depart Bev are most valid.
Get signed up and welcome aboard!
 

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SC vs BEV Dish Allignment

:rolleyes:Now this is the poorest of reasons to choose one over the other BUT I find setting up the BEV dish is so sweet :p compared to SC.
I find that peaking the dish on the satellite finder peaks the receiver with BEV but with SC I have to peak the dish on the meter - lock it down and then bend the dish to find where the signal really is - always frustrating:confused:. I am an SC customer for years but assist many friends with both systems and, having a choice for setup I would go with BEV although I like SC for viewing because of the guide etc.
 

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WHAT? Your point would be valid for a single look *C dish where after Azimuth and Elevation, you'd peak the skew, but now with BOTH providers using dual look dishes, they ALL require Azimuth, Elevation and Skew adjustments.

In most cases, you preset the Skew according tot he book and then it's pretty much the same as a single look dish.

Are you referring to my new guide there R.J.?
 

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Why should I get Star Choice over Express Vu

What are the benefits of getting Starchoice over Express Vu. I am currently with MTS in Winnipeg which I love, but recently bought a HD TV and Hd is not that great with MTS as well as I dont want to shell out all that money for the HD receiver. I have gone back and forth between the two forums here and the Bell Expree Vu forum, and still can't seem to make up my mind. We have just the 1 HD TV and three other tvs in the house. Cost is important to me, but also quality of programs, quality of picture, equipment etc. I posted a similar question in the other forum, but no one has conviinced me either way. I am leaning towards Star choice based on their customer service records. Can people in this forum please give me reasons why I should go for Star Choice over Bell Express Vu. Also should I be getting it now or wait to see wht happens in September/October re promotions or specials? Do they also give a free preview of all their channels for first time users for a period of time? I appreciate this. Thanks
 

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Award winnig customer service, free HD, HD recevier is bargin priced at $199, all HD is 1080i, no contracts, flexible programming.
Offers are not likely to change, Currently it's a $50 program credit and a $50 PPV credit. There is no preview of all channels.
 

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There is usually some up-front commitment in terms of equipment purchase for satellite. If you want to experiment with satellite for the first time, maybe you should call up both suppliers and find out who'll do the most for you in terms of reducing your initial outlay and waiving any contract commitments. See if someone will offer you a free receiver or even a PVR, or at least let you rent one instead of buying initially. See if you can get free installation. But watch out for hidden commitments like extra money owing on the receiver if you return it within a year.

As for content, both services are fairly similar in the content that they carry. It varies from time to time as one leapfrogs the other, but the differences would be mainly in the exact makeup of the content packages that you can choose. They try to stay competitive with each other in pricing on average, but from what I've seen both offer better local deals in Ontario and Quebec than in the rest of the country. The HD content is similar, as is the quality (minor technical arguments probably not significant to the average viewer). Keep in mind that you won't get some of the local channels that you get on cable. On the other hand you'll get more "time shift" Canadian channels from across the country - although that's more useful in the eastern time zone than further west.

In some areas, like Vancouver where I am, BEV seems much more popular judging from the installed base of antennas visible. But that may be more to do with specialized extra-cost content like the multicultural channels (dare I suggest that it's also possibly something to do with it being easier to hack BEV to steal those channels?).
 

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I chose Star Choice here's why

and Im glad I did so far.

first I found that the cost for the programming for what I wanted (Im not a sports fan) was a little cheeper especialy when I threw in the HD stuff

second was the reports of the good customer service. This is a big deal to me. poor customer service realy frustrates me to no end. I do deal with some of Bells other services and have had rather poor experiences with the support, and reports told me that Bell Express View is the same. I have called Star Choice several times, mostly for adjustments to programming and twice for tech problems. on all occasions I have had polite knowlageable CSRs who helped me without issue and offered good solutions. no frustrations yet.

Third I did not like the idea of being locked into something for a few years just in case I had regrets. Star Choice has no contract. I liked that.


Keep in mind that *C will quite soon be adding more HD channels and many more Im sure will follow later.
 

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I had Shaw. Now I have both *C and Bev. To be honest, you always think the grass is greener with someone new. Only one I have not tried is Rogers (love the sports pack), but to be 100% honest, no provider is perfect. All have good and bad points.

It doesn't matter who you pick, just do the research and get the right equipment for whoever you decide on. 95% of all the channels are the same. 95% of the receivers are pretty much the same.

The majority of all complaints here are minor and flame wars happen with bias on both sides.
 
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