Friday, March 5, 2010

Dish Network Review

I’ve had the Dish Network for about a year now. The reason I switched from cable to the dish was the price. I was paying more than $60 a month for cable but needed to reduce my spending so I looked into getting a satellite dish. I will never go back to cable!

Right now I’m getting the Family Package for only $20 a month. It has a good variety of channels for my kids and myself such as Boomerang, Disney, Nick at Night, Investigation Discovery, The Science Channel, Animal Planet, and many more. In fact, you get more than 55 channels. That my not seem like a lot when you’ve had cable with over 200+ channels, but who really watches that many?

I wasn’t charged for installation either. I made an appointment to have it hooked up and the tech came within 48 hours. Unlike satellite dishes from decades ago, this dish is very small in comparison and not conspicuous in the least. Much like cable, I was giving a receiver and a remote control.

The picture is much clearer than when I had cable and the only time I have any trouble at all with getting a picture is when there’s a storm. By comparison, when I had cable it would often go out and the On-Demand was virtually useless.

When I moved, all I had to do was take the receiver and remote with me. Another tech came out within 24 hours and put up a dish at the new house. No charge for that either. In contrast, whenever I had cable and would move, I’d have to pay a fee to get the cable turned on at the new place, even if it was cable ready and all they had to do was input my new information.

I’ve never encountered a hidden fee either. That used to gripe me to no end with cable. They’d quote you a price and when the bill came there were so many other charges I’d end up paying at least $10 a month more. With the Dish Network, if they say it’s $20 a month, that’s what you pay. No surprises.

Their customer service is great too. I’ve never had to wait on the line more than 30 seconds and the operators are always friendly, knowledgeable and honest. They’ll let you know how to get the best deal based on your circumstances and alert you to any problems or specials.

The Dish Network has a wide variety of packages ranging from $20 up to $85 for the America’s “Everything” Pak that has 295 channels and 31 premium movie channels. I can’t see myself every needing it since the Family Package is very good.

I’m very happy with the Dish Network and highly recommend it to anyone who wants to save money and enjoys a quality picture and programming.

Rating: 10

Cox Cable Bundle Package Review

About a year ago I switched from Cox cable, phone, and Internet and went with Qwest for my Internet, Dish Network for my cable stations, and Magic Jack for my phone service. When I had the Cox bundle package I was paying over $160 a month. By comparison, I’ve slashed my bill down to $62 a month.

Leaving Cox had a lot more to do with it than just the price, their service was well below the industry standards as well. The Internet would go down several times a day—once I counted 20 times! And it was super slow, especially from 3pm – 10pm.

Their On-Demand service where you’re supposed to be able to watch videos, movies, and cable shows “on demand” rarely worked. It was also time consuming to get through all of the menus just to find something worth watching. Many of the shows are small clips of only a few minutes and once it’s over it takes you all the way back to the beginning menu and you have to go through several headings and subheadings before getting back to the place you want to be.

If you try to get through to customer service, have a snack ready because you’ll be waiting a long time. Several times I was on hold for up to fifteen minutes, and sometimes the connection would fail then I’d get cut off and have to call back and start all over again.

The bill was always a surprise too. Even though I had a special bundled package where I was supposed to get a pretty good deal, they had so many extra fees that I paid at least $15 more than the quoted price. They also do a hard sell on getting you to add a protection plan at $5 more a month. If anything goes wrong inside your home, they’ll come out and fix it—for a fee, but supposedly less than what you would pay if you didn’t have their protection plan. If you tell them you don’t want the protection plan they amp up their sell in almost a bullying way. In all the years I’ve had cable services I’ve not once had a problem inside the home, it was always on the outside with their wiring. They cover that for free.

I got over 200 cable channels and a ton of radio station type channels that I didn’t need, want, or listen to. Out of the 200+ channels, I probably watched a tiny handful of the most popular ones—Investigation Discovery, Discovery Health, Tru TV, etc. If you love shopping channels and infomercials then you’re in for a real treat with Cox since they have more than you could ever hope for.

I’m not the only one with a negative experience when it comes to Cox Communications; all of my friends who have it hate it too. But, they get you trapped in a two-year contract, so you’re stuck with them for awhile or you pay a heavy fine to leave.

Beware of their advertised specials too since this is how they woo new customers. They offer great deals for three months and then you’re hit hard and heavy with the real bill. They also seem to raise their prices at least once or twice a year as well.

I suggest staying away from Cox and going with multiple companies as I do, or going with another Internet/cable/phone provider. Seriously, I’d rather take my laptop to a hot-spot at McDonald’s, use my cell and have no TV than ever go with Cox again.

Rating: 1

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Getting Enough by Leonard Rosmarin

The blurb for Getting Enough should lure just about anyone who has even the slightest bit of voyeur in them.  After all, who could resist taking a peek into a family like this:

A scandalous portrayal of a beautiful seductive Jewish Diva named Vera Rose, whose life is at a tipping point and ready to implode. Trapped between a mid-life crisis and the affliction of an unfulfilling sexless marriage, Vera is compelled to escape her repressive existence, after an explosive argument with her husband, Sidney. She reflects on her life and decides to unleash her true self and takes her niece's husband, Boris as her lover. As relationships begin to crumble around her, Vera is surprisingly struck by the realization that she has unfairly misjudged Sidney as the despicable wretch and sexual failure she loves to hate. Together they unexpectedly manage to work out a loving reconciliation.

Getting Enough is one of those books you continue to think about long after you've closed the cover and set it down.  The characters in Leonard Rosmarin's book are so vibrant, so real, and hilariously flawed that you simply can't stop mulling over the events and witty venom spewed.  What Mr. Rosmarin did was to take his "full of flavor" Jewish family, stuff them all in a blender, added several dashes of sexy spice, cold bitter, and sweet syrup, along with a healthy dose of "what could have been" events, pureed it all then poured it out on the pages to entertain the reader.  And what a ride this is!  I read it all in one sitting since I honestly couldn't set it down. 

There were points in the book where I thought, "You scoundrel!" Or, "You poor fool!"  I laughed, I shook my head, I even learned a thing or two about opening up and being honest in a relationship.  Holding things in and blaming the other party for the lack of spark in a marriage only results in frigid distance and potentially dire consequences.  On the other hand, viewing your partner through new eyes and exploring the possibilities within yourself and your spouse can erupt like a volcano of passion! 

Getting Enough is available in hardcover and a Kindle edition.