Prince Gomolvilas

Open Thread: I Just Got DIRECTV - Now What Do I Do?

Filed By Prince Gomolvilas | February 04, 2009 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Entertainment
Tags: Elvis Costello, Gordon Ramsay, Kitchen Nightmares, Punk'd, Scariest Places on Earth, South Park, Spectacle, television, The Jeff Corwin Experience, The People's Court, United States of Tara

I have not had cable television (or anything other than rabbit ears, for that matter) for more than 18 years. My, how technology has changed since then.

I just got DIRECTV installed yesterday (connected to a new HD plasma TV), and I'm simultaneously delighted and overwhelmed by the number of channels available to me; by the intricacies of my DVR recording service; by my ability to pause live television (that's crazy!); and by everything else I'm forgetting to mention because there's so much to be delighted and overwhelmed by.

Since I'm not well-educated in all the programming that's available to me and because I have trouble making decisions, especially when I have so many damn choices, I'm going to need your help to maximize my viewing time.

What shows do you enjoy and think I might enjoy too?

I'd love to hear about what you're watching and why you love it so. Your comments will help me catch up on all that I've been missing, but, really, it will help me become a better person.

I know that entertainment is subjective, so I should give you an idea of what I dig. My tastes actually run the gamut - my DVR is currently set to record 24, Drake & Josh, Elvis Costello's Spectacle, Ghost Hunters, The Jeff Corwin Experience, Kitchen Nightmares, The People's Court, Punk'd, Scariest Places on Earth, South Park, and United States of Tara.

What else, dear readers? There are 24 hours in each day that I have to fill up!

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Comedy Central.......the Daily Show and Colbert Report are must watches.
MSNBC both Countdown and Rachel Maddow
History Channel and History International....I watch a LOT of these.
LOGO if you get it.

Lots and lots of others depending on what you watch but I could easily reduce the channels to about ten and still be a happy camper myself

American Idol
Survivor (not on yet, but soon)
Big Brother
The Mentalist
Daily Show
Hell's Kitchen
And Bleach if you're into anime. (My favorite of all of them!)

We're coming up on 10 years with some sort of DVR. Wonderful devices for watching less tv overall at the same time you're watching more quality tv.

Well I'm not sure which you have, but if it's the Fox version, I would add BBC America's Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares and get the old episodes from Britain, which are far superior to the trashy fox show. There's far less yelling and lot more actually fixing things and most of the owners are far more sympathetic if equally clue free. I'd also add the foodie shows: Top Chef, Last Restaurant Standing on BBC America, and Hells Kitchen (which is kinda Faux Network trashy).

Since from your previous posts, you were in and seem to like short films, Logo has a lot of them. It also has a lot of stuff in general, an incredible amount of stuff, until the second month when you realize it's almost all the same stuff every month. We love Rick and Steve though. If you like South Park, you'll probably like R&S.

Also, assuming you have the HD DVR (and if you don't return what you got, slap your DirecTV vendor silly, and get the HD one) make sure to connect it to your internet connection if it isn't so you can download even more stuff. There's a lot of stuff available, including a few other channels that are "on demand" only.

The big thing with the DVR is you start to set up your season passes and watch everything off of recordings rather than when they're actually on. You get used to shuffling around the order so you get it all automagically. And in picking things, don't forget that while you may only get 30 or whatever hours of HD, that translates to like 200 hours of regular definition tv and only about half the channels are HD, so your DVR holds far more than the advertised number of hours.

I usually spend an hour every couple of weeks just going through the schedule and marking movies and such that I want to record. Usually older ones on UHD or MGMHD and things from IFC or Logo.

Eventually you will want to check out many of these channels yourself. You may find some gems that nobody else has suggested.

I'm on Dish Network, which is similar content to DirectTV. My faves:

MSNBC - news
CNN - news (when nothing's happening on MSNBC)
Free Speech TV - liberal news slant
BBC - to get the European POV on news
LINK -- global news and ethnic culture, plus films that you won't see anywhere else
Colours -- global news and ethnic culture
Animal Planet -- great wildlife and pet stuff
ESPN - for most sports
TVG and HRTV - if you like horse racing
HGTV - for home finance and improvement
PBS channels like KCET, KOCE, etc.
History Channel (their right-wing religious bias is sometimes unbearably obvious, but they do air some good stuff)
A & E -- same comment as for History Channel
Discovery -- same comment as for History Channel
Weather Channel -- they are actually developing some interesting programming
Health Channel

Classic Arts Showcase -- when you're having a sleepness night, it comes on usually at midnight or 1 a.m. and runs for several hours on a PBS channel. In my area, I can usually find it on KOCE or KCET. It's an MTV type format of performance arts videos, featuring classical music, dance, opera, classic films and interviews with classical artists -- wonderful stuff if you love the whole genre, which I do.

For movies, you will find a ton of channels that air nothing but that. TCM, AMC, IFC, ION, WE, TNT, Lifetime, Showtime, HBO, Starz, SciFi, etc. etc.

I disagree with those who say there is nothing good on TV. Enjoy!

I'll second the previous suggestions and add:

BBC America -- All sorts of good stuff, including the last few episodes of the latest "Dr. Who" season.

Food Network -- "Ace of Cakes" (fun documentary show -- think of the inventiveness of "Project Runway" but with cake and the chef, Duff, is utterly goofy). "Good Eats" is fun and informative if you like to cook.

LinkTV -- Also has a music video program with all sorts of cool stuff from around the world.


Discovery Science -- Various stuff for you inner geek.

"Venture Brothers" on the Cartoon Network. Probably not airing at the moment, but it'll be back for another season. Picture "Johnny Quest" crossed with "South Park."

S Brian Walters | February 4, 2009 5:34 PM

We got hooked on the United States of Tara, but will have to go cold turkey next month when our free subscription to Showtime expires.

Aaron tells me that I'd better sleep with one eye open if I cancel HBO before they run the Grey Gardens Movie with Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore.

Ran across an extremely PC Incorrect show on (umm, I forgit) called The Supreme Court of Comedy, that had me laughing out loud...but it was Paula Poundstone vs. (uummm, I forgit). Which reminds me, watch out for Sordid Lives on Logo. We hit the DVR All episodes the day before they ran a marathon of the first season. We're really praying that they pick it up for another season.

Another channel that I like is Ovation...but be prepared to DVR and FF thru the commercials because they've got one ever 2.6 minutes.

Skip Little Britain USA, but do watch it on BBC America. We're still debating about the Catherine Tate Show. Love Doctor Who (I do anyway) and am seriously jonesing for a new season of Torchwood.

Does anyone know what channel the show Time Warp is on? I've watched it several times and it's amazing.

Last but not least, do not set your DVR to record all episodes of the Daily Show or your TV will explode. They run it 5 times a day...that adds up.
Reminds me of the time I did a search for Star Trek" once when all of the shows were on and in syndication all over the country. ;)

Thanks for all your suggestions, everyone. Man, I have my work cut out for me. :)

Hey, Brian, when we signed up for DIRECTV, we asked the lady on the phone if they had any unadvertised special deals (aside from the free-for-3-months HBO, Showtime, and Starz) and she said she could give us Showtime for a year for free! So try calling DIRECTV and say that your friend got Showtime for a year for free, and you want that deal too. If they can't do it, talk to a supervisor. What's fair is fair, and it's so easy for them to do if they are willing! :) I've gotten so many special deals on things just by asking and nudging people a little.

I have cable and find myself flipping through a few channels makes me wounder why I have to have the rest of them! I do have a digital package which I rarely once again flip on up the dial to watch.

I watch all the news ones we have
The Weather Cahnnel

For just watching I enjoy
Sci Fi Channel

Now and then if a program catches my eye I watch it on the other channels.Wish I could just buy what I wanted.Now that would be true pay TV.

Oh, my. I don't even have regular TV! I'm just trying to figure out how to get on my computer since they don't allow people outside the US to watch their shows!

Prince ~ Over the Holidays I went to my nearest KMart and purchased a DTV converter. After all haven't we had it drummed in our heads that the change is coming. (Of course yesterday a four month extension was granted for those folks who were just too dumb or lazy to send in for a $40.00 disocunt card and purchase a converter.)

I have never had cable or Direct TV. All the shows I watched were on the commercial channels or PBS. I like all the CSIs, Law & Order SVU, and NCIS. I loved PBS - NOVA, Nature, Burn's documentaries, etc.

Of course when on vacation, I would watch Animal Planet, the Weather Channel, the History Channel, and CNN. I even became a fan for a while of the L Word when a former friend got cable. And from time to time have considered getting cable.

But through it all I've maintained that I didn't see any reason to purchase cable when my favorite shows were freely available with bunny ears. Now the DTV conversion.

After getting my new converter home I ran the autoscan as instructed. Much to my surprise PBS wasn't detected. I moved my antennae around. Still no PBS. I went to WalMart and was told perhaps I needed a stronger antennae. OK. $26.00 more. I raced home and ran the autoscan. This time it detected the presence of something at 15.1, but still no picture. No PBS.

I'm becoming convienced that this whole conversion thing is a setup. Something passed by Congress to please the cable TV and satillite TV companies. Some may want their MTV. I want my PBS!

Gillian, I feel your pain. But at least you get a break from all those Wayne Dyer pledge breaks. :)

Hey, everyone, I just discovered Palladium--the channel with nothing but concerts! It's awesome!