Flow and Directv in Trinidad and Tobago – Video Quality etc

Presently, Flow Trinidad has much better Standard Definition (SD) picture quality than Directv in Trinidad and Tobago because Directv uses more signal compression that Flow. Compression of TV signals is what it sounds like and can be compared to having a box that can hold 10 bags of flour and you want to put 13 bags in it. To get all 13 to fit,  you will have to squeeze (compress) the bags of flour.  After the bags are squeezed to fit some bags may burst and all will become distorted resulting in a disgruntled chef or housewife. The grocer will only care if customers refuse to buy the flour, otherwise he is peddling a defective product  to unsuspecting customers. People assume the term digital quality means something better than average but in Directv Trinidad’s case it is even worse than watching local TV picked up with a properly installed rooftop antenna.

Over-compression is what Directv Caribbean and Latin America (Third World Edition) is suffering from and feel they can get away with this because of the typical thinking that Third World People are not only stupid, but cannot appreciate quality. They are so wrong.  Directv has only a limited amount of satellite space to fit the the multitude of channels their Latin American and Caribbean customers want so they have decided to compress channels beyond the limit of looking good to make that extra dollar. On a 27-inch low-resolution CRT TV the Directv video looks average but on a 50-inch plasma, Directv’s SD picture is not acceptable.  However, from a recent demo, Directv’s sprinkling of High Definition (HD) channels looks great but the SD channels may make you want to pick up a book and read instead.

Dr Yagi and his invention, the Yagi TV antenna

Another serious Directv problem is that customers are not able to view local channels via their satellite dish and instead have to concoct a solution that is extremely frustrating to use compared to Flow’s just-click-and-it’s-there solution. In some cases, Directv’s local channel solution is costly to implement and kept a secret by the installers. From what I saw of the Directv Plus HD DVR receiver, their is no VHF tuner which is a big design bungle, as far as I am concerned,  but the receiver (HR22 I think) has HDMI, optical audio and coax audio outputs – a high-tech device being fed with low quality inputs.

I couldn’t find out if Directv has any plans to address the poor quality video and local channel issues but with Blink Entertainment Cable TV from TSTT soon to be launched with a superior and more affordable channel lineup, it is something Directv must do immediately to survive. Until I am convinced Directv can provide a superior service and quality  product as they claim, I will stick with Flow and consider Blink.

Sorry Directv Trinidad and Tobago, you can’t cut it just yet.

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23 thoughts on “Flow and Directv in Trinidad and Tobago – Video Quality etc

  1. Reminds me of the time I built a ‘satellite’ dish out of an umbrella frame… de big ‘house and land’ umbrellas… dat was nice reception in the days of only aerial stations.

    • The old aerial TV was good on some days but on other days it was a disaster. Somebody gone wit my house and land umbrella and I feel it was to make a “dish” 🙂

  2. We have a 46 inch regular 4:3 TV at home with direct TV and my problem is not so much the video quality or the ratch to watch local TV. It’s the freakin spanish chanels, permanent subtitles and spanish show names in the menu. Direct TV is not for the English speaking countries.

    • I am not a Directv subscriber but I have a good friend who is. He still has his Flow connection and we were able to do an A to B comparison. I can remember hearing plenty Spanish while flicking through the channels last Sunday so I suppose you are right. My friend was a Directv subscriber many years ago and he did complain about the amount of Spanish on the channel lineup back then. I suppose its on two counts that Directv cannot stack up.

  3. I hate Direct TV. I hate Spanish subtitles. Here is the thing sometimes the sound quality of a show is so poor and increasing the volume does not mean that you can hear anybetter. It just means that the same muffled sound is just louder – still muffled. Subtitles mean that I can keep my volume at a reasonable volume and fill in what I miss by reading. Flow is not an option at this point since I left their reciever somewhere on their front steps after a dispute about no refund for loss of service. I hope some vagrant gorne wit it by now:-) Also the whole paying in advance for a service not yet delivered doesn’t sit right by me and I can’t believe people accept that.

  4. Financially, I don’t think Flow is doing as well as they expected and the sourness of many of their employees says that it is also a poorly run organization. I think Flow’s reliability is good but customer service almost doesn’t exist. Flow need to be thought a lesson and customers need to take action so I like the leaving-receiver-on-the-doorstep thing 🙂

    A few years ago I was briefly a Directv customer and also had a problem with the amount of Spanish speaking and the Spanish subtitles. I didn’t have it for too long and hardly had the time to use it but went to Flow as soon as they were in the area. Having World Cup in HD is tempting but not sure if that will also be in Spanish. My guess is that it will. From what I understand, Directv in Trinidad is a tiny dot in the Directv landscape and cannot call any shots so we either take what we get or don’t take is at all.

  5. I only have cable because we moved back in with my parents. Prior to kids my husband and I decided no to paying for shitty service and got rid of cable Tv! That’s right we lived with no cable for about 4 years. OMG! How ever did we survive?!!! Wel survived and quite happily too.

  6. I can do without cable since I also find TV to be a burden. News at 7 and that’s it for TV for me. I like movies I can look at on my own time, not by luck of the flicker 🙂

  7. Directv say that their hd package that all it needs is a hd reciever alone but that is not true you also need a hd dish as well and Iam wondering if directv is giving people the normal stanard dish instead of the hd dish as well

    • I think it’s the feeder horn which is changed – the part of the dish which is at the end of the arm in front of the dish. All World Cup matches on HD sounds tempting. I wonder if the Directv World Cup broadcast to the Caribbean will be in English?

    • I hope so but I understand many of the football matches shown right now on Directv are in Spanish. I don’t think Directv will have any competition when it comes to World Cup coverage.

  8. I will like to exchange one of my directv gold suscription equipment with one with directv in the caribean, please let me know if some one is interested.

    Alexander kalen

  9. I live in Jamaica and while I have a Directv system its a box linked on the same account as one in New York, so I get over 100 HD channels, and my SD channels look great. Flow HD line up is ridiculous so I’ll continue enjoying the North American feed for now.

    • B Lumley, you are very lucky to have access to Directv USA. Directv USA is not legally available in TnT plus Trinidad is on the fringe of the satellite footprint of Directv USA so reception is difficult at best. The HD line up from all cable/satellite providers is very poor in the Third World which is annoying.

  10. I prefer DISH Network to DirecTV any day. I work for DISH and not only do they have an award winning dual-tuner DVR, receiving CNET’s Editor’s Choice Award and PC Magazine Editor’s Choice for Best DVR, but they also offer more HD channels than anyone in the industry! On top of all that, I know firsthand that they truly value their customers; DISH is the only company I trust with my HD.

  11. Hello there, just became aware of your website through Aol, and found that it is really informative. I’m gonna watch out for brussels. I’ll appreciate if you continue this in future. Numerous people will be benefited from your posting. Kind regards, !

  12. i had flow, within the first month of sevice they sent me a $943.00 bill (my bill was surpose to be $243) when i querried it they told me i was owing (not possible) manages and supervisors cant do maths, i then disconnected there service, years later i reconnected and the picture quality was poor, the video was rainy and roling it only show well when the rain fall and they never sent anyone to rectify the situation after numerous complaints, so i disconnected because i refuse to pay for crappy service, i’m now with directv and picture quality is great the channel lineup is fine i usually mute commercials so the spanish does not bother me, besides you now have to pay $50.00 for spanish channels so i opted not to pay for that. all in all i’m a satisfied customer and it cheaper than flow,the tv6 news is the only local program i watch, therefore i don’t miss the local channels. i was about to signup for blink however you have to have a landline telephone with them to get wired service and there wireless service is only ofering 29 channels for $149 not worth it at all, i’ll stick to dtv until they give me a reason to leave.

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