DirecTV loses 10 million subscribers

February 20, 2006
By

Well, that’s my headline for sometime in the next 12-18 months, or whenever Rupert forces his Tivo owners to switch to his “new” DVR.

Here’s what I’m expecting so far, based on all I’ve read about the DVR DirecTV is going to shove down our throats:

1. No more “peanut” remote. It sounds trivial, but that remote is very comfortable. If you haven’t used it, you can’t relate. And the new DirecTV remote supposedly doesn’t control the on/off or volume on many makes/models of TVs, so you you end up needing two remotes.

2. No multiple live buffer streams to select between. With TiVo DirecTV units we can jump back and forth between two live programs, with buffer. Supposedly not so with the new DVRs.

3. GUI sucks. Comments include “hard to navigate” “a whole new horror” “not intuitive at all” “It BLOWS” “It is a fancy VCR, but not a Tivo” “amazingly difficult to use” “All the software people should be fired” See examples here.

4. Lease-only going forward, means higher monthly fees.

The tech support line apparently has an automated voice that tells you “most problems are resolved by rebooting.” What does that tell you about the quality of the software (and DirecTV’s contempt for their customers).

I’ve been a DirecTV subscriber for over 10 years. When DirecTV abandons all support for TiVo it looks like I’ll be stuck switching to cable (which totally sucks around here). Apparently I won’t be alone. Nobody that’s used TiVo for more than a few months is ever going to move as far backwards as DirecTV is trying to send us. It’s looking like it will be a mass exodus. What an effective way to take perfectly happy customers and send them straight to your competitors.

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7 Responses to DirecTV loses 10 million subscribers

  1. Rev J Thornton
    May 7, 2006 at 9:37 pm

    Your getting ahead of yourself. DVR will improve quickly. Most companys suport old equipment for some time after new is released.

    You just might like the DVR once it is released. Direct TV isn’t your only cable/satelite choice. Check on Wireless Cable service in your area.

  2. IJ Frankel
    September 9, 2006 at 10:52 am

    I too have been a long time DirecTV customer but from the beginning it was because of TIVO.

    I have been satisfied with DirecTV but dropping support for TIVO is a BIG mistake.

    TIVO Series 3 is an example of the mess – it won’t even work on DirecTV.

    And without migrating to MPEG 4, which has no TIVO units, we will not be able to receive the future planned expansion of DirecTV HD service.

    So at some point we will have to chose between TIVO and DirecTV. For me it will be TIVO even if I have to go with cable.

    Recently, there were 2.85M TIVO users included in the 15.5M DirecTV subscribers.

    If many of the TIVO users would leave DirecTV it might wake them up.

    DirecTV should just buy TIVO and adopt their technology.

    ij

  3. MLock
    September 4, 2007 at 11:31 am

    …and now that the time is near, people are ditching their Tivos right and left to get the HR20, which has been dramatically improved over the last year, to the point where it’s missing one main Tivo feature but offers plenty of features Tivo doesn’t. DirecTV will gain a million long before they’ll lose a million….

  4. DirecTV sateLLiTe
    September 21, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    DirecTV just keeps on messing up. What’s next..

  5. RonF
    December 18, 2007 at 7:23 am

    I moved in August 2008 and have been using the new HR20 since and can answer some of the early speculation below.

    "1. No more "peanut" remote. It sounds trivial, but that remote is very comfortable. If you haven’t used it, you can’t relate. And the new DirecTV remote supposedly doesn’t control the on/off or volume on many makes/models of TVs, so you you end up needing two remotes."

    The HR20 remote works with my Sony and Sharp TVs, but I cannot comment on other brands. Comparing this remote to the Tivo remote however is like comparing a Model T to a new Lincoln Navigator. The remote is pretty much featureless, clunky and extremely user un-friendly. I

  6. MrBlog
    December 18, 2007 at 4:45 pm

    Thanks for the info RonF. MLock doesn’t quote any sources for his statement that "people are ditching their Tivos right and left to get the HR20" and it doesn’t look like many people agree with that.

    However, DirecTV HD users have to switch in order to continue to receive HD channels, so they will be switching "left and right" whether they want to or not. And, as RonF confirms, this switch comes with all the disadvantages mentioned in the original post (and few others not mentioned, like weekly reboots and 75% failure rate).

    I would switch to Cable and HD stand-alone Tivo, if the cable here was any good (and I may do it anyway, if the HR20 is too unbearable).

  7. cramer
    January 11, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    People aren’t "ditching their tivos". The majority of HR20 users are new subscribers. Out of the "2.85M" tivo subscribers, only about 500k where HD tivos.

    If you want HD from DTV, the HR20 (HR21 now) is the road you’ll have to take. If it had dual live buffers and a way to turn off that d***ed picture-in-picture, I could tolerate the non-tivo interface. I would prefer a tivo where ever possible, but DTV and Tivo don’t have any (commercial) reason to work together anymore. Maybe we’ll see the S3 platforms support that funky HTPC tuner thing DTV revealed at CES ’08.

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