DirecTV – all good things must come to an end

December 19, 2007
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Until recently, DirecTV is one service I was mostly happy with. How many services can you say that about? Cell phone? Landline? Cable TV? Internet? When News Corp acquired DirecTV, I was worried and rightly so, it turned out; but when News Corp sold off their stake last year, I was optimistic again.

I’ve been a customer since the mid 90’s. I paid something like $1,000 for the initial setup back then. I have been a mostly happy customer all this time (even if I was “worried” at times) – but now with the forced migration to their DVR box, involving significant loss in functionality and reliability, this blissful situation may be coming to an end. Here’s what they are doing to a long-time loyal customer:

  1. Forcing me to replace my TiVo-based HD DVR with a buggy DirecTV-designed DVR with a junky remote, terrible user interface, severe limitations, and reliability problems.
  2. Forcing me into a two-year contract, even though I have been a customer for over 10 years!
  3. Charging me an additional $4.99/mo. to keep HD channels I receive now (UHD, HDNM, etc.)
  4. Charging me $20 for the unwanted swap.

I guess at this point my options are:

  1. Keep the HD TiVo and wait until DirecTV stops sending it signals it can receive.
  2. See if I can get HD Cable service with a stand-alone HD TiVo (this may not really be an option, since the cable company [Comcast] has told me in the past that service in my area is not very good and they don’t know when or if they will fix it).
  3. Buy a DVR on Ebay and see if DirecTV will support it to avoid the 2-year contract? These are supposedly “lease-only” units, so this may also not be a practical option.
  4. Accept the new DirecTV DVR with all the limitations and 2-year contract (What do I do then, if this new DVR really is unusable?)

I guess we customers are just not supposed to actually like the services we pay for — Cell phone, landline, cable TV, Internet service. And now Satellite TV too. Maybe they get their jollies by showing that we suckers will continue to subscribe to their crappy services, no matter how much they screw us over.

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4 Responses to DirecTV – all good things must come to an end

  1. Rob
    December 20, 2007 at 7:07 am

    Well, I have been using the new Direct TV DVR’s and love them. They have fixed many issues since the initial rollout. Believe it or not I like the Direct TV DVR better than my old Tivo. The only issue I have is quality. Three of my units have been replaced in less than a year. Of course they were replaced for free.

  2. Dan
    December 20, 2007 at 7:26 pm

    I hated my DVR + when I got it but now love it they up dated the thing and now works great if you want HD with DTV you will have to use their equipment.

  3. MrBlog
    January 15, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    While I’m not thrilled with the idea of getting the DirecTV DVR instead of TiVo, the real show stopper is the lease structure and the 2-year commitment. You have to pay extra (per month) for the box. That’s ridiculous. We’re paying them for the right to pay them more for their service. Also, the 2-years after being a customer for 10+ years is too much.

    So again, they took a basically happy subscriber and changed me into someone who will take the first alternative I can find.

  4. Kendra
    January 29, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    Also beware that the following situations do not release you from your 2 year agreement:
    – If you move and say can’t get service at your new place (say your home is not facing the "right" sky) you still have to pay (they say it is not their fault)
    -If you move your committment just starts all over again

    I like Direct TV but cannot and WILL not be held hostage from them. This is the reason why Americans are so cash strapped now. We have too many fixed bills that we cannot deviate from. In order to cut back on your bills you have to have the OPTION of shutting down some services etc. I don’t want to be a prisoner to Direct TV… Verizon… XM…..

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