DirecTV – all good things must come to an end

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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