PVRBlog on DirecTV’s HD problem

PVRblog | TiVo, ReplayTV, and other PVR news and reviews Ok, so some of you may have read where I was bitching last Sunday about the screwing that DirecTV and Rupert Murdoch were about to give HDTV DirecTV TiVo customers. Now Matt Haughey over PVRblog has more on the issue.

According to Matt:

“I called today to see how that FCC ruling went and unfortunately, DirecTV lost. If you get local channels in standard definition format, you cannot get HD. DirecTV can only offer Over the Air (OTA) antennas, which doesn’t help me being out in the hilly regions away from Portalnd, OR. They did say if I lived in LA or NYC, I could get local channels in HD from DirecTV, but otherwise the rest of the country was screwed.”

Well, yes and no. That may be the official line but DirecTV does have a second network programming package in addition to a local programming package that you may or may not know about and I get it here now in San Francisco. It’s called “Network from NYC/LA Monthly” and they charge $2.25 per month per network for it. So I pay $9 a month and basically get all four networks in HDTV. Now I know that this is not “local” HDTV. But as far as I’m concerned “local” is irrelevant. I really want local only so that I can get HDTV Network programming.

In fact I much prefer getting the “Network from NYC/LA Monthly” line up as I get both East Coast and West Coast feeds. As if my four tuner HDTV TiVo were not enough, when I have East and West Coast feeds to choose from any possible recording conflict is eliminated. It also gives me the opportunity to watch Desperate Housewives at 7 p.m. on Sunday night (broadcast on the East Coast at 6 p.m. PST) and still be able to fast forward through all of the commercials.

Now I think you have to kind of be tricky about how you get “Network: from NYC/LA Monthly” but if you can find the right guy at DirecTV (you may need to convince them that you cannot get local reception in your area) you should be able to sign up for it.

Now I still may get screwed by Rupert and his cronies but as long as they leave the “Network: from NYC/LA Monthly” in an HDTV format that my HDTV can receive (along with the other current premium HDTV content, HBO, Showtime, Mark Cuban, etc.) then I will be a happy camper. They can drop local HDTV programming all that they want. If on the other hand they drop the “Network: from NYC/LA Monthly” broadcasts then I’m probably screwed and you’ll probably hear a lot more bitching from Thomas Hawk on the matter.

Would love it if someone from DirecTV or TiVo might be able to comment on this — even anonymously.

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45 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thomas,
    Was it a fight to get these NY and LA HD locals from DTV?? I also live in the SF bay area, but I live in the East Bay where the Oakland Hills are blocking my ability to receive OTA local HD channels. Before I knew of what you have posted, I was told to contact my local Fox,NBC,ABC, and CBS stations to try and get them to sign a waiver for me so that I can receive my locals in HD. I can see this going nowhere. I would like to just call up DTV and explain to them I cannot get OTA local HD channels, so I would like this NY,LA HD locals stations. Do you know if this is just this easy or does it have something to do with the stations being O&O; (station is owned and operated by the major affiliate..ex NBC). I already pay for locals. So I have just purchased the Tivo HD-DVR box and have yet to start my HD service (10.99) with DTV. I was hoping to do this all in one swoop. So I was looking for some guidance on the locals in HD situation. Just as you I would be using this so I can see primtime shows on the primetime networks in HD. Please advise!!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I live in the Phoenix area and have the East/West Coast feeds in SD. I am in the process of upgrading to HD and DTV told me that I would be able to receive only the West Coast feeds in HD since I have since 1997 had the approval for the feeds due to terrain obstructions on local networks. Since they are in the process of rolling out the locals in HD it wasn’t clear to me that they would allow new customers to opt for either the East or West HD channels. I also understand that the format for new local HD broadcasts will be a DTV “special compression” which will obsolete the HR10-250 but that DTV will have an “upgrade path” for those users who had the misfortune to spend $1000 on their HD Tivo receiver. Anyone else know anything about this?

  3. Anonymous says:

    everyone hear this all you need to do to get eather NYC or LA channals is look like on whitepages.com and find an address in La or NYC and call directv and tell them you need to change your “SERVICE ADDRESS” also say but keep my billing address the same, it works i’ve givin them a nyc address and i get all the HD NYC local channels over the sat

  4. Anonymous says:

    I just tried to sign up for “Network From NYC/LA Monthly” and was told I still need “waivers” from the local stations. I’ve been through this and my request was turned down. DirecTV is saying it’s could be upto 2-years before network HD broadcast will be available to me. Once Comcast has HD service in my area DirecTV can shove it!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I live in the hills of LA & have obtained waivers from KNBC & KABC to receive to receive network feeds from NYC, but could not obtain the same from FOX & KCBS. (Could it be NFL broadcasts? Hmmm.)

    Anyway, before DTV can deliver local out-of-mkt feed, customer needs to obtain waiver from local network affiliate or network-owned station. DTV will submit waiver request if u ask them to, but it’s up to local network.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Yes but does directv come out and check to see if you are still living in your old service area don,t they also come and install your satelite service at your new location? I was just wondering as I am thinking of doing the same to get nyc stations.

  7. Currently, there are only three ways to be authorized to receive distant digital signals (network broadcasts) via your cable or satellite provider.

    1) If the viewer was predicted by the computer model to be in an area unserved by an analog signal (if predicted to be unserved, you’d be automatically authorized to receive the distant digital broadcasts.)
    2) Ask your cable or satellite provider (e.g. DirecTV) to request a waiver on your behalf for the distant digital transmission.
    3) Beginning April 2006, ask to get a signal test from your local television station to provide proof whether or not a signal is available over the air. This is done by testing in your viewing location. If the local station cannot prove that there is coverage by a digital signal, the local viewer may request a waiver the receive the distant digital broadcast via their cable or satellite provider. HOWEVER, the local television station may ALSO request a waiver to deny the local viewers’ waiver, based upon grievance (local zoning issues, interference issues, etc.)

    In short, if you live in an area currently served by an analog station, no matter how bad the picture and no matter whether or not they have a digital transmission available to you or not, there’s little to no chance of the local viewer being allowed to receive the distant digital signal without a waiver from the local television station — and the consumer may not ask for the waiver, it must come from your cable or satellite provider on your behalf (and furthermore, they are not required to perform such duty.)

    Source: FCC Atty’s Ron Parver and Eloise Carr

  8. Anonymous says:

    Currently, there are only three ways to be authorized to receive distant digital signals (network broadcasts) via your cable or satellite provider.

    1) If the viewer was predicted by the computer model to be in an area unserved by an analog signal (if predicted to be unserved, you’d be automatically authorized to receive the distant digital broadcasts.)
    2) Ask your cable or satellite provider (e.g. DirecTV) to request a waiver on your behalf for the distant digital transmission.
    3) Beginning April 2006, ask to get a signal test from your local television station to provide proof whether or not a signal is available over the air. This is done by testing in your viewing location. If the local station cannot prove that there is coverage by a digital signal, the local viewer may request a waiver the receive the distant digital broadcast via their cable or satellite provider. HOWEVER, the local television station may ALSO request a waiver to deny the local viewers’ waiver, based upon grievance (local zoning issues, interference issues, etc.)

    In short, if you live in an area currently served by an analog station, no matter how bad the picture and no matter whether or not they have a digital transmission available to you or not, there’s little to no chance of the local viewer being allowed to receive the distant digital signal without a waiver from the local television station — and the consumer may not ask for the waiver, it must come from your cable or satellite provider on your behalf (and furthermore, they are not required to perform such duty.)

    Source: FFC Atty’s Ron Parver and Eloise Carr

  9. Gigglebyte says:

    I just had my new HDDvr from DirecTv installed Saturday. I called DirecTV to ask about the local HD channels and they told me that I could get CBS and Fox HD west feed only, but I needed a waiver for ABC and NBC. I live in Show Low Arizona and we don’t have any TV stations. The nearest station is in Phoenix which is 185 miles away. I don’t see why I need any waivers and I also don’t understand why if CBS and Fox says it’s ok for me to get HD then why does NBC and ABC have to have waivers. Also why do we only get either East or West, why can’t we have both. It’s not like I can get in my car and drive 31/2 hours to Phoenix and take advantage of the sales that they have. So who bother with this waiver business anyway. We (the people) should be able to watch what we want, when we want, and how we want. We did spend a lot of money on this equipment anyway. Right?

  10. Thomas Hawk says:

    Absolutely 100% right. It is total bullshit that we can’t all have both East and West Coast feeds of all network television without waivers. DirecTV just took away my East Coast Feeds. I’m pissed about it. Give the people what they want I say.

  11. Anonymous says:

    All:

    I live in North County in San Diego and I found about these feed waivers from reading all the comments on the web. I was able to get a waiver for NBC but only for the west coast channel. The lady from DTV told me she can put in the waivers again because it is kind of random whether you get it or not. She recommended to keep sending the waivers and see what happens. It really really kills me that I have Sunday Ticket but some of the games are broadcast locally in non-HD and blocked on Sunday Ticket!! This sucks raw eggs.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I was just denied by all the local networks. What really gets me is that I am paying DirectTV for HD and for Local Channels, but not getting the locals in HD. Why do these commies refuse to give me what I am paying for? Just because they are behind in the game, we shouldn’t be punished. It really burns me when watching a program on a network to see the “Available in HD” slogan. I’ve done all I can do.

  13. Thomas Hawk says:

    Your local broadcasters are screwing you and your congressman has sold you out. It’s amazing to me that laws exist in this country that benefit a bunch of wealthy TV station owners to the detriment of every single U.S. citizen. Pure BS.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Just purchased DirecTV today – bummer just figuring out about the whole network HD feed thing. Anyhow, just call DirecTV and tell them that despite your zip code, you don’t receive ANY local channels because you live in a valley or on a mountain top or something. Kiss major arse with the agent on the phone and get them to write you a bang up waver to increase your chances of getting east/west coast feeds. It can take 5-45 days to get an answer. Be cautious – DirecTV only lets you do this five times. Make sure that each time you request access, you explain how your area doesn’t get a single local and how you’re such a great person and whatnot that you deserve them. Good luck!

  15. Anonymous says:

    has anyone else tried the plot of giving them an elgible address and just keeping the billing address the same. i have a friend that would let me use his address and he lives in a zip code that makes him elgible for all the hd ny networks.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I live in Charlotte, NC and I receive the off-air HD signal for ABC and FOX, but nothing from CBS and NBC. I demanded that DirecTV send out a technician, and after he had swapped my original off-air antennae, for what he said was a better model, still nothing off-air from CBS and FOX. Requested the NY/LA feeds through DirecTV, and just received a postcard that all 4 network denied the waiver. Isn’t the documemnted visit by the DirecTV technincian proof of no signal? Does anyone have am idea of what I should try next?

  17. Anonymous says:

    i live in san francisco area and got my waivers from abc,cbs, and nbc several years ago. all you have to do is tell the station that this is for a direct tv satellite receiver for your motor home. since motor homes travel out of state in other locations, they honor it. go for it.. it worked for me.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I live in Minnesota and unfortunately what are considered my local stations are in North Dakota. Directv applied for my waiver, it was granted by CBS, but denied by ABC and NBC.I am couple hundred miles away from ND and they don’t offer over air HDTV anyway. I’ve had the East/West network feeds since 1994 but in my particular case it didn’t seem to matter. Think I’ll try another waiver for ABC and NBC and see what happens.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Where can I find zip codes that don’t currently have local TV service so that Directtv will offer me hi-def package on local service via “network NYC/LA”

    – current post is incorrect in assuming you only need an address in this area. You actually need an address not currently served by local stations period. With that said – post is correct in that changing your “Service Address” versus billing is easy – takes 2 mins on the phone.

    Next Q: if you change your zip code – will you NOT get actual local programming (i.e. local news/weather via NBC/ABC etc)- in other words – I would assume the hi-def comes along with the lo-def – and therefore I’m getting the local news 150 miles west of say, Fargo, ND? Although my current experiment in changing a northern CA address to So californian has yielded no difference other than some local sports stuff… (ok by me)

    Thoughts?

  20. tommy licious says:

    so i have to beg one of the semi-literates answering the phones at DTV to request this waiver? can’t i do it myself? I WANT EAST COAST FEEDS IN LA! ! !

  21. Anonymous says:

    Comment for Matt…

    I am also in PDX area and have had the additional network feeds for about 2 years. Did you have to ask DTV for anything else as far as activating the HD signals for the out of area locals? Is the HD signal on the same chanels or on different ones? Thanks Matt

  22. Tommie says:

    I was just screwed by the FCC this week and had my east coast hd channels cut off. Called Directv and they stated the FCC recently audited them and cut my stuff off. So I am thinking about “moving” but am wondering if there are any websites out there that have the zip codes mapped out for hd local channels. In other words, to get the networks in HD, where would I need to live. I am a big Dolphins fan, it would be nice to “move” to a florida town where I could get Dolphins info on the news and HD also. Anyone?

  23. Anonymous says:

    Don’t know how true this is, but I just got off the phone with a D*TV rep, and explained that I don’t have the ability to receive OTA HD signals from my local stations here in Atlanta. I politely asked why I got NY’s FOX and all of the “regular” packaged HD channels, but not the east/west ABC, CBS, and NBC channels.

    She asked what type of dish I had, and after explaining that I have the 3LNB, she said I’d get ALL of the other channels with a 5LNB. Anybody know how true this is? If all I need is a new dish, this should be easy. Of course, it sounds too good to be true.

  24. Jetsjagurl says:

    ok as a directv agent you guys shouldnt be mad at us we are the middle man you guys need to go to the fcc and your local stations and talk to them…now jsut letting ya’lls know in case you didnt know we do have a new hd dvr coming out at the begining of fall called our hr20 it will have the features of the r15 (stick with tivo) and the h20 software which isnt that bad

  25. Anonymous says:

    so I used the link above for my address:

    Eligibilty review for the following:
    WINCHESTER, VA 22602-7683

    Standard Distant Network Service
    Not available because DIRECTV offers local network programming in your area

    Digital (HD) Distant Network Service
    Not available because DIRECTV offers local network programming in your area

    Thats great and all for the first one, but DirecTV does not provide Local HD channels and I cannot receive OTA HD signals either. So what gives?

    And for the DTV person, I’ve been hearing that song and dance for months now — I’ll believe it when I see it.

  26. Anonymous says:

    just started typing in random rural address…

    Eligibilty review for the following:
    110 W HOWARD ST
    PONTIAC, IL 61764-1820
    Standard Distant Network Service
    Not available because DIRECTV offers local network programming in your area

    Digital (HD) Distant Network Service
    Network Affiliate Status
    ABC Eligible
    CBS WCIA-DT Grade B (moderate signal)
    FOX WYZZ-DT Grade A (strong signal)
    NBC WEEK-DT Grade B (moderate signal)

  27. Anonymous says:

    I just went through the process of requesting a waiver from DTV, who electronically notified the local stations of the request. I followed up with a phone call to the local PDX station and the person told me that they are handled once a week, but are determined on your ZIP being inside or outside a DMA (Designated Market Area). The person was kind enough to check my zip against the DMA and I am INSIDE, so there is no way the waiver will be granted.
    I asked TDV about the RV and they now require an affidavit.
    I’m considering alternatives, or having DTV turn OFF my non HD local channels, so they can’t count me as a viewer household for ratings.
    I may start campaigning the advertisers to stop spending their money on NON-HD local stations.

  28. Willy says:

    Is it possible to take a HD reciever from a metro market that is recieving the locals in hi def to a rural market that does not recieve locals and hook it to the rural 5 LB antaenna and continue to recieve the locals in hi def?

  29. Anonymous says:

    wow after reading all you people’s probs what will I get done for myself not a whole heck of a lot, i have dish net work and I live in new jersey and I want fox new york but because of my address I have to get fox philadelphia and I my bro n law lives 13mins down the road and he gets fox new york !!! pisses me off

  30. Anonymous says:

    If you are in an area where you don’t receive local over the air access and you are denied a waiver try filing a small claims lawsuit. (Most places it takes 15 minutes.) You will get results real quickly! If more people did this maybe the networks would become more reasonable.

  31. AZdesertman says:

    According to the US Postal service, I live in Tucson Arizona; however, I live outside the city, in the unincorporated portion of Pima County, in the foothills of the Catalina Mountains. I get no OTA reception, but the DirecTV eligibility review for NY and LA TV stations says I get a class A signal, strong!
    I received waivers from all 4 networks and get standard definition from NY/LA from ABC, CBS, NBC & FOX. In August I got the HD package. I was told no problem…
    As of 11/23/2006; I get only ABC/LA HD. The local Tucson channels are not provided in HD by DirecTV, who further states that it will be over 2 years before I see local HD. So, I have re-requested waivers. In the meantime I have read the 106TH CONGRESS, 1ST SESSION S. 1948
    To amend the provisions of title 17, United States Code, and the Communications Act of 1934, relating to copyright licensing and carriage of broadcast signals by satellite; and found that there is no differentiation between HD and SD, in terms of the satellite provider making 2 distant markets available as well as the local affiliate. So, armed with this knowledge…. what can I do…? DirecTV has their agenda. If you are reading this, please respond! This whole situation is just crazy making! ANY suggestions would be great… We must fight the rising tide of idiots

  32. Anonymous says:

    I live just outside of New Orleans. The local affiliate for NBC, WDSU, is not currently broadcasting in HD because their antenna was destroyed in hurricane Katrina in August of 2005. They project the repairs will be completed in the summer of 2007, but they will not grant any waivers at this time.

    I have no access to NBC in HD, and the station who is not providing an HD signal can block my access to HD through Directv. How is this fair?

  33. Anonymous says:

    Local Companies, DirecTV, and the FCC should use http://www.antennaweb.org/ to test your location, your housing, and your area to check to see if you can recieve OTA channels.

    This website stated I need a violet system.

    Which is a Large Directional with PreAMP to receive the channels. That means I would have to put up a 250ft antenna and place a wired box spring mattress (thats right) at the top with a 1,000,000 watt preamp to get the local HD channels and analog channels.

    This is total and complete Bullshit that I would have to spend hundreds of dollars in investing a TV tower of my own that would have to have a redlight on it for airplanes and light up light bulbs for four blocks is unreasonable.

    If local stations can invest some money into their company and hardwire (Fiber) the HD channel to local cable companies and broadcast only HD content on their HDTV Channel(s). Have a separate channel for each.

    Next note. On 1 March 2007, all tvs sold must have a digital turner mandated by the FCC. What is this going to spring next in this war of sets.

    All TV stations should be broadcasted in HDTV at some point because it sure beats the capping of TS streams of HD then shooting it to my HDTV in 1080p. I am not looking forward to EDTV as a baby step to HDTV when just spend the few extra bucks for the real deal.

    The next problem is that only some much data can be put through a copperwire. This will lead the cable companies to running Fiber from the pole to our living quarters and put fiber throughout the house.

    Damn the US has fallen to 12th in the internet and information age. Europe and Asia get faster and cheeper internet then the US. Iceland leads the world in internet. Damn

    Just my 2 cents

    peace

  34. Anonymous says:

    I live in Big Bear Lake, CA (in the Los Angeles Market), I can get both east coast and west coast feeds, HOWEVER, DirectTV said I can’t get the EAST coast HDTV feeds? Whats up with that? I get the west coast HDTV feeds. I like to hit the sack early (due to work), but now that Im paying a lot more for HD, I Can’t get HD from the east coast affiliates? Whats up with that?

  35. Anonymous says:

    Network problem solved. Simply go to salvage yard and buy a junked motor home or travel trailer and have it title drawn up in your name. They can then salvage or trash your “motor home” and simply send a copy to Directv with a transit waiver and you get it all. It works, 27 times so far. I sure have bought a bunch of motorhomes that have burned or been totaled.
    You can also buy, have titled, copy title, title back to the salvage yard, give them a hundred bucks, send the title with the transit waiver and you are on the air.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Wow I just got the same message spoken to me. I live on the east coast and can’t get Fox in HD. I am seriously pissed. What has this world come to?

  37. ChuckB says:

    Do the local channels get piped in via OTA? What i’m wondering is I just moved from Colorado to Texas, and would love to get the Colorado Local Channels. Since I really could care less about Texas. 😉

  38. Anonymous says:

    DTV REPS HAVE A TOOL WHERE THEY ENTER YOUR ZIP CODE IN AND IT TELLS THEM IF LOCALS ARE AVAILABLE IN YOUR AREA. IF THEY ARE THE REP WILL EXPLAIN DUE TO LAW THEY ARE NOT ALLOWED TO GIVE U THE NY/LA NETWORKS IF LOCALS ARE AVAILABLE IN YOUR AREA. A WAY AROUND THIS IS TO TELL THE REP TO JUST SUBMIT A WAIVER TO SEE IF THEY ARE GRANTED.

  39. Anonymous says:

    The address thing really works. I like in NC but used my Uncles address as a service address for over two years till I had to move. Once I get my HD installed next week I probably will due the same thing again and switch back to his address. I simply submitted my request for a service address change online and within 24 hours I was receiving all NY Locals. The main reason I did it is because if you are out of the NY market you get blacked out of a lot of YES network programing like Yankeeography and Yankees Magazine and also the Yankees Encore. I also wanted Fox NY for Saturday Yankee games on Fox and also to prevent from being blacked out on Saturday afternoons when the Yankees aren’t on Fox. It works like a charm, just cross your fingers that nothing goes wrong with your dish and you don’t need a service tech to come out. If so you better switch your service address back to the prior address!

  40. T-Lar Seth says:

    It was not DirecTv that took your feeds away but those networks. A lot of digital service providers Both Satalite and Cable has been dropping channels left and right due to the networks like CBS and CW who want them to up the cost to the customer and they are refusing to, right now it is like a power struggle of greedy network execs.

    As far as putting in another service address that is not the one the service is, is just foolish and makes Technicians jobs harder, as if you report any problems with your system the technician will goto the service address on your account not the billing address.

    For the Waver yes call DirecTv for it 1-800-531-5000 and ask for the NY or LA wavier to get them. If you fail to get them try to reapply for them, if you fail then, you can ask for a test to be done to verify that you can not get locals in your area OTA, but that does cost about $150-$500 dollars which is what the previous posts don’t mention.

    Also putting in another service address than the one you actually are using the service at violates your License agreement that you signed when you got your service. Read the agreement’s section about giving false or misleading information with the company, which is what you are doing.

  41. Buck Shot says:

    Tell them you live on/next to a military base or airport and the interference does not allow OTA broadcast. They will annotate your waiver request with this information. If denied, call each local network individually, explain your situation and denial, and threaten to go to the leadership of the local military base or airport. They do not want the negative publicity of screwing the US Military and will oblige.

  42. Spencer says:

    Mr. Hawk,

    I’ve read the replies. I’ve got a solution. I’ve got a petition to the Government to abolish the Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act (SHVERA). http://www.gopetition.com/online/20914.html it’s for everybody to sign and support the cause. But unfortuately, I’ve got typos and it’s has more than 10 signatures.

  43. Anonymous says:

    we live in sw colorado and recive only new mexico tv stations. here’s hoping the satellite homer viewer and reauthoriztion passes so we can get colorado tv stations

  44. Anon says:

    Couple questions.
    1) If you live in a place using a zip code adjacent to a zip code where you’d like to “live,” wouldn’t it be simple enough to just amend your service address to the adjacent zip code (keeping the street address the same)? That would solve the problem and still probably not throw a service tech off too badly since, in a case like that, MapQuest (for example) would suggest the alternate address. In fact, MapQuest oftentimes considers addresses to have different zip codes than are actually used by the business located at that address. (I’ve never figured out why, but I frequently see it, so it’s not like this isn’t a common occurrence.)
    2) Some of have referred to “service agreement” violations, and I’ve seen references to “law violations” elsewhere concerning this practice. My service agreement mentions nothing of the kind, and I’ve seen nothing in the law that would prevent it.
    Can someone point me to something concrete demonstrating otherwise?