The Post Where DirecTV Dumps TiVo and I Dump DirecTV

HD DirecTV Box

I’ve been having various messages hit my HDTV DirecTV TiVo over the course of the past month that I’m going to need to do a required “upgrade” if I want to get my West Coast network TV channels after March 30, 2008.

Unfortunately, DirecTV’s upgrade will require me to lose my TiVo service that I love.

The upgrade is a joke. Although I’ve been relatively happy with my 4 tuner HDTV TiVo, DirecTV wants me to upgrade to a new *non TiVo* DVR that only has 2 tuners not 4 tuners like my TiVo. It kind of sucks that they are forcing this upgrade after I spent over $1,000 on this DirecTV TiVo box originally.

My response to this forced upgrade?

I just called DirecTV and canceled my service.

Sayonara DirecTV and Sayonara to your $87 a month albatross that has been hanging around my neck for the past 10 years.

In the interest of fairness, it is worth noting that I’ve been thinking about dumping DirecTV for a while anyways and their dumping my TiVo was really more the straw that broke the camel’s back than anything. At present I’m using an HDHomeRun dual tuner with my Media Center PC. Given that I can pull a bunch of HDTV off the air including all my network TV for *free* it seems kind of silly to keep paying DirecTV $87 a month.

Sure I’m not going to get the Soap Opera Network anymore or the Home Shopping Network, but with all of the content that I can get from Netflix these days for a *lot* cheaper ($17.99 for a 3 disc at a time plan), it just seems like a better deal to me. I’ve got three great discs from Netflix that I’ve been watching this weekend. A Dexter disc, Jerry Seinfield’s stand up comedy show “I’m Telling You for the Last Time” and a *fantastic* documentary from PBS called “American Photograhy: A Century of Images.”

I’ve been a customer of DirecTV since 1997. The guy on the phone tried really, really, really hard to keep me. He told me he could lower my bill by $10 a month for the next 12 months. He offered to give me a bunch of free programing. But in the end after saying “no” “no” “no,” about 30 times he relented and let me cancel my service effective today.

I will miss using my TiVo of course — alot out of simple nostalgia as it was the first tool I ever had to zap commercials, but I just won’t be able to justify buying a new standalone TiVo when my Media Center PC pretty much does everything a TiVo can do and then some. And of course I will be a lot happier without paying DirecTV that monthly tariff.

I do think that as an early adopter that my own TV decision will be a sign of things to come and perhaps even a mark of a new trend as other people also begin dumping the satellite and cable cartel in favor of more economical pay as you go or a la carte sort of content models.

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9 Comments

  1. Ben says:

    Welcome to the club.

    I did the same thing last January for the same reason. Well almost, I bought a Series3 and went the CableCARD route and I have to say it worked out well, but then again FiOS is available in my area.

    I wrote about it here.
    http://bjdraw.com/2007/01/23/bye-bye-for-now-directv/

  2. Anonymous says:

    That HDHomeRun dual tuner with my Media Center PC sounds interesting!

    Tell me more about it. Cost. Ease of use

  3. Stephen says:

    Hmm, and I had been considering DirecTV! Maybe not now…

  4. Thomas Hawk says:

    That HDHomeRun dual tuner with my Media Center PC sounds interesting!

    It works really great. It sits on your network and connects via ethernet. It costs about $170. I used a cheap splitter to connect an HDTV antennae (about $35) into the two tuner jacks on the unit and can use it with my Vista Media Center PC to capture fantastic quality HDTV over the air.

    Installing the hardware is super easy.

    With Media Center I can skip all of the commercials and can with a dual tuner I can watch live TV while I’m recording something else or record two shows that are on at the same time.

    I didn’t think that the directions on how to set up the software were as user friendly as they could have been but I was able to find the documentation to turn the software on on the internet in a forum and had it all in good working order in less than an hour.

    I’d highly recommend it to anyone looking to record HDTV over the air.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Same exact story over here. I’m still holding on to my non-HD Directivo for this very reason. The new PVR’s from DTV are barely functional.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Funny, I don’t watch network TV or the Soap network, but I’m stuck with cable because of sports–easily three quarters of the games I want to watch are on cable only. Too bad, I’d like to drop Time Warner and keep that $50 a month.

  7. As a long-time DirecTV-TiVo fan, I was very concerned about getting the non-TiVo DVR that DirecTV is offering. However, that concern was largely unfounded.

    My HR20-700 has been performing very well over the past six months. My HR10-250 HD DirecTivo always had difficulty maintaining a lock on OTA HD and the HR20 hasn’t had the same type of issues. The fact that the HR20 can access the MPEG-4 feeds for the local stations helps with disk space usage and the HD channels that they have added have been enjoyable to watch.

    The prioritizer is better than on the HR10-250, where it asks you which of the two conflicting shows you would like to skip in order to record the new one. We are now able to schedule recordings via the DirecTV web site as well, which has come in handy a few times.

    The media extender features of the HR20 are still very much beta material, but the VOD downloads have worked pretty well, even if there aren’t any HD downloads yet.

    Until channels like HGTV, the Food Network, SciFi HD, and DiscoveryHD Theater are available through some other means, I’ll be keeping my DirecTV service (even if they just sent out their yearly price hike notice).

  8. Anonymous says:

    DTV is and will forever be the biggest blunder medias taken on. With no standards (other than the lowest cost to the providers) and very little understanding from the public we are at the corporations mercy. They are stealing our analog frequencies and rendering most of this centuries advances in technology meaningless all while telling us how much better our degraded and multi-converted analog sourced signals will look in HD.

    Comcost who recently bought out Insight in my area jacked up the prices on every aspect of their service after promising not to. They also said we’d be getting a lot of new HD channels. Guess what? We have FIVE HD channels that come with the standard service and no HD on demand. There are 11 other HD channels available only with subscription. I don’t think pretty public access and the price is right constitute $140 a month.

    Oh sure, when a channel actually broadcasts something in 1080i it looks fantastic because I made sure to get a brand new tv with the right native resolution. But the fact is most of the time watching the “HD” channels are torture; full of 720p shows which are hideous stretched and upscaled commercials of 480i converted analog broadcasts!

    I probably would be ok with that since its such a new technology if
    a.) it didn’t cost as much as it did
    b.) the non-HD channels were watchable

    Whether its the home shopping network or my local nightly news it looks like I’m picking up the signal from a cave in Afghanistan. I have less ghosting artifacts with rabbit ears. And the final blow that DTV can deal goes to things it should have nothing to do with, games and movies. The only game consoles playable without lag and blurring on a digital tv are the ps3 and the xbox 360. The only movies watchable without a degrading conversion must be HD or Bluray. You know what? You can have your five channels back. I have a lifetime invested in analog technology and entertainment and I also have the ability to convert and view any modern content I choose to get off the internet for only the price of my internet connection and writeable media. Lets face it, that is what this is really all about. And sooner or later they know as wireless spreads among the uneducated masses so will open routers and hubs and free internet.