Adios DirecTV-Thanks Everyone Here. (1 Viewer)

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Happy Camper

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Jul 20, 2005
264
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Central Texas
We have had DirecTV service since 1997, with the Premiere package and, at times, as many as five boxes, now four (well, zero today), hooked up to a whole house audio video network. For a variety of reasons, we've finally and happily said a final good-bye to DirecTV effective today. We are now competely a Verizon FIOS household, with new TiVo Premiere boxes (which ROCK, by the way, and thanks to Weaknees for their usual greatness in customer service) to cushion the impact of Verizon's obsolete boxes and clunky software interface.

What I'll probably miss most is this DirecTV Forum and the incredible knowledge of the members here. Of all the electronics related Forums out there, I think this one is the best at providing terrific group knowledge and support. It seems to me virtually impossible that even the most obtuse and electronics challenged customer could ever have a DirecTV related problem which the members here could not solve or assist with, promptly and helpfully. If your provider is DirecTV, there is no better place to be for any knowledge or support you might need.

So, thanks to everyone here for your help, support, knowledge, interesting and 'spirited' discussions and general incredible pool of DirecTV genius and news. I will stay around to occasionally read, and to follow the related FIOS, non-satellite discussions elsewhere, but I'll miss you guys supporting me in my love-hate relationship with DirecTV.

By the way, cancellation with DirecTV is interesting, a little snippy, and fairly hostile once they figure out that you do not want anything from them except to cancel. There are all kinds of abitrary policies and rules they have about return of equipment, time limits, etc. that they read to you on and on, basically saying, "We'll d owhatever we want on our own time schedule, and you do what we want very promptly on our arbitrary schedule, immediately and when we want you to or we will charge you various fees and charges." They ask you why you want to canel, but when I asked them if they were really interested in all the reasons, they actually and astonishingly admitted, "Not really."

For those of you interested, our reasons for switching to FIOS are probably familiar to all of you:

1. Our long-standing dissatisfaction with DirecTV's arbitrary policies and charges, like two year service commitments, paying for boxes you then 'rent,' having to have a 'service protection' package even though the boxes are 'leased', after you pay for them, the extra charge for HD, the extra charge for additional channels we used to get, like HDNet movies, their consistent practice of adding a two year commitment on after activation of replacement service plan boxes until you catch them and complain, etc.

2. Persistent loss of signals during our frequent Texas rainstorms, snow on the dish (five lnb oval), etc.

3. HD lite compression (hate it) and occasional signal attenuation from some satellites, no matter how we aimed, some signals were much better than others. And lately, even though we have a professionally installed dish with ample reinforcement, which has been strengthened and troubleshot several times, we have had pixellation on some channels (like my wife's beloved Fox News or the Golf Channel) any time the wind gusts over 40 miles per hour,a frequent occurrence in North Texas in the Spring.

4. DirecTV installers and/or technicians who are poorly trained subcontractors-when we know better what the fix is than they do, but DirecTV persists in sending them because they don't believe us.

5. A general impression of overall bad D* customer service, high costs for what you get (and niggling extras which nickel and dime you to death), false, misleading and deceptive trade practices.

6. The ability to bundle our FIOS TV (everything except 'adult' and foreign language), internet (25/15, actually working at about 30/25) and phone (basic phone services and unlimited domestic long distance) for a package price which results in really significant savings for us (about $97 per month over our previous piecemeal, more if you add in the value of the extra HD channels like Smithsonian, HDNet movies, etc. we weren't getting but now do) . The cost of our buying new TiVo boxes will ammortize in seven months (we got two TiVos and two Verizon boxes).

7. A way better, stronger FIOS signal and less complex system when you have lots of boxes and TVs-no multiswitches, dual lines, aiming, etc. I like the integration with our antenna system on the TiVo boxes and signal box, plus one button access to EVERYtHING, including Netflix, other boxes, your computer, iTunes, etc. etc. world without end on the TiVo Premiere (hear the heavelny choir? I do.)

8. Ultra fast tuning and 30 second advances on FIOS, more music channels, pretty much more of everything, including HBO on deand, with FIOS.

Obviously, D* does some things well, but not enough to keep us, and at too high a price (and I'm still peevish about two year commitments-even we had no commitment because I carefully, defensively ran out the term).[ But, I'll not miss D*, which is now dead to me. I just hope we do not move further out into the country in retirement, at which point I'd have to slink back-sigh.

Any, thanks guys, for all your help over the years. Truly.

Best Regards,
The Camper
Free at last, free at last

P.S. Both of us believe that the picture, on every one of our TVs, is noticeably better and sharper with FIOS. Other opinions will vary, no doubt.
 
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hancox

Pub Member / UConnaholic
Supporting Founder
Nov 23, 2003
3,578
54
Monroe, CT
Can't blame you at all. FIOS is a fantastic product, and the use of cablecard-based DVR's would be very tempting (I would likely build some HTPC's, but the Tivo is a solid choice)
 

raoul5788

Studebaker driver
Staff member
HERE TO HELP YOU!
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Dec 28, 2004
30,495
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I would consider going to FIOS if it was available, but I doubt it ever will be. BTW, some of your reasons for leaving Directv are wrong, not that I have any problem with your overall decision.
 

Happy Camper

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Jul 20, 2005
264
0
Central Texas
Well, our reasons may be "wrong," and there is always room for spirited debate, but we sure are happy in our "wrongness," as are no doubt many who voted for our current President and Congress. Freedom of consumer choice is the key. I make no argument for rightness, or that FIOS is better than DirecTV, or DISH, or anyone else. We only set out why we severed a fourteen year relationship with D* for anyone interested in it, doubtless that latter number is small.

Many of our reasons could be easily counted, read in a contract or graphically displayed, like cost to us, total number of lines displayed and bit rates on some channels, number of music channels, (or,TiVo desk top versatility, like downloading recorded video and converting to iPod with one piece of software), two year contract commitments every time you installed a new box, having to pay a service policy fee to swap out a busted box you paid for in the first place, paying a seperate fee for the six channels in the 'HD Extra pack' or having persistent reception problems with snow and rain-those were all things we could count, read or see directly and objectively. I'm old and have the disability of a graduate education and years as a pilot, but I can fortunately still count, read and see pretty well.

Our opinion factors, like quality and knowledge of local installers or technicians, attitude of the company towards its subscribers, snippiness of phone representatives, better picture and sound on the TVs we have (pretty good ones, eleven in all, with four screens bigger than 50" and one projector), ease of use of the software, speed of the boxes, greatness of the new TiVo Premiere or Weaknees customer service, crappiness of Verizon's own boxes and software, etc., suspect trade practices of D* are all just that, our own opinions and impressions.

Lastly, the one thing which Verizon could do which DirecTV could not was to package a very good phone service, blindingly fast and reliable internet and a terrific television service (albeit decoded by terrible Motorola boxes and Verizon interface) into one package that had a short term (six month) big price advantage and long term significant price advantage to us on a bundled services basis. Perhaps this is unfair to DirecTV because the apples to apples price advantage for just the TV, if you did not bundle it, was only a little more than $12 a month the way we had it packaged, a little more if we'd added D*'s extra six channels. Verizon's pricing on these bundles is predatory, but good marketing because it offers a package which only some pretty bad cable companies can provide or equal on a combined service basis, and not as well. I just would never add back the D* six channel extra pack, because it just peeved me. And, I am the only straight male I know who did not have the season ticket for football and watch every one of the hundreds of D* sports channels. All I could do to stomach the Cowboys.

We had DirecTV for fourteen years, so I know there is much to like about it. One of the biggest selling points to us was always that DirecTV's hardware and software was better and more versatile for us, especially integrating into a whole house custom system. I almost died of happiness long ago, for instance, when they came out with the original Hughes HR-250. I still advise my friends to stick with D* unless they are willing to put in, at their own expense, at least a couple of aftermarket TiVo boxes. I think if I had just handed my lovely wife a Verizon remote, a Verizon cable box and a channel list, that she'd have killed me in my sleep. With her own, personal TiVo, the transition for her was seamless. I think you should have non-Verizon boxes and software on often used TVs or TVs your wife and/or kids are going to use, or networked boxes, and that's only if you are more tech savvy and patient than they are. Moreover, Verizon boxes STILL all have only one remote code, and no provision to change it. Depending upon how your systems are set up, any stray IR or RF conversion from one box will work the others-not good when you have, say,side-by-side boxes. I can use the Verizon boxes in my man cave and the Home Theater, but if I had to use them every day for every purpose, I'd throw them out the window and switch back to D*. The new TiVo? Love it!

What I really want to express is thanks for how much all of you guys know about DirecTV-made my ownership experience much easier on many occasions. Fortunately, fiber optic TV is about as simple a a pure cable system. No doubt I'll have days when I miss DirecTV, but it won't be during a North Texas thunderstorm, or when I'm paying bills.

So, to put some perspective on it, and without consideration to being wrong or right-we'd have not switched but for the availability of the new TiVo and multipath cablecards, no matter what the price advantage. We really could not have made just the Verizon boxes work very well. The rest of the stuff is just added value, or not. I'm old. I want stuff to be easy, streamlined and high quality, work a long time, and not hassle me. That's why I drive American made trucks and German cars, maybe. Again, just opinion, he said, laughing.

Whether 'right', or wrong-headed, I'm always, respectfully,
The Happy Camper
 
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riffjim4069

SatelliteGuys Master
Supporting Founder
Apr 7, 2004
35,180
273
SatelliteGuystonfieldville, U.S.A.
Congrats Happy Camper and welcome to the FiOS. We have been very happy FiOS customers for the past 2+ years and our Triple Play bundle (completed with TivoHD) has been rock-solid since Day 1 (not one second of service outage) and we save rougly $60 per month over maintaining separate services: Dish Network, Comcast broadband, and telephone. Plus, the best part of FiOS is the outstanding picture quality. Excellent post BTW.
 

raoul5788

Studebaker driver
Staff member
HERE TO HELP YOU!
Supporting Founder
Lifetime Supporter
Dec 28, 2004
30,495
14,130
Cheshire CT
Like I said, I have no problem with your decision to leave. I might follow you if I could. Many if not most of your reasons are valid ones. Some are purely opinion. One of them is wrong. Never the less, I don't want an argument with you. As I stated, overall I understand your decision completely.
 

markd

Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Jun 4, 2004
287
0
Memphis area
Lucky you. All I can get here is AT&T Uverse with only two HD channels at a time. If Verizon would come here I would go FIOS in a heartbeat. But that will never happen here. AT&T & Comcast has a monopoly here.
 

scoop8

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 31, 2009
502
11
Dallas TX
Camper, I hope you have great satisfaction with FIOS.

I've been with DTV since '99 primarily for the sports progamming. That's why I don't see myself switching anytime soon but I do have FIOS installed for 'net and phone svc so adding TV will be easier for me if I decide to go that route later.

I also live in Texas (Dallas) but I've not had much weather-related issues as you have apparently had with your DTV. I do have the inescapeable rainouts during heavy rainstorms but that's the only time I've had any picture dropouts. I've never had a picture problem with high wind conditions. My SL5 dish is mounted on the roof close to the gutter area.

I don't have the pixteling issues that you had as well.

Best wishes for smooth FIOS sailing!
 

Happy Camper

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Jul 20, 2005
264
0
Central Texas
Thanks riffjim. I had gotten just one FIOS box here in my little upstairs man den, and messed with service and capabilities for a coupe of months before we changed everything. Thank goodness the new TiVo premiere came out just at the right time!

Our daughter has FIOS at her house and has also never had a service outage in three years. So, she came over to our house two weeks ago to watch American Idol with her mother and a big thunderstorm came by just when Crystal Bowersox was singing. Out went the DirecTV, and they did not know how to switch to the antenna. Crisis in the home of one of the members of Team Bowersox!

So, the order went in for FIOS the next week. I know for sure we'll be happy with it. It's not that big a change-we already had FIOS internet and phone, and this house was built and wired for it when we designed it three years ago.

I'm already struck with how much better the music channels sound when I play them in lieu of satellite radio, especially two channel playback. (o.k. rig-Onkyo receiver-Rotel amps-Monitor Audio Silver 8 speakers) And, on our Sony projector and Stewart filmscreen in the home theater-wow. The picture jumps. I made no change in video settings or calibration settings, just hooked it up directly to a new Verizon box. The change was immediate and obvious-looks like the best of the best Blu-rays on most all the HD channels. I guess I'm a TV whore-give me better picture and sound for less money with no outages and I'll go home with that service.

I don't have my life or self worth tied up in what TV service we have, but I am retired, and HT is one of my hobbies, so I love to compare and talk about it. I'm aways a little surprised (just a little) at how heated some of the debates can get, though.

Interesting side note: The Verizon tech who hooked us up (Ben, a really good guy, by the way, professional, fast, efficient) just called to make sure everything was working o.k., and that he was in the neighborhod this afternoon and tomorrrow and could swing by if we were having any problems. Priceless!

I like the new TiVo box a lot, but I'm going to miss the ninety minute buffer, sigh. It ain't perfect.....
 
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Happy Camper

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Jul 20, 2005
264
0
Central Texas
Scoop-we moved in 2008 to a more rural part of Collin County (still suburban enough to get fiber!), and we have some land around us, with no real wind break on the South side. Our dish is installed very securely, and has been looked at and strengthened four times,tightened, braced, etc. I've been up there myself fussing at it and I've flown aircraft not as well braced as that dish or those lnbs. Still, with the very high wind gusts, particularly from the South, like we had last week, it still pixellated some. Not a big deal, but irritating to me, especially since I could not stop it. I think our high wind issue is not typical for D* consumers, but most of our other factors may be.

We had previously lived in a golf course neighborhood which was the second in the country to get Verizon fiber after Keller. We've had fiber internet and phone since, but they could not talk me into the TV because I never could find a way to make the boxes fit into our system without a lot of expensive work-arounds.

For now, FIOS just negotiated a long term deal we could not refuse, good enough to pay for the two TiVo units I got.

So, we're a lot like you. Mostly, I prefer to look at the good stuff about FIOS. DirecTV worked fine most all the time, and their sports packages are absolutely the best. But, somehow, over the years, they just peeved my sensitive nature, especially when they added bogus service commitments I had to fight about to get rid of.
Regards.
 

SupaFresh208

SatelliteGuys Family
Aug 4, 2009
43
0
Queensbridge, NY
Good for you Camper...I want Fios as well but its yet to come to my building. Fios is across the street hell its in every house on my street. By the time it becomes available I won't even care anymore. Just brooding away at my unhappiness...
 

scoop8

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 31, 2009
502
11
Dallas TX
Scoop-we moved in 2008 to a more rural part of Collin County (still suburban enough to get fiber!), and we have some land around us, with no real wind break on the South side. Our dish is installed very securely, and has been looked at and strengthened four times,tightened, braced, etc. I've been up there myself fussing at it and I've flown aircraft not as well braced as that dish or those lnbs. Still, with the very high wind gusts, particularly from the South, like we had last week, it still pixellated some. Not a big deal, but irritating to me, especially since I could not stop it. I think our high wind issue is not typical for D* consumers, but most of our other factors may be.

We had previously lived in a golf course neighborhood which was the second in the country to get Verizon fiber after Keller. We've had fiber internet and phone since, but they could not talk me into the TV because I never could find a way to make the boxes fit into our system without a lot of expensive work-arounds.

For now, FIOS just negotiated a long term deal we could not refuse, good enough to pay for the two TiVo units I got.

So, we're a lot like you. Mostly, I prefer to look at the good stuff about FIOS. DirecTV worked fine most all the time, and their sports packages are absolutely the best. But, somehow, over the years, they just peeved my sensitive nature, especially when they added bogus service commitments I had to fight about to get rid of.
Regards.

I'm in Irving on a typical neighborhood street so I get some relief from the winds with the other houses nearby.

Believe me, there are things about DTV that I'm not crazy about either, the HD access fee, Sunday Tkt "Superfan" (HD) charge, and a couple other things but unless they relinquish their sports-prog lead among providers, I'll be sticking around :)

But, FIOS TV is something I'm keeping in mind someday. I'm just glad that they laid the FIOS line on my street last year. I love their 'net svc. It's easily the best I've had.
 

jtwex

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jul 25, 2008
828
0
Embarrassed Bear
A little off topic but does anyone know why Fios decided to take their fiber all the way to the house (where super cool people could run fiber in their houses) & UVerse only runs fiber to the nearest control box where copper once again takes over? Is it possible that down the line ATT will expand on this & run Fiber all the way to the individuals NID?
 

jackten

Member
Dec 12, 2009
7
0
ZooTown
Question regarding FiOS

I've come to understand there are some limits to Fios and I'm curious if you can address these for me. Am I correct that Fios is limited (due to bandwith) to only 2 HD feeds to a house at the same time? What happens on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays when there may be more than 2 things on at a time which people in the household want to watch? This seems like my biggest limitation to getting fios. The GF has a few shows to tape and I do to. I use the MRV beta and my apartment has a total of 7 HD tuners. I always have a tuner open. This isn't the case for Fios, is it?
 

Fiachra

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 10, 2008
200
1
New England
I just don't like long good-byes. Can't we just say, 'Until we meet again".
LOL
Good luck with your new service!
:)
 

riffjim4069

SatelliteGuys Master
Supporting Founder
Apr 7, 2004
35,180
273
SatelliteGuystonfieldville, U.S.A.
I've come to understand there are some limits to Fios and I'm curious if you can address these for me. Am I correct that Fios is limited (due to bandwith) to only 2 HD feeds to a house at the same time? What happens on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays when there may be more than 2 things on at a time which people in the household want to watch? This seems like my biggest limitation to getting fios. The GF has a few shows to tape and I do to. I use the MRV beta and my apartment has a total of 7 HD tuners. I always have a tuner open. This isn't the case for FiOS, is it?
This limitation is with AT&T U-Verse and not FiOS. Verizon decided to run fiber all the way to the home where it terminates at a devices called a GPON (Gigabit Passive Optical Network). Inside the home the services operate just like normal phone (copper), internet, and cable (RG-6) services. In fact, inside the home FiOS TV operates almost identical to regular digital Cable TV service...but 100X better and more reliable.

On the other hand, AT&T decided to build their U-Verse network using both fiber and existing copper. In a nutshell, it is fiber to the curb and not the home. Why did they do this? To save a few $$$ on their installation cost...which is better if you're a short-term investor, but a poor capital investment decision in the long-run. Additionally, U-Verse TV is based on IPTV and not Cable standards...however, the courts ruled that AT&t is still required to obtain a Cable TV franchise in order to deliver their IP-based video service. Unlike FiOS, U-Verse customers can not use Tivo or Moxi DVRs (with Cablecard) since U-Verse is not traditional Cable TV - it is IPTV and you need to lease AT&T's set-top-boxes that use Microsoft's technology. Regardless, the fiber to the curb architecture is inferior to Verizon's FiOS architecture - notice the limitation in the number of HD-streams and download/upload speeds. My neighbor has been running 100Mb (Verizon exec) for the past two years, and FiOS is certainly capable of Gigabit speeds in the future. Additionally, FiOS TV is crystal clear whereas U-Verse is overcompressed just like D* and E*.
 

raoul5788

Studebaker driver
Staff member
HERE TO HELP YOU!
Supporting Founder
Lifetime Supporter
Dec 28, 2004
30,495
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Cheshire CT
This limitation is with AT&T U-Verse and not FiOS. Verizon decided to run fiber all the way to the home where it terminates at a devices called a GPON (Gigabit Passive Optical Network). Inside the home the services operate just like normal phone (copper), internet, and cable (RG-6) services. In fact, inside the home FiOS TV operates almost identical to regular digital Cable TV service...but 100X better and more reliable.

On the other hand, AT&T decided to build their U-Verse network using both fiber and existing copper. In a nutshell, it is fiber to the curb and not the home. Why did they do this? To save a few $$$ on their installation cost...which is better if you're a short-term investor, but a poor capital investment decision in the long-run. Additionally, U-Verse TV is based on IPTV and not Cable standards...however, the courts ruled that AT&t is still required to obtain a Cable TV franchise in order to deliver their IP-based video service. Unlike FiOS, U-Verse customers can not use Tivo or Moxi DVRs (with Cablecard) since U-Verse is not traditional Cable TV - it is IPTV and you need to lease AT&T's set-top-boxes that use Microsoft's technology. Regardless, the fiber to the curb architecture is inferior to Verizon's FiOS architecture - notice the limitation in the number of HD-streams and download/upload speeds. My neighbor has been running 100Mb (Verizon exec) for the past two years, and FiOS is certainly capable of Gigabit speeds in the future. Additionally, FiOS TV is crystal clear whereas U-Verse is overcompressed just like D* and E*.

Most of what you have written is true. However, Directv sends out what they get in, 1920x1080 for the hd channels, anyway. Dish downrezzes theirs to 1440x1080.
 

DodgerKing

SatelliteGuys Master
Nov 14, 2007
16,776
26
SoCal
I would switch to FiOs here as well if I could take it with me. The main reason for me sticking with DirecTV is that I can take it with me when we travel and go up to our other place in Mammoth.
 

riffjim4069

SatelliteGuys Master
Supporting Founder
Apr 7, 2004
35,180
273
SatelliteGuystonfieldville, U.S.A.
Most of what you have written is true. However, Directv sends out what they get in, 1920x1080 for the hd channels, anyway. Dish downrezzes theirs to 1440x1080.
Just to add my two cents...I left DISH because I could no longer stand their watered down HD-Lite (aka DishHD-Lite, TuboHD-Lite, AbsoluteHD-Lite, etc.). I loved their HD DVR (still have three 622s sitting in the closet), but I like eye-popping and not eye-pooping HD. My neighbor and one of my friends have D* (Sunday Ticket fans) and, in my opinion, their HD is superior to E*...it's not at all a bad HD experience and, to be honest, a lot of it is comparable to FiOS HD since the programmers broadcast a lot of sub-par HD to begin with. However, when HD is done right (on the programmer's side) it clearly is a much better product on FiOS than it is on D*. Of course, some people swear to me that their DISH HD looks just as good as FiOS HD...and there are some people who will tell you the Sirloin at the Western Sizzlin' is just as good the Prime Rib at a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. Go figure! While I'll agree that D* HD is superior to E* HD, I just want to be clear that FiOS HD is superior to D* HD...and we won't even get into SD (if anyone still watched it) since there is no comparison between the two. ;)
 
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