DirecTV, AT&T etc

Some months ago Mrs. L and I toyed with the idea of getting rid of it. We started on it when Costco had a 2 year deal and it was all well and good. That finished, prices shot up, and we started considering Sling, Hulu, Netflix, etc.

The rep on the phone said they sympathized but they could get me a good deal and didn’t want to lose our biz etc. Great. We got the bill knocked down about $80/month. Kewl!

Well, the calendar says that today is the 1st of the month and suddenly we’ve lost some channels. When I say “lost” I mean they’re still at that location on the channel list, but instead of a program cheerfully popping up on screen, we get a notice that we don’t currently subscribe to it but we can get in touch with them and add it to our service.

When I called AT&T (45 minutes waiting for an actual person to speak to me) they said that actually, the channel I called about was a free preview. It ran out last night. Like I said, today is 1st of the month. So we thought we’d kept service and got a lower price, but we really lost service, hence the lower price.

It’s kinda like quicksand at this point. There was no notice that this channel or that was going to go away…it was just gone, and what’s going next? We went and looked at the channel lineup to see how much extra ransom we’d have to pay to get those back.

The answer seemed to be about $20 per month. Well that’s not so awful. Um, wait: the fine print. That requires a two year contract. After the first year, they jack up the price $50 per month. Oh, and you have to choose autopay.

Um, I don’t know if we’ll be here two years from now, but I’m positive I don’t want to commit to dancing with them any longer than I have to. Is that standard these days, a two year commitment?

Thoughts, horror stories, advice, commiseration? My hunch is that most services start off giving a good deal and then it devolves from there to the point where you end up having to switch services, at which point the same process starts with a different villain.

My experience is as you said. You get an opening deal that is great. After it is up you have to play the game of negotiating each time. If you’re dedicated you can keep switching services for the super deals.

We have a steep discount on DirecTV so we’re sticking with it. But Comcast, Cox, Cablevision, Fios, doesn’t matter, they all give you a sweet deal to sign and then jack the price up a lot after the deal is done.

Nothing new just modern products. This was the same scam magazine sellers pulled. Deals for “new” subscribers only.

I used to have DirecTV and absolutely loved it. It was great. It wasn’t “cheap” but their service was outstanding and quality was great.

Then AT&T bought them and it went all to shit. Not kidding. The difference was night & day. AT&T was awful. Service went to shit and prices rose.

I dumped them and doubt I’ll ever go back.

Awful, awful, awful.

Fuck AT&T. I hate them so much…almost as much as I hate Comcast.

NSFW but I found this free with amazon prime.

Naw it is just ATT that pulls this crap. Spectrum doesnt.

The only reason we haven’t dropped our AT&T U-verse is because our only other option in town, some company called MidCo, apparently sucks even worse.

(Back in the old days, the same local company owned the newspaper and cable company, and service was pretty good. But then about 10 years ago they sold off the cable biz, and it has changed hands about three different times since then, getting progressively worse each time.)

The shit is always browner in the other stall…

Update: We dropped them. We’re now slinging, which I later learned is actually owned by Dish Network.

So far we’re mostly happy. We’ve had a few hiccups and it hasn’t been a big deal but you do wonder what happens if the hiccups transpire when you’re recording. In the cloud.

We thought Direct TV would send boxes for us to return the equipment. Their later email said to take it in to an approved location (UPS or FedEx). OK, I took pictures of the bar codes. We went to the ups store. The flunky scanned one bar code and said ok, you’re set. I said wait, we had this from the bedroom too. Owner of the UPS place told flunky yes, scan that too, which flunky resisted but did eventually. We saved all receipts. Ugh.

We came home from returning the equipment to find a DirecTV letter telling us to take our equipment to a Fedex location. Um…? Mrs. L says we haven’t been billed further, yet, so that’s good.

Once we let DirecTV go, thing was that they (AT&T) also provide our internet so they jacked that price up because we weren’t bundled any more. I’m not sure how you can get around this. Isn’t there a near monopoly, or at least very limited choice, for internet providers in most locales?

Yup. Monopoly city but it seems anti-trust laws only apply on a national level. So, huge areas are carved out that are local monopolies but if you take them to court they will say they don’t monopolize the whole country so go pound sand.

There are recent reports that AT&T wants to sell DirecTV, which lost over 800,000 customers in the second quarter. (I think people are instead choosing streaming services.)

AT&T is selling DirecTV is they can find a buyer. They were planning to sell it even before the big loss of customers. Don’t forget, they own HBOMax. AT&T wants to be a leading streamer. They also want to bypass broadband for a suped-up 5G network though that’s going to need a lot more real coverage than they currently have.

HBO Max seems to be a disaster. I just upgraded my AT&T Internet to fiber - free to do and cheaper even after the promo period - and it comes with free HBO Max. Which I’ve never used.

HBOMax is pretty good, most of the HBO & Max series are on it. All of Looney Tunes, Scooby Doo & a lot of cartoon network stuff, a bunch of Anime (sorry not my thing but one of the big studios) and TCM. Also most of the DC stuff. The HBO shows alone is a pretty good reason to have it if you’re a streamer.

It already has over 4 million users in addition to those getting through their HBO subscription.

Their biggest hurdle now is getting their app native to Firestick & Roku. That is something Disney+ did much better.

Verizon FIOS is the same. I don’t know about others.

It does suck that they would jack it up after 12 months, but obviously you can do the math.

When the 2 years is up, they (or whoever owns it by then) will probably offer you the same basic deal, adjusted for whatever market pricing is then.

Poke around their website, you might be able to do it online.

I had DirecTV for years and really liked it. Towards the end it just became too expensive, I was paying around $180 a month. Dropped it and went with HULU Live and Roku. I get about 80 channels with it which is plenty. We mostly watch Netflix, Prime and HBO. Another sore subject about AT&T is they own HBOMax which I can’t get on Roku. Those motherfuckers are constantly fucking with me.

HBOMax will probably be available on the Firesticks & Roku within the next 6 months or so.

I agree it was dumb to not roll out with these two major players live and ready.

In the mean time I’m paying for HBOMax and not getting it except on my phone or tablet.

It is possible on a firestick to download the app and get it to work. I wonder if there is a way to do so on a Roku. I suggest googling that.

Spectrum not only offers no contracts but they will buy you out of the competitors.