[…] Fleming presents DirecTV Review 2009 posted at Satellite TV […]
This Review Was Updated: July 20th 2009
If you were around back in the 50s and 60s, you know that cable television was a luxury that provided few advantages. It offered basic television, but with poor image quality and unreliable reception. It was a luxury that made television accessible to thousands of homes, and it helped television transform American culture.
Fast forward about 50 years and you have services that provide hundreds of channels and thousands of on Demand movies and TV shows that can be played any time. One of the most popular satellite TV services currently out there is DirecTV. While traditional cable still exists, many would argue that it has been surpassed far and wide by the superior programming and service of satellite TV services, especially when it comes to price. Satellite television, along with being available anywhere that the satellite has a line of sight (read: anywhere in America and even parts of southern Canada), is able to offer incredible programming quality, audio/visual quality, and high definition content without the need to upgrade the service or change providers.
1. Flexible and Affordable Programming Packages
DirecTV is currently the leader in America for satellite TV service. As you can see below, DirecTV offers a wide variety of packages which you will generally find to be cheaper then cable and competitive with DISH Network.
DirecTV has taken a very proactive approach to the American market and has offered an assortment of packages that are designed to fill every niche and suit every budget. Whether you are prepared to spend $30 a month or $300 a month, DirecTV has given you the ability to customize each individual package which is a huge advantage over cable programming./font>
The Family Package: $29.99 a month
This package offers the best of both worlds: 55 channels, and a low monthly price. This package also includes up to 4 receivers installed for free, allowing you to have satellite television all over the house if you wish. Much of the content is geared towards families- channels like Disney, Discovery Kids, Toon Disney, Nickelodeon, and National Geographic allow for great all-ages entertainment. Of course, you’ll find your favorites and local channels too!
The Choice Package: $49.99 a month
If you’re looking to ramp up your television, this is a giant leap from the Family Package! This package includes up to 4 standard receivers installed free, as well as 140 channels, including many long-time favorite and premium channels. This package also includes tons of XM satellite radio channels, so if you love streaming music you will love the 100% digital quality satellite radio offered by XM. High-definition users will also be delighted to know that they can add high-definition programming to this package for only $9.99 a month.
The Choice Xtra Package: $54.99 a month
For a $5 premium over the Choice package, the Choice Xtra package has 185 channels (40 more than the Choice package), including channels that are hard to find (Biography, the Gold Channel, Nicktoons, etc.). The Choice Xtra package includes all of the features of the Choice package, including 68 XM satellite radio channels and the ability to add HD programming for $9.99 a month.
The Plus DVR Package – $59.99 a month – 185 channels (including local channels) for you to view and enjoy. This package includes all of the features of the Choice Xtra package, including XM radio channels and the ability to order HD programming for $9.99 a month. However, this package includes a DVR unit that you can use to pause, rewind, and record live TV. If you have never experienced DVR before you honestly don’t know what you’re missing.
The Choice Xtra + HD Access: $64.98 a month:
As the name implies, this package is 195 channels of viewing goodness, including XM satellite radio and numerous premium channels. However, it also includes HD channels that are broadcast via the satellite and decoded via the bundled HD receiver.
Plus HD DVR – $69.99 a month:
195 channels, HD broadcasts, and the ability to stop, rewind, pause, and record live TV. This package is the ultimate for HD viewing- accept no compromises or limitations. The price of $69.99 a month includes everything that you could ever want, including local channels, as well as a great promotional price on a HD DVR. If you want the best of the best, this is the package for you.
2. DVR Scheduling
DirecTV also offers many additional service such as the ability to record your favorite shows and movies, stop, pause, and rewind live TV with a DVR. Our favorite feature when using the service was the online DVR scheduling, which is a new service that allows you to access your DVR at home through the DirecTV website and schedule it to automatically record shows and movies, right from your computer.
3. Great Customer Support
At the end of the day, customer support can either make or break a company. You can have a great product or service but if you don’t have good customer support that product or service can be worth nothing. One thing that really impressed us about DirecTV was the customer support. From the moment we called to sign up and schedule an installation date we felt like we were taken care of.
Our installation technician arrived on time and had us up and running with the service in under an hour, and once the service was installed we have had no major problems to report. We did have a minor glitch with our receiver a few days in, but we called customer support and throughout the duration of the call everyone we spoke to was very helpful and polite. DirecTV definitely gets two thumbs way up when it comes to customer support.
4. Picture Quality
Another thing that really shocked us about DirecTV was how good the picture quality was. Considering that your TV signal comes from space, you would think DirecTV would be unable to match the picture quality of Cable or FIOS. However DirecTV actually broadcasts over 130 channels and hundreds of on demand movies in full 1080P. I really wouldn’t be surprised if they offer more channels in HD currently than any Cable company out there.
5. The Best Sports Programming Around (NFL Sunday Ticket).
Although we have found that DISH Network is generally a bit cheaper when you compare packages side by side, if you are into sports we highly recommend that you go for DirecTV. DirecTV has NFL Sunday Ticket exclusively, meaning its not available through any other TV service provider. NFL Sunday Ticket gives you a front row seat to over 200 NFL games (many of which are broadcast in full HD) throughout the 2009 – 2010 football season. You can also watch games streaming online through the DirecTV website.
1. Pricing ( Well Kinda )
The only real con we came up with during our complete review of the DirecTV service was the price. When compared to cable TV services DirecTV ends up being much cheaper most of the time. The only gripe we have is that when you compare some of the lower end DirecTV plans to DISH Network (the other big Satellite TV company) DISH Network’s plans are a few dollars cheaper a month. Although this isn’t a deal breaker we would like to see DirecTV bring their prices down just a tad. If your into sports programming we still recommend going with DirecTV over DISH.
Overall we found DirecTV to be everything it promised and more. Our installation went very smoothly and we were up and running just a few days after ordering. We got hundreds of channels, many of which are in HD and after doing the math, we would’ve ended up saving hundreds of dollars a year compared to some of the cable TV services out there.
Is DirecTV better than DISH Network? The simple answer is that for those of you who are really into sports programming, Yes. If you are more into family oriented programming, or some of the lower end packages we would probably recommend looking into DISH Network because their service offers the same content for a few dollars a month less, which can end up being $50 – $100 in savings a year.
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I’m a full time RV’er and love my DirecTV! I travel the countryside with my Winegard RoadTrip satellite tv antenna and have excellent reception everywhere in the country. Love my DirecTV!
I have found DirecTV to have horrible customer service and am statying with DishNetwork as a result. We decided to change to DirecTV as we live in an area without DishNetwork HD service. I have since spent about 8 hours total between ordering, waiting 4 hours for install which never arrived, and another few hours trying to get someone to assist from customer service and get installation rescheduled. They sent me through 4 people the first time-none of which were helpful and all of whom I had to try and explain the situation to over and over. Only for the person to decide I needed to be transferred yet again. The second time I spent another 45 minutes with, after requesting a supervisor, only to find out it would be over a month before they would reschedule. I can’t imagine using a service which has such bad service that they treat new clients this way. I can’t imagine how they would treat those they already have.
DirecTV offers you programs and package extras (“for being one of their best customers”) for one price, but then charge you something else. And when you try to dispute it, they insist “the offer never existed”. They have horrible customer service … if you ever get a hold of someone because you spend at least 5 minutes talking to an automated robot on the other end who can’t distringuish “billing” from “pay per view”! My rates have gone up so high in the past two years and if another cable or dish company was available where I lived, I would definitely be going with them because they can’t be worse than DirecTV. I am so unhappy with them that I would rather not have TV than have to deal with them!!
Direct TV has dropped Versus because of some fight with comquest and the moment we find a service provider that has it we will be changing. I don’t have any other problem with them, but when your an IRL fan and 90% of their races are on versus it doesn’t make sense to keep with a company that doesn’t understand that you can’t just drop a station with out making people upset