Is DirecTV Worth it? Another Case of Cord Cutter Ethics


Just as an aside I wondered: If you are a die-hard NFL fan, should you even be a cord cutter? All this talk about how to watch via some inferior stream using a VPN blah blah blah… What if you could just give up being a cord cutter from September to the Super Bowl?

courtesy MatthMatthew Straubmuller flickr

courtesy MatthMatthew Straubmuller flickr

So I jumped on over to DirecTV’s site and tried to sign up for the cheapest package that included  NFL Sunday Ticket. The process feels a little like trying to close the deal at a car dealer. Well you’ll need one of these (packages) and one of these (equipment) and oh what about this (extra channels). But I persisted.

In the end I was presented with something that would cost me $92.98 per month and $99 due at check-out. The NFL Sunday Ticket portion of that was $39.99 per month. Well OK fine. Going to just one game live easily costs $100 these days, so perhaps 6 months of TV football is not such a bad deal. Then I’ll just turn it off.


Well no, unfortunately, DirecTV is smarter than that:

ALL OFFERS REQUIRE 24-MONTH AGREEMENT Offers valid through 10/1/14 and are based on approved credit; credit card required, except in MA & PA. New customers only (lease required). Applicable use tax adjustment may apply to the retail value of the installation. Programming, pricing and offers are subject to change and may vary in certain markets. Some offers may not be available through all channels and in select areas. Customers activating the CHOICE™ Package or above or the MAS ULTRA Package or above will be automatically enrolled in the 2014 season of NFL SUNDAY TICKET at no additional cost and will receive a free upgrade to the NFL SUNDAY TICKET MAX for the 2014 season.

TWO YEARS? Many marriages don’t last that long. I’m not signing up for that. But what if there was some legal/semi-legal way around this 2 year thing?

Well to do it legitimately would cost you penalties:

If you cancel before your contract ends, you will be charged a deactivation fee of $15 plus a prorated early cancellation fee of up to $20 a month.

Let’s see, that’s about $15 + 12 months x $20 or about $255 to cancel. We’re up to about $812.88 for the season now. That cancellation fee really hurts. But what if you could get out of it? Well it turns out some people have found ways around the cancellation fee. These techniques are basically about providing some sob-story to customer service until they relent.

So in another case of cord cutter ethics we found a way to (maybe) get NFL Sunday Ticket for just the 6 months of the season then turn it off.


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6 Responses to Is DirecTV Worth it? Another Case of Cord Cutter Ethics

  1. Len Mullen says:

    I’m really growing weary of the term cord cutter. I think it is more meaningful to describe these people for what they are. For instance, is a DirecTV customer a cord cutter? How about someone who gets internet and basic cable from Comcast and uses Netflix and/or Hulu? If your internet access comes on a cord that goes to Comcast, are you really a cord cutter?

    I am an OTA-first cord cutter. That means most of our entertainment (including five NFL games each week) comes into our home over a television antenna (five actually).

    It’s less work to put up an antenna than to get DirecTV installed and scam your way out of the two year commitment. And you’ll enjoy it longer.

    When I was trying to figure out if Aereo was a good deal, I called all my local providers to see what it would cost to get something comparable…

    DirecTV is not a bargain. If you want NFL Sunday Ticket, I think you need to expect to pay a premium for so specialized a service. They are putting you in all markets and no one else can do that.

    That said, comparing premium providers to car salesmen is right on target. Of course, I feel the same way about Roku with their claim to stream 1500 channels and the reality that they only make crappy streamers when things go wrong. Then it’s your wireless or your ISP or your DNS servers or your neighbors or Netflix or Hulu or…it’s never that crappy purple box you bought as a refurb on Woot or ebay, right?

    Anyway, it’s been more than four years since I severed my relationship with Comcast. At that time my bill was $170/month. Since then we have been paying $55 for Netflix plus high speed internet. While I have spent nearly $3000 on infrastructure and devices, I am enjoying a much higher quality of service than I had with Comcast and 52x(170-55)-3000 still leaves $2980 in my bank account.

    Get an antenna, Greg.

    • Greg says:

      Hi Len,
      Thannks for your comments as always.

      I agree with you basically. OTA is sufficient for most casual NFL fans. There is a sub-set for which NFL Sunday Ticket is important and that is who I was trying to address. NFL Sunday Ticket is big business and big drama in the Cable biz now that AT&T is acquiring DirecTV.

      It’s interesting that you are getting weary of the term “cord cutter”. Definitiely someone who gets any paid TV service including DIrecTV is NOT a cord cutter. In my opinion anyone who cuts out pay TV channels, even if they use Comcast for internet , is a kind of cord cutter.

      • Len Mullen says:

        The reason I don’t like the term is because people equate it with streaming. Streaming is in its infancy and lay people are very frustrated with the chasm between the promise and the reality.

        OTA, on the other hand, is a century old. It works better now than it ever has. People who put up an antenna tend to be very satisfied.

        I describe myself as an OTA first cable cutter. By that, I mean that 80% of what we watch comes in via an antenna. We have a DTVPal DVRs on our TV sets. Things are great. We also have Rokus, FTVs, and smart BD Players. I’m very satisfied.

        As a cable cutter, I get four NFL games every Sunday plus one on Thursday. If I point my antenna in another direction, I get additional games. If I have a friend with a Simple DVR, I can get even more. I think that goes beyond casual (though I stop watching when the home team loses).

        OTA first cable cutters have no ethical issues. What we do is legal. We don’t deal with poor quality pirate streams. Broadcast is the highest quality experience. There are no contracts or cancellation fees.

        Did I mention it’s free? You have to pay for your own infrastructure and devices, but the service is paid for with advertising.

        A Roku is not cable cutting. A Roku is watching the internet on a TV.

  2. Len Mullen says:

    Enjoyed your Super Chargers game yesterday 😉 Watched one complete and parts of three other games OTA yesterday.

  3. Greg says:

    Wasn’t that a great game? I had considered attending, but then listening to conventional wisdom decided against it. Upsets are always fun, especially when they are on the home team side. And don’t even get me started about Pete “abandon ship” Carroll.

  4. Len Mullen says:

    Condolences on the loss of Danny Woodhead. He was one of my favorites when he was in New England, and a tough guy not to root for after he left.

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