The Cotton Bowl, the New York Philharmonic's New Year's eve concert and the NFL's Giants playing the Vikings may not seem to be related. However in the strange world of DirecTV they share a common element. Now what could these events possibly have in common? Well if you want to see them in high definition (HD) and you're a DirecTV subscriber in Boise you'll need to shell out for another television antenna. In fact if you want any of the many HD offerings from PBS, NBC, ABC or FOX you'll need another antenna.
The DirecTV numbers game
DirecTV likes to advertise that they have more channels in HD than other providers. However this falls far short of telling the whole story. For example it neglects to mention that many of those channels are are only available with expensive packages. Even then what the numbers advertised gloss over is that they include several of the regional sports channels. Once you subscribe to several of these channels you rapidly realize that although there are more than a dozen of them the majority of their programming is shared. So you might have 16-channels of college football on a Saturday afternoon. It just happens that the 16-channels are showing 2-3 games.
At least things should be good for the NFL fan, right? Well not so quickly. DirecTV does offer a high-priced package for those who want to see all the NFL games (unless they're blacked out or carried for free elsewhere) on Sunday Ticket. However this high-priced package is not HD after all. It's plain old standard definition. If you want HD you'll need yet another add on. Perhaps the new motto should be DirecTV just add cash.
The Versus debacle
When DirecTV failed to renegotiate a contract with Comcast to carry the Versus channel they posted a notice about how this was because they were controlling costs for subscribers. However in the four months subscribers have been without Versus, DirecTV hasn't offered a discount or rebate of any sort. They have continued to escalate the argument but done nothing for subscribers. One channel may not seem like much. In this case, however, it's the one channel that caused us to become subscribers. It's the only place to get television coverage of the Tour de France among others. Their current page on the subject says:
DIRECTV still leads the industry in sports programming, whether or not we have Versus in our channel lineup
It goes on to list the sports channels they have. This goes on to show the kind of treatment a customer should expect. They may not have the flavor you want but will be happy to tell you why you really want some other flavor instead.
Since I'm on a bit of a rant about how poor DirecTV has been while logging in to my subscription wile writing this post I noticed this statement:
You can still use your username to log in if you already have one. However, we recommend you use your email address instead for better security.
Think about that for a second. To make your login more secure please use something that you've given to everybody who has your business card, every member of every club you've ever been in and quite likely every search engine on earth. Yeah that's much more secure than my username. Now, I'm not suggesting that security by obscurity works, it does not. However the statement that using public information will make your login more secure is equally silly. They couldn't just say "Our IT guys decided they want to only use email addresses so live with it."
Ok so it's time to go check out Dish TV or maybe we'll just get rid of the whole thing and use the rabbit ears.