Well, things have changed again and I am now a paying customer of DirecTV, a company that’s now part of the “AT&T family” which does absolutely no good for my desire to continue with the service. I have AT&T as my only option for “high speed” internet where I live and I am not thrilled with their service, but that’s a topic for another day I suppose.
My son who works as an installer for DirecTV (technically he works for a contractor but all he works on is DirecTV) moved out some months ago and we decided to switch from DISH to DirecTV, basically because he works for them. That turned out to be a mistake. I admit it’s not the worst mistake I have ever made but after a year of having DirecTV, I wish I never switched from DISH to DirecTV. When my son was living here it was a good deal since we got DirecTV’s top-of-the-line package for free and it’s hard to beat a deal like that.
One good thing that has come out of being a DirecTV customer is that I can now speak with some authority about DirecTV and can share that information here, Hopefully, it will be helpful to those who are trying to decide between DISH and DirecTV.
When my son moved out we ordered DirecTV service and we received a HR24-500 DVR, and that is probably the primary reason I am unhappy with DirecTV. In short, their equipment sucks, but I’ll get back to that in a bit. First I’ll talk about what I like about DirecTV.
So far, DirecTV is costing us about $5 less per month than we were paying for DISH Network. The programming package we now have is similar to the one we had when we were with DISH, but I’d have to say that DirecTV is a little more generous with the channels that are included in the package. There are two or three channels we have as part of our package that were not included on the DISH package we had. This is something that will vary a great deal from customer to customer since not everyone likes the same channels. While I am somewhat happier with the channels I receive with DirecTV, someone else is probably not at all happy. It all depends on what your interests are.
That’s pretty much where the list of what I like about DirecTV comes to an end. And as I pointed out before, the fact that the company is now owned by AT&T makes matters worse. In my experience AT&T does not have a good track record where customer service is concerned and I suspect DirecTV customer service will suffer as a result. Do things for the customer ever get better after one of these mega-mergers take place? I suspect not.
Here’s what I really hate about DirecTV: Their equipment sucks. Sound familiar? I was a DISH customer for about 16 years, so I am very familiar with their equipment, how reliable it was and how it performed, and I can say with no hesitation that it blows DirecTV equipment out of the water. And keep in mind that I am comparing a relatively old DISH DVR (model ViP6222) to what I assume is one of the latest DirecTV DVRs (model HR24-500). Still, my old DISH DVR ran circles around the DirecTV DVR.
Let’s get specific shall we? One of the first thing I have noticed is DirecTV seems a lot more susceptible to bad weather than DISH ever did. Again, I had DISH for 16 years, so I am quite familiar with how various types of weather affect it. In my experience so far, I have to say that DirecTV service is interrupted far more frequently by the weather than DISH ever was. We lose our DirecTV service during rain storms that I am quite certain would not have impacted DISH at all. Losing our DISH service due to weather was quite rare. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same thing for DirecTV. After this experience, it’s a lot easier to believe those cable TV commercials that claim satellite TV service gets knocked out by bad weather frequently. That was not the case with DISH.
Another problem I have with DirecTV equipment is that it lags a lot. When I say “lags” what I am referring to is the delay between the time I press a button on the remote control and the time the DVR actually responds. Although there was some lag time with my DISH equipment, it is much longer with DirecTV, and that was also true when my son was living here and the “Genie” DVR was installed. Making matters worse, sometimes the lag goes from being annoying to being ridiculous. For example, just deleting a recording from the DVR will sometimes leave me “hanging” for up to 6 to 7 seconds or even a bit more. This happens randomly, and fortunately it is usually a lot faster, but I can honestly say I never had those kinds of experiences with DISH equipment. In fact, almost anything I do with the DirecTV DVR is subject to a lot of lag time that can be measured in seconds. You just never can rely on it responding in timely fashion no matter what you are trying to do with it.
Here’s something else that happened recently that wasn’t a major issue but further demonstrated that DirecTV equipment is simply inferior. On our HR24-500 DVR there are a number of lighted areas on the front that illuminate when the DVR is turned on. One day a week or so ago I turned it on and found that only one light illuminated and all the others that normally come on were dark. The DVR seemed to function normally so I simply left it for a few days to see if the lights would come back on. Finally, I decided to unplug the DVR for a few minutes and when I powered it back on again the lights were illuminated once again. Not the sign of a well-designed or build piece of equipment.
When all things are considered, I would prefer to be back with DISH Network even if I had to pay a little more a sacrifice a few channels. Losing our DirecTV in bad weather which would not have knocked out the DISH signal and putting up with lag when using the DVR are sufficient to make me wish I had not switched. Unfortunately, I am locked into a two-year contract with DirecTV and will just have to wait it out. When that two years is up, I will be dropping DirecTV unless things change significantly, and I really doubt that is going to happen.