Thu, 19 Jan 2006


My friend Jason is growing concerned that I might move over to Comcast. So he sent me their recent press release from CES where they announced the following.

DirecTV On-Demand

To get this service, you first need to swap out your current DVR with a new one. Which means shell out cash, or sign a 1 year extension contract. What do you get when you do that? You'll get access to "the top programs of NBC and its cable entertainment networks, USA, SCI FI and Bravo, within hours after they air, commercial free, for just 99 cents. The programs will be available on demand through the new DIRECTV Plus interactive DVR."

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. So I pay DirecTV to the tune of nearly $80/month, and now I need to make an additional commitment (in hardware or contract form), replace my existing DVR, all for the privilege of paying an incremental $0.99 per program that my TiVo should have recorded in the first place?!? Huh?

I pay you jerks nearly $80/month to get access to your digital signal. Now you're telling me that I need to pay you $0.99 to get a program "on demand" simply because I didn't plan ahead and put it on my "To-Do" list on my TiVo? If I HAD put it on my "To-Do" list it was a paid-member benefit but that goes away the minute the show goes off the air?

Ooooooooookay.... That's going to be a tough sell if only that the whole point of my TiVo is timeshifting. So I doubt I'm going to go out and shell out $300 and a 1 year contract plus $0.99 for each download when I can just find "Upcoming Showings" and be done with it.

DIRECTV Original Entertainment

So they're rolling out one hour of programming each week of effectively a re-hash of MTV's Music News. Whoop-de-doo. Oh, and a few live acts too, which I assume is just a rebranding of their "FREEVIEW" events. John Mayer FREEVIEW. Wheee! Where do I sign up?

Massive Gaming League

Get this: "Using new technology that allows for the placement of cameras within an actual videogame, DIRECTV will produce a videogame tournament and cover it as a sporting event, complete with producer, director and technical crew. Stories of the competitors will be told via interviews and features, complemented with coverage of their exploits in actual competition."

Ever had three people in a room with a 2-player PS2 game? Yeah, the third guy is basically sitting there twiddling his thumbs. The last thing I want to do is watch some boring video game on TV. What am I going to do, root on some complete stranger? "C'mon Darnic the Great, use your Axe of Slaying to defeat the evil Morgazmoid! I want to see you level up!!!!"


"DIRECT Date will be the 'American Idol for singles.'" Enough said. Maybe it could be amusing to watch, but what will I have to pay for the privilege? Not exactly groundbreaking programming, because Comcast did it first.

DIRECTV HD Local Channels

Don't even get me started. They're launching 24 more local markets in 2006. No news about whether Seattle is one of them. It certainly isn't already. While they say "Customers who subscribe to a programming package that includes local channels will receive both the standard and HD signals at no extra monthly charge", they also say "To receive local HD channels, DIRECTV now offers ... a satellite dish that has the ability to receive programming from five different orbital locations." Hmm. So it sounds like when they sold me my satellite dish and convinced me I needed a triple-LNB dish to get HD programming, they were wrong. Looks like to pull off getting local HD over satellite, I need to replace my dish with a 5-LNB system. And how many more cables do I need to run into my house for those signals? It's not going to be pretty. Say hello to additional cost or contract extension.


This is basically a service to transfer programming from a DIRECTV Plus DVR (I guess the DirecTiVo is worthless now?) to "a wide variety of portable media players". From what I hear, this won't include the iPod. Right. So I'm going to sell my nano and my iPod video and get their lame ass MP3 players instead? Not!

"These new media players further demonstrate DIRECTV's commitment to providing consumers with the content they want, how they want it, and where they want it."

OK, the content I want is what I currently get, in HD, on my DirecTiVo (in SD), and on my Video iPod. I want to pay no more than $5/month for HD programming, including ABC, NBC, CBS, WB, PBS, and ESPN HD, with no additional hardware investment or contractual obligation-- you know, exactly how Comcast customers do. So why am I paying twice as much for a handful of HD channels without the locals?


"DIRECTV plans to launch the DIRECTV Plus HD DVR at retail mid-2006." Curious. I can get a HD DVR from Comcast tomorrow.

DIRECTV LCD Televisions

Awesome! So when DirecTV continues to demonstrate their continuing committment to giving their customers the best value for their entertainment dollar, you'll be able to use this DirecTV LCD TV when you switch to Dish or Comcast, right? Right? Give me a break.

I left the world of Cable a decade ago, and never looked back. Until now. DirecTV's HD and local strategy have left them in a very disadvantageous position, and they don't seem to be trying to hard to keep their "early adopter" customers. I already pay Comcast monthly for my Cable Internet access, it'd be a simple phone call to get signed up. I'm putting DirecTV on notice. Last time I switched providers, it took them a decade to win me back over.

Shape up, or get prepared to ship out of my living room. Sorry Jason, the writing may just be on the wall.

Name/Blog: Jason
Title: I Understand...
Comment/Excerpt: It's hard for me to leave DirecTV when they hold the exclusive contract with the NFL for the NFL Sunday Ticket. While you could potentially save some money when bundling Comcast Cable with the high speed internet, but your frustrations will grow when you begin to play with their cable boxes. If you know anyone with the current Motorola DVRs for example, you will see the slow response times. Nothing frosts my cookies more then slow cable boxes. I hate waiting!! Can you get an HD DVR from Comcast now? Yes you can. They lease their equipment to you. You can also get the HD box with Tivo from DirecTV. The new DirecTV DVR Plus HD won't launch until later this year. Those boxes contain the new DirecTV software with no Tivo. I will admit, I have thought about switching to Comcast. When the DirecTV installer was out last week, I found out that I have a limited line-of-sight for the HD Satellite. Therefore, I was only able to get a single LNB dish. It sounds like I might NEVER get HDTV at my house with DirecTV. If that is the case, I have no choice but to switch to Comcast. Just the thought of loosing my NFL Sunday Ticket makes me depressed. Think about all the NFL games I could have watched in HDTV. The thought of NFL games in HD is just naughty...

Khan Klatt

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