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3 Reasons DIRECTV is The Worst, Most Atrocious TV Service Ever

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Talk about a tech fail. Sure Satellite TV is old-school tech, but still, it’s tech and it’s failing brilliantly. Especially now that there are so many excellent alternatives to a satellite or cable TV subscription, I find myself wishing I had never signed up in the first place (and I’m not the only one). Why’d I do it? I thought I’d be missing out otherwise I guess. Turns out the only thing I would’ve been missing out on is the unimaginable amount of infomercial channels. Most of the content I like watching is on the three major networks anyway.

I hate to bog down my blog with complaints but DIRECTV seriously deserves to be publicly scolded for the horrible service I am getting and other consumers need to be warned about how terrible my experience has been (I actually think complaining via social media is actually healthy for consumers and companies alike). How can they ship products that don’t work and still remain in business? Contracts. Stupid, idiotic contracts. Good companies don’t need contracts. I can’t wait for the entrepreneurial community to fully and completely disrupt this business model.

Unresponsive Remote & Infinite Scrolling

The DIRECTV remote is horrible. It sits not too far away from my Apple TV remote, which is amazing, and I look at the two and wonder why one is so out of date and out of touch. Unfortunately, the problems with the remote go far beyond it’s looks. When I turn on the new guide interface (which looks great, by the way–or at least great compared to how it used to look) and hit up or down, 8 out of 10 times the interface starts to scroll infinitely until I hit the opposite direction (and then starts scrolling infinitely that way). If this had happened just once, I’d let it slide, but it happens all the time. It’s almost impossible to pick a channel to watch because they are un-selectable.

That’s if the remote is even working at all. Many times the remote doesn’t do a single thing. Of course it gets me wondering, does it have fresh batteries or is the line-of-sight free of any interfering objects. Inevitably, everything checks out but the remote itself. If you’re going to make a product that has a remote, you had better make a remote that works well. It’s common sense DIRECTV.

HD Settings Periodically Reset to Standard

As if the remote issues weren’t maddening enough, from time-to-time the HD settings on the DVR box like to reset themselves for no apparent reason. Could be right after I turn it on or right in the middle of a show or movie. Doesn’t matter. There’s no rhyme or reason. It’s not that it takes all that long to walk over to the box and hit the button a few times to reset it and then use the remote to pick the correct settings again. It’s that after awhile it just gets old. Very old. It’s not like it happens just once a month, no, it’s a few times per week. Unbelievable and unacceptable. It’s like Chinese water drip torture and all the little things that go wrong add up to make me furious inside like no other piece of tech in my life.

Old Problems & New Hassles

Of course there are all the old reasons to hate a satellite dish TV solution: hideous and unsightly cables strung all about the outside of the house, reception issues due to snow covering the dish and the expensive price. Aside from the price being insanely expensive, they bill you out the waz for stuff you don’t even sign up for like a protection plan I opted out of but saw on my first bill (they later took it off after I complained on Twitter). But that’s not all. New problems come up all the time. A few months back when things quit working, I called the support line and got someone scheduled to come out to fix it. I got billed for the fix even though it was supposed to be free (they later removed the charge, again after complaining on Twitter).

Conclusion

It seems like there’s plenty more to complain about, I just don’t remember it all right now. Will I cancel DIRECTV as soon as possible? You bet. Am I satisfied with their service in any way? Not even slightly. DIRECTV needs to learn how to make a real product (in other words, a functioning product). True, I only seem to have this issue on the TV with a DVR connected, but still that’s our main TV and the only one I really use the service on. Here’s another thing that bugs me: why should I be subjected to commercials when I’m already paying to watch? Why? To summarize: I recommend staying as far away from DIRECTV as possible until or unless they make some drastic changes and start delivering some serious value.




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19 comments

  1. A tech blogger who can’t fix his own easy to fix technical issues. Sounds legit to me.
    As some one who has a background in web design I would expect the first place you should seek answers would be their web site. I would also expect that some one like your self would have the intelligence to do a little research before you decided to get installed.

    1. “hideous and unsightly cables strung all about the outside of the house”
    Please review the following link to address the first flaw in your blog: http://bit.ly/I5AdAI

    2. Remote issues – Did you try resetting your remote? Did you try programming your remote to RF? Often times the back lighting from HD TV’s causes issue with IR since IR is also a light.

    3. Issues with your receiver resetting to defaults on its own – Get your self a replacement receiver, you of all people should know electronics don’t always work out of the box. How many items have you ordered from newegg or what ever site you use and the item is DOA?

    4. If it’s so over priced why don’t you just cancel? Again per their website cancellation is $20 for each remaining month in the agreement. Since there are better and cheaper choices out there why don’t you just buy out of the contract and go with what ever is cheaper?

    Rage blogging just isn’t your thing man.

    1. Dear Mr. Anonymous Troll Commenter,

      You are 100% missing the point. I don’t care about all the little technical fixes I care about the overall user experience. Apple = excellent experience. Steve Jobs perfected the intersection of liberal arts and technology. DIRECTV doesn’t get that apparently. The last thing I want to do when I get home from a long day at work is turn on the TV, find out it doesn’t work, hop on the web to do some troubleshooting research, wait on hold all night, engineer a fix on my own or wait days for a repair guy to come out. That’s a bad experience.

      So just because I am a “tech” “blogger” I should enjoy spending my free time dealing with faulty consumer electronics in my free time? No. In my free time I’m a regular consumer just like anyone and I expect products and services I’ve paid for to work. Oh, and by the way, I order from New Egg all the time and I haven’t gotten a faulty product yet.

      1. Well said.

        Perhaps the reason lame-o companies keep churning out products that don’t work is because they can count on loser geeks who live in their moms basement to do their jobs for them.

        Anyon who works with IT all day and wants to come home and do the exact same grind is severely retarded.

  2. I actually have an aftermarket remote that controls my Directv box, so I never have problems with the remote. I do agree with you on the contract and being charged for unnecessary services. You pay a monthly fee for each box, the fact that you need to have insurance or it’s $75 to show up to your house to get anything fixed. The only reason I have Directv is because of the Sunday NFL ticket, which is now available on PS3, so I will be switching from Directv to Time Warner, they are cheaper and don’t have all the unnecessary costs.

  3. Sorry to hear that you have had so many issues. I have had the complete opposite experience with DTV and it is the reason I have stuck with them for the past 10+ years.

    Any time I have had an issue (and there have only been a handful) it is resolved immediately with the best customer service of any vendor I have worked with (and that’s thousands over the years). It is one of the main reasons I have stuck with them.

    I agree with the remote / scrolling issue. That occurs with the older R22 model boxes. If you have that dump it and get the R24/26 all your troubles disappear. Shutting off in the middle of a show/movie? Sounds like you have a bad box – that’s hardware and can happen with any provider – even Apple. Did you get a used/refurb box?

    The remote? Yes it’s not the best but there are tons of options – Android/iPhone/iPad/Universal etc. The fact is ANY media product you buy (yes even almighty Apple) doesn’t come with the best remotes. There are way too many configurations for a vendor to make the best for each person which is why there are so many 3rd party alternatives.

    So many excellent alternatives? Sorry not true. There are 3 if you are lucky – most residential have 2 choices. Cable/Satellite/FIOS. FIOS is great but not everywhere. DirectTV beats cable hands down every time. Ever wait for your 8 to 6 service window to get cable issues resolved? The other options you are referring to all rely on the internet – guess what that’s coming from the crappy cable provider.

    Internet TV is getting there but not quite yet. These platforms are getting better but they are still in their infancy and yes you still need cable to run it. You are talking about content then and that is not format dependent so really irrelevant.

    Hulu/Google/Apple/YouTube – guess what you still have to watch commercials. I remember when I had to walk to school uphill both ways and we had FREE TV with 5 channels and FREE RADIO with 10 stations! Everyone wants great content without commercials. That’s what the DVR feature is for. Like it or not advertising pays for the content everyone loves to watch. The alternative is premiums like HBO. You are paying for the content because you pay for the channel separately but that of course jacks up your price. Expensive? Yes, compared to Apple TV but there is way more content for the price.

    Ugly dish and having to clean it are issues. However, in the 10+ years I have had it there have been 2 snow storms that caused it to go out and it’s on the roof. I am in a 4 season area so I guess if you are not it would be a pain. Yes the dish is ugly.

    Conclusion – I agree social media complaints are healthy for companies as long as they are reasonable. I also agree that contracts should go away. Things are trending that way with pay as you go services. Issue is those will cost more over time. Business needs to have that constant revenue stream so shareholders will by stocks of a stable company. I have had none of the service issues described. Everyone I know that has DirectTV has had very positive experiences (no, I do not work for them). For the dollar value they have more content, and more options to watch the content than any core provider out there right now. If your customer service experience is that bad go up the chain – it will get resolved quickly.

    1. Hey Russ, thanks for the long and thoughtful comment. I agree that web TV isn’t quite ready for prime time, but I think I’d be happy enough with it especially as it grows.

      Dreadfully aware of ads being everywhere–it’s one of the best ways to make money these days through digital content (ahem) and I don’t like that Hulu shows them to upgraded accounts, but I don’t use Hulu. I’m actually fine with the concept of showing ads, I just don’t want to pay a premium on top of that. Someone somewhere will hopefully create a reach medium.

      Again, thanks for the comment, I’m sure other readers will appreciate it. Thanks for reading.

      1. Just my 2 cents, I also have had nothing but great experiences with DTV and I’ve been a customer for 11 years. It just seems a little odd that your willing to grow with a technology “not ready for prime time ” but totally bust on DTV because you don’t want to spend time dealing with getting through some issues that you are experiencing. That doesn’t make sense, sounds more like an individual speaking from frustration than a real technical review.

  4. “Here’s another thing that bugs me: why should I be subjected to commercials when I’m already paying to watch?”

    Morons that is with all providers. If u didnt have commercials you would be paying even more for service.

    And the sheer fact you have apple tv and love apple products tells me the low level of tech knowledge you have

    1. LOL. Red, it’s all about disruption and innovation. When consumers are unhappy, there is opportunity for a startup or competitor to wreak havoc on an entire industry. It’s what this blog, silicon valley and the world’s smartest business minds are all about. Why, as a consumer, would you ever want to be happy with the status quo? That’s a sad life, and not one I am inclined to lead.

      To read my full response to this statement, follow this link: http://dailytekk.com/2012/08/08/apparently-people-who-love-apple-products-are-morons/

  5. I believe there is a DirectTV remote conspiracy. Ours works fine until 8 pm when we can’t get it to change the channel for beans and especially during a commercial. We have reset it multiple times as well as changed batteries but still, during prime time, if we want to change the channel, we have to turn our tv on and off first.

  6. Ha! I thought it was just me. Idk if it’s the box or remote. It’s unresponsive half the time. Yes I reset and switch batteries. I can hit buttons and it won’t do anything. I just tried to fast fwd a commercial it kept going no matter what buttons I pressed. It freezes then I have to reset the box to stop it from going haywire. Thanks!

  7. Add me to the list of unhappy DirecTV customers. I happened onto this site as I googled ‘how to get rid of DirecTV infomercials”. Even worse is not being able to get the cinema on demand that was supposed to be included. Only to find out after installation that I need the Internet to access that feature. Heck the only reason I went satellite was because it was cheap and I have an air card already. I’m out as as soon as the contract is done.

  8. This whole remote thing is really starting to irritate me. I avoid watching my satelite AT ALL COST. I only watch it when netflix is down and it still makes me so mad i wanna throw it through my tv. And the customer service is rude, and even though its been messed up since i got this new remote (3 days ago) they wanna charge me $20 for a new remote. EFF THAT! Im utterly disgusted with DTV!

  9. Comcast Cable TV isn’t any better. My cable goes out every three to four days. I can’t wait for Verizon to hook up my town with FIOS.

Comments are closed.