Will buying a used Direct TV DVR work for me? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 08-28-2014, 11:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Question Will buying a used Direct TV DVR work for me?

My dad just switched from cable to direct TV which advertises their whole home DVR service. Unfortunately My dad choice the cheapest package with no DVR and no sports channels just before NCAA football starts :0

I have some unique time schedule challenges where I am never home during the original air times for all my favorite TV series or other special programming I want to watch. 90% of those are not OTA broadcasts either so I can't use my Media Center PC and an antenna for that either.

I spent over 12 hours online trying to find a way to integrate the Direct TV tuner with my Media Center PC but as most of you already new Direct TV designs their receivers and DVR's to prevent just that scenario to force you into renting their DVR or going without. I even offered to pay the extra $10 a month and use the no service fee self install for a Direct TV DVR but have received no response. Based on his passive aggressive personality (some of which became learned behavior for me for a long time) his lack of a response translates to "I don't want to say no out loud but my answer is still no".

I'm desperate for a solution but I need something that I can easily program scheduled recordings in advance that will record automatically as I am out of town every other week trying to fix up a HUD home for my daughter and I to move into. On the other weeks I am busy with helping my 14 year old daughter with her homework and studying after school plus trying to have some fun time with her when we can.

While looking at other items on ebay I stumbled across multiple used Direct TV DVRs advertised as in excellent or good working condition. I would expect that for it to work at all I would obviously have to move the card from my tuner to the new/used DVR for it to be recognized as associated with our account and allow content to be decoded. Since all the Direct TV DVRs offered now appear to be rentals for a monthly fee in theory their shouldn't be any legal or ethical issues with buying my own Direct TV DVR however it wouldn't surprise me at all if Direct TV had ways of trying to prevent this.

I contacted the sellers about my concerns and while all guaranteed the DVR's were in good working condition at their house either before upgrading or closing their accounts none could offer me any information on whether it would actually work for another account with another access card.

Ironically I would prefer to pay to rent one of their boxes but my dad isn't making that an option for me. Additionally based on Direct TV's business practices I would not expect their tech support to offer any helpful advise in finding a work around to their intentions of forcing you to rent their DVR's directly.

Possible conflicts I envision;

- existing cards could be encoded to only allow tuner features (as installed) even if inserted into a DTV DVr but the self install option seemed to indicate you would use the same card. Still they could potentially block DVR function on the entire account if you are not currently renting a DVR from them.

- depending on the age of any particular model some older models may not be compatible with current firmware or not able to be updated.

So has Anyone tried this, done this or known someone who has? If so can you fill me in on success, failures or technical issues encounters. It would be so very much appreciated.
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post #2 of 3 Old 08-28-2014, 01:27 PM
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Unfortunately, no it won't work for you.

First, DirecTV charges exactly the same fees whether you rent or own. So there is zero savings there. There's no way to avoid receiver or DVR fees with satellite service.

Second, unless you're an employee or beta tester, DirecTV is going to want their box back. If your average person sells a box, it isn't going to work for you because it never belonged to that person. Even if the box is so old DirecTV doesn't want it back, it still probably won't work. On the chance it does, you'll have to pay $20 for a new card. That said, there are a good number of owned boxes out there, one of which you might be able to find. But you have to be extremely careful, get the ID and call DirecTV and ask if it's owned or not. After you spend $100 or so on a box, and $20 for a new card, you still have to pay all the same fees as you would had you taken DirecTV's free box.

Third, you can't move cards around. They're tied to one device. DirecTV won't move them. You may be able to trick some reps into moving a card (I've done it a couple of times), but it's not easy.

Bottom line, what you're proposing probably won't work, and even if it did, won't save you a dime and will cost even more than the free box in the long run. The only reason to own is to avoid a contract, not to save money.

If your Dad wants to save money, he'll have to go back to cable. Otherwise he has to suck it up and pay DirecTV's extortion.

Good luck.


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Last edited by mdavej; 08-28-2014 at 01:32 PM.
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post #3 of 3 Old 09-02-2014, 08:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post
Unfortunately, no it won't work for you.

First, DirecTV charges exactly the same fees whether you rent or own. So there is zero savings there. There's no way to avoid receiver or DVR fees with satellite service. True

Second, unless you're an employee or beta tester, DirecTV is going to want their box back. If your average person sells a box, it isn't going to work for you because it never belonged to that person. Even if the box is so old DirecTV doesn't want it back, it still probably won't work. On the chance it does, you'll have to pay $20 for a new card. That said, there are a good number of owned boxes out there, one of which you might be able to find. But you have to be extremely careful, get the ID and call DirecTV and ask if it's owned or not. After you spend $100 or so on a box, and $20 for a new card, you still have to pay all the same fees as you would had you taken DirecTV's free box. Most Directv DVR's they don't want back, they are even letting lease custmors keep the latest HR24-100's now that genie is out, and yes you can sell it or reactivate as owned, just have to purchase a $20 access card. I have got to keep all my old lease DVR's i got for free (HR20 and 2 HR22) that I deactivated when upgrading, if you don't change service very often the lease program is actually better.

Third, you can't move cards around. They're tied to one device. DirecTV won't move them. You may be able to trick some reps into moving a card (I've done it a couple of times), but it's not easy. Very True

Bottom line, what you're proposing probably won't work, and even if it did, won't save you a dime and will cost even more than the free box in the long run. The only reason to own is to avoid a contract, not to save money. Yep, True

If your Dad wants to save money, he'll have to go back to cable. Otherwise he has to suck it up and pay DirecTV's extortion. LOL!

Good luck.
It would be cheapest to just let them give you a free DVR but would have a 2 year agreement, you could probably get an HR20/21/22/23 for fairly cheap off craigslist or ebay, but have them give you the RID number and call directv to check if the old account is in good standing, if money owed or account in collections they won't let you activate it. If in good standing you can activate as owned since directv didn't ask for it back, (even if originally was leased) but will have to buy a $20 access card.

Last edited by mexican-bum; 09-02-2014 at 08:39 AM.
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