OK, here's my latest DirecTV adventure. I didn't "grind" them -- just trying to fix things that have accumulated, which seems to be typical of this forum.
I'm a nine-year customer. Have Total Choice, plus the locals. Had Sunday Ticket until this year -- cancelled. I'm in SoCal, so we get five HD NFL games per week OTA anyway.
Two problems. First, my old Toshiba DST-3000 can no longer pull in satelite signals. (Oddly, the OTA ATSC stuff is fine.) I hear it's heat fatigue, which I can believe as this is the hottest-running piece of gear I've ever owned. I was only getting HBO HD anyway, but it's frown-inducing to stare at this emasculated $500 piece of hardware staring at me, while the $50 Walmart STB pulls in the SD satelite stuff. What to do? Wait for the MPEG-4 changeover and have DirecTV swap out the old cripple? Just cancel satelite HD and wait for the change? Or plunge ahead for a new HD STB anyway?
Now, the wife wants to timeshift without dealing with a VCR, so it's time for the DirecTV DVR, which they're pushing. I hear you need both of the dual-LNB feeds for "full functionality." I have an older, two-head oval HD dish; DirecTV sent me a "Sat C Upgrade Kit" two years ago, which I installed and connected into the multiswitch and got me HBO HD.
So the installer comes out, hooks up the DirecTV (Samsung) DVR. It boots up and reports "No Sat C" signal on the secondary dish feed. The installer just dismisses my older dish as obsolete. A closer look reveals that the "Sat C Upgrade" kit, which added the third, middle head to the oval dish, only has ONE LNB! (No wonder they were "giving" them away.)
I asked the Installer if he could finalize installation anyway. He said that no, the DVR wouldn't have "full functionality," which they insist on before they will sign off an installation. He hemmed and hawed and said that he would have just swapped out my dish with a new one, but didn't have it with him. In the end, it was "call DirecTV and work something out."
So I call Direct and recite all of the above. Took an hour. First, with a Customer Service rep, then to a Tech Services lady. She told me that the DVR would have worked fine without Sat C on the secondary feed, and that the installer should have just gone ahead with it. I told her about my Toshiba HD STB woes, and she sent me to a "senior" Tech Services guy "so we can take care of all of this stuff at once."
After twenty minutes with the Senior Tech, he's going to send me a "refurbished" HD STB for $49 plus $20 shipping, and have the installer check it out when he comes out to make the DVR work next week. I believe the SD DVR is gonna be $100 with a $100 rebate -- essentially free, like I was a new subscriber. (Plus the $6.95 a month "rental fee," which is OK with me at the rate these things get upgraded.)
All in all, seems fair. We'll see.
I'm reading about the HD DVR deals, but that's for another day....