I haven't tried it myself, but I have seen other posts in which folks were suggesting that they were going to activate their HDTV DirecTV receivers (I think including the E86 model) and then almost immediately thereafter de-activate the receiver and end up using it just for OTA HDTV reception. So I think these others either have done it or saw no reason why they couldn't get OTA without having the receiver activated.
In fact, now that I think of it, I have been using my E86 for OTA HDTV reception successfully without having it activated yet by DirecTV. (I did have another DirecTV non-HDTV unit hooked up in that room at the time, however.) I didn't even have a satellite cable line coming into the HDTV unit, although I did have the access card in it. It is not clear to me, however, why it would matter whether the access card were physically in the unit, and if I understand you correctly, you already have an access card, but you would merely be de-activating it with DirecTV.
Short answer: Based on my experience before activation, I would think you should be able to use the unit for OTA reception after de-activation.
You might want to check out the thread in this forum entitled something like "Run to Best Buy." That's where a lot of folks were sharing their plans or experiences to use the DirecTV HDTV receivers for OTA without having them activated. I would give you the thread myself if I knew how to do it.
If it'll still work, will the guide still work the same way?
I'm almost certain that if you're not subscribed to DirecTV, the guide won't work the same way, if by that you mean telling you what programs are showing on the OTA stations. In my case, while using the E86 before activation, the guides merely say, "Local Programming Schedule" or something to that effect, without any meaningful information.
If you're not a subscriber and not getting the phone calls to update the guide, I don't see how you're going to have that information appear for you.
The guide isn't downloaded from the modem in the STB via the phone line. It's downloaded from the satellite (SAT A). You definitely can't get the program guide without being hooked up to a dish pointed at SAT A.
I'm not sure if you have to be a subscriber or not to get the guide data for your local channels. If you input your zip code into the setup of the STB, it may display your local channels in the guide. I'm pretty sure the Directv channels were listed in the guide before I activated service and could only see Channel 100, but I wouldn't bet my life on it. I don't remember if the local channels were in the guide before they switched my service on.
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