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TV service prices, otherwise known as WTF

I’ll warn you right off the bat that this post is here more for me to jot down notes from what I’ve learned versus a real discussion.  I’ve gone on at length about the price of TV service and the alternatives.  I don’t want to bore you with a complete retread of old topics.

However, as the time that I can cancel DirecTV if I want to approaches, I thought I would at least give due diligence to the other TV choices I might have.  Fair’s fair, it’s possible that there is a cheaper package that would suit our purposes and my bitching about it won’t help me find it any quicker.  I do have a couple of requirements, though.  One, DVR is required.  I’ve gotten too used to it; I could drop HD, but not DVR.  And two, the service must be contract-free.  DirecTV counts since I will be off of my 2-year commitment, and U-verse is already contract-free (I’d likely be safe anyway, since we use them for internet).  Oh, and I won’t go back to Comcast.  I’ve had nothing but grief every time I’ve tried to use them, and though you can technically get them contract-free, they will keep trying and trying to get you on a contract, sometimes by randomly upping the cost of your service (I had a bad experiences with them; just don’t ask).

Let’s start with U-verse.  I have hopes for them, since they are contract-free, IPTV (which I think is cool :)), and my house is already wired for it; I can have a box wherever I have a ethernet jack, and most of my house is wired for ethernet.  U-verse only has a couple packages that I might be interested in:  U-basic and U-family.  Anything above that starts getting expensive and you quickly get into the “all those channels aren’t worth the price” option.  Oh, and a side note, the PBS station that U-verse carries is WTIU, not the Indy channel, which is nice.

U-basic:  this is really as basic as it gets.  Locals only.  Granted, you get all of them, but that’s it.  $19 a month base price.  Adding DVR costs $15 for a total of $34 a month.  If you want HD you have to add another $10, for a total of $44 a month.  All for basics plus DVR.  Wow, what a deal.  ::eye roll::  And that’s before you get to the $200 installation fee….

U-family:  built around what they think a family will want, there are “up to 130 channels”.  There are several channels here that would be nice.  Science.  Nick/NickJr/NickToon.  Disney.  Science.  Boomerang.  HGTV.  What’s lacking?  Oh, several that a adult might want.  BBCA.  Comedy Central.   Syfy.  Discovery (main).  TLC (The Learning Channel is missing from a “family” network?).  Cartoon Network.  I can’t fathom that one.  Oh, wait, yeah I can.  Kids will want it.  So, price.  DVR is included, so that’s nice.  Base price is $54 a month.  With HD it’s $64 a month.  Umm, yeah.  And though my house is wired (making additional receivers easy to have), each additional receiver is $7 a month.  Hmm.

So what about DirecTV?  Well, they do have a family package.  It doesn’t even require a agreement when signed up for normally.  It’s their cheapest plan, costing half what everything else does.  And it does have some channels we like.   Science.  Boomerang.  Nick (all).  HGTV.  Locals.  But what is missing?  A lot.  BBCA.  Comedy Central.  Syfy.  Discovery (all but Science).  Cartoon Network.  And of the 50 or so channels you do get, a lot of them we won’t want.  There are so many religious channels….ugh.  You basically get every one of those, and there are many.  The cost?  $29.99 a month is the base price.  DVR costs an additional $7, for a total of $36.99 a month.  If we want HD, that’s an additional $10 a month for a total of $46.99.

You know, I’ve given it due diligence, and I’m still not impressed.  None of those packages gets us what we want, so we’d be forced to supplement from other sources (like iTunes).  But, I will think about it.  I think we’ll probably go with no TV service at all and just go with streaming, but I will think about it.