Monday, August 5, 2013

Switching Satellite Network Saves Money And Updates Household Technology

No Such Thing As Loyalty

It is common knowledge that there is absolutely no loyalty to any one brand. Unlike family, you are not obligated to continue with any relationship that you feel is now overpriced. However, most of us have the tendency to switch products that are much easier such as going from Charmin toilet paper to Kirkland brand toilet paper. I stopped using the cheaper Costco gas because this year not only did my first car stop working for absolutely no reason, but it started working when we put additive that cleaned the gas tank. Further as we asked around, numerous friends and family members told me that their mechanics told them to stop using Costco gas for that very same reason. So, when we saw in our recent DirecTv added a $2 sports fee, after not having any Viacom channels such as Nickelodeon and Disney Channel for quite some time due to the re-negotiations and the only sports programming we watch was the Olympics on NBC, we decide to look at the competition and rethink our loyalty.


What The Satellite Network War Is About

With all businesses, the theory is to start to sell cheap and slowly increase the prices. This is a common theory as one could see with $19 per month for Vonage and, now it has crept up to $32 per month for absolutely the same coverage. Incidentally, we decided to cancel Vonage recently, too, saving a good portion of the $385 per year fee. The same goes with satellite coverage. Both major satellite companies entice you with incredibly low month costs such as $19 or $25 per month for the first year. However, when you add tax and additional regularly fees, you are looking at $10 or more on top of the advertised cost. Then, it rockets to its regular price for another year until the end of the two-year commitment. However, there is no hard feeling because DirecTv told us that it would welcome us back, probably at regular price.

The Perks Of Being A New Customer

The one thing I learned from this whole decision process is that change is not a bad thing. There are numerous perks for being a new customer. We didn't want to pay for additional television sets that we do not watch, so we started with 2 DVR units, one HD capable and the second one a standard DVR. What Dish advertisement does not tell you outright is a $50 installation fee and it runs your credit. Considering that I am receiving these new devices for $7 per unit lease, I didn't think it was a bad deal. It is not better than owning it outright, but look at the Tivo box that I owe. It is now outdated and useless, and DirecTv was more concerned about receiving the communication cards than its DVR.
It was hard to nail down the price. All customer service representatives gave different prices. I could even tell that one was trying to keep our information for himself and failed to enter our data into the central database. When he took too long to answer questions, I decided to call the central number again, and he was exposed because the second representative couldn't find our inquiry. However, it turns out that it would be roughly $42, including all fees and taxes and a French channel. The latter was something we wanted but DirecTv did not offer it. When I called to cancel, the DirecTv told me that it added a Filipino channel, a Brazilian channel, and a cricket channel. There was absolutely no response on my part. Plus, the $10 discount per month for a year was also not enticing.
We were thrilled that in the first year, there was a $36 per month savings for going with Dish Network, even with the additional French channel, and a $16 per month savings thereafter. Gaining the opportunity to practice French is priceless since my children are half French-American and we are walk-distance to the French Consulate.

TV5Monde through my iPhone.
                                  TV5Monde through my iPhone

Sling Adapter for Dish Network
Sling Adapter for Dish Network

Being Caught Up to 2012 Technology

The disadvantage of using an old device that I owned and staying with DirecTv is that we were not keeping up with technology. Who knew that there was a disadvantage with ownership until our Tivo (in addition to our purchase of a lifetime subscription to the information service) became inconvenient. The old remote control was not reliable anymore. Since hooking it up to the second television after the first one broke, we no longer could control the television through the Tivo remote control. There was no remote control from our mobile devices with DirecTv.
However, with Dish Network, it was the total opposite. We learned that it is possible to tape shows away from home. Not only did we have two brand new state of the art remote control devices, but any smartphone can be turned into a remote control.
Plus, with anything new, I am more likelihood to form a close relationship with customer service. With the added bonus of three months of Showtime, HBO, Cinemax, Blockbuster Home, I was on the phone trying to learn about how to watch premium channels online as well as order DVDs from Blockbuster Home. This was definitely a perk compared to 15 years with DirecTv and receiving only one month of one premium channel after I complained that I was unable to use the one free video on demand per year for the last five years because I am an auto-pay customer.
I was also more interested with Dish's website. As I was on browsing DishOnline, I discovered Dish's discussion regarding Sling Adapter. Not only can I control the programming from a smartphone, but with the Sling Adapter, I am able to watch the second television programming on my iPhone as well as watch taped shows that are on the DVR. The only limitation is the low bandwidth that can be frustrating as well as not being able to select television shows because the second television is taping a show. Overall, when the internet feed is regular, I am watching local new on the bus and at work, keeping up with the latest disaster weather in Louisiana where my in-laws reside. If I cannot telecommute on my terms, this is the next best thing. I found myself listening to live shows on the French channel, trying to create a French-speaking environment somewhere other than home. The next time I am at a motel, I will be streaming my premium channels through my computer using Sling Adapter when the shows on television are limiting. I find the television programming in a motel or a hotel to be dismal. I can also watch my shows on the iPhone while the kids watch their Disney program on television, and the family continues to spend quality time together.

Final Word

We spent more time trying to nail down the cost over the phone than the time it took for installation, and one of the two Dish installers had to crawl underneath our house to complete the hookup from the old section of the house to the new section of the house, connecting the two DVRs. This saved my husband a lot of time because he was planning to do this himself. The switch was totally worth it, and I can watch TV anywhere and anytime. What freedom! What a saving!

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