Why I Dropped DIRECTV for DIRECTV NOW – My Cord Cutting Journey

Having been a 14 year subscriber to DIRECTV, I was ready for a change.


Back in November 2016, I was pretty much fed up with DIRECTV. Having been a subscriber to the satellite service for over 14 years, I’d finally come to the Rubicon moment in my relationship with Pay TV. The tipping point was when I my bill reached $150 a month, a full $60 more than the previous month’s “negotiated 6 month rate”.

How do you get a negotiated rate? About 6 months earlier I started seriously thinking about jumping to Sling TV and its online streaming package. At just $20 with a core group of popular channels that I could live with, I decided I was paying way too much for TV.  So I picked up the phone and called DIRECTV customer support.

I informed them I wanted to cancel the service and I was immediately transferred to the “customer retention” department.

After some introduction and background, I steered the conversation to the cost I was paying vs just dropping them and going with Sling TV. I figured that the cost I’d payed them over 14 years could pay for a lifetime of Sling TV and have enough left over to spring for Netflix, HBO and a Bodacious wallpaper TV thrown in for good measure.

After some negotiation, I was granted a 6 month reduced cost contract down to $90 a month. But by November 2016, the rate had expired. It was time to pay the piper again.

So, here I was. At the end of my grace period and facing a $150 monthly bill for TV.

It was about this same time I heard about DIRECTV NOW.

Sling TV and Playstation Vue were already players in this space and now DIRECTV NOW was about to join the fray.

They were set to launch the service in a few days with an almost “to good to be true” deal offering of a free Apple TV in exchange for a 3 month prepay. I’d also be given special promotional pricing on their “Go Big” package for as long as I was a subscriber.

I signed up for DIRECTV NOW online and a few days later I received a brand new Apple TV in the mail.

I terminated my satellite contract with DIRECTV that same day.

At the end of this month, it will be exactly one year since I decided to “cut the cord” and take the plunge into the world of streaming TV.

It hasn’t been an entirely smooth ride.

The biggest challenges have been local TV access and time shifting. DIRECTV NOW still doesn’t have a DVR but its expected any day now.

They’ve also just added our local ABC and NBC networks , so things are definitely on the right path.

To address the local TV access issue, I’ve been using an “over the air” antenna. I’m only about 3 miles from the downtown TV towers but I’m also just on the other side of a mountain, so the signals aren’t always 100% reliable.

For time shifting, I’ve subscribed to Hulu’s commercial free package. I basically use this as a cloud DVR for network TV. Hulu offers “day after air” showings of just about every show on network television. So, anything I miss with my antenna live (or with my Channels DVR service), I can get with Hulu the next day.

I started this site to share my experiences with others who I expect, like me, have become fed up with the overpriced racket that is traditional Pay TV. I hope that I can help others to enjoy the savings I’ve found and smooth out the process of transitioning from linear costly contracts to affordable streaming TV.

  • Cableguy

    My conversion from Directv to Directv Now is almost a carbon copy of yours. My bill was $104 per month and about to go to $107. I had exhausted my customer retention offers. I signed up for DTVN on day one and received the free Apple TV. I also have Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, and an external antenna feeding a Tablo over the air DVR. Truthfully I now have too much tv, lol.

    • Yep, almost identical. How do you like the Tablo? I opted for the HDHomeRun with the Channels app. I really like how the app integrates with the Apple TV, especially the “Top shelf” functionality.

      • Cableguy

        I had a hard time deciding between the HDHomeRun and the Tablo but finally went for the Tablo and a 1TB hard drive because it’s seemed a bit simpler. The cons of the Tablo are that the guide is a little slow to load and when you choose a channel to view it takes 10-15 seconds to load. It doesn’t have 5.1 audio either, but I’m not set up for that anyway. I knew the cons before I purchased it from researching it. I already had an older Roku, and a 2 gen Fire TV box when I received the ATV. I gave the old Roku to my daughter and got the new Roku Stick for a bedroom TV that only does 1080 video. The Tablo guide loads considerably faster on the Roku, compared to the ATV and the FTV. Anyway, overall I’m very happy with the Tablo. What’s your take on the HDHomeRun device?

  • Peter Vogel

    Here in Canada there are far fewer options. Most of the services mentioned here are geo-blocked or not offered in Canada. Cord cutters here have a little access to OTA but not as much as in the US. The government has ordered all the cablecos here to offer a $25 plan of around 30 channels. There’s been some uptake. For those cutting the cord completely the problem is getting local access TV, live sports for those who want it, and, believe it or not, CNN. CNN is virtually unobtainable without a subscription. It will occasionally surface on the Roku or Android TV platforms but CNN is pretty adept at getting those shut down with a few days. Android TV has become all but illegal here. The big telcos managed to get a court order forbidding advertising of pre-programmed Android TV boxes.

    • Interesting story Peter. Thanks for sharing it. So you can get sports and news (ie, ESPN and CNN/FOXNews via the government mandated 30 channel plan?

      • Peter Vogel

        No sports. No CNN. The mandated channels are the local broadcast channels, several Canadian specialty channels and then the cable companies have the option of providing, at no cost the American 4+1 channels (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and PBS). In our case these come from Seattle. The “+1” refers to PBS which may not have a transmitter presence in every case. As for CNN, that’s an extra. Same for sports. I have no interest in sports. I do want news. So I added CNN and BBC News. Basically shaved $100 off my cable bill. I put half of that into improved Internet service. If I could get reliable CNN and a few local stations over the Roku I’d cut the cable subscription completely.