Thanks for the tips. I'm going to try and find an "owned" box to activate. My biggest reason for not going with a contract is I'm looking to move out of the country in the next year or two and don't really want to have to pay a disconnect fee. Same reason I'm not upgrading my cell phone!
I had a contract with D* here about 6 years ago, and I had to move. I wasn't leaving the country, but I was moving. I got a hold of retention, told them where I was living having D* wasn't an option and they let me out.
Not saying it would apply to you, but it did for me.