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DirecTV will sell HR 44s to Solid Signal and Weaknees - but not me


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#51 OFFLINE   studechip

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 02:37 PM

Two comments here. First, as a mod I have to remind those assembled that it's ok to express a differing opinion but let's remember that no one likes to feel attacked. Please keep it civil. 

 

Now as to the lease model... I understand that to the average consumer a DVR is an appliance and if any of your other appliances broke you would not expect to be treated this way. The difference is that DIRECTV hardware is heavily subsidized. You get a lot of things for free or below cost when you sign that commitment. Your relationship with the microwave's manufacturer ends when you buy the microwave, and the price you pay is a fair profit for all involved. With DIRECTV (or DISH) hardware, you get a lot of equipment and a lot of labor for free and the costs are tied into the service you pay for. 

 

I personally don't like this model. I'd rather pay cash for my satellite system, cash for my phone, cash for everything rather than get put into a subsidized deal. But, I don't have a choice. I've been told that in certain cases DIRECTV does make higher-risk customers pay more for their hardware, but they still have to sign a commitment. If I paid cash for my phone, I'd still have the same monthly bill, even though I'm not subsidizing free hardware. 

 

As for the matter of dealing with licensed third parties, I think it's great that there are options out there so you can get what you want.

 

DIRECTV is hardly alone in providing a pool of equipment from different manufacturers; most providers are small enough that a single manufacturer covers all needs, but even so... if I went to my local Time Warner Cable I would have no choice whether I got a 5-year-old Motorola POS DVR or the latest new hotness. Of course, saying "everyone else does it" isn't an excuse, but perhaps everyone does it because the overarching majority simply don't care what manufacturer or model they get. 

Do you know the actual cost to Directv for an hd dvr or a Genie? I'm thinking when the customer pays an up front fee of $199 for an hd dvr, they have paid most of the cost to Directv for it. I'm sure the same goes for the Genie.



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#52 OFFLINE   acostapimps

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 03:10 PM

Should I reschedule for the Genie upgrade or hope the tech shows up with the 44 as I'm in the Chicago DMA? install date is for tomorrow morning. I want to cover all my options for people that have upgraded to the 44 from the HR34.

Edited by acostapimps, 29 May 2013 - 03:14 PM.

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#53 OFFLINE   FarNorth

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 03:35 PM

A couple of pertinent notes. A few years ago, I paid $919 for an HR-250. A few years after that, I threw it in the dumpster along with all the other MPEG 2 hardware I had acquired because DTV decided to switch to MPEG 4.

 

As for the HR44, I didn't ask for a deal, wasn't trying to get something for nothing. I expected to pay $100 as an upgrade fee along with freight charges to return the old HR 22-100 that they shipped me in February.

 

With all due respect to SS, I would prefer to deal directly with DTV. If something goes wrong, I want to call one source. I don't want to call a different vendor every time something goes wrong. "Let me have the serial number, if it is the memory, you'll have to contact Pace. If it is the hard drive, Western Digital. If it is software related, we might be able to help you, I'll have to ask. Can I put you on hold?"



#54 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 04:52 PM

Do you know the actual cost to Directv for an hd dvr or a Genie? I'm thinking when the customer pays an up front fee of $199 for an hd dvr, they have paid most of the cost to Directv for it. I'm sure the same goes for the Genie.

 

I don't know the exact component costs but between hardware and software development it would greatly surprise me if the cost to DIRECTV was anywhere near as low as that. At one point, several years ago I was told it cost about $700 to build an HR20, just parts and not counting software development. I'd think it's come down from that somewhat but HR44s have more tuners, bigger drives, faster chips, better engineering, etc. 


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#55 OFFLINE   bananfish

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 06:22 PM

So, you want freebies to be handed to you with zero effort and don't want to ask for them? Do you pay sticker price for cars, too, and expect a dealer to give you discounts?

 

I never asked for a freebie ... would be willing to pay some premium for the box I want.

 

As far as your car analogy, it's a perfect one - I hate car shopping too, and so does every single person I know.  I similarly feel absolutely no loyalty whatsoever to any car company.  I just bought a new car a week and a half ago, and despite my best efforts to make it a smooth and easy process with a fair profit for the dealer, the dealer lied baldfacedly to me about two different things, dragged out the process, infuriated me, and then gave me the price that I came in with (which I had gotten through my insurance company's pricing service).  I will never buy a car from the same dealer again, and will recommend that my friends do not shop there either.



#56 OFFLINE   bananfish

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 06:24 PM

Let's see. Your bedroom DVR failed in January. Had you contacted DirecTV then they would have replaced it for you. Instead, "you" chose to wait all this time for the HR44's release. On top of that you're complaining you now have to decide whether to purchase a HR44 from Solid Signal or gamble on getting one from DirecTV. I fail to see how you are the injured party.

 

 Never said I was injured.  Said I hated a few of DirecTV's policies - said I liked their TV services and offerings as well.


Edited by bananfish, 29 May 2013 - 06:28 PM.


#57 OFFLINE   studechip

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 06:29 PM

I don't know the exact component costs but between hardware and software development it would greatly surprise me if the cost to DIRECTV was anywhere near as low as that. At one point, several years ago I was told it cost about $700 to build an HR20, just parts and not counting software development. I'd think it's come down from that somewhat but HR44s have more tuners, bigger drives, faster chips, better engineering, etc. 

It's not directly comparable, but a decent CPU can be had for $500 with pretty much the same components except the tuners. That's to buy, not the cost.



#58 OFFLINE   Diana C

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 07:49 PM

It's not directly comparable, but a decent CPU can be had for $500 with pretty much the same components except the tuners. That's to buy, not the cost.


PCs are manufactured from VERY high volume components. The economy of scale factors are very different. DirecTV DVRs are effectively custom built (volumes in the 10s to low 100s of thousands per model). PCs are manufactured in high 100s of thousands per model, from commodity components.

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#59 OFFLINE   peds48

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 08:01 PM

I never asked for a freebie ... would be willing to pay some premium for the box I want.

 

 

and just enlighten me, why you get to choose the price for something that is not yours.....


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#60 OFFLINE   Diana C

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 08:01 PM

My reply: Ahh, baloney. The air must be a little thin up on your high horse...


I don't own a horse, high or otherwise. I have just been in truly desperate circumstances and had to make life altering decisions that caused enormous pain to myself and those I care about. So, I may have a somewhat different perspective on life's priorities. I wish you to be so blessed in your life that having to worry about whether you can specifically order a particular model of DVR is a high priority. I hope you can appreciate how lucky you are.
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#61 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 08:28 PM

Second warning, please be nice to each other. This is a good topic and if a few bad apples cause it to be closed, it will be a loss for the whole board
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#62 OFFLINE   studechip

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 08:30 PM

PCs are manufactured from VERY high volume components. The economy of scale factors are very different. DirecTV DVRs are effectively custom built (volumes in the 10s to low 100s of thousands per model). PCs are manufactured in high 100s of thousands per model, from commodity components.

Of course there are many more pcs than dvrs, but they aren't making a few hundred or so. They make enough of them that the price differential isn't that much than if they were making a lot more. Are you saying that Directv uses better components than pc makers?


Edited by studechip, 29 May 2013 - 08:31 PM.


#63 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 09:03 PM

Not better, but lower volume. I know you are having trouble believing it, but most of the components in a DVR are quite unique while the ones in pcs are shared across many manufacturers.
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#64 OFFLINE   studechip

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 09:37 PM

Not better, but lower volume. I know you are having trouble believing it, but most of the components in a DVR are quite unique while the ones in pcs are shared across many manufacturers.

Perhaps, but there really isn't that much to them parts wise. I don't see the cost being all that high.



#65 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 09:53 PM

With respect, I disagree.
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#66 OFFLINE   FarNorth

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 11:16 PM

If you're correct .... then why would DTV sell DVRs to SS or WK at a huge loss? SS has HR 44s listed at $349 so they must be buying them for, say, $280. Why would DTV sell something for $280 that cost them $700? And back to my original point, why won't DTV sell me an HR 44 for $349 instead of selling to SS and keep the profit for themselves?


Edited by FarNorth, 29 May 2013 - 11:18 PM.

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#67 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 12:04 AM

Aren't the receivers and DVRs Solid Signal sells as "FOR COMMERCIAL USE ONLY" owned by the commercial account? If so, it seems difficult to believe that Directv would sell them at a loss. They cost more than the residential lease price for the same model, but not all that much more.

 

I think some people are overestimating the complexity of a satellite receiver. The SoC, RAM, and flash appear to be of comparable spec to what you find in a midrange wireless router, which sells for $50. Purely commodity parts. Ditto for the power supply, ethernet and HDMI PHYs and so on, and for the hard drive in the DVRs. Those will all be pretty much the same as you find in PCs everywhere.

 

The only bit of hardware I can think of inside any Directv receiver or DVR that's not a mass market commodity part is the satellite tuner, but there is likely little change in the hardware used for satellite tuner chips since Directv went to SWM, aside from building in DECA. I'm sure they roll a new version every couple of years to take advantage of newer semiconductor technology allowing for smaller chips or for more tuners on a chip, and may occasionally take advantage of the opportunity to add new stuff that will only be used in future - like how they added SWM to the H20's tuner before it existed as a product.

 

They may well use a single rev of the tuner chip across all receivers made over a two year period, so the economies of scale aren't what the big boys get, but are better than a simplistic view that assumes because they only sell 'x' of a given receiver model that's the economy of scale they have to work with.


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#68 OFFLINE   sregener

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 04:57 AM

Now as to the lease model... I understand that to the average consumer a DVR is an appliance and if any of your other appliances broke you would not expect to be treated this way. The difference is that DIRECTV hardware is heavily subsidized. You get a lot of things for free or below cost when you sign that commitment. Your relationship with the microwave's manufacturer ends when you buy the microwave, and the price you pay is a fair profit for all involved. With DIRECTV (or DISH) hardware, you get a lot of equipment and a lot of labor for free and the costs are tied into the service you pay for. 

 

Since you brought up cell phones, let's look at what an analogous relationship with your cell provider would look like.

 

You want a new cell phone, a Samsung Galaxy S4.  The cell phone company that has coverage in all the places you want says, "We'll give you a free Samsung Galaxy, but we can't promise you it would be an S4.  It might be an S2 or an S3, as those are functionally equivalent and our system has no way to know which one we're sending you."  But you really want the S4, so you go online and look around, and find a place that will sell you a Samsung Galaxy S4 for $249.  Both come with the same contract to the cell phone company, the same terms and conditions, but the $249 price is the only way to be sure you get the S4.  They also tell you you should pay $10/month for their "protection plan" such that they will replace it in case anything happens to it during your contract period.  You purchase the protection plan and the S4 from the company.  Two months later, the cell phone just stops working.  Not sure why.  You submit it for replacement and they honor their protection plan and ship you... a highly scratched up, "refurbished" S2.  And you have to take it, because you're under contract.  On what planet would this be right or fair?

 

If there really was no difference in models, I would have left DirecTV anyway.  I couldn't stand waiting 40 seconds on startup to change the channel with young children in the room and no way to get the images off the screen because the DVR was completely ignoring every button press.  I got in the habit of turning on the receiver 5 minutes before we intended to watch anything.  It felt like going back to the days of tube radio, waiting for the tubes to warm up.  And even after the 5-minute warmup, it was still unresponsive at times.  Since I left, DirecTV added one of my must-have HD channels, and I'd love to come back for the higher-quality HD picture, but I absolutely cannot and will not subject myself to receiver roulette.

 

As for Dish doing the same thing, I'm a little surprised by the claim.  When I ordered my service, I got to select my model from a pull-down list.  And I can go online today and order a second receiver and choose between a Hopper and a Hopper 2.  They aren't going to give them to me for free (which seems fair enough to me) but I do get to pick my model.  And if my Hopper died, they'd replace it with a Hopper or Hopper 2, but not a 722k.  I can't imagine they'd replace a Hopper 2 with an original Hopper, either.  Maybe somebody somewhere has a horror story, but I haven't heard it yet.  And if I talk to a DIRT member, they can often handle my "special requests" for hardware.  None of this garbage of "we don't know what's in the box, just that it's an advanced DVR."



#69 OFFLINE   RunnerFL

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 06:17 AM

If you're correct .... then why would DTV sell DVRs to SS or WK at a huge loss? SS has HR 44s listed at $349 so they must be buying them for, say, $280. Why would DTV sell something for $280 that cost them $700? And back to my original point, why won't DTV sell me an HR 44 for $349 instead of selling to SS and keep the profit for themselves?

 

DirecTV isn't selling to SolidSignal or Weaknees, they are both DirecTV Retailers.  SolidSignal and Weaknees lease the receivers FOR DirecTV.


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#70 OFFLINE   unixguru

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 07:12 AM

Since you brought up cell phones, let's look at what an analogous relationship with your cell provider would look like.

 

You want a new cell phone, a Samsung Galaxy S4.  The cell phone company that has coverage in all the places you want says, "We'll give you a free Samsung Galaxy, but we can't promise you it would be an S4.  It might be an S2 or an S3, as those are functionally equivalent and our system has no way to know which one we're sending you."  But you really want the S4, so you go online and look around, and find a place that will sell you a Samsung Galaxy S4 for $249.  Both come with the same contract to the cell phone company, the same terms and conditions, but the $249 price is the only way to be sure you get the S4.  They also tell you you should pay $10/month for their "protection plan" such that they will replace it in case anything happens to it during your contract period.  You purchase the protection plan and the S4 from the company.  Two months later, the cell phone just stops working.  Not sure why.  You submit it for replacement and they honor their protection plan and ship you... a highly scratched up, "refurbished" S2.  And you have to take it, because you're under contract.  On what planet would this be right or fair?

:up:

 

Cell companies are not perfect but they have a much more reasonable prorated early termination policies.  No fracking lease.  They apparently want to keep their customers.  It seems they will continue to set the standard if they move to eliminate subsidies.

 

I doubt there is much difference in the cost of an HR34/HR44 and an iPhone 5.

 

Our iPhone 4's (AT&T) were out of contract awhile back and we switched to AirVoice prepaid.  Same network.  Almost identical service.  HUGE $$$ savings.  Which shows how much people are getting ripped off by these providers.

 

Isn't it interesting that there are 2 cell networks that all the providers run over.  Just like there are 2 sat "networks".  Sat TV needs a lot more regulation.  Anti-regulation people can whine but phone looks better than TV.



#71 OFFLINE   Greg4050

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 07:18 AM

I agree with FarNorth on this topic.   I have been a customer since the early 90's and have only had a truck out to my house twice.  I have purchased the ST every year since its inception and also subscribe to a fairly high monthly package. I think its safe to say that I have paid for any equipment DTV was nice enough to let me use.  (Which is funny because I've paid for everything except a SWM upgrade.)

 

I was perfectly happy to buy the receiver I wanted, if I wanted it before DTV would give it to me, but now my purchase is really just a lease.  With all the new avenues for media to reach us, I think DTV is closer to losing more customers than they realize. 

 

I originally went with them because they were the only option I had.  Now I already have Comcast in the house for broadband,  (I'm even paying them an extra $20 for basic cable that I dont use... but that is another gripe.) and ST was really the only thing keeping me.  I "bought" 2 500s when they came out, but I wont be playing this game anymore.  It's not even the "cost" of the lease, its the extra 2 year commitment you "agree" to when you make the upgrade.  

 

The NFL is has jumped the shark.  First, you couldnt make any contact with the QB above his shoulders and now RBs will be getting penalties for inadvertent contact.   It's only a matter of time before the combination of lawsuits from retired players and the player pool drying up because parents no longer let their kids play, kills the cash cow.

 

I'm also a small business owner.  Whenever I have a new product or service, I look through our customer database and reach out to those I think would be most interested.  How hard would it be for DTV to do the same?   They always ask where I got the receiver I activated, so I imagine they have it on record that I'm a Solid Signal customer.   As others have posted, we a very small portion of their customer pool, but I bet we represent enough revenue for this to be worth the little time I think it would take to implement.

 

 What you've been paying for HD?  Too bad we are going to give it away free only to new customers unless you call and pitch a fit. 



#72 OFFLINE   bobcamp1

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 08:13 AM

Not better, but lower volume. I know you are having trouble believing it, but most of the components in a DVR are quite unique while the ones in pcs are shared across many manufacturers.

I call B.S. on this.  The only unique part is the main chipset, and D* deals in high volume so they'd get a huge discount.  I make something that uses similar horsepower for a much, much, much lower volume, and that chipset costs $300.  I bet D*'s price is around $200.  Everything else is off-the-shelf parts or a one-off of an existing product, including the hard drive which is a PC's.  Based on my experience, my estimate for parts & assembly of that DVR is around ~$350.

 

Since D* can charge the same upfront lease fee multiple times for the same box, the boxes assembly (and probably the R&D costs) costs are more than paid for.

 

Getting back to the topic, FIOS customers can pay a one time $40 fee to upgrade to the latest box, and all replacements will be the same or better.  That kind of program would please the 5% of people who aren't happy with the old boxes.



#73 OFFLINE   MysteryMan

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 08:50 AM

:up:

 

Cell companies are not perfect but they have a much more reasonable prorated early termination policies.  No fracking lease.  They apparently want to keep their customers.  It seems they will continue to set the standard if they move to eliminate subsidies.

 

I doubt there is much difference in the cost of an HR34/HR44 and an iPhone 5.

 

Our iPhone 4's (AT&T) were out of contract awhile back and we switched to AirVoice prepaid.  Same network.  Almost identical service.  HUGE $$$ savings.  Which shows how much people are getting ripped off by these providers.

 

Isn't it interesting that there are 2 cell networks that all the providers run over.  Just like there are 2 sat "networks".  Sat TV needs a lot more regulation.  Anti-regulation people can whine but phone looks better than TV.

Sorry, but I have to disagree with you on more regulation for Satellite TV. We need more government in our lives like Custer needed more Indians!


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#74 OFFLINE   acostapimps

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 08:52 AM



I personally don't like this model. I'd rather pay cash for my satellite system, cash for my phone, cash for everything rather than get put into a subsidized deal. But, I don't have a choice

Cash rules everything around me, dollar dollar bill y'all :)

Edited by acostapimps, 30 May 2013 - 08:53 AM.

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#75 OFFLINE   bananfish

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 09:55 AM

and just enlighten me, why you get to choose the price for something that is not yours.....

 

I'm not sure I understand the question.  I don't get to choose the price ... DirecTV does.  What I do get to choose is the price I am willing to pay.  If DirecTV had a policy that customers could, for instance, get the HR34 for X dollars or they could instead pay a premium for the HR44 -- i.e., X + PREMIUM -- I could make a sensible choice as a consumer.  As it is, they charge some customers hundreds of dollars and other customers nothing, and then they essentially dictate which product the customer will get (and which product the customer will get if the original product breaks down).






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