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DirecTV Lease vs Buy Confusion


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144 replies to this topic

#26 OFFLINE   ScoBuck

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 04:23 PM

Hi everyone - glad I found this place - I might be able to help a little on this topic. I was in Best Buy store today to get some Monster cables - as usual I passed by the DirecTV area to see how they are figuring out all this new stuff.

The video guy told me that they were still pretty confused about all the new policies, but the manager was asked to make a call to their region offices - and in fact they are only leasing (they are calling the money needed upfront an equipment usage charge). They are not selling this stuff anymore.

Requires 24 month promise, and return of receiver if you cancel.

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#27 OFFLINE   w6fxj

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 04:38 PM

I did some more calling to find out from DirecTV what the real policy is. Here is my take on it after reading the Executive Summary and speaking with about ten DirecTV CSR supervisors.

There are many retailers who bought equipment under the old sales plan. Not all of these retailers will be staying with the new lease only plan. Those retailers can sell that equipment at any price they feel is fair. However, any new DirecTV equipment orders will be on the lease-only plan.

These retailers are SELLING the old plan equipment and DirecTV will honor a request to activate that subscriber-owned equipment as owned equipment. This includes new subscribers who unknowingly buy new DirecTV equipment outright from a retailer who SELLS that equipment.

So, if your want to BUY any of this "old-plan" equipment you can get it activated and keep the equipment because you own it. DirecTV wants everyone to lease equipment rather than buy it because they often gave equipment away to new subscribers who did not stick around for long and turned around and sold that "free" equipment on eBay.

In my own case I paid top dollar for all of my DirecTV equipment starting in 1994 when it cost about $1500 just to get started. As DirecTV came out with new services I stayed on the bleeding edge paying hard-earned bucks for every piece of equipment including $1000+ for a new HR10-250.

It makes no sense to pay DirecTV $499 for a leased HR10-250 when Crutchfield will sell be the same unit for the same price. If I get it from DirecTV they keep the unit. If I get it from Crutchfield, it is mine to keep and resell after I get the new leased MPEG4 HD-DVR.

#28 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 04:52 PM

If I can still purchase, new or used, and activate a "owned" receiver, how is D* going to keep track of which receivers are "leased" and which are "owned" for activation eligibility?

Using a contrivance known as a database, they can keep track of serial numbers. You may already know that D* will treat anyone who owns (or otherwise obtains) a receiver with a balance on it very poorly. This is just one of the uses.

Is D* going to keep track of serial numbers and designate as "owned" or "leased"?

They've been doing it since the very beginning!

Or will D* refuse to active receivers with a "owned" status after 3/30/06 which seems to be implied from the Solidsignal Equipment Lease Program Information?

Not as long as the receiver doesn't have a balance owed.

I don't think anyone will argue that they terms are exceedingly vague. The key is that only D* knows for sure what they meant and seeking clarification from anyone else isn't going to get you very far.

#29 OFFLINE   w6fxj

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 04:59 PM

Some additional information from a Crutchfield supervisor today. She read me the Crutchfield instruction regarding the DirecTV lease-plan. The mandatory lease-only plan is for basic receivers not the "advanced" DirecTV products that Crutchfield offers. All DirecTV equipment sold by Crutchfield is on an outright sales basis, not lease. That policy remains in force. Other retailers who offer non-advanced DirecTV products after March 1 must do it on a lease basis.

#30 OFFLINE   ScoBuck

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 05:04 PM

Some additional information from a Crutchfield supervisor today. She read me the Crutchfield instruction regarding the DirecTV lease-plan. The mandatory lease-only plan is for basic receivers not the "advanced" DirecTV products that Crutchfield offers. All DirecTV equipment sold by Crutchfield in on an outright sales basis, not lease. That policy remains in force. Other retailers who offer non-advanced DirecTV products after March 1 must do it on a lease basis.


Hate to say it, but you sound obsessed. And according to your first post you are only considering getting this. How many calls would you make if you were really gonna go ahead and but it?

#31 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 05:07 PM

it is mine to keep and resell after I get the new leased MPEG4 HD-DVR.

The concern I have is what kind of upgrade offers on new equipment you might get being an owner versus a lessor. I can see D* offering lessors an incremental upgrade ($99?) while charging owners the full $499 to "buy in" in which case they get their $499 out of you anyway. There is more than one way to skin a customer.

#32 OFFLINE   w6fxj

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 05:15 PM

Hate to say it, but you sound obsessed. And according to your first post you are only considering getting this. How many calls would you make if you were really gonna go ahead and but it?


I am less than enthusiastic about DirecTV's so-called lease plan. They want to charge people the street price as an equipment fee. If they were to use the same plan most cable companies use it would be fair. Unfortunately I am trapped because our local cable company (Time-Warner) has no plans to upgrade Barstow's 7000 subscriber system any time soon. No HD plans at all. DirecTV and Dish Network are my only options. No such thing as OTA in Barstow.

#33 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 05:29 PM

They want to charge people the street price as an equipment fee.

Street price is what you can buy it for this instant. You may no longer be able to "own" a unit for $499. For E*, the difference on an MPEG4 HD DVR between lease entry and buying is $400 (699-299; 5.56 years of lease fees). My guess is that some retailers will continue to sell receivers, but at a much higher price because they are no longer getting kickbacks.

Quoting catalog prices isn't the same thing as buying.

#34 OFFLINE   ScoB

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 06:09 PM

Hate to say it, but you sound obsessed. And according to your first post you are only considering getting this. How many calls would you make if you were really gonna go ahead and but it?


Not only that but since this DVR you are so interested in is not MPEG4 compatible, it ain't gonna have ANY resale value by mid-07 or so - since ALL the HD stuff will be migrated by then (or close to then) who would buy it anyhow?

Now that you found out you can buy it - are you going to?

#35 OFFLINE   ScoBuck

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 07:01 PM

Not only that but since this DVR you are so interested in is not MPEG4 compatible, it ain't gonna have ANY resale value by mid-07 or so - since ALL the HD stuff will be migrated by then (or close to then) who would buy it anyhow?

Now that you found out you can buy it - are you going to?


Hey man - that's true - why would anyone with AT9 MPEG4 capability even want to get that old DVR technology when the new one is out in a matter of months. I think he just wanted to start a meaningless discussion - if you aren't gonna get it lease OR purchase - the cost is the same = ZERO. The day the new box comes out the older one will have little or no re-sale value anyway. Also, I think the new one will only be available by lease anyhow.

#36 OFFLINE   w6fxj

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 07:40 PM

Now that you found out you can buy it - are you going to?


You sold me on it! I ordered it from Crutchfield. Thanks for all the inputs.

#37 OFFLINE   Wolffpack

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 07:45 PM

Hey man - that's true - why would anyone with AT9 MPEG4 capability even want to get that old DVR technology when the new one is out in a matter of months. I think he just wanted to start a meaningless discussion - if you aren't gonna get it lease OR purchase - the cost is the same = ZERO. The day the new box comes out the older one will have little or no re-sale value anyway. Also, I think the new one will only be available by lease anyhow.

I pulled the trigger on a HR10 back in Dec. Back when there were deals for the getting. Net cost on mine was about $50. I'm in Phoenix and can get all HD stations OTA with a RS antenna sitting on top of my equipment stand. I'm not planning on any MPEG4 until more national HD channels are added or existing national HD channels are converted to MPEG4.

Given that, with the current lease program, if I were to get a HR10 today I would lease.

EDIT: Oh, I'll also have to disagree with your stance on the resale value an HR10 once the new HD DVR from DTV once it's released. Just watching eBay the values of old Series 2's DTivos and R10's has gone up due to the problems being experienced with the R15. Plus, everyone seems to forget the HR10 can function fine as a DVR with OTA HD signals and MPEG2 HD or SD DTV channels.

#38 OFFLINE   Wolffpack

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 07:48 PM

Not only that but since this DVR you are so interested in is not MPEG4 compatible, it ain't gonna have ANY resale value by mid-07 or so - since ALL the HD stuff will be migrated by then (or close to then) who would buy it anyhow?

Now that you found out you can buy it - are you going to?

Remember it is still a dual tuner OTA Tivo HD DVR. Plus it will still be able to record non MPEG4 channels. There is still a value even after the MPEG2 HD feeds are gone.

#39 OFFLINE   JLucPicard

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 08:06 PM

Exactly my thoughts, Wolffpack. Still capable of OTA and MPEG2 HD -and- SD. Definitely won't just become a doorstop, as some seem to think - not for me anyway.

#40 OFFLINE   ScoB

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 08:13 PM

I pulled the trigger on a HR10 back in Dec. Back when there were deals for the getting. Net cost on mine was about $50. I'm in Phoenix and can get all HD stations OTA with a RS antenna sitting on top of my equipment stand. I'm not planning on any MPEG4 until more national HD channels are added or existing national HD channels are converted to MPEG4.

Given that, with the current lease program, if I were to get a HR10 today I would lease.

EDIT: Oh, I'll also have to disagree with your stance on the resale value an HR10 once the new HD DVR from DTV once it's released. Just watching eBay the values of old Series 2's DTivos and R10's has gone up due to the problems being experienced with the R15. Plus, everyone seems to forget the HR10 can function fine as a DVR with OTA HD signals and MPEG2 HD or SD DTV channels.


Guess what..........ALL of you are right. Because in this situation to each his (her) own - whatever suits you. As much as I try to imagine though, I can't think of why I would need more than 1 DVR in my house though.

Oh and BTW Bill Wood - glad I could be of help - you were a bit undecisive there for a while. LOL.

I just checked ebay - you're right, there is a R10 going for 29.99 in about an hour. http://electronics.s...ZR41QQsacatZ293

#41 OFFLINE   Wolffpack

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 08:52 PM

Guess what..........ALL of you are right. Because in this situation to each his (her) own - whatever suits you. As much as I try to imagine though, I can't think of why I would need more than 1 DVR in my house though.

Yes, to each their own. Our family has 7 DVRs in our house. (We kinda went with the program that when a non-DVR receiver dies, it's just as cheap to replace it with an old DTivo). We have 5 HDVR2s, 1 HR10-250 and a R15 to test/play with. Each one other than the R15 have been expanded in space and are networked together with all HDVR2's being able to play shows from one another.

I just checked ebay - you're right, there is a R10 going for 29.99 in about an hour. http://electronics.s...ZR41QQsacatZ293

Either you just want to argue and get more face time here or you have no idea how to use eBay. I'm guessing you're looking for the face time.

The auction item you mentioned states:

Auction is for a DirecTv unit that we could not test for we do not have the power cord it takes to test it. We have taken a photo of the cord that is needed to use to power it. We do not know the status of the unit. The receiver is in very good shape. Sorry but as usual the auction is for the unit only, no accessories are included. This means no remote, cable, cords, manual or anything else. These items can be found on eBay, and a lot of times the manual can be downloaded at Amazon.

...and has no bids.

Just below the item you spent the time to research and post is another R10, new in box, with all accessories plus access card, with a day remaining on the auction currently bid at $102.50. Now if you've every tried to purchase an older DTivo on eBay you should be aware the REAL bidding starts about 5 minutes before the auction ends.

I don't know ScoB. I thought you had enuf with this thread but you seem to want to keep adding useful information to it. Ah well, again, to each their own.

#42 OFFLINE   ScoB

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 07:18 AM

That's not entirely true. The new plan has always stated that retailers could still sell units which would be owned by the customer. It's just that after 03/01 DTV would not be subsidizing the units retailers were selling.

As I understand it if I get a HR10 from DTV I pay $499 and lease. If I get one from a retailer and pay $799 I own it. Now, I think where the confusion is coming from is that retailers are still selling their units for $499. Maybe not all retailers have gotten the word they should be charging $799 or maybe the retailers are clearing their shelves. Bottom line is you can still purchase equipment is you wish.

In particular:


in this post.


Guess it goes back to you inserting a wrong statement into this right from the beginning. I NEVER stated that you could not purchase, just that if it was me I would have done it before 3/1 and not have to put myself thru all of this BS. Even you r statement that retailers should be charging $799 is bogus. They can charge whatever they want if they sell something - own up to your mis-statements.

You are the icon that needed the face time and presented an inaccurate reflection of what was strictly an opinion. And you are a very insulting "I know more than you person". Seems you felt a real NEED to respond to every post I made for some reason.

#43 OFFLINE   damondlt

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 05:48 PM

I guess i better sell my 3 old receivers while i can Before they really aren't worth a penny.

#44 OFFLINE   Wolffpack

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 05:58 PM

I guess i better sell my 3 old receivers while i can Before they really aren't worth a penny.

I cannot see how used receivers would be viewed as DTV property. Depending on the receiver you have, it's still worth plenty. Note the R10 I mentioned above selling for $102.50. There is a demand for owning solid technology and solid software.

#45 OFFLINE   cabanaboy1977

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 08:33 AM

FYI

I talked to D* last night and asked (just for kicks) about the new lease program and why I'd want to be on the lease program and she said they are confused with the lease program right now. She said the D* reps are confused and aren't sure how the lease works and stated that it was good that I bought my R15's and H10-250 before they switched to the lease program. This is just great, D*'s own people don't understand it.

#46 OFFLINE   eengert

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 11:33 AM

The lease program as we currently understand makes no sense. You have to pay the same or more up front and then D* owns the equipment. There's no incentive to the customer, in fact there's incentive to leave. If they continue with this policy, they'll risk losing customers. I'd be gone to cable right now if I didn't have Adelphia, and not everyone has a crappy cable co. On the other hand, once there are D* tuner cards available for HTPC's (as announced by Microsoft recently), I won't be buying any equipment from D* as I'll be building my own. I look forward to that day and hope it doesn't take much more than a year. There's hope because a cablecard compliant TV tuner card is being released in a few months. The options are growing. But the lease program really is pretty ridiculous. It's not really a lease program at all. It's really just a policy change that says the customer doesn't own any new equipment they buy. The customer pays for it but D* owns it and let's the customer use it while they have service with D*. Pretty stupid policy.
- Eric

---------------------------------------------
D* Equipment:
2 - HR20-700's
8-ch SWM

Televisions:
50" Sony SXRD (xbr1)
32" JVC SD CRT

AVR:
Denon AVR 2307CI

Other Components:
Slingbox AV
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD Player
Playstation 3 (60Gb)

#47 OFFLINE   ScoB

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 01:39 PM

The lease program as we currently understand makes no sense. You have to pay the same or more up front and then D* owns the equipment. There's no incentive to the customer, in fact there's incentive to leave. If they continue with this policy, they'll risk losing customers. I'd be gone to cable right now if I didn't have Adelphia, and not everyone has a crappy cable co. On the other hand, once there are D* tuner cards available for HTPC's (as announced by Microsoft recently), I won't be buying any equipment from D* as I'll be building my own. I look forward to that day and hope it doesn't take much more than a year. There's hope because a cablecard compliant TV tuner card is being released in a few months. The options are growing. But the lease program really is pretty ridiculous. It's not really a lease program at all. It's really just a policy change that says the customer doesn't own any new equipment they buy. The customer pays for it but D* owns it and let's the customer use it while they have service with D*. Pretty stupid policy.


OK - everyone feels differently about the lease program, it does have some advantages for some people. I guess my question for those who are truly anti-lease - Have any of you called or emailed DirecTV with your feelings? If not why not? Voicing them here is of course understood and of course discussion is great - but letting them know directly - that is the best way - let them know and to see how many complain and if it is a large percentage, that's how to make them want to change.


Personally, I do see some advantages with both types of business models. But my feeling is that just with most of everything else, the OVERWHELMING majority of customers don't care, most have switched from cable where they NEVER owned the decoder - most wouldn't see a difference. The peeps that visit and post on these boards care FAR MORE than the average Joe does. In fact, there are million of D* customers that will not ever know about this, some have the same round dish and receivers for years, they just pay their bill (which won't be changing for them) and go on.

For the majority of new customers it isn't that apparent either. They still will install up to 4 rooms for no charge, will also do 1 DVR at no charge, will also do 1 HD receiver at no charge - just the monthly program and lease for for add'l receivers.

#48 OFFLINE   eengert

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 02:27 PM

OK - everyone feels differently about the lease program, it does have some advantages for some people. I guess my question for those who are truly anti-lease - Have any of you called or emailed DirecTV with your feelings? If not why not? Voicing them here is of course understood and of course discussion is great - but letting them know directly - that is the best way - let them know and to see how many complain and if it is a large percentage, that's how to make them want to change.


Personally, I do see some advantages with both types of business models. But my feeling is that just with most of everything else, the OVERWHELMING majority of customers don't care, most have switched from cable where they NEVER owned the decoder - most wouldn't see a difference. The peeps that visit and post on these boards care FAR MORE than the average Joe does. In fact, there are million of D* customers that will not ever know about this, some have the same round dish and receivers for years, they just pay their bill (which won't be changing for them) and go on.

For the majority of new customers it isn't that apparent either. They still will install up to 4 rooms for no charge, will also do 1 DVR at no charge, will also do 1 HD receiver at no charge - just the monthly program and lease for for add'l receivers.



The problem is that, at best, calling this a Lease Program is a misnomer. When you pay full price up front, that's not leasing. The whole point of leasing is to only pay for your usage and then you give back the product when you're done using it. What D* is apparently trying to do is have the best of both worlds for themselves. They are forcing the customer to pay full price up front yet not allowing the customer to own the equipment. So it's really not a lease program. All that really changed is who owns the box. Since D* owns it (even though you paid for it) they can't force you to pay for a service plan (I'm sure they would if they thought they could get away with that too) so they have to cover any repairs/maintenence.

So they either need to change their pricing structure to actually be a lease, or change the name of the program to something other than "Lease".

As to your other comments, it will indeed be relevant to anyone who wants a DVR. Whether it's a SD or HD DVR, you're paying full price yet not gaining ownership. If you think ownership isn't a big deal, you might not have ever used ebay. I'm not anti-lease, I just either want a true lease program with little to no up front cost followed by monthly payments, or if I have to pay full price I want to own it so I can sell it later to recoup my costs (which I frequently do and come out very well in the end).

I have also shared these thoughts with D* as best as I know how. Not sure what we can expect from that given that even the CSR's have no idea what the "Lease" program is supposed to be about. I'm not at a decision point yet since I currently own all my equipment (including and HR10-250). And as long as the upgrade path to the new HD DVR is free, I won't have much issue there either (although I will apparently lose ownership at that point). But if this is the policy that they still call a "lease" at the time when I want/need to buy a new HD DVR, it will probably cause me to leave D* for a company that has a true lease program or allows me to own the equipment that I pay full price for. But whether or not it affects me or anyone right now is irrelevant. It is still a nonsensical policy if it is truly meant to be a lease program.

Honestly, I've tried and can't see any advantage to this program they've started. What advantages are you thinking of? We don't even get out of the 2 year committment. The only thing I can see is that you don't have to pay for a protection plan (which I don't pay for anyway). And I've also heard that they're limiting you to adding one HD DVR per year to your account. What's that all about? It's just really strange to me because the whole policy seems so ridiculous. I don't see any compromises or exchange of benefits. All I can see is D* taking all the benefits and leaving the customer with nothing except free coverage on the equipment (which only makes sense if the customer doesn't own it).
- Eric

---------------------------------------------
D* Equipment:
2 - HR20-700's
8-ch SWM

Televisions:
50" Sony SXRD (xbr1)
32" JVC SD CRT

AVR:
Denon AVR 2307CI

Other Components:
Slingbox AV
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD Player
Playstation 3 (60Gb)

#49 OFFLINE   hiker

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 03:30 PM

... They are forcing the customer to pay full price up front yet not allowing the customer to own the equipment. ...

D* supposedly will still allow ownership, but once the current supply of receivers/DVRs is out of the pipeline, they will cost a lot more. Buy now if you want to own. D* sells the HR10 to own at $899, which is what I paid for my first one in Dec 2004.
You seem to imply that no lease deals have upfront cost. E* has upfront cost and so does housing and auto leasing.
I don't understand the limit of one HD DVR per year. Maybe if they were in short supply. E* has a limit on the new ViP622 HD DVR but I believe it's a supply problem. Or if D* was heavily subsidizing maybe they would want the limit, but at $499, doesn't seem so.

#50 OFFLINE   eengert

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 03:51 PM

D* supposedly will still allow ownership, but once the current supply of receivers/DVRs is out of the pipeline, they will cost a lot more. Buy now if you want to own. D* sells the HR10 to own at $899, which is what I paid for my first one in Dec 2004.
You seem to imply that no lease deals have upfront cost. E* has upfront cost and so does housing and auto leasing.
I don't understand the limit of one HD DVR per year. Maybe if they were in short supply. E* has a limit on the new ViP622 HD DVR but I believe it's a supply problem. Or if D* was heavily subsidizing maybe they would want the limit, but at $499, doesn't seem so.


I didn't mean to imply that lease deals have no up front costs, just that the up front costs should be substantially lower than full price. I've heard $499 to "lease" and $799 to own. A measley 35% percent price reduction doesn't qualify as a lease deal to me. Especially when it's not so much a reduction in the "lease" price as it is an increase in the buy to own price.
- Eric

---------------------------------------------
D* Equipment:
2 - HR20-700's
8-ch SWM

Televisions:
50" Sony SXRD (xbr1)
32" JVC SD CRT

AVR:
Denon AVR 2307CI

Other Components:
Slingbox AV
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD Player
Playstation 3 (60Gb)




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