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Old 05-08-2002, 01:39 PM   #1 (Print)
DMHinCO
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Extremely cheap, but kosher, right?

When HBO was free to me for signing up with DirecTV, I got addicted to Six Feet Under. I also found that I loved watching some adventure movies, e.g., Perfect Storm, in Dolby Digital 5.1. My wife likes SATC.

But I really try to keep my fixed monthly expenses down, so I'd prefer not to pay an add'l $12/mo on top of my $47 DTV+TiVo+mirroring bill.

So on Monday mornings, I go to www.directv.com and turn on HBO. I tell TiVo about any movies in DD that I think might be good, a couple SATCs and SFU on HBO2. Then, before I go to bed on Monday, I turn it back off the same way. It comes to 40cents a day.

I'll admit it is cheap, but is there anything unethical about going DAILY on what is basically a monthly charge?

Just wondering what the community thinks about this.

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Old 05-08-2002, 01:57 PM   #2 (Print)
Avenger
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I guess I'm somewhat split on the question. Something about it seems wrong , but intellectually, I don't see a problem with it from a moral perspective. I mean, you are paying for the programming you're receiving.

I would guess that, from DirecTV's perspective, this is exactly the kind of thing they would like to prevent people from doing via the web interface. If you did this week after week via phone, eventually some CSR would ask you what the hell you're up to. But the web interface gives you a way to accomplish your goal without having to run this through a human being, who would quickly figure out what you're up to.

The main problem with this sort of thing, IMHO, is that it might lead DirecTV to eventually impose a "change of service fee" to make this kind of undertaking (no "SFU" pun intended) unprofitable for the customer. I imagine HBO would be none too pleased, either.
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Old 05-08-2002, 02:07 PM   #3 (Print)
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I thought DTV did have a $5 fee whenever you lowered your package (like removing HBO) to prevent exactly this. Maybe this fee went away with the new packages and pricing?
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Old 05-08-2002, 02:10 PM   #4 (Print)
LostCluster
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I think this is exactly the kind of scheme "restrictions" are designed to prevent. You're breaking no law, and you are paying for what you're getting. Since there's no rule on the books in your way, you're all good.

You will however, be blamed for "ruining it for the rest of us" if DirecTV decides to dramatically change the web interface to get in your way.
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Old 05-08-2002, 03:04 PM   #5 (Print)
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I'm pretty sure that the $5 change fee only refers to downgrading your core programming package (like going from TC+ to TC or TCP to TC+). In those cases, I think it probably has something to do with a desire on the part of DirecTV to recover discounts that are built into the packages, as opposed to essentially a la carte premium channels.
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Old 05-08-2002, 03:06 PM   #6 (Print)
mgarland
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Re: Extremely cheap, but kosher, right?

Quote:
Originally posted by DMHinCO
So on Monday mornings, I go to www.directv.com and turn on HBO. I tell TiVo about any movies in DD that I think might be good, a couple SATCs and SFU on HBO2. Then, before I go to bed on Monday, I turn it back off the same way. It comes to 40cents a day.


I LOVE IT! Great idea ... good for you!
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Old 05-08-2002, 03:44 PM   #7 (Print)
stevel
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I know that Dish Network will charge you $5 anytime you downgrade your service, including premium packages. It is indeed just this sort of thing they want to discourage. I don't know if DTV has a similar fee.

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Old 05-08-2002, 06:21 PM   #8 (Print)
DMHinCO
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Quote:
Originally posted by jsharper
I thought DTV did have a $5 fee whenever you lowered your package (like removing HBO) to prevent exactly this. Maybe this fee went away with the new packages and pricing?
I was wondering about whether that would happen, but I just received my bill and there was no fee. Just 40 cents / day.

When I really think about it, their incremental transaction cost for me to do this on the web just may be close to zero. Of course they would want me to subscribe for the full month, but if they get only $1.60 extra out of me each month, and don't have to take my phone call, maybe their profit is $1.60 (less whatever HBO gets). There could be per-txn costs built into their website hosting contract, or per-change costs to send a signal down to my receiver, but I kind of think those are sunk costs and not incremental.

Maybe I am trying to justify my miserliness.

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Old 05-08-2002, 07:03 PM   #9 (Print)
unoriginal
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Sounds ok to me. This is how things will hopefully work in the future. (VOD)

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Old 05-08-2002, 07:48 PM   #10 (Print)
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Quote:
Originally posted by DMHinCO
Maybe I am trying to justify my miserliness.


It seems to me that if HBO is worth that much effort for 4 days a month, another $10.00 for all 30 days and zero effort would be a good return on investment.

But as long as you are a paying subscriber and working the system within Directv's technology, you are doing nothing wrong. Go for it!
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Old 05-08-2002, 08:42 PM   #11 (Print)
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Hmm...that's odd because when I subscribed to HBO then decided to cancel 10 days later they still charged me the full monthly rate...when I called to find out why they said they don't pro-rate downgrades...you pay it outright for the month...I argued my way out of it but it was still a pain...you could do a one time lifetime purchase for Tivo and then ad HBO..then your monthly would be about the same.

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Old 05-09-2002, 12:05 PM   #12 (Print)
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Quote:
Originally posted by edrock200
Hmm...that's odd because when I subscribed to HBO then decided to cancel 10 days later they still charged me the full monthly rate...when I called to find out why they said they don't pro-rate downgrades...you pay it outright for the month...I argued my way out of it but it was still a pain...
Did you make the transactions via their web interface or use a human operator? I can imagine the system being different if a human is needed.
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Old 05-09-2002, 01:12 PM   #13 (Print)
stace
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Quote:
Originally posted by jsharper
I thought DTV did have a $5 fee whenever you lowered your package (like removing HBO) to prevent exactly this. Maybe this fee went away with the new packages and pricing?


The charge applies if you do it by phone. It is free to do via the webpage.

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Old 05-09-2002, 01:36 PM   #14 (Print)
Bob TeaTow
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KEWL. I'm with you. Once in a while HBO has something I want to watch. Cinemax is almost total crap. I'm getting both "free" now but that's going to end soon...

So thanks for the tip. I don't think I'll be using it often, but maybe I will turn on HBO for a day or two once in a while. (Dish/E* had me "trained" to believe that there was a $5 min cost to turning it off...)

Question: how long does the "turn on" take from the time you hit the web page?
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Old 05-09-2002, 01:48 PM   #15 (Print)
DMHinCO
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bob TeaTow
Question: how long does the "turn on" take from the time you hit the web page?
Between 2 and 10 seconds, in my experience.

And I think a DirecTV calendar day goes from 6AM to 6AM, from what I have read on these boards.

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Old 05-09-2002, 02:14 PM   #16 (Print)
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I agree completely with the "extremely cheap" part.

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Old 05-25-2002, 07:29 PM   #17 (Print)
dbyerman
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I think this is very kosher and I plan on doing it tomorrow in order to be able to watch In Memorium, which sounds like a must-see. Cheap? Nah.

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Old 05-25-2002, 07:41 PM   #18 (Print)
Darin
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I think DTV USED to have a $5 downgrade fee, but recently pulled it. If they find it's getting abused, I wouldn't be surprised to see it come back, or some other policy to prevent this.

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Old 05-28-2002, 09:35 AM   #19 (Print)
DMHinCO
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Their web site was down this morning

I called to have HBO added this morning and they told me that there IS a $5 downgrade fee, but "it will probably be waived for you." I think what she meant was it may be waived for everyone.

Anyway, their systems were down so she couldn't turn on HBO for me anyway. Their web site is down quite a bit too.

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Old 05-28-2002, 10:01 AM   #20 (Print)
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This will go away quickly I guarantee, if people start doing it with any regularity.

Why not subscribe for a week instead of just a day? You'll probably find that the quality of programming is worth a lot more than you thought it was, and choose to subscribe full-time.
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Old 05-28-2002, 11:47 PM   #21 (Print)
smak
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I think it's kosher, because directv could easily stop it and, and so far they haven't.

-smak-

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Old 05-29-2002, 04:28 AM   #22 (Print)
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I think Showtime would be better cjhoice, all of the Showtime channells are DD
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Old 05-29-2002, 10:00 AM   #23 (Print)
doom1701
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I'd be interested in trying this, but anytime I make a service change I have to call DTV and have them "hit" each receiver about a half dozen times before the programming shows up. Has this gotten better recently?

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Old 05-30-2002, 03:08 PM   #24 (Print)
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I did it the other night 5/28 just before 10pm for the express purpose of watching IN MEMORIAM and went back on the WEB to turn it off last night 5/29 around 11pm. In both cases I couldn’t believe how quickly it took effect (within seconds). I then checked my online bill and it showed a charge of $9 plus for HBO followed by a credit of $8 plus when I canceled HBO for a total cost of .42. I don’t feel like I did anything wrong I only did what their system allowed me to do and will pay the bill accordingly. I may do it again if a particular show on HBO interests me, but it won’t be something I do very often.

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Old 05-30-2002, 06:08 PM   #25 (Print)
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I guess it's like PPV in a sense but something about it just seems wrong...but if it lets you do it, and no one screams I guess its ok...

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Old 06-12-2002, 06:02 PM   #26 (Print)
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I don't see why it even seems wrong... he's paying the same amount per day for HBO as I am, but is just getting it 4 days a month (approximately). HBO gets their money, DirecTV gets their money, and DMHinCO gets his HBO! It wouldn't appear to cost DirecTV any money to have this option available via their website (no human interaction required), so I don't see why they would feel anyone is "abusing" anything.

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Old 06-12-2002, 09:38 PM   #27 (Print)
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Legally it is OK.

There will be people that feel it is not ethically/morally ok.


As far as the plan, i think it's GREAT! I see nobody getting hurt (yet). Rather, i see ppl that do this deciding to stay subscribed (ie directv profits).
However, i can also see DirecTV revising their rules b/c they see too many ppl taking advantage (ie subscribing/unsubscribing way too much, they should just subscribe).
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Old 06-12-2002, 11:13 PM   #28 (Print)
DMHinCO
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My last post in the thread in my sig suggests a useful way to harvest the best movies of all time from all of the pay channels. TiVo plus instant-on pay channels ends up being a pretty powerful tool.

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Old 06-12-2002, 11:30 PM   #29 (Print)
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your last post just links back to this thread?
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Old 06-12-2002, 11:39 PM   #30 (Print)
DMHinCO
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Sort of. It points out that you can:
1) setup wishlists for the imdb top 250 movies that you haven't seen,
2) include all the pay channels in the Channels I Receive,
3) monitor your ToDo list, and
4) use the DirecTV web site to configure the channels you really do receive
Slight addition to this thread. Not a huge one.

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