In the world of cable TV, there are tons of different companies vying for your money.
One of those companies is DIRECTV.
DIRECTV has been around for some time and was one of the first companies to deliver cable television via satellite.
This allowed the company to service homes in rural areas and thus too remotely located to have access to standard cable TV.
Although DIRECTV has changed a lot from its first few years, one thing that hasn’t changed is its expensive prices.
Here are 10 reasons DIRECTV is so expensive.
Why Is DIRECTV So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)
1. Cheap Introductory Plan
A lot of cable companies like to lure you in by promising a deep discount on your TV services.
DIRECTV is no stranger to this method.
It requires you to sign up for a two-year contract with the service provider.
In so doing, it gives you a significant discount on its TV packages during the first year.
It also offers different packages to help you find one that fits your budget.
To further entice you, the company offers free programs for a limited time.
Those free programs usually include:
- NFL Sunday Ticket
- NBA League Pass
- HBO MAX
These packages start off relatively cheap for the first year.
Here’s a collection of DIRECTV’s various packages, what they include, and the cost you pay during your first year.
- DIRECTV Entertainment: 160+ channels at $64.99 a month
- DIRECTV Choice: 185+ channels at $69.99 a month
- DIRECTV Ultimate: 250+ channels at $84.99 a month
- DIRECTV Premier: 330+ channels at $134.99 a month.
Looking at this initial lineup, DIRECTV seems to be a steal with the number of channels you get versus the price.
However, that’s what they want you to believe.
After your first year, you’ll start receiving your bill for your second year.
It’s where DIRECTV shows how expensive it actually is.
Here’s a collection of DIRECTV’s various packages, what they include, and the cost you pay after that discounted first year.
- DIRECTV Entertainment: 160+ channels at $102 a month
- DIRECTV Choice: 185+ channels at $122 a month
- DIRECTV Ultimate: 250+ channels at $151 a month
- DIRECTV Premier: 330+ channels at $206 a month
The price practically doubles.
DIRECTV is expensive because it locks you into a two-year contract by providing cheap prices for its initial year of service.
2. Ongoing Special Program Fees
Another reason DIRECTV is expensive is because of its special programming.
When you first sign up for DIRECTV, you’re usually given something free in return.
That might be the free NFL Sunday Ticket or access to HBO MAX.
The problem is that those special programs only last for a year or three months.
After that time is over, you have to start paying for these services.
The problem comes when you forget to cancel them and find yourself with an extremely expensive bill.
That’s because DIRECTV won’t cancel them on your behalf.
You have to do it yourself.
They rely on you to forget.
Here are the prices you can expect to pay after the free trials:
- HBO MAX: $14.99 a month
- CINEMAX, EPIX, SHOWTIME, STARZ: $41.99 a month
- NFL Sunday Ticket: $395.94 a year
- NBA League Pass: $149.95 a year
If you’re already paying more than $100 for your cable, then paying for these extra packages after their free trials end can add a substantial amount to your DIRECTV bill.
DIRECTV is expensive because it relies on you forgetting to cancel your free trial programs.
In so doing, you’ll wind up with a bill that’s double or triple its original price.
3. TV Access Fee
One of the reasons DIRECTV is expensive is its TV access fee.
DIRECTV uses an equipment leasing program which “leases” its receivers to those who buy its packages.
The company will send you a receiver which you connect to your TV.
The receiver allows your TV to access the programs that you bought.
The problem is that you have to pay a monthly fee for a receiver that you have.
DIRECTV calls this a TV access fee.
It’s a way for the company to pay for the upkeep and production of old and new receivers.
DIRECTV currently lists its TV access fee at $7.00 a month.
If you have several receivers in your home, then you’ll need to pay $7.00 for each of them.
DIRECTV also has a more expensive access fee for receivers that provide HD, DVR, and Whole-Home services.
If you have All-Inclusive programming, then the higher fee also applies to you.
This fee, called Advanced Receiver Service Fee, is $25 a month.
If you have several receivers that provide HD quality to your TV, then you’ll pay several $25 fees a month.
Both of these fees can swiftly increase your monthly bill.
These are on top of the standard cable bill that you already pay.
For example, if you’re paying for the lowest price of $102 a month, then these fees are added on top of that.
They are not included in the monthly $102 payment.
Instead, with the receiver fee alone, you should be paying $109 a month or $127 a month if you want an HD receiver.
The pricier your package, the more expensive these fees make your overall bill.
DIRECTV is expensive because they charge a monthly fee for using its receivers.
4. Regional Sports Fee
Everyone pays a regional sports fee even if you never watch sports.
DIRECTV forces you to pay this fee in the event that you end up watching.
Regional sports are your local sports games that you can sometimes find on your local news networks.
Since the local news stations include them, and you have no way of opting out of them, DIRECTV pushes the cost onto its customers.
The Regional Sports fee costs $9.99 a month.
That’s an extra $10 on your monthly cable bill.
The worst part is that there’s no way to remove this fee.
You can usually keep TV access fees down by only using one receiver or settling with the standard definition.
However, you can’t get out of paying a Regional Sports fee.
Examining the basic package again, without any fees, it’s $102 a month.
With one receiver, it’s $109 a month.
Adding in the permanent Regional Sports fee brings your total bill to $118 a month.
If you include tax, then you’re probably looking at more than $120 a month.
If you want to splurge and get HD on your TV, then your new total ends up being $136.
That’s almost the price of DIRECTV’s third-most expensive TV package.
DIRECTV is expensive because it includes a Regional Sports fee which you can’t remove.
5. Late Payment Fees
Like any other cable company, DIRECTV also charges you a fee if you pay late.
This can be a serious problem, especially if you’re late because you couldn’t afford the original price at that time.
It makes it even more difficult to pay off the bill.
DIRECTV’s late fee is $6.25.
It adds this fee to your next monthly bill.
Using the cheapest option again, your bill starts at $102.
By looking at a standard TV access fee and Regional Sports fee, your total is $118 a month.
If you’re late on that bill, then your next month’s bill rises to $124.
The good news is that if you pay the bill, then it will fall back to $118 a month.
If you decided to go with an HD receiver, then the late fee would bring a monthly payment to $142.
That extra $6 can hurt when you’re already paying a high bill for cable TV.
DIRECTV is expensive because it includes a late fee.
If something goes wrong with your receiver, then you can expect an expensive bill on your next DIRECTV charge.
While DIRECTV’s receivers tend to be of good quality and perform well, it’s only a matter of time before the electronics within it start to fail.
It can happen on its own or because of a power surge or an accident.
When you need a repairman to come to your home, DIRECTV will charge you $99 as a dispatch fee.
This is a fee that you have to pay no matter what.
The repair technician may then charge you extra fees based on what they need to do.
For example, if they discover that you need a new receiver, then you may have to pay for it.
If they need to do any kind of demolition to access certain parts of the home, then you’ll need to pay for that, too.
If you ever need a repair from DIRECTV, then you can expect an expensive bill.
It takes your standard $102 a month bill and adds another $99 on top of it.
That brings it to $201.
While you only need to pay that once, if you find yourself needing frequent repairs, then it could make your cable bill extremely expensive throughout the year.
DIRECTV is expensive because it charges you a $99 dispatch fee any time you need a repair technician.
7. Vacation Fee
If you plan on going on vacation for a little while, then you’ll need to pay for it.
DIRECTV requires you to have used your service for at least 30 days to qualify for a vacation hold service.
While they do let you suspend your service without paying a fee if you are deployed for the military or have experienced a natural disaster, this doesn’t apply to a standard vacation.
You can expect to pay $7 a month for your vacation hold.
Depending on how long you’re vacationing, you could end up with an additional $14 or even $28 to your next bill.
The good news is that DIRECTV will suspend your monthly payments until you activate your service again.
However, you have to activate it within six months.
Otherwise, you’ll face another charge.
For individuals who need to suspend their DIRECTV for a long time because of a vacation or another reason, the fee may surprise you.
You might be expecting to pay $109 when you turn your DIRECTV back on only to discover that you actually owe $116 or $123 or even $137.
If you pay for more services or another package, then the $7 a month could raise your price significantly when you turn the service back on.
DIRECTV is expensive because it includes a fee that you need to pay if you’re going on vacation.
8. Customer Service Fees
Setting up your DIRECTV can sometimes be difficult.
If you want to pay for a movie or show in DIRECTV’s Pay Per View section, then you might find it a complex process.
Naturally, you might want some help to ensure you’re doing it right.
The problem is that DIRECTV charges you for asking for help.
They call it an Order Assistance Fee.
If you need to speak to an agent to help you set up your Pay Per View, then you can expect to pay an additional $5 for every program that they assist you with.
This also extends to calling customer service for direct help.
If you have a question or are experiencing a problem and want to talk to a person, then you’re going to need to pay a fee for it.
DIRECTV calls it a Phone Payment fee.
Like the Order Assistance fee, it costs $5 per instance.
It’s better to find solutions on your own through DIRECTV’s website or by Googling the question.
It could save you quite a bit of money if you have a lot of questions or concerns.
DIRECTV is expensive because it charges you $5 to ask a question or request help from an agent.
9. Returned Payment Fee
You likely have a lot of bills to pay, and they all come out of your bank account at different times.
Because of that, you might find yourself in a situation where you had an overdraft.
Your DIRECTV monthly payment was set to go out, but the money was applied to another bill instead.
Your bank ends up declining payment for the DIRECTV bill.
If you ever experience a situation in which DIRECTV or your bank declines the payment, then you’re going to face a Returned Payment Fee.
This fee is $30 and occurs any time you have a declined payment.
That’s a substantial fee which can greatly increase your monthly payment.
While it should only occur once, if you find yourself having your payments declined frequently, then that’s a lot of money going toward paying this fee throughout the year.
It increases your standard $118 monthly payment to $148.
If you end up being late because of the higher bill, then you’ll have to pay the late fee and make your bill even more expensive.
DIRECTV is expensive because it charges an extremely high fee for declined payments.
10. Installation Fees
One of the advantages of DIRECTV is that it doesn’t charge for the installation service like many other cable providers.
That’s ideal since DIRECTV requires a professional technician to show up at your home to install the satellite dish.
Since DIRECTV is a satellite cable company, you need a dish.
The dish brings the data the receiver needs to activate your channels.
Installing your DIRECTV dish yourself isn’t possible.
Although they don’t charge for the installation service, which can be quite expensive, they do charge an activation fee.
This is a one-time fee of $19.95.
Once you pay the fee, your service activates.
Although it’s a one-time fee, it can make your initial DIRECTV bill expensive.
This is especially true if you’ve added on any other services or special programs.
DIRECTV is expensive because you have to pay an activation fee to start your service.
How To Save Money With DIRECTV
Because DIRECTV can become expensive quickly, it’s always a good idea to see if you can trim your bill down.
Here are a few tips you can use to save money with DIRECTV.
1. Choose Basic Package
One of the best ways to save money with DIRECTV is to choose the basic package.
This is the lowest monthly bill you’re ever going to get.
Even when DIRECTV inevitably raises its price, the price you’re going to pay is going to be lower than everyone else’s.
You also receive a ton of channels despite the lower price.
With 160+ channels from which to choose, you’re sure to find something to watch.
2. Use One Receiver
DIRECTV has several different receivers.
They have standard ones, HD ones, and ones that also act like DVRs.
If you want to keep your monthly bill as cheap as possible, then you need to choose one standard receiver.
HD isn’t needed, and you can always use various streaming platforms for the other TVs that you have.
Using a single standard receiver is the cheapest option.
3. Watch For Deals
Although DIRECTV prefers to aim its deals at new customers, it does sometimes run deals for existing customers.
This usually includes a few months free of special channels.
Keeping an eye out for these deals can allow you to add a few more channels to your package at no extra cost for a limited time.
DIRECTV is expensive because it includes several hidden fees that most users aren’t aware of.
The company even charges its users for speaking to human beings on the phone.
Despite its expensive packages, you can save some money by following the tips above.