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The Hidden Costs of DIRECTV

Budgeting in a new TV package can be intimidating. Sometimes it’s hard to know what extra fees will pop up once you get started, and once you’re in a contract, cancellation fees make it a pain in the butt to drop out.

But don’t fret—we’ve got your back with all the insider knowledge of DIRECTV’s hidden fees. From plans to equipment to cancellation costs, we’ll cover it all. We’ll even recommend an affordable package to get you started.

So worry no more! Let’s look at all your options together.

DIRECTV Plans and Promotional Prices

DIRECTV’s costs start off tricky. You’ll need to sign up for a two-year contract to get DIRECTV access, but you’ll get the promotional prices for only the first year before being switched over to the prevailing rate.

Pay attention to both the twelve-month introductory price as well as the ongoing price to know how much you’ll pay with DIRECTV overall.

DIRECTV Plans Summary

Specs and features comparison

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Package NameChannel Count12-Month Introductory Price*Ongoing Price
DIRECTV SELECT™155+ channels$35/mo.$78/mo.
DIRECTV ENTERTAINMENT160+ channels$40/mo.$90/mo.
DIRECTV CHOICE™185+ channels$45/mo.$105/mo.
DIRECTV XTRA235+ channels$55/mo.$117/mo.
DIRECTV ULTIMATE250+ channels$60/mo.$128/mo.
DIRECTV PREMIER™330+ channels$110/mo.$181/mo.

Data effective 7/11/19. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*For 12 months with a 2-yr agreement, paperless billing, and Autopay. Prices increases for months 13-24.

DIRECTV internet options

Unlike many TV providers, DIRECTV doesn’t offer its own internet service. Instead, you’ll need to check for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in your area. Enter your zip code below to see your options:

Please enter a valid zip code.

If you live in an area with AT&T and bundle with either of AT&T’s internet services, you can get about $10 off your internet per month. You may have access to broadband AT&T Internet or AT&T Fiber depending on where you live.

To get the prices for these bundles, combine the price of your DIRECTV package with the bundle prices below. You can learn more about AT&T’s hidden fees in “The Hidden Costs of AT&T.”

DIRECTV and AT&T Internet Bundles Summary

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Package NameChannel CountDownload Speed12-Month Introductory Price*Ongoing Price
DIRECTV + Internet Basic 5Varies5 MbpsTV package intro price + $30/mo.TV package increased price + $30/mo.
DIRECTV + Internet 100Varies100 MbpsTV package intro price + $40/mo.TV package increased price + $40/mo.

Data effective 7/11/19. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*For 12 months with a 2-yr agreement, paperless billing, and Autopay. Prices increases for months 13-24.

DIRECTV and AT&T Fiber Bundles Summary

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Package NameChannel CountDownload Speed12-Month Introductory Price*Ongoing Price
DIRECTV + Internet 100Varies100 MbpsTV package intro price + $40/mo.TV package increased price + $40/mo.
DIRECTV + Internet 300Varies300 MbpsTV package intro price + $60/mo.TV package increased price + $60/mo.
DIRECTV + Internet 1000Varies1,000 MbpsTV package intro price + $80/mo.TV package increased price + $80/mo.

Data effective 7/11/19. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*For 12 months with a 2-yr agreement, paperless billing, and Autopay. Prices increases for months 13-24.

Taxes, Fees, and Surcharges

Most of DIRECTV’s hidden fees aren’t things you’ll have to worry about every month.

You’ve got your taxes, which are determined by where you live. And there’s the regional sports fee, which DIRECTV charges their customers regardless of their viewing preferences.

For the most part, everything else that isn’t equipment or premium channels is incidental stuff you can avoid. We suggest using your online account to check statements and make payments, because talking to an agent on the phone can cost you extra.

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FeePriceWhat It’s For
Regional Sports FeeUp to $7.49/mo.Including regional sports networks
Vacation HoldUp to $7/mo.Holding your service for 2–6 months while you’re on vacation
Returned Payment FeeUp to $30Making payments that decline
Minimum Service$9.99Placing your account in minimum service status because of non-payment
Restoral FeeUp to $20Reinstating your regular service after it changed to minimum service
Dispatch Fee$99Dispatching a technician for requested repairs
Phone Payment FeeUp to $5Talking to an agent to make a payment
Order Assistance FeeUp to $5Speaking to an agent to order Pay Per View
Duplicate Statement FeeUp to $1.75Sending a duplicate written statement at your request
Ledger RequestUp to $2.75Posting an itemized ledger of past payments at your request

Data effective 7/11/19. Information subject to change.

Installation

Installing your satellite dish requires a professional technician, but luckily DIRECTV doesn’t charge for that. Instead, you’ll pay only a small activation fee.

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FeePriceWhat it's for
Activation fee$19.95Activating your DIRECTV service

Data effective 7/11/19. Information subject to change.

Equipment

Unlike most cable providers, DIRECTV doesn’t charge you extra for a DVR. You get the Genie DVR lease and service fee included in your DIRECTV package—no hidden costs here. Think how refreshing it will be to watch all that recorded TV you didn’t have to pay extra for.

If you want to zone out in front of more than one TV, though, it will cost you $7 per month for each additional receiver.

If you want to go wireless, you can try out the new Genie 2 for a one-time payment of $99. It’s not available everywhere, and users have complained it’s still buggy, but it has more recording time and you won’t have to go drilling holes all over your house.

To give it a shot, ask your customer service rep if Genie 2 is available in your area.

Want to learn more about DIRECTV’s equipment? Check out “The Definitive Review of the Genie from DIRECTV.”

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FeePriceWhat It’s For
Wired Receiver$7/mo. eachAdding 1+ wired receivers to your package
Wireless Receiver$7/mo. eachAdding 2+ wireless receivers to your package
Genie 2 Upgrade$99Upgrading to the new Genie 2

Data effective 7/11/19. Information subject to change.

Premium Channels and Add-Ons

For the first three months, DIRECTV includes HBO®, SHOWTIME®, STARZ and Cinemax® in your service. Unless you have DIRECTV PREMIER™, which includes them in the package, these premium channels will cost you $53.99 each month after the starting period.

But DIRECTV’s premiums aren’t all movie channels. With a solid lineup of special sports passes, there’s something for every sports fan.

You can pay monthly or purchase the season of whichever sport your competitive heart desires (yeah, DIRECTV carries almost all of them) in one payment. There aren’t any special savings for doing the latter, so listen to your gut on this one.

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Channel Add-On PackageWhat It IncludesPrice
HBO, SHOWTIME, STARZ, and CinemaxThe big-name premium channels$53.99/mo.
MOVIES EXTRA PACKMore HD programming, including classic and contemporary movies, short films, documentaries, and musical performances$4.99/mo.
DOGTVA television network designed to comfort and entertain your dog$4.99/mo.
Outdoor ChannelReal-life outdoor adventures airing all day$4.99/mo.
NBA League PassAll out-of-market NBA games$39.99/mo. for 5 months
OR
$199.95/season in 1 payment
NFL SUNDAY TICKETEvery out-of-market NFL game$73.49/mo. for 6 months
OR
$163.96/season in 1 payment
NFL SUNDAY TICKET MAXEverything from NFL SUNDAY TICKET plus NFL RedZone, DIRECTV FANTASY ZONE™, and live access on the go with the NFL SUNDAY TICKET app$52.99/mo. for 4 months
OR
$395.94/season in 1 payment
NHL CENTER ICEUp to 40 out-of-market games each week and NHL Network included during the NHL season$39.99/mo. for 4 months
OR
$159.96/season in 1 payment
FOX SOCCER PLUSInternational soccer and rugby matches$14.99/mo.

Data effective 7/11/19. Information subject to change.

Late Fees

Sometimes unexpected things can stop you from paying your bill on time. DIRECTV has a small late fee charge, but it’s not too pricey.

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FeePriceWhat it's for
Late Payment Charge$4.25Not paying your bill by the due date

Data effective 7/11/19. Information subject to change.

Cancellation Costs

DIRECTV has a two-year contract, and you may be tempted to cancel when prices spike in the second year. Heads up—that will cost you a pretty penny. If you decide to go through with it, don’t forget to return your DVR and receivers, or your cancellation fees will be enormous.

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FeePriceWhat It’s For
Early Termination FeeUp to $480 (prorated monthly)Canceling your DIRECTV service before the end of your contract
Equipment Non-Return Fee$45–$135Failing to return equipment after you cancel service

Data effective 7/11/19. Information subject to change.

Our Recommended DIRECTV Package

DIRECTV SELECT™ All-Included

  • $35/mo. for 12 months
  • $78/mo. after introductory period
  • 155+ channels

DIRECTV has a lot of great packages, but if you’re looking for the best way to save, go with DIRECTV SELECT™ All-Included.

This affordable package comes with top channels like CNN, the Disney Channel, HGTV, the History Channel, and the USA Network. You also get a Genie DVR included in the price.

Final Take: Mind DIRECTV’s Two-Year Contract

Compared to other providers, DIRECTV doesn’t have many hidden fees. But the big one to keep in mind is substantial: all its packages nearly double in price the second year. And because DIRECTV has two-year contracts, you’ll have to pay those raised prices—unless you want up to $480 in cancellation fees.

As long as you’re prepared for all that, we won’t talk you out of DIRECTV. With its included DVR and options for sports fans, it’s a great choice that’s available across the US.

But if you’re not sold on DIRECTV, we can help you find other TV providers in your area. Just enter your zip code below, and we’ll take you to the full list:

Please enter a valid zip code.

About the Author

Rachel’s catchphrase is “I’ma Google that.” This go-getter writer has a talent for finding incredible and bizarre facts on the web, and she is happy to pass her knowledge on to you.

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