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By Baldwin / Provider Updates /

The Hidden Costs of DIRECTV

Directv Hidden Costs

We all need some form of entertainment while we are cooped up inside our homes, and television is one of the best ways to find quality entertainment. Despite other cable TV and streaming services on offer, DIRECTV tends to be a favorite for most US households as it comes with a huge variety of channels, free Genie HD DVR, free NFL Sunday Ticket, Premium channels, 4K and 4K HDR support, sports packages, movies packages, international programming, DIRECTV app to watch on-the-go and DIRECTV Cinema for thousands of on-demand TV shows and movies.

But one has to consider their budget when considering subscribing to any service. Often times, additional costs crop up on your final bill of which you weren’t aware of while ordering the service and locking yourself in a contract.

So before you sign up for DIRECTV services, know about its every hidden cost so you aren’t surprised when it jumps up on your final bill. And armed with this knowledge, you may be able to avoid some of the unnecessary charges.

How Much is DIRECTV a Month?

The DIRECTV satellite TV service offers standalone packages and bundles at an introductory price for the first 12-months. In the second year, the price hikes up for each package and remains the same for as long as the customer continues with their service.

The promotional prices are only applicable to new customers. If you were recently a DIRECTV customer, you may be charged a regular rate when you contract their services again. However, there may be promo offers for customers who canceled DIRECTV service months to years ago, or those moving to a different location or those with multiple addresses. To determine whether you are eligible for promotional pricing or not, contact their customer service.

Keep in mind that DIRECTV gets you locked in a 24-month agreement, so you cannot escape the price hike without a prorated early termination fee.

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Standalone DIRECTV Plan Pricing

Below are the introductory and regular prices for standalone DIRECTV packages, excluding the taxes, surcharges, and additional fees, which vary by location and service choice. Along with channel counts, different perks and premium channels are offered for each DIRECTV package.
DIRECTV Plans 12-Month Introductory Price Regular Rate Channel Count
SELECT All Included $49.99/mo. $85/mo. 155 Channels
ENTERTAINMENT All Included $54.99/mo. $97/mo. 160 Channels
CHOICE All Included $59.99/mo. $115/mo. 185 Channels
XTRA All Included $69.99/mo. $131/mo. 235 Channels
ULTIMATE All Included $74.99/mo. $142/mo. 250 Channels
PREMIER All Included $124.99/mo. $197/mo. 330 Channels

DIRECTV Internet Bundle Pricing

DIRECTV itself isn’t an internet provider, but it bundles its broadcasting services with the internet via other internet providers such as AT&T, CenturyLink, or HughesNet so you can order TV and internet together. Which provider delivers your internet, depends on their availability at your address.

However, as DIRECTV is a subsidiary of AT&T, you will most likely get AT&T internet service, which offers DSL and Fiber broadband, both. The download speeds below are of their DSL internet service and the speeds vary as per the network capacity in the region, from 10 Mbps to 100 Mbps. If you want to go for AT&T fiber internet services bundled with DIRECTV, contact their customer service to determine its availability at your address.

The DIRECTV prices for bundles are exclusive of taxes and surcharges, which depends on where you live.

DIRECTV Bundles 12-Month Introductory Price Regular Rate Channel Count Max. Internet Speed
SELECT All Included Internet $79.98/mo. $124.99/mo. 155 Channels Up to100 Mbps
ENTERTAINMENT All Included Internet $84.98/mo. $136.99/mo. 160 Channels Up to100 Mbps
CHOICE All Included Internet $89.98/mo. $154.99/mo. 185 Channels Up to100 Mbps
XTRA All Included Internet $99.98/mo. $170.99/mo. 235 Channels Up to100 Mbps
ULTIMATE All Included Internet $104.98/mo. $181.99/mo. 250 Channels Up to100 Mbps
PREMIER All Included Internet $154.98/mo. $236.99/mo. 330 Channels Up to100 Mbps

DIRECTV Taxes, Surcharges, and Regional Sports Fees (RSF)

Like every other service provider, DIRECTV is charged regulatory fees by the federal government, which the company then bills from its customers in the form of taxes and surcharges.

All the DIRECTV prices, promotional and otherwise, don’t mention taxes, other surcharges, and regional sports fees as they depend on each region and its local, state, federal laws, and taxing authority.

DIRECTV does quote a Regional Sports Fee of up to $9.99/mo. The extra charge applicable to Choice, Xtra, Ultimate, and Premier Packages, which allows them to view sports networks including their local sports teams in the area.

DIRECTV Installation and Activation Fees: One-time Charges

When you order DIRECTV services, they send out a technician who would install the satellite equipment in your house, configure your Genie HD DVR with the Wi-Fi, and program DIRECTV remote at zero cost. However, installation charges for the internet services may apply, if you bundle DIRECTV with the internet.

But DIRECTV does charge you a one-time $19.95 activation fee to get you started.

DIRECTV Equipment Fees

DIRECTV equipment services include its Genie HD DVR, which comes at no extra cost along with its installation. However, you will incur charges upon ordering additional equipment or add-ons or require equipment upgrade.

Each extra DIRECTV HD DVR will add $7 to your monthly bills.

Meanwhile, if you want to go wireless with your Genie HD DVR, you would be charged a minimum $99 fee for the upgrade. The upgrade has a lot more recording time than the default 200 Hours of HD storage included in the package.

DIRECTV Premium Subscription and Add-ons

DIRECTV packages offer free access to premium channels for a certain period of time depending on which package you have opted for.

Premium Channels

The SELECT and ENTERTAINMENT packages come with 3-months of free access to HBO®, SHOWTIME®, STARZ®, Cinemax®, and EPIX®. At the end of this period, you will be charged a then-prevailing rate, which is currently $59.98/mo., to continue with the access to these channels. If you don’t want to be charged for these premium channels upon the end of free months, make sure to unsubscribe before the end of this period.

The CHOICE, XTRA, and the ULTIMATE package provide free access to HBO® for full 12months, and lets you enjoy SHOWTIME®, STARZ®, Cinemax®, and EPIX® for three months at no cost. At the end of the free period, all the services will auto-renew and you will be charged a then-prevailing rate to continue watching premium content. For HBO, the current rates are $17.99/mo. and for other premium channels mentioned it is $41.99/mo. The total charges after a year will equal $59.98/mo. unless you cancel these services.

The PREMIER package has it all, HBO®, STARZ, SHOWTIME®, and Cinemax®, at no extra cost.

Sports Add-Ons

The CHOICE, XTRA, ULTIMATE, and PREMIER package include free 2020 season NFL SUNDAY TICKET, which includes every live out-of-market NFL game broadcasted on FOX and CBS, the game availability will depend on your locality. However, select international games and other local games broadcasted by the FOX and CBS affiliate in the region aren’t included in the NFL Sunday ticket.

As for access to a full regular season, you can pay a one-time fee for the season. The 2020 NFL SUNDAY TICKET is a one-time $293.94 fee, and the 2020 NFL SUNDAY TICKET MAX costs $395.94. Moreover, your NFL SUNDAY TICKET subscription does not renew automatically.

If you are a CHOICE or higher package subscriber, you may be eligible to access 2020 NFL SUNDAY TICKET MAX at no extra cost. Contact customer service to determine your eligibility.

Now you can also watch live sports and other programs in 4K HDR with DIRECTV, for which you have required a subscription of CHOICE or a higher package, an internet-connected receiver, and a 4K Genie Mini.

There are a number of other add-ons you can choose to include in your DIRECTV package. Here is a full list of them with their monthly and one-time payment options.

Add-On Package Price
Premium Channels (HBO®, SHOWTIME®, STARZ®, Cinemax®, and EPIX®) $59.98/mo.
Movies Extra Pack $4.99/mo.
Hallmark Movies Now $5.99/mo.
Lifetime Movies Club $3.99/mo.
Pantaya $5.99/mo.
DOGTV $4.99/mo
NBA League Pass $24.99/mo. for 4 months OR $199.95/season
NHL Center Ice $64.99 in one payment OR $199.95/season
NFL SUNDAY TICKET $74.99/mo. for 12 months OR $293.94/season
NFL SUNDAY TICKET MAX $395.94/season
MLB Extra Innings $30.50/mo. for 6 months
MLS DIRECT KICK $22.5/mo. for 4 months OR $89/season

DIRECTV Late Fee

A late fee is added to your DIRECTV monthly cost if you don’t pay your monthly bill by the due date. The late fee can be around $4.25 or above, depending on your package and the amount. You may find the late fee charges in the Account section of your online or physical bill.

DIRECTV Early Termination Fees (ETF)

DIRECTV requires you to sign a 24-month agreement when you activate its services. So if you decide to cancel your contract with DIRECTV before 24 months are up, you may be charged $20/mo. for each month remaining in your contract tenure.

For example, there are 12 months left before the contract ends and you terminate the DIRECTV service, then after calculation, you may be charged $240 in ETF.

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DIRECTV Equipment Non-Return Fee

DIRECTV will charge you a fine if you don’t return its equipment within the prescribed time period upon cancellation of your services with DIRECTV. A $45 fee works its way to your bill, if you don’t return or are late in returning a DIRECTV receiver, HD receiver, or Genie Mini. Also, an amount of $135 is added as an equipment non-return fee for each DVR, HD DVR, and Genie HD DVR.

Summary of DIRECTV Hidden Costs

Category Fees
Service Activation $19.95
Regional Sports Fee (RSF) $9.99/mo.
Genie HD DVR (for extra device) $7/mo.
Installation Fee Installation Fee
Premium Channels (HBO®, CINEMAX®, SHOWTIME®, STARZ®, and EPIX®) $59.98/mo.
Early Termination Fee $20/mo.
Equipment Non-Return Fee $45 to $ 135 for each device
Late Fee Payment $4.25 or above
Taxes and Surcharges Vary with location