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How to Cancel DirecTV and Still Watch Your Favorite Shows

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How to Cancel DirecTV and Still Watch Your Favorite Shows

If you subscribe to DirecTV, chances are you’re paying more than $100 a month. After all, four of DirecTV’s six plans charge more than $100 monthly. And the average U.S. pay-TV service is $107, according to an annual survey by the Leichtman Research Group — and it goes up each year.

Many people are deciding cable or satellite TV is not worth it, especially if their usage of the plan is limited. Spending $100 a month to only watch a few channels is expensive.

Today, you can cancel DirecTV and still watch your favorite shows. All you need is an internet connection. In a world of on-demand streaming, cable or satellite TV is no longer required.

How to Cancel DirecTV

The only way to cancel DirecTV is to call its customer service number. It’s 1-800-531-5000. The representative may try to offer you a lower rate to keep your business. But, any rate or plan change may involve renewing your contract for another 12+ months. To cancel, be polite but firm in saying “no” to these offers.

Use Trim To Cancel DirecTV for Free

If you don’t have time to call, have Trim do it for you. For free, Trim will call DirecTV to cancel your subscription. It will also cancel your other unwanted subscriptions.

Note that you must still pay any cancellation fees to DirecTV. Trim just saves you the time of having to call DirecTV yourself.

Using Trim is also a good idea if you don’t feel comfortable calling. Talking to a retention specialist can be intense. If you’re not adamant about canceling, they may talk you into a new plan.

Check our full review to learn all the ways Trim can save you money.

DirecTV Cancellation Fees

Whether it’s you or Trim who calls to cancel your plan, you may be charged three different fees when you cancel:

  • Deactivation Fee: $15
  • Early Termination Fee: $20 per month left on contract (up to $480 for 24 months)
  • Equipment Non-Return Fee: Between $45 and $135

There’s not much you can do to get around the $15 deactivation fee. But you can avoid the non-return fee by bringing back your equipment within 21 days of canceling.

And, you do probably have some control over whether you’ll be charged the $20 per month early termination fee. You can avoid it completely by canceling at the end of your contract.

But if you do want to cancel earlier, you’ll likely have to pay early termination fees. The earlier you cancel, the more you’ll pay.

For example, if you cancel three months before your contract ends, you’ll pay $60 in early termination charges. That goes up to $200 if you have 10 months left.

The maximum early termination fee is $480. You pay this much if you cancel during the first month of your new 24-month contract.

Nobody wants to pay these fees. But, it’s still cheaper than paying between $78 and $181 per month for TV.

At the end of the contract, you can renew at the current price. Or, you can cancel almost penalty-free. DirecTV doesn’t currently allow month-to-month subscriptions.

Avoiding the DirecTV Cancellation Fee

Cable and satellite companies make it difficult to cancel your plan. Mostly, this is because you sign a contract. By signing, you agree to pay a certain amount each month.

While most people will pay these fees, you may be able to avoid them in certain circumstances.

These are some of the situations in which DirecTV will allow you to cancel without paying the early termination fee for each remaining month of your contract. Expect to pay the $15 deactivation fee still.

You are …

  • Moving abroad and DirecTV doesn’t operate in that country
  • Joining the Peace Corps
  • Moving to an apartment that forbids satellite dishes
  • Experiencing inferior service (i.e., constant outages)

Also, a deceased customer’s estate won’t pay the cancellation fee, either.

For all of these situations, prepare to provide proof to validate your claim.

How to Watch Your Favorite Shows for Less

High-speed home internet allows you to watch your favorite shows for less.

Before you cancel, you may wish to try one or more of these options first. Make sure quality of the picture and the streaming meets your expectations.

If so, you can pay as little as $8 a month for on-demand content and $16 to stream live TV. In most cases, you can get a channel lineup similar to the one you had with DirecTV for $50 or less.

With all of these options, you don’t sign a contract. You pay at the start of each month. And, you can cancel or restart as you choose.

Install an HD Antenna

Monthly Cost: Free. (There is a one-time cost to buy the antenna)

Some people only keep DirecTV to watch local channels. After the teaser rates, you pay $78 a month for the cheapest DirecTV plan. To me, paying nearly $80 a month for local channels isn’t worth it.

Instead, try installing an HD antenna. Depending on how far you live from the network towers, you can install one of these types of antennas:

These antennas cost about $30 and work with any TV. For that price, it’s worth trying. And, you might get some local channels that DirecTV doesn’t offer.

To pick the right antenna, plug your street address into Antenna Web. You can see which channels you receive with an indoor and outdoor antenna. You can see the signal strength, too.

Even if you plan on using one of the below DirecTV alternatives, you still may want an antenna. That’s because most cable streaming apps provide limited access to your local TV stations. They might include one or two local affiliates like Fox and NBC. But, usually not all four.

Pros of HD Antenna

  • Watch local channels for free
  • Channels can broadcast in HD resolution
  • You might get more local channels than DirecTV offers

Cons of HD Antenna

  • Rural areas might have few to no channels
  • Trees, hills and buildings can block the signal in urban areas

CBS All Access

Monthly Cost: $5.99 per month

With CBS All Access, you can live stream your local CBS channel. You can watch more than 10,000 TV episodes and movies on demand, too.

This can be a good option if you want to watch CBS shows but can’t get CBS with an antenna. Or, if you subscribe to a cable streaming app that doesn’t offer CBS.

It costs $5.99 per month for CBS All Access. For commercial-free streaming, you pay $9.99 per month. Keep in mind that live TV still has regular commercial breaks.

One downside for sports fans is that you can only watch local broadcasts. So, whatever game is currently broadcasting on your local CBS station is your only streaming option.

Pros of CBS All Access

  • Stream your local CBS channel live
  • Access to CBS on-demand catalog

Cons of CBS All Access

  • Can’t stream local CBS shows and games outside your local broadcast area

Sling TV

Monthly Cost: $25 to $40 ($5+ for add-ons)

Maybe you keep DirecTV because it’s the only way to watch sports, especially ESPN. By far, Sling TV is the cheapest way to stream ESPN.

When you join Sling, you must pick one of three package options:

  • Orange ($25 per month)
  • Blue ($25 per month)
  • Orange and Blue ($40 per month)

In addition, Sling offers add-on channel packages. Most of these packages cost $5. You can add premium movie channels like HBO or Showtime, too.

You’ll also have to pay $5 a month if you want to use their cloud DVR to record and save shows to watch later on demand.

Orange Package ($25 per month)

The main reason to choose the Orange package is for ESPN and Disney. To watch these channels live, you won’t find a cheaper streaming option. As a tradeoff, you get fewer channels than Sling Blue. But, you still have 29 channels to surf.

You need to compare the channel lineups to determine which channels are more important to you.

Blue Package ($25 per month)

Instead of ESPN and Disney, you get these channels:

  • Fox Sports
  • FX
  • NFL Network
  • Select local channels

In all, you can stream around 40 channels for $25 a month.

Orange and Blue Package ($40 per month)

If you want the exclusive channels from both packages, choose this combo option. You only pay $40 a month.

$5 Extras

One of Sling’s slogans is “a la carte pricing.” The extras can be cheaper than satellite plans.

Each extra has a certain theme like:

  • Comedy
  • Kids
  • Lifestyle
  • News

One of the best extras is the 4-Extras Deal. For $10 a month, you get all four extra packages. That’s half the total of their individual prices.

Pros of Sling TV

  • Watch ESPN and Disney for $25
  • Add extra channel packages for $5 each

Cons of Sling TV

  • Cloud DVR costs $5 a month
  • Must have Blue or Orange and Blue to stream on multiple screens

Read our Sling TV review to learn more about its channel lineups.

Hulu

Monthly Cost: $7.99 (on-demand only ) or $39.99 (Live TV)

Hulu has a unique streaming advantage. The major TV networks own a partial stake in Hulu. So, they provide a wide selection of on-demand TV shows and movies from local and cable networks.

Hulu produces its own TV series and movies too.

You can subscribe to the on-demand library for $7.99 a month. This is the original Hulu model. Or, you can spring for Hulu with Live TV for $39.99 per month.

Should You Get Hulu, or Hulu with Live TV?

So, you must decide if you want Hulu or Hulu with Live TV.

If you only want to stream something on-demand, stick with basic Hulu. A lot of people don’t watch live TV that often. For most shows, you can watch the replay the next day. Just keep in mind that with this option, you can only stream on one device at a time.

For live TV or streaming sports, you need to upgrade to Hulu with Live TV. This package is similar to Sling’s Orange and Blue package. And, you have full access to Hulu’s on-demand library.

Some of the channels you can enjoy include:

  • Disney
  • ESPN
  • Fox Sports
  • Local channels
  • Regional sports networks

Hulu with Live TV also gives you 50 hours of cloud DVR recording for free. If that’s not enough, you can upgrade to enhanced DVR with 200 hours.

Also, Hulu with Live TV supports streaming on two screens. If you upgrade to “Unlimited Screens,” you can watch on as many screens as you want at home. On the go, you can stream on three screens.

Pros of Hulu

  • Can choose on-demand-only content if you want
  • 50 hours of cloud DVR for free
  • Either plan lets you add premium movie networks

Cons of Hulu

  • Basic Hulu ($7.99/month) only streams on one device at a time

Philo

Monthly Cost: $16 or $20

One reason cable TV costs so much is for the sports channels. Philo removes the sports channels, as well as news channels like CNN and Fox News.

If you enjoy “lifestyle” channels, this is your best option. Because Philo excludes sports and news, you can pay less for your favorite shows.

For $16 a month, you can watch 43 channels including:

  • AMC
  • Animal Planet
  • Discovery
  • Hallmark
  • Paramount Network
  • People TV
  • TV Land

To get 55 channels, you pay $20 monthly. Some of the extra channels include:

  • Cooking Channel
  • Discovery Family
  • UP

Philo has a “72-hour lookback” to rewatch shows. If you can’t get to them within that time frame, you’ll need to record them. That’s free because both plans offer unlimited cloud DVR. You can save your favorite shows for 30 days.

Also, you can stream Philo on three screens at once.

Pros of Philo

  • Most affordable option for lifestyle channels
  • Unlimited DVR storage (up to 30 days per episode)
  • Watch on three screens at a time

Cons of Philo

  • No sports or news channels
  • Can’t watch premium movie channels like HBO or Showtime

Fubo

Monthly Cost: $44.99

Sports fans will want to check out Fubo. It also offers local channels and most cable channels, so there’s something for everyone.

In most markets, Fubo offers your local CBS, Fox and NBC channels. You can also stream popular lifestyle channels. Some of these include AMC, FX, Hallmark and SyFy.

But the real reason to join Fubo is for the sports channels. Other streaming sites don’t offer some of these channels. If they do, you pay more than $44.99 a month to watch them.

These are some of the sports channels you can watch:

  • CBS Sports
  • Fox Sports
  • NBA TV
  • NFL Network
  • Bein Network Sports Connect

Two networks you won’t see on Fubo are Disney and ESPN. Even as an add-on, you can’t watch these channels.

For an extra $5 a month, you can upgrade to Fubo Extra. This package costs $49.99 per month. It includes a few extra sports and lifestyle channels. Some of them are Boomerang, DIY, and NFL RedZone.

You can also pay extra for regional channels and global sports channels. For example, you can buy NBA League Pass for $28.99 a month. You can also add several soccer channels.

Access to premium movie channels is limited, though. You can only add the Showtime network.

Free Cloud DVR

With Fubo, you also get 30 hours of cloud DVR free.

Fubo offers three-day replay for most shows and games. This is like Philo’s 72-hour lookback tool. And, it means you don’t have to use your cloud storage.

Pros of Fubo

  • Most affordable way to watch any type of sport
  • Includes many lifestyle and news channels
  • 30 hours of cloud DVR
  • Can stream on two devices at once

Cons of Fubo

  • Disney and ESPN networks aren’t available
  • Can’t stream local ABC channel

DirecTV Now

Monthly Cost: Between $40 and $75

DirecTV Now is AT&T’s streaming service. If you cancel DirecTV, why join DirecTV Now? It’s cheaper than satellite TV. And you won’t have to sign a long-term contract to enjoy it.

However, this may not be the best option for bargain hunters. For $75, you can get 125 channels. This is still far fewer than the 155 channels in the basic DirecTV Select package. But how many channels do you currently watch? If it’s only a handful, you’ll probably be better off with a different option.

To keep your business, the DirecTV retention agent may ask if you want this service instead.

DirecTV Now isn’t bad. Among the services listed here, it most resembles a satellite TV plan. You get a lot of channels for less than $100. So, if you want a lot of channel variety, it can be worth your time to compare the channel lineups before you decide whether to cancel DirecTV.

With all the DirecTV Now packages, you should be able to get your local channels. The lineup will be similar to the $40 plans from Hulu and Sling. If you still want to purchase add-ons, DirecTV Now might be better than either Sling or Hulu.

Also, DirecTV Now includes 20 hours of cloud DVR. This isn’t as much as some of the other apps, but it’s enough for most people.

Because DirecTV Now has larger channel lineups than some other services offer, there are fewer add-ons. The few add-ons available are for foreign language channels. You can also add HBO ($5 per month), and Showtime or Starz for $8 per month.

NFL fans who want Sunday Ticket need to stick with DirecTV’s satellite service. NFL Sunday Ticket is an app that lets you stream any out-of-market Sunday game live. This subscription isn’t available on DirecTV Now, which only streams games that are available on your local broadcast affiliates. So, you will see the exact same games on DirecTV Now as if you use an HDTV antenna.

Pros of DirecTV Now

  • Smallest package has at least 65 channels
  • 20 hours of cloud DVR
  • Stream on two screens at once

Cons of DirecTV Now

  • Not the cheapest plan for bargain hunters

Things to Consider Before Your Cancel DirecTV

DirecTV is the largest satellite TV provider for a reason. They make it easy to watch TV from the comfort of your home. And, they have exclusive programs that “force” you to keep your plan.

Do You Have a Fast Internet Connection?

To stream cable TV using an app, you need fast internet. For one device, you need at least 5 MBps. If you have several devices connected to your Wi-Fi at once, plan on having at least 25 MBps. This way, you’ll have enough bandwidth to stream without a problem.

The different streaming apps give you a free 7-day trial. Use this time to test the streaming quality. If it doesn’t meet expectations, try increasing your internet speed. Or, stay with DirecTV.

Do You Have a Streaming Device?

If you want to cancel DirecTV because you don’t watch TV, ignore this question. But, what if you still want to watch your favorite shows?

You can watch from your computer, phone or tablet. That’s great for when you’re traveling or out with friends.

But it’s not as comfortable for everyday viewing as the lean-back experience of television. For that, you need an internet-ready streaming device. If you have a “Smart TV” that connects to the internet, you’re ready.

Otherwise, you must purchase one of these streaming devices:

You can plug these devices into your TV. And, you’ll still have another port to connect your HD antenna. So, you can watch local and cable channels for a fraction of your current cost.

Do You Have a DirecTV Bundle?

AT&T owns DirecTV. If you have AT&T internet or phone service, you might have a bundle. Some people decide to keep DirecTV because the bundle is cheaper. This depends on what plan you have.

If it’s cheaper to keep DirecTV, Trim can also help you save money. It will apply the best discounts to your current DirecTV plan. If Trim can lower your bill, it will keep 25% of the savings. That may be worth it if you don’t want to spend the time calling DirecTV yourself.

Can You Watch NFL Sunday Ticket?

DirecTV still has the advantage if you want to watch NFL games. With the other apps listed here, you can only watch what’s on your local channels and possibly what airs on ESPN or NFL Network.

If you want to watch full, live NFL games that aren’t available on your local channels, you need to stick with DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket. But, Sunday Ticket costs $239 per year. And to get it, you must have the mid-tier Choice channel package ($45 a month) or a higher-tier package.

Currently, DirecTV doesn’t offer access to the NFL RedZone channel. This is the best way to watch scoring drives of every NFL game if you don’t have DirecTV Sunday Ticket package.  The cheapest way to watch NFL RedZone is on Sling TV for $35 per month. You must get the Sling Blue Package and add the $10 monthly Sports Extra package.

If you can wait until the next day to watch a game, you can drop DirecTV and get NFL Game Pass. For $99 a year, you can watch the replay of every NFL game. And, you can listen to the live team radio broadcast.

Tip: Save on Game Pass with Ebates. And, get a $10 cash bonus.

Can You Watch Family Programs Without DirecTV?

You might also like DirecTV for the family-friendly channels. Some of the apps stream kid-friendly channels like UP and Baby TV.

Another alternative is to join a movie streaming platform such as Pureflix. It has the largest selection of family shows and movies. It also produces exclusive shows and movies.

What Channels Can’t You Stream?

DirecTV has six different channel packages. The smallest package (Select) offers 155 channels. But, you can get over 330 channels with the most expensive package (Premier).

When you switch to a streaming app, there are roughly 50 channels you can stream. At first, this seems like a shockingly small amount. But, the apps do a good job of offering some of the most popular channels like:

  • AMC
  • Disney
  • ESPN
  • FX
  • Hallmark
  • TBS

You can also stream the various cable news networks. But a single app might not include the popular channels plus all those specialty channels like ESPNU or Destination America.

To watch all the channels you enjoy, you may have to subscribe to two different streaming apps. Depending on your current DirecTV package, using multiple apps can still be the cheaper option.

Summary

Canceling DirecTV starts with a phone call. Before you dial, consider the fees and your streaming options. Cutting the cord may be easier than you think.

Have you canceled your DirecTV subscription? What do you use to watch your favorite shows instead? Let us know on social media!

Save big money when you cancel!

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