DIRECTV Allows Customers to Opt Out of Local Channels

In a welcomed move, DIRECTV is now letting customers decide if they want to pay for local channels. All new/current subscribers can add or remove locals at will, with no fee or penalty for switching. They priced their set of local channels at $12/month, meaning you’ll save $144 a year if you decide to remove locals from your DIRECTV lineup.

Which local channels can I exclude?

DIRECTV carries a full lineup of local channels and they’re all included in this new feature.  The exact lineup of local channels depends on your location but, in general, most folks get ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CW, PBS, Telemundo and more.   When you get your locals via DIRECTV, they’re all transmitted in high definition 720p or 1080p.

So, while you can also get your locals with an HD antenna, there’s no guarantee on the broadcast qualify.  If the signal is obstructed by a tree or building, you’ll get less than full HD.

How do I add or remove DIRECTV’s local channels?

Since it’s still a new feature, expect more options in the future but, for now, the easiest way is to call up DIRECTV support.  It’s a quick and easy request that shouldn’t take more than a couple minutes.  Full access should be available in your online account soon, giving you more flexibility on when and how (long) you want local channels.   However you do it, the change is immediate and you’ll get billed or credited a pro-rated amount for the remaining days in the month.

How does the $12/month compare to DISH?

DISH has allowed customers to remove locals for quite some time now.  Not surprisingly, DIRECTV’s local channel value of $12/mo. matches DISH to the tee.  Where it makes sense, their pricing and fees tend to closely track one another.

Most common reasons folks cancel their locals

As with most TV lineup decisions, there are a variety of reasons for each choice.  From household size to personal preference, every case is just a bit different.  Overall, these are the top reasons most customers have requested to ditch local channels with DIRECTV (and TV providers in general):

  • Cost – with inflation and cost-of-living on the rise, subscribers are looking to save wherever possible.
  • Sports – local channels are how most folks get access to their local team’s games.  Whether that’s the MLB, NFL or NBA, the regional sports networks cover all the action.  Examples include: Bally Sports Midwest, NBC Sports Boston and ROOT Sports Northwest.   A lot of folks like to sign up for locals during their favorite sport’s season (eg, NFL) and cancel right after.
  • Antenna – as briefly mentioned, in a lot of places, an antenna is a great way to get local channels for free.  For the one-time cost of a good antenna (<$50)  you can get all your local in HD quality.  Just make sure you’re close enough to a transmitting tower to get all the channels and in good enough quality.

Wrapping up

Residential TV service has evolved quite a bit over the years, especially with the advent of streaming TV.  A big driving force for that change has been the flexibility of  letting customers decide exactly what they want, when they want.  So, while DIRECTV still requires a 2-year contract, being able to remove channel packs that you rarely or never watch is a huge plus.  Local channels are a prime example.  So, kudos to DIRECTV for listening to their customers and letting them remove locals.