Q: Do I qualify and how do I get started?
A: All you need is a clear view of the southern sky and a desire to improve your home-entertainment experience. If you own the place you live, simply pick out a system, purchase it and wait for the installation guys to call - you're ready to go. If you rent, you need to check with your landlord or property manager for permission to install the DIRECTV satellite dish on your rooftop. If you are not able to install it on a rooftop, you may be able to install it on your private balcony, patio or in your garden, as long as the satellite dish has a clear view of the southern sky. In fact, a January 1999 FCC ruling states that apartment, condominium, town home and single-family home renters can install either satellite dishes or TV antennas in these areas. Then, simply select and purchase a DIRECTV system, arrange for installation (or install it yourself) and call DIRECTV to begin your service.
Q: Why do I need to have a phone line connected to receive sports programming?
A: In order for DIRECTV to comply with the blackout rules established by each professional sports league, it requires that its sports customers have a continuous land-based phone connection to the DIRECTV receiver.
Q: Does DIRECTV offer a Spanish-language programming service?
A: Yes. It's called the DIRECTV PARA TODOS service, and it features more than 40 Spanish-language channels, including sports, movies, news, music and educational networks. To get DIRECTV PARA TODOS programming, you need a DIRECTV PARA TODOS System, or any newer receiver marked DIRECTV Multi-Satellite System, which features an 18" by 24" oval-shaped satellite dish and a specially designed set-top receiver and remote control.
Q: Does DIRECTV offer a Chinese-language programming service?
A: Yes. DIRECTV is proud to offer Phoenix TV, a 24-hour Chinese-language channel.
Q: Is DIRECTV® programming available in other languages?
A: The DIRECTV System does feature a foreign-language option, so if a program is available in an alternate language, you can use your remote control to select "Alternate Audio" from the on-screen guide menu. Keep in mind that DIRECTV is only a programming distributor; it is up to the program originator to decide whether to provide a program in another language.
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Q: What is the purpose of connecting my receiver to my telephone line?
A: DIRECTV asks customers to connect the receiver to a land-based phone line for billing and pay-per-view ordering purposes. This connection sends purchase information from the receiver to DIRECTV's computer system. You cannot connect a cellular phone to your receiver; it must be a land-based phone line.
With this phone connection, DIRECTV customers are authorized to order pay-per-view movies and events with their remote control, get popular sports subscriptions like NFL SUNDAY TICKET, and have the programming subscription on their main receiver "mirrored" to other receivers that are connected to the same phone line.
Customers who don't have a continuous telephone connection are not authorized to receive certain sports programming, must call DIRECTV to order pay-per-view and must pay a separate subscription price for each receiver. To cover the costs of handling phone requests, DIRECTV applies a $5 service charge on phone orders for pay-per-view movies and events.
Q: Will the telephone connection interfere with regular telephone usage?
A: No. This connection does not interfere with your phone. A modem inside your receiver makes a toll-free call to our computer system in the middle of the night. If the modem senses that you are using the phone, it will try again later. The modem's call lasts just a few seconds.
Q: My receiver is not near a telephone jack, and it is not convenient for me to install a line near it. What should I do?
A: BestBuy.com carries a device known as a wireless phone jack, which allows you to connect your receiver to a nearby phone line without wires. It can be found in the telephone accessories section. Again, a cellular phone connection will not work.
Q: Can DIRECTV be connected to more than one television set in my house?
A: Buying separate DIRECTV receivers for the various television sets in your home gives you the flexibility of watching different DIRECTV programs on different television sets. To do this, you'll need to have a dual-LNB DIRECTV System. The dual-LNB DIRECTV System (sometimes called a deluxe system or a multiroom system) allows you to use additional receivers so members of your household can watch different channels or pay-per-view programs in different rooms at the same time. Additional receivers can be purchased from BestBuy.com. If all of your DIRECTV receivers are connected to the same land-based phone line, then DIRECTV can "mirror" your subscription package for a nominal fee for each additional DIRECTV outlet.
Q: Why does the DIRECTV System require an access card? How does it work?
A: The access card, which comes with each system, acts as a license plate for your system. It provides security and encryption information and allows you to control the use of your system. The access card also allows DIRECTV to capture billing information that is specific to your account. The card contains a microprocessor that enables the card to act as an auxiliary processor for your satellite receiver.
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Q: Can you explain the Locks & Limits (parental controls) feature DIRECTV offers?
A: The Locks & Limits feature built into the equipment lets you restrict access to movies based on the motion picture rating system and pay-per-view spending limits, and block the viewing of entire channels. This is a great feature for parents who wish to control what their children watch on DIRECTV.
Q: I have two receivers. Can I order a pay-per-view movie on one receiver and watch it on both TVs in my house?
A: No. Each pay-per-view order is specific to the receiver on which it is ordered. When you place a pay-per-view order, the receiver on which you placed the order begins displaying the signal, authorizes you for the purchase and stores the record of your purchase on the access card in the receiver.
Q: If I own one receiver that is hooked up to more than one TV, can I watch the same pay-per-view program on each TV without an additional charge?
A: Yes. All TVs that are hooked up to a common receiver will receive the same satellite signal.
Q: How does the on-screen guide work?
A: You can access the guide by pressing a button on your remote control, then navigate around the guide using the arrow buttons on the remote. The guide lists all DIRECTV® programming with descriptions of most programs. The on-screen program guide lets you look ahead to future programming.
Q: Does DIRECTV offer a current listing of what movies will be showing during the month?
A: Yes. You can view upcoming movies and special events in several ways:
1. The on-screen guide lists pay-per-view movies and events two weeks ahead of schedule.
2. Your monthly DIRECTV bill contains a listing of upcoming movies and special events.
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Q: Can I install the DIRECTV System myself, or should I hire someone?
A: Customers who use professional installers typically have fewer technical concerns later on, and professional installation is quite affordable. If you're purchasing an oval-shaped satellite dish, that installation is more complicated so you'll likely want a professional to take care of it. For more information on installing the dish yourself, please visit the self-install helpful resources article, which explains how to position your dish for the best reception.
Q: Where can I find someone who can install my DIRECTV System?
A: Your local Best Buy store can arrange installation for you. You may also find installers in your yellow pages under "satellite TV."
Q: Can I install the satellite dish inside my house?
A: In order to receive the signal, the dish must have a direct line of sight to the south through a window. However, many types of window glass degrade the satellite signal. Therefore, DIRECTV strongly recommends that you install your satellite dish outside in a suitable location.
Q: If I mount my satellite dish outside, will it get stolen?
A: The dish is the least expensive component of the system and is basically useless without the set-top receiver. Also keep in mind that the dish is small enough to be placed in an inconspicuous location on your home or property.
Q: Can I use my existing wiring for DIRECTV?
A: If the cable in your house is RG-6 coax cable, you can use it to connect your DIRECTV receiver to your satellite dish. If your cable is not RG-6 coax, you will need to run new cable. It is important that you use RG-6 cable due to the frequency of the digital signals it must carry.
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Q: How do I install the DIRECTV System on my RV or boat?
A: You can purchase a self-installation kit and install the system yourself, or hire a professional installer. Contact your local Best Buy install bay, or RV or boat dealer for more information about professional installation.
Q: Can I paint the satellite dish?
A: It's okay to paint your dish if you don't use lead-based or glossy paint. Glossy paint could damage the low noise block (LNB) converter by increasing the solar reflection. Also, do not paint the LNB itself.
Q: If I move, can I take the DIRECTV System with me?
A: Yes. DIRECTV distributes programming across the continental United States. For more information, call DIRECTV at 1-877-407-4720.
Q: Where is DIRECTV located?
A: The DIRECTV corporate office is located in El Segundo, Calif. It serves as the headquarters to its many regional sales offices and two broadcast centers located in Los Angeles, Calif., and Castle Rock, Colo.
Q: Where do I mail my payment for my DIRECTV bill?
A: Residential Customers: DIRECTV accepts payment by check and money order. You may also sign up for Electronic Funds Tranfers (EFT) or call them at 1-800-531-5000 to pay by credit card. DIRECTV accepts MasterCard, VISA, American Express and Novus/Discover. To pay through Western Union, call 1-800-325-6000. For Money Gram payment information, call 1-800-926-9400.
If your ZIP code begins with 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 or 6:
P.O. Box 9001069
Louisville, KY 40290-1069
If your ZIP code begins with 5, 7, 8 or 9:
P.O. Box 78626
Phoenix, AZ 85062-8626
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Q: Where do I send other correspondence, not including payments?
A: Residential customers should send correspondence to:
DIRECTV Customer Service
P.O. Box 92600
Los Angeles, CA 90009
Q: Why is my regional sports network territory different from my cable Regional Sports Network (RSN)?
A: The area of in-market availability for each regional sports network is determined by the companies that provide the RSNs to DIRECTV, such as Fox Sports Direct.
The constraints of C-band satellite systems, cable systems and DIRECTV's system differ slightly, which is why RSN territories sometimes differ from one delivery system to the next.
Most people get the same Regional Sports Network from DIRECTV as they would from cable. But in some areas of the county, there are differences your home RSN from DIRECTV might be different from your home RSN on cable. This is because Fox Sports Net bases RSN service on ZIP codes for satellite customers, but on county boundaries for cable customers. This difference is necessary because of the technical differences in how the satellite and cable signals are distributed.
Q: What is DIRECTV?
A: DIRECTV is the nation's No. 1 digital satellite entertainment service. Using the most advanced satellite technology, DIRECTV delivers more than 225 channels of programming to homes and businesses that have DIRECTV receiving equipment, which includes a small satellite dish, a digital set-top receiver and a remote control. DIRECTV offers an incredible selection of entertainment for every member of the family all in the 100% digital-quality picture and sound that DIRECTV is known for.To receive DIRECTV programming, you'll need a clear view from your dish to the satellites in the southern sky. If you rent, you need permission from your landlord.
First check with your landlord or property manager for permission to install the DIRECTV satellite dish on your rooftop. If you are not able to install it on a rooftop, you may be able to install it on your private balcony or patio or in your garden, as long as the satellite dish has a clear view of the southern sky. In fact, a January 1999 FCC ruling states that apartment, condominium, town home and single-family home renters can install either satellite dishes or TV antennas in these areas.
Then, simply select and purchase a DIRECTV system, arrange for installation (or install it yourself) and call DIRECTV to begin your service.
Q: What programming does DIRECTV offer?
A: DIRECTV features more than 225 available channels of entertainment. Customers have access to popular networks like the Disney Channel, CNN, ESPN and TNT, as well as up to 55 pay-per-view choices a day including major Hollywood films and special events. Hit movies start as often as every 30 minutes, and they cost only $3.99 each when you use your remote control to order. DIRECTV also offers an unprecedented professional and collegiate sports subscription lineup, including NFL SUNDAY TICKET, NBA LEAGUE PASS, NHL® CENTER ICE®, MLB EXTRA INNINGS(SM), MLS/ESPN SHOOTOUT, WNBA SEASON PASS, ESPN GamePlan and ESPN FULL COURT. There's even more! The DIRECTV SPORTS Pack and Total Choice® Platinum packages deliver sports action from across the nation. Plus, special-interest channels like PLAYBOY TV are available on an a la carte basis.
Q: Why doesn't DIRECTV present every channel I want to see?
A: Programming commitments are driven by customer preference. They are designed to balance the interests of adults, children and the whole family. DIRECTV regularly polls customers to determine their interests.
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Q: Does DIRECTV offer channels on an a la carte basis?
A: DIRECTV typically bundles its programming together into different subscription-based packages to offer customers better prices. It costs more to offer channels separately. However, it does offer select channels on an a la carte basis. Visit the DIRECTV programming section for more information.
Q: What channels will DIRECTV be offering in the future?
A: It is DIRECTV's policy not to disclose information about any pending or potential programming offers. However, DIRECTV speaks with a wide array of programming providers and constantly evaluates services based on the level of customer interest. Customer feedback has led to the addition of new programs and channels.
Q: How do I order pay-per-view movies and special events?
A: You can order with your remote control or by calling DIRECTV customer service at 1-800-531-5000. To defer the costs of handling phone requests, DIRECTV applies a $5 service charge to phone orders for pay-per-view events and movies.
Q: What is a letterbox movie?
A: The shape of a theater screen is wider than the shape of a TV screen. So, when movies appear on TV, the left and right sides of the image are usually cut off and you miss about 30% of the film's original picture. The letterbox format, preferred by many film buffs, displays movies on a television screen as originally intended by the films' directors. That's why you see black bars at the top and bottom of the screen when you watch a letterbox movie on your television. In order to fit the entire picture on the screen, the image has to be reduced. There is no extra charge for letterbox movies with BLOCKBUSTER® TICKET only on DIRECTV, a pay-per-view movie service.
Q: Why do pay-per-view movies come out later than home videos? What are the advantages of ordering pay-per-view movies?
A: Movie studios release films to the video rental market before making them available to pay-per-view services. However, the period between the home video release and pay-per-view release now can be as little as 30 days.
And DIRECTV is not just another pay-per-view provider! BLOCKBUSTER® TICKET only on DIRECTV offers a great selection of the latest pay-per-view movies well in advance of premium cable and broadcast television networks. You can even preview the first five minutes of non-adult movies so you can make an informed "rental" decision. When you are done watching, there is no tape to rewind or DVD to return — no more late fees! It's also possible to get much more than just movies. DIRECT TICKET® Pay-Per-View brings you exciting events like boxing, wrestling, soccer, music and more. With as many as 55 different movie and event choices a day, DIRECTV pay-per-view services offer you more viewing options than cable or any other satellite service.
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Q: Can weather interfere with my reception?
A: Television reception on the system is highly reliable year-round and nationwide. During heavy rain or snowfall, however, some DIRECTV customers may experience a temporary loss of picture quality. This phenomenon also can occur if the dish or low noise block (LNB) converter accumulates too much wet snow. When snow accumulates on the dish, the service is not lost but the strength of the signal can be weakened by the snow's water content. This "signal fall-off" occurs when water content is at its highest. During colder winter months, when snow is drier, dishes usually do not experience such problems, even if there is substantial snow buildup.
So what can you do? Wait for the bad weather to pass and your signal should return to normal. If the signal doesn't return, re-set your receiver by turning it off, unplugging it for at least 15 seconds, then plugging it back in. If snow has built up on the dish or LNB, wait for it to melt. Or, if you can safely get to your dish, lightly brush it off with a broom. If this is not practical, you may consider installing an accessory designed to prevent snow buildup.
DIRECTV has conducted tests of several different products, including dish covers, spray-on coatings, LNB covers and heated dishes, which work very well and are quite reliable. In fact, a dish cover is available in the accessories section of BestBuy.com.
Q: I've heard of Dolby AC-3 Audio. What is that?
A: Dolby AC-3, more commonly known as Dolby Digital, is the latest generation of surround sound encoding from Dolby Laboratories. While Dolby Pro Logic was an analog encoding scheme, Dolby Digital uses digital encoding to produce five discrete full-range channels of surround information plus a bandwidth-limited subwoofer channel. DIRECTV currently broadcasts many pay-per-view movies and other events with Dolby Digital-formatted audio for those customers who have a special Dolby Digital audio receiver.
Q: Is the DIRECTV broadcast compatible with various surround sound technologies?
A: The DIRECTV System is compatible with Dolby Pro Logic surround sound and Dolby Digital. To get true surround sound, you will need a Dolby Pro Logic or Dolby Digital surround sound processing unit. Basically, you will be able to experience surround sound with DIRECTV® programming if your home theater system has surround sound capability. BestBuy.com carries many receivers, home theater systems and shelf systems that are capable of both Dolby Pro Logic and Dolby Digital processing.
Q: Does DIRECTV offer local network channels?
A: Yes, a law passed by the U.S. Congress allows DIRECTV to offer local television channels to select areas. Eligible customers can order their local channel package for $5.99 a month. In some markets, you will need to have a DIRECTV Multi-Satellite system. If not, BestBuy.com carries several over-the-air antennas that should allow you to receive local channels.
Q: Why does DIRECTV charge for local channels and PBS? Aren't they free?
A: DIRECTV charges for subscriptions to broadcast networks for many different reasons. First, DIRECTV must pay a copyright fee in order to be able to distribute the service. Then, just as with any signal they carry, DIRECTV incurs costs associated with receiving, encoding and transmitting it with its satellite, and monitoring the signal quality. Also, DIRECTV doesn't distribute local channels via satellite in all areas of the country. Therefore, it charges separately for local channel service so only customers receiving the service have to pay for it.
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Q: Can I receive local channels from another part of the country?
A: Under federal law, DIRECTV can provide local channels only within a local TV market. For example, it can provide San Francisco stations in San Francisco and surrounding areas within that TV market. Federal law requires DIRECTV to use local TV market boundaries established by Nielsen Media Research. Distant broadcast network feeds from New York and Los Angeles are available only to customers who cannot receive an over-the-air signal from a local TV station or to customers who get waivers from their local TV stations.
Q: Why doesn't DIRECTV offer local channels in my area?
A: DIRECTV wants to serve the maximum number of DIRECTV customers. But with more than 1,500 local TV stations in the country, it can't carry them all. You may want to purchase an over-the-air antenna to receive local programming.
Q: Are DIRECTV SPORTS® packages affected by sports blackouts?
A: DIRECTV must pay close attention to sports blackouts and restrictions.
Q: I believe I am outside of the sports blackout area. Why am I still getting blacked out from games?
A: You may have been blacked out from a game even though you seemed to be outside the blackout area. This can happen if a TV station near the team's home stadium has networked the games to a TV station nearer to you. For example, a person who lives near Houston, more than 150 miles from a San Antonio Spurs station's territory, might be blacked out from a game if the San Antonio television station networked the signal to a station in Houston.
DIRECTV generally does not control blackouts of sporting events. In its agreements to carry games produced by various leagues and associations, DIRECTV is subject to clauses that keep it from carrying events near where the game is played, aired or broadcast locally. In addition, networks like ESPN and TNT have signed contracts with certain cable TV operators that prevent some events from being distributed by anyone else in their franchise area.
In some cases, if a game is blacked out from certain DIRECTV channels, you may be able to see it on another DIRECTV channel, or on one of your local broadcast channels.
Q: Does DIRECTV offer digital music channels?
A: Yes! With XM Satellite Radio, DIRECTV offer up to 72 different audio-only channels, featuring America's Largest Playlist of music, news, sports and entertainment.
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Q: If I have more than one receiver, do I pay a full monthly subscription for each receiver?
A: As long as you are connected to a phone line, no. DIRECTV allows you to connect more than one television in a single household to its services. If your receivers are connected to the same phone line, DIRECTV can "mirror" your subscription. In other words, the programming you request for the primary access card in your receiver is copied for all of the access cards in the other receivers and you are authorized to receive this same level of programming on these televisions. Instead of charging you a separate monthly subscription for each receiver, DIRECTV simply charges an additional $4.99 monthly lease fee for each additional receiver.
When DIRECTV mirrors your subscription to additional receivers, it verifies that all of your receivers are continuously connected to the same phone line. If DIRECTV finds that a receiver with mirrored service is not connected to the phone line, it will discontinue service to that receiver and you will need to call to re-establish that service.
Q: How can I contact DIRECTV?
A: Contact DIRECTV at the following:
DIRECTV Customer Service
For an account at your home: 1-800-531-5000
For an account at your business: 1-888-200-4388
For DIRECTV dealers: 1-800-323-1994
Information About Getting DIRECTV
At your home: Call Best Buy's DIRECTV info line at 1-888-500-3855
At your business: 1-888-388-4249
If You're Moving
DIRECTV Sales team: 1-877-407-4720
8 a.m. - midnight (ET), seven days a week
(Call within 30 days of your move)
Other Contact Information
DIRECTV TDD (for the hearing impaired):
Q: I bought a used DIRECTV System from a friend. What should I do to get the system installed and activate programming?
A: We cannot activate used equipment on behalf of new DIRECTV customers. If you are already an existing DIRECTV customer and wish to activate an additional used receiver, a new access card must be purchased by contacting DIRECTV. Please call 1-800-DIRECTV for assistance. Owner's manuals are available at directv.com/manuals.
Q: What are the standard installation requirements?
A: The standard professional installation requirements include:
Wiring and Connections:
- Someone over the age of 18 must be present for the installation.
- This person must be authorized to make installation, payment and programming decisions on the customer's behalf.
- Dish Mounting:
o We will mount the satellite dish on the roof or an outside wall.
- Additional charges may apply if customer needs a pole or tripod at their location or had specific requirements about the location of their dish.
- We will include up to 125 feet of cable per receiver and hook up a DVD or VCR if they are available and if they connect to the same outlet as the TV.
- The installer will discuss charges with customer for any custom work such as:
o Routing through more than one wall or running a cable inside a wall.
o Hiding or camouflaging cables/wiring.
o Installing receivers not purchased with the offer.
o Installing splitters to route one DIRECTV receiver to more than one TV.
- The installer will connect a phone line to every receiver so that the customer can experience the full functionality of their DIRECTV receiver.
- DVR customers must have a telephone line connected in order to take full advantage of its recording features.
- Additional charges may apply.
Optional HD Antenna:
- Customer must activate account within 30 days of date of purchase or incur a non-activation fee of $150 per receiver purchased.
- A Total Choice or Seleccion Extra commitment is required for 1 year or a cancellation fee of up to $200 will apply. (A Basic or Preferred Choice package allowed for International programming customers.
Line of Sight:
- HD Off-Air Antenna is available only in certain DMAs as launched.
- We will professionally install an off-air antenna that integrates off-air digital and HD channels into DIRECTV's on-screen guide for the HD receiver only.
- Any additional installation work is negotiated between customer and installer.
- DIRECTV is not responsible for off-air HD channel reception quality, which varies depending on where the customer lives. The HD Off-Air Antenna is non-refundable.
- Customer must have a clear line of sight to the southern sky.
- The installer will conduct a line of sight survey to determine placement of the DIRECTV system.
- If clear line of sight cannot be received the order will need to be cancelled and refunds (if applicable) will apply.
- We do not schedule pre-installation site surveys.