DIRECTV customers will have an unpleasant surprise starting next month, as notice has gone out that a DIRECTV price increase will happen soon. March 4th is the specific date that DIRECTV will be raising rates. So why is DIRECTV raising rates at this time? With the DIRECTV price increase cause customers to begin looking around at competitors like Dish Network and Comcast?
The DIRECTV price increase will affect mainly customers who have already had DIRECTV service for more than a year. DIRECTV offers discounted prices, and also recently offered a “Lock in your price til 2010” to new customers. Existing DIRECTV customers will see the following price increases.
The DIRECTV Choice package will move from $52.99 to $55.99 per month, a $3 dollar increase. This entry level package has 150 video and audio channels, and is comparable with most basic cable lineups. The DIRECTV Choice Xtra package will be increasing in price from $57.99 to $60.99, again a $3 increase. This package is comparable with most digital cable lineups, and has over 200 audio and video channels.
The DIRECTV Plus DVR package is next up, and will move from $62.99 per month up to $65.99 a month. This is basically the Choice Xtra package, with DVR service included for an extra $5 per month for the first DVR box. The next package on the food chain is the DIRECTV HDDVR bundle, which is currently $72.99. This package will be increasing $3 to $75.99 per month, and basically includes everything in the Choice Xtra package, DVR service, and of course high definition channels.
One package that is escaping the DIRECTV price increase is the Family package. This basic lineup consisting of 45 family friendly channels will remain at $29.99 per month. This is probably a good move by DIRECTV in order to entice some of those that will be affected by the upcoming digital transition, keeping a basic package available for around $30 a month.
On the other end of the spectrum, there is the all inclusive DIRECTV Premier Package. Currently priced at $104.99, this package will be increasing $5 to $109.99. This package includes basically everything, from all of the major cable TV networks to premium movie channels like HBO and Starz. Comparable to the Dish Network America’s Everything package, the DIRECTV Premier package offers great entertainment value for the monthly fee charged.
DIRECTV International programming packages will also see an increase in rates. DIRECTV Spanish programming is of most interest to many subscribers. The DIRECTV Mas Basico will go up $3, from $29.99 to $32.99. DIRECTV Familiar Ultra will go up $3 as well, rising from $54.99 to $57.99 per month. Finally the DIRECTV Mas Lo Maximo, which is the equivalent of the Premier package in Spanish, will move up from $104.99 to $109.99 per month.
DIRECTV Chinese programming packages will also increase. The popular DIRECTV JadeWorld package will be bumped up $3 from $36.99 to $39.99 per month. Premium movie channels services like HBO, Starz, and Showtime will increase by $1 per month as well.
So how does the DIRECTV price increase compare to the recent increases by competitors Dish Network and Comcast? The Comcast rate increase was pushed through in November of 2008, and was on par with what they had done over the past few years. Dish Network raised rates earlier this month, and while some packages only went up $2-3 bucks, others went up between $8-10 a month. Among these were hefty hikes on the new Turbo HD packages, making up for low package prices when introduced in 2008.
Overall, while the DIRECTV price increase will not create any new satellite TV fans, it is about in line with competitors in the marketplace, and to be expected considering the increased programming costs that have hit all cable and satellite distributors. Smart shoppers will continue to compare satellite vs cable TV, and also consider their local phone company in the area to be sure they are getting competitive pricing.