Cancelling AT&T DirecTV – How To?

After a couple of months dreading it, and after a week trying from time to time to do it via their web site. Then, finally, discovering the page that says ~”You can’t do that here, call the phone number”…

Then finding out a couple of days later I could not find that page again, despite having MUCH “google foo”…

I found there’s a “wiki-how” page.

It’s pretty dismal when someone ELSE needs to write a “how to” page to dump your service…

Has a pretty good set of directions, the key bit of which is the magic phone number: (800) 531-5000

As I’m using old “low res” receivers that they don’t want back, I have nothing to ship back. The rest was more or less accurate.

Now, the questionable bits.

At the AT&T operator site, they could (after some wrangling over why I didn’t want an upgrade to HDTV service for “free”) cancel DirecTV service via satellite. I’ll know tomorrow or so if it actually worked. My being on regular definition and them being in the process of cancelling regular definition didn’t hurt… so I don’t have to ship back the receivers, just the cards in them. So I’ll get a letter in the mail inside 7 days and need to mail them the “smart cards” (for the receivers I never wanted as they obsoleted the Sony receivers I’d bought decades ago that I loved…)

Why one needs to mail back “smart cards” for a service that is going away is an interesting question…

But I digress…

So, in theory, as of now, I no longer am a DirecTV customer, just an AT&T Internet customer. They could not tell me what impact this would have on my internet service that was supposedly in the same bundle. Then again, my $40 guaranteed all you can eat internet seems to have already morphed into $85 /month ? GB limit internet…. So I’ll be calling them in the next week (once I figure out who “them” is…) and discussing what my internet connection will cost “going forward” and am I cancelling it, too. I’d planned on just living with the $40 AT&T I’d signed up for, but at $85 it’s a whole ‘nother thing… At that rate, I can buy unlimited wireless from T-Mobile or fantastic service from a couple of other providers.

But that’s for tomorrow….

For today, I’ve cut, roughly, $120/month of AT&T Vampire out of my wallet…

God I’m loving Internet TV ;-) and the Roku…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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40 Responses to Cancelling AT&T DirecTV – How To?

  1. ossqss says:

    When one of my recievers died, they said they wanted the card back and would send the vessel. It never came. I owned that reciever (H10 I think), but it would no longer work as they moved the NFL ticket to the 5 LNB capable recievers.

    I was a big dish (10′) user long ago before Directv came along. I could literally find anything in the clear with a little research, back then that was getting the Sat back door press magazines or sharing with sports bar techies around my hood. Then one day Directv took over the K1 sat and made hundreds of digital channels where there were 32 analog. That was the beginning of the end. Having a big dish was like exploring the universe back then. There were many Satellites that were dark, but broadcasting, but never listed anywhere. Oh the good old days of watching Pro Football and listening to it in Spanish. It was a learning experience to boot! ;-)

    Anyone remember the days of “Hollywood Home Theater”? Early cable pay service you could hack the cable inline filter with some tin foil? LOL

    Good luck EM. You will need it. Wait till they try to invoke some type of early termination crap to keep you.

  2. ossqss says:

    I should have noted I have no base package with Directv (20 years now and still battling me). I only have NFL Sunday Ticket, and the Hockey package. Thats it.

  3. ossqss says:

    Side note, I have already cancelled mine when the Chief exposed the other Obaminite on the board!

    Share accordingly.

  4. Larry Ledwick says:

    I dropped Netflix last night.

  5. Lynn Clark says:

    I was in a similar boat with my Comcast service when I moved to Thailand last November, except that cancelling was much easier than your experience. I did have to take all the low-res set-top and DTA boxes to the nearest Comcast storefront. In recent years when one or another of the DTA boxes stopped working, they scanned its barcode when I took it in to get a replacement. This time they didn’t scan the barcodes on any of them. When I handed them the bag with all the equipment in it, they just opened my account on their computer — based on my phone number — pressed a few keys on the keyboard, then told me my account was closed. When I asked if they were going to scan the barcodes on the boxes to make sure I was returning the right ones, the rep just smiled and said, “Nope, you’re all set to go.”

    I also had car-windshield-mounted transponders for the local toll roads that the toll authority didn’t want back. It turns out the transponders I had were the old “big” ones that they’ve been replacing with much-smaller versions, so the old ones just went into the trash. That was one less thing to have to deal with during the stress-inducing period while I was disposing of all my belongings in preparation for the overseas move.

    (As an aside, here in Bangkok I have 50-down/20-up Mbps fibre internet service and full HD TV programming for about a fourth of what Comcast was charging me for 15-down/1.5-up Mbps and SD TV service. This — and much-faster levels of service — is available all over the country. A few weeks ago I was at a floating-cabin resort about a hundred yards out on a lake surrounded by miles of “jungle” and the free resort wifi was good enough that I was able to watch youtube videos in HD on my Macbook Pro with no stopping or stuttering. My cell-phone carrier doesn’t care if I want to turn my phone into a mobile hotspot for my laptop, which has saved me a few times when I’ve been somewhere where it was the best-available internet option (most notably in an upscale downtown-Bangkok hotel that had the worst hotel wifi I’ve ever experienced). Most cell-phone packages here are pay-per-minute for phone calls, plus an add-on package for 4G. I pay less than $20/month for 6 Mbps 4G service with unlimited data. I keep enough money in the account to cover the few actual phone calls that I might make in a month. Almost everyone in Thailand uses the Line chat app audio/video calling to make “phone” calls, thus avoiding per-minute charges.)

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    Well, that was interesting…

    My AT&T Internet has also now died.

    This is coming to you via my T-Mobile Hot Spot account.

    It would seem that, true to form, repeated statements of “ONLY DirecTV” and “I want to keep AT&T Internet!!!” have resulted in the expected incompetent “Cancel ALL SERVICES!!!”.


    OK, my connectivity will be “spotty” for a while as The Phone Company and me duke it out.

    I’m presently on a 10 MB / month contract on the hot spot, so not a lot of TV going to happen.

    And they wonder why people don’t like them….

  7. ossqss says:

    Contact a supervisor and lay them out the issue. This is SOP with scripts the reps do. Part of the retention process, if you can believe it.

  8. E.M.Smith says:

    I think I’ll just call up Earthlink and take their $40 / 15 Mb/s service instead… Still runs over AT&T wires and will “only” drive 2 TVs at once, but we only have 2 of us anyway and it IS 1/2 the price.

    The only reason I didn’t go there right out the gate was the risk of service interruption. But now with service already interrupted…

  9. Ed Forbes says:

    I cut my cable tv in the mid 90’s and have not missed it. Internet only. Have gone to Prime ( free for tv as I use it for shipping ) and Netflix with Roku which is “ok”, but not great. Just not a lot out there I want to watch.

  10. ossqss says:

    OT, just watchin Broken Skull Ranch on CMT. Quite interesting., but should be in bed. Doh!

  11. E.M.Smith says:


    I tossed my TV completely in the ’70s. Then in the ’80s I married one … well, married a spouse who came with one… A couple of years later we bought a house. When moving in, the Cable Company had strung their cable low on a diagonal across the ENTIRE back yard from the pole in one corner to the far corner of the house. I got on a ladder and just cut it off… Figuring they would get the message…

    We’ve had Satellite TV ever since. Been a very happy customer and probably would continue to be, but they were bought by AT&T and their service is not so good, prices tend to rise, and I’d been thinking of going to internet TV anyway.


    I’ll look for the show…

    FWIW, it’s that kind of “ask for A get B done to you” that causes me to wish AT&T avoidance.

    Out of sloth, I was going to keep AT&T internet. Now, since they killed everything and it will take effort to get it working again, I’m going to call up Earthlink instead and pay about 1/2 as much. The service will be something like 1/3 the speed, but it is still more than double what I need. 15 Mb/s instead of 45 Mb/s IIRC. Presently running on a WiFi hot spot at something like 2 Mb/s to 4 Mb/s and everything is OK (if not quite able to reach 1080p).

  12. philjourdan says:

    I was kind of like EM. After my divorce, I got high speed Internet and just the basic cable (did not care about any other channels anyway). But then I married a lady who wanted it all! So back to $200 triple play bills. I would dump it all, but she wants it all. Oh well.

    The only time I dealt with AT&T was when they sold me analog phone service. I told them I had Comcast service and the type (it was analog at the time as well). They said “no problem!”. Well after it was installed, it was still not working. SO I called them. They then said it would cost $125 to cross connect the boxes! I told them no, I have a signed contract that said installation was FREE and they were told what service I had before! I also told them I was not paying $125 for what amounted to a jumper cable that I could do for nothing (they told me to do it then). So I cancelled it!

    I went with them as they had a special – $25 off the first month. As I only had it 2 days, they refunded me about $18. So they did pay me for my trouble. :-)

  13. Greg Hall says:

    Everytime I have delt with AT&T, it has been “interesting”! I I don’t have cable, although I have Spectrum cable out back on the pole. Won’t even talk to those idiots until they come out and repair the ruts they put in my field, stringing the cable. I currently have the AT&T “Wireless Home Phone & Internet” which is $20 for unlimited phone in North America and $40 for 250GB Internet. With taxes it comes to $68.11 per month. This service is available in “under-served” areas but can be used anywhere in the US. I get OTA and can stream via the Channel Master “Stream+”.

  14. E.M.Smith says:

    For now, the T-Mobile hot spot is doing OK. It lets me ramp usage tier up or down every month and has no long term contract. At present there are 5 days left in the month and 2 GB of data plan unused… In 4 days I’m going to estimate how much is needed for next month and get that. (it is a nice self-serve online web site to change service tier…)

    I’m presently paying $10 / month for 2 GB. Tops is $85 / month for 20 GB I think. Last time I did this IIRC the usage rate worked out to about 8 GB on a monthly basis, or something like that.

    IF this is acceptable quality (we had some days at Prime commute / phone time when bit rates seemed to slow and TV got a bit fuzzy las time) and IF the size plan needed is under about $50, I’m likely to just run this way for a while. Take my time chatting up Earthlink and digging details.

  15. DavidRSw says:

    Had Spectrum cable internet and tv costing about $160/mo. and then daughter moved out. Found a deal on ATT internet and tv for $70/mo., but 2 year contract with >$400 termination fee and doubling of cost in 2nd year. Took 2 phone calls to ATT with the last one being 50 min. long just to cancel before installation. So dropped Spectrum tv leaving $60/mo. fast internet. Bought Roku Ultra for $70 and using only free channels so far. Might add DirectTvNow or Sling which are cancel anytime w/o penalty. Any suggestions? Thanks to all.

  16. ossqss says:

    Don’t overlook tossing a set of rabbit ears on your TV (or a for purpose omnidirectional HD antenna). I did that with rabbit ears when running on an inverter with no power/internet/cable during Irma and got like 32 HD channels once I programmed the TV for OTA access. Just a thought if your TV has a digital tuner in it. That can possibly save you data use.

  17. E.M.Smith says:


    Yeah, I think this moment is my “round tuit” for that antenna build project. Time to run to the electronics store and buy some downlead cable… All my TVs have a built in tuner, no worries there, and there are a great many local stations. Dozen? Each with a half dozen sub channels. It’s been 1/4 century since I paid attention, though, so don’t know what all is on them. We had them as part of the satellite package, but that only carried the main channel, not the subs, and we drifted away from watching them anyway. But for $40 of materials, yeah, worth it. (I have a couple of antenna poles I can use…)


    You are backing in to what I did as an overlap behaviour. I bought the Rokus (3 of them! The first one convinced me!) though I got the $35 low end “stick” that does all I need. Brought them up and got comfortable with it. Now, some months later, we had not watched the DirecTV dish in a few months…

    The hardest part was just accepting that it WOULD be different. So I don’t get Fox. OK, IF I need a Fox Fix I can go to their web site or YouTube. I briefly signed up with DirecTV as my “provider” to the Fox channel on the Roku so I could watch The Orville (that I liked a lot…) but it is between seasons now. Sometime before next season I’ll need to find a fix.

    Some of the “internet only” services can act like a “provider” and some can not. Check out the acceptable providers list on the Roku and then decide.

    For me, I wanted to get away from the $Massive $Money bleed for things I never watched, so we’ve not signed up for “cable without the cable”. We’ll see. On the Roku we were more than satisfied with the CBS All Access for what, $9? Something like that. Netflix (that jumped up to $12?ish) and all the free stuff. Now that Netflix is going Partizan Dimocratic and hiring Obama and his team to high end lots of cash positions, I’m on the “dump their ass” side. Working on the spouse…. Which is unfortunate as they have the largest library of “all you can eat included in the fee” offerings.

    We got Amazon Prime to save on shipping. Months later found out we had essentially free video through it (avoid the pay for view options…). It’s “good enough” though more pushing for “upselling” than Netflix. I’ve not explored Vudu or Hulu, but they are the next two to look at.

    IF you are OK with commercials, there’s LOTS. The CW is there. And I think Vudu (or maybe Hulu) has a ‘free with commercials’ option.

    If you’ve not seen them, I covered a lot of this in prior postings:

    Oh, and rumors are that Netflix is adding dozens of Netflix Originals as the major media companies are not renewing their deals as they expire. See CBS as an example. They provide Star Trek and Blue Bloods directly, so expect those to age out of Netflix. Rinse and repeat.

    Then Roku has added the Roku Channel. Looks like lots of good stuff, but has (limited) commercials.

    There’ s a whole lot out there to choose from… That’s without even getting into the “Internet TV Channels”. I’ve not kept it up to date since getting the Roku, but there’s a TV tab up top that I had used to watch various things on the computer. Probably many dead links by now, but a good idea of what you can find:

    Once you get through all that, holler with any remaining questions! 8-)

    (I think the prior articles have links to the Roku Channel Guide site and such, and it ought to be easy to find which of the Sling or whatever count as a “provider” just by signing up to a channel and when it asks you for your provider look at the pick list… let me know if that doesn’t work.)

  18. ossqss says:

    Most all newer tvs will have ATSC tuners. Depending on location, you can use a small amped antenna and do very well. Saw them at Lowes for less than 30 bucks. Never used one myself, but RV neighbors did. Good Luck! Hockey tailgate time here ; -)

  19. H.R. says:

    @E.M.: I had Earthlink when it was the only game in town for the first two years we lived at our current location (2000 to 2002).

    I made up my own motto for them: “Earthlink. We can’t even link two sausages together.”

    I hope they are better now.

  20. E.M.Smith says:

    And just as inexplicably… the AT&T internet is back today…

    So… what to do?


    For now, I’m just going to leave it as AT&T and see what happens / what the bill is / if I get a new “You Are Screwed for 2 years more!” notice in the mail… but it’s working.

    I’d shut the router off last night when we went to bed (as it was doing nothing). Today, turned it on again and it comes up with the status showing all is good. Who knows…


    Well, I bought an RCA flat panel indoor antenna with amplifier that claims 55+ mile range. Put it on the living room TV – picked up about 8 stations, all inside 25 miles of here. Mostly in Spanish…

    Put it on the bedroom TV, 35 stations, some decently far away.

    Put it on the office TV, 45+ stations including a few from San Francisco. OK, not going to return it as I’d thought originally…

    The odd thing is that is stepping down the price ladder from most expensive to cheapest TV. LG, Toshiba, IQsomething_mumble… I think it’s Best Buy house brand… Now I don’t know if it is the tuner or the location of the antenna, but as all of them were about 4 to 6 feet off the ground and near the east facing window of each room, I have trouble thinking that’s it. Only “maybe” is the LR was 8 feet S of the N wall and all the stations are N. The wall is stucco and chicken wire… But the time you reach the office, it’s about 40 foot of gap to the wall and lots more sky angle through the roof of wood and drywall and such.

    Along the way had a big Ah Ha! The only reason I’d not bought and outdoor antenna was that Wally World (Walmart) was out of 50 ft coax. I realized with DirecTV turned off, I have a GREAT coax from the receiver behind the TV to the outdoor disk. Just bolt the exterior antenna to the Dish mount (duh!) and use that cable.

    So for tomorrow, I have the task of “go buy outdoor antenna and install for Living room”. I’ll keep the indoor crappy one in the office (and for once mobile…) as it works “well enough” for local stations if the sky view is not too obstructed and you are not actually 55+ miles away… plus it gets most of the stations I’d actually watch, just not the ones the spouse wants… ( Channel 5 CBS that is now on some way high UHF actual frequency… that doesn’t propagate well.)

    I figure that 20 feet up in the air, outdoors, and a real yagi ought to do it. I’d use the one already on the roof but inspection showed it to be very rusty in the connections to the elements and wire… Last used for analog about 20 years ago…

    Thanks for the pointer to Lowes. I’d not thought of them as an antenna store.

  21. Larry Ledwick says:

    I have that happen periodically with comcast, the router just goes stupid and I get no internet connectivity. I go through a complete power down, disconnect the cable from the F connector for a minute or so, and then reconnect and power backup and all is well.

    I think these cheap mass market routers just occasionally get glitched a bit and latch-up or start chasing their own tail and nothing useful happens. Power reset and re-establish the connection and it is fat dumb and happy.

  22. E.M.Smith says:

    Aaaaannnd… the Satellite DirecTV service is still running…

    So did it “not cancel”?
    Did it cancel, but they don’t care because they are moving to HDTV?
    Did it cancel and it will stop working in a month?

    Oh, the “joys” of dealing with AT&T…

    I’d call them up to ask, but it would take 3 hours and 12 phone trees to find the right person, and then they would not understand it either… Sigh.

  23. E.M.Smith says:


    This class of router has been very stable over 2 years. I’m more inclined to think that AT&T just has broken procedures in trying to deal with the merged DirecTV. “Cancel Service!” gets done, to everything, then “Hey this is down and they have service!” gets noticed by the other department who brings it ALL back up… and then… news tomorrow…

  24. ossqss says:

    EM, remember the wire means much. RG6 will work much better the RG59 with signal transfer, no matter the need.

  25. ossqss says:

    If you talk to an ATT supervisor and tell the how much pain you experienced, including monetary problems from this outtage, you will get free stuff. Just sayin, complain and gain. Thats what they do.

  26. E.M.Smith says:

    As the Satellite dish was way expensive when I bought it, AND run at very very high frequencies, it has really nice cable downlead ;-) I think it’s RG6, or better. Certainly not RG59… The “portable” antenna has crappy thin God only knows what, but it’s only about 5 feet each side of an amplifier… and not something I can change. (One end goes inside antenna other end screws to amp. Amp has wire from INSIDE that has a connector to the TV on the other end…)

    I really don’t want to talk to AT&T again… nor do I want to get more of their “servicing”…

  27. ossqss says:

    Don’t overlook Wallyworld. Saw many variants of this there. $29 bucks?

  28. E.M.Smith says:


    They had one on the shelf, but it was something like $79. I might order one…

    Don’t really need the rotor feature. Almost all TV antennas are on Sutro Tower in San Francisco or on that axis. When we first moved it we had broadcast TV with a Nice Rotor. Pointed it at Sutro… now about 35 years later it’s still pointed the same place… Rotor stopped working some time or other. Maybe a decade back, maybe two… (wires lost their insulation in the sun and weather…)

    But that online price is right ;-)

  29. ossqss says:

    Same one on amazon prime same price point. Heck, you could just rewire the old one, it would work. ;-)

  30. E.M.Smith says:

    I’ve thought of just taking down the old one, cleaning up the joints and wiring, and putting it back up. But it’s highly oxidized aluminum for most of it and the copper bits are way corroded. Then 1/2 the range of it no longer is important (below channel 7).

    So I’m likely to just buy one and toss it up. Then the “fix the old one” can be a perpetual project for the 3rd TV ;-)

    It all comes down to a question of sloth ;-)

  31. philjourdan says:

    ” Then 1/2 the range of it no longer is important (below channel 7).”

    That is the problem with technology. You CAN fix up old stuff, but the new stuff is better – and cheaper. At $29, even if you could fix it up as good as a new one, it would cost you a lot more in time that a new one.

  32. Steve C says:

    Re coax (or maybe “coax”) cables, I had to chuckle a couple or three years ago when I bought a small stock of “indoor FM/TV antennas” from the local pound shop. (For the purposes of “recycling” the cheap telescopics in my own play, not for OTA FM or TV. At that price for 2, it’s cheaper than going into a shop and buying “proper” ones.) These had about 5 feet of cable to the coax plug, nice and flexible, “7-pin printed” woth “75 ohm coaxial cable low loss” down the outside insulation.

    On stripping the first one, I found the “low loss coaxial cable” had clearly been named by someone with an advanced sense of humour (or, at least, marketing). The inner conductor was a hair-thin sliver of copper wire which flopped around loosely inside the circular plastic sleeve around it, while the “screen” was another, single, hair-thin sliver of the same wire, loosely contained between the inner and outer layers of plastic.

    Surprisingly (/sarc), on estimating the dimensions of the conductors, the nominal impedance seemed not only to be undefinable due to the loose flapping about of the wires, but even as a two-wire transmission line at best guess it wasn’t even close to 75 ohms. A piece of cheapskatery to remember, and happily completely irrelevant to my salvaging activity – except for keeping one of the cables in a junk box as proof it really happened ;-)

  33. E.M.Smith says:

    Today I put a cheap $30 RCA antenna on the roof. It has one folded dipole that I think is for channels 7-13, two reflector panels of 3 elements each making a corner reflector, a strange Y fork element dipole for UHF and then 3 or 4 ‘directors’ in front of that. The whole thing held together wing nuts, so easy to take apart again someday.

    I just used the tube holding up the Satellite dish as the ‘mast’ so this is at about 13 feet off the ground. This also just let me move the dish coax over to it, so no wiring needed, just change where the cable goes.

    I now have 88 “new” channels about 8 of which tend to splatter into pixels some times so marginal strength. I’d guess about 1/2 of them are in Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese or some other odd language. One of the largest Vietnamese populations in the USA is in the SF bay area… So I’d guess maybe 30 to 40 are “of interest” (maybe less once you weed out the televangelists and QVX like selling-crap channels…) I do get a local FOX channel now, so there’s the possibility I might get some Fox news, maybe…

    But they are there now.

    IF I find anything really worth watching and especially if I find it is one one of the pixelated channels, I might make or buy a better antenna and put it on the old TV mast a further 15 feet up, and pointed more carefully at Sutro Tower in San Francisco where almost every station has their broadcasting antenna…

    So as of now I’ve regained the “local” channels that were on the dish (though it only had the main channel for each, not the sub-band secondary channels, so now I’ve got about 5 x as many local programs…)

    Though in reality I’ve already got way more channels than I can even find time to evaluate, mostly via the ROKU, but also now via broadcast antenna.

    Sidebar on Networks:

    Looking over the AT&T Router, it has a “Guest” network facility where you can set it to ONLY allow access to the internet and block access to the house network. So I turned it on and configured it. As of now, I have a separate WiFi network with a different IP range dedicated to “devices” that talk to the internet but need no internal to the house net connections. The various TVs / Roku’s / whatever else might show up in the future IdiOT devices will all go there. I now have separation of “device” traffic from “home computer” traffic and if someone finds a way to hack a Roku, LG TV, or “whatever”, they still will not be inside my house net.

    I also now will get distinct usage statistics for the house net and the Guest / TV / Device network. And, I can hand out the password for the Guest network to random visitors knowing all they can see is the Rokus and LG TV “Smarts”… and the internet.

    I kind of like that.

  34. ossqss says:

    I thought you dumped ATT EM?

    I do also like the guest network. My older RT-AC66U support 6 of them it appears (3 each 2.4 and 5 GHz) and is segregated by device type and usage via MAC filter. Smart TV’s/DVD players, smart devices (Nexia thermostat etc.) , and kids have no need for local network access most of the time. I can flip to the local network when I need access to the hard drive I attach to the router for movies, music with any of the guest devices. Most times it is just easier to plug it into a USB port on the device however instead of the router.

    88 channels on the antenna is pretty good! I bet you will get several more with 15 more feet of height.

  35. philjourdan says:

    Re: Vietnamese channels. – I was kind of surprised to see that the feed out of LA had one of those channels as well. I just figured there was not a big enough market (it was a dot 2 or 3 off of a major station). I guess I just do not know the size of the population in the LA area (my BIL gets it off of TW cable down in Imperial valley).

    As for Satellites and Antennas – the scare me. Lightning. I guess if those type of storms are rare, no harm no foul. But I have a nice oak tree in the back yard (and my neighbor had one) that have pretty scars on them from lightning strikes, so I tend to shy away from setting up lightning rods called antennas.

  36. E.M.Smith says:


    I dumped DirecTV owned by AT&T but that was done through one arm of the octopus, a different arm controls the network connection and I was not able to dump that part in that step.

    I’m still interested in changing internet providers (or at least turning down to a lower level of cost the present one), but that process is “ongoing”. So far Comcast is not looking any better on terms (just as costly and just as prone to legal BS and lock-ins) and most of the other providers have either no presence here, higher costs, or marginal service levels. The only really competitive option is a lower bandwidth Earthlink offering, but it is basically just AT&T repackaged at a lower bit rate. It looks like post merger (buy out?) with some other company the Earthlink I knew from some 30 years ago (good service, tech savvy, nice folks) has become more user indifferent… So until that service level / reputational evaluation is done I’m not making the jump. I also need to wait for the AT&T “Surprise!” papers to come in the mail and tell me what new implied contract they have forced on me via my dumping DirecTV…

    It may make more sense to just ride AT&T for another ? months and then bug out to Florida. IF they have not found some basis for a new “early termination fee” via my change of service level / package. OTOH, if there’s a $400 “early termination fee” that has suddenly shown up (despite being a customer for about 6? 8? years now…) I’d not want to eat that by surprise via a swap a day later to the other cancellation phone number…

    Besides, their network performance is reasonably good and stable. It isn’t their network I have issue with; it’s their business practices and fee structure (and I’ve just chopped off $120 / month of revenue to them anyway…) so I’m going to see what their business practices are around that change before making the next one. I’m also very interested in testing the mobile options a bit more since that’s likely to be what we use once a Florida jump is made. I’ll be taking my T-Mobile hot spot to Florida in a few months and testing the usability along the way. It may turn out that I need to find the best 5-G provider instead…

    I figure about 10 more stations from the added height. Channel 5 is marginal in the day so it will clean up ( I think 5.x is about 5 channels) and then figure it ought to add one somewhere (so another 5 in the .x batch). Almost everything comes from Sutro Tower and I’m already getting most of them fine (just 5 is dodgy) so I don’t expect a big gain. I could get more with an added south facing antenna ( Salinas ch. 8 for example) or a very very good antenna pointed at Sacramento – maybe. The old VHF would make the bounce but the move to all UHF has likely killed that… even for highly sensitive digital. But just raising this one isn’t going to find many more new ones; just improve reliability of the ones I get (i.e performance in rain…)

    Per LAN network:

    It’s a nice add to the structure. I already had all the really private stuff behind another router on the LAN, so only things that were connecting directly to the AT&T WiFi were ‘sharing’. But after the issue with total RF exposure I shut down the WiFi on that router (it is now wires only). That meant my laptop and the spousal laptop were connecting to the AT&T WiFi along with the TVs… so really this just let me re-establish the isolation I’d had before. (Perhaps a bit more since ‘in transit’ traffic from the interior LAN to the Internet is no longer shared with the TVs… )

    So now it’s 3 levels. Well, really 5 in that “The Internet” is a level… and I have a 2nd interior WiFi router I use from time to time for experimental things..

    AT&T Router - Interior WiFi - LAN Router - Private Net - Exp/Lab Router - stuff
          |--- Guest network WiFi & TVs

    More or less.


    There are essentially no lightning strikes here. Hardly any lighting. Our storms tend to be cyclones off the Pacific, not thermal driven thunderstorms. What lightning there is is almost all cloud to cloud (party a function of the ridge lift each side of Silicon Valley I think.) Add to that the MUCH taller power / communications poles and wires on 2 sides of me and, well, it just isn’t going to happen. What strikes do happen tend to hit much taller structures first (like the hundreds of foot tall metal broadcast towers and power line towers) draining the energy.

    I’ve had a taller antenna on the roof for my whole life with nothing. Even back when I was a kid and we were 70 miles to the nearest TV station – 50 foot mast on top of a 20 foot roof. And that was in the Central Valley that gets more lightning strikes. (we did have lightning arrestors on it – Dad was from Iowa…)

    The last “ground strike” I am aware of was when I was living in the Central Valley and was about 8 years old. It was such a surprising thing the town talked about it for days… I’m sure there have been more since, but not enough to be noticed. (It is different up in the hills where lighting strikes are the major cause of forest fires). It’s a local topology thing…

    My present downleads pass right next to a metal downspout and about 8 feet of grounded chicken wire inside stucco, then through a 1/2 inch pass through in that wired stucco; so any strike will likely kill the attached electronics, but most of the energy will jump to the local ground. Ersatz lightning arrestor – by design. I figure about a 2 kV breakdown voltage. I have an 8 foot ground rod driven into the soil about 1/2 way along that wall of the house, and I used to have ground wires running to the living room and antenna, but most of that is deprecated now. IIRC the lead to the Dish Mount is still in place. I’ll be taking down the ridge mounted antenna “shortly” as it’s just decoration at this point.

    Were I in Florida ( lightning capital of the nation…) I’d have a MUCH different set up. Lightning rods, ground rods, lightning arrestors on pole and down-leads, power isolation for anything with an antenna (on a UPS with grounded shell so it doesn’t feed back into the rest of the wiring), ground plane isolation for some gear (so a ground strike doesn’t kill everything), stuff unplugged when not in use, etc. etc. Different world there… Folks here? Don’t do much of anything for lightning… no need.

  37. E.M.Smith says:


    Per how many Vietnamese:

    As of the 2010 Census there were a total of 17,941,286 respondents who claimed to be Asian American and Asian. Out of these respondents in the United States, 30.9% live in California, with 5,556,592 Asian Americans being counted by the 2010 Census. This is a 1.5 million growth in population from the 2000 census, making Asian Americans 14.9 percent of the state’s population. Out of those almost 5.6 million Asian Americans in California there are 1,474,707 Filipinos, 1,349,111 Chinese, 647,589 Vietnamese, 590,445 Indians, 505,225 Koreans, 428,140 Japanese, 109,928 Taiwanese, 102,317 Cambodians, 91,224 Hmong, 69,303 Laotians, 67,707 Thais, 53,474 Pakistanis, 39,506 Borneons, Sumatrans, and Indonesians, 17,978 Burmese, 11,929 Sri Lankans, 10,494 Bangladeshis, 6,231 Nepalese, 5,595 Malaysians, 4,993 Mongolians, 1,513 Singaporeans, 1,377 Okinawans, and 750 Bhutanese.

    So second only to the Chinese (think SF China Town…). So That’s why we have a fair number of Chinese and Vietnamese language TV stations. Then the odd smattering of other ethnicities sometimes as specific hours of the broadcast day. NHK news, for example, with news from Japan is on during the Japanese portion of the day for one local UHF station. There’s some Korean hours too, I think. Ch. 26? Something like that… it’s been a lot of years since I checked it out, but at one time one near that number was the local oriental mix by time of day station. The move to digital with sub-channels and then internet TV will have shifted the market somewhat so who knows exactly what the deal is today.

    The one clear thing is that there are plenty of folks to support “ethnic” and “language” based channels.

  38. E.M.Smith says:

    You know, what with the Ethnic stations picking up nearly 100% of the target audience via the language lock-in, and some of those being over a Million…

    And CNN now being under a Million…

    It is very possible some of the minority language stations and networks could be as large or even larger an audience / share than CNN…

    Kinda puts CNN in perspective as an almost irrelevant size thing…

  39. philjourdan says:

    “The one clear thing is that there are plenty of folks to support “ethnic” and “language” based channels.”

    The good (and bad) thing about digital TV is that major stations can narrow cast on a sub band to large minorities. Why is that bad? part of the reason that early immigrants assimilated so quickly into American society was that they had to watch English TV. Now with Spanish language stations (and others), that slows the integration down significantly. Every silver lining has a cloud.

  40. p.g.sharrow says:

    If you want to be a second class citizen, ghettoize yourself…pg

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