How to Avoid DirecTV moving fees

DirecTV AU9-S 5-LNB "Slimline" satel...

DirecTV AU9-S 5-LNB “Slimline” satellite dish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Friday, I talked about the troubles I had with DirecTV when I asked about moving fees. That experience led me to do some research into avoiding having DirecTV installers come to your house when you move. It turns out that it isn’t that difficult.

If you have DirecTV and move to a new home, they will charge you $99-$199 to remove your satellite dish from your old home and install it at your new one. With a little DIY, you can do it yourself. All you actually need is a ladder, Phillips screwdriver, a 7/16 socket, a level, and possibly a compass and protractor.

Note: you will still have to utilize their services if you are moving to a different media market, unless you are okay with getting your area’s local channels instead of your new areas. If you change timezones, you would still receive programming from the old timezone’s times as well. I know someone who lives in California but is still receiving New York channels because his converter box still thinks it is in NJ. I don’t know if that is actually legal or not, so caveat emptor.

If your new home already has a satellite dish

Before you get started, check out your new home. If it has a dish installed already, you may not have to worry about moving the antenna from your old home. It depends on the dish type.

DISH Network Dish

If there the new place has a DISH antenna, you may still be able to use it. If it is the 18″ round dish with a single LNB (low-noise blocker, that knob at the end of the pole that points at the dish), you can use it to receive SD channels from DirecTV. All it requires is pointing the antenna at the DirecTV satellite at 101° longitude. (More on this below)

DirecTV Dish

New place already have a DirecTV dish? Awesome! Maybe. If you have the older, 18″ round dish, you will only be able to receive SD channels. You will need the new slim-line dishes to receive HD channels. If the dish was installed after 2005, it is a slimline dish. You can also identify a slimline dish by it having the word “slimline” on it or having two LNB sections. Both antennas will be an oval shape on closer inspection. Images of the slimline dishes can be seen on this support page.

If your new home does not have a satellite dish, or an incompatible dish

At the old location

First, you will have to remove your dish from your roof or wherever it is mounted. Always employ proper safety techniques when working off the ground. Be very careful when removing it and installing it as it weighs about 35lbs and is 3 feet wide. If you damage it, it may not work correctly. Be sure to save all of the hardware to use later. You will also need to collect the coax cable (the wire that you plug into the tv/receiver) if you are not simply replacing an incompatible dish at the new location.

Before you remove it, take note of its positioning. It will be pointed in three dimensions. The elevation measures the vertical tilt. Azimuth is the compass direction in which the dish points. And “tilt” is the measure of its horizontal tilt. The proper elevation and azimuth can be determined later using the Dish Pointer tool or following on-screen prompts from the receiver. Tilt can only be found in the satellite settings information on the receiver. If you are careful of your removal, moving, and installation, these angles won’t be upset. But it is better to have the information just in case.

At the new location

  1. First identify a spot to mount the dish. It needs a clear view of the southern sky in the general direction of Texas (99-119 degrees longitude to be exact). It also needs to be able to support at least 200 pounds. Sure the dish and assembly only weighs 35lbs, but the thing is basically a small sail and you need to account for the force of the wind blowing against it.
  2. Mount the dish facing the general direction of the satellites. Use the mounting hardware you removed from your old house. Make sure the mast is plumb (straight up and down). There will be two 7/16 adjustment bolts. Loosen the bolts and use your level to adjust. Then tighten the bolts back up when done.
  3. Loosen the pivot bolt and azimuth bolt on the dish and aim it according to the numbers found on the dish pointer website.
  4. Connect run the coax cable from the dish to where it feeds into the house. Connect your receiver to the coax in whatever room you are setting it up.
  5. Press the menu button on your remote. Go to Settings & Help -> Settings -> Satellite -> View Signal Strength. If you are properly aligned, the strength should be at least 90 for all transponders on all satellites. If your numbers are below 70, wiggle the satellite back and forth by about 15 degrees until you find the optimal position. Tighten all of your bolts.

Be sure to update your billing address to the new address so you can continue to receive your bills.

I’m tired of the endless dealings with companies like Direct TV and ADT. The monthly costs for ADT aren’t much better, and moving can be a hassle with them as well, but I’ll save that for another story and another time.

Have you ever moved with satellite TV service? What was it like?

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36 thoughts on “How to Avoid DirecTV moving fees

  1. One of the advantages of living in a smaller country is that we have a lot of free-to-air digital broadcasting, some channels in HD. The HD channels will increase shortly as all the analogue channels have been switched off (some will go to 4G phone services).

    This is more than enough and with video streaming via the internet, I am wondering why satellite is still necessary. Yes it means that the authorities can’t see what you are watching (as they could in theory via the internet) but so what?

    We actually have a satellite dish on our house but it is quite high up and I think either the LNB has failed or the satellite has moved position because we don’t get anything anyway.:-(
    John@MoneyPrinciple recently posted..Does it have to be so complex? Three mental shifts to simplify your financial lifeMy Profile

    • I think we are getting closer to the point where the average person would consider switching from cable/satellite. But for me, there are still cable channels that I just can’t get online without a cable subscription.

      • Just tell the movers agent you’re active duty military.. Vuiala*!! Free move

  2. It seems when we moved 9 years ago, they had some sort of a free move package if you signed a contract, which we did. That is really annoying that it costs so much to move. We had DirecTV for years until Dish came up with a much better package, so we switched. I really could just shuck the whole think. Most of my free time goes into blogging these days, but my husband might have a stroke if we didn’t have ESPN and History Channel.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..Improve Your Attitude: Turn Negatives Into PositivesMy Profile

    • Haha. I could probably live without cable/satellite service myself these days (although I’d miss the NCIS marathons on USA!) but 7 out of my wife’s 10 favorite shows are on cable channels.

  3. Ha that’s funny about the dish in CA that still thinks it’s in NJ. I’ve never used Direct TV before so I haven’t had to deal with dishes. I like the idea of removing it yourself and saving $100-200 bucks. I still need to get one of those digital converter boxes for one of my TVs that stopped receiving cable. But I’m not in too big of a hurry because I’m actually getting more things done by not being able to watch channels on that TV!

    • Back at our old apartment when we still had cable, we got that free converter box for our tv in the downstairs living room and we got about 50 channels more than advertised! I even called Comcast to get a channel listing and the woman told me that I wasn’t getting those channels. I had one of them on as I spoke to her!

  4. Excellent! Any way to avoid dumb fees is something to try! I always warn people though when doing any drilling/mounting on their roof to be very careful not to destroy or upset the shingles and/or roofing material. You can give yourself a tiny leak and not know it for 5 years and be royally screwed at the damage done by then. Take care in your work, dudes!

    • Yeah, it almost makes me wish I had satellite before I moved out here so I could still watch the Eagles play during regular season. Of course, knowing my luck, I’d have gotten stuck in the NY market instead of the Philly market and have to watch the Jersey Giants instead!

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  6. I called DirectTV and they said as of Oct 2012, they are no longer setting up a move for free. I’m sure they would if it meant locking a 2 yr contract or maybe if you’ve been a long customer and haven’t moved in at least 2 years. I am moving from IL to VA. I am already in a contract and had moved 7 months ago. They have a moving dept, the guy took my new address and was quickly reading a canned script when I heard “and we pay the majority of the set up costs in your new place” so I cut him off and got the news (the way this was delivered I can see many people missing it and getting shocked by the bill). They value the home set up at $500. The set up goes for places without AND WITH an existing/relevant dish. Obviously the person’s time, materials and transportation doesn’t equal $500 but the explanation is “policy” from the Floor Manager in the Moving Dept. Customer’s fee is $199. Complaining got me only $49.99 off. I’m renting my new place and even if my landlord said I couldn’t get DTV, they would charge me my cancellation fee ($20/mo remaining on a 2 yr contract) because DTV is available there. My next stops: a Customer Care Specialist and social media.

    • Good luck. DirecTV does seem to be immune from social media pressure. I agree that that $500 value is total garbage. Maybe the initial install where you are getting a new dish and a new box, but certainly not for an hour’s worth of labor and some driving. When I spoke to them, they claimed that reprogramming your account to receive the new local channels was a a major expense!

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  11. We moved inside of our first year of service. When I called DirecTV to move our service I was told it would be $186.00. My husband installs DirecTV dishes for clients sometime for the DirecTV installers because of an OSHA regulation about installers not being on roofs. We moved to a new house with a dish already installed. My husband ran all the lines and called to let them know we had a new address. We were informed that we had to have an installer come out and we would be charged $186. After speaking to a supervisor we were told we would only be charged $130. We like DirecTV but this is absurd. $130 for an installer to come out so we can sign a piece of paper saying the install is complete.

    • Thanks for this article. I just bought an new home 30 mins away from my current home, I been with DTV for about 6mos and they want to charge me $230 to move my equipment. I actually asked them how much to cancel my contract and they said $250. I like DTV and this is my first complaint about them, and it’s a big one. One option I was considering was moving the equipment myself so I loved this article.
      My question was do I need to tell DTV that I moved? Thanks to Christine it sounds like I shouldn’t. Can anybody thinko of any other cons for not telling DTV that I moved besided the fact I won’t be able to do any house calls? I’m debating on moving the equipment myself or canceling. Thanks.

  12. Does anyone know if DTV’s contract states anything about moving their equipment ourselves and being charged for it?

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  15. When I move if they charge me I’m going to be po’ed. There was a for sale sign in the yard when they installed and he knew I was planning on moving. I’ll be an ex and very vocal unsatisfied customer. So much for full disclosure and honesty. I would have remained with twc

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  17. No, you shouldn’t be charged if you haven’t started service or moved within the last 2 years.

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