Q. I have DIRECTV and I used to get channels for Fox, NBC, ABC and all the networks from New York and Los Angeles, but now I just get Fox. Why is that? Didn’t you write an article saying AT&T got new agreements with everyone but ABC? — Jim, town withheld.
Jim, I will try to explain, but it’s highly confusing so bear with me.
For more than two decades, DIRECTV subscribers have been eligible under the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELAR) to receive ‘distant’ network affiliate feeds for NBC, ABC, Fox, CBS and the CW if DIRECTV does not provide their local channels. (The ‘distant’ signals have come from network affiliates such as those in Los Angeles and New York.)
Normally, pay TV viewers are prohibited from receiving ‘distant network signals (DNS)’ because local broadcasters want them to watch their channels. The STELAR law provided an exception for people in remote areas where satcasters were unable to deliver the local network affiliates. (Dish also used to provide distant locals, but no longer has to because it offers the market’s locals in all areas.)
However, Congress last year did not renew the law, and it expired Monday. AT&T, which owns DIRECTV, estimates that tens of thousands of the satcaster’s subscribers are affected by the change, including RV owners, long-haul truckers, and residential customers in remote areas.
Jim Greer, an AT&T spokesman, told the TV Answer Man on Monday that his company has secured new agreements with all the networks except for ABC. Due to the change in the law, the company was forced to negotiate new deals with the networks to continue offering their programming to subscribers who previously received the out-of-market signals.
But that’s where it gets confusing. Greer says AT&T can not provide specifics regarding each network agreement, That means the company can’t, or won’t, say which subscribers would continue getting the out-of-market signals for the networks, except ABC.
All Greer would say is: “Our goal is to continue providing network content to as many homes as possible.”
Since Monday, DIRECTV subscribers have been posting messages on this site, and other Internet message boards, saying they are still getting the Fox feeds, or perhaps Fox and NBC. But only a few say they are still getting CBS, and some say they are not receiving any distant network channels after getting them for two decades or more.
“I lost all 4, got FOX and NBC (both feeds) back, then lost them again a bit ago. I tried to refresh and got an error message that said we know you are having problems with locals and are working on it. I’m located 120 miles north of Seattle, and get nothing but Vancouver BC with an antenna. My bill shows I’ve paid for all 4, no credits,” writes Fertree at DBSTalk.com.
“I live in northwest Pa. and have had the distant channels for 20 years. I lost them all and have not gotten any of them back as of yet. Am I not grandfathered in to get then back with everyone else after all this time?” Pat Uber writes in the TV Answer Man reader forum.
“Called and was told (by DIRECTV) I wouldn’t lose ‘local’ channels. I said I see I still have Fox east/west but not others,” writes Thom Koshinsky
“I have been paying for and getting the New York/LA channels since I first purchased the small satellite dish ($800) in 1995. This is before DirecTV was an entity. The content providers were two companies whose names I don’t remember. I live in rural northern California. I do also get the nearest local city channels from San Francisco. I watch a lot of local channels and the distant channels. It is crazy to limit what we can see if we are able to pay for it. Please AT&T and DirecTV keep these distant channels available,” pleads Martha Cleary.
“RVer here located with a service address in Texas…lost 394 and 395 (CW). Cumulatively I have CBS, NBC & FOX. I don’t have CW & ABC,” says ‘Bobinraymoreno at DBSTalk.
It’s a mystery why some subscribers are still receiving out-of-market networks while others are not. And perhaps an even bigger mystery as to why some are getting one or two, but not the others.
AT&T’s decision could be based on a number of factors such as their home’s distance from a local network affiliate, or each network’s stipulations under the new agreement with AT&T.
For example, CBS may have said RV owners could continue getting its out-of-market affiliate, but not residential customers. Or, some subscribers could get the signals if they are believed to be too far to receive their local network affiliate via an antenna.
It’s all just guesswork because AT&T isn’t elaborating on the cause, leaving subscribers scratching their heads and picking up the phone or computer to complain.
“So how do others get approved for DNS and why did I for so many years? Nothing has changed on my end,” writes FarNorth at DBSTalk.com.
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— Phillip Swann
Well boys dont forget a tit turd will do what they want your bill won’t change
I have complained over a year now, to get my local channels. Direct TV will refresh my satalite. It will hold for maybe less than a week, then I have to call again. I get frustrated and I feel I’m being charged for service I can’t receive. Please work on this problem!!!
I feel the same way. I am getting charged more money and I am getting fewer channel. I have tried for years to get answers about extra charges on my bill for changes I didn’t make and I get some guy in the Caribbean who promises to fix the problem and credit my next bill after a 45 minute conversation andand once again I get lied to. They suck!
So glad I switched to Comcast
Why is the cost SOOOOOOO HIGH these.when sports have been on hold for 3 mos, chs are getting messed up HOWEVER they don’t mind telling us but raise the cost!!! 😕😕😕
I want my east and west coast channels back. I pay extra for them even.
We all deserve to have those channels. We pay plenty to DirecTV.
Use a FIRE STICK WITH YOUR INTERNET CUT THE CABLE!!!!
Some of us have slow internet so we can’t stream.
I live about less than ten minutes from Ark, and I can’t get their channels like channels 40 and MeTV, that I once got. I called about it for Saturday nights it had the old scary movies I grew up on 50 years ago. Like i said I called told then I had for over a year, they told me I was lucky they don’t charge me for channels some how I supposly some how book legged! The channels no longer are available.
Sorry guys, if and I do mean IF I did bootleg channels, I probably would picked these as will as ” MORE ADULT THEMED
We as everyone else now have hundred of channels, yet all is pretty much showing the same thing. So $200 a month for my family of eight. Is bad.. no one except direct would come out this far for we live in the country. Nabers are 1 mile away one one side, and roughly 25 on the other.”
I have had DirecTV b4 it was directv… I PD 3.50 a month for years to have channel 7 back east
And also 3.50 to have NBC
I get a letter saying june 1st no more!!
I hate this why cant we I’m paying extra for each channel for many years since I am a native N.Y er….
I WANT THESE CHANNELS BACK
I can’t get any local channels but cbs2 and fox 5 both from New York as I don’t have a smart tv and could not get new equipment.
Ok….quit screwing us over yet again.
Have had these D. Networks for 20 yrs. Now they’re gone. You just can’t do that to this community of viewers.
We have no other source while traveling.
Bring back the old Primestar where we could choose which cities we could receive. Was perfect for travelers n truck drivers.
Prices go up and service goes down. Maybe time for switching to anything else including aluminum rabbit ears!
I want my E/W back. No other reason to stick with “unDirect TV”!
All, you have to do to get your local channels is buy a digiral antenna, if you have a newer tv, scan your stations n they come up. Most of the new flat screens, have this built in, as for older tvs, you just need a digital antenna and a digital converter box. Problem sloved. You get your locals at least, all FREE!
K Alexander, the problem is not solved if you live more than 50 miles from a station tower (even with a $100 outdoor antenna, difficulty pulling in the signal), if it were up to me, Directv would allow everyone access to E/W feeds for a flat fee every month, I feel bad for all of the grandfathered people who lost any of the E/W feeds, but the ones who are really trashed by this, are the ones living in those 12 markets in which Directv does not even offer their locals, everyone else can at least get their locals through Directv.
To Mr. Swann, can Directv at least offer guidance as to if their customer service reps have fully been briefed on the new agreements with CBS/FOX/NBC, which department should we call, give us at least one metric, if you are grandfathered, do you keep them if you are over 50 miles from the TV network tower, just one metric would help out tremendously but at the very least, can the Directv employees be fully appraised of the details, right now when you call in, they don’t know anything about this and can’t offer any help.
I wrote everything I know.
DirecTV customer service reps are being told little to nothing, depending on who you reach.
Same thing happens each time I call for an update: I get a different explanation.
My sentiments exactly.
Will someone who knows any info about who to contact and lobby for our networks in some form???
I live in one of the remote areas referred to.
The biggest issue is my elder mom who relies on her e/w coast networks.
Please, TVAnswerman, help … give us suggestions how to fight this besides calling D TV constantly as I’ve already been doing.
The poor folks who work the phones are told little to nothing about this issue.
What we REALLY need is the mainstream media to pick up this story, which would put pressure on ATT and local station owners to agree on a deal.
Thanks for your help ☀️😊
Oh I did not intend to imply otherwise, I know you are telling us everything you know, sorry for the misunderstanding, I meant that if you talk to them in the future, if you could ask them, they probably will give you the same answer, but it is cool that you have access to some of the higher ups, thanks.
Anyone know some good corporate phone numbers at corporate headquarters for ATT/DirecTV?
I think it’s the only way we will get a straight answer.
We need to flood them with more calls.
TV Answer Man:
Do you have any ideas on how we can get DirecTV/ATT to listen to us?
Anyone know some solid journalists who’d be interested in writing a story about this lunacy?
DirecTV says Congress caused this and It’s all their fault.
Meanwhile the whole mess is just coming down to money that ATT will have to spend to retain all networks.
The decision makers should be ashamed of themselves, leaving so many in the dark when we need all news broadcasts to stay knowledgeable about Covid19 and our upcoming presidential election.
And I happen to be in one of those 12 markets affected the glendive designated market area although the deal with kttv fox was worked out so I kept it and they also got a deal done with ktla the cw so kept it but nbc,CBS and ABC gone although I can stream shows via there app,CBS app,and NBC app although tried to watch the titan games last week on the NBC app wouldn’t load but went to directv app
One more request, if you do get a chance to speak with Directv/AT&T, if they can’t reveal any of the details on the new agreements with CBS/NBC/FOX, can they at least give us guidance as to what we can tell a Directv customer service rep, is there something the rep can input into the computer system to see if one or all of the DNS channels can be reinstated.
Let’s take one example, perhaps Directv shut off CBS before the new agreement was put in place, that subscriber still was able to keep FOX/NBC East/West feeds, is there a code or something the Directv rep can input into the computer to see if CBS can be reinstated for that particular subscriber?
That information would maintain Directv’s agreement privacy with the networks but allow the subscribers to feel confident that if indeed the new rules allowed them to keep watching, they know one way or the other without the worry that the Directv rep simply does not have the proper information.
When can we expect to hear back from you?
There are a lot of us who count on your answers and guidance.
Many thanks for all you do.
Sorry, but there’s no more information. AT&T won’t provide any more. The best you can do is write your congressperson.
I am an RV that travels all across the US and have a New York service. Recently we lost wabchd channel 7 on my receiver. We have never had any trouble years past. Still receiving fox,nbc,cbs.east coast. I can go to channel 396 and the east coast feed for wabc comes in fine. Go figure… Looks we’ll have to wait it out. No help from customer service either. They said they haven’t a clue what’s happening. By the way I’m on my third location for this summer and same result at all three.
Been with satellite service(Pegasus 1997) when small dish service was introduced anywhere, even before DTV. DTV bought Pegasus, AT&T bought DTV.
I have a waiver from the closest cities and filed that with the FCC, so I could get DNS in 1997, plus a RV certification for DNS. I was grandfather into my channels and told so!!!
Had all but ABC till June 10, now no ABC, CBC, NBC, FOW, PBS Total B.S. by AT&T
(I don’t get locals, never have, I use a 18” dish) What AT&T is doing is illegal.
Is there any chance ABC will go back and negoiate again new terms