Q. I’ve been watching the Smithsonian Channel on DIRECTV, but it’s not there anymore. How do I get the channel back?! It has some great documentaries! — Hank, Toledo, Ohio.

Hank, DIRECTV in March offered a free preview of about 50 channels to help Coronavirus shut-ins pass the time. However, the preview has ended, or will soon end, for many of them, and the Smithsonian Channel’s free pass expired on Saturday.

The channel is devoted to historical and nature documentaries, including such titles as Aerial America, America In Color and Air Disasters.

To continue watching the Smithsonian Channel, you will have to subscribe to DIRECTV’s Movies Extra Pack, which is $4.99 a month. The nine-channel package also includes Hallmark Drama HD (Ch. 564); Hallmark Movies & Mysteries (Ch. 565); HDNet Movies (Ch. 566); MGM HD (Ch. 567); Sony Movie Channel HD (Ch. 568); Crime + Investigation Network HD (Ch. 571); MTV Live (Ch. 572); and ShortsTV HD (Ch. 573).

DIRECTV over the weekend removed several other channels from the free preview including Aspire, Awe, AXS TV, BBC World News, Cars.TV, Comedy.TV, FX Movie Channel, Fuse, Hallmark, GSN, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, MGM HD, and TV One, among others.

On July 1, the satcaster will remove more channels from the free preview, including Crime & Investigation, FYI, Lifetime Real Women, LMN, and Military History.

Note: The AT&T-owned U-verse also has offered the free preview. To see a list of the preview channels, and when they are scheduled to expire on DIRECTV and U-verse, click here. 

Happy viewing, and stay safe!

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— Phillip Swann