EDITORIAL: About that rumor mill

I know this isn’t the only site that talks about satellite television in the US. It’s probably not the only one you read. In fact, I get emails on an almost daily basis about some rumor or other that’s being pushed on some other site. Some come from technicians who get third-hand information, others come from well-meaning folks like me who make predictions. Occasionally one comes from a dyed-in-the-wool hater.

See, there’s a self-styled expert who has been out there for over 15 years and he’s made something of a living bashing DIRECTV (and DISH to a lesser degree.) He never seems to miss the opportunity to kick both companies when they are down. He’s almost preternaturally good at it.

I won’t give you a name and I won’t point you to his site, because I’m not interested in getting sued. I’m also not interested in driving traffic to his site. So, either you know who I’m talking about, or you don’t. Let’s leave it at that.

The facts about these rumors

Here’s the real truth. DIRECTV, as well as most giant companies, has fantastic lawyers. They have the kind of lawyers who can ruin you with one stroke of the pen if you leak confidential information. Despite the fact that DIRECTV works with dozens of suppliers and thousands of employees, truly sensitive information very rarely gets out. Those lawyers are the reason why. If you hear a rumor, it’s either something that is going to happen very soon or it’s something that can’t be hidden.

For example, if there’s a new receiver coming, it needs FCC approval. That’s a public process. This approval comes fairly late in the process, though. So if you’re looking for secret information on stuff 5 years out, you won’t get it. If there’s a new channel coming, it will require testing. That means it will be visible to the folks who decode these things for fun. It can’t be hidden. But again, this happens pretty late in the process. If it’s visible on the satellite, it’s coming very soon.

Stuff that just isn’t true, as far as I know

Here’s just a short list to address the many rumors out there, for which there is no public confirmation. Maybe some of this stuff is true, but if it is, no one is going to tell you that. If you’ve seen any of these rumors, just ignore them unless you simply want to enjoy speculating.

  • DIRECTV is not buying DISH, DISH is not buying DIRECTV, they’re not merging, no matter what is said in the media. Maybe someday, but not today.
  • There is no new hardware for residential DIRECTV customers announced for this year.
  • DIRECTV is not abandoning the 101 satellite location.
  • Neither DIRECTV nor DISH get to keep the majority of the money they collect. In fact most of it goes right back out the door to content providers. When your bill goes up, it’s because the content costs more.
  • DIRECTV has made no public comment about the state of NFL Sunday Ticket for the coming years.
  • There are no plans to return picture-in-picture to DIRECTV boxes.
  • There are no plans to integrate over-the-air antenna signals into Genie 2 servers.

Now keep in mind, this is just a sampling of the weird and wacky stuff that’s out there on the internet. There are plenty of other debunked rumors out there. Just because I didn’t mention them doesn’t mean a particular rumor is true.

How does this stuff get started?

This stuff happens the same way that any rumor gets started. Sometimes it’s a person pretending to be an expert about something they don’t know. There are cases where something is said and it’s misinterpreted. Sometimes it’s just a lull in conversation so someone says something.

The important thing to know is that the people who really have this information aren’t talking. You often find out things years later that almost happened, and never did. It happens all the time, not just in the satellite TV world but in other stuff as well.

Here’s one thing you can believe in

If you want the real story about what’s going on with DIRECTV and DISH, read this blog or call the experts at Solid Signal. Our technicians are trained not to deal in rumors and half truths. We’re here to take care of you and to give you the information you really need, honestly. Call us at 888-233-7563 during East Coast business hours.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.