Get to know the DIRECTV Movies Extra Pack

Several AT&T customers have told me recently that their bills now have a line item for the “Movies Extra Pack,” something which they definitely did not order. One by one, they’ve come to realize that the line item for the HD Extra Pack has been removed, and they aren’t being charged anything more than they were before.

So, it would seem that the HD Extra Pack has been renamed, extremely quietly and with absolutely zero fanfare. The name change doesn’t come with a price change, but it does make some sense. As DIRECTV moves its standard definition service into the sunset next year, it makes zero sense to have a package of channels that are called “HD Extra.” After all every channel will be HD.

A long strange trip

The HD Extra Pack is one of those vestigial bits of DIRECTV history that doesn’t make a lot of sense today, but still exists. Back in the early days of DIRECTV HD, there were about 9 HD channels. That included locals. Among them were channels like HDNet and HDNet Movies. These channels were started by gadzillionaire Mark Cuban to show off HD technology. In 2007, DIRECTV started a massive push to add HD channels, giving more local markets HD and bringing online virtually every HD channel that existed at the time. It was a great time to be a DIRECTV customer.

At the time DIRECTV bills had a lot of separate fees on them and one of them was the HD Access fee. This fee was designed to let you see HD versions of the channels you already got in SD. But what about channels where there was no SD version? Recognizing a chance for extra revenue, the HD Extra Pack was born

A motley crew

The HD Extra Pack was originally made up of HD channels of which there was no SD counterpart. Mr. Cuban is said to have complained, saying his channels were being relegated to a tier no one would buy, so HDNet (later renamed Axs) was moved out of the HD Extra Pack. HDNet Movies remained there.

The HD Extra Pack remained one of those packages that only true completists signed up for, with no real “must have” channels. Even frequent free previews failed to bring a real surge of loyalty.

Look I’m not saying the channels in the HD Extra Pack are bad. In fact there is some good stuff there. It’s just that a lot of people independently decided that it wasn’t a critical purchase. Take a look for yourself at the channel selection:

  • Hallmark Movies & Mysteries (Ch. 565)
  • HD Net Movies (Ch. 566)
  • MGM HD (Ch. 567)
  • Sony Movie Channel HD (Ch. 568)
  • Universal Channel HD (Ch. 569)
  • Smithsonian Channel HD (Ch. 570)
  • Crime & Investigation Network HD (Ch. 571)
  • Palladia (Ch. 572)
  • Shorts HD (Ch. 573)

In fact you’ll find a great selection of classic movies there as well as events and films you won’t find anywhere else. It’s worth a look for movie lovers especially

And that’s probably why they named it…

As I said at the beginning, the HD Extra Pack changed names. It’s now the Movies Extra Pack. Nothing else about it has changed, it’s just a way to keep things relevant for new customers.