Does a DIRECTV receiver need to be connected to the internet?

They REALLY want you to connect your DIRECTV receiver or DVR to the internet. Like REALLY. It’s a standard part of the installation now. But what if you don’t want to, or you can’t? What happens?

You don’t need an internet connection for DIRECTV service. You lose out on a lot of stuff, but you don’t need it. You can’t order pay-per-view movies through the receiver. Some searches may be incomplete or slower. You can’t use interactive services like scoreguide and weather. Obviously Pandora is right out of the question.

But if you can live with that, then you don’t need an internet connection. If it’s a wire, just disconnect it, or if you’re connected over Wi-Fi, go to the Menu, to Settings & Help, Settings, Internet Setup, and Reset Network Connection. Then just don’t set up a new one.

You’ll see a nasty little “Not Connected” item when you go into the menus, but don’t let it scare you. You can still watch stuff, record (if you have a DVR) and things will mostly work fine.

Why are they so insistent that you connect over the internet?
Honestly, it’s mostly so they can get marketing data from you. You can go to DIRECTV.com and change your privacy settings, but if you don’t do that, they’re making note of every single click of the remote, everything you watch, and everything you do. They take this information and “anonymize” it, meaning they take out anything that could identify you personally but keep details like your age group and gender, and use all that data to try to figure out what you’re likely to buy. They then serve you commercials for things you’d like, and they charge advertisers more because they are providing a “warmer,” more receptive audience.

See, without an internet connection they can’t do any of that stuff. All the other online stuff, all those extras, that’s just icing on the cake. That’s the way they get you motivated to connect, so they can get that valuable data. Tricky, right?

But they can’t stop you from disconnecting the internet if you don’t want the extras that internet connection provides. You can still use your satellite TV the same way you always have.