When is “moving” not moving?

Spend a little time on some of the other satellite TV sites and you’ll inevitably hear someone talk about “moving.” They always put it in quotes like that, “moving.” And you wonder why they do that, but maybe you don’t want to ask. Well, I’ll tell you. The folks that talk about “moving” aren’t moving at all. What they’re doing is violating the agreements they signed with their satellite TV providers.

“Moving” refers to the process of telling your satellite company that you’ve moved a little closer to a city so you can get local channels from that city. It doesn’t work unless the city’s pretty close but for example if you’re in Hartford CT and you tell DIRECTV or DISH that you’ve “moved” to lower Manhattan, you’ll get all the NYC stations from your suburban hideaway. You’ll also get the sports channels that the New Yorkers get. Sounds like a sweet deal, right? You can even tell them to keep sending the bills to Hartford and most of the time they’ll even do that, or you can use auto bill pay so no one cares where the bills go.

There are precisely two problems with this. First of all you agreed to give DIRECTV or DISH your complete accurate address. You did that so they could have accurate information on paying royalties and so that they could stay out of trouble with the federal government, who say that you can’t get out-of-market locals if you have in-market ones. They’re really sticklers about that. So if they find out you short-circuited the process, they’ll cut you off before the FCC finds out and levies a fine. That’s the last thing anyone wants.

The second problem is, they’re going to find out. Period. In the old days before we hooked everything up to the internet, it was possible to hide a “move” but if your satellite service is connected to the internet for any reason, they’re going to find out. They are. It takes no more than some publicly available information for anyone to figure out precisely where you are within a few feet… if you don’t believe me go to http://www.whatismyipaddress.com and you’ll see your location displayed. Maybe you’re going to choose to give up on all the cool stuff you can get by connecting your DVR to the internet, but you’re supposed to do it anyway, it’s part of what you agreed. Even if you put that aside, it’s going to get harder and harder to get away without being internet connected.

Folks, just don’t do it. I know it stinks being a Cubs fan and living in Brewers territory. I get that. I also get that it’s frustrating knowing that you’re just the flip of a switch away from getting the programming you want. So here’s what you do… get an antenna. If you’re that close, you’re going to get what you want over the air anyway. No one can stop you from doing that and it’s perfectly legal. You can even integrate the channels into your DVR and record and pause them. What’s so wrong with doing it that way?

At least if you have an antenna, you don’t need air quotes. No one says “antenna” when they’re talking about out-of-market locals. And that’s a good thing.