I am a longtime DirecTiVo user - I have two standard definition Hughes HDVR2's that I own and an old oval triple feed dish on the roof.
One of the HDVR2's is ailing (one bad tuner and a bad fan) and I'm tired of repairing it. The other HDVR2 is 100%, and is connected to an old SDTV in a back bedroom.
My programming package is the (older, no longer available) Choice Extra Classic Package with Local Channels. Over the last few years, this has increased in price from $39.99/month to a remarkable $82.99/month, including the DVR fee, etc.
I'm retiring soon and I want to upgrade my equipment and programming package to something I can pay for on a reduced income without pain. I understand I will need at least one HD receiver and a dish antenna upgrade. I will pay for those before retiring, the main concern is minimizing the monthly fee.
I don't actually need local channels - I have a rooftop antenna and get 50+ over-the-air channels and subchannels for free in the SF Bay Area. (In case you are wondering, the subchannels that DirecTV doesn't give you often contain more compelling material than the main HD channel.) The antenna feeds a TiVo HD dual tuner and broadband-connected DVR that I also own, so I already have full dual-tuner DVR capability on local channels/subchannels, independant of DirecTV.
I am fond of many of the free satellite channels (ESPN, FX, SyFy, History, FoxNews, Spike, USA, TNT, AMC, TCM, FMC, BBCA, A&E,etc.etc.) that I presently get in SD only. I don't subscribe to any premium channels, I am satisfied to order disks or stream content from NetFlix. I'd like to get these satellite channels in HD, but my main requirement is a minimum monthly fee after I am retired.
What's my best strategy to minimize the monthly charge? I don't really care whether I buy or rent the gear, but the low monthly fee is important.