TV Answer Man
TV Service: Should I Sign a 2-Year Contract?
Washington, D.C. (February 6,
Editor's Note: TV's Answer Man, aka Swanni, takes your
questions regarding how to best use the latest products and
services in TV technology. If you have a question about TV
technology, ask TV's Answer Man by sending an e-mail to
Q. I've been
thinking about signing up with Comcast for its HD Preferred
package, which offers the Triple Play, more than 160 HD channels
and other stuff. It's only $109 for the first 12 months, but I
have to sign a two-year agreement. Should I do it? -- Don,
Don of Dunkirk, the answer is no!!!
That may sound like a great deal -- and it is, actually. But
here's the problem. If you sign a two-year agreement, you're
stuck. If you want to switch TV providers during that time,
you'll have to pay an early termination fee. And sometimes that
can be hundreds of dollars.
And this is not just Comcast. It's every TV provider who offers
'special' two-year agreement deals.
Now you may say, hey, I plan to stay with Comcast for two years
or more anyway.
Well, that's cool, but what if Comcast has a fee fight with your
favorite channel -- say, MASN, the regional sports channel that
airs the Washington Nationals -- and is forced to take the
channel off the air? Indefinitely.
Hopefully, that won't occur, but if it does -- and you want to switch to DIRECTV so you can watch the Nats
-- you'll have to pay that early termination fee.
Also, if you're not in a two-year agreement, you'll have more
power to negotiate with your TV provider for deals while you're
a customer. If your TV provider knows you can switch anytime you
want without a financial penalty, it will be much more receptive
to offering you something to stay on board, such as three free
months of a premium channel -- or who knows what. If you call
them and say you're thinking of switching, it will get creative,
trust me. (Just don't do this too often; your TV provider will
catch on and be happy to see you leave.)
So avoid the contracts, Don, and keep watching the Nats no
matter what happens. :)
Top 10 Selling HDTVs
Today's 10 Best-Selling Blu-ray