We set our thermostat on manual as low as it will go (54*), turn the water heater off, and shut the water off to the house. We have an automatic dialer that will call out if the temperature drops below 45* or if the electrical power is interrupted. We have it set to call my cell phone first, but it will automatically roll over to a friend's phone if I don't answer. He's the one who looks in on our house a few times a week while we're gone. It's worked well, so far.
We empty the freezer in the fridge and leave just a few things in the fridge itself. The ice maker is shut off, as is the water to the whole house. We're gone 4-6 months but we're fortunate to have someone checking the house 2-3 times a week.
We had DirecTV for over 10 years and I was satisfied with the programming; a few years ago we started suspending the account for the months we went south. Last year we had an issue when they continued to charge my account for another month's service after I called in to have it suspended. They refused to refund the charge and I ultimately cancelled the account and went to DishTV last April. I plan on getting an automatic antenna for use when we go to Texas this winter. I'm told, by local representatives, that as long as my billing address remains the same, I'll continue to get my present local channels. We'll see. In the meantime, I'm pretty pleased with Dish. Now if DirecTV would just stop calling and sending me emails to re-subscribe!!