Choosing a satellite TV provider

The satellite television industry has made great strides over the cable television industry in recent years. With the price of cable television skyrocketing each year, many cable subscribers are making the switch to satellite television. Okay, so you’ve decided to switch to satellite TV; but which satellite TV provider do you choose? A satellite television provider is a company that owns and operates satellites in geostationary orbit around the earth. These satellites transmit the signal from the satellite to your satellite dish and from there the signal is transferred to your receiver (black box). The two largest satellite television providers in the United States are DirecTV and DISH Network. The vast majority of satellite TV subscribers in the United States use one or the other, so this article will focus on comparing the two satellite giants in an attempt to help you decide which one is better for you.

With the almost exponential growth of the satellite TV industry, both DISH Network and DirecTV are now in a position where they can afford to offer satellite equipment (satellite dish and receivers) for free to their subscribers. So for starters, both DISH Network and DirecTV offer free satellite equipment. Basically the only requirements are that you are a first time subscriber and have a credit card for monthly billing purposes. So if the equipment is free, how do the two providers make money? Well, you have to pay for monthly programming, of course. The price of your monthly programming bill depends on the programming package you choose.

DISH Network’s America Top 60 programming package starts at $24.99 per month and local channels are available. DISH Network is not currently making new subscribers commit to a one-year contract. You can cancel your subscription at any time without paying any financial penalty. DirecTV’s entry level programming package is called the Total Choice package and it comes with local channels and costs $39.99 per month. With the Total Choice package you get over 130 channels. DirecTV requires you to sign a one-year subscription contract. If you cancel your service before the end of the year, you must pay a penalty to DirecTV.

As both satellite giants use the latest technology in their satellites and receiving equipment, what sets them apart from the two is in the programming options they provide to their subscribers. I would rate DirecTV a bit ahead of DISH Network on their sports packages as they offer seasonal sports options like the NFL Sunday Ticket which DirecTV has exclusive rights to. Both providers offer tons of premium movie packages to choose from, including HBO, Showtime, Starz, and Cinemax. All of these come with multiple channels per movie package. Since DISH Network has more satellites in orbit than DirecTV, they have the ability to offer up to 500 viewing channels, whereas with DirecTV, you can “only” get 250 channels. Also, DISH Network offers many more foreign programming packages than DirecTV.

Both DISH Network and DirecTV offer 100% digital picture and CD-quality sound on all of their programming. Again, they are tied for this important quality. This technology allows for a perfect, sharp picture that cable TV simply can’t provide.

DISH Network, a subsidiary of EchoStar Communications, was founded in 1996 by Charles Ergan. While not as old as DirecTV, DISH Network was the fastest satellite provider to reach the 100,000 subscriber level in just four short months. DISH Network currently has more than nine million satellite television subscribers in all 50 United States and the District of Columbia. DISH Network has many ‘firsts’ under its belt, including being the first company to offer a satellite TV receiver that had a built-in DVR (Digital Video Recorder).

DirecTV was started in 1994 and is the largest satellite television provider in the United States. When it first launched in 1994, Direct TV was the first satellite television company to offer all digital-quality multi-channel television programming using Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) technology. DBS technology is now the standard for the satellite TV industry and we have the ingenuity of DirecTV engineers to thank. Although DirecTV does not have as large a bandwidth allocation as the DISH network, to counter this, DirecTV has arranged to have exclusive agreements with programming companies to cater to the programming whims of its subscribers.

In the most important area of ​​customer service, both DirecTV and DISH Network offer excellent customer service and support. They both offer online FAQ sections and help sections on their websites. You can also call both numbers toll-free for help with any problems you may have. Pay-Per-View movies can be ordered using your remote control or by calling the toll-free 800 number for any of the providers.

Both DirecTV and DISH Network offer free professional installation as part of their free satellite TV promotions. One difference is that DirecTV will install your equipment for free in up to five rooms, while DISH Network currently only installs for free in up to four rooms in your home.


  • Satellite equipment – DirecTV – FREE; DISH Network – FREE
  • Satellite Installation – DirecTV – FREE (up to 5 tv’s) DISH Network – FREE (up to 4 tv’s)
  • Picture Quality – DirecTV – Outstanding DISH Network – Outstanding
  • Prices – DirecTV Total Choice Package $39.99 per month DISH Network America’s Top 60 Package $24.99 per month
  • Number of Programming – DirecTV offers programming packages of up to 250 channels DISH Network has the capacity to offer up to 500 channels
  • Programming Quality: DirecTV has excellent programming package options with a heavy emphasis on seasonal sports packages. DISH Network also has great options for programming packages with a little less emphasis on sports.
  • Customer Service – DirecTV – Outstanding with online support and free 800. DISH Network – Outstanding with online support and 800 toll free.


Both DISH Network and DirecTV offer a great television viewing experience. The image reception for both is far superior to that of cable television. DISH Network’s basic package is cheaper than DirecTV’s; but then the Total Choice package comes with many more channels. DirecTV is stronger in the area of ​​sports coverage, while DISH Network puts a little more emphasis on its premium movie packages and foreign programming options. And both have excellent customer support, having both won the prestigious JD Power award in recent years for providing the best overall service among cable and satellite subscribers.

Our recommendation is that both DirecTV and DISH Network offer a television viewing experience superior to cable television. Both are much cheaper than cable, offer superior picture quality, and offer free equipment and installation. Both also offer superior customer service compared to local cable providers. If you’re a big sports fan and just need that premium sports package, then DirecTV is for you; but if you’re not a big sports fan and cost is an issue, then you might want to go with DISH Network and their entry-level US Top 60 at just $24.99 a month. Also, remember that DirecTV will require a one-year commitment, while with DISH Network there is no contract to sign, which means you can cancel your service at any time and not have to pay a penalty.

Whichever satellite provider you choose, you can’t go wrong. As a DISH Network subscriber and seller with several years of experience in the satellite TV industry (sold both DirecTV and DISH Network), I recommend you stop wiring, stop feeding the pig, and switch to satellite TV service today. . The vastly superior picture quality provided by DBS satellite technology makes it worth the trade. It’s like being in heaven watching TV with no more wavy lines on the TV screen!

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