DIRECTV or DISH? Quick Guide To Providers, Equipment, Promotions, & More

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Person pushing remote in front of TV (caption: everything you need to know about satellite TV)Satellite TV is still a major player, providing live TV access in geographic areas that aren’t reachable yet by cable (or internet) connections. Satellite TV companies have also upped their game and are offering more channels, packages, programming, and perks to compete with the changing media landscape. Debating between DIRECTV vs Dish? We’ve got your back. In our satellite TV guide, we cover everything from providers to equipment and feature the most current promotions for you to take advantage of.

Article Overview

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DIRECTV Authorized Dealer DIRECTV
(Authorized Dealer)
DIRECTV (Authorized Dealer) – 855-692-6985
Dish logo DISH
(Authorized Dealer)
DISH (Authorized Dealer) – 855-357-2283

Satellite vs Cable: Which Is Better?

Satellite vs Cable iconDebating between satellite vs analog? There are a number of reasons satellite is better than traditional cable, including:

  • Enhanced Picture Quality and Sound: Because cable connections go through multiple network reconfigurations, they degrade the quality of sound and picture. With satellite, the programming bypasses that complicated network web, so the quality of your signal is direct and, therefore, unblemished. This direct system allows for ultra-high-definition TV (UHDTV).
  • Better Channel Selection – Both DIRECTV and DISH have the capability to offer more programming than cable, i.e., more channel choices including productions from other countries and programming in other languages. While DIRECTV offers more than 325 channels, DISH offers more than 290, and both provide multiple language options, though DIRECTV has fewer than DISH currently. In addition, you get HD quality local channels.
  • Cater Your Viewing – You can select packages specific to your viewing preferences, i.e., sports, kids, etc.

DIRECTV vs DISH: How Do They Compare?

Read our in-depth DIRECTV Review | Read our in-depth DISH Review

We have a bit more first-hand experience with DIRECTV, so we have an article on the history of the company and how they merged with TiVo, and we also have a page dedicated to special offers.

A growing number of homes are changing the channel to one of the two biggest players in the satellite TV market: DIRECTV and DISH Network. Learn the advantages of satellite over traditional cable and analog and compare features, pricing, and more.

Weighing the value of DIRECTV vs DISH is difficult because both products and the services they offer are very comparable.

To determine which is the best fit for you, it is important first to know your viewing habits and personal preferences. Then, when you look at the two lists side by side, it will be easier to recognize which provider better meets your needs and desires.

Below is a comparison of some of the basic features of DISH and DIRECTV.

 DIRECTVDISH
Professional InstallationFreeFree
Number of Channels330+290+
Custom Design Your PackageNoNo
HD RecordingGenieHopper®
Contract Lengths24 Months24 Months
Price Lock12-24 Months24 months

HD Recording: DIRECTTV Genie vs DISH Hopper®

HD recording gives you the power to pause, rewind, and record live TV. Below is a comparison of DIRECTV Genie and DISH Hopper.

 DIRECTV Genie HD DVRDISH Hopper 3®
Number of Shows Recorded at Once516
Recommends New ShowsCheckmark
Transfer Recordings to MobileCheckmarkCheckmark
Watch Two Shows On One ScreenCheckmark
(Up to 8 sports channels)
Watch Four Shows On One ScreenCheckmark
Voice RemoteCheckmark
Remote FinderCheckmark
Amazon Alexa CompatibleCheckmarkCheckmark

Learn more about the DIRECTV Genie in this video.

Number & Variety Of Channels Comparison

The number of channels offered and the particular programming of those channels differ between DIRECTV and DISH. As mentioned above, DISH offers more than 290 channels while DIRECTV offers 330+.

A closer look at those 330+ channels will reveal that more is not necessarily better. What your household likes to watch may not be the same as what your neighbor’s family watches. So, take a look and see which satellite provider offers the channels you are interested in.

  DIRECTVDISH
Sports Channels: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, NBA TV, NBC Sports Network, FOX Sports 2, NFL Network, MLB Network, NHL Network, Tennis Channel and Golf Channel CheckmarkCheckmark
Sports Channels: Big Ten Network, MLB Network Strike Zone, NFL RedZone, Pac-12 Networks and Universal Sports Checkmark
Premium Channels: Showtime® and Starz® CheckmarkCheckmark
Premium Channels: HBO® and Cinemax® Checkmark
Premium Channels: Bloomberg and RFDTVCheckmarkCheckmark
Miscellaneous Channels: Discovery Family Channel, Discovery Life Channel and IONCheckmark
Miscellaneous Channels: A&E, AMC, BET, Bravo, Comedy Central, Discovery, E!, Food Network, HGTV, History, MTV, MTV2, Spike, TBS, TLC, TNT, USA and VH1CheckmarkCheckmark
Kid Channels: Nickelodeon, ABC Family, Disney, Disney JR, Disney XD, Nick JR, Nicktoons Network and Cartoon NetworkCheckmarkCheckmark
X-Rated Channels: Playboy TV, Vivid TV, Hustler TV, BraZZers TV, Reality KingsCheckmarkCheckmark
X-Rated Channels: Penthouse TV and UBangCheckmark
X-Rated Channels: Cheap Thrills, Hustler HD, TEN, Reality Kings, Girlfriends Films and XTSYCheckmark

DIRECTV & DISH Pricing & Package Comparison

We’ve taken the basic packages from DIRECTV and DISH as well as the premium packages and compared them side-by-side so you can see an in-depth review of them. Read further to see who we think offers the best packages.

 DIRECTVDISHDIRECTVDISH
Package StyleBasic PackageBasic PackagePremier PackagePremium Package
Package NameEntertainment All-IncludedAmerica's Top 120 Ultimate All-IncludedAmerica's Top 250
Price$54.99/month for first 12 months (then increase in year 2)$59.99/month $74.99/month for 12 months (then increase in year 2)$94.99/month
Number of Channels160+190250+290+
Contract Length24 Months24 Months24 Months24 Months
Popular Channels IncludedA&E, ABC Family, Animal Planet, BBC, CNBC, CNN, C-Span, Disney, Fox News, Food Network, FX, Hallmark, HGTV, Fox, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, Nickelodeon, TBS, TLC, USAAMC, ESPN, USA, CMT, Discovery, Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, E!, Food Network, FX, HGTV, CNN, Fox NewsIn addition to Select Package: Cartoon Network, Cinemax, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, Fox Sports 1 & 2, HBO, MLB, NBA TV, NFL Network, NHL, Showtime, StarzIn addition to basic package: A&E, ABC Family, Animal Planet, BBC, Cartoon Network, CNBC, CNN, Disney, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, Fox Sports 1 & 2, FX, MSNBC, NBA TV, NFL Network, TLC, TBS, USA

*These channels were chosen based on what we thought were some of the most popular channels that households wanted in their cable packages.

DIRECTV offers low-priced basic packages, while DISH Network’s starting package is $59.99 per month. For the premium packages, the winner is DISH. America’s Top 250 offers all the same “popular” channels as the Premier package from DIRECTV for less money. However, if you’re wanting Starz, HBO and Showtime we suggest you go with DIRECTV.

Below is a broad comparison of all DIRECTV and DISH packages.

DIRECTV PackagesPriceNumber of ChannelsDISH PackagesPriceNumber of Channels
Entertainment$54.99/month160+America's Top 120®$59.99/month190
Choice$59.99/month185+America's Top 120 Plus®$74.99/month190+
Ultimate$74.99/month250+America's Top 200®$8499/month240+
America's Top 250®$94.99/month290+

DIRECTV & DISH Promotions

DIRECTV often has time-sensitive promotions, check out our DIRECTV Promo Codes page to learn more.

DISH Network is offering a 2 year price guarantee, just use this link to get started.

More Satellite Options

Did you know you can also use a satellite for your internet too?

Are you a proud DISH or DIRECTV subscriber? Which one do you prefer and why?

About The Author:

Sadie has a bachelor’s in communications and minor in business from the University of Texas at Austin. She has been writing about, researching and a user of security and smart home technology since 2012. As an early adapter and avid user of gadgets, she’s not only well-versed in how to use them but also passionate about helping others integrate them into their lives and homes.

Having lived in various urban neighborhoods in major cities, she has experienced her share of property crimes over the years; from car break-ins to stolen bikes. As a result, she’s extra cautious when it comes to protecting herself and her property.

Her expertise has appeared in many notable media outlets, including The New York Times' Wirecutter, Forbes, People, Reader's Digest, Apartment Therapy, and other regional news organizations.

Disclaimer: This website contains reviews, opinions and information regarding products and services manufactured or provided by third parties. We are not responsible in any way for such products and services, and nothing contained here should be construed as a guarantee of the functionality, utility, safety or reliability of any product or services reviewed or discussed. Please follow the directions provided by the manufacturer or service provider when using any product or service reviewed or discussed on this website.

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