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Thinking about making the switch to satellite TV? You’re not alone. 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. But what’s the difference between cable and satellite exactly? And how do DIRECTV and DISH stack up against one another? We’re here to help! Read on to learn more about how they compare in quality, channel selection, service offering, pricing and more.
If after reading, you still have specific questions we didn’t answer you can comment below the article or ask a DIRECTV or DISH representative for immediate feedback using their contact information.
|DIRECTV (Authorized Dealer)||DIRECTV (Authorized Dealer) – 855-692-6985|
|DISH (Authorized Dealer)||DISH (Authorized Dealer) – 855-357-2283|
Satellite vs Cable: Which is Better?
Trying to decide between satellite and cable? Read about some of the key differences between the two options. Plus, learn why satellite is superior in all cases.
Enhanced Sound and Picture Quality
Cable connections go through multiple network reconfigurations which only serve to 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).
Winner: Satellite TV
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.
Winner: Satellite TV
Do more for less! Below are reasons why satellite television is superior and it’s less expensive than analog TV.
- Increased capacity for recording and storage of saved programs
- Multiple simultaneous viewing options including the ability to record one show while watching another show
- Pause and replay live TV
- Fast-forward through commercials
- HD quality local channels
Winner: Satellite TV
DIRECTV vs DISH: How Do They Compare?
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.
|Free DVR and HDTV equipment||Up to 4 rooms||Up to 4 rooms|
|Number of Channels||325+||290+|
|Custom Design Your Package||No||No|
|Contract Lengths||24 Months||24 Months|
|Price Lock||12-24 Months||24 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 DIRECTTV Genie and DISH Hopper.
|DIRECTV Genie||DISH Hopper®|
|Number of Shows Recorded at Once||5||8|
|Recommends New Shows|
|Transfer Recordings to Mobile|
|Watch Two Shows On One Screen|
Learn more about the DIRECTV Genie in this video.
Number and 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 325+. But a closer look at those 325+ 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 wants to watch. So, take a look and see which satellite provider offers the channels you are interested in.
|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|
|Sports Channels: Big Ten Network, MLB Network Strike Zone, NFL RedZone, Pac-12 Networks and Universal Sports|
|Premium Channels: Cinemax®, HBO®, Showtime®, and Starz®|
|Premium Channels: Bloomberg and RFDTV|
|Miscellaneous Channels: Discovery Family Channel, Discovery Life Channel and ION|
|Miscellaneous Channels: A&E, AMC, BET, Bravo, Comedy Central, Discovery, E!, Food Network, HGTV, History, MTV, MTV2, Spike, TBS, TLC, TNT, USA and VH1|
|Kid Channels: Nickelodeon, ABC Family, Disney, Disney JR, Disney XD, Nick JR, Nicktoons Network and Cartoon Network|
|X-Rated Channels: Playboy TV, Vivid TV, Hustler TV, BraZZers TV, Reality Kings|
|X-Rated Channels: Penthouse TV and UBang|
|X-Rated Channels: Cheap Thrills, Hustler HD, TEN, Reality Kings, Girlfriends Films and XTSY|
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.
|Package Style||Basic Package||Basic Package||Premier Package||Premium Package|
|Package Name||SELECT™||America's Top 120 Plus||PREMIER™||America's Top 250|
|Price||$50/month for 12 months then $90/month||$54.99/month for 24 months||$125/month for 12 months then $187/month||$79.99/month|
|Number of Channels||150+||190+||325+||290+|
|Contract Length||24 Months||24 Months||24 Months||24 Months|
|Popular Channels Included||A&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, USA||CBS Sports, C-Span, Food Network, Fox News, Hallmark, Nickelodeon||In addition to Select Package: Cartoon Network, Cinemax, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, Fox Sports 1 & 2, HBO, MLB, NBA TV, NFL Network, NHL, Showtime, Starz||In addition to Smart Pack: 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.
To summarize the table above, the Select package from DIRECTV is the winner for the basic packages. The Select package offers more channels, and in our opinion, the channels offered are better than those from the Smart Pack offered by DISH. 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 of DIRECTV and DISH packages.
|DIRECTV Packages||Price||Number of Channels||DISH Packages||Price||Number of Channels|
|Entertainment||$55.00/month||155+||America's Top 120®||$54.99/month||190+|
|Choice||$60.00/month||185+||America's Top 200®||$69.99/month||240+|
|Xtra||$70.00/month||230+||America's Top 250®||$79.00/month||290+|
Below are some promotions that we’re able to extend to our readers for a limited time.
- Check out our DIRECTV Promo Codes page for discount codes that will save you even more $$.
- DISH is now offering 2-Year Price Guarantee so you can lock in your monthly payment. Use this link or call 855-357-2283 to take advantage of this offer.
How Does Satellite Television Work?
Ever wondered how something so high up in the sky can beam a signal into your living room that lets you watch your favorite TV shows? Here’s a quick video (under two minutes) that explains how satellite TV works.
Share Your Satellite TV Experience
Are you a proud DISH or DIRECTV owner? Which one do you prefer and why?