Smart Home & AI

DISH Vs DIRECTV: Guide To Equipment, Channels, Promotions & More

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Man holding remote (Caption: DIRECTV vs DISH)Satellite TV is still an option worth considering for 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 offer more channels, packages, programming, and perks to compete with the changing media landscape.

Are you debating between DIRECTV vs DISH? We’ve got your back in our satellite TV guide. We cover everything from each provider, including equipment, channels, pricing, and more. We also feature the most current promotions available for you to save money on your new package.

Article Overview

Visit Website Call
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 several 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 your signal is direct and, therefore, unblemished. This direct system allows for ultra-high-definition TV (UHDTV) and 4K broadcast resolutions.
  • Better Channel Selection – Both DIRECTV and DISH 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 330 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 company’s history and how it merged with TiVo. 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 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.

Professional Installation Free Free
Number of Channels 330+ 290+
Custom Design Your Package No No
4K Recording Checkmark Checkmark
Contract Lengths 24 months 24 months
Price Lock 12-24 months 24 months
Activation Fee $19.95 $50
Early Termination Fee* $20/mo $20/mo

* Early termination fee amounts are based on the months remaining in your contract, so if you are in month 10 of a 24 month contract, you’ll owe 14 months or $280.

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.

Number of Shows Recorded at Once 5 16
Hours of HD Recording 200 (0.83 TB) 480 (2 TB)
Recommends New Shows Checkmark
Transfer Recordings to Mobile Checkmark Checkmark
Watch 2 Shows On One Screen Checkmark
(Up to 8 sports channels)
Watch 4 Shows On One Screen Checkmark
Voice Remote Checkmark
Remote Finder Checkmark
Amazon Alexa Compatible Checkmark Checkmark

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 seeking.

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 Checkmark Checkmark
Sports Channels: Big Ten Network,, MLB Network Strike Zone, NFL RedZone, Pac-12 Networks, and Universal Sports Checkmark
Premium Channels: SHOWTIME® and STARZ® Checkmark Checkmark
Premium Channels: HBO Max® Checkmark
Premium Channels: Bloomberg and RFDTV Checkmark Checkmark
Miscellaneous Channels: Discovery Family Channel, Discovery Life Channel and ION Checkmark
Miscellaneous Channels: A&E, AMC, BET, Bravo, Comedy Central, Discovery, E!, Food Network, HGTV, History, MTV, MTV2, Spike, TBS, TLC, TNT, USA and VH1 Checkmark Checkmark
Kid Channels: Nickelodeon, ABC Family, Disney, Disney JR, Disney XD, Nick JR, Nicktoons Network and Cartoon Network Checkmark Checkmark
Adult Channels: Playboy TV, Vivid TV, Hustler TV, BraZZers TV, Reality Kings Checkmark Checkmark
Adult Channels: Penthouse TV and UBang Checkmark
Adult Channels: Cheap Thrills, Hustler HD, TEN, Reality Kings, Girlfriends Films and XTSY Checkmark

DIRECTV & DISH Pricing & Package Comparison

We’ve taken the lowest and highest prices packages from DIRECTV and DISH and compared them side-by-side. Read further to see who we think offers the best packages.

Package Entertainment America’s Top 120 Premier America’s Top 250
Price $74.99/mo for 12 months (then $107/mo) $69.99/mo $149.99/mo for 12 months (then $214/mo) $104.99/mo
Number of Channels 160+ live and 45,000+ on demand 190 channels 330+ live and 70,000+ on demand 290+ channels
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 A&E, AMC, Animal Planet, ESPN, USA, CMT, Discovery, Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, E!, Food Network, FX, HGTV, CNN, Fox News In addition to Entertainment Package: Cartoon Network, Cinemax, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, Fox Sports 1 & 2, HBO, MLB, NBA TV, NFL Network, NHL, Showtime, Starz In addition to Basic package: BBC America, BET, CBS Sports, Discovery Family, DIY, Fox Sports 2, FYI, Golf, Hallmark, MLB, Nat Geo Wild, NBA TV, NBA Network, NHL, OWN, Outdoor, Oxygen, SCI

*We selected these channels based on what we thought were some of the most popular channels 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 200 offers all the same “popular” channels as the Premier package from DIRECTV for less money. However, if you’re wanting STARZ, HBO Max, or SHOWTIME, we suggest you go with DIRECTV.

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

DIRECTV Packages Price Number of Channels DISH Packages Price Number of Channels
Entertainment $74.99/mo for 12 months (then $107/mo) 160+ live, 45,000+ on demand America’s Top 120 $59.99/month 190
Choice $79.99/mo for 12 months (then $129/mo) 185+ live, 50,000+ on demand America’s Top 120 Plus $84.99/month 190+
Ultimate $99.99/mo for 12 months (then $159/mo) 250+ live, 60,000+ on demand America’s Top 200 $94.99/month 240+
Premier $149.99/mo for 12 months (then $214/mo) 330+ live, 70,000+ on demand America’s Top 250 $104.99/month 290+

DIRECTV & DISH Promotions

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

More Satellite Options

Did you know you can also use a satellite for your internet? This could be essential if you live in a more remote area with few utility and communication options.

Sadie Cornelius

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.

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