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Dish Network vs Direct TV: Reviewing Your Satellite TV Choices

Nov 3, 2007
Call me crazy, but I spent almost six months trying to figure out which satellite system was best: our house was in a constant state of Direct TV vs Dish Network comparison. After much research (and soul searching), I've come to the conclusion that both are wonderful providers, and the final decision regarding which to choose lies with the consumer. But, there are a few things to watch out for when choosing which satellite TV provider will best meet your viewing needs:

#1: Types of Packages Available

With more than 200 individual channels available on both systems, it may seem impossible not to find exactly what you're looking for every time you turn on your TV. But, being satisfied with your programming depends a great deal on the type of package you choose.

For instance, both providers offer basic packages that offer the standard local and national channels (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, PBS), but may vary a great deal on the other channels they offer. For instance, one company's "family package" may offer a dozen national-feed PBS stations offering round-the-clock children's programming, while the other provider's "family package" may include channels for older kids like Disney, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. Neither is better or worse than the others, you just have to carefully weigh which programming options best suit your family's individual needs.

#2: Sports Options

The simple fact remains: Direct TV is generally touted as the sports authority when it comes to the types and quality of games they offer through the network. Although Dish Network may not yet offer the major sports showings of their competitor, many non-traditional sports enthusiast do seem to enjoy the offbeat and international offerings Dish provides. While football and baseball fans will really need Direct TV to get the best coverage

#3: Pricing

Pricing, too, can vary between the two providers, depending on the program packages they provide. But, both seem to offer starter basic packages at around $20 per month, with more complex premium style packages at $50-$65 dollars a month, and of course more add-on sports, movie and specialty programming running as high as $100 or more per month.

#4: Availability

Both Direct TV and Dish Network tout broad availability almost anywhere in the United States. The main difference between the two is that Direct TV pulls its signal from the southern sky, while Dish Network gets its signal from the opposite direction (the northern sky). So, if a consumer does not have a clear view of either of these horizons, it could interferer with signal reception from one particular company.

#5: Installation & Equipment

Both companies may officially charge for installation and equipment, but considering that both Direct TV and Dish Network both seem to offer continuous special promotions and sales, no one should ever have to pay for either installation or basic equipment from either company.

The only thing to really shop for between the two for is how many free or low-cost extras they happen to be offering at the moment. One month Direct TV may offer 10 free pay-per-view movie passes with installation, while Dish Network gives away 3 months service to the movie channel of your choice, or even a free upgrade in package. Take your time to review each company's specials and promotions to get the best deal you can.

#6: Service

It really doesn't matter which satellite service provider you choose: Direct TV or Dish Network - they both tout an excellent service record with few interruptions and fast and easy trouble shooting guides. So now that you know what to compare when choosing your satellite TV service, get out there and cut the cable cord!
About the Author
Don't buy either service before checking out this Dish Network vs Direct TV review and this Dish Network vs Direct TV article.
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