In part two of this series, we are going to examine the top satellite television carriers. Directv and Dish network have both been powerhouses in the game for years. Directv was the first to the market, followed by Dish a few years later. Over the last decade, competition between the 2 have led to much better services, many more markets of availability, and cheaper pricing. It takes a very long time to build relationships with premium carriers, such as HBO and Showtime. Contract negotiations for programming rights or exclusivity agreements is enough to drive most people mad. Now factor in they are not only competing with each other, but standard cable providers who have been in the industry much longer. Plus the cable companies offer something that these two companies do not, internet. Without internet, satellite does not exist. That is why Directv may seem to have an advantage at the moment with it's AT&T partnership we discussed in the last blog. So let's break down these Dish and Directv pros and cons.
Directv wins in the package choice competition with 7 different packages, almost double the 4 packages offered by Dish. Another big win for Directv is that they have exclusive rights to the NFL Sunday Ticket. This is huge for real sports fans and alone can make the choice much easier. This package carries every NFL game. So even if you have moved far away from your favorite team and your market doesn't host your teams games, you can still watch them with Directv. They do not have exclusive rights to most other sport leagues, but does have similar packages for NHL, NBA and MLB. Directv also offers the best selection of channels. Their Premier package is the granddaddy of TV packages, with over 325+ channels. You get HBO, Showtime, Starz, and Cinemax, as well as ESPN Classic, Comcast Sports Network, and Fox Sports Sun HD, FREE for the first 3 months. Even some of the smaller packages get a bonus with your service agreement, including HBO FREE for one year. Directv also has much more On-Demand content available. Probably the biggest win for Directv is their agreement with AT&T. This allows them to be bundled with and internet provider giving them an advantage over Dish when competing with the traditional cable companies. Another fan favorite is that Directv offers an exclusive Streaming Only package. There are several price points, starting from $35/month to $70/month, and ranges from 60+ channels to 120+ channels. Equipment cost can be a factor in deciding as well. Directv offers a FREE DVR Genie plus 3 additional receivers for free when you sign up for a 2 year agreement. Now you can watch on 4 in home devices at the same time.
The first and biggest downside with Directv is the dreaded 2 year agreement. To make sure they can cover the cost of all the freebies you receive, you do have to stay around for a while so they can recoup that cost. You have a great price at first, but in the second year that price will increase at 60-85% additional depending on package, as much as double! For example, Directv's Choice Pack (185+ channels) is $45/month for the first year (after autopay discount), and then jumps to $101/month after that. Quite a huge difference. It's not very much, but Directv does charge a regional sports fee for certain ZIP codes, up to $8.49 a month. You don't get a choice in this, whether you watch sports or not. So if you don't watch any sports, you'd be paying a few extra bucks per month for something you don't even enjoy.
Dish network has been steadily building a network with a variety of programming and on-demand, with an ever growing authorized dealer network (including Connected Home) for years. They are now a real player in entertainment. Dish is most impressive for it's leap into the 4K content. They boast the most 4K content available on the market. Another HUGE reason many people prefer Dish is consistency of pricing. They do not play the introductory rate game like most other companies. Dish offers a price guarantee for both years of your agreement, and in the long run is still much cheaper than Directv. The best DVR service goes to Dish. The Hopper hard drive capacity is way more than Directv's unit. It can record up to 16 shows at the same time and can hold 500 hours of HD recordings, or 2,000 SD hours. Directv's Genie can only do 5 recordings at once and store 200 HD hours, or 1,000 SD hours. Even better, the Hopper is the only DVR on the market that automatically skips commercials. The fact that Dish offers only 4 packages is another example of how they try to make their pricing straight forward and easier to understand. The bills are even written to be easily understood. Another HUGE advantage of Dish is a new platform they offer por mis primos. Tienes DishLatino! A platform designed specifically for latino programming and language. Lastly, another newer tech advantage of Dish is their voice remote. Much like Alexa voice enable remote on the firetv, you can tell the remote which channel to tune or which movie to search on-demand.
The two biggest downsides of Dish are the sports packages and the equipment charges. Directv has the market cornered presently on sports programming. Directv offers free equipment because theirs is inferior. Dish charges $7 additional for all Joeys that connect to the free Hopper. If you want the most advanced device, the Hopper 3, there is an additional $5 a month. DISH also charges $15 per month for the DVR service fee. But there is usually a $5 automatically applied Hopper discount, which bring it down to $10/month. The menu can be hard to use and can be confusing to a novice who has never used it. This results from very few directions on-screen for using the menu, so the consumer needs to ask the tech installer for a demonstration before installation is complete. When a consumer needs help the operators seem to be very knowledgeable and helpful once you can get through to one. The waiting time can be very long to speak to a representative. Some consumers have waited as long as 45 minutes to reach a representative and then the problem is not necessarily resolved.
Here are a few things that both companies have in common:
Both require a 2 year agreement. You can only go month to month if you buy the equipment at over $500, which defeats the purpose of saving money.
Both offer free installation of their equipment and both are normally very good when it comes to punctuality of that appointment, something you surely cannot say about the cable company.
Both companies have the issues in severe weather. When you have a serious downpour, you are going to have some signal issues, but that's what all of those old DVD's and Blurays are for right?
It used to be that DIRECTV was king when it came to HD channels. But now, DISH has majorly stepped it up with over 200 HD channels. So for both, you will be able to watch almost all your favorite channels in high definition.
Both give you free HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, and Starz for 3 months with most of the packages, especially if you are a first time customer.
Both let you hook up multiple sets, so they're both great if you have large families or multiple housemates. Directv supports up to 8 TVs, while DISH is 7. For both, you can simultaneously watch on 4 TVs at once.
Both have an on-demand library that allows you to watch TV shows or movies whenever you like. Directv has a larger library with over 10,000 titles. But even with DISH's smaller library, you'll find something to watch, including movies even before they hit Redbox.
Both Directv and Dish, generally speaking are going to be a better value than what you would find with most cable providers, even with possible reception loss. If you are an avid sports fan and are always watching every weekend, you may swing toward Directv. If you are more of a movie person and like nothing better than 4K resolution for your Sci-fi or Action movies, then you will probably sway more Dish. We recommend you take the time to find out what channels you prefer the most, research or call a dealer for each to find the package that includes all or most of what you are looking for at the best possible price. Everyone is different and you should not have to settle with today's choice in providers.