Dish Satellite TV
Dish has a fairly competitive price for the amount of channels that are available to you. Compared to its satellite counterpart DIRECTV, it has fairly better prices with over 300 channels. However, it doesn't offer the same exclusive packages that the competitor does and when you get into Dish's more expensive packages there are less expensive options in cable. However, the value of the more basic packages is tough to beat with prices as low as $19.99 a month.
Like its primary competitor, DIRECTV, beginning your service with Dish Network is a breeze. First of all, Dish Network typically waives all of your initiation fees when you begin service. So if you are in the market for new cable service, that is one less thing you have to worry about. Moreover, there is no additional cost for a technician to come out to your home or apartment to install your service. This is in contrast to many cable service providers who charge for installation and sometimes charge initiation fees as well.
However, one thing to note is that Dish does charge you for equipment. Though this is fairly standard for most cable providers it is important to take note that DIRECTV does not charge for any equipment. And, in some cases, upgrades equipment free of charge. Though, one point in Dish Network's favor is that they do provide custom installation of TVs (such as wall mountings) and home theaters and wireless networks.
In addition, Dish Network does charge $10 per month for high-definition service. HD television is essentially the standard these days and DIRECTV has responded by making it free. So while the $10 charge is another point in DIRECTV's favor, Dish does offer a solution which levels the field. If you enroll in Auto Pay with paperless billing, Dish Network will waive the $10 charge for the lifespan of your service. So HD service is, for all intents and purposes, free if you choose to enroll in Auto Pay.
In addition, Dish Network also recently introduced The Genie. The Genie is essentially a DVR but does much more than that. First, it provides full HD service in every room in which service installed. Secondly, once you have had The Genie for enough time it begins to predict your viewing habits and records shows it expects you will enjoy.
There are additional things to consider when beginning service with Dish Network. Like DIRECTV, Dish, as the name suggests, requires that a satellite dish is installed in order to use your service. So this creates a few scenarios that aren't ideal. The first is that your service will be subject to weather conditions. While it typically takes a fairly strong storm to interrupt your service, the possibility is always there. However, when service is interrupted, the issue is normally resolved fairly quickly.
The other issue arising from the dish requirement is that unless you own your home, you may not be allowed to install a dish. Or there may be limited space in which to install your dish. So to be safe, you will want to check with your landlord or management company before beginning service.
Lastly, be aware that Dish Network requires a bit of commitment as the company requires a two-year contract for new installations. So if you're accustomed to switching providers at your leisure, be aware that cancelation typically comes with an often expensive fee.
Plans and Packages
While Dish Network can't really compete with DIRECTV in the number of channels it offers, they do have the edge when it comes to price. And affordability will always be an important detail for consumers.
- Smart Pack: Dish Network's basic plan is among the best bargains on the market. At a one-year introductory rate of $19.99 per month, you get about 55 channels.
- America's Top 120: This plan starts at an introductory rate of $29.99 per month and more than 190 channels.
- America's Top 120 Plus: This plan starts at $34.99 per month and offers more than 190 channels as well.
- America's Top 200: This plan starts at $39.99 per month and offers more than 240 channels.
- America's Top 250: This is Dish Network's best offer as it starts at $39.99 per month and offers more than 290 channels.
But that isn't all. Dish Network also offers a two-year price lock package that starts at $49.99 and offers more than 190 channels. In addition, new customers are offered one free year of Netflix service or one year of NFL Red Zone service, which serves as Dish Network's best answer to DIRECTV's NFL Sunday Ticket package. In addition, Dish also offers three free months of the premium movie channels (HBO, Cinemax, Starz, Showtime).
Dish Network has three options for satellite internet at varying speeds which can be bundled with your television service. Named Good, Better and Best Satellite Internet Service, the services cost $39.99, $49.99 and $69.99, respectively. The Good and Better services each offer 10 GB of data per month. However, the Good service is hard capped at 10 GB whereas the Better service allows you to check email and surf the web once the cap is exceeded. The Best Service is significantly more expensive but offers the fastest speeds possible and highest caps.
Customer service is another one of Dish Network's strong suits. The company offers 24-hour customer support over the phone, though, many people complain that wait times tend to be extended before you can speak to a representative. In addition, their website features a live chat that is open from 7 am to 9:45 pm MDT.
Verdict - Superb
Dish Network is another great choice when it comes to satellite TV service. With its huge amount of channels and good prices, the value is hard to beat. However, even though customer service is very helpful, they can sometimes take a while to reach, which is fairly typical of large companies. Also, Dish's unavailability in the far corners of the U.S. removes them as an option for some.