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The Best Satellite TV Providers

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The Best Satellite TV Providers

For many consumers, finding the best satellite TV is based around finding the right fit.

Price and customer service can go a long way to helping you identify the best overall value for money.

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If you're looking to switch from cable TV, there are many perks that make satellite television worth it. We've reviewed the top two satellite TV providers to help make your decision easy.

The Best Satellite TV Service

DIRECTV and Dish are the only 2 major satellite TV providers in the US. Both have different perks that make them appealing.

Here are the satellite TV side-by-side comparison reviews to give you an overview on each.

DIRECTV

DIRECTV is a major satellite TV provider with lots to offer:

  • Availability - Since AT&T bought DIRECTV they're not the largest satellite TV provider. Now you can get amazing channel packages including some of the best sports packages.
  • Overall Package - Plans through DIRECTV include the equipment, including the Genie DVR so you can record shows.
  • Options - NFL Sunday ticket includes over 50 sports channels.
  • Customer Service - DIRECTV has some of the best customer services in the industry.
  • Add-On Packages - DIRECTV has you covered with packages that range from family friendly to sports.
  • Bundles - DIRECTV partnered with AT&T U-Verse (as an Internet service provider) to offer satellite TV and AT&T Internet in one package.

So what's the catch? There are some cons to this provider:

  • Installation - Your satellite dish will need professional installation.
  • Hidden Fees - Keep a close eye on hidden fees and price rises.

DIRECTV Plans & Pricing

Provider/PackageTV ChannelsMonthly Price
DIRECTV Select155$35.00
DIRECTV Entertainment160$40.00
DIRECTV Choice185$45.00
DIRECTV Xtra235$55.00
DIRECTV Ultimate250$60.00
DIRECTV Premier330$110.00

Dish

Dish is well known for its good deals and great prices. If you're looking to save money Dish is the provider for you.

Here's what else they have to offer:

  • Price - Dish allows you to keep the same price the whole time you're with them.
  • No Hidden Fees - Don't worry about extra fees being added to your bill each month.
  • Equipment - Dish's Hopper 3 Smart DVR can record 16 shows all at once.
  • Add-On Packages - Dish Network is revolutionizing the way you watch TV by offering its Flex Pack option. How this works is you receive 50 channels (History, USA, TBS) then you choose from groupings such as sports, news or kids networks. It's important to note there are no local sports or news offerings included in the basic package.
  • Bundles - Dish also works with multiple Internet service providers to help you receive high-speed Internet service.

Surely there's something wrong with this provider right?

  • Customer Service - Dish's customer service leaves much to be desired.

Dish TV Plans & Pricing

Provider/PackageTV ChannelsMonthly Price
Dish America's Top 120190$59.99
Dish America's Top 120 Plus190$69.99
Dish America's Top 200240$79.99
Dish America's Top 250290$89.99

Key Considerations When Choosing Satellite TV Service

With only 2 companies to choose from, it makes it simple to compare and decide on the best one.

Here are some of the things you should consider:

  • Package Offering - Look at the add-ons they offer such as sports packages, live TV streaming and on-demand options to find the provider that aligns most with your viewing habits. As an FYI, we also provide information on the various package offerings brought to you by Dish and DIRECTV.
  • Add-Ons - Depending on the satellite service, you can select among one of the various set-top boxes offered.
  • Pricing - It's important first to consider your needs from a viewing standpoint then see which providers offer the best price. Often, if you find a better price with a competitor you can negotiate with the provider to lower its rate.
  • Contracts - One thing you'll want to be mindful of is that both providers that made our list do require service contracts when you want to sign up for satellite TV service. This means if you decide to cancel before the two-year term, you'll pay an early termination charge.
  • Bundling - Another important consideration is bundling services. Of 85 percent of people who have an Internet connection, cable and/or phone with the same provider, 50 percent would do it again with the same company.
  • Reliability - Because satellite dishes need an unobstructed view of the southern sky - for instance, the southern sky must not be obstructed by a wall of trees or massive buildings and skyscrapers - to receive clear reception, it's important you have an adequate satellite signal strength or else this might not be the best option for you.
  • Location - The location also factors into your service options. If you live in a remote area, it's important first to research the satellite services in your area and see if they offer all the TV channels you want before choosing to do service.

Read More: Interested in the best internet satellite providers?

Recap

While there are only two providers available nationwide for satellite TV service, both offer enticing benefits.

Before choosing one, it's important you factor in price, availability, customer service reliability, and package offerings, as these considerations will steer you in the right direction.

As we discussed earlier, Internet service is a great complement to your new TV service. For more information, you can check out our buyers guide to the best Internet providers.

For more helpful tips, tutorials, and comparisons check out our TV Provider Guides.

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Satellite TV Providers FAQs

QHow does a dish TV work?

A

DishTV works by transmitted television data from a station, through a network of satellites, to the satellite dish you have set up for your home. This lets you get a variety of channels from all around the planet because the data can be moved very quickly through space.

QIs DIRECTV on-demand free?

A

DirecTV on demand is not free, but many shows that are available can be viewed for free. If the show is from a network included in your subscription, you can watch it for free. For shows from other networks, or for movies, you'll pay an additional fee.

QWho created the satellite dish?

A

The first satellite dish to be used for television was used by Taylor Howard of San Andreas, California, who repurposed a military satellite dish in 1976. In their early days, satellite dishes were massive, more ranging from 10-16 feet in diameter. Today's dishes are much smaller, at approximately 1.5 feet in diameter.

QWhat is a digital satellite receiver?

A

A digital satellite receiver is a box, much like a cable box, that enables you to decode satellite television signals and turn them into a viewable image. These boxes take the data that your satellite dish receives, confirms that you are a subscriber with the proper access, and then displays the image on your TV.

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