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A Dish vs. DirecTV Review

Dish Network and DirecTV are the primary providers of satellite TV service in America.

However, making the choice between the two can be time consuming and challenging. While both companies offer major advantages, there are also disadvantages of each provider’s service. Knowing more about what sets them apart will help you make the right choice for your home.

Pricing and Packages

The lowest priced plan from DirecTV is the Select plan which is $19.99 for the first 12 months and $49.99 afterwards and includes over 145 channels. The lowest priced plan from Dish is the America’s Top 120 at $34.99 per month for the first 12 months and $64.99 afterwards, and includes over 190 channels.

The highest priced plan from DirecTV is the Premier plan with over 285 channels, costing $89.99 per month for the first 12 months and $136.99 afterwards. The highest priced Dish plan is the Everything Pack, with over 290 channels for $49.99 for the first 12 months and $89.99 afterwards.

Dish gives you 3 year locked in rates when you commit to a 24-month contract and eAutopay. These plans start at $49.99 for a plan with 190+ channels. You also get more than 50 premium channels for the first 3 months of your plan and free Netflix for the first year.

The cost of the receiver is another cost associated with satellite TV service. DirecTV customers get certain receivers free of charge with subscription. Others range in price from $69 to $399. Often an additional $6 per additional receiver is charged to users. With Dish, the Hopper Whole-Home HD DVR is free of charge on all but the most basic plan. For those on that plan, they can choose to upgrade to the Hopper for only $99. A $10 monthly whole home DVR fee also applies.

DirecTV charges $15 monthly for receiver service, and an additional $6.50 each month per receiver. Dish Network charges $6 monthly for your receiver service, with an additional $10 if you have HD service. If you have the Smart Pack, a basic DVR is available for an additional $7 monthly.

Family excited about Dish and DirecTV

The Technology of Satellite TV

Equipment and special features of satellite TV service differ somewhat between Dish and DirecTV. While both services offer essentially the same product – an extensive lineup of TV channels, pay programming and more delivered via satellite technology and using cutting edge HD-DVRs, as well as traditional receivers – there are differences in the tech side of the service each provider offers.

Family excited about Dish and DirecTV

Dish subscribers can enjoy the luxury of skipping commercials as they play back recorded shows when using the superior HD-DVR the Hopper. With it, users can record as many as 8 shows simultaneously, and get automatic recording with the “PrimeTime Anytime” feature. The Hopper also stores 500 hours of recordings. The DirecTV Genie HD-DVR does not offer a commercial skipping option and can only record 5 shows at once. It gives you 200 hours of recording storage.

SlingBox technology that comes with the Dish Hopper gives you the ability to watch your favorite live and recorded shows from anywhere with the Dish Anywhere App. You can also do the same with the DirecTV Genie using the GenieGo device. In addition, the Genie makes recommendations of shows you would enjoy based on your viewing habits.


The Channels You Want

  • Premium channels HBO and Showtime are free for the first 3 months with DirecTV service.
  • Showtime, HBO, CINEMAX and Starz is included for Dish subscribers with the America’s Everything Pak.
  • Both Dish and DirecTV give subscribers access to thousands of shows with On Demand.
  • Netflix is available with Dish Network.
  • While both services have incredibly impressive sports lineups, DirecTV has the most, including the NFL Sunday Ticket. Dish offers NFL RedZone.

Customer Service Matters

Dish Network offers live customer service 24/7 by phone, email, Twitter, or live chat. This goes beyond technical support and includes customer help of any kind. Live customer service around the clock is rare today and can make all the difference for many customers.

DirecTV offers 24/7 tech support by email or telephone. Typically calls result in a technician visit the next day if help is needed with equipment or installation. Customer service is available only from 8am to 1am. Access to online help using the DirecTV website is available around the clock. Additional equipment protection can be purchased for $7.99 monthly for a device protection plan and $19.99 monthly for the protection plan premier, which extends to electronic devices in your home that you use for TV and Internet.

Both Dish and DirecTV have each ranked tops in independent customer satisfaction surveys.

Installation Costs

Installation of both DirecTV and Dish services are complimentary. This includes mounting the satellite dish, running cable into your home for the delivery of service, and testing to ensure reception is impeccable. If you need indoor setup of your home entertainment network, pricing for such service is additional.

Depending on what you are looking for, Dish or DirecTV may be the ideal choice for you. Look closely at how each lines up against the competition in the areas that matter most to you before you make your choice. Good luck!