Choosing a Satellite Provider Can be Tough


If you are choosing a satellite provider for your TV viewing then you have a couple options. The two companies with the best signal reception, the most diverse channel lineups and superb reputations are DirecTV and Dish Network.

There are other, lesser known satellite providers out there, but they are lacking in one of the three crucial areas.

Choosing a Satellite Provider

Let’s take a closer look at a few of the differences between DirecTV and Dish Network.


Each of the two satellite providers offers quality service to the vast majority of locations in the United States. If you live in a rural area or in an urban center surrounded by tall buildings, you should contact each provider to see if they can provide service to you.

They’ll likely tell you that as long as your location has an unobstructed view of the southern sky, you’ll be able to pick up a quality signal. Don’t scrap that Cable TV package until you ensure that you can clearly see the southern sky from your home without any interference.


If you are looking for high definition (HD) content, you’ll have to purchase an HD television, as well as an HD receiver. Both DirecTV and Dish Network offer HD receivers at affordable prices. Yet this type of receiver won’t come with your initial subscription.

Their base offering is a standard receiver for non-HD programming. You’ll have to pay extra for a receiver with HD capabilities, as well as DVR functionality. Don’t be scared away by the extra fee. You can utilize either company’s rebate offer to earn the money back. You’ll just have to wait a while.

An advantage of Dish Network is that you can buy your receiver instead of continually renting it each month. This will cost quite a chunk of change, but you’ll avoid the trouble of having to pay a monthly rental fee and the receiver will pay for itself over time. Keep in mind that if the receiver breaks, you’ll have to either purchase a new one or rent one.

DirecTV does not offer the option to purchase a receiver. You’ll have to pay to lease your receiver and eventually return it at the end of the contract. However, if the receiver breaks or malfunctions, DirecTV will replace it for free.


If you like DVR programming, then you want Dish Network. The Dish Hopper service is vastly superior to DirecTV’s DVR capabilities. The Hopper empowers you to record and view programming from different rooms in your home. It is completely wireless so it will function all over the house. One of the best Hopper features is that it allows you to watch anything that you’ve recorded, from any room, with a connected television.


Each provider requires that the customer sign a contract for a specific length of time. These contracts include a cancellation fee. Dish Network usually allows customers to subscribe to their service on a monthly basis while DirecTV forces customers to sign up for a year. However, the convenience of a monthly subscription on Dish Network is more expensive.


Typical packages for each provider range from the cheapest “basic” packages to premium packages with access to movies and other special programming. Sports fans will likely opt for DirecTV as it offers the NFL Sunday Ticket and UFC programming.

DirecTV is typically a bit more expensive compared to Dish Network, but DirecTV generally offers more channels. When it comes to premium programming, Dish Network has DirecTV beat by providing access to a wider variety of channels such as Veria, Epix, and Playboy TV.

When it comes to choosing a satellite provider, both companies are relatively similar. It all boils down to what you want from your satellite provider. If you want sports, then DirecTV is probably your winner. If you are into movies, then you want Dish Network. If you like recording and watching programs, then Dish is probably your preferred option.

Photo Credit: Wade Harris