Dish vs Directv; which is better for your needs?

Oct 1


Jawahn Thompson

Jawahn Thompson

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When deciding between the two top satellite Tv providers, it's not about who has the lower prices, it's about who has the correct package that suits your household needs.

In today’s world of on-demand television programming,Dish vs Directv; which is better for your needs? Articles consumers have a far broader spectrum of available options than the cable versus antenna choices of years past.  Satellite television, which began in the 1980s with enormous satellite dishes cemented into backyards, has come a long way.  In the process, it has become a far easier option to install in any household and economically competitive with cable television.  Two frontrunners in satellite broadcasting are DirecTV and DISH Networks.  When pondering DISH versus DirecTV, it is important to compare many facets, including company history, channel and package offerings, pricing and availability.    DirecTV began offering satellite programming in 1994.  Two years younger, DISH Networks, which stands for Digital Sky Highway, began offering satellite programming in 1996.  Both organizations grew out of earlier satellite television initiatives.  The origins of DirecTV tie to United States Satellite Broadcasting, commonly called USSB, which was founded in 1981.  USSB pioneered the shift from large, unwieldy satellite dishes to easy-to-install 18-inch pieces that are today the norm.  Using the technologies of USSB, DirecTV launched in the mid-90s, and later acquired all USSB assets in 1998.  DISH Networks ties its history to EchoStar, which began in 1980. In 2003, a merger was proposed between DISH Networks and DirecTV, but it ultimately fell through.  In the debate of DISH versus DirecTV, it is obvious that they share similar histories, and so other factors must be considered to make an informed decision.    One of the best ways to compare DISH versus DirecTV is by looking at their channel and service offerings.  Both satellite organizations offer a large variety of packages.  Catering to family-friendly TV, DirecTV offers the Family package, a line-up of forty-plus channels including local broadcast networks as well as channels including ABC Family, Cartoon Network, the Food Network, the Hallmark Channel, the Disney Channel, Lifetime, TLC and TVLand, to name just a few.  Keeping the DISH versus DirecTV debate alive, DISH Networks recently unveiled their own Family package, also including forty-plus channels, with a line-up similar to that offered by DirecTV.  Current pricing favors the DISH package over the one offered by DirecTV, but promotions and special offers mean constant changes to pricing.    One step up from the smaller line-up of channels offered by each carriers Family package, DISH Networks next offers the America’s Top 100 package, which includes some channels included in the Family package, as well as what DISH considered to be among the top or most popularly viewed.  With offerings like A&E, CNN, music-only channels, Comedy Central, ESPN, The History Channel and NFL Network, the America’s Top 100 package is noticeably more well rounded than either carrier’s Family package.  In looking at DISH versus DirecTV, DirecTV’s next level package includes 140-plus channels.  Priced around 60% higher than the America’s Top 100 package, DirecTV’s package offers a higher cost-per-channel but an even more well rounded line-up.  With channels including SoapNet, BET and Turner Classic Movies, the package can appeal to a broader audience than that offered by DISH, albeit at a higher price.    The next tier of channel-lines available from DISH versus DirecTV is the America’s Top 200 package.  This time, the step between tiers is smaller and not larger for DirecTV, whose next package offers 185-plus channels.  In between, DISH also offers the America’s Top 100 Plus package, which simply combines the basic 100-plus channel package with regional sports channels.  Looking at the third-tier packages offered by DISH versus DirecTV, DISH customers can currently expect to pay around 20% less for 200-plus channels than DirecTV customers will be billed for 185-plus channels.  It is important to look beyond pricing, however, and discover the differences in channel line-ups.  DirecTV adds channels like Biography and The Golf Channel to their 185-plus lineup, while DISH answers with more than fifty channels of Sirius satellite music channels, as well as a channel line-up that closely mimics DirecTV’s.  In comparing the packages of this tier, it clearly comes down to pricing and musical offerings – whereas DISH Network promotes Sirius Satellite Radio, DirecTV offers stations from XM Satellite Radio at this tier.    The highest tier offered by DISH Network versus DirecTV offers true apples to apples comparison, as both advertise 250-plus channels.  Both carriers advertise that their top-level packages offer the widest variety of sports, movie and music channels available.  Not surprisingly, many of their offered channels are the same, with differences coming in musical and sports offerings.  At this level, the comparison truly comes down to pricing.  Currently, DISH Networks is able to offer their line-up of 250-plus channels at a lower rate than DirecTV, but check current pricing before you buy, as promotions and offers change this balance constantly.    Another comparison that can be made in looking at DISH versus DirecTV is the availability of HD or High Definition services.  Both carriers have a wide variety of programming available in HD broadcasts, but they vary in delivery.  For a set fee, DISH Network customers can add an HD package to any programming package.  On the flip side, DirecTV offers HD programming beginning at their 185-plus channel tier as a part of the built-in price, or offers a set-price-per-tier add-on for each of their lower tiers.  DISH Network has always lead DirecTV in the number of HD channels offered, but beginning in September 2007, DirecTV will begin rolling out dozens more HD channels to remain competitive.    What about comparing other service offerings, such as DVRs?  Currently, DISH Network and DirecTV offer nearly identical hardware for similar pricing.  Current offers and promotions may make one carrier more competitive than the other in the comparison of expanded the service offerings of DISH versus DirecTV.  Likewise, similar premium and adult movie channel lineups as well as sports packages are offered by each carrier, with pricing that fluctuates to give one the advantage over the other in pricing at certain times.    A final comparison can be made between DISH versus DirecTV, and that is in coverage areas.  Both DISH Network and DirecTV have multiple satellites in orbit to provide as widespread covered to the United States as well as various other regions in the world.  Neither carrier, however, can guarantee coverage in all areas of the United States and so consumers investigate their own address with each carrier before making a decision.    In the ongoing debate of DISH versus DirecTV, it is clear to see why the two carriers consistently run side by side in vying for the same pool of customers.  At various tiers and with varying service offerings, either carrier may appear to be the frontrunner some of the time.  Before choosing either service, it is important for each consumer to analyze what factors are most important to their own household, in order to make the best decision between DISH versus DirecTV.