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When it comes to entertainment, TV still reigns supreme. Sure, streaming is on the rise but more often than not it is used in conjunction with a TV plan and we can see why. Pay-tv gives you a far more diverse selection of channels without hogging all your bandwidth. You can watch the latest shows, keep abreast with the news and catch the game easily with a TV plan. Not a surprise then, 78.2 million households in the US still hold a pay-tv subscription reflecting a penetration rate of 74%, while 60% of households opt for both pay-tv and VOD subscriptions.

When it comes to pay-tv services, of course, cable lines travel far and wide, contributing to the widespread popularity of cable TV. But, 10% of the US is outside the reach of coaxial cable networks, and this is where satellite TV services enter the picture as the savior. Albeit, the popularity of satellite TV services is no more limited to remote or rural communities. Millions who enjoy access to a wired TV service prefer to opt for a satellite pay-tv service for reasons other than accessibility.

Why You Should Choose Satellite TV

Life without television is pretty difficult to imagine. Watching TV helps expand the scope of thought and vision, gets your creative juices flowing, and assists at adapting to society better. Depriving yourself of access to TV is practically akin to cutting yourself from the world, and if you live in a remote area you’ll end up feeling even more isolated. Too bad a cable TV service needs wires to deliver the signal, and the wired infrastructure is not available everywhere in the US. But, if you’re based in a region where a wireline service isn’t up for grabs, satellite TV is sure available coast to coast.

Satellite-based TV service is delivered, as the name suggests, via a satellite. At the uplink center on earth, programming from cable and broadcast TV networks is received, encrypted, and transmitted to the satellite in the geosynchronous orbit via a huge dish. The satellite converts the signal to a different frequency band so as to avoid interference between the uplink and downlink. This signal is then received by the dish installed at the subscriber’s end, passes through the satellite TV receiver, and delivers the audio-visual output to the TV screen.

The way satellite TV tech works not only makes it an ideal option for residents of remote rural areas, but anyone who does not like to keep switching their TV service as and when they relocate. You just don’t have to worry about negotiating with a new provider at your new address, and all else that comes with a new service installation, when you are subscribed to a satellite pay-tv service. All you need to do is install the satellite dish at your new place, make sure its facing the right direction, connect your set-top boxes, and voila! You’re done.

With an affordable price tag, satellite pay-tv is within the grasp of the common man. What’s more, since the signal is digital you get access to a ton of HD and Ultra HD channels, more than most cable TV services are able to offer. So really it’s better!  

The only thing you should be wary of is rough weather, as that may cause you to experience an outage. Heavy rains, ice build-up, and strong winds can mess around with the hardware involved in getting the satellite transmission to you.

Popular Satellite TV Providers

The satellite TV industry in the U.S. revolves around 2 key players. The DIRECTV satellite service and DISH. Both are great in their own way, and at the end of the day, it is your unique personal preferences that must make the call. In order to narrow down to the one that suits you the best, we recommend you take a close look at what each service has to offer in terms of the channel lineup, add-ons, equipment, and perks.

DIRECTV from AT&T: Plans & Prices  

DIRECTV offers 4 neatly cut-out TV tiers. Each allows you access to a well-balanced channel lineup which includes popular broadcast and cable TV networks. HD programming is free of cost. And, the extensive channel lineup is complemented by thousands of on-demand titles which only adds to entertainment options available to you. Plus, you get perks like a FREE limited-time subscription to premium networks such as HBO Max™, Cinemax®, SHOWTIME®, STARZ®, & EPIX®, the NFL Sunday Ticket and more, not to forget the FREE Genie HD DVR.

While all DIRECTV plans require you to sign a contract for 24 months, the first 12 months earn you a good discount relative to the standard rate which goes into effect after the end of the promo period.


Max. Channel Count

On-Demand Titles

Promo Price*


160 live & 60 HD  




185 live & 85 HD  


$69.99/mo. **


230 live & 115 HD  


$84.99/mo. **


330 live & 185 HD  



*for 12 mos. plus taxes. w/24-mo. agmt. Autopay & Paperless bill req’d. Prices are higher in the 2nd year.
**Regional Sports Fee up to $9.99/mo. is extra & applies.

DISH Network: Plans & Prices

DISH also offers 4 TV tiers, with a varying number of popular cable TV networks included in each plan. The DISH channel lineup is pretty all-around with its mix of local broadcast and cable TV networks. And the thousands of DISH On Demand titles only expand the scope of TV entertainment available to you. HD programming is included in the price, so you don’t have to pay extra for that as with some cable TV providers. DISH offers a myriad of add-ons to help you customize your plan as you wish. You can include sports, premium entertainment, Latino, or other foreign language networks to your primary channel lineup at competitive rates.

All DISH plans come with a 2-year contract, however, the price remains the same during the entire length of the full term, meaning you subscribe to DISH with a 2-year price guarantee.

DISH Package

Max. Channel Count

On-Demand Titles


America's Top 120

190 Channels



America's Top 120 Plus

190  Channels



America's Top 200

240  Channels



America's Top 250


290  Channels





Here is a comparison of the DIRECTV satellite service and the DISH Network. Go ahead and see which of the 2 checks off more boxes on your preference list.


Both services require you to sign a 24-month contract. But, with DISH the price remains the same for the full 2 years, whereas with DIRECTV the first year price is discounted, and in the second you pay the higher standard rate. Taking all this into account results in DISH winning the price contest.

Channel Lineup & On-Demand

Without a doubt the channel lineup you get with a TV service provider is of supreme importance, it can make or break the deal. Looking at both the selection and the number of channels tells hands down DIRECTV has more to offer. You’ll be hard-pressed to find such an abundance of quality networks with a pay-tv service as with DIRECTV.

Similarly, when it comes to the On-Demand title count, again DIRECTV beats DISH with the great variety of its on-demand content.

Premium Networks  

While DISH offers all sought-after premium entertainment networks as add-ons, the DIRECTV service also offers you a free limited-time subscription to HBO MAX™, Cinemax®, SHOWTIME®, STARZ®, and EPIX® when you sign up for a plan. While the top tier PREMIER includes these networks in the price of the plan.

On the other hand, while DISH offers HBO MAX™, Cinemax®, STARZENCORE®, and EPIX® as add-ons, the top DISH TV tier only includes the likes of STARZ ENCORE, TCM, and TMC. Meaning, if you wish to watch HBO MAX or another such network you must add it on à la carte.    

Sports Channels

The NFL SUNDAY TICKET is hard to come by and the DIRECTV satellite service offers it free during the first year of service. This allows you to watch out-of-market NFL games, as well as catch up with all the live NFL action on Sundays. Moreover, DIRECTV gives you a plethora of top sports national, regional, and local sports networks with CHOICE and above.

However, if you’re not a die-hard sports fan DISH can be just right for you with its relatively limited, but decent selection of sports channels.

Genie HD DVR Vs Hopper Duo

If you must have a DVR to complete your in-home entertainment system, it is critical to check what kind of TV equipment is on offer.

DIRECTV offers Genie HD DVR included in the price with all plans. Genie allows you to record up to 5 shows at a time and allows you to store 200 hours of HD video. And you can work with Alexa to make things hands-free. Even schedule recordings with your voice.

DISH, on the other hand, offers the Hopper Duo at no upfront cost. The device gets you storage worth 125 HD hours. It is Wi-Fi enabled and works well for a home where only one or 2 TVs need a DVR setup, and lets you record or watch 2 shows simultaneously. The Hopper Duo also gets you a voice-activated remote.
While each can serve the purpose of recording and storing content to watch on your own timeline, Genie HD DVR allows better functionality overall, giving DIRECTV an edge over DISH.

Final Words

With the key information we’ve shared regarding the 2 top satellite TV services available to US residents, you should be clearer on which provider to sign up for. The DIRECTV satellite service is the perfect entertainment partner for TV buffs and sports fans, and will never let you down. So if you are one or the other, go ahead and subscribe. All you need to do is give DIRECTV Customer Service a call at 1-855-925-2541 and speak to a representative for pro advice and assistance with placing your order.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which provider offers the best satellite TV service?

After comparing prices, channel lineups, and DVR equipment among other things, we find DIRECTV service is the best satellite TV provider in the country. You can not only get the NFL SUNDAY TICKET and access to a range of sports and premium channels but the FREE Genie HD DVR with 200 HD hours worth of storage and the ability to record 5 shows at a time. If however you prefer to keep your budget on track, and you can do with the selection of sports and premium entertainment included in DISH plans, that is the cheaper option.

Is satellite TV better than cable TV?

Well, it all depends on your location and your viewing needs. For those located in areas where cable infrastructure is not available, satellite TV is the best there is. Even if you are not restricted to a satellite-based TV service, both DIRECTV and DISH have great offerings on the menu which you can take advantage of.