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Best Satellite TV Services

There aren’t many satellite companies that offer TV options. Essentially you’re left to choose between DIRECTV and DISH. But that doesn’t mean these two options are bad. Based on needs and wants, DIRECTV and DISH both offer great packages with exciting features. You just have to decide which is the best satellite TV provider for you.

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  • More Package Options
  • More Channels
  • NFL Sunday Ticket
  • $64.99/mo. - $134.99/mo.
  • 160+ - 330+
  • 2-Year Contract
  • Installation Included
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  • Better Basic Package
  • Better DVR
  • Two-Year Price Guarantee
  • $59.99/mo. - $94.99/mo.
  • 190 – 290+
  • 2-Year Contract
  • Installation Included

Satellite TV providers plans and pricing

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PLAN PRICE CHANNELS
ENTERTAINMENT All-Included $64.99 160+
CHOICE All-Included $69.99 185+
ULTIMATE All-Included $84.99 250+
PREMIER All-Included $134.99 330+

Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

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PLAN PRICE CHANNELS
America's Top 120 $59.99 190
America's Top 120+ $74.99 190+
America's Top 200 $84.99 240+
America's Top 250 $94.99 290+

Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

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Satellite TV services compared to cable TV services

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What is satellite TV and how does it work?

Satellite TV is another form of premium television. Similar to cable TV in terms of cost and channels. But unlike cable, satellite TV services utilize a completely different form of delivery. Whereas cable delivers its service through coaxial cable lines, satellite companies use orbiting satellites to broadcast radio signals to transmit TV signals to outdoor antennas (dish receivers).

These signals are delivered from satellites and received by antennas, or a satellite dish, connected to the customer dwelling - be it a house, apartment building, RV, or other living space. It’s because of this type of technology that satellite TV providers can deliver TV service anywhere, even the most remote areas of the country.

Which is better, cable or satellite TV

For rural customers, satellite services offer the best chance of high-quality, premium television. For those living within a cable providers service area, cable has the advantage because of TV and internet bundle deals, no contract service, and ease of cancellation. Both cable TV and satellite TV have plenty of channel options and packages to choose from. Both offer incredible HD picture quality. And both offer lower introductory pricing to entice customers.

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The difference between satellite TV services and cable TV services.

SATELLITE TV CABLE TV
DELIVERY METHOD Satellite dish signal receiver(wireless) Coaxial cable lines(wired)
SERVICEABLE AREAS Everywhere, including rural & underserved areas. Mainly urban areas near distribution points.
RELIABILITY Service can be affected by weather, leading to TV outages. Unaffected by poor weather conditions.
BUNDLES DIRECTV & DISH are TV-only satellite TV providers (they do offer some bundling options with certain ISPs). Most cable providers offer TV, internet & phone bundle deals.
INSTALLATION Satellite services requires a dish being attached to the exterior – most likely your roof. Cable lines are required for any rooms where you’ll want to receive service.
CONTRACT DIRECTV and DISH both require two-year contract agreements. Many cable providers have moved to no contract, cancel anytime agreements.
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION DIRECTV and DISH both rank higher than cable in most customer satisfaction polls, including JD Power and ASCI. Cable providers remain below satellite in many customer satisfaction rankings.
PICTURE QUALITY Satellite TV provides more HD channels and 4K programming than cable. Most cable providers have yet to meet the requirements needed to provide 4K technology.

Who are the Best Satellite TV Providers in 2020: DISH or DIRECTV?

Heading into 2021, the satellite TV battle is being fought between two satellite companies – DISH and DIRECTV. The competition for satellite TV customers is fierce. But with only these two satellite TV providers to choose from, comparing the two is simple. The choice for some customers may only come down to price. For others, it’ll be the channels. And yet others may choose based upon length of contract. In the end, it may be a combination of any or all.

You’ve already read about the prices and packages offered by both DISH and DIRECT. Now let’s take a closer look at some features and fine print that may sway your satellite TV decision.

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Monthly price
$59.99–$94.99
$64.99–$134.99

Winner: DISH. From its basic package to its highest tier, DISH costs less than DIRECTV.

Contract length
2 years
2 years

Winner: DISH. The DISH contract price remains nearly constant over 2-years. DIRECTV almost doubles in price in the second year of the contract.

Customer satisfaction
65/100
64/100

Winner: DISH. This score is compiled by The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI®). They analyze customer satisfaction with the quality of products and services in the U.S. However, both satellite companies fell 3% from their previous score.

Available channels
Up to 290+
Up to 330+

Winner: DIRECTV. From a number’s standpoint, DIRECTV offers almost 50 more channels than DISH.

DVR availability
Hopper 3
Genie

Winner: : DISH. The Hopper offers more than double the amount of storage—500 HD hours compared to 200. Plus, 16 simultaneously recorded shows, compared to just 5.

Sports programming
Sports packages available
Sports packages available + The NFL Sunday Ticket

Winner: DIRECTV. Both satellite TV providers offer comparable sports programming, but only DIRECTV has the exclusive rights to offer The NFL Sunday Ticket.

Satellite TV and Internet Bundle

Neither DISH nor DIRECTV offer internet service directly. But you can get satellite TV and internet by working with a partner provider. Both satellite TV providers allow you to bundle their TV with another provider’s internet. DIRECTV’s parent company is AT&T, which makes it easier to find a satellite TV and internet bundle that works for you. DISH works with Frontier, among others, to provide high-speed internet along side their satellite TV packages.

Both AT&T and Frontier offer several internet options to pair with satellite TV. Frontier is able to provide DSL internet access in rural areas by utilizing phone lines. Of course, not all areas are serviced by these internet providers, so internet access may not be an option for some satellite TV customers. Call today to speak with an agent to learn more about which satellite TV and internet may benefit your situation the best.

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Combine satellite TV services and internet

With both DIRECTV and DISH not capable of offering an internet bundle with their satellite services, and your internet options with AT&T and Frontier being limited, you should know there are internet options available from top providers no matter where you live. These broadband internet providers offer cable, DSL, fiber, and satellite high-speed internet options that could work for you.

While you may not be able to take advantage of the discounts offered with bundling, you can still find amazing internet deals to combine with your satellite TV. Call today to hear about the amazing deals that are available to you from satellite TV and internet providers. Or click any provider link to find internet deals in your area.

Can I get satellite TV near me?

DISH and DIRECTV are the two satellite TV providers that offer satellite TV services everywhere in the U.S. This is especially beneficial to rural customers that typically cannot receive television service from cable providers. Satellite TV is also available in urban areas. There are many TV customers that choose the unique benefits and features that satellite companies offer, over the more abundant cable TV options.

You can get satellite TV near you, wherever you live. And, you have options. You can choose a basic satellite TV package or a premium package with movie channels, sports packs and much more.

Satellite TV Channels

DIRECTV and DISH offer channel packages that are comparable to cable, and in some cases, are better than cable TV. DIRECTV’s top package provides over 330 channels while DISH offers over 290 at the highest level.

Both satellite TV providers also offer 4K satellite service. This is great for those customers that have spent the money on a compatible 4K TV and want to watch television with this type of clarity. 4K Ultra HD or UHD is the resolution of the picture, and most cable TV providers can’t meet the requirements for this type of picture quality.

Your best bet is to know the channels that you want to watch and search for those channels in each package. If you want to add on sports and premium channels then you can do this on per channel basis. The average TV household tunes into 12.7 channels yet has access to nearly 200 channels. But according to the same Nielsen Total Audience Report, viewers still want access to a broad variety of content. You can get this broad variety with satellite TV channels.

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Last updated: Dec 21, 2020

Frequently Asked Questions

Both DIRECTV and DISH require a dish receiver to transmit the TV signal. This is the only way that these satellite companies can provide the best satellite TV to their customers. On the bright side, satellite TV providers often include the equipment - dish, cables, and hardware – with service. Installation is often included as well.


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While both cable TV and satellite TV are similar in the sense that they are both subscription pay-tv services, they differ in packages, channels, and quality. But the major difference is how customers receive the service into their home. Cable TV is wired, and the signal is delivered via coaxial cable lines from a distribution center. Satellite TV transmits its signal from an orbiting satellite to dish receivers affixed to the customer’s property before being relayed to the television.


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Free satellite TV is known as Free to air (FTA) satellite TV. It’s just like the free channels you get on your TV if you have a TV antenna. FTA transmits hundreds to thousands of channels via satellite. Free satellite TV is not encrypted like subscription satellite TV, but you’ll need an FTA receiver box to partake, plus the satellite dish if you also choose DIRECTV or DISH.

Don’t expect the same type of entertainment channels you get with pay-tv though. Free satellite TV broadcasts channels are public access, religious, and government channels. Although you can still find plenty of channels that include news and even sports.


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DIRECTV and DISH are the most popular satellite TV providers. There are other satellite providers that offer specific content, like the free satellite TV signals from FTA, but not the type of news, entertainment, and sports content that you get with DIRECTV, DISH, or cable TV providers.
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