Comparing DISH and DIRECTV: An Expanded Guide to Satellite TV Providers

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Written by

Jason Lin
Jason Lin

Published on

All ArticlesDirecTV, Dish TV, Review
Dish Tv Vs Directv

Cutting the cord on cable doesn’t mean you have to give up live television. Satellite TV from major providers like Dish TV and DirecTV offers an alternative with competitive channel packages and advanced DVR features. With satellite, you get access to hundreds of popular national HD channels, local broadcast stations, regional sports networks, and premium movie channels without the need for cable wiring.

However, navigating the world of satellite television requires an understanding of the key differences between the major providers. This comprehensive guide compares Dish TV and DirecTV to help you determine which is the better fit based on channel selections, equipment, installation, support, and value.

Dish TV vs DirecTV Overview

While Dish TV and DirecTV are both satellite television providers that offer similar packages, there are some notable differences that can help determine which is the better option for your home.

Pricing and Contracts

  • Dish TV offers price locks to prevent increases for 2 or 3 years. Their America’s Top packages range from $94.99 to $104.99 per month.
  • DirecTV has a 2 year contract with all packages. Their CHOICE package starts at $84.99 per month with fees.
  • Both carry early termination fees around $10-20 per remaining month.
  • DirecTV has more hidden fees like the Regional Sports Fee and activation fees.

Channel Lineups

  • Dish TV offers 190-290+ channels depending on package selected. Packages focus more on variety and niche channels.
  • DirecTV provides between 150-340+ channels grouped by broader appeal tiers. Bigger focus on sports.
  • DirecTV carries more regional sports networks. Dish has a wider selection of international programming.
  • Dish offers the option to build a custom channel package.

DVR and Equipment

  • The Dish Hopper 3 has significantly more storage, simultaneous recordings, and built-in apps compared to DirecTV’s Genie DVR.
  • Additional mini boxes are comparable between the two providers.
  • Both offer optional whole home DVR functionality.

Installation and Support

  • Dish TV provides free standard professional installation in up to 6 rooms.
  • DirecTV offers free installation but additional fees can apply for more than 4 rooms.
  • Customer satisfaction ratings are nearly identical between the two providers. Both offer 24/7 support.


  • Bundling options are limited for both providers. No triple play bundles available.
  • DirecTV allows bundling internet with AT&T in certain areas. Dish has no internet bundles.
  • Users can save by bundling satellite service with home security systems.

Now let’s take an in-depth look at exactly what Dish TV and DirecTV are offering across these categories in 2023.

Dish TV Packages and Pricing

Dish Logo

Dish TV divides its programming into three main America’s Top packages, providing between 190 and 290+ channels. These form the base for adding sports, movie, and international packages.

Dish America’s Top Packages

America’s Top 120 ($94.99/month) – 190+ channels

The lowest tier package from Dish TV with popular channels like HGTV, ESPN, Disney, and more.

America’s Top 200 ($104.99/month) – 240+ channels

Mid-tier programming adds 65+ more channels like BBCA, MTV2, Discovery Family, and Investigation Discovery.

America’s Top 250 ($114.99/month) – 290+ channels

The biggest America’s Top bundle has 50 more channels on top of Top 200 with options like Pivot, Disney XD, BBC World News, and Sony Movie Channel.

All Dish TV packages include:

  • Access to Dishanywhere mobile app
  • PrimeTime Anytime – Skip commercials on ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox
  • AutoHop – Skip commercials on recorded primetime shows from major networks
  • Voice remote with Google Assistant built-in

Hopper Duo DVR comes standard, with Hopper 3 available for $5/month upgrade fee.

Dish Additional Packages

Flex Pack ($84.99/month) – 50+ channels

Build-your-own package with a minimum of 50 channels. Add channel packs like Kids, Variety, Action, and more.

DISH Movie Pack ($10/month) – Includes EPIX, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Sony Movie Channel and more.

International Basic ($15/month) – Over 28 languages and programming like TV Asia, SET Asia, TV Polonia, CONtv Anime, and more.

Dish Fees

  • Monthly receiver fees – $5-15 per month
  • DVR Service fee – $10 per month (included with Hopper upgrade)
  • Regional Sports Fee – Up to $3 per month
  • Activation Fee – $10-50 one-time based on qualification
  • Early termination fees – $10-20 per remaining month

DirecTV Packages and Pricing

Directv Stream Logo

DirecTV divides its programming into four main packages, ranging from limited basic channels to the fully loaded premium package.

DirecTV Base Packages

ENTERTAINMENT ($69.99/month) – 140+ channels

The bare minimum basics like TBS, USA, TNT, Disney, Nickelodeon, and more.

CHOICE ($84.99/month) – 150+ channels

Adds 25+ popular cable channels like FX, ESPN2, MSNBC, Lifetime, and Spike.

ULTIMATE ($114.99/month) – 250+ channels

Jumps to over 90 additional channels like CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, BBC America, and more.

PREMIER ($154.99/month) – 340+ channels

The full DirecTV experience with every channel available, including HBO, SHOWTIME, STARZ, CINEMAX, and regional sports networks.

Contracts are 24 months for all DirecTV packages. Base pricing includes HD channels and Genie HD DVR (fees apply).

DirecTV Premium Add-ons

  • NFL Sunday Ticket ($69.99-394.99/season)
  • NBA League Pass ($28.99-249/season)
  • Sports Pack ($13.99/month, includes 23 channels like MLB Network, Golf Channel, CBS Sports Network, and more)
  • Movies Extra Pack ($4.99/month, includes 8 movie channels)

DirecTV carries NFL Sunday Ticket, which has moved from being exclusive to DirecTV and is also now offered on streaming services like YouTube TV and FuboTV.

DirecTV Fees

  • Advanced Receiver Service – $15/month for main Genie DVR
  • Additional TV fee – $7 per month per receiver
  • Regional Sports Fee – Up to $15.99 per month depending on location
  • Activation fee – $19.95 one-time
  • Early termination fees – $10-20 per remaining month

Comparing the Dish TV and DirecTV base packages and pricing structures shows that DirecTV prioritizes channels with mass market appeal while Dish focuses more on variety and niche programming.

Customers wanting full access to all available programming will pay the highest monthly price with DirecTV, while those looking for fewer channels can save substantially by selecting Dish’s America’s Top 120 plan.

Dish vs DirecTV Channels

When examining the Dish TV channel lineup vs DirecTV’s channel lineup, you’ll find the specific channel offerings differ across packages.

Here are some of the key differences in available channels.

Local Broadcast Channels

Both Dish TV and DirecTV provide local broadcast channels like ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and PBS depending on what’s available in your area. These are usually included automatically based on the zip code entered.

With Dish TV, subscribers can add a Multi-channel package for $12/month to access other local channels not allocated by default based on region.

The local channel offerings can vary between the two, so it helps to enter your zip code during signup to see exactly what’s available.

Regional Sports Networks

For fans wanting to follow their local teams, access to regional sports networks (RSNs) is crucial.

DirecTV has the edge here, with a total of 40 available RSNs covering networks like Root Sports, MASN, Altitude, SportsNet LA, NESN, and more.

Directv Stream Sports Content

Comparatively, Dish TV provides around 25 RSNs on average, but availability depends highly on location. Soccer fans may prefer Dish thanks to their exclusive English and Spanish language soccer packages.

Again, entering a zip code before signing up can clarify precisely which RSNs are accessible.

Premium Movie Channels

Both Dish TV and DirecTV offer the major premium movie channels like HBO, SHOWTIME, STARZ, and Cinemax either standalone or as part of bundled packages.

Dish has a lower regular price on channels like HBO ($15/month vs $19.99 on DirecTV) but DirecTV typically offers longer free previews after signing up. For example, new DirecTV users may get HBO included for the first 12 months.

Dish Guide

If premium channels are high priorities, the total costs long-term need factoring into any comparisons between the two.

Dish vs DirecTV DVR and Equipment

The Dish Hopper 3 and DirecTV Genie HD DVRs both allow you to easily record shows, watch on multiple screens, and access On Demand libraries. But there are some significant advantages offered by Dish that satellite customers seeking a lot of recording capacity will want to consider.

Hopper vs Genie DVR

Hopper 3 (Dish)

  • 500 hour HD storage capacity
  • 16 Shows at once recording
  • Built-in Netflix, YouTube, web browser apps
  • Voice Control remote
  • 4K compatible
Dish Dvr 1

Genie HD DVR (DirecTV)

  • 200 hour HD storage capacity
  • 5 Shows simultaneous recordings
  • Voice control through extra remote
  • 4K compatible
Directv Stream Cloud Dvr

The numbers speak for themselves – with 3 times more available HD space for recordings and capability to record over 3 times as many shows simultaneously, the Dish Hopper 3 is far and away the superior satellite DVR option.

While the DirecTV Genie DVR allows you to record in HD quality and offers the core functionality needed to watch and record satellite TV, power users will benefit from the Hopper 3’s vast capacities.

Joey vs Genie Mini

Both Dish TV and DirecTV offer client boxes called Joeys and Genie Minis that connect to the main DVR and allow you to access recordings on additional TV sets.

Genie Mini (DirecTV)

  • $7 per month per receiver
  • Connects wirelessly to main Genie DVR
  • Access all shows recorded on Genie

Joey (Dish)

  • $5-10 per month based on model
  • Connects via coax or wirelessly
  • Access all Hopper recordings
  • Record basic HD available on some models

The client boxes are very comparable between the two providers. Dish TV gives you more flexibility at lower price points for adding multi-room capabilities.

Installation and Warranties

Dish TV provides free standard professional installation included for up to 6 rooms in your home. All equipment carries a 2 year warranty.

DirecTV offers free installation for the first 4 rooms. Additional receiver installation incurs $99-$199 fees per room. Equipment is covered by a 1 year warranty.

Dish vs DirecTV Installation and Support

Understanding what’s involved for getting Dish TV or DirecTV installed and accessing technical support if issues come up further clarifies differences between the two satellite options.

Installation Process

For new customers, both Dish TV and DirecTV include free standard installation when signing up. This means a professional technician will come set up your satellite dish and connecting cabling at no added cost in most situations.

However, Dish TV provides installation in up to 6 rooms included compared to just 4 rooms with DirecTV before extra fees apply.

The installation appointment is typically set within 1-2 weeks of signing up. Dishes are set up with a clear direct line of sight to the southern sky, either on the roof or mounted to an exterior wall. The technician will drill entry holes if needed and run any necessary cabling.

Dish Installation Process

Once everything is set up, the installer will activate your receivers and demonstrate the equipment.

Technical Support

Both Dish TV and DirecTV provide 24/7 customer support via phone, online chat, and self-help options through their websites and apps.

Common requests fielded by technical specialists include:

  • Activation and installation questions
  • Account management and billing questions
  • DVR, remote, and receiver troubleshooting (like Dish TV no sound or black screen issues)
  • Satellite signal reception issues
  • Adding/removing channel packages
  • Scheduling service calls for malfunctioning equipment

Support is generally knowledgeable and responsive for both providers. Techs are able to troubleshoot issues in real-time, offer tips for basic fixes, and dispatch technicians when needed.

Get tips on troubleshooting common DirecTV problems like freezing and closed captioning.

If problems require in-person attention, customer service can schedule appointments. Service fees may apply if issues stem from faulty installations or customer errors.

Customer Satisfaction

According to the American Consumer Satisfaction Index, Dish TV and DirecTV are neck and neck when it comes to overall customer satisfaction:

  • Dish TV – 65/100
  • DirecTV – 66/100

These ratings put them right in line with major cable providers like Xfinity and Spectrum. Satellite subscribers are much happier compared to fiber optics leaders like Frontier (50) and Verizon FIOS (59).

The numbers validate that Dish and DirecTV offer a positive customer experience relative to alternatives. Factors like knowledgeable reps and technicians, flexibility in programming changes, and robust DVR functionality contribute to pleasing users long-term.

For most, deciding between satellite companies depends less on customer service metrics and more on channel availability, pricing, contract terms, and included equipment.

Bundling Options

Unlike cable providers, Dish TV and DirecTV have limited abilities for bundling television with internet and home phone service. There are still some scenarios where consumers can achieve cost savings, but television is the sole focus.

Bundling Internet

Since Dish TV and DirecTV provide satellite service, they cannot offer bundled broadband internet plans using their own infrastructure.

However, DirecTV subscribers have the option in some regions to bundle DirecTV with AT&T internet or AT&T Fiber. This allows you to get high speed internet along with the Genie DVR equipment and satellite television service all on one bill.

Directv Bundling Internet

Availability depends on location – enter your zip code on DirecTV’s website during signup to determine if AT&T bundles are accessible.

Dish TV has no current options for bundling satellite TV with home internet. Users need a completely separate internet provider like cable or fiber optics in conjunction with Dish programming. See how Dish compares to cable providers like Xfinity and Spectrum.

Bundling Home Services

There are opportunities to bundle TV entertainment with other home services by pairing Dish or DirecTV with leading smart home security providers:

Dish + Frontpoint

Bundling satellite TV with Frontpoint’s DIY home security systems can achieve 20% off the total cost. This ensures protection for the entire property including door and window sensors, motion detectors, cameras, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and more.

DirecTV + Vivint Smart Home

Pairing DirecTV programming with Vivint’s pro-installed systems secured by 24/7 professional monitoring enables customers to save upwards of 30% depending on region. Vivint automates lights, locks, cameras, environmental controls and security through one integrated platform.

Combining satellite service with smart home tech allows households to upgrade entertainment and protection with substantial long term savings and value.

Which is Better – Dish or DirecTV?

We compared Dish TV and DirecTV across the major categories subscribers evaluate when choosing satellite – primarily cost, channels, technology, and service.

Based on those analyses:

  • DirecTV is the best option for sports fans wanting tons of national sports networks plus accessibility to local regional broadcasts and NFL packages. Their base bundles emphasize sports programming.
  • Dish TV excels for lower pricing especially for entry level packages. Feature-packed Hopper DVR surpasses DirecTV equipment. Wider range of family and niche channels.
  • Customer satisfaction and installation process is on par between the two. Dish TV prioritizes support experience more through tech tracking tools.

For most viewers, Dish TV reigns as the better overall value thanks to cheaper base pricing and superior DVR hardware. DirecTV appeals more to die-hard sports enthusiasts willing to pay higher rates for content breadth. Either provider beats cable TV for HD quality, bundles, and customer service.

We suggest using the Zip Code tool during signup along with examining base channel listings to determine if one edges out the other for your location and preferences.

Key Takeaways

Deciding between Dish TV and DirecTV for satellite service primarily depends on your channel priorities, price considerations, and desired equipment functionality.

Based on our comparisons, these are the key highlights to factor into your decision:

  • Dish TV offers cheaper base pricing, especially for lower channel tiers. No hidden fees beyond DVR upcharges and Sports Surcharge.
  • DirecTV carries significantly more national and regional sports networks, including Sunday Ticket access.
  • The Dish Hopper 3 DVR provides exponentially more storage capacity and simultaneous recordings than the DirecTV Genie.
  • Dish has a much wider variety of family, lifestyle and international programming.
  • Customer service and installation satisfaction ratings are nearly equal between the two providers.
  • Limited abilities to bundle TV with internet or home phone services. DirecTV allows bundling with AT&T in some regions.
  • Both allow discounted bundling when adding affiliated smart home security systems.

Weigh your personal preferences for sports programming, long term cost factors, number of TVs in the home, and desired channels to determine if Dish or DirecTV better aligns with your household viewing habits.

For their superior DVR functionality and cheaper packages, Dish TV sets themselves apart as the best satellite option for a majority of viewers. DirecTV takes the prize for sports enthusiasts wanting tons of national and regional dedicated sports networks.


Can I get local channels with Dish and DirecTV?

Yes. Both Dish TV and DirecTV provide HD local broadcast stations like ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and more based on regional availability. Local channel offerings depend on precise location.

Do DISH and DirecTV require contracts?

Dish TV and DirecTV currently both require two year contracts for new customers. Base pricing stays the same during contract period. Existing subscribers can shift to month-to-month plans in some cases.

What are common reasons satellite TV fails during storms?

Heavy rain, snow or high winds can temporarily disrupt satellite reception. Outages typically resolve within hours after the disruptive weather passes. Technicians can adjust positioning of the dish to minimize future impacts.

Can I take my Dish/DirecTV service with me when moving?

Maybe. Providing service depends on getting a clear unobstructed view of the southern sky for receiving the satellite signal at your new location. An existing dish can get moved for around $100-200 in reinstallation fees.

Do I need a satellite dish for DirecTV if I have fast internet?

DirecTV offers satellite-based service requiring a dish as well as an internet streaming version with their DirecTV Stream package. No satellite dish gets installed for the streaming option – the Genie DVR connects directly to your home WiFi network.

What happens when my Dish/DirecTV contract ends?

At the end of your two year promotional contract, you typically revert to a month-to-month payment cycle based on standard package rates. This often entails price increases of $20 or more per month. New two year agreements can get signed to lock in lower prices again.

Still have questions about selecting between DirecTV vs Dish TV for satellite service? Our experts monitor latest deals and can offer personalized advice on finding the best fit based on your viewing preferences, available channels, household needs and budget.