\r\n\r\nAt first glance, it might appear as though the choice of the best satellite TV service should be a pretty easy one. After all, there's only two major competitors, meaning you should have a 50\/50 chance of making the correct selection.\r\n\r\nBut when you're comparing DirecTV vs\u00a0DISH Network to find the best satellite TV deals, you're not going to want to just flip a coin. Each satellite TV provider has its strengths and weaknesses, meaning if you take the time to do a little homework on DirecTV and DISH.\r\nBest Satellite\u00a0TV\r\n\r\n\u00a0DISH Network\r\n\r\n\r\nDISH Network is one of two satellite providers in the United States. \u00a0They're known for their Hopper, a DVR box that integrates Sling technology (bought by DISH a few years ago) and its ability to automatically skip Primetime show's commercials automatically after 24-hours of airing.\r\n\r\nDISH recently made headlines by offering a 3-year price guarantee if you sign a 2-year contract. \u00a0Until this, both DISH and DirecTV required a 2-year contract, with the first year of service being discounted and the second year increasing in price somewhat drastically. \u00a0DISH still offers its customer's a 2-year contract with a deeper discounted first year for those looking for service for 24-month. \u00a0But note, the 3rd year is when you experience the savings, per the table below.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nDISH Network's satellite television package is best known for their\u00a0lower priced tiers for existing customers. And to further differentiate its pricing,\u00a0DISH recently unveiled some changes to its pricing tiers, including a three-year introductory price lock guarantee for new customers, which requires a 2-year contract.\r\n\r\nRead: DIRECTV vs\u00a0Comcast\r\n\r\nFor the DISH America's Top 120 Plus service, you'll pay $49.99 a month for the three-year contract, for example. DISH has started\u00a0offering one year of free Netflix to new subscribers. HD service is free for life to new subscribers too.\r\n\r\nA few years ago, DISH didn't compete well with DirecTV's\u00a0sports programming. \u00a0However, DISH recently\u00a0made improvements in this area, adding professional sports packages including\u00a0MLB Extra Innings, NBA League Pass, and NHL Center Ice to the DISH channel lineup.\u00a0\u00a0But, DISH still cannot offer the NFL Sunday Ticket package, which is a DirecTV exclusive.\r\n\r\nDISH doesn't charge extra for the first TV receiver or for regional sports channels, which DirecTV does. And while many cable television providers will charge for local channels, DISH does not.\r\n\r\nDISH provides\u00a0the Hopper as its set top box and DVR combination, which offers the ability to record up to eight shows simultaneously with a maximum of six TVs on\u00a0the\u00a0network at one\u00a0time (there up to 4 Tuners). One Hopper box can be accessed from multiple TVs in the home, and you can pause a show in one room and resume watching it in another room. You can access the Hopper - this is called DISH Anywhere - remotely using a smartphone or tablet provided you've got an Internet connection. Of note, you will pay $10 to $15 per month for DVR service with the Hopper. It is clearly one of the best services out there.\r\n\r\nNote: DISH will soon offer 4K programming, but does not as of this posting, Jan 2016.\r\n\u00a0DirecTV\r\n\r\n\r\nDirecTV was recently acquired by AT&T. \u00a0Almost immediately, and once the merger went through, AT&T begin to offer one bill for both services, and discounted pricing for those that were willing to bundle the two services together. \u00a0DirecTV boasts a large footprint than DISH, currently offers 4K programming and the much covetted NFL Sunday ticket, which provides all access to all games on NFL Sundays (more on that below).\r\n\r\nDirecTV does a good job of matching DISH's prices for new customers, but after a\u00a012-month introductory period, DirecTV's tier pricing is higher than DISH's pricing.\r\n\r\nDirecTV does tend to include more channels in each of its tiers than does DISH. For example, in the lowest tier DirecTV includes SyFy, FX, HGTV, and USA, among other channels. DISH does not offer those channels unless you move up to a higher tier. And DirecTV offers more than 200 channels in HD all of the time, which is higher than DISH's full-time HD lineup.\u00a0However, both providers offer the most popular channels in full HD all of the time, including local channels.\r\n\r\nRead: Netflix vs Hulu Plus\r\n\r\nThe Genie is DirecTV's DVR, which can service multiple TVs in the home. You can record up to five shows at one time with Genie. However, Genie cannot match the overall storage capacity of DISH's Hopper, as Genie has only about 40% of the Hopper's storage capacity.\r\n\r\nOne interesting feature Genie and DirecTV offer that DISH does not is the ability to watch a show that you forgot to record, if it aired within the last 72 hours. DirecTV's on-screen channel guide includes 14 days of information, more than DISH. Still, if you're someone who loves to use your DVR, having the extra storage space in Hopper is tough to beat.\r\n\r\nHowever, DirecTV's biggest advantage over DISH is its exclusive offering of the NFL Sunday Ticket package, which, when combined with all of the national and regional NFL broadcasts you normally would receive, provides access to every NFL game broadcast. DirecTV also offers the professional sports packages for the NHL, NBA, and MLB. NFL fans will definitely want DirecTV.\r\n\r\nUpdate: DirecTV customers who bundle with AT&T can access unlimited data over the network, though the service provider will start to throttle speeds after 22GB of data\u00a0in a given billing period.\u00a0AT&T recently purchased DIRECTV, giving it an advantage over DISH. If you're an AT&T cellular customer, you'll want to at least contact DirecTV and see what deals you can receive with a bundle.\r\nWhat to Look for in the Best Satellite\u00a0TV Service\r\nKnow What You Want:\u00a0Make a list of the types of programming you want from your satellite television package, and then try to match your desires with the strengths of a particular service. If you're a big fan of a particular NFL team\u00a0for example, but you live outside of its local broadcasting area, DirecTV will better meet your needs with its exclusive NFL Sunday Ticket offering.\r\n\r\nExtra Services:\u00a0Both DISH and DirecTV have extra services that are a big part of the packages they offer, some of which cost more. DVR service may have a monthly fee, as might HD or 4K programming (DirecTV currently offers 4K where as DISH has it "coming soon").\r\n\r\nUse the Free Services Smartly:\u00a0Many times, DISH or DirecTV will offer to give you trial services for a few months when you initially sign up, such as for premium movie channels for 3-months. Just keep in mind when those trial expire, as they'll add a not so nice premium to your monthly bill.\r\nMistakes to\u00a0Avoid\r\nNot Asking for Deals:\u00a0If you're a new subscriber to either service and you aren't asking for special deals, you're doing yourself a disservice.\r\n\r\nA Package Tier You Don't\u00a0Need:\u00a0Make sure you understand what's available in each package. You may be tempted to upgrade to a higher tier for another $10 or $15 per month to gain a channel or two that you think you need. So\u00a0ask yourself if\u00a0that extra fee\u00a0is worth it. To save some money, try\u00a0purchasing a lower tier to start.\r\n\r\nNot Understanding Your Contract:\u00a0Both\u00a0DISH and\u00a0DirecTV will force you to sign a service contract, which usually will\u00a0be for 24 months for new customers, accompanied by an introductory price offer for 12 months. DISH recently unveiled a\u00a03-year price guaranteed\u00a0with a locked-in introductory price for the full term. Regardless of provider, if you try to cancel your satellite\u00a0service before your contract has\u00a0expired, you'll be hit with financial penalties.\r\nMost Important Satellite\u00a0TV\u00a0Features\r\nEquipment and Installation\r\n\r\n \tFor new customers, satellite TV providers will provide the satellite dish, the set top box, the remote control, installation and other basic equipment for free. Keep in mind that the service technician may need to drill some holes in walls during installation. \u00a0Though, there are now wireless boxes.\r\n\r\nSignal Reliability\r\n\r\n \tOne of the biggest downsides to satellite TV is signal reliability. If you have significant rain or snow in the area between your dish and the satellite, you might lose signal.\r\n \tKeep in mind that you'll need a clear view of the southern sky (if you live in North America) to make use of satellite television.\r\n\r\nHD and 4K Programming\r\n\r\n \tBoth DISH and DirecTV offer full HD programming on the majority of their channels. 4K (or Ultra HD) programming is currently available on DirecTV and arriving shortly (sometime in early 2016) on DISH.\r\n\r\nDVR and Set Top Box\r\n\r\n \tA DVR records programming from multiple channels, allowing you to watch it when you want, and\/or \u00a0pause and rewind live TV. You usually\u00a0can skip commercials while watching your stored programming.\r\n \tThe set top box and DVR are combined in one box for both DirecTV (Genie) and DISH Network (The Hopper - derived from Sling). DISH's Hopper claims it can store up to 500 hours of HD programming, while DirecTV's Genie can store up to 200 hours of HD programming.\r\n\r\nOn Demand Content\r\n\r\n \tBoth satellite services provide on demand content, which you can watch at your leisure. Some on demand content will require a fee, while other content is free. You can download the on demand programming to your DVR, where it will be stored until you're ready to watch it. Or, if your Internet connection is fast enough, you can watch the programming as it's being downloaded, like a streaming service.\r\n\r\nWatch Anywhere\r\n\r\n\r\n \tOne of the\u00a0biggest changes in satellite TV service in the past couple of years is the ability to watch your programming from anywhere. You can log into an Internet connection and use a password to watch programming on a smart device.\r\n\r\nPricing Tiers\r\n\r\n \tBoth services provide multiple pricing tiers. Each tier offers a certain package of channels, so you can find\u00a0the tier\u00a0that is right for you.\r\n\r\nWhich Best Satellite TV Is\u00a0Right For You?\r\nDISH has made some good strides in the past few years (see our hands on DISH Network review, making it much more competitive with DirecTV on the programming side. DISH continues to offer some good low priced tiers in its service offerings too, although DirecTV has closed the gap in pricing somewhat. DirecTV's strengths lie in its exclusive NFL football programming, as well as in its ability to bundle some cellular phone service options, as AT&T owns the satellite TV company now.