In our DIRECTV versus DISH review for 2021, we show how each has their benefits and drawbacks – and which one may be right for you. Ready to switch from cable to satellite tv?
At a high level, DIRECTV is known for better customer service, but DISH is actually the provider with live 24/7 assistance. DISH has the Hopper®, which lets you skip commercials in Primetime, but DIRECTV has some basic HD channels DISH is missing (like ABC Family HD). Below are some other important things to consider as you compare DIRECTV and DISH, divided into relevant categories.
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Why did we pick DISH? Well, after spending countless hours examining each satellite provider, DISH offered the best balance of channels, tech features and cost. While DISH lacks the NFL Sunday Ticket (a DIRECTV exclusive), their Hopper and Joey boxes have proven themselves again and again as reliable pieces of hardware. Moreover, the Hopper allows you to skip commercials on major network TV channels (after 24 hours), and can be accessed any where you’ve got an Internet connection. Lastly, their 2 year price lock guarantee removes the sticker shock that often comes when a 2-year contract is half way complete. In other words, you won’t be surprised by a spike in cost, provided you opt for this feature.
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Each provider offers six different packages to choose from.
The DIRECTV Premier package includes Showtime, Starz. In all packages, local channels are included. With 185 HD channels, DIRECTV boasts the most HD offerings. For example, DIRECTV offers Disney Channel HD and ABC Family HD, while DISH does not.
If you don’t get the Premier package, DIRECTV also offers discounts on premium channels at the beginning of service – and you can also get discounts on additional premium channels once you add one.
With all packages, DIRECTV also gives you access to thousands of On Demand shows and movies as part of your package – and though it’s taken the company a while to get technologically savvy, you can now watch a selection of shows anywhere on your laptop, tablet or cell phone.
Update as of 10/2015: AT&T recently acquired DIRECTV. Now you can bundle your DIRECTV with your AT&T Wireless bill. The packages are as follows:
*AT&T may have discontinued these bundles as of Jan 2016. It doesn’t hurt to ask, though.
DISH, on the other hand, also has thousands of movies and TV shows on demand at the push of a button. They also offer DISH Anywhere™, which allows you to watch programs on your smart device, such as an iPad or Android phone.
If you’re a big sports fan, DIRECTV is probably the best choice. No matter where you live, DIRECTV offers every out-of-market NFL game every Sunday (DISH has other sports, but not the NFL) with the popular NFL Sunday Ticket. You can also watch college football and basketball and purchase add-ons like NBA League Pass, Fox Soccer Plus and MLB Extra Innings.
And if you’re wondering what channel is what (as in what channel is Fox on DISH), be sure to checkout our easy to use, and searchable, DISH Network Channel Guide.
Update: As of 10/27/2016 DISH discontinued first year pricing. Replacing that is DISH’s 2-year pricing guarantee.
DirecTV offers a discount for the first 12-months. As of 10/27/2016 it is now the only provider to offer a first-year discount, with pricing increasing in month 13. Since you must sign a 24-month contract you will be paying the higher rate by month 13. Both DISH and DIRECTV offer 3 months of free premium channels for new customers on select packages.
Winner: DISH, which has the cheapest options and cheapest teaser rates, plus they now offer locked pricing for 2-years on a 2-year contract.
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When comparing DIRECTV and DISH, both offer a variety of DVR and non-DVR receivers.
DIRECTV charges an additional $10/month for HD service; DISH charges the same but waives the fee with HD FREE for Life for the life of the account if you enroll in AutoPay with Paperless Billing.
Most DIRECTV equipment offers include standard professional installation from a highly trained installer who will install your satellite dish, get everything connected and show you how to use your service. Some installations may require additional custom work that is not included.
Similarly, DISH offers free installation for satellite service. You can also purchase a custom installation of TVs (such as wall mounting), home theaters and wireless networks.
You can call or email DIRECTV 24/7 for assistance. If a technician needs to come to your property to fix something, this can often be scheduled for the following day. DIRECTV also offers a device Protection Plan for $5.99/month and Protection Plan Premier for $19.99/month. DIRECTV offers 24/7 technical support (its their customer care center that’s only open 8:00 AM to 1 AM ET daily). Also, you can use DIRECTV’s automated phone system and website 24/7 to order movies and events, make payments, change programming and find troubleshooting help.
DISH also offers 24/7 support via phone, email, chat or Twitter. DISH claims to be the only entertainment provider with 24/7 live customer service.
Winner: Tie – both companies offer standard customer support procedures. DIRECTV has a better reputation for customer service, but DISH seems to be making an effort with its 24/7 live customer service.
While DISH may not have every channel DIRECTV does, it is the cheapest when it comes to selection packages, and there is no overlooking The Hopper, a tempting feature exclusive to DISH. To make the best choice, check the channel lineups for your favorite channels (especially if HD is a must for you); many of DIRECTV’s hundreds of channels might be superfluous to you, anyway. You should also calculate what your bill will be after promotions expire just to avoid any sticker shock.
Gadget Review is an authorized retailer of DISH Network L.L.C. DISH, DISH Network and DISH Network logos are trademarks, registered trademarks and/or service marks of DISH Network L.L.C. and/or its affiliate(s). The DISH Network trademarks, registered trademarks and/or service marks are used under license of DISH Network L.L.C. and/or its affiliate(s)
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