DISH Network Vs. DirecTV: Cost Breakdown for Satellite Providers

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January 3rd, 2017 by

DirecTV and DISH Network are the two choices most people turn to when looking for a satellite television and internet provider. These companies both offer outstanding products and support, making it difficult for potential customers to choose one to set up a new service with. With that in mind, we will be taking a look at a variety of categories and comparing DISH and DirecTV in each.

We began this process by examining the hardware and found that DISH came out ahead thanks to its superior Hopper3 DVR. Let’s continue it by going over the prices these companies are charging and see which comes out ahead.


Both DISH Network and DirecTV are known for having massive amounts of content available to viewers. Satellite television generally dwarfs the cable providers in this area, with both companies offering over 300 channels—depending on the package you choose—which are almost all available in high-definition, promotional deals for free months of premium channels such as HBO and Starz, and free local broadcasting. However, when you get down to the details, there are some noticeable variance between DISH and DirecTV—especially when it comes to costs.

A good place to start analyzing the differences in DISH Network and DirecTV prices is the packages. Choosing one is the first step towards customizing your viewing experience and will have the biggest impact on what and how you can watch television. It also will be the main factor in determining your bill.

See below for a cost breakdown of the six main packages from each provider:

DISH Network Channels Price DirecTV Channels Price (After 1-year Promotional Price)
Flexpack 77+Customize Your Channels $59.99 SELECT 145+ $88.00
America’s Top 120 190+ $54.99 ENTERTAINMENT 150+ $98.00
America’s Top 120 PLUS 190+ $39.99 CHOICE 175+ $111.00
America’s Top 200 240+ $64.99 XTRA 220+ $118.00
America’s Top 250 290+ $74.99 ULTIMATE 240+ $128.00
America’s “Everything” Pak 330+ $99.99 PREMIER 315+ $181.00

As you can see in the table, DirecTV’s prices are listed as what they come to after the first year. The company utilizes a promotional tactic of giving customers a discount during their initial 12 months of service before drastically raising the rates. For example, the cheapest package—Select—is just $50 per month at the onset before spiking up to $88 for the exact same offering. The most expensive—Premier—goes from $125 all the way up to $181.

This is absolutely worth considering for subscribers who plan to stick with a provider for more than just a year. Once the introductory rates from DirecTV expire, the bill will be much tougher to swallow—especially considering you won’t be getting anything extra once the price shoots up.

DISH Network has a clear advantage here, as they are upfront with their costs and do not raise them after a year. While some packages may be a tad more expensive at the outset, they end up averaging out to be much cheaper as the years go on. DISH is also the best option for those who want to experience the highest tiers of television, with their premium America’s “Everything” Pak granting 330+ channels for less than $100 per month. That is more cost effective than DirecTV’s highest-end Premier pack, which has just 315 channels and has a higher cost—even during the first promotional rate year.

If you are looking to get the best value, DISH offers a free installation for up to seven television sets, while DirecTV will do up to four rooms. For most homes, especially those with large families living in them, DISH will be the better deal. Both companies will provide a free DVR upgrade, although DISH Network’s requires a 24-month contract in order to gain a free Hopper 3. DISH makes up for this by offering free HD programming for the lifetime of service, something DirecTV does not offer.

The biggest thing that distinguishes the two satellite companies from one another is price guarantee. DISH gives customers peace of mind by signing an agreement that states they will not raise their prices for two years when you sign up. DirecTV only locks in your price for one year. Considering they raise rates in a big way after those first 12 months, it is clear that DISH is the way to go for cost conscious consumers.

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Based on the average American Customer Satisfaction Index comparison of major TV providers (2010-2015). 2Based on a nationwide study of signal reception by DISH customers.
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"DISH is cheaper, better deal, best customer service. DISH's equipment is user-friendly and easy to use."

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"Customer service is better, pricing better and DISH has no hidden charges."

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"DISH has some really great features. The DVR has a huge amount of space which has been awesome given that everyone in the family records programs. We have really enjoyed using DISH and would recommend it."

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"Love the Hopper and all it has to offer. DISH is the best with service and quality everything that you want without having to go elsewhere. Great service techs. Wouldn't go anywhere else."