One of the most commonly-asked questions deals with two different service providers - which one is better? The answer to this question is "It depends on what you're looking for." While this may not be the answer you're looking for as a consumer, it's the most truthful answer. We provide a comparison of two Internet and TV providers - Verizon Fios and DIRECTV.
Price Shoppers and Sports Fans
Keep a watchful eye on both Verizon Fios and DIRECTV. These two companies are constantly running deals on sports channel packages geared toward both new and existing customers, and the two companies are in a constant "price war." The intense competition between these two companies is great for you as the consumer - you might find yourself a great deal on a sports package that's right for you and/or your budget.
Internet and TV Packages
Verizon Fios is a clear win. They offer great deals geared toward customers who bundle their TV and Internet packages. However, DIRECTV's recent merger with AT&T means they can offer TV and Internet packages at close to the same speeds as Verizon's Fios packages. The caveat: AT&T's Internet services may not be available in your particular area, so you might be stuck with DIRECTV's satellite connection for Internet service, and that doesn't even come close in speed to what Verizon Fios can provide.
If You Hate Satellite Dishes, Choose Verizon Fios
If you don't like the idea of having a satellite dish cluttering up your roof, you should go with Verizon Fios. With Verizon, you don't need a satellite dish, which keeps your roof tidy.
Satellite television also has a critical flaw. The nature of RF signals makes satellite television extremely susceptible to changing weather conditions. Heavy cloud cover and severe storms can both interfere with the TV signal. Imagine watching your favorite show and suddenly having your screen go black. This is caused by a very simple concept known as reflection. RF signals bounce off reflective surfaces, especially water vapor in the upper atmosphere. Since clouds are made mostly of water vapor, the signal is reflected into space once the signal hits the clouds, and the signal never reaches your dish until the clouds thin out or the rain stops. This makes satellite TV a poor choice in very rainy areas.
Furthermore, just as heavy cloud cover and severe storms can interfere with the TV signal, obstructions in the sky can decrease the signal strength. Your satellite TV provider may not find it profitable to install service in your particular area if the sky is overcrowded by trees, telephone poles, skyscrapers or other obstructions RF signals may have difficulty penetrating.
Recommendations for Families
For families, sometimes it's worth spending a little extra to get the highest quality possible, and that goes double for selecting a great Internet and television provider. Here, Verizon Fios clearly comes out on top when it comes to picture clarity. When a television signal is transmitted via satellite, it has to be compressed into a smaller format in order to prevent stuttering because satellites are not capable of transmitting large amounts of data very quickly. As the signal is compressed, the picture quality suffers.
On the other hand, Verizon Fios uses fiber-optic lines. Fiber-optic lines are capable of transmitting large amounts of data more quickly because data is transmitted at the speed of light. The signal doesn't need to be compressed as much, and you get better picture quality. This makes the extra $7 a true bargain for what you get.
While DIRECTV does offer attractive options as far as sports packages, their television services are spotty are highly susceptible to weather changes due to the use of outdated satellite and RF signals, especially in very wet areas of the country or in areas where the signal could potentially be blocked by obstructions.
However, DIRECTV is not all bad. If you're in a position where picture quality and Internet speed are not an issue for you, DIRECTV provides a slightly more cost-effective solution for television and Internet services, and the constant price war between DIRECTV and Verizon Fios will sometimes help you find competitive pricing on both sports and movie packages.
Verizon Fios services, on the other hand, use super-fast fiber-optic lines that are designed to carry large amounts of data very quickly. As a result, the online gaming and browsing experiences are top-notch, and picture quality is beyond exemplary. DIRECTV's recent merger with AT&T has made them slightly more competitive in the high-speed Internet industry, but AT&T Internet services are not available in all areas, and speed can barely compete with what you get from Verizon's Fios services.
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