When it comes to switching from a cable to satellite dish connection, buyers usually find it hard to choose between DIRECTV and DISH. Both of these satellite dish companies have their own advantages and disadvantages. While DISH provides a live 24/7 customer assistance, the quality of customer service provided by DIRECTV is better.
DISH lets you record shows and skip commercials on recorded shows with The Hopper® device, while DIRECTV offers HD channels such as ABC Family HD, that are missing in DISH. Choosing between the two can be a little bit difficult and confusing, which is why making thorough comparisons between the two is necessary. Here is a comparison and review of five important things that one must look into before making the choice between DISH and DIRECTV. Also make sure to compare the Hopper from DISH to the DIRECTV HMC Genie.
1. Types of Packages Offered
Here are the following packages offered by DIRECTV and DISH:
DIRECTV: Five different packages offered:
The Entertainment package contains 140 channels
The Choice packages contain 140 channels
The Xtra package contains 205 channels
The Ultimate package contains 225 channels
The Premier package contains 285 channels
In addition to that, the Premier package also includes channels such as HBO, SHOWTIME, STARZ, and CINEMAX. All of the packages also include local channels. DIRECTV offers a total of 185 HD channels, more than DISH. They also offer Channels such as Disney Channel HD and ABC Family HD, which are not offered on DISH packages.
DISH: Six different packages offered:
Smart Pack contains over 55 most watched channels
America’s Top 120 contains a total of 190 channels
America’s Top 120 Plus contains over 190 channels
America’s Top 200 contains a total of 240 channels
America’s Top 250 contain a total of 290 channels
America's "Everything" Pak with over 320 channels
Both DISH and DIRECTV offer multiple language packages.
In addition to the channels offered in their packages, DIRECTV also provides you access to thousands of On Demand shows and movies as part of the package. DIRECTV also has a service that allows you to watch a selection of shows on your laptop, tablet or cell phone. DISH also offers a similar feature called the DISH AnywhereTM program which allows you to watch live and recorded TV programs. DISH also offers an alternative to Netflix called Blockbuster @HomeTM for the first three months.*
If you happen to be a big sports fan, both services offer a lot of sports channels. With the NFL Sunday Ticket (an out-of-market sports package), DIRECTV allows you to watch NFL games every Sunday. In addition to that, you can also watch college basketball and football games and buy add-ons such as NBA League Pass, Fox Soccer Plus and MLB Extra Innings. DISH offers the NFL RedZone that goes inside the 20-yard line where the action is.
Verdict: When it comes to the packages and features offered by both DIRECTV and DISH, it’s up to you to decide which sports packages you value more.
2. Price Of The Packages
The subscription fee for DIRECTV packages cost around $54.99/month to $124.99/month, while DISH’s packages range from $34.99/month to $131.99/month (with teaser rates of $19.99/month – $86.99/month).
Premium packages are priced more or less the same on both DISH and DIRECTV.
The monthly subscription fees for HBO and SHOWTIME on DISH are $19 and $14 respectively, while DIRECTV charges a subscription fee of $17.99/month for HBO and $12.99 for SHOWTIME. New customers a free subscription of premium channels for 3 months on both DISH and DIRECTV. Both companies also offer the best pricing for a 24 month contract.
Verdict: From the price point of view, DISH offers a better price on their packages.
3. Equipment, Special Features and On-Demand Services
Both DISH and DIRECTV offer a variety of DVR and non-DVR receivers. On DISH, buyers have the option of The Hopper, a DVR that comes with the feature called “PrimeTime Anytime” which automatically records up to 8 shows during primetime broadcasts and also automatically edits out any commercials in recorded shows.
On purchasing a 24-month contract, Hopper is offered free for 12 months (excluding fees for the DVR/receiver). In addition, the Hopper comes equipped with the SlingBox technology to watch live TV and DVR recordings remotely from personal electronic devices using the downloadable DISH AnywhereTM App.
DIRECTV doesn’t have a similar DVR device such as the Hopper, but it has recently introduced The Genie HD DVR, which allows you to enjoy a full HD DVR service in every room without having to install separate receivers, it also allows you to record 5 shows at the same time in HD quality. The Genie also comes with the “Genie Recommends” feature which automatically recommends shows based on your viewing habits and also automatically records them for you. In addition to that, The Genie can be synched with a small device called the “Nomad” for $150 and which will allow you to watch recorded programs on your mobile device.
You will have to pay an additional $10 per month for the HD service on DIRECTV, but on DISH you have the option of having your HD subscription fees waived for 2 years* if you enroll in AutoPay with Paperless Billing.
Verdict: Features wise, the DISH Hopper is a better choice than the DIRECTV Genie.
4. Cost of Installation
Both DIRECTV and DISH offers a free standard professional installation on most of their equipment. The standard professional installation includes tasks such as installing your satellite dish, getting everything connected and a demonstration on how to use your service. Other tasks such as wall mounting of TVs, home theaters and wireless networks are included as a part of their custom installation and package, and are charged depending on the type of work performed.
Verdict: The installation procedures for both DISH and DIRECTV are the same; a free standard installation and a paid custom installation with a 2 year agreement.
5. Quality of Customer Service
When it comes to customer service, DIRECTV offers a 24/7 assistance through email or phone. In case you face any issues with your installation or device, you can always call or email them schedule a visit from the technician the following day. In addition to that DIRECTV also comes with a device Protection Plan with as subscription fee of $5.99/month and Protection Plan Premier with a subscription fee of $19.99/month.
Similarly, DISH also offers 24/7 customer support via phone, email, chat or Twitter. DISH seems to be the only entertainment provider offering a live 24/7 customer support service. DIRECTV also offers a 24/7 technical support, but their customer care center remains open from 8AM to 1 AM only. DIRECTV also offers users the option of ordering movies and events, making payments, changing programming and finding troubleshooting help through their website and automated phone system.
While DISH may not offer as many channels, its packages are the cheapest and in addition to that it comes with The Hopper; a feature that is exclusive to DISH. DIRECTV may be offering a huge number of channels in their packages, but it is always better to make a choice depending upon whether they include your favorite channels or not. Also remember to calculate the bills you will be paying once the promotions or offers expire, and always negotiate with customer service in order to get the best deals on fees, packages, premium channels and other services.
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