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Why Dish Is Better Than DirecTV

Updated on October 10, 2017
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I worked as a technical support agent for DirecTV for 2 years, learning the ins and outs of all things associated with DirecTV.

Which Is Better, DirecTV or Dish Network?

As a former Direct TV technical support representative, I learned everything there is to know about Direct TV and their competitors. With the comparative analysis and data reports provided to me and personal research I have performed, I have constructed a detailed guide to provide you with everything you should know before choosing one of the two satellite television service providers.

The Top 3 Things Customers Consider

Cost is the #1 factor that potential and existing customers consider when choosing a television service provider. How much will the service cost me? Which service provides the best value for the least cost?

Channels provided and available add-on movie channels are the seond biggest concern potential and existing customers ask about. Does DirecTV/Dish offer the channels I am getting from my current provider? How much does it cost to add HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, or Starz? Can I get the same amount of channels for less money?

DVR capabilities and the most dependable, advanced equipment is the 3rd biggest inquiry customers have before choosing a service provider. How many programs can I record at one time? How many rooms can I connect with one receiver? Does DirecTV/Dish offer 4K HD service? Is this the best receiver technology available?

The following segments will thoroughly address each of these concerns and give you the information you need to determine which service best fits your needs.

DirecTV Vs. Dish Network Customer Service

While it may not seem important at the time, customer service is one of the biggest aspects you should consider when choosing any service provider whether it be television, internet or any other service. If you choose to subscribe or are already a member of either DirecTV or Dish Network, you will eventually have a problem with television service or technical error.

To further demonstrate my point, when I worked for DirecTV, there were more than 16 different technical support call centers. Each call center had at least 200 technical support representatives. That is roughly 3,200 employees, not including supervisors and service technicians. On an average day, I took about 40 calls, which means the total amount of calls taken per day by all of the call centers combined was an estimated 128,000. Using that statistic, each year, over 46 million calls are made due to technical issues alone. Now do you see why I am putting emphasis on the value of good customer service?

In order to keep this brief, DirecTV has better customer service reviews, but Dish Network offers 24/7 live customer service. Even though DirecTV is known for better customer service, there is something to be said for having access to 24/7 support. I am calling this one a tie.

Winner - Tie

Do you have DirecTV or DISH?

Who has given you better customer service?

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DirecTV Vs. Dish Network Package Cost

Channel Count
DirecTV - Select Package
$50 ($90 after 1st year)
150+ Channels
DirecTV - Entertainment Package
$55 ($101 after 1st year)
155+ Channels
Dish - America's Top 120
$49.99 ($69.99 after 2 years)
190 Channels
DirecTV - Choice Package
$60 ($115 after 1st year)
185+ Channels
Dish - America's Top 120+
$59.99 ($74.99 after 2 years)
190+ Channels
DirecTV - XTRA Package
$70 ($124 after 1st year)
230+ Channels
Dish - America's Top 200
$69.99 ($84.99 after 2 years)
240+ Channels
DirecTV - Ultimate Package
$75 ($134 after 1st year)
245+ Channels
Dish - America's Top 250
$79.99 ($94.99 after 2 years)
290+ Channels
DirecTV - Premiere Package
$125 ($187 after 1st year)
325+ Channels
Prices based on new customers for 2017.

Using the table provided above, we can determine that Dish Network offers the best package for the lowest cost in the "America's Top 120" package for only $49.99, which includes 40 more channels than DirecTV's lowest available package, "Select", which offers only 152 channels for $50.

We can also see that Dish Network offers the cheapest package for the most channels in the "America's Top 250" package, which includes over 290 channels for only $79.99. While DirecTV's "Premiere" package does offer over 325 channels, the additional 35 channels that are not included in Dish Network's "America's Top 250" package, are made up, mostly, of movie channels such as HBO, Cinemax and Showtime.

Since Dish Network proactively offers a free HBO subscription for 1 year and 3 free month subscriptions to Showtime, Cinemax and Starz ($10 each after 3 months. $30 total for all 3), I am also giving Dish Network a point for best available package for cost.

Winner - Dish Network

Which package would you choose?

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DirecTV Vs. Dish Network DVR & HD equipment

DirecTV Genie
Dish Network Hopper 3
Storage Capacity
800 hours of SD or 200 hours HD
2,000 hours of SD or 500 hours of HD
Monthly service fee
Installation Fee
Tuners for simultaneous recording
Records up to 16 programs at once
Records up to 5 programs at once
4K HD Capability
# of TVs supported
Up to 8 with Genie mini ($7 per month)
Up to 7 with Joey receiver ($5 per month)
Bluetooth Capability
HD Service Fee

Using the chart above, we can determine that Dish Network, hands down, offers the best DVR equipment available. This is evident if you go to DirecTV's website, as they advertise the "Genie" as "DirecTV's most advanced HD DVR". In contrast, Dish Network's "Hopper 3" has been hailed as "the most powerful and feature-packed DVR to date" - CNET. Without question, Dish Network is far ahead of the competition with their Hopper 3 HD DVR, giving them the point over DirecTV for best HD DVR.

Winner - Dish Network

Other statistics customers should consider

While cost, packages, and advanced equipment are the top 3 concerns for most customers, there are a few other areas that should be addressed when considering which service is best for you.

Bill Clarity - Online customer surveys and polls agree that Dish Network supplies the easiest to understand Bill Summary, meaning it is the easiest to read without being confused by the multiple service and equipment fees. In DirecTV's defense, this is probably most due to the bundling service that is available through AT&T. It is easy to get confused when looking at your DirecTV/AT&T bill if you have three different services, especially if you have add-on services for each. Still, I have to declare Dish Network the winner, as I have had both services and can attest that their bill is, in fact, easier to understand. Winner - Dish Network.

Service Longevity - Another aspect to consider is the cost of ongoing service. While DirecTV offers 1 year contracts for the advertised price, the packages can increase by up to 70% in cost after the first year. Take into account that DirecTV also requires a 2 year contract, so you will either have to pay those higher prices for at least a year unless you want to pay a cancellation fee ($20 for each month of service not honored). While Dish Network also requires a 2 year contract, their upfront cost is guaranteed for that two year period, making Dish Network the clearest on upfront cost and best gamble for those concerned about paying more for a service they aren't satisfied with after the first year. Once again, the winner for longevity goes to Dish Network. Winner - Dish Network.

Premium Channels - One other popular question for potential customers is, "Which service offers the cheapest add-on channels such as HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, and Starz?". DirecTV's "Premiere" package includes all premium channel packages, but if you should choose a lower package, the total cost of all premium package would be $53. Dish Network, however, includes HBO for 12 months at no cost with the option of adding Cinemax, Showtime, and Starz free for 3 months. After the first 3 months of Cinemax, Showtime, and Starz, each costs $10 per month, which is still only $30 per month for the first year of all premium channel add-on packages. If you prefer, after the first year, you can still have all four add-on packages for $30, as Dish Network currently offers $15 off with a combined premium channel package. When compared to DirecTV's price of $53 for all for premium packages, Dish Network's $30 option makes them the winner once again. Winner - Dish Network.

Which additional factor is most important to you?

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Winner = DISH Network

After looking at all of the available information, it is my opinion that Dish Network is the superior satellite television provider for cost, channel availability and equipment technology. While DirecTV makes a good case for better customer service, it is still not enough to logically consider them the better option.

Stats don't lie. With plans starting at $49.99 and peaking at $79.99 per month for new customers, it is easy to see why many are choosing Dish over DirecTV. The "Hopper 3" is, without question, the best available DVR on the market, giving viewers the ability to record up to 16 programs at one time. Add the facts that Dish offers a guaranteed low price for the entire 2 year contract and the cheaper combined premium channel packages and it is easy to see how Dish Network is currently the best satellite television service for new and existing customers.

Based on these facts, which do you consider the better provider?

See results

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


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