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Is Satellite TV Right For You?

Updated on March 20, 2015

From working in the satellite industry I have found that satellite television is not for everyone. Some enjoy what satellite television can offer, while others were not aware of what they were getting themselves into. It is a very competitive industry and is always changing. Here are some ideas to think about when deciding on what type of service is going to fit your needs and also some answers to what satellite television can offer.

How Satellite Providers Operate

Satellite television is exactly that. You receive a signal from satellites in the sky. This is a great option if you live where cable providers are not available. Satellite television provides programming to over 30 million consumers every year. Since the signal comes from space there are a few things you need to know take into consideration.

Location- Do you live in an area where there are trees? High buildings? Obstruction to the signal will cause frequent partial or full signal loss. If you live in a location where there are trees- speak with your technician when he arrives to do the installation. Make sure the trees will not block the signal when the leaves start coming in.

Apartments- If you live in an apartment building, check with your landlord to make sure dishes are allowed. If your landlord will not allow the dish to be placed on the building there are other options such as pole mounts and tripods.

Recreational Vehicles- If you are looking to have satellite television in your RV your best bet will be to contact a retailer in your area. They will be able to complete the installation and get the right equipment that you need. You'll be able to change your locals in the area that you're going to -- you'll just need to be able to pick up the satellites on your own (and you can always call in and get assistance).

What Channels Do You and Your Family Enjoy?

It may seem like a pointless question, but satellite providers have different channel line ups. You need to research the programming that you watch and make sure you're going to be able to have it when you make the switch. Here are a few important features you may want to think about.

Your Local Channels- Satellite programming does offer locals. However it is based solely upon your zip code. Often you'll see that you'll be placed in locals 300 miles away instead of the local channels that you're used to. This can present a problem, especially if you live in an area where severe weather is an extreme danger. Also, if you're used to watching your familiar local news, you won't have that option available. Check and make sure your provider can get the locals that you want.

Sports programming- If you're a sports fan you know all about blackouts. If you follow teams that are in your area, you probably can get most of the games in market, which means they'll appear on your local channels. However, if you follow a team in a different state you'll need to look into other means to actively follow every game. Depending upon what sport you enjoy there are packages available. Check the providers websites and see what packages they have available and even do a search to see what upcoming games are available on their networks.

High Definition- Wanna watch your favorite channel in HD? Well, you better check the line ups to make sure it's available. HD may be available, but you may need to upgrade to a different package to get the channel that you want. If you do some research about which channels you want to watch, you may find a small package at a lower cost that will provide all the programming you want.



There are plenty of packages that are affordable with satellite television. The package itself will probably be at a discounted rate for the first and possibly second year. What can be expensive is adding all the "extras" on top of the cost of the package.

Receivers- Check the cost of the receivers. How many televisions do you have? How many will you want in HD? How many DVRS are you going to need? These costs can add up and increase the cost of your service by more than 50%.

Premium Channels- (HBO, Starz, Cinemax, Encore, Epix,etc) are normally offered at no cost for the first three months, after that they can be anywhere from $5.00 -$16.00. Check and see if your provider offers bundles with premiums so you can save some money.

Are You Satisfied With Your Provider?

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Commitments and Contracts

Most satellite providers offer their equipment at little or no cost if you sign a commitment. If you are thinking about making the final step and locking yourself into a 24 month agreement make sure you read the fine print. If you're signing up through a retailer or third party, they probably have their own commitment as well. You could be signing up for two agreements, and that's fine if you're completely satisfied. There are no guarantees with satellite television. Either you keep it or you pay the cost to break the commitment. Also, if you use a credit or debit card to sign up -- they could charge your card if you break your agreement. If you should ever break your commitment, make sure you know what the consequences are.

Pay In Advance- If you're not comfortable with signing a commitment, there are options to buy your own receiver. You would pay for your services in advance, and there wouldn't be any commitment associated with your account (If you choose to do this, you may not receive any promotional offers).

I'm not trying to scare you. But these are the facts. There are millions of people who are completely satisfied with their provider. The best advice I can offer is make sure you know all that you can about the product before you make any decisions. Research the type of equipment you want, the packages that are available, the cost after any promotions have ended, and speak with others in your area and see if they are satisfied.


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