To keep this resource free, Cordcutting.com is compensated by certain providers listed below. Learn More To keep this resource free, Cordcutting.com is compensated by certain providers listed below. Learn More

Many US consumers still prefer satellite TV nowadays in favor of its cable or fiber counterparts. It’s not hard to see why, as satellite TV is generally very accessible, quite cost-efficient, and offers decent picture quality.

Here in the US you only have two major satellite TV providers to choose from: DirecTV and Dish Network. Even so, it can be difficult to decide which provider to go with, as both DirecTV and Dish Network have a lot to offer.

No worries, though — I’ve outlined the main things you need to know about both providers in this article.

DirecTV

DirecTV is a large direct broadcast satellite provider in the US that has been providing people across the country (and even in Latin America and the Caribbean) with satellite TV services since 1994.

Back in 2015, DirecTV was acquired by AT&T. However, contrary to popular belief, their TV services didn’t take a huge hit and are mostly still the same (if not better).

TV Services & Deals

Image via Adam Kutzko/Flickr

DirecTV features 325+ channels and 200+ HD channels, plenty of On Demand shows (and you can watch the ones that aired in the past 72 hours), and has 4K content and support. Also, with DirecTV, you can stream shows from anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection, and watch up to eight channels on the same channel.

Another thing many DirecTV customers like is the fact that they can watch 1080p HD movies through Pay-Per-View.

As for the TV deals, you’ll definitely love the variety. With six plans to choose from, there’s bound to be something for everyone. All plans require a two-year agreement, but at least you get to take advantage of attractive promotional prices for the first year, and free installation as well.

Not to mention that four plans out of six come with this year’s NFL SUNDAY TICKET free of charge.

Though, do keep in mind that the post-promotional price increase is very noticeable. For example, a TV plan that might cost around $60 per month for the first 12 months can go up to approximately $115 per month during the following 12 months.

But if you’re a heavy TV watcher and love sports, it’s more than worth it.

TV Equipment

Equipment-wise, you have three main options:

  • TiVo
  • DirecTV Plus HD DVR
  • Genie DVR

The Genie is the highlight here, as it has 1TB (Terabyte) storage capacity. It also lets you record up to five shows at the same time, and you can also watch two shows simultaneously courtesy of the Genie’s Picture-in-Picture capabilities. You can even connect up to eight TVs to the Genie, and restart live shows if you ever tune in too late.

You can also outfit the Genie with a GenieGO if you want to watch recordings on your laptop and mobile devices without needing an Internet connection. And if you want to connect more TVs to the Genie, you can do that with the Genie Mini.

Sports Options

DirecTV is a hit with most die-hard sports fans because it has all the major sports networks. That and the NFL SUNDAY TICKET access that’s exclusive to them is also a plus. With it, you can actually watch any out-of-market NFL games you want.

Other perks include:

  • Sports packages that come with 30+ regional sports networks
  • Access to international, specialty, and college sports, as well as the MLB Network Strike Zone
  • Access to NHL Center Ice and the NBA League Pass
  • A very large number of HD sports channels

Bundle Considerations

Bundles aren’t as straightforward as you might think with DirecTV. That’s because they only provide TV services. They don’t have any Internet and phone services of their own.

Instead, they partner up with other providers (including AT&T) to give you access to Double Play and Triple Play deals.

The pricing, of course, varies according to the provider.

Dish Network

Dish Network has been providing direct-broadcast satellite services to US consumers since 1996, and they pride themselves on the fact that they provide services everywhere in the US.

TV Services & Deals

Image via Ambuj Saxena/Flickr

Dish Network offers around 295+ channels and 200+ HD channels. Their set-top boxes have Netflix integration, their services offer 4K support, and they provide thousands of On Demand titles free of charge. Also, with Dish Cinema, you get instant access to new movie releases.

Another thing that most Dish customers love is the fact that Dish is integrated with Alexa, so they can control live TV with their voice.

TV Equipment

Dish’s equipment is quite varied and can be difficult to go through. Basically, you’ve got a choice between five DVR receivers, one non-DVR receiver (Wally), and the Hopper, Hopper with Sling, and Hopper 3 with Sling.

The Hopper 3 (a whole-home DVR) with Sling (essentially, a DVR receiver) will be of main interest to you, as it can record up to 16 shows at once. It also has a 2TB storage capacity, and it supports 4K videos.

Sports Options

One thing you’ll like is the fact that some Dish TV plans include the NFL Network and NFL RedZone. Also, you can get access to entertainment, college, and pro sports through their packages.

Other things worth mentioning include:

  • Dish’s Multi-Sport Package comes with 35 extra sports networks (including 20 regional sports networks)
  • Dish has a Score Overlay app that lets you view live scores on ESPN and ESPN2
  • You can view fours HD channels at once with Dish’s Multiview feature
  • Dish Anywhere lets you watch sports when you’re away from home

Bundle Considerations

With Dish, you only get Double Play deals (at least that’s the case on their website). They provide Internet services through their own DishNET brand or by partnering up with HughesNet.

According to some consumers, Dish might also partner up with local ISPs to provide phone services, but I have yet to see any Triple Play offers from this provider.

Naturally, it’s hard to get a price estimate in this situation, but I have seen that their Double Play offers can go up to around $150 per month (and even more!), so expect Dish bundles to be pricey.

So, Which Provider Should You Choose?

While both providers are more than decent, I have to admit that you’ll be more pleased with DirecTV. Yes, Dish Network has appealing features, but it just can’t compete with DirecTV’s superior channel variety – not to mention their amazing sports offerings.

That’s not all, though. DirecTV has significantly more On Demand titles (10,000+ compared to Dish’s 6,500+), and at least you can get access to a wide variety of Double and Triple Play offers (that are much better priced than Dish’s unimpressive bundles).

And yes, I know that Dish has superior recording equipment but keep in mind that while the Hopper 3 with Sling lets you record up to 16 shows, you’ll need a Super Joey DVR receiver to fully take advantage of that feature. That means paying an extra $10/month for equipment fees. Overall, the whole equipment pricing could go around $25 per month (or more) if you want the full set-up.

Now, if you’re interested in bundles, I know that DirecTV Double and Triple play deals can be a bit confusing. Don’t worry, though, cause I’ve got you covered.

How to Handle DirecTV Bundles

When you want to bundle up DirecTV services with Internet and phone services, you have to choose one of the following partners:

  • AT&T
  • CenturyLink
  • Exede by Viasat
  • CincinnatiBell
  • HughesNet
  • Windstream

Bundling DirecTV with other providers will usually earn you a discount, which is always nice.

Now, you already know that Dish offers Internet services through HughesNet. Well, the speeds aren’t too impressive, as download speeds only go up to 25 Mbps (megabits per second) and upload speeds only go up to 3 Mbps.

Fortunately, with DirecTV, you have other options. I personally recommend bundling DirecTV with AT&T. The pricing is usually very attractive as it rarely surpasses the $100/month mark during the promotional period, and you get to enjoy connection speeds up to 50 Mbps for that money.

And if you don’t mind paying more, please remember that AT&T offers download and upload speeds that go up to 1,000 Mbps.

Best of all — getting DirecTV + AT&T bundles means you can get unlimited data allowance free of charge. Data cap-wise, it all depends on the provider, but most consumers go with AT&T because their data caps range from 150GB (Gigabytes) to 1TB per month.

Want More In-Depth Info?

If you’re interested in what DirecTV has to offer, I recommend checking out our info about DirecTV deals before making a decision to better understand what you stand to gain.