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Satellite TV Provider Comparison -- DISH Network and DIRECTV

Satellite TV Providers

There are two satellite TV providers that offer satellite TV service in the U.S. -- DISH Network and DIRECTV.

DISH Network was launched by EchoStar Communications in 1996. It currently has 12 million subscribers, and is ranked #1 in customer satisfaction among all cable and satellite TV providers by J.D. Power and Associates.

DIRECTV was the first DBS (direct broadcast satellite) TV provider. Launched in 1994 by General Motors, it currently has 14.5 million subscribers, and is ranked #2 in customer satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates.

Satellite TV Provider Comparison

Here's a feature-to-feature comparison of the two satellite TV providers:


DISH Network offers 256 channels of all-digital programming including movie channels, pay-per-view programs, and sports packages. They have the biggest variety of movies and shows, and offer 50 Sirius music channels.

DIRECTV offers 225 channels of all-digital programming including movie channels, pay-per-view, and sports packages. They have the most sports packages, and offer 31 music channels.

International Channels

DISH Network offers Armenian, Asian, Chinese, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Israeli, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, South Asian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Urdu program channels.

DIRECTV offers Chinese, Filipino, Italian, South Asian, Spanish, Vietnamese program channels.

Pay-Per-View Movies and Special Events

Both DISH Network and DIRECTV pay-per-view movies are .99 each. Special event programming prices vary according to the event.


DISH Network program packages start at .99 for 60 program channels including HBO, Showtime, and Cinemax, and go up to .99 for 230 channels, including 50 Sirius radio channels.

DIRECTV program packages start at .99 a month for 135 program channels including 31 music channels, plus HBO, Showtime, and Starz, and go up to .99 for 185 channels.

Note: For ordering information and current special offers on program packages, click on the links below.

Activation Fee

DISH Network's .99 activation fee is refunded with first bill, so it ends up being free.

DIRECTV's .00 fee is refunded with first bill, so it too is free.

Satellite TV System

Both DISH Network and DIRECTV will give you a free satellite TV dish and 4 free receivers with universal remotes when you subscribe to their service. Installation is free.

HD (high definition) Receivers

DISH Network offers free HD receivers when you order their service.

DIRECTV HD receivers are 9 each.

DVR (digital video recording) receivers

DISH Network will give you two free DVR receivers. Video-on-Demand service (the equivalent of TiVo), is free when you order their America's Everything Pak programming, or .98 a month with their other programming packages.

DIRECTV DVR receivers are free (after a rebate) when you order their service. TiVo service is free when you order their Total Choice Premier package, or .99 a month with their other program packages.


DISH Network offers a lifetime warranty on their satellite TV systems.

DIRECTV offers a one-year warranty on their satellite TV systems.

Installation Times

Installation times for both DISH Network and DIRECTV is usually one to five days from the time an order is placed.

Customer Service

DISH Network and DIRECTV have 24-hour, 7-days-a-week online and toll-free customer service.

Bonus Gifts

Both satellite TV providers offer special programming offers and free gifts to encourage you to purchase their service. For current offerings click on the links below.

Click on the following links for more information on free satellite TV systems and service, plus the latest special offers and free bonuses from DISH Network satellite TV and DIRECTV satellite TV.

About the Author: Brian Stevens is a professional freelance writer and webmaster who has written extensively on satellite TV provider comparisons.

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