Which is Better DISH Network or DIRECTV?

If you’re looking for the best satellite TV provider in 2017, you need to compare DISH vs DIRECTV. We’ll take a look at DIRECTV and DISH while comparing their benefits and, in some cases, their drawbacks. If you’re switching from cable to satellite TV, this review will help you make an informed decision.

Pricing $39.99 to [everything] $50.00 to $125.00
Channels 320+ 315+
DVR Storage 2 TB 1 TB
DVR Recording Hrs 2000 SD / 500 HD 1000 SD / 200 HD
DVR Cost/mo $15/mo $15/mo

DISH Network and DIRECTV are the two best satellite TV options available. Both offer better features and functionality than cable. The following comparison explores the most popular plans from each satellite TV provider.

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DIRECTV and DISH Network are satellite TV providers. Satellite TV is superior to standard cable TV and is the preferred choice in over 35 million homes today. Most of their superiority comes from the fact that they invest more in research and development than all other providers combined.

These investments have led to enhanced sound and picture quality; more channels to choose from; increased capacity for recording and storage; simultaneous viewing options; and many more advantages. The best part about satellite TV is that you get these advantages for less money than standard cable.

Choosing a satellite TV provider can be a confusing task that requires a lot of time and research to find the best match for you and your family. There are so many different channels, packages, and prices to choose from and all of them have different pros and cons. We compare the two major satellite TV providers, DISH Network and DIRECTV.



Our #1 pick is DISH Network satellite TV service. With the most options for sports, movies, and significantly better equipment. The DISH Hopper 3® DVR technology, HopperGO, 4K HD Joey, DISH Anywhere App, and Smart Remotes give DISH the clear advantage over DIRECTV.

The Hopper 3® has twice the capacity of DIRECTV’s genie and it’s expandable. DISH customers have access to twice as many On Demand titles. Premium channels are included for free for the first three months for new subscribers (Up to 12 months on qualifying packages as of Q1 2017.) Additional features such as integrated Bluetooth, automatic commercial skipping, and a clever remote control locator round out DISH’s clear advantage over DIRECTV. No other satellite TV provider can offer the same features.



DIRECTV offers a comparable number of channels as DISH and offers more packages; however, when comparing apples to apples, DIRECTV is more expensive. Most package pricing increases significantly after the first year. DIRECTV offers the NFL Sunday ticket which is very popular with sports fans; however, DIRECTV’s Select package does not include many sports channels that DISH does, such as ESPN. If you value football coverage and are willing to pay an absolute premium, then DIRECTV is a good fit. For a long time, DIRECTV had comparable features to DISH, but they are quickly losing ground.

They offer more base packages, but many services require upgrades to their most expensive plans. For example, if you wish to add local sports to a DIRECTV package, you will pay an additional fee and your plan will be forced to upgrade to the much more expensive Premier package. DISH’s Flex Pack, which allows you to customize your packages at a more granular level and for a better price is more appealing. DIRECTV has historically been known for their customer service and slightly beats DISH per the American Customer Satisfaction Index (68/100 vs DISH’s 67/100.) However, DISH is the only provider with 24/7 customer assistance.

DISH vs. DIRECTV – Who Wins?

We compare these two satellite television providers in an in-depth analysis of pricing, packages, service, promotional offers, technology and equipment, sports packages, and premium channels.

DISH Packages vs. DIRECTV Packages

Who offers the best TV package for the lowest price?

DIRECTV Package Price Channels DISH TV Package Price Channels
SELECT $50.00/mo 145+ Flex Pak $39.99/mo 50+
ENTERTAINMENT $55.00/mo 150+ America’s Top 120™ $54.99/mo 190+
CHOICE™ $60.00/mo 150+ America’s Top 120™ Plus $54.99/mo 190+
XTRA $70.00/mo 220+ America’s Top 200™ $69.99/mo 240+
ULTIMATE $75.00/mo 240+ America’s Top 250™ $79.99/mo 290+
PREMIER™ $125.00/mo 315+ America’s Everything™ Pak $144.99/mo 315+

Summary: DISH and DIRECTV offer nearly identical programming. DISH customers save an average of $456 over a 2 year period.

DISH Service vs. DIRECTV Service

Does DISH Network or DIRECTV have better customer service?

Availability Nationwide Nationwide
Free Standard Professional Installation Yes Yes
5 Year Customer Satisfaction Rating – Call Center #1 #2
5 Year Customer Satisfaction Rating – Website #1 #2
5 Year Customer Satisfaction Rating – Clearest Bill to Understand #1 #2
5 Year Customer Satisfaction Rating – Lowest Customer Complaints #1 #2

Summary: Based on the American Customer Satisfaction Index comparison of major TV providers (2010-2016), DISH has consistently delivered a better customer experience.

DISH and DIRECTV Promotional Offer Comparison

Which Satellite TV provider offers the best deal for new customers?

Number of Channels 190+ 145+
Price $54.99 50.00
ESPN Included Yes No
Local Programing Fee $0 $0
Local Sports Fee $0 Not available
HD Programming Cost $0 $0
Contract Term 2 Years 2 Years
Price Protection 2-year Price Guarantee 1 Year
Price Yes No
Annual Price Increase $0 $38
Second Year Monthly Pricing $54.99 $88.00
Additional Fees $0 $456

Summary: The 2-Year Price Guarantee from DISH, locks in a price of $54.99 per month for 2 years and does not require an internet contract. To qualify for DIRECTV’s promotional price, customers must also sign up for AT&T internet service.

Technology Comparison for DISH and DIRECTV

Who has the best DVR?

DVR Name Hopper 3 Genie
DVR Service $15/mo $15/mo
Installation Charges None (up to 6 rooms) None (up to 4 rooms)
Additional DVRs/Service Joey, Wally Genie Lite, Genie Mini
Live TV Anywhere Yes No
DVR Access Anywhere Yes No
OnDemand Anywhere Yes No
Commercial Skipping Yes No
Storage Capacity 2 TB (USB expandable) 1 TB (Not Expandable)
HD Hours 500 200
SD Hours 2000 800
Apps Netflix, Sling TV integration None
Wireless Receivers Available Yes Yes
Bluetooth Compatible Yes No
Remote Locator Yes No
Simutaneous recordings per main DVR 19 5

Summary: The DISH Hopper 3 is a more powerful DVR than the DIRECTV HD GENIE. It is capable of recording 16 channels of live TV simultaneously, includes more internal storage that can be easily expanded through it’s built in USB ports. Watch Anywhere features for DIRECTV requires the $145 Nomad. DISH also offers 4K programming via Hopper 3, 4K Joey, and Netflix 4K programming.

DISH and DIRECTV Sports Package Comparison

Compare which sports channels appear on DISH and DIRECTV

Sports Package DIRECTV – Winner DISH NETWORK
NFL Sunday Ticket (Every Game) YES NO
NHL Center Ice (40 Games) YES YES
NBA League Pass (40 Games) YES YES
ESPN Full Court College Basketball YES YES
ESPN GamePlan College Football YES YES
MLS Direct Kick YES YES
Fox Soccer Plus YES YES
Racetrack Television Network NO YES
Outdoor Sports NO YES

Summary: ESPN is standard in both DISH and DIRECTV. DIRECTV has NFL Sunday Ticket, a popular programming option that some people prefer.

DISH vs. DIRECTV: Premium Channel Comparison

Of course, there are many similarities here as well. For example, they both offer local channels, premium channels, and sports channels; but all to different degrees. One difference is that DISH Network is the ONLY TV provider to offer 100% local channel coverage nationwide!

Premium Channels DIRECTV – Tie DISH NETWORK – Tie
Cinemax® YES YES
Starz® YES YES

Summary: Both satellite TV providers give customers access to premium movie channels that include HBO, Cinemax, ShowTime, and Starz. Both DISH and DIRECTV offer similar premium channels, but again there are some differences:

  • HBO: DISH offers 9 channels (8 HD, 1 SD) while DIRECTV only offers 8 channels (4 HD, 4 SD)
  • Showtime: DISH offers 10 channels (5 HD, 5 SD) and DIRECTV offers 13 channels (10 HD, 3 SD)
  • Starz: DISH offers 14 channels (6 HD, 8 SD) and DIRECTV offers 15 channels (8 HD, 7 SD)
  • Cinemax: DISH offers 9 channels (4 HD, 5 SD) while DIRECTV only offers 3 channels (2 HD, 1 SD)

No matter what level of entertainment you are looking for, there are many options for you to watch premium channels and get the best movies and TV shows with whichever provider you decide.

Hidden Fees Comparison

Are there hidden fees associated with Dish or DIRECTV?

Summary: DIRECTV’s starting price of $50.00 is never $50.00. DIRECTV’s hidden fees add up quickly! Every month, you’ll be stuck paying $27.14 in additional fees. That’s more than double the cost of service! You’re too smart to fall for tricks in the fine print. DISH offers straight forward pricing so you will always know what to expect when you get your bill and you’ll get all the same programming. With DISH, you’ll get more from your TV service.

DISH vs. DIRECTV Conclusion

The winner in our hands-on comparison of DISH vs DIRECTV is DISH Network.


DISH vs. DIRECTV Results

  1. Packages – DISH
  2. Customer Service – DISH
  3. New Customer Promotional Offer – DISH
  4. DVR and Anywhere Technology – DISH
  5. Sports Programming – DIRECTV
  6. Premium Movie Channels – DISH and DIRECTV Tie

DISH Network provides the best entertainment at the lowest cost per month. DIRECTV simply can’t match the low price, quality features or advanced technology that comes with DISH TV Packages. We have the best offers. Choose your favorite channels from DISH and start saving today!

DISH and DirecTV are considered premium satellite TV services. Both deliver a high-quality television experience. Certain differences are stark. With DISH, you will see a much lower monthly bill. You’ll get free standard professional installation, your choice of a 12-month discount on your channel package or a single low price for your entire 24-month contract.

Sign up for DISH satellite service and live the dream. Skip commercials during prime-time with superior technology! You won’t be able to do that with DIRECTV or any other cable TV provider. Make sure you don’t miss any of your favorite shows by recording up to 8 shows at once with the award-winning Hopper (only 6 with DIRECTV), watch live TV anywhere (only recording with DIRECTV,) and get 2TB of storage (that’s twice as much as DIRECTV). Also, get a free trial of the premium channels like HBO and free account activation which they base on approved credit and a 24-month agreement. When DISH and DIRECTV go head to head, you win! Dollar for dollar, DISH is the best choice in satellite television.

Video: DIRECTV versus DISH Video

Video Comparing DISH and DIRECTV’s 2017 Pricing and Features

4.4 out of 5 STARS
based on over 611 total reviews. read all here
4 out of 5 STARS
Offers better value more choices for less expense.
Lynn Berardinelli - VERIFIED CUSTOMER
5 out of 5 STARS
Ok should explain the Internet policy more clearly and provide details of the services order before installing.
4 out of 5 STARS
Better and more advanced.
5 out of 5 STARS
Dish offers better promotions and seems to have more options in their lineup.
Dish Promotions is an authorized retailer of DISH Network L.L.C. DISH, DISH Network and DISH Network logos are trademarks, registered trademarks and/or service marks of DISH Network L.L.C. and/or its affiliate(s). The DISH Network trademarks, registered trademarks and/or service marks are used under license of DISH Network L.L.C and/or its affiliate(s).