Ultimate Comparison Guide to DISH vs DIRECTV

First of all let me tell you a bit about myself and why you should trust what I say about DISH or DIRECTV. I have been comparing, analyzing and writing about these 2 companies and their services since 2003. Two things I’ve learned over the years is (1) everything is always changing and (2) it’s almost impossible to find unbiased information about satellite TV.

100% Unbiased

The information I provide is totally 100% unbiased and I’m not just saying that to be sneaky. I get paid to present the facts for both companies, so it really doesn’t matter to me which one you choose…even if you choose something else like cable. Basically, I’m just digging up the facts and presenting them to you in one giant page, so you don’t have to sift through 30 websites to find what you need to know.

Two Ways to Choose A Satellite TV Provider

(1) Our Channel Comparison Tool helps you isolate your favorite channels and compare them with DISH, DIRECTV, AT&T U-verse, Comcast Xfinity or Charter Spectrum.

(2) Use this page to compare options, prices and features. If you aren’t sure what you want to watch this may be the best place for you to start.

Below you will see an extensive comparison of DIRECTV and DISH! If you are concerned with things like pricing, features and anything else other than channels, then the info below will be a big help to you. Make sure you take notes, so you can ask all the right questions when you call to order. We make every effort to make sure our information is updated regularly, but you always want to verify everything with the person who is taking your order.

Compare Pricing from DISH and DIRECTV

If you are feeling the pinch from a slumping economy over the last few years, price may be a big consideration for you. The promo prices we included in our charts are for the two-year price guarantee. There are specials that are much less expensive, but the price goes up after one year on both DISH and DIRECTV.

DIRECTV Channels Reg. Price Promo Price
SELECT 145+ $51.99 $50
ENTERTAINMENT 150+ $61.99 $55
CHOICE™ 175+ $74.99 $60
XTRA 220+ $81.99 $70
ULTIMATE 240+ $91.99 $75
PREMIER™ 315+ $144.99 $125
DISH Channels Reg. Price Promo Price
America’s Top 120™ 190+ $64.99 $34.99
America’s Top 200™ 240+ $79.99 $44.99
America’s Top 250™ 290+ $89.99 $49.99
America’s “Everything”™ 330+ $124.99 $99.99

Genie vs Hopper

When it comes to satellite TV, the equipment you actually interact with is pretty much boiled down to a DVR (or digital video recorder) and a remote. The satellite dish is going to be outside and you are basically going to leave it alone. The DVR is going to be the equipment that gives you the majority of your user experience. This is especially true if you are a latest greatest state-of-the-art kind of person. So, if that’s you the chart below is going to be of utmost importance to you.

Watch From Anywhere 1 Yes Yes
Auto Skip Commercials 2 No Yes
4K Resolution 3 Yes Yes
Stream Netflix No Yes
On Demand Content Yes Yes
Transfer Recordings to Any Device Yes Yes
Remote Control Locator 4 No Yes
72 Hour Rewind 5 Yes No
Program Suggestions 6 No Yes
DVR Service Fee 7 $15 per month Free
View Shows on the Same Screen 2 Shows 4 Shows
DVR Storage 1 TB 2 TB
HD Hours 200 500
SD Hours 800 2000
Max TVs Per Home 8 8 7
Watch & Record Simultaneously 5 Shows 16 Shows

Chart Clarification

This section is to clarify some things in the chart above. There seems to be a little more information for some of these things that won’t fit on a chart very well. If you want to find out more about a topic look for the little numbers next to the topic then look below for the corresponding number to get a further explanation.

1 Watch from anywhere means you can watch TV from a wide range of devices like iPhone, Android, tablet PC, iPad among other devices. All this takes is an app that is downloaded to your device and a Wi-Fi connection.

2 DISH has an auto skip commercials feature that allows you to view certain prime time stations without commercials. This feature has caused a lot of legal action for DISH, but as of right now they are still allowed to do it. There may be modifications to this feature in the future, because of legal matters. DIRECTV has a 30-second skip feature which allows you to skip in increments of 30 seconds. DIRECTV also has auto skip technology, but have not released it. I’m sure they are waiting to see what happens with other auto skip legal issues before they release it.

3 4K resolution, also known as 4K, is basically 4000 horizontal pixels on your screen. In order to actually see a difference in this resolution you will 1st need a TV that supports it. I highly recommend anything Samsung. At this point I only have 1080 P resolution with LED TVs and I have to wear my glasses to see a difference. So, I would have to assume you would have to have the perfect brand-new TV and perfect vision to realize the benefits from 4K. Maybe it’s just me, but I find it a little distracting at 1080 P resolution when I can actually see the pores and an actors skin. 4K seems a bit overkill, but maybe I just need to take a trip over to Best Buy with my glasses and have a look.

4Just press a button on the hopper and your remote will beep and blink until you find it. NICE!!!

5 72 hour rewind is a feature lets you rewind TV shows that have aired in the last 72 hours even if you didn’t record it on your DVR. This only works with certain networks, but could be a really cool feature if you forgot to hit the record button. Right now this is only available through DIRECTV.

6 Program suggestions is a feature that keeps track of what you have been watching and suggests things that you will most likely want to watch. It works very similar to the system Netflix uses.

7DIRECTV does not have a DVR service fee, but requires the Advanced Receiver Service, which is $15 per month, for many of their advanced features to work properly including HD. DISH has a fee of $10 or $15 per month for DVR service fee, but if you use eAutopay and paperless billing it is free.

8 Max TV’s per home requires a Mini for each TV on DIRECTV and a Joey for each TV on DISH.

General Comparison

The chart below gives you quite a few other areas to compare DISH and DIRECTV.

HDTV Prices HD is free, but you need the Advanced Receiver Service which is $15 per month HD is free for for life, with eAutopay and paperless billing
Installation Standard professional installation is free in up to 4 rooms and it takes between
1 and 7 days. Custom installation extra.
Comes with free standard installation in up to 6 rooms and takes
1 to 7 days.
International Programming Brazilian,
Local Channels

Eligibility for local channels based on service address. Some networks are not available in all markets.

Included Included
Premium Packages AUDIENCE®
Various AduIt Packages
Various Sports Packages
EPIX Package
Heartland Package
Outdoor Package
Starz Encore
Various AduIt Packages
Various Sports Packages
Willow Cricket
Sports Packages DIRECTV Golf
FOX Soccer Plus
MLS DirectKick™
NBA League Pass™
NHL Center Ice™
Dish Multi-Sport
NBA League Pass
Pac 12 Networks
FoxSports 1
ESPN Gameplan
FoxSoccer Plus
NHL Center Ice
The SEC Network
Longhorn Network

Customer Service

This is one really touchy subject whether we are talking about satellite, cable or a streaming service like Netflix or Hulu. Our televisions are like a short vacation from reality, so it doesn’t take much to get people really upset about this. It’s not so bad if you miss an episode of a series, because you can go back and watch it from the DVR or you can stream it. However, if it’s something like a game, the whole experience can be ruined if you have to watch it later. Does it take rocket science figure out someone will lose their mind if their game gets cut off? Of course not…I think we can pretty much expect people to freak out when their TV service is interrupted.

So, how is the customer service for DISH and DIRECTV? It’s among the best in the industry! However, you can find all sorts of people complaining, whining, wailing, travailing and moaning throughout the Internet about virtually every cable or satellite company. But, you have to realize from the previous paragraph that people have a really short fuse when it comes to their television programming. Besides people are a bit negative anyway. I’ve never seen a comment that looked like, “OMG, thanks to my great TV service, my family and I watched an amazing show and after a brief discussion about the inappropriate content Hollywood slipped in there, it brought the entire family closer together.” So what does all this mean? It means you can have great customer service, but if anything goes wrong people are going to be far more upset because it affects their TV time.

Tips to Getting Better Customer Service

First of all calm down…they deal with people who are upset all day long and it will not help you get your point across if you are angry. If you get someone on the other line who can’t speak English hang up. Wait 30 seconds and call back and I can assure you you will not get the same person. If you get a person who speaks English really well, but they are not giving you what you want, get off the phone with them and call back. Sometimes it takes a few calls to get what you want, but I can assure you, from dealing with customer service people over the years, I have found that nearly every customer service rep will give you a different answer. Try these techniques with any type of customer service and you will greatly increase the odds of getting what you want.


You can’t go wrong with DISH or DIRECTV. If you have done your homework you are going to enjoy whichever one you pick. Make sure to use the charts on this page and use our new channel comparison tool which will help you get your favorite channels for the lowest possible price. When you make a decision make sure you make a list of the channels and packages you want and any questions you may have. This will eliminate the possibility of you getting something less than what you expected. I hope this page and our channel comparison tool really helps you find the perfect TV provider. If this site has been a help to you please consider sharing it with others, so they can benefit from it too.