Best Satellite TV Providers

DISH and DIRECTV are the best satellite TV providers in the market. Each of them offer a huge advantage over cable in terms of features and functionality. The comparisons below cover the most popular plans from each satellite TV provider so be sure to check out the reviews and ratings.

The 2016 Gold Award for the Best Satellite TV Provider goes to DISH. DISH’s affordable plans, features and services along with their outstanding customer service has earned them the Gold Award for 2016.



#1 – DISH

DISH comes loaded with features and packages for Sports, Movies, and the latest technology in digital video recording with the DISH Hopper®. The DISH Hopper® has twice the capacity compared to DIRECTV’s genie and has access to more than twice the amount of On Demand titles. DISH even has the little features like Bluetooth integration and a remote control locator that make a big difference in the service and that no other satellite TV provider offers.


  • 320+ Channels
  • Best Value
  • Portable Satellite Services

  • $34.99 to $99.99 per month
  • Most Competitively Priced


DirectTV Logo



DIRECTV packs a lot of channels and features for the price. DIRECTV’s exclusive NFL Sunday Ticket makes them a very popular choice among sports fans. If your are going to watch football then DIRECTV is the clear winner. DIRECTV has comparable features to DISH and even more packages to choose from.


  • 315+ Channels
  • Most Packages
  • The Clear Leader in Sports
  • More Full-time HD channels

  • $34.99 to $94.99 per month for 12 months

DISH vs DIRECTV Satellite TV Comparison

Companies DirectTV Logo
Packages America’s
Top 120
Top 120 Plus
Top 200
Top 250
Channels 190+ 190+ 240+ 290+ 150+ 175+ 220+ 240+ 315+
Promotional Price $34.99
per month
for 1 year
per month
for 1 year
per month
for 1 year
per month
for 1 year
per month
for 1 year
per month
for 1 year
per month
for 1 year
per month
for 1 year
per month
for 1 year
Recording Package the Hopper™ Genie
Pause and Record
Record and Watch on Any TV
# of Recordings at Once 6 6 6 6 5 5 5 5 5
Recording Capacity 2TB 2TB 2TB 2TB 1TB 1TB 1TB 1TB 1TB
Watch Anywhere
(iPhone, iPad, Computer)
Watch Anywhere
Additional Equipment
Recording Capacity and Flexibility
Portable Satellite
(The Tailgater®)
Portable Satellite Antenna Cost $350 $350 $350 $350
NFL Sunday Ticket (Every Game)
NHL Center Ice (40 Games)
NBA League Pass (40 Games)
ESPN Full Court College Basketball
ESPN GamePlan College Football
MLS Direct Kick
Fox Soccer Plus
Racetrack Television Network
Outdoor Sports
Channels All Available Channels with the Highest Package
All Available Channels with the Highest Package

What is the Cheapest Satellite TV?

Keep in mind that satellite TV package offerings can vary significantly in a relatively short period of time. Due to the fact that that there are currently only two major satellite TV providers, the competition is fierce. This only benefits you as a consumer; pure competition always creates new and better products for your satellite dish TV experience. As this technology is relatively new, we expect new entrants to this market that will enhance not only technology, but also lower pricing and improve products and choices for satellite dish TV viewing. Check back with to keep abreast of changes in the marketplace.

What is the Best Satellite TV Deal?

Satellite dish TV providers usually have an excellent offering that includes discounts from the monthly services for a limited time, or free premium channels like HBO, STARZ, SHOWTIME or CINEMAX. You will also commonly see satellite TV companies market their current promos and discounts on cable TV, trying to gain cable customers that be willing to switch to a satellite TV dish package.

Satellite TV offers more features than most cable providers in the market and is one of the reasons why dish satellite TV packages are becoming so popular. They also offer packages that combine satellite TV services with satellite Internet services. Your evaluation of the “best” deal may be dependent on your own individual use of these services. There are some limitations with satellite Internet, however if you primary use of internet is for “surfing”, those minimal limitations should not affect you. However, if you are big “game” user, satellite Internet may not be for you.

What is the Best Satellite TV Dish?

The best satellite TV dish really comes down to who your provider is. Both DISH and DIRECTV have dishes that point to the southern sky. As long as you have a clear view of the southern sky you shouldn’t have to worry about which dish is better because both will perform. Only heavy winds or storms can cause a temporary outage. The satellites are in orbit 23,000 miles above the earth. The reason why is so that they can keep the same rotation speed as the earth. So, when you connect to a satellite you will stay connected to it as it rotates at the same speed as the earth does.

Which Provider Should I Go With?

Both DIRECTV and DISH are going to be an excellent choice. Just look at the packages available and see which one best suits the way you watch tv. There are quite a few authorized DISH resellers and is one of the most popular. They provide all of the special offers and discounts and have a high-quality customer service.

Compare Satellite TV Packages and Digital TV Packages

We compare the most popular satellite TV packages on our site for both DISH and DIRECTV. Please take a look at the comparisons table where we compare each satellite TV provider in a side-by-side comparison so you can see which satellite TV provider will be best for what you are looking for.

We get asked the question “What is the best satellite TV package?” a lot. It is probably the most asked question by our users and we always say the same answer which is, “It depends on why you are looking for.” If you are a big sports fan and are interested in watching NFL games then DIRECTV is the best with their Sunday Ticket. If you watch some TV but are more interested in the best that will be easy on your budget then we recommend DISH. So, the bottom line is, it all depends on what you want.

Mobile Satellite TV and Portable Satellite Dish

DISH is the only provider that offers mobile satellite TV services. The product from DISH is called The TailgaiterTM. It’s perfect to take with you while on a long trip or if your are tailgating for your favorite sports team. The TailgaiterTM is a great way to get satellite TV on the road while traveling cross country or while going on a camping trip.

As of now only DISH offers this technology but we will keep you updated if any additional mobile satellite devices become available.

Bundling Phone and Internet with Satellite TV

Almost all satellite service providers offer TV, Internet and phone services individually. Many of them also offer a package of all three of the services at a reduced cost. The process is simple; if you just purchase one of these services, it is easier for you to switch to another satellite provider when your contracts ends than it is if you had purchased all three. Further, it is less expensive for your satellite TV provider to manage your account with three satellite services rather than one.

You only have to listen to radio and TV commercials from the insurance companies to understand how heavily they market “ discounts” if you have your homeowners, auto and life policies with one company. The reason for this is that if they sell you more than one line of insurance their ability to keep you as a customer rises significantly. Ultimately, the “discount” is to their (satellite service provider or insurer) benefit as it costs them more to replace you as a customer than the cost of offering you the discount.

Most of the companies reviewed independently by our firm,, offer outstanding value in their packages. However, keep in mind the overall costs and benefits of your purchase. You don’t want to be in a position as your satellite service provider contract comes to an end in which your are completely satisfied with two of the services and not so much the other (which may have increased in price over the life of the agreement).

Stay connected to to gain more competitive insights into enjoying your experience with the purchase of the best satellite provider services on the market.

Major Advantages of Satellite TV versus Cable TV

The major advantages of satellite TV as opposed to Cable TV can be categorized as follows:

Satellite TV Cost
Compared to cable television, Satellite TV is often a less expensive option. This advantage when coupled with often superior programming can tilt the cost/ benefit relationship in favor of satellite TV. There may be times where installation costs are higher as most new homes are constructed cable-ready. However, in the long haul, your TV bills should be lower.

Satellite TV Programming
The most talked about advantage satellite TV offers is the diversity in programming. There are programs available through satellite that are difficult or impossible to obtain through cable. For example, DISH Network offers a package that includes a “promo” price for an exhaustive list of movie channels, sports programming, news, special interest programming and great music channels. The music channels are very high quality and cover any musical genre you may desire.

Another advantage is the availability of programming in a number of foreign languages. So if you are an ex-patriot you could watch your favorite shows in your native language. You also have the option of connecting your TV to the Internet.

Quality and Reliability Of Satellite TV
Picture quality, in addition to audio quality, is usually superior to that of cable TV. There are many people that live in remote areas that cannot obtain cable TV service but they can still enjoy the benefits of satellite TV as the systems are basically individual units.

The ”individual system concept” makes it easier to troubleshoot problems compared to cable TV where there is a distribution network. When there is a problem within cable’s distribution network many individual TV’s are affected. To be fair, the effects of lightning storms, excessive wind, etc. can adversely affect satellite TV systems temporarily. However, these same elements can also knock out cable to an entire area, often for greater time periods than satellite TV systems, which can be simply adjusted after a storm.

Satellite TV also offers Parental Lock-out options for those family members with “sensitive” ears.

History of Satellite TV

Interestingly, the history of satellite TV dates back to the 1940’s, well before the first satellite, Sputnik, was launched by the Russians in 1957. Arthur C. Clark, a British science fiction writer and inventor, theorized about the concept of artificial satellites in space that would improve earthly communications. His 1945 article “Extraterrestial Relays” explores artificial satellites that would track the rotation of the earth, providing constant communication with a specific area of the earth. This phenomenon is known as geosynchronous orbiting. Clark is probably best known for his writing of 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968.

In 1958, the United States launched its first satellite, Explorer 1. It wasn’t until 1962 that the first TV satellite was launched that provided communication from Europe to the Telstar satellite of North America. Satellite communications improved during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Back then, satellite signals were received by large antennas and distributed to homes through cable. The 1975 heavyweight boxing match “The Thriller from Manilla” between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier was one of HBO’s first huge satellite successes.

Throughout the mid Eighties and early Nineties television was delivered primarily by the cable companies. However, in the early nineties the launch of Primestar and Hughes DIRECTTV Satellite System began to change things. Instead of receiving satellite broadcasts via large antennas and directing them through the cable system, these new satellites used small antennas known as Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS). This technology enabled consumers to enjoy a direct connection between the orbiting TV satellites and their individual homes. Alas, the advent of what is now known as Satellite TV.

How Satellite TV Works

Satellite TV works in its simplest form by transmitting a television signal from the “ground” to an orbiting satellite then back to your satellite dish at your home. The signal is received by your satellite dish and processed to your set top box, which in turn, translates it into “usable” TV signals. But let’s look into this a little further, giving you knowledge that may help in selecting the best satellite provider and dish TV packages for your individual needs.

A little bit about synchronous orbit: Satellite TV systems would not work without the phenomenon of synchronous orbit. Basically, a satellite placed in an orbit 22,300 miles above the earth’s equator will rotate at the same speed as the earth.

Arthur Clarke, a noted British science fiction writer and novelist imagined this concept as early as 1945. This enables your home dish satellite to continually receive signals from the same orbiting satellite in space. Continuous connection to the orbiting satellite is the key to successful transmission to your home satellite TV system. This is why you must have an unobstructed southward view between your home satellite TV receiver (if you live north of the equator) and the orbiting “mother” satellite. Ever notice how all satellite TV system dishes in a neighborhood point the same way

southward in the US)?

The signals sent to the orbiting “mother” satellites are known as an uplink and, conversely, the signals sent from the “mother” satellite are known as the downlink. The downlink signals are sent to your home satellite TV system. In the beginning, home satellite TV dishes were very large, often times 9-12 feet in diameter. Like portable telephones that were very large at their onset, satellite TV dishes have shrunk to smaller versions less than two feet. So instead of having that albatross in your yard, satellite TV antennas are now almost unnoticeable. These smaller versions of satellites are known as DBS, or Direct Broadcast Satellites. The DBS satellites operate on a much higher frequency than the original broadcast satellite TV systems. Most of the content is broadcast in High Definition (HD) today.

Essentially, there is a “loop” that exists to bring you your favorite satellite TV broadcasts. This “loop” consists of: a Broadcast center, a Satellite, a Dish Antenna and a Digital Receiver.

Satellite TV Glossary of Terms

Broadcast Center: The satellite TV provider broadcasts TV content to the “mother” receiver via a high powered transmitter. The content is encrypted so that you receive the “package” of TV channels that you selected once you have chosen your best satellite TV provider.

Satellite: These are the “mother” satellites that are placed 22,300 miles above the earth and above the equator that rotate at the same speed as the earth. The signals are transmitted to these satellites, encrypted to your channel selection and transmitted back to your home satellite dish TV package.

Dish Antenna: Your home dish TV package then receives its content through your satellite TV system. Nowadays, a small parabolic TV dish antenna pointed southward, is all that you need.

Digital Receiver: A digital conversion box located in your home that is converted into the excellent picture and audio content that you purchased when you selected the best service provider for your satellite TV needs.

The DISH Hopper® Features and Services

DISH’s whole home DVR is referring to the Hopper with up to 3 Joeys connected in the home. Both the Hopper and the Joeys are capable of acting as a DVR and have HD. The Joeys access the Hopper’s DVR functionality to enable TV’s with the Joey to pause and rewind live TV. The Hopper is capable of recording up to 6 programs at once and has 2TB of storage space. Additionally, with 1 Hopper and 3 Joeys a family can watch 3 live channels using the Joeys and 1 can be recording your favorite show.

What’s Hot
This feature is included with your DISH satellite TV package and shows you the most popular programming on DISH. It takes into consideration what everyone on the DISH network is watching and lets you watch the same if you are interested. As an added bonus customers can filter the What’s Hot results by national or local programming along with scheduled TV show times. Not only can you narrow the results by geography and time but you can also filter by different genres so you can find the shows that you like. It is easy to get started with the What’s Hot program because there is an icon on the Hopper where you can access it. It can also be accessed from the Guide by clicking on the blue color key from within.

Switching from TV to TV
Probably the coolest feature of the Hopper and Joeys is the ability to watch a recorded program, pause it, then pick up where you left off in another room. You can also join a show already in progress if it is being watched in another room.

The Hopper, Joeys and the Internet
The Hopper has an RJ-45 or network connection on the back but if you don’t have a hard-wired connection readily available, don’t worry, it has a wireless network card as well. Each Hopper has 3 satellite tuners which means you can connect up to 3 Joeys for every 1 Hopper. If you need more Joeys than 3, you’ll have to purchase an additional Hopper. Having Internet access to the Hopper will increase the amount of OnDemand programming available.

The Hopper Standard Definition vs High Definition (HD)
The Hopper has a 2TB hard drive as its storage and 1TB of storage is dedicated towards DVR functionality. The other 1TB is reserved for DISH Unplugged features as well as PrimeTime Anytime® functionality. So how much recording capacity does the Hopper provide? It depends on the definition; standard definition it is up to 1000 hours and high definition or HD it can record up to 500 hours of your favorite shows.

I misplaced my remote again
Don’t worry it happens to the best of us. This is a pet peeve of mine with cable. Someone is always misplacing the controller and you have to search to the depths of the cracks in the couch to pull it out. When you have DISH it’s simple, just press the button on the front of the Hopper and follow the lights and sounds it produces to help you find the controller. Just think of what you will do with all of your free time.

Oh No, Not Another Remote Control
Don’t worry the Hopper remote control is a Universal one so it can be programmed to control up to 3 more devices. If you need more power than we recommend a Logitech Universal remote control.

The Genie® from DIRECTV

The Genie® from DIRECTV is a powerful HD DVR. One of its main features is the ability to record as many as five different shows simultaneously, meaning the varied interests of different family members can be satisfied by a single recording device. The Genie® also offers more significant recording capacity, one terabyte, as compared to cable DVR’s and others. Technology employed by The Genie® enables viewing in a number of different rooms without the need for a set top box in each room. An interesting side feature recommends programming you may want to watch based on the content of your recordings.

Perhaps the most convenient feature of The Genie® is the ability to connect with the main HD DVR in other rooms through a small device called the Mini GenieTM. This enables you to record, pause or delete in any room and you can watch live or recorded TV in up to four rooms, even start watching a show in one room and finishing watching the show in another room.

How many times do you want to watch two different football games or watch your favorite baseball team and keep abreast of the news? Genie’s Picture-in-Picture feature on your main TV allows you two watch two shows side-by-side. You can also search and schedule recordings up to two weeks in advance. Genie also has a Series Link TM feature that automatically records every show in a TV series. The system also features Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound capability.

Compare DISH TV Packages

Best Value
America’s Top 120
Channel LineupNickelodeon (east)
Nickelodeon (west)
Disney Channel (East)
Disney Channel (West)
Cartoon Network (East)
Cartoon Network (West)
Fox News Channel
A & E
ABC Family
Alma Vision Hispanic Network
America Live
Angel One
Angel Two
Christian Television Network
Church Channel
Classic Arts Showcase
Comedy Central
Comedy Central
Discovery Channel
Dish Network FYI
Documentary Channel
E! Entertainment Television
Eternal Word Television Network
Food Network
Free Speech TV
Fuse FX
Gems Shopping Network
In Country Television
Independent Film Channel
Jewelry Television
KBS World
Kids & Teen Television
Link TV
Pentagon Channel
Pursuit Channel
Russia Today
Sonlife Broadcasting Company
Spike TV
The Impact Network
Three Angels Broadcasting Network
Travel Channel
TV Games Network
TV Guide Network
TV Land
Weather Channel
Women’s Entertainment
Sirius XM 40’s on 4
Sirius XM 50’s on 5
Sirius XM 60’s on 6
Sirius XM 70’s on7
Sirius XM 80’s on 8
Sirius XM 90’s on9
Sirius XM Alt Nation
Sirius XM Area
Sirius XM Backspin
Sirius XM BB King Bluesville
Sirius XM Studio 54 Radio
Sirius XM Bluegrass Junction
Sirius XM Ozzy’s Boneyard
Sirius XM BPM
Sirius XM Caliente
Sirius XM Classic Rewind
Sirius XM Classic Vynil
Sirius XM Deep Tracks
Sirius XM Elvis Radio
Sirius XM Escape
Sirius XM E-Street Radio
Sirius XM Faction
Sirius XM First Wave
Sirius XM Hair Nation
Sirius XM Heart & Soul
Sirius XM Hip Hop Nation
Sirius XM Hits 1
Sirius XM Jam_on
Sirius XM Liquid Metal
Sirius XM Lithium
Sirius XM Ozzy’s Margararitaville
Sirius XM Met Opera Radio
Sirius XM Octane
Sirius XM On Broadway
Sirius XM Outlaw Country
Sirius XM Praise
Sirius XM Prime Country
Sirius XM Real Jazz
Sirius XM Shade 45
Sirius XM Prime Country
Sirius XM Real Jazz
Sirius XM Shade 45
Sirius XM Siriusly Sinatra
Sirius XM Soultown
Sirius XM Spa
Sirius XM Symphony Hall
Sirius XM The Blend
Sirius XM The Bridge
Sirius XM The Coffee House
Sirius XM The Grateful Dead
Sirius XM The Heat
Sirius XM The Highway
Sirius XM The Joint
Sirius XM The Loft
Sirius XM The Message
Sirius XM The Pulse
Sirius XM Willies Roadhouse
Sirius XM The Spectrum
Sirius XM Underground Garage
Sirius XM Watercolors
Sirius XM Chill
Sirius XM Love
Sirius XM Pops
Sirius XM U
Sirius XM 20’s on 20
Sirius XM en Lighten
Sirius XM Viva
Sirius XM La Mezcla
Sirius XM Aguila
Sirius XM Flow Nacion
Sirius XM Latidos
Sirius XM Caricia
Sirius XM Luna
Sirius XM Rumbon
Sirius XM La Kueva
Dish CD Acoustic Crossroads
Dish CD Aura
Dish CD Backpages
Dish CD BYU Radio Network
Dish CD Cashmere
Dish CD Concrete Beats
Dish CD Easy Instrumentals
Dish CD Ensembles
Dish CD Feedback
Dish CD Frequency
Dish CD Hawaiian Music
Dish CD Impressions
Dish CD Intermezzo
Dish CD Jazz Traditions
Dish CD Jukebox Gold
Dish CD Kid Tunes
Dish CD Kingston
Dish CD Lucille
Dish CD Nashville USA
Dish CD NU Jazz
Dish CD Plaza
Dish CD Rock Show
Dish CD Songbook
Dish CDStrobe
Dish CD Swing Kings
Dish CD The Light
Dish CD Unforgettable
Dish CD Country Gold
Dish CD Shine
Dish CD Ambrosia
Dish CD Martini Time
America’s Top 120 Plus
Channels in addition to America’s Top 120Big Ten Network
Fox Soccer Channel
Fuel TV
Pac 12 Network
Regional Sports Network
Dish CD – The Cafe
America’s Top 200
Channels in addition to America’s Top 120 PlusUnivision (west)
Tru TV
Animal Planet
BBC America
CBS Sports Network
Current TV
Disney XD
Fox Business Network
Golf Channel
Hallmark Channel
Investigation Discovery
MLB Network
National Geographic Channel
NFL Network
NHL Network
Nick Jr.
nuvo TV
National Geographic Network
Speed Channel
Sundance Channel
Teen Nick
The Hub
Turner Classic Movies
UniMAS (east)
UniMAS (west)
UniMAS HD (East)
Univision (east)
Univision Deportes Network
WGN America
America’s Top 250
Channels in addition to America’s Top 200Encore (west)
Bloomberg Television
Cooking Channel
Destination America
Do It Yourself (DYI)
Encore Action
Encore Drama
Encore Family
Encore Love
Encore Suspense
Encore Westerns
Epix Drive In
Fox Movie Channel
Fox Soccer Channel
Great American Country
Hallmark Movie Channel
Military Channel
Nat Geo Wild
NBC Sports Network
Nicktoons Network
Outdoor Channel
Sportsman Channel
Tennis Channel
The Movie Channel (west)
The Blaze
VH1 Classic
Dish Music 4 decades of music
Dish Music 50’s and 60’s Hits
Dish Music 70’s Hits
Dish Music 80’s Hits
Dish Music City Lights
Dish Music Country Music One
Dish Music Expressions
Dish Music The Party Playlist
Dish Music Hitline
Dish Music Hot FM
Dish Music Little Italy
Dish Music Love Songs
Dish Music Mo’ Soul
Dish Music Moodscapes
Dish Music Piano and guitar
Dish Music Roadhouse
Dish Music The Beach
Dish Music The Blvd.
Dish Music Tropical Breezes
Dish CD Country Gold
America’s Everything
Channels in addition to America’s Top 250Encore (east)
Cinemax (east)
Cinemax (west)
HBO (west)
HBO2 (east)
HBO2 (west)
HBO Comedy
HBO Family
HBO Latino
HBO Signature
Showtime (east)
Showtime (west)
Showtime 2
Showtime Beyond
Showtime Extreme
Showtime Showcase
Starz (east)
Starz (west)
Starz Cinema
Starz Comedy
Starz Edge
Starz InBlack
Starz Kids and Family
The Movie Channel (east)
The Movie Channel Xtra (east)
The Movie Channel Xtra (west)
WFN (World Fishing Network)

Best Satellite Providers 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).