2024’s Best Satellite TV Options: Dish vs. DirecTV—Who Comes Out on Top?

For the past three years, we've chosen DISH Network USA as our top TV provider due to its extensive channel lineup, top-notch DVR, and fixed pricing for two years. It's also our top pick for families, offering a wealth of kids' channels and effective parental controls. We highly recommend DISH for nearly everyone.

On the other hand, while DirecTV internet services used to offer more live TV channels compared to DISH, that's no longer the case this year—they now offer half as many. Despite introducing a two-year price guarantee and making some strides towards transparent pricing in 2023, it's now seen as less of a value.

However, DirecTV services still excel in sports coverage, with plenty of sports channels and regional sports networks (RSNs). We suggest it for sports enthusiasts who are willing to pay extra for live sports. Just be aware of additional fees like the $15.99 monthly RSN fee and a new $15 monthly charge for its Genie DVR service, which was previously included.

DISH Network

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Cons

DISH Network USA offers four primary satellite TV packages ranging from $92.99 to $117.99 per month, alongside two plans exclusively available for current customers (details can be found in our DISH review). Our recommendation is America’s Top 200 at $104.99 per month, as it provides access to over 240 live TV channels at an excellent value (especially when compared to DIRECTV, which we'll discuss shortly). Similar to DirecTV services, DISH requires a two-year contract, but it ensures price stability for the entire duration—prompting DIRECTV to introduce its own two-year price guarantee last year.

DISH boasts the industry's premier DVR, the Hopper 3, capable of recording up to 16 shows simultaneously and storing an impressive 500 hours of HD content. While there are additional DISH Network packages of a $10 monthly fee for the Hopper 3, it offers exceptional value considering its features. Alternatively, if you prefer not to pay the extra $10, DISH provides the Hopper Duo for $5 a month. Though the Duo stores only 125 hours of HD content and records two shows at once, it's suitable for smaller households

DirecTV

pros
Cons

We've already noted that DIRECTV's value proposition has worsened due to halving its live TV channel lineup while maintaining high prices. Now, let's delve deeper into DIRECTV's value concerns. When comparing DirecTV internet services to its main satellite TV competitor, DISH Network packages, and leading cable TV providers, its value is notably lacking.

With additional charges such as the $15 per month Advanced Receiver Service Fee for the Genie DVR and the regional sports network (RSN) fee (up to $15.99 per month), advertised plan prices can increase by 19% to 44%. To put this in perspective, you're paying the same or more than DISH for only half the channels, while DISH offers its superior Hopper DVR at a $5 lower cost.

If you're still considering DIRECTV, take note: the ENTERTAINMENT plan ($69.99 monthly, 75+ channels) and the CHOICE plan ($84.99 monthly, 105+ channels) may compare more favorably to some live TV streaming services. Alternatively, if you wish to avoid the $15 per month Advanced Receiver Service Fee for the Genie DVR and other hidden costs associated with DIRECTV, explore DIRECTV STREAM, which doesn't charge equipment fees if you use your own streaming TV device (otherwise, it costs $5.00 monthly to rent one from DirecTV services).

One drawback of DIRECTV STREAM is that you'll still be required to pay the RSN fee. Additionally, without the Genie HD DVR, you'll miss out on some of the enjoyable features that sports fans appreciate, such as Mix Channels (where you can watch up to six sporting events simultaneously) and 72-hour rewind (allowing you to catch up on missed events up to 72 hours later).

We advise against opting for the ULTIMATE plan ($114.99 monthly, 140+ channels) or the PREMIER plan ($159.99 monthly, 150+ channels) for either DIRECTV or DIRECTV STREAM. On a brighter note, at least DirecTV internet services now offer a two-year price guarantee, eliminating the significant rate increase in the second year.

Which is the better value: DISH Network USA or DIRECTV?

Fortunately, there's no need to exchange or purchase new cell phones for your family when switching to an MVNO. MVNOs such as Optimum Mobile support the newest Apple, Google, and Samsung smartphones. Additionally, if you're using an older or international smartphone, MVNOs offer compatibility tools to determine if your device works with their network.

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