DirecTV vs Dish Network: A Closer Look In 2014

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When it comes to satellite providers, there are two that stand out among the others: DirecTV and Dish Network. Their channel offerings and pricing structure can seem similar, but there are important differences that can make one a better option for most people. In 2014 there are more changes coming that will make the decision even easier if you understand what is taking place. We’ll look at the price, the channel packages, the DVR, the customer support, as well as the overall service to get a closer look at what you can expect in the upcoming year.

The Channels

For comparison, DirecTV has over 320 channels while Dish Network has over 285. This is an important distinction for people who absolutely have to have a huge list of channels available to them, but the difference can come in large part due to the HD channels that each service offers.

Dish Network has packages that include: America’s Top 120, America’s Top 120 Plus, America’s Top 200, and America’s Top 250. With these packages premium channels like Showtime Unlimited, Cinemax, Starz, and HBO are also available at an additional cost, although it is included with the highest package, America’s “Everything” Pack.

DirecTV has packages such as Entertainment, Choice, Xtra, Unlimited, and Premier. These come with 140, 150, 205, 225, and 285 channels respectively. The Premier is the only one that comes with the movie channels for free, once again.

Both of these offer a wide variety of HD channels. With Dish Network you receive them for free, while DirecTV charges $10 per month to get 195 additional HD channels. If you are a big HD viewer, this can make a difference.

No matter which package or provider you choose, though, you can expect to have standards like Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, USA, TNT, FOX News, A&E, History, AMC, TBS, ESPN, CNN, Comedy Central, C-Span, Discovery, and all of the other standards in addition to your local major networks like Fox, NBC, ABC, and CBS.


Watching television shows when you want to watch them is an important feature in the modern world. Both DirecTV and Dish Network offer DVRs with their service, although one stands out between them.

DirecTV includes what they call a “Genie” that can record up to five shows at a time. It also connects to other rooms in the house, although you’ll have to purchase a Mini Genie for each additional room that you want to use it in. To get a Genie you will have a fee of $99 added to your bill.

Dish Network offers a similar device that is just $6 each month. The Hopper comes with a 2TB hard drive that automatically records the major network’s prime time programming. It also has the ability to learn the kinds of things that you like and automatically suggest new shows and record them for you to watch later, commercial free. It also comes with a menu that allows you to use Twitter, Pandora, Facebook, and other apps, although there isn’t any support for Netflix or Hulu yet.

The Price

Dish Network and DirecTV are both increasing their prices for 2014. This happens every year, but this year’s price hike is causing some people to worry.

DirecTV is increasing their average prices by 4.4%. The basic Entertainment package is going to be increasing to $58 and the Premier package will go up to $130. They have said that this is caused by an increase in the price of their content providers, which in turns means they have to pass the hike onto customers if they will make the same profit.

Dish Network is hiking up by a larger percent, but they are still cheaper for many people. The basic, bare bones plan will be $20 and the America’s Choice plan will be $60, the same that they cost in 2013, while every other package will be getting a $5 price increase this year.

Customer Support

Customer support can be one of the most sought after parts of hiring a new service provider. Both of the providers offer a 24/7 technical support line that can answer questions through phone calls, emails, or internet chats. With that being said, Dish Network is known for the superior customer service that they have and many people stay for that if nothing else. They offer 24/7 Customer Support in addition to technical support, while the DirecTV customer support service is only available between 8 and 1 am Eastern Standard Time.


Contracts are where a lot of people start to get concerned. Should you sign a contract? Maybe you’d be better off with a month to month agreement? Depending on which of these sounds better to you, you might find that there is an obvious choice for your satellite provider.

DirecTV requires customers to sign a contract. This can be anywhere from 12 to 24 months depending on what kind of an agreement you come to. Canceling that contract if you change your mind can come at a high cost since you’ll be forced to pay cancellation fees and penalties.

Dish Network on the other hand doesn’t require a contract. They offer month to month service that is better for people who rent their home or frequently move. It also happens to be good for people who happen to just change their mind a lot.

Choosing Between Them

Choosing between the two isn’t as hard as it might seem. The different offerings that they have seem very similar, and the differences aren’t always obvious, but for the overall service you can’t go wrong with Dish Network. They have the best DVR, the best customer support, and the best pricing for what you are getting. Of course, if you need the maximum amount of HD channels possible DirecTV can be a better option, but it will all depend on what you really need out of your satellite service.


You should know what your talking about before you write an article. They don't even have the same packages anymore.
I was going to switch from Time warner cable to Direct TV. But decided to stay with Time Warner Cable because I have heard things about these services like, if the contract is broken they charge you a crazy fee, but really don't bring it to your attention in the contract. I'm not actually sure what is true or what is not. But maybe you can educate me a little more on the two.

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