DISH vs DIRECTV: 4 Key Differences

Both DirecTV and Dish Network provide hundreds of channels, including high-definition options, and the same premium channels which include HBO, Cinemax, Starz, and Showtime. You also get many of the same features with either of these satellite packages, and these include the ability to skip commercials.

However, there are some key differences between the two when comparing DISH vs DIRECTV in 2016. DirecTV is the more popular of the two, with around 35 million subscribers compared to around 14 million who have signed up with Dish Network. There’s also a difference in price, and depending on the package you choose, Dish Network costs between $60 and $120 USD less than DirecTV does. Also, there are differences in the DVR capabilities of each, as well as in the customer service provided. So which one should you buy? What we want to do here is break down and compare the relative strengths and weaknesses of each option.

1. DVR Capability

Dish Network boasts the Hopper DVR system among the available compatible options. One feature that sets the Hopper apart is that right out of the box it is set up to always record the TV shows on FOX, ABC, NBC, and CBS during prime-time. Viewers can then go back to watch these programs and skip through the advertisements. The Hopper can hold up to 2,000 hours of television in standard definition on its drive.

In contrast, DirecTV comes with the Genie DVR, which has around half the recording capacity of the Hopper. Nonetheless, it can still be programmed to record five programs simultaneously.

2. Packages And Prices

As we’ve already mentioned, DirecTV packages -even at the entry level- cost a little more than those offered by Dish Network. DirectTV packages start at $29.99 monthly for the starter package, and go for $91.99 a month at the high end, with the main difference between these packages being the number of channels that are offered. DirecTV will occasionally offer an introductory 12-month package with a special discount of five dollars less per month (combined savings of $60 USD for the entire year).

Dish Network doesn’t offer special deals nearly as frequently as DirecTV, but their most affordable “Welcome Pack” is always cheaper than the DirecTV entry level package. The Welcome Pack costs $19.99 per month, and includes many of the most popular channels. The next tier up with Dish Network costs $49.99 per month, and the next level up from that costs $79.99 per month. However, a huge monthly discount is available for both of these packages if you opt to buy the

3. HD Channels

As far as High Definition channels are concerned, Dish Network claims that they offer the greatest number of HD DISH channels in the satellite broadcasting industry for “free”, although this is slightly misleading as in order to receive these channels you need to sign a 24-month contract and have a high credit score. Moreover, the number of HD channels also depends on which package you sign up for, and at the lower levels you don’t get all of the 200 HD channels.

DirecTV, on the other hand, offers 195 HD DIRECTV channels, which are all available for many of their different packages for an additional monthly cost of $10 USD.

4. Customer Service/ Online Support

Both service providers offers what they both call “technical” support via phone, email, or chat. However, only Dish Network offers 24/7 customer support where you can talk with a real person. DirecTV has a customer support line that operates from 8am to 1am Eastern Standard Time.