What That Satellite TV Equipment Will Cost You

Satellite TV equipment is a necessary expense if you're considering satellite TV service. However, the cost varies considerably depending on which provider and equipment you choose, so make sure you know the true costs of satellite TV before you agree to a contract.

Prices Vary By Provider
The two main satellite TV providers, DISH Network and DIRECTV, both provide a free dish and receivers for service in up to four rooms. These providers offer the equipment for free for the chance to sell you programming. Many smaller satellite TV providers charge for the equipment, so if you're using someone other than the big two, carefully evaluate equipment costs. Also, if you need more than four receivers, you'll have to pay extra for that equipment. Check the fine print on your contract as well. You could get the converter box for free initially, but then have to pay a monthy rental fee to keep it.

What Equipment Do You Need?
When evaluating the costs of satellite TV, don't just look at the cost of a dish. You'll need a way to get the signal from the dish to your converter boxes, which could mean running cables through the walls or along your baseboards. Don't forget that satellite signals can be lost in rough weather, which is why most satellite subscribers purchase satellite TV antennas to pick up local channels. These antennas clip on to your dish and let you get local stations (assuming you can receive them off the air) when the satellite signal fails.

Don't Forget Installation Costs
Satellite TV installation costs can be as much, or more, than the cost of the equipment itself. Again, the big two satellite providers, DISH Network and DIRECTV, offer free installation in up to four rooms. However, if you're going with another satellite provider, chances are good that you'll have to foot the bill for installation yourself. Get installation estimates before you purchase the equipment to avoid a nasty surprise.

Low Equipment Fees May Mean High Costs
DISH Network and DIRECTV offer free equipment and installation for a single purpose: to sell you services. The fees that you don't pay for the equipment and installation are passed along in the form of higher monthly service charges. With these providers, you're also obligated to sign a one-year contract in order to receive free equipment and installation, meaning you'll pay for the system over the course of the contract. Consider the higher service costs and the costs of signing a one-year contract as hidden equipment costs, even though the equipment itself is free.

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