Compare Satellite TV Providers

Two main satellite TV providers dominate the market: DIRECTV and DISH Network. However, choosing between the two is no easy task, and when you add smaller providers into the mix, finding the right satellite TV service can be a challenging prospect.

What Programming Do You Need?
The two main satellite TV providers, DIRECTV and DISH Network, offer similar programming packages. In order to evaluate which provider is right for you, think about what channels you're likely to want. Do you want to receive local programming, or are you content with national television channels? Do you want to subscribe to special sports packages and movie channels, or does everyday programming meet your needs?

Price And Services Correlate
While DIRECTV is slightly more expensive than DISH Network, you also get more for the higher price. DIRECTV has 15 satellites to DISH Network's 10, meaning that you're less likely to experience downtime due to poor satellite reception or signal problems. DIRECTV also offers more channels in many of its packages. If those extra channels are ones you're willing to pay for, DIRECTV might provide a better value. Draw up a list of the channels you watch most often, then see how your list maps to the channel packages from both providers. Be realistic about what you need. If you only watch one or two movies a year on HBO, is it worth paying extra every month? Those sports packages are among the highest-priced programming, so make sure you'll be able to watch the games.

Evaluate Equipment And Price
The two big satellite TV providers generally offer free equipment for customers who sign a contract. Both providers offer a free dish and receivers for up to four rooms. For anything beyond a four-room setup, you'll be paying for additional receivers. If you elect to go with a satellite TV provider other than the big two, you're probably paying a fee for equipment, but you may pay lower costs in the long run. Look past promotional pricing offers and see which service will offer the best value over a five-year period.

Installation Can Make Or Break Satellite TV Providers
The big two satellite providers typically offer free equipment installation to get subscribers to sign contracts. However, if you go with a smaller satellite TV provider, you'll probably have to pay for installation on top of equipment charges. Take installation into account when evaluating satellite providers, and ensure you add the costs of installation, if any, into the equation when you make your final selection.

International Programming Varies
DISH Network actually provides more international programming than DIRECTV. If international programming is a consideration for you, consult potential providers to determine who offers the international programming you want. If you want a variety of international programming, DISH Network might be the logical choice.

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