| Choosing a Satellite TV Provider |
By Gary Davis
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providing you leave the Byline and About the Author sections
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The satellite tv industry has made huge gains on the cable tv industry in the past several
years. With the price of cable tv skyrocketing every year, many cable subscribers are
making the switch over to satellite tv. Okay so you've decided to switch to satellite tv; but
which satellite tv provider do you choose? A satellite tv provider is a company
that owns and operates satellites in geostationary orbit around the earth. These
satellites broadcast the satellite signal down to your satellite dish and from their
the signal is transferred to your receiver (black box). The two largest satellite tv providers in the United
Sates are DirecTV and DISH Network. The vast majority of satellite tv subscribers in the
United States use one or the other so this article will concentrate on comparing the two satellite giants in
an attempt to help you decide which of the two is best foryou.
With the almost exponential growth of the satellite tv industry, both DISH Network and
DirecTV are now in a position where they can afford to offer the satellite equipment
(dish and receivers) free to their subscribers. So for starters both DISH Network and
DirecTV offer free satellite equiipment. Basically the only qualifiers are that
you be a first time subscriber and that you have a credit card for monthly billing
purposes. So if the equipment is free how do the two providers make any money?
Well, you do have to pay for the monthly programming of course. The price of your
monthly programming bill depends on which programming package you choose.
DISH Network's America Top 60 programmng package starts at $24.99 per month and local
channels are available. DISH Network presently is not making new subscribers commit to
a one year contract. You can end your subscription at any time with no financial penalty to pay.
DirecTV's entry level programming package is called the Total Choice package and comes with local channels and is
$39.99 per month. With the Total Choice package you get over 130 channels. DirecTV
does require you to sign a one year subscription agreement. If you cancel your
service before the year is up, then you have to pay a penalty fee to DirecTV.
As both satellite giants use the very lates technology in their satellites and receiving
equipment, what differentiates the two is in the programming options that they provide
to their subscribers. I would rate DirecTV somewhat ahead of the DISH Network in their
sports packages, as they offer seasonal sports options like the N.F.L. Sunday Ticket that
DirecTV has exclusive rights to. Both providers offer tons of premium movie packages
to choose from including HBO, Showtime, Starz and Cinemax. All these come with multiple
channels per movie package. As DISH Network has more satellites in orbit than DirecTV does
they have the capacity to offer up to 500 viewing channels, whereas with DirecTV, you
can 'only' get 250 channels. Also, DISH Network offers alot more foreign programming
packages than DirecTV does.
Both DISH Network and DirecTV offer 100% digital picture and CD quality sound in
all of their programming. So again, they are tied in this important quality.
This technology allows for a crystal clear perfect picture that cable tv simply cannot provide.
DISH Network, a subsidiary of EchoStar Communications, was founded in 1996 by Charles
Ergan. While not quite as old as DirecTV, DISH Network was the fastest satellite
provider to reach the 100,000 subscriber level doing so in just four short months.
Presently, DISH Network has over Nine million satellite tv subscribers in the 50
United States and District of Columbia. DISH Network has many 'firsts' to its credit,
including being the first company to offer a satellite tv reciever that had a built in
DVR (digital video recorder).
DirecTV was begun in 1994 and is the largest satellite tv provider in the United
States. When it first launched in 1994, Direct TV was the first satellite TV
company to offer all digital-quality, multi-channel TV programming through the use of
direct broadcast satellite (DBS) technology. DBS technology is now the standard for
the satellite tv industry and we have the ingenuity of the DirecTV engineers to thank
for it. While DirecTV does not have as large a bandwidth allocation as the DISH
Network does, to counter this DirecTV has arranged to have to exclusive deals with
programming companies to cater to the programming whims of their subscribers.
In the all important area of customer care, both DirecTV and DISH Network offer
outstanding customer care and support. Both offer online Faqs sections and help sections
to their websites. You can also call both toll free to get help with any problem
you may be having. Pay-Per-View movies may be ordered either by using your remote
control or calling the 800 toll free number for either provider.
Both DirecTV and DISH Network offer free professional installation as part of their
free satellite tv promotions. One difference is that DirecTV will install your equipment
for free in up to five rooms, where DISH Network presently only installs for free in
up to four rooms of your home.
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