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DISH Network Review

DISH Network is a satellite TV provider that offers multiple packages at competitive prices. Certain packages require you to sign a two-year contract, but with availability in all 50 states, DISH is a top option for those looking for an alternative to cable.

Call for Pricing: 800-385-5179

Updated: May 21, 2014

The Good

Impressive selection of DVRs:

DISH Network offers access to a number of high tech DVR options. The most advanced option, called the Hopper has the ability to record up to six live HD channels during primetime, and can connect with as many as four TVs through mini receivers called Joeys. At 2TB, the hard drive on the Hopper is one of largest in the industry. If you love being able to record all of your shows and not have to worry about running out of space, the Hopper is a great choice. DISH provides a range of HD and SD DVRs, all with picture-in-picture capability, a great feature for sports fans looking to keep up on multiple games. With several DVR options to choose from, you're certain to find a solution that meets your needs.

Available in all 50 states:

One of the great benefits of satellite TV is availability. DISH Network is one of few TV providers that is available in all 50 states. Generally speaking, anyone with a clear view of the southern sky should be able to get DISH Network service. Although this can be problematic in some areas, satellite TV can be a particularly good option for those that live in rural communities and don't have access to cable networks.

Competitive pricing on all packages:

DISH Network has several different TV packages that range from $19.99 - $89.99 per month and offer between 40+ - 290+ channels. The entry-level package is one of the most affordable TV packages in the industry. Unlike some major TV providers that can cost $100 or more per month, as you move up to higher end DISH Network packages, the prices offered remain consistently competitive. Whether you're looking for a low-cost entry-level deal, or for a high-end inclusive package, you will likely be satisfied with the options offered by DISH.

TV outside with DISH Tailgater®:

The DISH Tailgater® allows you to enjoy the same programming you watch at home through a portable satellite. With the Tailgater®, you'll be able to hook up and watch TV while tailgating in the parking lot of your favorite sports team, while on a camping trip with the family, at a park, on the beach, or during any other outdoor activity. The Tailgater® has a weather resistant cover, and is small and lightweight, so you won't have to worry about lugging around a big system. Like other satellite devices, the Tailgater® requires an unobstructed view of the southern sky in order to receive clear picture. You can also get a pay-as-you-go plan which enables you to only pay for service on a month to month basis, which is great for trips. Whether you're a sports fan grilling in the parking lot, or an RV owner making your way across the country, the Tailgater may be just what you're looking for.

Solid online resources:

The DISH website has several features that help simplify the purchasing process. For example, a comparison tool allows you to clearly see the special offers, as well as the differences between the available channels. After you select a package, you are guided through a Build, Configure, and Checkout process that allows you to enter more specific customer information, and to schedule an installation appointment. DISH Network also provides access to a number of online support guides, to help existing customers with any technical issues that may arise. For those that like to get things done online, DISH helps make it easy.

The Bad

Contracts require 24-month commitment:

One potential drawback to DISH is that many of their contracts are for 24 months. For those that are looking for a long-term TV solution, this won't be a problem. However, for those that may be a littler averse to lengthy contracts, there are other TV providers on the market that offer access to shorter-term deals. If you cancel your service early, you may be charged a fee, but it will depend on the specific package you selected. Taking the time to understand your contract will help prevent any unexpected fees.

Must have a satellite installed:

In order to get TV service through DISH, you have to have a small satellite dish installed at your residence. The standard dish is fairly small (roughly 18 - 20"), and can usually be installed out of site by a professional DISH technician. Those that live in an apartment building may find installation to be a little more problematic as the dish will have to be installed on a balcony, or in a location approved by the landlord. This is not a factor that will impact all customers, but it is something to be aware of when shopping for TV services.

Service can be impacted by weather:

Perhaps the biggest weakness of satellite TV is that service can be disrupted by inclement weather. Obviously this won't be an issue for all customers, but for those that live in certain states, seasonal conditions like heavy snow or extreme wind may cause reception to be temporarily interrupted. Although these interruptions only occur occasionally, if you live in an area where weather might be problematic, a more traditional cable service may be a better fit.

The Details

Provider Specs
3D Channels None
Available Channels 330+
HD Channels 200+
Monthly Price $19.99 - $119.99
Number of Packages 7
Service Area Nationwide, AK/HI
States Available 50
Type Satellite
Receiver Specs
Channels Simultaneously Recorded 6
Hours of HD Recording Up to 500
Hours of SD Recording Up to 2,000
Receiver Options 10
Recording Capabilities (hours) Up to 2,000
Storage Capacity 160GB - 2TB

Features

Channels

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  • Educational - The company offers educational channels like the History Channel, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and others.
  • Entertainment - The company offers entertainment channels like MTV, VH1, CMT, BET, E! Entertainment, Comedy Central, and others.
  • International Programming - The company offers foreign-language programming.
  • Kids and Family - The company offers channels for kids and family like the Disney Channel, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, and others.
  • League Passes - The company offers access to league passes like NBA League Pass, NHL Center Ice, MLS Direct Kick, MLB Strike Zone, and others.
  • Lifestyle - The company offers lifestyle channels like BIO, Bravo, The Food Network, HGTV, OWN, and others.
  • Local - The company offers local channels like ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, FOX, and others.
  • Movie - The companys offers movie channels like Encore, The Movie Channel, EPIX, and others.
  • Music - The company offers channels that play music.
  • News - The company offers news channels like CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, The Weather Channel, C-SPAN, and others.
  • Premium - The company offers premium channels like HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, and Starz.
  • Spanish Programming - The company offers programming available in Spanish.
  • Specialty Sports - The company offers specialty sports channels like the NFL Network, NBA TV, MLB Network, NHL Network, and others.
  • Standard Sports - The company offers standard sports channels like the ESPN family of networks, the Golf Channel, regional sports, FUEL TV, Fox Sports, and others.
  • NFL Sunday Ticket - The company offers the NFL Sunday Ticket.

On Demand

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Program Viewing

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Receiver Type

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Recording

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Television Compatibility

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Account Management

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Customer Service and Support

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Installation

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Program Controls

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Receiver Display

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Signing Up

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Additional Services

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Bundled Services

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Learning Materials

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Mobile

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Pricing

Smart Pack

Total Channels: 55+
Introductory Rate: N/A
Length of Introductory Rate: N/A
Standard Rate: $29.99/month

America's Top 120

Total Channels: 240+
Introductory Rate: $29.99/month
Length of Introductory Rate: 12 months
Standard Rate: $49.99/month

America's Top 120 Plus

Total Channels: 190+
Introductory Rate: $34.99/month
Length of Introductory Rate: 12 months
Standard Rate: $59.99/month

America's Top 200

Total Channels: 235+
Introductory Rate: $39.99/month
Length of Introductory Rate: 12 months
Standard Rate: $64.99/month

America's Top 250

Total Channels: 290+
Introductory Rate: $44.99/month
Length of Introductory Rate: 12 months
Standard Rate: $74.99/month

America's "Everything" Pak

Total Channels: 330+
Introductory Rate: $89.99/month
Length of Introductory Rate: 12 months
Standard Rate: $119.99/month

* Package details and pricing may vary according to location.

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