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How does DIRECTV compare to DISH?

If you’re considering purchasing satellite TV service, you may want to know how DIRECTV and DISH, two of the biggest players in the satellite television game, compare. While at first glance DISH appears to be the more affordable option, DIRECTV’s plans include more features. Ultimately, deciding which provider is right for you will come down to which features you value most.

Curious to learn more? We’ve gathered all of the details you’ll need, including an overview of each company, a comparison of services, and reviews from industry experts to help you choose.

Who DIRECTV and DISH are for

DIRECTV offers four packages that range in price from $74.99/month to $149.99/month, and their channel packages are set up to fit specific interests. Families with kids and sports enthusiasts will like the Entertainment plan, which features family favorites such as Disney, Discovery, and the Hallmark Channel, as well as sports channels including Fox Sports and several ESPN options. The Entertainment package also includes more than 45,000 on-demand titles.

The DIRECTV Choice package builds on the previous package by adding more news network channels, more sports options, and additional family favorites like OWN and the History Channel. With this option, you’ll get more than 185 channels and access to over 50,000 on-demand titles.

DIRECTV’s Ultimate package includes more than 250 channels and 60,000 on-demand titles. It’s great for movie lovers, since it includes STARZ and the Movie Channel. For the TV lover who wants it all – sports, family television, news, and movies – the Premier package features more than 330 channels, including premium channels like Showtime. Plus, with more than 70,000 on-demand titles, you’ll never run out of things to watch.

DISH packages feature fewer channels and on-demand titles compared to DIRECTV, but they generally cost less. The America’s Top 120 plan offers 28,000 on-demand titles and 190 channels, including local channels and family favorites such as ESPN, CMT, Disney Channel, and E! This plan is also a solid option for sports lovers, thanks to channels like the Big Ten Network and Pac-12 Network.

The America’s Top 200 plan adds in family favorites such as Hallmark, Disney XD and A&E. It also boasts sports fanatic favorites like the MLB Network, NBA Network, NHL Network, and Golf Channel. For the biggest of TV fans, America’s Top 250 completes its channel listing by adding 17 movie channels including Starz, Turner Classic Movies, Encore and The Movie Channel.*

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Key considerations

Installation fees

Installation is free for your first receiver through DIRECTV, but you will have to pay a $99 installation fee for each additional receiver. The installation fee for DISH can cost as much as $199, but if you happen to sign up during a promotional period it may cost less or even be free.

Equipment rental fees

DIRECTV charges $7/month, per device and DISH charges between $7 and $15/month, per device. The specific price for DISH equipment depends on the type of device you use with your plan.

DVR capabilities

DIRECTV includes 500 hours of DVR storage with all plans. DISH provides DVR storage as well, though the specific capacity varies and depends on what device you have. You’ll want to check in with your local DISH provider to determine how much storage you can receive with your plan.

Regional sports fees

DIRECTV charges a $9.99 regional sports fee on its Choice, Ultimate, and Premiere plans (even if you don’t watch sports.) By comparison, DISH charges $3 to $6/month for their regional sports fee.

Early termination fees

Both DIRECTV and DISH will charge you $20 for each unfulfilled month of your contract if you cancel before your 2-year agreement is up.

Non-return equipment fees

The non-return equipment fee for DIRECTV ranges from $45 to $135 per device, depending on what you have. DISH’s non-return equipment fee ranges from $100 to $350 per device depending on which receiver(s) you chose as part of your plan.

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What others say about DIRECTV and DISH


The J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Residential Television Service Provider Satisfaction Study, ranked DIRECTV second nationally for customer satisfaction, although it was a full 20 points behind the first-place finisher – DISH Network.

Another customer satisfaction survey by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) looked at subscription TV providers and ranked DIRECTV in a tie for third place (along with DISH, who also placed third.)


According to a DISH network press release in 2021, the company was named #1 in Customer Satisfaction by J.D. Power for the fourth year in a row, as well as #1 in “Performance and Reliability” and “Features and Functionality.”

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How do DIRECTV and DISH plans compare?

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Compare the top TV providers in your area

*Pricing varies by location and availability. Speeds may vary. All prices subject to change; for current pricing and availability visit our TV service page. Prices as of 3/8/22.

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Disclosure | Updater articles are based on our own data and research, independent from partner relationships. We are not compensated by partners for information and opinions presented here. Our Editorial Terms of Service can be found here.

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