DISH vs DIRECTV – Compare Services, Packages & Equipment

dish vs directv

When talking about satellite TV, the only two options that come to mind are DISH and DIRECTV. While they might seem similar to amateurs, they have some unique features too. In this article, we will make sure to discuss both the services in detail so you can choose your pick with all the information on the table.

It is no secret that DIRECTV is the ideal choice for sports fans, on account of its supremely famous NFL Sunday Ticket channel. However, DISH supplies you with the best DVR option so who is to say which one is better, right? Well, we have no idea who will end this debate but we do know that by the end of this article, you will have a choice depending upon your requirements.


Here is a brief comparison between DISH vs DIRECTV:

Channel Count 190 to more than 290 160 to more than 330
Contract Two years Two years
DVR storage 500 HD hours 200 HD hours
Concurrent recordings Sixteen unique programs Five unique programs
Monthly Price 64.99 USD to 99.99 USD* 64.99 USD to 134.99 USD**
Cheapest Package America’s Top 120 @ 64.99 USD monthly ENTERTAINMENT @ 64.99 USD monthly


Data effective 5/20/2021. Availability and offers vary by location and are subject to change without prior notice.

* For 24 months with a contract of 2 years

** For 12 months with a contract of 2 years. Expect a price hike for the next 12 months.

Packages and Pricing

The introductory prices of both the services are similar; however, there are other pricing factors that you should know. Furthermore, when in contract with DISH, the price remains the same for the entire period of the contract while DIRECTV increases prices entering the second year.

Following is a short summary of all the cable plans and pricing, these service providers offer:

DISH Packages and Pricing

Cable Plans No. of Channels Popular Channels Monthly Prices
Flex Pack More than 50 CNN, AMC, and more 42.99 USD
America’s Top 120 190 ESPC, Disney, and more 64.99 USD
America’s Top 120+ More than 190 Pac-12, NFL Network, and more 79.99 USD
America’s Top 200 More than 240 Hallmark Channel, Disney Junior, and more 89.99 USD
America’s Top 250 More than 290 Starz Encore, Nicktoons, and more 99.99 USD


  • Cheapest Package: America’s Top 120 (190 channels) @ 64.99 USD monthly
  • Most Expensive Package: America’s Top 250 (more than 290 channels) @ 99.99 USD monthly
  • Increase in Price: After 2 years
  • Installation Charges: Free for up to six rooms
  • Activation Charges: one-time; 0.00 USD to 50 USD
  • Local Channels Charges: 12.00 USD monthly
  • Early Termination Charges: 20.00 USD for every remaining month of the contract

Equipment Charges: Free Hopper Duo (125 hours); Hopper 3 (500 hours) for 15.00 USD monthly

Additional Equipment Charges: Joey DVR for 5.00 USD to 10.00 USD monthly

DIRECTV Packages

Cable Plans No. of Channels Popular Channels Monthly Prices
ENTERTAINMENT More than 160 ESPN, ESPN 2, and more 64.99 USD
CHOICE More than IFC, FX, and more 69.99 USD
ULTIMATE More than FLIX, Boomerang, and more 84.99 USD
PREMIER More than Cinemax, HBO, and more 134.99 USD


  • Cheapest Package: Entertainment (more than 160 channels) @ 64.99 USD monthly
  • Most Expensive Package: Premier (more than 330 channels) @ 134.99 USD monthly
  • Increase in Price: After 12 months
  • Installation Charges: Free for up to four rooms
  • Activation Charges: one-time; 19.95 USD
  • Local Channels Charges: 0.00 USD monthly
  • Early Termination Charges: 20.00 USD for every remaining month of the contract
  • Equipment Charges: Additional receivers cost 9.99 USD monthly

Both the service providers offer a couple of cable plans and pricing so that no one is left out. However, if this does not fall under your budget, you should check out Spectrum bundles to find out the best internet plus cable deals starting from only 89.98 USD per month. This means that in a lesser amount, you will be able to enjoy superfast internet speeds and more than 125 channels with the cheapest bundle, Select Double Play.

DVR Service

Today, a TV experience is not complete without a good DVR. Both services offer DVRs, however, there is a great level of difference. Let’s check out:

Parameter DISH Hopper 3 DIRECTV Genie
Concurrent Recordings Sixteen Five
Video Resolution HD and 4k UHD HD and 4k UHD
Storage Space 2 TB 1 TB
Storage Hours 500 HD hours 200 HD hours
Monthly Price 15.00 USD Included


The Hopper 3 is one of the best DVRs available in the market, as of now. With 500 hours of storage and sixteen recordings at the same time, you will not miss a good program in the world. Its ‘AutoHop’ feature skips ads automatically in select recordings. It has inbuilt applications like Netflix and is available as a whole-home DVR.

The DirecTV genie is good enough, as well. It offers 200 storage hours and can record five different programs at the same time. If you are a sports fan and have got the NFL Sunday Ticket, you can make a Mix Channel that permits you to screen 8 live sports events simultaneously.

Mobile Application

Both services offer mobile applications for iOS and Android devices. Here is a concise comparison:

Parameter DISH Anywhere App DIRECTV App
Live TV Yes Yes
On-demand TV Yes Yes
Download and Offline Viewing Yes No
Recorded Programs Viewing Yes No
Manage DVR Yes Yes
Phone as Remote Feature No Yes


With the DISH Anywhere app, you can watch live TV and on-demand content whenever you want and even control your DVR, but with the DirecTV’s app, you can do this much and use it as a remote too.

The Last Word

The question remains: which of the two services is better? Now, we are not going to induce an answer in your mind, however, we definitely will try to nudge you in the direction that is better for you. Here is a quick summary of features:

  • DISH has the best pricing if you want a long-term service provider. DirecTV increases its prices after 12 months and that might be a turn-off for many people.
  • As far as 4K resolution channels are concerned, DirecTV offers more of such channels. DISH only offers 4K quality for on-demand content.
  • For sports fans, DirecTV is the ideal option due to the inclusion of the NFL Sunday Ticket.
  • On account of equipment, DISH has got the votes due to Hopper 3. Hopper 3 has no competition in the market when it comes to simultaneous recordings. In addition, DISH has an inbuilt microphone on the remote for voice compatibility.
  • If you are a fan of international content, DISH might just be the right choice as it offers international channels in more than 25 languages.
  • About customer service, both the services are really good when it comes to satisfying the customers.

Now that everything is on the table, make a choice and you tell us which one is better!