Dish Network and DirecTV now provide satellite TV service to more than 28 million homes in all 50 states in the USA, and that number is growing every day, while cable TV service is declining. This is happening because Dish Network and DirecTV provide more entertainment at a lower price. Dish Network and DirecTV would seem to be providing better value.

Dish Network and DirecTV can do this because the cable companies have priced themselves right out of the market. Cable fees, which are higher than Dish Network and DirecTV to begin with, have increased by more than 40% since 1998, while satellite fees have increased by only 8%.

Depending on where you live and what cable company serves your area, you will pay about $40 per month for basic cable service (about 64 channels), plus $10 per month to get digital programming instead of analogue. You’ll also pay a monthly fee for each additional «box» you need to service more than one TV in your home. And finally, there will also be an installation charge.

When I finally left cable for digital satellite TV, I was paying nearly $70 per month for 64 channels of basic analogue service to 3 TVs. Now I pay Dish Network only $51 per month for more than 210 all-digital channels, including locals and 60 channels of SIRIUS radio. Similar service is available from DirecTV for about the same monthly fee.

With either Dish Network or DirecTV you receive free equipment and free professional installation for up to 4 rooms. This includes the satellite dish(es) necessary to bring in the signal, and the receivers for each room that connect to your TV.

With Dish Network you can get a free dual-room DVR receiver that lets you watch two separate TV programs in two separate rooms while recording each program separately. You can also get a free Dish TV High Definition receiver. With DirecTV you receive DVR and HD upgrades free after the use of a $100 mail-in rebate and the commitment to a certain level of service.

So both Dish Network and DirecTV operate on the same basic business model. They give away the equipment and the installation so they can make money selling the programming packages, in much the same way as when Gillette used to give away the razor in order to sell the blades. Dish Network and DirecTV equipment and installation are both excellent and there is very little difference between them in the way of quality, reliability, and ease of service.

It is in the way they offer programming packages that Dish Network and DirecTV differ, and it is here that most of us develop a preference for one or the other providers, based on what features are most important to us.

Dish Network offers programming in a way that allows you to keep your costs as low as possible if you simply want to step up to the basic benefits that satellite provides you over cable. These benefits include 100% digital programming, better picture, many more channels, free dual-room DVR receiver, free HD receiver, and an overall monthly cost that is usually a good bit lower than cable.

DirecTV offers programming in a way that makes you pay more to get more than Dish Network. Its minimum package, for example, is for 155 channels, rather than 80 channels, so your cost of entry into satellite TV is higher with DirecTV than with Dish Network, but you get more. Many viewers feel that DirecTV offers more in the way of sports and special programming than Dish Network.

Due to the fact that details of special offers by both providers are constantly changing, you should check the links at the end of this article for current information about Dish Network offers and DirecTV offers. You will be able to see exactly which channels you can get for a particular price, including local channels for your area, and learn more about your DVR and HD options if these are important to you.

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