Satellite TV Packages and Channels
A basic package is the core element of your satellite TV viewing. While both DISH and DIRECTV offer many of the same channels, there are some differences in how they are organized across packages.
Satellite TV Packages
When you choose a satellite TV plan, you should first decide which channels and features you want the most. The channels and features you want with your satellite TV package will determine the price you pay each month for satellite TV service.
DIRECTV and DISH are the two largest satellite TV providers available in the US. Compare the two side by side to see which strikes the best balance between price and features.
Please note that we are only going to review the English language satellite TV service plans. DIRECTV and DISH both have Spanish language plans and some international plans, but we won't be reviewing them here.
You can customize your satellite TV programming by selecting plans with certain features. Click on a satellite TV package below to see if that plan has the channels and features you want. By shopping around and comparing rates, you should be able to find an affordable plan with all or most of the channels and features that are important to you.
DIRECTV Satellite TV Packages
Read our DIRECTV satellite TV programming reviews to see if a plan with DIRECTV is the right plan for you.
All of the satellite TV packages listed below include:
- 3 free months of HBO and SHOWTIME
- Free access to local channels
- 1 included HD DVR ($10/month for first 2 years, $20/month after that for DVR service)
- Free HD service
- Free installation
- Free satellite dish
- Free handling and delivery
- No startup cost
- Entertainment Plan
The Select Plan with DIRECTV costs $24.99/month for the first year and $29.99/month for the second year. The regular price is $49.99/month.
The Select Plan offers 130+ channels, 30+ HD channels, and many On Demand channels for free.
The Entertainment Plan with DIRECTV costs $29.99/month for the first year, $34.99/month for the second year, and $57.99/month thereafter.
The Entertainment Plan includes 140+ digital channels, 30+ HD channels, and 4000 On Demand channels for free.
The DIRECTV Choice Plan costs $34.99/month for the first year and $39.99/month for the second year with a 2 year contract. The regular price is $66.99/month.
With the Choice Plan, you get 150+ digital satellite TV channels, 40+ HD channels, and 6000 free On Demand TV shows. This plan also includes the NFL Sunday Ticket for free, which gives you full access to all Sunday NFL games and the Red Zone Channel.
Choice Extra Plan
The DIRECTV Choice Extra Plan costs $39.99/month for the first year and $44.99/month for the second year with a 2 year contract. The regular cost is $73.99/month.
The Choice Extra satellite TV package includes 205+ satellite TV channels, 50+ HD channels, and 7000 On Demand channels. The Choice Extra Plan also includes the NFL Sunday Ticket and Red Zone Channel.
Choice Ultimate Plan
The Choice Ultimate Plan with DIRECTV costs $44.99/month for the first year and $49.99/month for the second year with a 2 year contract. The regular price is $81.99/month.
The Choice Ultimate Plan includes 225+ satellite TV channels, 7000 On Demand channels, and 55+ HD channels.
The Choice Ultimate Plan also includes the NFL Sunday Ticket, the Red Zone Channel, and 11 extra movie channels.
The Premier Plan with DIRECTV costs $92.99/month for the first year and $97.99/month the second year with a 2 year contract. The regular price is $129.99/month.
The Premier Plan includes 285+ channels, 105+ HD channels, and over 7000 On Demand channels. This plan also includes the NFL Sunday Ticket, the Red Zone Channel, and a selection of 35 sports specialty channels like CBS College Sports, GoITV, and the YES Network.
A Note about Receiver Fees with DIRECTV
With every DIRECTV plan, all receivers are free (except for the Home Media Center HD DVR plan which costs $99 extra).
If you want additional DVRs, there are extra fees for some models. An extra Home Media Central HD DVR costs $198, an HD DVR Receiver costs $99, a TiVO HD DVR Receiver costs $99, and a DVR Receiver costs $99. A standard or HD Receiver is still free. However, there is a $6 fee for each additional receiver.
DISH Satellite TV Packages
All of the satellite TV packages with the DISH have the following features:
- 3 free months of HBO®, Cinemax®, SHOWTIME® and STARZ®*
- Blockbuster @Home for 3 months*
- $7/month DVR service fee if you want a receiver with DVR
- Free installation on up to 6 TVs
- Free local channels
- The Smart Pack Plan
The Smart Pack satellite TV package costs $19.99/month* for the first year, and $32.99/month after that. This plan includes 55+ channels.
This is the only plan that doesn't include a free Hopper Whole-Home HD DVR. As a result, it is the only plan that doesn't require HD service. HD service usually costs an extra $10/month. However, you do still have to pay the $7/month DVR service fee if you want a DVR.
America's Top 120 Plan
The America's Top 120 satellite TV package costs $29.99/month* for the first year and $54.99/month after that. This plan includes 190+ channels.
The America's Top 120 Plan also includes a free Hopper HD DVR Whole-Home receiver. You also get the HD Free for Life deal which provides HD service for $10/month*.
You can also choose the America's Top 120+ Pack for $34.99/month* for the first year and $59.99/month at the regular rate. This plan also has 190+ channels. Its key feature is that it includes some special sports satellite TV channels like FUEL TV, Fox Soccer Channel, and regional sports networks.
America's Top 200 Plan
The America's Top 200 plan costs $39.99/month* for the first year and $69.99/month at the regular price. The America's Top 200 Plan includes 240+ channels and a free Hopper Whole-Home HD DVR. It also includes over 70 SiriusXM music channels, and extra sports channels like the NFL Network and regional sports networks.
America's Top 250 Plan
The America's Top 250 Plan costs $44.99/month* for the first year and $79.99/month at the regular rate. This plan includes 290+ channels and the free Hopper Whole-Home HD DVR.
This plan also includes over 70 SiriusXM music channels and extra sports channels. In addition, it has 17 extra movie channels.
America's "Everything" Pak
This plan costs $89.99/month* for the first year and $124.99/month after that. This plan has over 320 channels.
This is the only plan that includes 30 premium channels like HBO, SHOWTIME, STARZ, and Cinemax for the entire term of the contract. It also includes 70 SiriusXM music channels.
A Note about Receivers and DISH
It is hard to figure out DISH's prices for individual receivers because they don't list individual receivers by price. You will have to play around with the calculator at checkout to see how different receivers with different features change your price based on the plan you want. You can get HD DVR receivers, HD receivers, DVR receivers, and basic receivers. There is an additional $7 fee for each additional receiver.
When you choose a satellite TV programming plan, you should consider the following aspects of satellite programming: As with cable TV, you can't buy individual satellite TV channels. If you want a particular channel, you will have to look through the different plans to see which is the cheapest plan that includes that particular channel. The above plans include some additional features that you may also want to check out. For example, some DIRECTV plans include Live TV for your iPad and YouTube access for your TV.
If you can't find a good plan with one satellite TV provider that strikes a balance between features and price, check the other provider. For example, the DISH America's Top 200 plan might be a good compromise if you want something between the DIRECTV Choice and DIRECTV Choice Extra plans.
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