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Programming Package: A basic package is the core element of your satellite TV viewing. While both DISH Network and DIRECTV offer many of the same channels, there are some differences in how they are organized across packages.

Use the table below to find your best basic package. If you are calculating your bill, select one DIRECTV package and one DISH Network package to add to your Monthly Bill Estimate.

Monthly Bill Estimate

DIRECTV
Choice (includes Free HD)
$34.99/mo. for a year
NFL Sunday Ticket Included!
20+ premium movie channels free for 3 mo.
$34.99
Choice XTRA (includes Free HD)
$39.99/mo. for a year
NFL Sunday Ticket Included!
20+ premium movie channels free for 3 mo.
$39.99
Choice Ultimate (includes Free HD)
$44.99/mo. for a year
NFL Sunday Ticket Included!
20+ premium movie channels free for 3 mo.
$44.99
Dish Network
America's Top 120 (includes Free HD)
$29.99/mo. for 12 mo., then $49.99/mo.
Over 20 premium movie channels FREE for 3 mo.
$29.99
America's Top 200 (includes Free HD)
$34.99/mo. for 12 mo., then $64.99/mo.
Over 20 premium movie channels FREE for 3 mo.
$39.99
America's Top 250 (includes Free HD)
$39.99/mo. for 12 mo., then $74.99/mo.
Over 20 premium movie channel FREE for 3 mo.
$44.99
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A&E: Biography, mystery and documentary for discerning viewers

           
ABC Family Channel: Contemporary entertainment for ages 18-49

           
Almavision: Christian programming in Spanish

           
AMC: Dedicated to the American movie fan.

           
Angel One: Spreading the word of Christ

           
Angel Two: Special events from Sky Angel

           
Animal Planet: Wildlife, pet care and nature from around the globe

           
BabyFirstTV: Learning for your 6 month old baby to 3 year old child

           
BBC America: British comedy, drama, news and movies

           
BET: Highlighting African-American culture

           
Big Ten Network: Big Ten sporting events and campus programming

           
Biography Channel: Life and times of exceptional people

           
Bloomberg TV: 24 hour business and financial channel

           
Boomerang: 24-hour classic animated entertainment

           
Bravo: Art programming and films; reality series

           
BYU TV: Public interest channel focusing on families

           
C-SPAN: Political programming, including live debate from U.S. House

           
C-SPAN2: Political programming, including live debate from U.S. Senate

           
Cartoon Network: 24 hour animated entertainment

           
Cartoon Network West: 24 hour animated entertainment

           
CBS Sports Network: College sports programming

           
CCTV-9: English-language channel focused on Chinese news & culture

           
CCTV-E: News & education in Spanish & French

           
CCTV-News: English-language channel focused on Chinese news & culture

           
Centric: Music & entertainment for trendsetting African American adults

           
Chiller: Dedicated exclusively to horror and thriller genre

           
Christian Television Network: Wholesome Christian programming

           
Church Channel: Religious services from a variety of faiths

           
Classic Arts Showcase: Video clips of the arts, from past to present

           
CLOO: Mystery & crime programming from NBC Universal

           
CNBC: Live stock/bond market coverage and personal finance info

           
CNBC World: Global business, focused on Asia & European markets

           
CNN: 24 hour global news and information network

           
Comedy Central: The 24 hour comedy network

           
Cooking Channel: Network for food people by food people

           
Country Music Television: Music videos - focused on current country music

           
Current TV: Independent programming & content for 18-34 year olds

           
Daystar: Christian network offering ministry, music and family programs

           
Discovery Channel: Nature, the environment, technology and history

           
Discovery Fit & Health: Real-life dramas focusing on forensic mysteries, medical stories and parenting

           
Disney Channel: Family entertainment including original movies

           
Disney Channel West: Family entertainment including original movies

           
Disney XD: Children's animated TV series; formerly Toon Disney

           
DIY Network: Programming for the handyman in all of us

           
Documentary Channel: Works of independent documentary filmmakers

           
E! Entertainment TV: The 24 hour Hollywood news & celebrity network

           
Encore: All movies, all the time

           
Encore (West): Commercial free movie channel

           
Encore Action: Movies, focusing on action and adventure films

           
Encore Drama: Movies, focusing on non-fiction films

           
Encore Family: Entertainment for teens

           
Encore Love: Movies, focusing on love and romance films

           
Encore Suspense: Movies, focusing on mystery and suspense films

           
Encore Westerns: Movies, focusing on Westerns

           
Enlace Christian TV: Spanish language family programming

           
ESPN: Games & events of pro and college leagues; sports news & talk

           
ESPN2: Games & events of pro and college leagues; sports news & talk

           
ESPNews: 24 hour sports news network

           
ESPNU: College sports programming from ESPN

           
Eternal Word Television: 24 hour religious network

           
Food Network: 24 hour food network - cooking, recipes, restaurants

           
Fox Business Network: Financial news and information

           
Fox Movie Channel: Movies from the 20th Century Fox film library

           
Fox News Channel: 24 hour news, information, talk and opinion

           
FOX Soccer: Comprehensive coverage of soccer worldwide

           
Free Speech TV: Working for progressive social change

           
Fuel: 24 hour network dedicated to extreme sports

           
Fuse: Music TV with an interactive bent, targeting a 12-34 age range

           
FX: Films, original programming, and syndicated shows

           
G4 - Video Game Television: Games, Gear, Gadgets and Gigabytes

           
Galavision: Spanish language variety programming

           
GEM NET: Non-commercial family programming

           
GOD TV: Christian music, events, ministries

           
Golden Eagle Broadcasting: From Oral Roberts University, a Family-Safe® Network

           
Golf Channel: 24 hour network devoted to golf programming

           
Gospel Music Chanel: Gospel & Christian music: rock, pop, country, soul

           
Great American Country: 24 hour music country music video network

           
GSN: Game Show Network: Classic & original game shows

           
H2: A look at history from international viewpoints

           
Hallmark Channel: Varied entertainment suitable for the entire family

           
Hallmark Movie Channel: Family-friendly movie experience

           
Headline News Network: CNN news, presented in concise segments

           
Health & Human Services: High quality medical, health & wellness; commercial-free

           
HGTV: Educational home & garden programming

           
History Channel: 24 hour educational network exploring history

           
HITN: First Hispanic Public Television network

           
Home Shopping Network: A wide mix of merchandise at good prices

           
Hope Channel: Inspirational & educational family programming

           
HorseRacing TV: Live horse racing. Remote betting allowed (where legal)

           
HSN 2: More merchandise from Home Shopping Network

           
In Country: Programming & shopping targeting the outdoor enthusiast

           
Independent Film Channel: Indy films, including original programming

           
Inspiration: Faith-based and patriotic info and entertainment

           
Investigation Discovery: Documentary & series around our culture & world

           
ION: A diverse mixture of family oriented programming

           
ION West: A diverse mixture of family oriented programming

           
Jewelry Television: Home shopping focusing on jewelry and collectibles

           
Jewish Life: 24-hour Jewish-themed programming

           
KBS World: Korean-language channel with news & entertainment

           
Kids & Teen TV: High quality programming for youth, from toddlers to teens

           
Lifetime: Variety programming targeting women

           
Lifetime Movie Network: Movies from a woman's perspective


           
LOGO: Programming for a gay and lesbian audience; from MTV Networks

           
MHz Worldview: Global-sourced programming - in 20 different languages

           
Military Channel: The human & technological faces of military history

           
MLB Network: Baseball programming 24 hours a day

           
Movie Channel (West): 24 hour movie channel

           
Movie Channel East: 24 hour movie channel; over 150 movies per month

           
Movie Channel Xtra (West): 24 hour movie channel

           
MoviePlex: Features recent and older motion pictures.

           
MSNBC: 24 hour news, information, talk and opinion network

           
MTV: Videos & original programming from the first music video network

           
MTV2: Sister station to MTV, providing a diverse mix of music videos

           
Mun2: Bilingual entertainment network targeting young U.S. Latinos

           
Music Channels (Audio): Audio only music channels offered in basic packages.

           
NASA: Live mission coverage and space-related educational shows

           
Nat Geo Wild: Animals in the wild

           
National Geographic Channel: Exploring the natural world around us

           
NBA TV: 24 hour NBA -- live games, news and information

           
NBC Sports Network: Shows for the outdoor enthusiast; NHL games

           
NFL Network: 24 hour National Football League news and information

           
NHL Network: Live NHL games, highlights and hockey instruction.

           
Nick Jr.: Commercial-free educational preschool network

           
Nickelodeon: Kids programming by day, classic TV by night

           
Nickelodeon West: Kids programming & classic TV

           
Nicktoons: Original animated series (Sponge Bob, Animaniacs, etc.)

           
NRB Network: Bringing a greater understanding of Christian faith

           
Once Mexico: Political issues, culture, tourism and children's series

           
Oprah Winfrey Network: Entertaining, empowering and inspiring people to live their best life.

           
Outdoor Channel: Outdoor activities including fishing & hunting

           
Ovation TV: Performance art and personal creativity

           
Oxygen Network: For women. Includes original and diverse programming

           
PBS Sprout: Children's programming from Public Broadcasting

           
Pentagon Channel: Military news and information including Dept. of Defense briefings

           
Planet Green: Mainstream look at a world going green

           
Pursuit Channel: Created for the outdoors by outdoorsmen

           
QVC Shopping Network: Home shopping focusing on good deals on brand name merchandise across a wide number of categories

           
Reelz: Shows about movies: Interviews, news, behind-the-scenes

           
Regional Sports Network(s): The regional sports network(s) for your area

           
RFD-TV: 24 hour network dedicated to rural news and programming

           
RT (Russia Today): Russia-based news cultural programming.

           
Science Channel: Focuses on technology and the world around us

           
Shop At Home: Home shopping service

           
Shop NBC: Home shopping --good deals on wide variety of merchandise

           
SOAPNet: 24 hour soap opera network, both same-day and classic

           
Speed Channel: NASCAR, CART, F1 and other races covered

           
SpikeTV: Variety programming targeting men

           
Sportsman Channel: 100% dedicated to hunting, shooting & fishing programming

           
Style: 24 hours of fashion, beauty, home and entertaining

           
Sundance: Award winning feature films, shots and documentaries

           
SyFy: Variety focused on science fiction and fantasy

           
TBS: Variety with focus on comedy

           
TCT Network: Christian educational, news & entertainment programming

           
TeenNick: 24-hour network with programming for and about teens

           
Telefutura Este: A variety of Spanish language programming

           
Tennis Channel: Dedicated to tennis & the active tennis lifestyle

           
The Hub: Bringing kids and their families together to enjoy family friendly TV.

           
The Learning Channel: Educates through entertaining programs

           
Three Angels Broadcasting: Positive, well-balanced Christian lifestyle programming

           
TNT: Original movies, NFL & NBA, and varied entertainment

           
Travel Channel: Showcases exotic locations and travel advice

           
Trinity Broadcasting Network: Original faith & inspirational programming

           
truTV: Live trials and legal drama

           
Turner Classic Movies: Classic movies dating from the 1920s to 1980s

           
TV Games Network: Interactive horse racing network

           
TV Guide Channel: TV listings and more

           
TV Land: Dramas, Westerns, sitcoms, and variety from early TV to 1980s

           
TV One: Entertainment channel focusing on African-American themes

           
Univision: Varied Spanish language programming

           
Univision Oeste: Varied Spanish language programming

           
USA Network: General entertainment network; some original programs

           
V-me: Engaging entertainment for Latino families

           
Veria: Live well, naturally

           
VH1: Music videos & concerts, targeting an upscale audience

           
VH1 Classic: Music videos and concerts from the 60's to 80's

           
We: Women's Entertainment: Women's interest variety programming

           
Weather Channel: 24 hour live weather, including original programming

           
WGN America: Broad scope entertainment, blockbuster movies, baseball & basketball

           
Word Network: Urban ministries and gospel music

           
World Harvest TV: Christian programming, sports and family shows


Satellite TV Programming Packages and Channels

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 the DISH Network 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 the DISH Network 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, SHOWTIME, STARZ, and Cinemax
  • 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 Entertainment Plan with DIRECTV costs $29.99/month for the first year, $44.99/month for the second year, and $54.99/month thereafter.

The Entertainment Plan includes 140+ digital channels, 30+ HD channels, and 4000 On Demand channels for free.

Choice Plan

The DIRECTV Choice Plan costs $34.99/month for the first year and $53.99/month for the second year with a 2 year contract. It costs $63.99/month after that.

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 $58.99/month for the second year with a 2 year contract. The regular cost after that is $68.99/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 $64.99/month for the second year with a 2 year contract. After that, the Choice Ultimate satellite TV package costs $74.99/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.

Premier Plan

The Premier Plan with DIRECTV costs $89.99/month for the first year and $109.99/month the second year with a 2 year contract. The regular price is $119.99/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.

The DISH Network Satellite TV Packages

All of the satellite TV packages with the DISH Network have the following features:

  • 3 free months of HBO, SHOWTIME, STARZ, and Cinemax
  • Blockbuster @Home for 3 months
  • $6/month DVR service fee if you want a receiver with DVR
  • Free installation
  • Free local channels
  • The Smart Pack Plan

 

The Smart Pack satellite TV package costs $19.99/month for the first year, and $24.99/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 $24.99/month for the first year and $44.99/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 $29.99/month for the first year and $49.99/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 $34.99/month for the first year and $59.99/month at the regular price. The America’s Top 200 Plan includes 235+ 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 $39.99/month for the first year and $69.99/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 $74.99/month for the first year and $104.99/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 the DISH Network

It is hard to figure out DISH Network’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.

Other Considerations

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 Network America’s Top 200 plan might be a good compromise if you want something between the DIRECTV Choice and DIRECTV Choice Extra plans.