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There are four major movie networks, and they are offered by both DISH and DIRECTV: HBO®, CINEMAX®, SHOWTIME®, and STARZ® However, there are some differences in each package between DISH and DIRECTV. Check out the packages for satellite TV service below.

Satellite TV Premium Movie Networks

Satellite TV service is a great choice for anyone who wants to be able to watch premium movie channels like HBO®, CINEMAX®, SHOWTIME®, and STARZ®. Most satellite TV providers offer some special deals and discounts for these premium channels, but those specials are usually introductory rates.

If you want cheap year-round access to premium movie channels, use our calculator to figure out which satellite TV provider will give you the best rates.

What is a Premium TV Network?

Premium networks are channels or groups of channels that are owned by a network that charges individuals for service. Because these networks charge each individual customer a higher rate for service, they can afford to keep their networks free or mostly free of commercials.

Premium networks also have greater freedom in choosing shows to air and produce. These networks often have uncensored or strong content because they do not have to cater to general audiences or advertisers. Rather, they focus on production value to attract customers.

Regular Rates for Premium Channels

Most satellite TV plans don’t include premium movie channels for no extra cost. You usually have to pay an extra monthly fee to see these channels.

A plan that includes premium movie channels often includes all of that channel’s affiliate channels. For example, if you get a plan with HBO, it will probably include a selection of HBO’s subdivisions like HBO Comedy, HBO Family, and HBO On Demand. In some cases, a network may also own some other channels. For example, Showtime owns the Sundance channel, so you may get free access to Sundance with a Showtime plan.

There are lots of premium channels in addition to the standard channels listed above: HBO®, CINEMAX®, SHOWTIME®, and STARZ®. Other premium channels available in the US may include:

  • The Movie Channel
  • Flix
  • Encore
  • MoviePlex
  • Baby First TV
  • Fox Soccer Plus
  • NFL Redzone
  • here!
  • AMC Networks
  • Adult entertainment channels

With some satellite TV providers, you can select individual channels a la carte, but frequently channels are grouped together so you may have to pay for a handful of channels to get the particular one you want.

Sometimes buying grouped channels can save you money. For example, if you wanted all of the premium movie channels, you might be able to get a deal with a satellite service provider that includes all of the premium movie channels for a discounted price. However, if you only wanted one or a few of these channels, it’s probably more cost effective to see if you can find an a la carte plan.

DIRECTV and Premium Channels

With DIRECTV, you can get premium channels for the following rates. Each of these rates includes all of the affiliate channels listed in the chart. However, you should note that some channels are only available in HD, and some are not available in HD at all.

Channel HBO® SHOWTIME® STARZ® CINEMAX®
Monthly Price $17.99 $13.99 $13.99 $13.99
Included
Affiliate Channels
  • HBO east
  • HBO2 east
  • HBO Signature
  • HBO west
  • HBO2 west
  • HBO Comedy
  • HBO Family east
  • HBO Family west
  • HBO Zone
  • HBO On Demand
  • Showtime east
  • Showtime west
  • Showtime
  • Sho Too
  • Showtime2
  • Showcase
  • Showtime Extreme
  • Showtime Beyond
  • Showtime Next
  • Showtime Women
  • Showtime On Demand
  • Sundance Channel
  • The Movie Channel East
  • The Movie Channel West
  • The Movie Channel Xtra
  • Flix
  • Starz Kids and Family
  • Starz Comedy
  • Starz east
  • Starz west
  • Starz Edge
  • Starz Edge
  • Starz in Black
  • Starz in Black
  • Starz Cinema
  • Starz On Demand
  • Encore
  • Encore west
  • Encore Love
  • Encore Westerns
  • Encore Suspense
  • Encore Drama
  • Encore Action
  • Encore Family
  • Cinemax east
  • Cinemax
  • Cinemax west
  • Cinemax MoreMax
  • MoreMax
  • Cinemax MoreMax east
  • Cinemax ActionMax
  • Cinemax ActionMax east
  • Cinemax5 StarMAX
  • Cinemax5 StarMAX east
  • Cinemax west
  • Cinemax WMAX east
  • Cinemax ThrillerMax
  • Cinemax @MAX east

In addition, if you buy any one premium channel, you will get a discount on a second premium channel. DIRECTV doesn’t list the discount on a second channel.

Also, DIRECTV’s Premier plan includes all of the premium movie channels in addition to all of the standard channels at no additional monthly cost. This plan costs $92.99/month for the first year and $97.99/month for the second year with a two year contract, and $129.99/month after that. However, you don’t have to pay extra for each of the channels.

In general, whenever you are considering buying an extra channel, you should carefully review the satellite TV plans and packages available with a service provider before buying a premium channel. You may find that some packages include the channel you want at no extra cost.

DISH and Premium Channels

DISH packages premium channels a little bit differently from DIRECTV, so before you pick a satellite TV service, you should see how these companies differ on their premium channel offers. Again, some channels are available only in HD, and some channels don’t have HD options at all.

Channel HBO® SHOWTIME® STARZ® CINEMAX®
Monthly Price $19.00 $14.00 $14.00 $14.00
Included Affiliate Channels
  • HBO east
  • HBO2 east
  • HBO west
  • HBO2 west
  • HBO Signature
  • HBO Comedy
  • HBO Zone
  • HBO Family
  • HBO Latino
  • Showtime
  • Showcase
  • Showtime west
  • Showtime2
  • Showtime Extreme
  • Showtime Beyond
  • The Movie Channel
  • The Movie Channel Xtra
  • Flix
  • Starz
  • Starz west
  • Starz Comedy
  • Starz Edge
  • Starz Cinema
  • Starz in Black
  • Starz Kids and Family
  • Encore
  • Cinemax
  • Cinemax west
  • MoreMax
  • Cinemax ActionMax
  • Cinemax5StarMax

You may have noticed that a lot of DISH channels don’t include some of the affiliate networks that are included with DIRECTV channels. In several cases, you can buy those affiliate channels separately. For example, you can buy the Encore channels separately for $6/month. This might be useful to you if you only want some of those affiliate channels and you don’t want to pay for a whole combined package with DIRECTV.

DISH also offers a pretty extensive list of specialty sports and special interest channels. However, some of these can be fairly expensive. For example, Racetrack TV costs $50/month.

DISH also offers Blockbuster @Home, a service that allows you to rent a few movies at a time via mail, and stream select titles instantly. This service starts at $10/month for 1 disc at a time. Blockbuster @Home is offered to new customers for 3 months FREE with new DISH service*.

The America’s Everything Pak is the only plan that includes all of the premium movie channels for no extra cost. This plan costs $89.99/month* for the first year and $124.99/month after that.

The America’s Top 250 plan includes Encore channels for free. This plan costs $44.99/month* for the first year and $79.99/month after that.

DISH also offers discounts when you buy multiple premium channels. You can pay $26/month for 2 channels, $35/month for 3 channels, and $45/month for 4 channels*.

Promotional Discounts

Compare satellite TV providers to find out which promotional discounts will get you the best rates for premium movie channels.

Right now, you can get HBO and Showtime free for 3 months with any plan with DIRECTV. With DISH, you can get 3 free months of HBO®, SHOWTIME®, CINEMAX®, and STARZ® free with all but the Smart Pack plan*.

 

 

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