DISH offers a sweet three-year price guarantee and one of the best DVRs available, but picture quality is unreliable, and you’ll miss out on regional sports networks.
DISH Network offers more than 250 channels on its top tier—it’s a ton of content, and includes almost all the most popular channels out there. (1) There’s a lot of filler in the form of shopping and music channels, but you also get an excellent selection of shows and games for the whole family.
You can catch most of your local and national network channels with DISH, and that means local news, local sports, national sports, and top syndicated shows. There is a local channels fee on top of your regular bill, but you can get out of it by buying an antenna instead.
You can watch games and matches for almost any sport with DISH, plus sports analysis and game highlights on channels like NFL Network and MLB Network. There are no regional sports networks, though, and no way to watch every out-of-market NFL game like you can with Youtube TV’s NFL Sunday Ticket. We still recommend it for most fans, but there’s a chance you won’t be able to find all your team’s games.
Family and education: 4.5/5
If you have kiddos in the house, or even if you’re just very interested in educational content, DISH has you covered. Even on the lower-priced tiers, you get PBS, Animal Planet, Cartoon Network, Disney, and the History channel.
News and politics: 4.5/5
DISH doesn’t have every single news channel out there, but it has all the most popular networks plus plenty of local and international news. You get Fox News, MSNBC, Vice, BBC America, and even Newsmax and Freeform. News junkies rejoice!
Entertainment and lifestyle: 4/5
If you’re into Blockbuster movies, home improvement, reality TV, and true crime, you’ll love what DISH has to offer. You will have to pay extra for premium channels like SHOWTIME and HBO, which is a bummer, but paying for just the premium package still gets you more than you could ever watch.
DISH stands out in the satellite TV space for its straightforward billing and three-year price guarantee for new customers. The basic package starts at about the same price as DIRECTV’s lowest-tier package, but premium packages cost a lot less. You’ll pay a little less for cable TV compared to DISH in many parts of the country, but things like competition between carriers and available technologies lead to big geographic differences.
DISH has a lot to offer casual viewers, but you won’t have access to NFL SUNDAY TICKET like you would with YouTube TV or any 24/7 channels in 4K resolution like you would with DIRECTV. There might be occasional problems with the picture quality for live sports, but those issues are rare for movies and most TV shows. Compared to cable TV, DISH usually offers better picture quality and many more channels.
While DISH is a lot more straightforward than DIRECTV, there are a few fees that can sneak up on you, including a local broadcast fee. You can get out of that fee by finding another way to watch local channels, but be sure to read your bill carefully each month.
DISH is a great way to enjoy all TV has to offer, from picture quality to recording capability and watching on-demand.
Ability to watch: Great
As one of the two big satellite TV providers out there, DISH offers fantastic picture quality and a fantastic viewing platform. It also has a highly rated mobile app, making it easy to watch your shows and channels on the go. You can connect on smartphones, tablets and computers, or your Apple TV.
You can pay extra for DISH Outdoors, a portable satellite antenna and receiver system you can mount on your truck or RV. If you already have DISH at home, the Outdoors setup doesn’t cost much more, making it a great option for camping or tailgate parties.
Ability to record: Excellent
DISH Hopper DVRs are fantastic, and they easily outshine the competition. The Hopper 2 is the standard model and comes with voice control, a Netflix app, and internal Wi-Fi. The Hopper Plus, released in 2022, is an add-on streaming box that lets you add thousands of streaming apps. With DIRECTV’s set top box, you miss out on the apps.
If you upgrade to the Hopper 3 or Hopper Plus with DISH, you’ll pay about $5 more each month. But you get a whole lot for the money. The super-powered DVRs can record up to 16 shows or games at once and save 500 hours of HD recordings. Plus, they're 4K-enabled and beam your DVR content straight to your smartphone or additional set-top boxes around the house so you can watch from anywhere. It also comes with more streaming apps than the basic version, plus built-in Bluetooth so you can watch with earbuds.
The Hopper 3 and Hopper Plus are extraordinarily powerful, but you won’t be able to use all the extra features if you don’t have high-speed internet. If you do, and you want to catch a metric ton of games and shows on your schedule, we think the extra monthly cost is worth it.
If you want to skip the Hoppers and Joeys altogether, you’ll need the Wally receiver and your own hard drive for recording shows. DIY DVR with DISH isn’t worth the hassle for most folks, but it is an option if you're tech-savvy and already own the equipment.
Ability to find: Excellent
There’s a ton of content to love on DISH, and the interface makes it easy to find just what you need. You can control the remote with your voice or easy-to-use channel buttons, and the previews and descriptions show right up top. DISH is TV for people who love live TV, and it shows in the interface.
DISH has been ranked as the #1 traditional TV provider for customer service in the US, and we think the honor is well-earned. (2) New customers get a three-year price guarantee, and installation is included (as long as you can pass a required credit check). Some competing cable companies charge closer to $100 for installation, so it’s nice to see both top satellite providers—DISH and DIRECTV—cover the initial setup.
There’s also an option for people who don’t want the contract: Flex TV. You have to buy your DVR outright and pay for the installation out-of-pocket, but you can skip the credit check and pay for TV month to month.
Either way, you’ll benefit from fewer junk fees than the competition and multiple ways to get in touch. It’s worth noting that DISH got hacked in early 2023 and it left customers without service for several days, but we think it was a one-time problem and don’t expect similar outages in the future.