News Ticker

DIRECTV Vs. Dish: Which One Is Better?

Q. I just bought a new house and I’m considering getting a satellite dish for my TV programming. But I was wondering which one is better, DIRECTV or Dish? Do you have any insights on that? — Melanie, Malibu, California.

Melanie, that’s a great question, one that’s been hotly debated since the 1990s when DIRECTV and Dish first began offering TV programming via the small dishes.

Click Amazon: Today’s 1-Day-Only Deals!

Click Amazon: 4K TVs For Under $1,000!

While DIRECTV has more subscribers (roughly 20 million to Dish’s 13 million), the two services offer similar programming packages and prices with a few exceptions.

For instance, Dish carries the Pac 12 Network and Epix channel while DIRECTV does not. But DIRECTV has the exclusive rights to the highly popular NFL Sunday Ticket, which has undoubtedly contributed to its advantage in subscriber numbers over the years.

So to judge that one is superior would depend on what you are looking for. As someone who has used both, I would not rate one service demonstrably better than the other.

However, that said, it’s worth noting that the latest J.D. Power ‘Customer Satisfaction’ study does rate one better than the other. The study, which was released last week, gives Dish a score of 753 out of a possible 1,000, compared to DIRECTV’s 751. (Dish and DIRECTV finished first and second overall in the pay TV category, which included all major cable and telco TV providers.)

This is the first time since 2005 that Dish finished first overall in the J.D. Power ‘customer satisfaction’ ranking, which is based on such factors as ease of use and product quality. (J.D. Power, which has been doing the study for 17 years, surveyed nearly 28,000 consumers to compile its rankings.)

Dish should be proud of the accomplishment, but its small margin of victory (753 to 751) is more evidence that the gap between the two satellite TV services is narrow, and largely depends on what you value in a TV provider.

So, Melanie, before choosing a satellite TV service, I would study the lineups and determine if one has a channel, or programming offering, that you can’t do without. If that’s the case, get that one.

But if not, it’s basically a coin flip.

Happy Viewing!

Need to buy something today? Please buy it using this link. This site receives a small portion of each purchase, which helps us continue to provide these articles.

Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at Please include your first name and hometown in your message.

— Phillip Swann


About TV Answer Man (1583 Articles)
The TV Answer Man is veteran journalist Phillip Swann who has covered the TV technology scene for more than two decades. He will report on the latest news and answer your questions regarding new devices and services that are changing the way you watch television.

10 Comments on DIRECTV Vs. Dish: Which One Is Better?

  1. Charles Shell // October 1, 2018 at 8:07 am // Reply

    Customers should also consider the equipment that DISH and Direct TV have to offer. The DISH Hopper 3 DVR / Joey are the best available. The Hopper 3 has 16 tuners that can record at the same time. Never any more conflicts for additional TVs in the home.

  2. Richard Canon // October 1, 2018 at 9:05 am // Reply

    DirecTv has not upgraded their receivers in years. Genie was the last upgrade. Dish has a receive where you can record up to 16 shows at the same time. Directv Genie only 5.

  3. As someone that switched from DirecTV to Dish in the last 6 months, I can say:

    Dish has better equipment, hands down.
    DirecTV has noticeably better picture quality especially as you get into the lower-tier channels like “fox sports”.
    DirecTV has more premium channels. So if you pay for HBO, you’ll end up with more overall HD channels on DirecTV than you would on Dish.

    Otherwise they’re mostly the same in my experience.

    All-in-all, I have no plans to go back to DirecTV when my current contract is up.

  4. I to have had Dish, switched to DTV, and in December will go back to Dish. Dish has by far the best and most modern equipment with twice the recording space as DTV. Dish also has more movies which I prefer over the sports of DTV. I have had both and prefer Dish.

  5. I love the Dish interface. It’s easy and fast to use. DTV is 10 years behind. The hopper3 is definitely the best if your able to get it. Plus their prices in the long run are higher (after their low one year price goes up to the regular price).

  6. thomas koshinsky // October 2, 2018 at 12:02 pm // Reply

    you might mention how often dish loses channels because of fee fights, charlie always considers his bottom line before cust needs. keep all yr channels, go direct

  7. Evelyn Sauter // October 3, 2018 at 11:44 am // Reply

    If you live in an RV fulltime and travel, Dish is much, much better. DIRECTV charges $199 to change local broadcast channels and it took over 200 minutes on the phone ( 7 Calls over 3 days). With Dish it is a free service that takes just minutes with the MyDISH app.

  8. Mr Swann is right it depends on what programming is best for you.
    Im a huge sports fan so D* is best for me and being a local customer they give me NFLST free. i also love the multiple channels of D* 4K! every time i call they are extremely friendly.

    in fact the other day i called at 1300 (1pm est) for a issue with a box that kept resetting, they sent a tech same day the tech arrived at 1430 (230 pm) changed the box. Same day appointments and amazing customer service is why i have chosen D* for over 17 years.

    off topic but i have also had fios tv for 4 years at another location and i say D* picture is very comparable.

  9. I have had both services, and IMHO Dish is way better than DTV, not only in hardware, but also in movie programming.

  10. Charles Shell // December 26, 2018 at 6:24 pm // Reply

    I think DISH TV is the best. The Hopper 3 and Joeys are awesome. Hopper 3 has 16 tuners so you will never have conflicts anymore.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: