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Don’t Subscribe to DISH Before Reading This

Q. I have been a longtime subscriber to DIRECTV, but I am getting tired of all the stuff that AT&T has done to it. Price increases. Bad service with every (customer service) call overseas now. I’m thinking of getting Dish instead. We need some satellite service where we live in the sticks. What should I know before getting Dish? — Dave, Lusby, Maryland.  

Dave, many DIRECTV subscribers have told me that they are considering dropping their service, or they have recently done so. Dish can be a solid alternative if you make that decision. The nation’s second largest satcaster has justifiably earned a reputation as a TV provider that offers lower prices and dedicated customer service.

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However, before you subscribe to Dish, there are a few things you need to know.

Dish is notorious for fighting with programmers, which often leads to disputes that black out certain channels for an extended period of time. 
AT&T’s DIRECTV has suffered some channel blackouts in the last few years due to programming disputes. But Dish is the king of the fee fight. No pay TV provider gets involved in programming battles more than Dish.

Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen has long said he is willing to allow certain channels to be removed from his service’s lineup if it means paying their owners less money when they return. That is, if they return. Dish has been missing HBO for a year due to a fight over programming fees with the premium channel. And the satcaster has been without the Fox regional sports channels since July 26 due to a separate fee fight. It’s unclear when, or if, HBO and the sports channels will return.

Dish has also been involved in similar blackouts with several other programmers over the last few years, including Univision, Turner and broadcasting companies which own certain local channels. The satcaster ultimately settled those disputes, but Dish viewers were unable to watch the affected channels for a period of time in each case.

So if you subscribe to Dish, the odds are good that you will lose some channels in the coming months, perhaps including one that you watch regularly. The flip side is that Dish usually settles these scraps at some point, and the hardline negotiating stance does help the company keep prices more reasonable than some pay TV providers.

Rain can knock out Dish’s picture, too.
Both cable and satellite TV (and the telco TV) services can also undergo picture interruptions, due to weather. A heavy storm could knock out your area’s cable system, for instance, causing your TV picture and Internet to go out. This doesn’t happen as often as streaming’s technical snafus. But it does happen.

And it is also true that a steady, particularly heavy rain can block the signal from the communications satellite in the sky to your satellite dish, whether it’s from DIRECTV or Dish. Such an outage is usually infrequent and short, but if you live in an area that experiences more rain than normal, you might see more outages. (Note: Snow can also cause outages, particularly if the snow piles up on your dish.)

Dave, I hope that helps. Happy viewing!

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— Phillip Swann

About TV Answer Man (1730 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.

25 Comments on Don’t Subscribe to DISH Before Reading This

  1. I’m not a Dish subscriber, or even a Direct TV customer, but I can’t imagine that a flood of Dish’s customer’s didn’t jump ship after they dumped HBO. It’s just inconceivable that Dish would do their customer’s like that.

  2. Dish got fox sports back over a month ago, only station still not getting is HBO.

  3. Cory Trenkamp // November 11, 2019 at 2:53 pm // Reply

    These channels are blacked out
    FSN Arizona
    FSN Cincinnati
    FSN Detroit
    FSN Florida
    FSN Midwest
    FSN North
    FSN Ohio
    FSN Prime Ticket
    FSN San Diego
    FSN South
    FSN Southeast
    FSN Southwest
    FSN Sun
    FSN West
    Sportstime Ohio

    • Sheryl Stoner // November 11, 2019 at 4:30 pm // Reply

      DISH TOOK AWAY FOX SOUTHWEST. THE SAN ANTONIO SOUR GAMES ARE ALL THERE IS TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN THE RURAL AREA WHERE I LIVE. I AM SICK OF JUST SEEING HIGHLIGHTS ON THE NEWS. MY LIFE HAS BEEN TOTALLY SCREWED NOT HAVING ANYTHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO ANYMORE. PROBABLY WILL END UP GOING TO DIRECT TV AFTER 18 YEARS WITH DISH. SAD!!!

  4. Wilma Dickerson // November 11, 2019 at 3:34 pm // Reply

    Dish customer service and service repair has gone down hill

  5. Adam H Nevis // November 11, 2019 at 3:44 pm // Reply

    We switched from Dish to Direct TV. Those darn carriage disputes left us with out Braves baseball in the middle of a pennant chase. Plus we lost our local CBS affiliate. And that was the last straw. I believe DirecTV has a better picture and sound and if you love sports it’s the way to go! It has to a really awful storm to knock out our signal. And if you like football the NFL package is awesome! Dish angered us with there stupid carriage disputes.

  6. Ronald Felder // November 11, 2019 at 4:14 pm // Reply

    They all do it. I wouldn’t leave or not join Dish for that reason. Losing signal too is a rarity

  7. Dish does have a lot of outages just due to rain a lot. In lost fixmw in July shortly after that they took away nbcsc. I watched those channels a lot. Dish won’t even compensate you on your bill for losing these in stead they offer a free month of a movie chanel. Doesn’t hardly seem fair. Dish doesn’t give a shit about you it’s all about how much money they can screw you out of. I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND THEM. THEY DONT CARE

  8. Susan Collett // November 11, 2019 at 5:53 pm // Reply

    My area has been without fox network since march was unable to watch football or the world series after having been a DirecTV fan for 8 years there price increases were outrageous tried dish but to many local channels being disputed i am now hoping for better luck with spectrum

  9. I left DirecTV a couple of months ago for Dish due to Dish being cheaper. Several things are true about Dish. Their signal is not as good as DirecTV in the rain. It took heavy storms to knock out my picture on DirecTV but average rain knocks Dish off air. I miss the Fox Regional Sports Networks on Dish. I was told this dispute would be solved shortly by the Dish representatives, but it has been going on since July, so I was not told the truth. Outside of the sports Networks and rain fade, I’m fine with Dish, but will probably go back to DirecTV when my contract is up. All carriers have disputes but Dish is maniacal about not paying money especially for sports which is the main thing I watch. Its apparent that Dish wants to have a few national sports channels , but dump them if they could. They want to position themselves as the low cost alternative, but when you are only appealing to the Halmark channel types, you risk becoming irrelevant.

  10. Everybody knows that DISH is never going to restore any of the Fox Sports Regional Networks at ANY time. They’re permanently gone, which means they’re never coming back on DISH again. Ever.

  11. Everybody knows that DISH has permanently dropped the Fox Sports Regional Networks, which means that they’re never coming back at any time. Ever. In fact DISH has permanently stopped ALL negotiations with Diamond Sports (joint venture between Sinclair Broadcast Group and Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios). And DISH Chairman CheapSkate Chuck Ergen is no longer on speaking terms with the Fox Sports Regional Networks. They’re gone for good.

  12. I’ve had Both. DirecTV definitely has a Better Picture.
    BUT, Since AT&T Bought them, Customer Service has left the Planet.
    I think ALL calls go overseas now.
    English and Knowledge is “VERY” Limited. If not, NON existent.
    Calling them is like calling No. Korea and trying to get service.
    Toooo Bad. Can’t wait until someone buys DirecTV
    and MOVES the Call Centers BACK HOME.
    DirecTV Customer Service USED to be the GOLD STANDARD

  13. Richard Paolillo // November 12, 2019 at 2:08 am // Reply

    I’ve had Dish fir years. Always helpful, never had a oroblem with them. And if u do and b nice they will reoay u in some way. They will work with u.

  14. I’ve been a Dish customer for since 1996 very true advise.

  15. Dish fights these fees so they dont have to pass the increase along to the customers!!

  16. Dawna Fennewald // November 12, 2019 at 9:33 am // Reply

    We have had Dish Network for years. We had Direct TV first but after a bill dispute ( they said we didn’t pay we showed them a cancelled check) I got ticked. So to Dish we went. Before HD TVs and we have been happy. It rarely goes out. And yes we lose channels ( Fox recently) but it worked out. I love Dish!

  17. Linda Lee Lawson // November 12, 2019 at 10:28 am // Reply

    I have been with Dish over 30 years. There not perfect. I try Direct I just wasn’t satisfied.

  18. My wife and I Full-time RV and use dish. I agree with the comments about rain and for use we need open access to the satalites. Is there anything else we can use for TV?. Like a nation wide internet service. Verizon data is what we use when we can’t get dish satalites. But Verizon’s data plan is so expensive, even the unlimited data plan. Because I don’t care what Version says it does slow down it’s streaming.

  19. Bruce Neumeister // November 12, 2019 at 1:57 pm // Reply

    I’m a fan of Dish. They have great equipment and their customer service is very helpful and pleasant to talk to. I was not happy with them dropping HBO although but, I got it from my Amazon prime account. Very bad weather does knock out the signal, sometimes.

  20. Here’s the problem with your all’s philosophy okay, one when it came to HBO it wasn’t a dispute no one in the foreseeable future when they go to negotiate for HBO will more than likely have HBO because AT&T is going to make the rates so high to gain it for a subscription that no cable satellite or provider will even jump at the chance to get it because basically AT&T wants HBO for themselves simple as that it has nothing to do with cost. Well I can’t say that would you be willing to pay $2,000 a day for HBO programming through any company no but that’s what they were asking dish to do. As far as the regional Sports networks go unfortunately that’s because fox owned it Disney acquired it but had to dump it to Sinclair to get the fox Disney thing to happen so at that point who you going to negotiate with. And you think in a split-second that not every major cable company satellite provider TV provider does not go through Carriage disputes for a long time you are sorely mistaken I just had it happen with spectrum and one of my local affiliates so before you speak know what you’re saying because you have no idea. And as far as your precious streaming services go that have HBO now currently in their lineup it’s like drugs dude first you get them hooked and then you charge him out the ass to keep it.

  21. Thomas Braswell // November 13, 2019 at 9:44 am // Reply

    I have dish now for 9 months as of March this year. I Have no problem with dish so far, knock on wood!! Even though they have no HBO anymore, I really don’t care about these liberal channels like HBO! Not interested on liberal junk and their hate! So far so good with dish, on the other hand with Direct TV they got some expensive I got ready of them after…yeah….20 years of stright service sadly because of their lies and over charging for service, NFL SUNDAY TICKET…..put it this way Direct TV got to damn…..greedy, that’s why I got ready of their asses! So far Dish is really reasonable on their prices, but I hold my breath because if ATT….gets involved or calls the shots they will screw up dish and I will get ready of dish also, put it this way I have no use for ATT…PLAIN AND SIMPLE! I hope that never happens because this AT&T Will destroy the cable industry straight up, trust me I know tons about AT&T! They are just short of corrupt in my opinion! Thanks Dish so far!!

  22. I was a DirectTv subscriber for a over 10 years. Then one day they got into a dispute and The CW was gone. As suggested, I called The CW and asked them to return to DirectTv. Then I called DirectTv and asked for The CW back. The rep from DirectTv was very rude and told me if I wasn’t happy with them, to get another service. I said maybe I should. He said that is your choice. The next month when I signed in to pay my bill, it had that it was my final bill. I called to ask what was going on and was told there was a note in my file that I HAD CANCELLED THE SERVICE BECAUSE I COULD NOT PAY THE BILL. I never asked to cancel the service and I could pay my bill just fine.

    I immediately switched to Dish. I can do without HBO, Cinemax, DirectTV just fine.

    Also, I had worse trouble with DirectTv going out because of weather than I ever have with Dish. And the customer service is 100% better.

    • Bet you got an AT&T Overseas Customer Rep.

      Both services will be affected by the weather, the SAME,
      if the Dish is located in the SAME Location.

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