DirecTV and Dish Network compare among themselves? Comparison
between the two US satellite TV service providers is easier than
between the cable and satellite. Both
DBS giants use
similar basic technology of broadcasting, have similarly sized
satellite fleet, programming volume and content, cost per channel
and top customer satisfaction record. Still, potentially significant
differences for you may come along these three lines: (1) programming packages,
(2) equipment and (3) your geographic location.
Main difference in programming packages between
Dish Network and
DirecTV is in the size and cost of their respective basic
package. Dish Network offers smaller package at a lower cost,
while DirecTV's is bigger and somewhat more costly. Premium
sports and movie channels, as well as special interests
programming - international, ethnic, religious, adult - are
included in advanced packages, or can be bought either as a
separate package, or a piece ("a la carte"). While premium movie
packages are quite similar with both providers, when it comes to
sports, DirecTV has the advantage of NFL Sunday Ticket exclusive.
other hand, Dish Network offers more diverse
international/ethnic contents. Detailed,
information on Dish Network and DirecTV programming is available
on their Web sites, and sites of their authorized retailers.
Digital TV systems furnished by the two providers can be
considered from the technical aspect, and cost-wise.
Technically, dish antennas and receivers differ somewhat between
Dish Network and
DirecTV. Some features may be more
important to you than others, so it make sense to go over it.
Cost-wise, you'll get a brake
with Dish Network standard receivers: if kept continuously
connected to one same ground phone line, the $5 monthly fee per
receiver beyond one is waved. If you are to pay monthly fee -
either for standard or advanced receivers beyond one - you are
better off with Dish Network's double tuner receivers, which
allow you to connect two TV sets per receiver.
The cost of
getting the most advanced HD/DVR receiver is, at present, also
lower with Dish Network.
Finally, your geographic location matters because it determines
how good position in the satellite "footprint" you'll have, as
well as how high above the horizon your satellites will be. Both
factors affect signal strength. While it is not likely to
influence image quality in good weather and with accurately aimed
dish, it can influence required dish aiming accuracy, as well as
sensitivity to the effects of adverse weather. Both
can be remedied with somewhat larger dish but, in general, the
higher positioned satellite, the better; also, the closer are
you to "footprint" center, the better.
gravitating toward the northern US border have lower satellite
altitudes due to their greater distance from the equator.
Highest possible altitude - for a satellite with orbital
position nearly coinciding with the local geographic longitude,
placing it at the southern meridian - varies from about 60
degrees at the southern US border, to about 30 degrees at the
Northern border. A satellite whose
orbital location is "A" degrees from your local longitude, will
have this maximum altitude reduced by a cosA factor. Thus the
significance of how far to either west or east from your local
are the satellites increases somewhat with your latitude.
satellite distribution, with the western-most satellite at 119W,
is better suited for the eastern US coast than
Dish Network orbital locations,
whose western-most satellites are located at 129W and 148W.
EchoStar (Dish Network) also have two satellites to the east
(61.5W orbital location), while DirecTV has one (72.5W), which
all are not well located for the western US coast.
both providers broadcast their core programming using satellites
in the 100W-120W orbital segment, which are well positioned for
all of the continental US (Alaska and Hawaii are on the
footprint periphery, and usually require larger dish). It is
the special channels, like local HD, or international, than may
be coming from less favorable orbital location.
While you can be
sure that either provider has done its best to make the
reception satisfactory - or better - you may want to find out
specifically how well positioned are the programming satellites
in regard to your location, as one among other factors in
deciding which of the two providers is a better choice for you. þ
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