January 23, 2017

DISH Flex Pack: Best TV Provider for the Money

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Say goodbye to paying for channels you do not watch. Learn what DISH Flex Pack is all about and whether it's worth the money.

6/22/2017 Update: DISH Flex is no longer available on CreditDonkey. This package may have been discontinued or may no longer be available to new customers.

Did you know: America's Top 120 offers 190 channels including USA, CMT, Disney Channel, ESPN, E!, and Local Channels. This includes free HD and the ability to watch TV everywhere with DISH Anywhere. View current DISH Network promotions.

Don't you hate paying for channels that you never watch?

This is why many people are cutting the cord and instead subscribing to individual services. But the cost of that adds up too. If you paying for Netflix, Hulu, Sling, and a sports package, it doesn't take long before you're spending $40-$50 on your monthly television bill.

Wouldn't it be great if there's just a package that has only what you want?

DISH Network introduced the Flex Pack as their way of solving this problem. The idea is to let you curate a TV package with shows you'll actually watch. It combines traditional programming and customization, at a reasonable price.

Does it deliver as a TV package? Let's dive into our detailed review.

Pay for the Channels You Watch

The Flex Pack Skinny Bundle

This year DISH unveiled the Flex Pack, which allows you to create your own customized programming. It starts at $39.99, which is on par with (if not less than) subscribing to four or five different streaming services. You get the advantages of a traditional television package, plus the ability to select premium channels you want to watch.

Here's how the Flex Pack works:

First, you get a base pack of the 50+ most popular DISH channels. This is called the Skinny Bundle. Some of the channels include: FX, USA, CNN, TBS, TNT, Comedy Central, E!, TLC, National Geographic, AMC, The Food Channel, The Travel Channel, Spike, and the Cartoon Network. Some channels that usually require separate subscriptions now come included with the base TV package.

Here's a list of all the channels included in the base pack:

  • A&E
  • AAN (America's Auction Network)
  • Almavision Hispanic Network
  • AMC
  • Baby First
  • BET Gospel
  • BET Jams
  • BET Soul
  • BYU Television
  • Cartoon Network
  • CCTV-E
  • CCTV News
  • Classic Arts Showcase
  • CMT
  • CMT Music
  • CNN
  • Comedy Central
  • Cooking Channel
  • C-SPAN
  • Daystar
  • Discovery
  • DISH Studio
  • DIY
  • E!
  • Epic
  • EWTN (Global Catholic Network)
  • Evine
  • Family Entertainment TV
  • Food Network
  • FX
  • FXX
  • Gem Shopping Network
  • Great American Country
  • Hallmark Channel
  • HDNet Movies
  • HGTV
  • History
  • HLN Headline News
  • HSN Home Shopping Network
  • HSN2
  • IFC
  • Impact Network
  • INSP
  • Jewelry Television
  • KTV (Kids & Teens Television)
  • Lifetime
  • Link TV
  • MTV2
  • mtvU
  • National Geographic
  • NASA Television
  • Nick Music
  • PixL
  • Pop
  • QVC
  • QVC Plus
  • Reelz
  • Spike
  • SyFy
  • TBS
  • TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network)
  • TMC (Turner Classic Movies)
  • TLC
  • TNT
  • Travel Channel
  • truTV
  • TV Land
  • USA
  • VH1
  • VME
  • WE tv
  • Weather Nation

Then, you get to pick one additional themed pack of programming included in the $39.99/mo price (locked in for 2 years). You can pick the series of channels that's right for you. It's pretty cool that a traditional provider is letting viewers design a package of channels that fits them.

The channel packs available are:

  • Local: CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX, Univision and others

  • Variety: Investigation Discovery, Lifetime Movies, Freeform, Bravo, BET, Crime and Investigation

  • Kids: Disney, Disney Jr., Disney XD, Animal Planet, Nick Jr., NickToons, Boomerang, Baby TV

  • National Action: ESPN, ESPN2, FS1, Velocity, AXS TV, Fuse, TV Games Network, TVG2, Universal HD

  • Regional Action: Big Ten, FS2, Longhorn, Outside TV, Pac-12, SEC, World Fishing, ESPN Buzzer Beater

  • News: FOX News, MSNBC, Weather, CNBC, FOX Business, BBC World News, Bloomberg, TheBlaze

  • Heartland: Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, GSN, OWN, Uplifting, Discovery Family, Baby TV, PIXL, RFD-TV, Ride TV, FamilyNet

  • Outdoor: Outdoor, Outside, Sportsman, World Fishing

  • Latino Bonus: Pasiones, beIn Sports, Disney XD, Univision, ESPN Deportes, and more

Remember, the Flex Pack for $39.99/mo comes with all the base channels plus ONE additional pack included. You can add additional bundles if you want more. Each bundle ranges in cost from $4 per month (for the outdoor pack) up to $10 per month (for the national sports and news packs).

If you decide you're happy with the base set of channels, then you can just leave it at that and they'll lower your bill. You'll get your bill reduced by $10 every month, which brings your cost down to only $29.99/mo. Again, this price is locked in for two years.

Watch TV with the Best DVR

Combine Your Package with the Hopper 3

DISH released the most advanced DVR in TV history - the Hopper 3. This alone is a good reason to consider DISH. It holds 2000 hours of recording (500 hours in HD) and can record 16 shows at once. And their Prime Time Anywhere feature, allows you to watch live and recorded content on your mobile device from anywhere.

The Hopper 3 was unveiled at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas. It's solves any conflicts over who wants to watch what. It's the perfect solution for families, roommates or any household with multiple TVs. Especially if it's a bunch of friends who are splitting the bill.

It also integrates perfectly for people who love watching multiple sport games (on 4K TVs only). This is a must for people who want to split their attention between two shows or die-hard sport fans who want to watch four games at once on one screen.

DISH also offers Sling, an excellent option for cord cutters who want to make the foray back into a traditional package. At the low cost of $35 per month, Sling allows over-the-top subscribers to view some of their favorite channels on their TVs or mobile devices.

Please note: The Hopper equipment is free with any of the DISH packages, but there is a monthly DVR fee of $15. And if you have more than one TV you would like to record and watch from, you would need to pay a receiver fee of $7/month for each additional TV.

And Netflix Too

DISH was also the first major pay-TV provider that worked with the goliath Netflix. With a subscription, you can get Netflix's excellent shows right on your main screen (Stranger Things, anyone?). For example, you could do the basic Flex Pack for only $29.99 and put a bit more cash towards a Netflix subscription.

Maybe you're splitting Netflix with friends, family, or roommates and you want to view it on your TV or mobile devices. Thanks to the Hopper, bingeing on Netflix has never been this easy. Simply navigate to the Netflix app on the Hopper and you can watch all their premium streaming. No more fussing with changing inputs.

Just like that, DISH has seamlessly integrated direct-to-viewer streaming with traditional programming. Besides Netflix, you can also watch Youtube, stream music on Pandora, play games on the Hopper Arcade, and get live weather updates through The Weather Channel app.

Tip: If you decide to pay for HBO, Showtime, Cinemax or Starz, you can add those channels for a monthly fee as well.

See our detailed review of available DISH packages, their costs, and what they include.

Bottom Line: Our thoughts on the DISH Flex Pack

No one likes paying for channels that they never watch. And we like that DISH has introduced such a flexible package. Is it enough for you though?

We think this option is great if you only watch a little bit of TV for casual entertainment, or if you're particularly loyal to just a couple of channels. If you're a die-hard TV fan with a lot of must-watch shows, you're going to find it lacking.

The core pack of channels doesn't include any local broadcast channels or sports networks. You can choose to add one pack included in the $39.99/mo price. But if you need both local channels and sports channels, you're going to be looking at paying $49.99/mo for the extra add-on. And if you need the News Pack as well, that's another extra $10/mo. In that case, it's much better value to just go with the next package up.

Take a look at the list of channels included in the Skinny Pack and see how many of those you'll actually watch. And if any of the themed packs interest you. If so, the price of $39.99/mo is very competitive, especially if you want sports or local channels. And if you think the Skinny Pack is enough, you'll get the price reduced to just $29.99/mo.

So bottom line: the price is fair, but it all boils down to your TV habits and favorite channels.

Write to Malcolm Howell at feedback@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

Note: This website is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

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