Updated February 5, 2021

Dish TV Review: Is It Good?

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Thinking of switching to DISH? Get the dish on the DISH. Read this in-depth review before you choose it as your satellite TV provider.

5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • Low prices
  • Advanced DVR
  • Channel packages
  • 2 year commitment
  • No NFL Sunday Ticket

Bottom Line

Good satellite provider with advanced DVR; best for families who watch a lot of shows

Why Dish Network is Still a Good Value

Nothing is simple about watching TV anymore.

Streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu have become the norm. Cable companies are now old-school. Satellite providers like DIRECTV and DISH need to get creative to get your business.

DISH is standing out from the pack lately, with lowered prices and tempting technology.

The new Hopper 3 DVR has 16 tuners, so everyone in a multi-TV family can watch what they want. It offers 4K content (ultra high-definition quality) and the ability to play multiple sports games at once on a 4K TV. You also get access to YouTube and Netflix. Should you bite?

Read on to decide if DISH is a solid choice for your overall TV-watching experience.

Call (855) 995-0963 for the latest DISH promotions.

Is DISH really cheaper?: Read our DIRECTV vs DISH review to see which service is better.

Dish Promotions

View DISH Promotions in Your AreaSelect your state to get started

Dish Packages

Dish offers 4 different packages to suit every viewing need. You can even create a fully customized TV programming package. The options are:

  • America's Top 120 ($79.99/month): You get 190 channels including USA, CMT, Disney Channel, ESPN, E! and Local Channels.

  • America's Top 120 Plus ($94.99/month): This is the best value. You get over 190 channels, including Local Channels (CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX, and CW). This is also great for sport fans as you also get the ESPN suite and regional sports networks.

  • America's Top 200 ($99.99/month): At this level, you get more of the premium channels including NFL Network, Fox Sports 1, NBC Sports Network, and Discovery Family.

  • America's Top 250 ($109.99/month): This is the ultimate package, with over 290 channels. Some of the additional channels you get include: STARZ Encore, The Movie Channel, Nat Geo Wild, and FXM.

See here for a more detailed review of the DISH packages.

With all packages, you also get:

  • Free Hopper Duo for 2 TVs
  • Free Voice Remote with a 24-month agreement
  • Free HD for life with a 24-month agreement
  • Free next-day installation (depending on scheduling)
  • Free activation with a 24-month agreement
  • Free premium channels for 3 months

Please note: If you want the Hopper, Hopper w/Sling, or Hopper 3, that's an extra $5/mo. There is also a monthly DVR fee of $15 (usually there is a $5/mo discount, which bring it to $10/mo).

For a limited time, you get a Hopper Duo that allows you to record shows on 2 TVs. If you want to hook up more, you would need to pay a receiver fee of $7/month for each additional TV.


  1. You don't like commercials
    Who does? The Hopper (now the new Hopper3) allows you to instantly skip commercials with one click on primetime recorded shows. Instead of fumbling with the remote to fast-forward through ads, the DISH Hopper skips them automatically. DISH is the only provider that offers this no-forwarding feature. That alone might be worth the price.

  2. Your price is locked in for 2 years
    DISH has a 2-year price guarantee, which comes out to a better deal overtime compared to other cable companies. Usually, promotional packages end after 12 months. But DISH locks in the price for 2 years. Their best value plan is the $79.99/mo package (which includes 190+ popular channels), and you'd get this for a whole 24 months.

    There are no hidden fees whatsoever. You won't get charged a regional sports fee (whether you watch sports or not). Plus, you don't have to pay extra for HD. However, watch out for high cancellation fees if you try to cancel before the 2 years.

    (Tip: If you're active military or a veteran, first responder or a customer over the age of 55, DISH has special deals for you. Learn how you can save even more on your TV with DISH.)

  3. You can watch TV on the go
    DISH ANYWHERE (more detail below) allows you to watch your shows from, well, anywhere. You can get your shows straight to your mobile device. So if you're constantly on the go, you can catch up on your shows wherever you are, whenever you have the time. You can manage your DVR recordings and library from afar as well.

  4. You get unlimited choices
    With the America's Top 250 top tier plan, you'll get more than 290 channels to choose from. And if you enjoy international shows, DISH offers packages that include regional TV from Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and South America. You'll also have over 36,000 On Demand programs to choose from, with many of them free. And if you're a SiriusXM fan, you can forgo the subscription fee and access 70 channels through DISH. (If you ever get rid of DISH, you will have to pay to access SiriusXM channels.)

  5. You can record ALL your shows
    The DISH DVR boasts an impressive hard drive capacity of 2 TB (terabytes). That's 2,000 hours of programming (500 hours if it's HD) and up to 16 recordings at the same time. So if all your favorite shows just happen to air at 9 pm, you don't have to miss any of them.

  6. Completely transparent billing
    This is important for those of us who like to scrutinize our monthly spending. There's nothing worse than seeing mystery charges - whether it's an extra dollar or twenty.

    DISH's bills are clearly laid out, so it's easy to check for services you've used. If you've ordered a Pay Per View movie or a special sports program, you'll see the charges clearly. No one likes dissecting a confusing bill.

  7. 24/7 Live Customer Service
    Yes, a real person. All day and all night. If you wake up in the middle of the night because you realized you forgot to make a payment or your satellite service is having issues, there's someone at DISH who's living and breathing and waiting to help.

    Need help installing your DISH? Customer service can help you with that. Just make an appointment online and they'll mount your satellite free of charge when you subscribe to DISH.

  8. Turn your TV into a smart TV
    DISH lets you turn your TV into an all-in-one entertainment center. You can stream Netflix, Youtube, Vevo, and Pandora right on your TV. You can also browse Facebook, access your personal photo collection on the Hopper, and play over 50 games (with a subscription), including Monopoly and Tetris.

    Accidentally deleted someone's recorded program? Use the Recover key, and you'll instantly get that show back.

    Feeling lazy? Just tell your TV what you want with the Voice Remote.

    Lose your remote? DISH can find it for you.

    Following multiple sports games? DISH's Sports Overlay provides updated data every 30 seconds so you can track all the live games. Your TV will become a multi-tasker.

  9. You're a parent
    DISH comes with the usual parental controls, but takes it a step further. You can set parental controls to block certain channels for your little ones, and it allows you to catch your kid if he's found a workaround. So after little Timmy sneaks into your bedroom to watch TV, you can see what he was up to via a feature that shows you the last four channels watched. Those sneaky little ones will have a harder time watching something they shouldn't.


  • Renters beware
    If you rent your home, your landlord may not let you have a satellite dish on your balcony.

  • Wind and rain is the enemy
    Cable TV is less affected by weather than DISH. If you live in an area where heavy storms are a constant factor, you might be better off choosing cable.

  • Additional costs for equipment
    You only get the Hopper included, which has the ability for 16 tuners. If you have more than one TV you'd like to record and watch from, each additional receiver (called a Joey) will cost $7. And there is also a monthly DVR service fee of $15 (which usually also has a $5/mo discount).

  • You're a sports fanatic
    DISH comes up a bit lacking in terms of sports programming. It doesn't have the NFL Sunday Ticket, as DIRECTV has the exclusive rights. Nor will you get as much live sports programming as Comcast Xfinity provides. So if you need to fulfill your football fix or you're a baseball nut, you'd may be better off choosing another provider.


There are more programming choices than ever now. But there's just not enough time to watch all the shows you want to when you've got places to go. Who can agree to that?

DISH Anywhere lets you watch on-demand programming, live TV, and your recorded shows on your mobile devices. You can even download shows beforehand, so you can watch them without an internet connection. If you take public transportation to work or travel a lot, this is a perfect way for you to catch up on shows. No more saying "I don't have time to watch anything."

Plus, if you forget to program your DVR, you can easily do it from the DISH Anywhere remote app. This works on both Apple and Android devices.

Satellite TV: DISH vs DIRECTV

How does DISH compare to DIRECTV? When these two satellite providers go head-to-head, it's a tossup when it comes to picture and sound quality. But DISH wins when it comes to pricing. We appreciate their 2-year price guarantee, lack of hidden fees, and their packages cost less as the tier levels increase.

DISH's DVR also has the edge. DIRECTV's DVR can only record 5 shows at once and store 200 hours (in HD). And DISH is the champ for ad skipping, hands-down. However, when it comes to sports programming, DIRECTV is the winner.

Another thing to consider is that the DIRECTV package cost includes the main DVR and 3 receivers. So you can hook up 4 TVs at no extra cost. And there is no monthly DVR fee either. However, DISH has a DVR fee and additional equipment costs for more than 1 TV. So if you're a multi-TV family, you may come out a bit better pricing-wise with DIRECTV, depending on how many TVs and which tier you choose.

DIRECTV could win your favor if you need it for other services. Acquired by ATT, DIRECTV offers bundles and discounts if you're an ATT cellphone, Internet, or home phone customer. In comparison, DISH only provides Internet service.

DISH is also looking to out-do DIRECTV in the arena of non-traditional TV viewership and targeting those potential customers. They've recently acquired Sling TV, which is the first streaming service to offer several live channels, as reported by Jim Probasco of Nasdaq.

Cable TV: DISH vs Comcast

How does DISH compare to Comcast XFINITY? Satellite TV has arguably a better HD picture quality than cable (so DISH wins here). But if you're not a technophile who can spot every little pixel, this is probably a non-issue. However, when it comes to features, both Comcast and DISH have their strong and weak points.

Comcast offers more On Demand program choices. It also allows you to watch these shows offline without an Internet connection. And Comcast is also an Internet service provider, so you can bundle Internet and TV for a slight discount.

But that's just about where Comcast's plusses end when pitted against DISH. DISH offers more channels and better pricing overall. DISH offers HD for free, but you will have to pay for it with Comcast (once out of the promotional period). Comcast's whole-home DVR system can only record shows from the main DVR, though they'll play back in any room. With DISH, you can record and play back in any room.


The world of TV programming has changed. Providers, for the most part, have kept up on a technical level with picture and sound quality. So it's really a matter of viewing habits and budget that determine which provider is best for you.

DISH is a great choice for a full TV watching experience, with streaming capabilities and traditional programming at a lower price. We also love its flexibility to create your customized programming. Just be careful that there is extra equipment cost for more TVs.

Cynthia Cohen is a retail analyst at CreditDonkey, a tv comparison and reviews website. Write to Cynthia Cohen 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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Top DISH Special Offers

DISH Network is one of the top TV service providers . It offers low prices, the best DVR, and a full range of package options . It also has a 2 year price guarantee. Read our in-depth review to see why DISH scored 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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