Is DISH Network Any Good? – DISH Review & 2020 Deals
Dish Network, or just DISH for short, is a satellite provider able to bring a variety of bundled television options and packages to offer customers a choice of basic and premium options. Is DISH worth the investment and the contract or should you look elsewhere?
Our DISH review should answer all your questions and help you decide if DISH is the right option for you. Let’s take a look at what DISH has to offer.
In this article you will find out...
- The DISH Story
- DISH Pricing
- DISH Extras
- DISH Availability
- How to Set Up DISH
- Customer Service
- What We Like
- What Could Improve
- Is DISH Worth It?
- DISH Network FAQ
- Final Thoughts on DISH
The DISH Story
DISH began officially back in 1996 as a consumer wing of the company EchoStar. DISH was the launch of its television subscription model and soon grew to millions of subscribers over the course of the next few decades.
As more people cut the cable cord, DISH has expanded to other offerings, including acquiring Boost Mobile and building the popular Sling TV option. For this review, we’ll focus on the DISH satellite packages and options available to subscribers.
Recently, Dish Network rebranded solely as DISH, although subscribers still refer to it as the full Dish Network. This change has not signaled a difference in service.
DISH offers four television packages to subscribers with a range of channels. These are channels you’ll care about, too, with a base package starting at 190 channels and the top tier offering more than 290 channels.
DISH offers premium channels and movie add ons as well. At the moment, DISH is unable to offer HBO access through any of their plans or add-ons, but subscribers can add Showtime, Starz, the Dish Movie Pack, and more to their monthly package for an extra fee.
For sports enthusiasts, coveted channels such as ESPN and others are included in DISH channel packages as well as the NFL Redzone’s add-on option. You can’t get NFL Sunday Ticket, but the sports mix should keep most sports enthusiasts happy.
International viewers also have choices to add on television packages for a range of prices. World television options include Hindi TV, Arabic TV, Brazilian TV, Cantonese TV, and many, many more language packs.
Overall, the DISH plans cover a wide range of family-friendly channels, movie options, sports choices, and all the standard television channels that customers want. Plus, DISH offers one of the most comprehensive On-demand catalogs in the business, with around 8,000 titles for free and 20,000 titles in their catalog total.
DISH also offers subscribers something called a Flex Pack. This option is available month to month only and begins with 50 classic channels such as TNT, Cartoon Network, HGTV, and Vh1. Subscribers can add themed packs to their base package for additional fees — think family channels or action channels — plus movie and premium add-ons.
DISH pricing is relatively accessible for a wide variety of channels. The packages are competitive and offer a two-year contract to lock in a lower rate. When you contact DISH to sign up, you have the option of a contract or no contract.
Current pricing models look like this, but keep in mind — extra fees, services, and taxes will add to your bottom line:
- America’s Top 120 (190 channels) – $59.99 per month ($94.99 no contract)
- America’s Top 120+ (190+ channels) – $74.99 per month ($99.99 no contract)
- America’s Top 200 (240+ channels) – $84.99 per month ($109.99 no contract)
- America’s Top 250 (290+ channels) – $94.99 per month ($119.99 no contract)
- Flex Pack Base (50 Channels) – $54.99
Extra options for everything except Flex Pack, which is its own universe, vary in price. For example, Showtime or the Dish movie network adds $10 per month to your base price, while international packages range from $9.99 per month to $29.99 per month.
Once you’ve chosen your base package and add-ons, a two-year contract allows you to lock in the rate for the duration of the contract — no surprises. The Flex Pack, on the other hand, provides flexibility for your choices, but prices are subject to change.
Early termination of your contract requires an upfront fee of $200 plus other penalties, as outlined in your agreement. If you cannot fulfill your contract, it’s best to call a customer service representative to find out what your options are.
For those of you who need a little more than live TV in your home, DISH has a few extra features and add-ons to make sure you get the content you need.
DVR And Receivers
A big perk of DISH is the industry-leading DVR capability, the Hopper 3. This DVR costs an extra $15 per month to rent but provides amazing capabilities in return.
Subscribers can record up to 16 programs happening at the same time, with over 500 hours of HD storage. Hopper 3 is 4k compatible, and Alexa enabled. Plus, it connects to Netflix with just a touch of a button.
DISH also offers their Hopper Duo receiver still for just $10 a month, but you’re losing a lot by downgrading. It records only two shows at once and saves 125 hours of HD programming. Unless you live alone and barely watch your DVR, the Hopper 3 is worth the upgrade.
If you want to record from different television receivers rather than having to go into your main television, you can also rent Joeys or little extensions for your Hopper. These cost $5 per month per basic receiver.
There are four different Joeys available in addition to the basic. For a wireless option, you pay $50 upfront and then $7 per month after. Super Joey adds even more recording capability for $10 per month.
Build and combine these DVRs to connect your entire house to your entertainment. Whether your family needs the capability of the 4k Joey, or you only have one television in your apartment, you can mix and match to fit your entertainment needs.
DISH now has an app designed to bring your content with you on the go. You can watch on-demand movies and shows right from your smart device for no extra fee, and DISH even offers a few live shows as well.
Moving your list on the go allows you to get more out of your DISH contract, taking entertainment with you while you’re traveling or commuting. It’s intuitive and straightforward to use and doesn’t require any extra set up.
If you want to sign up for DISH, but you travel a lot in the great outdoors, you don’t have to miss your shows while you’re gone. For a one time fee, DISH offers a compact satellite receiver designed to work with your RV, camping gear, or just in the outdoors for the day.
There are two different options. The standard Tailgater is a one-time payment of $299 and works with one TV outside of your home. The king Tailgater is a one-time payment of $350 and works with two TVs outside of your home.
DISH provides you with a Google-assistant enabled voice remote that allows you to surf and issue commands more quickly. It’s a little perk that offers convenient operation and one of the things we love about the DISH package.
DISH packages and contract prices are available nationwide. If DISH can reach you, you can access their standard pricing levels no matter your location.
Because DISH is satellite-based, they’re able to reach more households than traditional cable can. They have coverage areas across the United States, and you can call or check on their website to find out if they can set you up.
One snag could be if you do not own your home or you live in an apartment. DISH service requires mounting a satellite to your house or dwelling, which may not be possible if you can’t get permission to install it from your landlord, or there is no option in your apartment complex.
If you’re able to have the satellite installed, you may also run into some interference if your house is overly wooded or cannot get a direct signal. Make sure you check with DISH to ensure you can get the best service available.
How to Set Up DISH
The best way to begin is to look through their website for they can offer you in terms of service. You have a variety of options in addition to satellite TV, such as the internet from their partner company Frontier.
You can type in your address into their search bar to find out if DISH is available in your area. If it is available, call a customer service representative to set up your packages, choose your add-ons and decide about the extra features you may need.
You can also browse the different packages available and the add-ons to build your package from the internet. The choices are intuitive, and DISH leads you straight through choosing your base package, your deals if you qualify (Military, for example), and your channel add-ons.
From there, a service technician will come to your house to install your equipment and answer any questions you may have about using your DISH. DISH uses its own technicians who are typically knowledgable about the service and can get you set up for success.
Customers have a variety of ways to interact with the company itself. DISH consistently ranks as one of the top providers of customer service in the country, using local technicians and an in-house suite of customer service representatives to handle any issues.
Customers have the choice of calling a customer service representative to ask questions or report issues. There is also an online customer portal for customers to manage accounts and make any necessary changes without having to wait on the phone.
Email inquiries typically take one to three business days, depending on the request type and the complexity of the problem. Service inquiries range in response times, but DISH consistently prioritizes speed to ensure that everything is in working order.
No one likes dealing with customer service, but DISH makes it as streamlined and pleasant as it possibly can with quick response times and prompt service.
What We Like
Overall, DISH has our attention. DISH offers industry-leading equipment, plenty of flexible options, and the chance to customize packages on a month to month basis for those of you who hate contracts. Here’s what we loved about DISH.
Industry Leading DVR
Families who’ve struggled in the past to keep up with the DVR preferences of multiple household members can take advantage of the powerful Hopper 3. It’s also great for households made up of roommates who have different preferences.
The Hopper 3’s capability far surpasses any other DVR option on the market in terms of storage, recording, and extensions. There are so many ways to configure your Hopper and Joeys that no one in the house should feel left out.
The biggest perk is that the service is highly affordable, adding just $15 per month for the Hopper itself and a few additional fees for any Joeys. Roommates can easily coordinate these costs, and families can make decisions based on what each member of the house needs.
TV Packages You Care About
The four standard DISH packages include a good mix for the whole family. You get family-friendly channels, music, sports, and standard television channels at just the base package. Those choices get even better as you expand your package options.
Aside from HBO, DISH makes it easy to mix and match the premium services you care about. They often offer free trials so that you can see what channel packages you love, and it’s easy to cancel premium packages that you never use.
Standardized Contract Prices
If you go ahead and sign up with a contract, you don’t have to worry about price changes for two years. These packages are not location-based. If you live in an area where it’s possible to get DISH, you’re able to take advantage of their prices.
Customers who are leery of signing a two-year contract also have a few great options for customizing television options. The Flex package is convenient and offers some really great standard channels for an affordable base price.
The best thing about Flex packages is that you can add or delete any of your add-ons whenever you want to because you aren’t tied into a contract. This package makes it easy to build and select your ideal tv package based on your family, season, or any number of factors.
What Could Improve
Even though we are big fans of the DISH universe, there are a few drawbacks that could make it a deal-breaker for you. Here’s what we wish would improve about DISH service or some obstacles to getting DISH in the first place.
Contract negotiations fell through a few years back, causing DISH to drop HBO capabilities from their list. While you still have access to Showtime packages and premium movie options, HBO isn’t possible.
If you’re ok with using HBO’s personal device streaming app, this may be one way for you to get around that limitation. If you’re hoping for full-screen viewing of HBO content in your home, DISH isn’t going to be the one for you.
Hopefully, DISH and HBO will be able to come to an agreement in the future, bringing this premium content giant back once again. For now, you’ll have to consider other options.
Requires Satellite Installation
If you aren’t able to install their satellite on your dwelling, you won’t be able to take advantage of their packages. They’re a satellite option only with local television capability. You’ll have to wait for your home to be eligible for installation to sign up for DISH network, putting renters and apartment dwellers out of the mix.
Two Year Contracts
You do get convenient pricing freezes for signing up with a two-year contract, but we’d like to see an alternative option. Two years is a long time, and some of the competition offers a single year choice that may fit in better with other lifestyles.
It’s not that we don’t want a two-year contract. If you’re settled and not planning any significant changes in the coming years, two years for a specific price can help you plan ahead. However, when the only other option is a much more expensive month to month option, we get a little irritated.
They do have the choice of their Flex package, which helps cut down on some of the cost of going month to month, but only if you want limited packages. Adding everything puts you almost at the same price as the standard month to month choices.
DISH could do customers a favor by adding in something between the two-year contract and the month to month option to help fit in with a wider variation in lifestyles.
Is DISH Worth It?
Overall, DISH offers quality service, and industry-leading DVR, and add-ons, making it a competitive choice for customers wanting access to satellite television. If you’re able to install a satellite, their two-year plans could offer a way to plan ahead for the cost of television without any surprises.
The Hopper 3 DVR is ideal for households that have struggled with DVR and satellite in the past. Roommates and family members who have vastly different viewing preferences can take advantage of the complex DVR to ensure that no one misses their favorite show or records over something accidentally.
The packages have a lot to offer families in terms of show variety, and the add ons are great for capturing multiple tastes and preferences. The lack of HBO capability is sad but not a deal-breaker for us now that HBO has a streaming app all its own.
If you live in a rural area, this could be one of the best ways to get quality and comprehensive television without spotty coverage or connection issues. Even if you live in the middle of nowhere, your rates are the same as anyone else’s, unlike some cable companies.
They also have excellent customer service, giving consumers the best problem resolution and prompt service. You won’t worry about third party service technicians or having to deal with outsourced customer service agents who don’t know about the services you’re using.
And with a DISH account, you can handle many of your administrative tasks quickly over the internet. You cut out wait times and ensure that you’ve always got time to handle small issues.
Flex programs are also useful if you want to save a few dollars, or your television preferences change regularly. You have the chance to customize your viewing packages and even cut back to the basics without worrying about violating a contract.
DISH Network FAQ
Still have some burning questions? Here’s what you need to know.
Is the satellite easy to install? – A service technician can usually get you up and running in just a few hours, barring any emergencies or mishaps. The process is straightforward, and DISH has an excellent reputation for installation, troubleshooting, and customer service.
How much is DISH Wi-Fi? – Customers do have the chance to add on satellite wifi capability, starting at $49.99 per month. Rural customers can bundle these deals to receive quality television and the internet without interruptions.
Can you get local channels on DISH? – DISH offers local syndicated programming as part of their basic packages. Still, users can add on things like local news with a basic antenna or through their Hopper DVR OTA adaptor.
In the past, Satellite meant giving up your local channels, but satellite companies have adapted their capabilities in response to customer demand.
Do I have to return equipment? – If you cancel your contract or choose not to renew your services, you’ll be responsible for returning all your equipment. DISH sends a box with a return label to make this easy and free to the customer. You must return equipment by the agreed deadline, or you’ll be charged the cost of the gear.
How long do I have to return old equipment? – You have ten days to return old equipment from the date of your cancellation, so keep a close eye out for your free return box. Call customer service if you don’t see it.
Will DISH remove an old satellite dish? – Removing an old satellite dish is the responsibility of the homeowner. However, you can arrange for the satellite technician to remove your old satellite dish for a one time fee, provided it’s not one of those giant yard satellites.
Final Thoughts on DISH
DISH network makes a competitive option for satellite television service as well as bundled services. You have the benefit of locking in a price for two years, ensuring that there are no surprises along the way.
The range of channels is excellent as compared to the price, and they offer a good variation for different interests. Whether you’ve got a family, need to see the latest sports match, or want good movies on tap, DISH has plenty of things to offer.
You won’t be able to take advantage of DISH if you aren’t able to install a satellite on your property, so check those regulations first. You’ll also have to give up your HBO binging unless you’re ok with watching on your device.
Despite these hiccups, DISH is an excellent option for television customers in 2020 and could transform your frustrating cable experience into something worthwhile. Sign up for the two-year contract for the best price, opt into the Hopper 3, and stop missing your favorite programming for good.