DISH Network Review

The excellent DVR, competitive pricing, and cool features make DISH one of the best TV services.

DISHNetwork logo
The excellent DVR, competitive pricing, and cool features make DISH one of the best TV services.
Overall Rating4.3 out of 5
Channels :
50–250+
Price:
$40–$80/mo.
Contract terms:
2 yrs.

The bottom line: DISH has four TV packages with 290+ channels, and its Hopper DVR, which can record 2,000 hours, just might be the best DVR out there. DISH’s promotions are also hard to ignore: its “2-Year TV Price Guarantee” is one of the better deals we’ve seen. And DISH’s Watch Anywhere features make it easy to catch movies and shows when you’re away from the TV, or even on the road (e.g., offline viewing is available).

PROS

  • 2-Year TV Price Guarantee
  • The best DVR we’ve reviewed
  • Watch anywhere service

CONS

  • Requires two-year contract to sign up
  • Second-year price increases
  • Okay customer service

DISH video review

Watch our video review of DISH TV or read on to learn more about DISH’s services.

DISH pricing

DISH has good, if not great, pricing.

Average DISH pricing

Promo (First Year)Regular PriceIncrease
Average Package Price$42.49 /mo.$76.24/mo.79%
Average 2-Year Price Guarantee62.32/mo.62.32/mo.0%

What’s the real price?

DISH’s promotional prices are extremely competitive. However, most promotional prices are only good for the first year, and accepting any promotional offer requires a two-year contract. So be sure to ask yourself if you’re okay with paying the higher, regular price for at least one year.

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DISH is currently offering a two-year TV price guarantee, and while it’s only available for three packages, you can save the most money going with America’s Top 120 Plus.

Additional fees

When compared to other TV services, DISH’s fees don’t seem so bad. Its DVR fee is $15.00 a month for its best DVR, the Hopper, whereas Comcast’s X1 DVR fee is closer to $20.00 a month.

DISH’s receiver fee is $7.00 a month, but it’s only applicable if you’re setting up multiple TVs (each additional TV requires one receiver). And DISH’s receiver fee is lower than most other TV services—AT&T’s is $9.00 a month and Comcast’s is $10.00 a month.

Though we briefly mentioned DISH’s 2-Year TV Price Guarantee, it’s a great way to avoid fees. DISH even goes so far as to say it has “no hidden monthly fees.” We checked the fine print, and it’s true; there’s no fee for HD programming, local channels, or regional sports.

DISH packages

DISH offers plenty of bang for your buck. 

DISH packages

Packages1st Year PricingRegular RateChannelsContract
America's Top 12034.99/mo.64.99/mo.190+2 yrs.
America's 120 Plus39.99/mo.69.99/mo.190+2 yrs.
America's Top 20044.99/mo.79.99/mo.240+2 yrs.
America's Top 25049.99/mo.89.99/mo.290+2 yrs.
*The ‘+’ means you might get a few extra channels, but it depends on your area.

DISH channel offerings

DISH has hundreds of channels, the PAC-12 Network, and international programming.

DISH’s top package offers 290+ channels, and 200+ are available in high definition (HD). The total channel count and how many channels are available in HD depends on the package you get. If you want to know which package has the channel you want—HD or not—the quickest way to find it is to use an online channel guide.

Sports: PAC-12, NFL SUNDAY TICKET and more

If you’re someone who has to watch every NFL game, live or recorded, DISH is probably not for you—NFL SUNDAY TICKET is a DIRECTV exclusive. However, DISH has a sports channel that DIRECTV doesn’t: The PAC-12 Network. So if you’re a college football fan, DISH would be the better choice, whereas for professional football, you should probably go with DIRECTV. But if you’re not an NFL super fan, you’re probably fine catching highlights on ESPN (included in America’s Top 120). As for other sports options, DISH has the same sports subscriptions (except NFL SUNDAY TICKET) you can find anywhere elsewhere (NBA League Pass, NHL Center Ice, MLB Extra Innings). Of course, you’ll just have to pay extra for those sports options.

Latino and international channels

DISH offers five separate Latino packages with 55–270+ channels, which is more selection than we’ve seen elsewhere. And as for other international programming, DISH has channels in 29 languages from areas across Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, where, for example, DIRECTV only has channels in eight languages.

DISH’s equipment and special features

The Hopper DVR and DISH Anywhere are excellent.

Dish Network Hopper DVR

Compared to the Hopper, other DISH DVRs seem… well, inadequate. The Hopper packs a 2 TB internal hard drive, which allows 500 hours of HD recording (2,000 hours in SD). You can watch The Hopper also can record up to 19 programs at once (DIRECTV’s top DVR does five). Even though other DVRs are supposedly available from DISH, they are nearly impossible to find, and they are not available at the checkout screen.

DISH is currently offering a “free” Hopper when you sign up, but it will add $15.00 a month to your bill in the form of a DVR fee. Also, using the Hopper with multiple TVs will require a DISH receiver: a Joey, a Super Joey, or a Virtual Joey (PS3/PS4).

Watch Anywhere service

The DISH Anywhere feature is just what it sounds like. As long as you have an Internet connection, you can watch live or recorded TV on your laptop, tablet, or phone. Personally, we think it would be nice for watching shows in the break room during lunch.

For the computer, all you have to do is log in to a dedicated website to use DISH’s watch anywhere service. And if you’re using a smart device, you can even download shows so you can watch TV on an airplane or somewhere else without internet. (You’ll just need to download the content beforehand.)

Your enjoyment of DISH Anywhere will depend on your internet connection and device, but it’s a feature we like to have.

DISH’s customer service

DISH’s customer service is better than average, but it could be better.

DISH’s customer service isn’t great, but its competitors don’t fare better. According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), call center satisfaction for subscription television services is down to a score of 63 (out of 100) in 2015, and that’s from an already low 66 in 2014. DISH Network’s rating stands at 67 for 2015 (same as 2014), which is better than the average TV provider, but still lower than we’d like see.

Customer service representatives at DISH answered all our questions (we posed as customers), and each representative was helpful enough. But DISH reps were also constantly trying to push their products, once or twice to the point of ignoring our original questions.  Still, this seems to happen with most TV and Internet companies, so it didn’t come as a surprise.

Don’t call—chat instead

If you want to find out more for yourself, try the chat feature at DISH.com. It may not be as fast as a call, but we find it much more pleasant than holding on the phone. Plus, with chat, you can keep a record of the conversation with the representative in case you need to reference it later. (If there’s no save or print option, take a screenshot.) So why not get comfortable, open up your laptop, put on some music, and surf the web while you chat with a representative.

Have questions? Contact a representative.

Our final take

DISH is the best… for now.

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DISH currently has our highest overall rating, and for good reasons: its 2 TB Hopper DVR is awesome, and DISH’s pricing is competitive. Sure, customer service could be improved and the two-year contract can be a pain, but we haven’t found better deals elsewhere… yet.

The America’s Top 120 package is what we want

If we were to choose a TV package, we’d go with the less expensive America’s Top 120, but spring for the Hopper DVR (no pun intended). America’s Top 120 covers most of the shows we’re interested in, and the Hopper would let us record them all. America’s Top 200 and Top 250 had plenty more channels, but many were less-popular sports or niche channels. If you want all the sports channels, we understand paying more for America’s Top 200 or Top 250. (We do know someone who’s switching to DISH just for the PAC-12 Network, so we know you’re out there.)

If you want to know more and decide for yourself, here’s an overview of DISH packages.

Don't care for DISH? Find other providers near you.

  • Krissy Crowne

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  • RJW

    It says UPDATED 8/9/2016, but in a mere month the there prices have skyrocket the 120+ package isn’t 39.99 BUT 54.99 – What is the deal here

    • http://www.reviews.org Scott T.

      Yeah, this has been a crazy year for DISH (and DIRECTV) prices. DISH’s 120+ is now $54.99 a month, but that’s for two-year pricing, so at least there is no second-year price increase (that’s how it used to be). We’ve heard that DISH is updating its prices again later this month, so we won’t make any updates until after we find out what’s changed.

      Thanks for looking at our review and leaving us feedback.

  • Jeff Stewart

    All…If you’re thinking of switching to Dish, think twice if you use OnDemand regularly. Constant issues plague their service. After several calls over the past year no fix in sight. Dish’s normal line they give is that this is a known issue and their technicians are currently working on the issue. This clearly is their weak link. If you don’t believe me look up error 1021 dish on demand and judge for yourself.

  • Clayton Honaker

    They’ll use misleading sales tactics and when it comes time for them to honor their quote, they’ll tell you nope, you agreed to terms not what you where quoted by our sales rep.

    I will never refer them or be a customersmall of theirs again

    • http://www.reviews.org/ Trevor Wheelwright

      Sorry to hear that Clayton, it’s unfortunate that the agreed terms weren’t met. We definitely advise getting everything in writing when possible.

      Just curious, who are you switching to?

  • Not a Dish Fan

    I have had Dish before. Also had Direct TV, Comcast and FIOS. The current episode with DISH is AWFUL. The Hopper loses connection with the Joeys nearly every day. The message on the Joey says to uplug the Hopper for 10 seconds and reboot. I am damn tired of doing this everyday. Also, the Hopper cannot connect with my router – wired or wireless. During diagnostics, it says it is conncected. Try watching something on Demand and I get the same connection error. This also happens with a direct cat5 connection to the routers. Meanwhile, every laptop and other smart device can connect perfectly. DISH doesn’t want to admit that their system just doesn’t work, so to cancel “service” (lack of service in my book), they still say I would be breaking the contract and owe them $400+. Actually, they broke the contract by not providing the service they are getting paid for. I will need a lawyer on this and it will be well worth it – even to spend more than the term fee. I HATE DISH. Stay very far from them.

    • http://www.reviews.org/ Trevor Wheelwright

      Hey, thanks for sharing your experience. Sorry to hear it wasn’t the best, out of curiosity, who did you switch to?

  • Mye David

    After 4 years, I wanted to cancel this service and because I ordered an extra Joey receiver last year, they extended my 2 year commitment so now I have to pay them an additional $380 to cancel. They never told me ordering a new joey will extend my commitment! They just sneak it into their contract. Who reads a 40 page contract? Then they won’t even uninstall the freaking satellite they installed on my house so it will serve as free advertising for them! DO NOT use this company unless you plan on wasting your money with them for the rest of your life.

    • http://www.reviews.org Scott T.

      We checked DISH’s service agreement and we couldn’t find any mention of a contract being extended when you ask for additional equipment (https://www.dish.com/downloads/legal/residential-agreement.pdf). Of course, we could have missed it (it’s a pretty hairy contract). Did they mention where it is in the contract? If so, we’d love to share this information with other readers.

      • Mye David

        They said it is something I signed when they delivered and installed the additional Joey receiver.

        • http://www.reviews.org Scott T.

          If you do find the paperwork or get an update, let us know. We’ll also keep an eye out for this kind of stuff in the future. Thanks for the heads up, and sorry that you have to deal with this.

  • Deborah

    I was considering getting the Dish,after reading Mye David comment, I think it is crazy spending another 3 hundred dollars to cancel the subscription. It sounds like,i may forget using any satellite.

  • Blake

    Lol , still my comments not posted. I’ll never use dish again, also posting on Facebook about how bad dish is!!!!

  • Blake

    Don’t buy dish, you will be sorry. I live in a new neighborhood and gonna put flyers in ever house as they get finish building saying beware of dish network . gonna post around town too on every telephone pole. I hate dish network with their lying reps

  • Jami Henriksen

    Beware of this company. They tell consumers one thing and then charge completely different amounts. We had to cancel our service and we got charged two cancellation fees as they are now considering TV and internet as two separate contracts and therefore charging fees for both.

    Service is spotty at best and customer service is non-existent. With a 95% negative review rating, it is questionable how they still have a A+ business rating.

  • dw biker kevin

    I just ordered dish 2/10/2017 hopper 4k etc . The picture quality for sports games is terrible (blury) it is ok when slow motion or close up but watching a basketball game , soccer game or football game the players become blurry , hurts my eyes to watch . I had direct tv before (perfect picture) and xfinity Comcast (good picture)
    . dish tech spent 5 hours trying to fix upon install , no help , they sent out another tech next day : no help , they sent out a 3rd tech/ supervisor from dish .The supervisor could not fix ant told me picture was blurry but told dish that the picture was fine . I was told I had 30 days to cancel , they told me I have to pay $480 to canel for early termination fee . BE WARNED , DONT EVEN TRY DISH IF YOU LIKE TO WATCH SPORTS , YOU WILL BE SORRY!!!

  • Orca Nation

    I am very disappointed with Dish Technical Support & Customer Service. My Hopper 3 Unit has been broken for the past Two Days and it took calling Customer Service 3 times over 2 days before anything was done about it, but that is only half. Now they are telling me that they will ship a new unit out, but it will be four more days before I will receive it, and get this, they are going to charge me for the shipping of the new unit. I get a new Hopper 3 from them three months ago and it already needs to be replace but, they are going to charge me for the shipping of the new unit! I been a loyal customer for DISH Network for 12 years and this how they treat you. They say they love their customers, but I know now this is only a scam to get you to commit to that two-year contract. I ask them if they could send a service guy out and that might be quicker, but if they did they would charge me for that also. Why are you charging me when the unit has gone bad and I paying for the service to get TV! To me this means they don’t care about their customers or what quality of the equipment they represent. A service guy could off have had me up a going by now, but I am stuck with no TV for a week straight. DIRECTV is looking better each day.

  • Randy Cowan

    DO NOT SIGN UP. Service is fine but once you want to cancel, they will keep charging you and then say they don’t see any charges and never send boxes hoping you will have to pay the 450 fee for not returning equipment. There is no need for these crooks in your life anymore with smart Tv’s, chromecast etc.

  • BK

    I live in a rural area and GOOD internet is hard to come by. We tried Dishnet and it was awful. Yes I expected the internet to be much slower but the problem was how often the internet would go out. I only had it for 6 months (within my 2 year contract) and canceled it and paid the stupid penalty fee ($3XX). In that 6 months I had to reset the modem at least twice a month. Towards the end, when my internet went out again the modem reset wasn’t working. After calling them 3 times in that 6 months I found myself on the phone again but this time instead I just canceled. We have Dish TV too, I only canceled the internet b/c finishing my contract would of been far more expensive then just paying the penalty fee. I begged them not to charge so much especially since I was keeping the TV. But I did sign a contract. Overall the TV is decent. I have had comcast, DirectTV, sling TV and by far dish is the worst. The satellite would go out with light rain. But mostly the DVR is crap. Their claim is their DVR can hold more and record more shows at the same time. It constantly makes mistakes. Wouldn’t record shows when you tell it to, record shows outside the correct time, record the wrong shows. The way the shows are filed under the DVR is a mess, my husband would record shows on history channel and there would be 3 folders for just one show. So you would have to go through all of them trying to find the latest episode. And it seems to miss shows all together, I would go in to try and find a show that I setup a recording and it wouldn’t be there. I would check the show and it would say there was a recording on it but nothing showed up. Customer service is bad too, most other TV companies try to keep your business, Dish could careless.