DISH Network Review: Packages & Prices 2020
|Plan||TV channel count||Price||Details|
|America's Top 120||190||$59.99||View Plan|
|America's Top 120+||190+||$69.99||View Plan|
|America's Top 200||240+||$79.99||View Plan|
|America's Top 250||290+||$89.99||View Plan|
If you’re looking for channel variety, you’ll find it with DISH.
The real question is: What’s your TV-watching love language?
Are you the type that likes to sit down and flip through channels until you find the one? Maybe for you, the one is a rerun of Jurassic Park 3 on FX, or watching a few touchdowns on NFL Redzone, or (gulp) Keeping Up with the Kardashians on E!.
With DISH, you’ll get tons of channels, tons of sports, and Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility for a pretty decent (and straightforward) price.
We recommend DISH’s America’s Top 200 package.
- Straight-up pricing (looking at you, DIRECTV)
- Plenty of sports (the most college football coverage available)
- Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility
- No HBO of any kind
- No NFL SUNDAY TICKET
- More expensive than DIRECTV for the first year
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, check out the DISH packages available in your area. Enter your ZIP code here.
DISH TV packages and pricing
No second-year price hikes here, your monthly bill should always stay the same.
With the risk of sounding dramatic, price hikes are easily in the top 10 worst things about TV subscriptions.
Well, guess what—price hikes aren’t a thing with DISH. You get what you pay for, and your monthly bill should stay the same. Sigh, if only The Simpsons could have stayed the same since the 90’s.
You’ve got five different DISH channel packages to choose from. The package you choose depends entirely on your TV tastes.
|Plan||Price||TV channel count||Details|
|America's Top 120||$59.99*||190||View Plan|
|America's Top 120+||$69.99*||190+||View Plan|
|America's Top 200||$79.99*||240+||View Plan|
|America's Top 250||$89.99*||290+||View Plan|
You can relax knowing that every DISH package comes with your local networks (ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC), plus ESPN, Disney Channel, HGTV, and Food Network. Don’t you feel better knowing you’ll get your sports fix, Joanna Gaines fix, and Guy Fieri fix with even the most basic channel package? We feel better.
To find out what truly sets each DISH channel package apart, you’ll want to take a gander at the full channel lineup.
What’s the difference between DISH packages?
The slightly more prestigious channels will be on the more expensive packages. For example, BBC America and NBA TV are only on America’s Top 200 package and above. Bloomberg Television and MTV Classics, similarly, are found only on America’s Top 250.
You get a good value with any of these DISH channel packages. As long as you find the cheapest package with all the channels you want, rest assured you got a good deal for satellite TV. Especially considering that DISH doesn’t stuff the channel count with random music channels or anything like that. You get straight-up pricing for channels that you’ll actually watch.
Is DIRECTV cheaper than DISH?
DIRECTV used to be the cheaper option (despite the second-year price hikes), but now, DISH actually offers you more bang for your buck.
To break it down, DISH charges roughly about 33¢ for each channel, and DIRECTV charges about 38¢ for theirs. It’s easy to see you get a better deal with DISH and the monthly rate doesn’t double in year two.
But if you’re a TV fan and want 330+ channels, DIRECTV is the service for you.
DISH TV and internet bundles
Get your TV and the internet in the same place and maybe save a few bucks.
It’s a good feeling when you get everything done in one quick phone call. DISH doesn’t provide internet directly, but DISH can hook you up with one of two internet providers:
Those two providers cover most of the country, so if you want to bundle DISH with internet, you’ve got the choice. If you have your choice between the two, we’d recommend going with Frontier over HughesNet for higher internet speeds.
You can learn more about DISH deals here.
Contracts will save you money, but you lose some freedom.
As is the case with most TV providers, you gotta sign up for a contract to get the best deal with DISH.
Signing for a two-year term will save you $10–15 per month, which adds up to $240–$360 over the length of the contract. Big money!
DISH does give you the option to live without a contract—without a code. Much like the loose-cannon cop that always solves the case in the end. So, if you’re not into that long-term commitment, you can opt out, you’ll just have to pay more month to month ($10–15).
Early termination fees
You’ll have to pay a prorated fee based on how much time you have left on your contract.
$20 x number of months remaining on your contract (Max charge = $480).
*Cringe* If you go the contract route, it’s better to just see it through.
When you get your bill every month, here are all the items that could make up the sum:
- $59.99–$89.99/mo. depending upon what channel package you choose
- $15/mo. for the Hopper 3
- $5–$7/mo. for every additional Joey DVR
- $4–$200/mo. if you get any add-on packages or channels
- $7 fee for any late payments
Good news—installation is free with DISH. According to DISH’s website, its installation team will mount your satellite dish and set up your DVR system “free of charge for a limited time.”1
It says limited time, but that offer has been on the table for, like, the past two years. So you should expect free installation whenever you buy DISH at this point.
All you need to do is set an appointment, and the DISH specialists will be there within a 75-minute window.
DISH leads the way for college sports content
As it stands right now, DISH has the most college sports coverage. It carries the SEC, Pac-12, Longhorn, and Big Ten Networks, along with ESPN Goal Line.
Double check the DISH channel lineup and make sure all of your favorite channels are accounted for. But whether you’re a sports, lifestyle, reality, or general entertainment fan, you should find basically everything you need with DISH.
Let’s play a game. Name any channel you can think of, and let’s see if DISH carries it. I’ll go first (and also second and third and fourth).
- Does DISH have the MLB Network? Yes, it does.
- Does DISH have Boomerang? Yes, it does.
- How about Sundance TV? Of course it does.
- Okay, now I’ve got you—Does DISH have HBO? Sadly, it does not.
Long story short, DISH has basically every channel you can name except HBO.
Let’s be honest—DISH’s premium channel game is about as good as the Lakers without LeBron James. In other words, it’s pretty weak. There’s no HBO, CINEMAX, or STARZ. Here’s what you do get:
|DISH Movie Pack||$10/mo.||View Plans|
Sorry, you’ll need to look elsewhere to get your Game of Thrones or Outlander fix. Thankfully, most premium channels have stand-alone streaming services, like HBO Now.
Still, it would be nice to get a deal with your DISH subscription instead.
Best DISH package for sports
If you want all of DISH’s sports channels, though, we recommend America’s Top 200 channel package. Here are all the channels you get:
- MLB Network
- NBA TV
- NHL Network
- Pac-12 Network
- SEC Network
DISH carries essentially every sports channel you could ever want. Except there’s one massive elephant in the room—no NFL SUNDAY TICKET.
Gone are the days of checking the TV guide to see when the next episode of Survivor is on. Most of your DISH channels come with tons of on-demand content so you can watch any of the shows you may have missed—no need to plan your schedule around the TV guide.
DISH serves up on-demand content in a similar fashion to Netflix. You can enjoy lots of the latest movies and TV shows.
Good luck deciding on something when you have so many options.
DISH equipment & features
DISH has the best DVR in the business
|DVR price||Storage hours (HD)||Simultaneous recordings||Automatic commercial skipping|
|Hopper Duo||$10/mo.||125 hrs.||2||Yes|
|Hopper 3||$15/mo.||500 hrs.||16||Yes|
Let’s put those 500 recording hours in context—it would take 63 hours to watch all seven seasons of Game of Thrones. It would take 327 hours to watch The Simpsons from start to finish. It takes 127 hours to watch all of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
In other words, you’ll have time to record basically everything, and it will take you a long, long time to run out of space.
The other cool thing about the Hopper 3—you can record 16 things at once. That means no more arguing about wanting to record Monday Night Football over The Bachelor.
Not bad for just an extra $15 a month.
Connecting multiple TVs to your Hopper DVR
So by now, you’ve definitely picked up on the kangaroo theme. Can you guess what the little DVRs are called that connect to the bigger DVR? Did you guess Joeys? You’re right—they’re called Joeys.
For every extra TV you have in your house, you’ll want to get a Joey to connect it to your DVR. It’ll cost you an extra $5 a month per Joey, but is it worth it to help your family stop fighting over a single DVR? Yes. Yes, it is.
DISH Anywhere app
The DISH Anywhere app works exactly how it sounds—if you already have DISH service, you can watch TV on your phone, tablet, or computer wherever you are.
For example, let’s say you’re on a family trip to Disneyland, and your daughter desperately wants to meet Elsa. The only problem—it’s a three-hour wait. Fortunately, you can just watch the football game while you wait. Sure, you’re paying $100+ to wait in line, but at least you’re watching good TV.
The DISH Anywhere app also lets you watch recorded content offline. There’s no need to worry about streaming with data or watching while in airplane mode. Just make sure to download your recorded content with Wi-Fi before you go out in the world.
Want a more in-depth 4K comparison? Check out our review of the best TV services for 4K.
DISH customer service
Decent customer service . . . if you’re willing to wait it out.
Calling any customer service department can be a chore and our experience with DISH was no different. Longer wait times had us in a particularly prickly mood before we got through to a customer service agent. But then. . . we were pleasantly surprised. DISH customer service is extremely helpful and friendly, just don’t be surprised if you get sold to a little bit.
We talked to a customer service representative about Joey DVRs, and within a minute they were selling us pretty hard on upgrading our subscription. But just say you’re not interested, and they will understand. The rep answered all of our questions, was pleasant to work with, and let us off without too much of a fuss beyond the initial sales push. Overall, it was a much better experience once we got through the wait times.
DISH TV recap: Is DISH good?
We named DISH our Best Satellite TV Provider for a reason.
Over a two-year contract, DISH usually ends up being the more affordable option out of the two major satellite TV services. DISH also offers more college sports content than DIRECTV and has the best DVR in town.
If you decide to go with satellite over cable TV, DISH is a smart choice.
We recommend the America’s Top 200 package for the best DISH experience since you’ll get access to a ton of college sports.
You might miss out on a cheap introduction price for the first year of your contract, plus premium channels like HBO, but you get the essential channels for a decent price with DISH.
DISH Network TV plans and pricing recap
- America’s Top 120: $59.99/month*, 190 channels
- America’s Top 120+: $69.99/month*, 190+ channels
- America’s Top 200: $79.99/month*, 240+ channels
- America’s Top 250: $89.99/month*, 290+ channels
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*For the first 24 months with a 2-year agreement
What’s your DISH experience been like? Do you prefer DISH over DIRECTV or cable? Let us know in the comments below.