So, you’re looking to save on a TV package. Whether you’re sick of juggling multiple streaming services or overpaying for cable TV, there’s incentive to buying on a budget. We’re going to show you the cheapest TV plans available by provider and describe what you’ll get for each plan. Are they worth it? That’ll be up to you to decide. DIRECTV DIRECTV recently hiked their package pricing. The cheapest plan, the SELECT package, was formerly $39.99. But for a 24-month agreement, the first 12 months of its plan are now $49.99. SELECT $49.99 per month for the first twelve months Notice how I say it’s for the first 12 months, but this is a 2-year agreement. Expect a price hike after the first year — jumping to $115 a month. If you were hoping to drop your contract after a year, not so fast: DIRECTV has a cancellation fee, charging $20 for each month left on your contract. Be sure to read your contract and speak with representatives to review your price changes, fees, and term length. Also keep in mind that this price tag is listed for those who select autopay and paperless billing. If you have other circumstances, you’ll pay more. The SELECT plan includes 155 channels, such as AMC, bravo, CNN, Entertainment, Fox, FX, and HGTV. For the budget plan, it has an impressive lineup. DISH DISH TV’s cheapest plan isn’t a one-to-one comparison to DIRECTV’s because DISH has more channels. America's Top 120 $59.99 per month Though it’s called America’s Top 120, the plan has 190 channels. You can expect many of your family favorites, like Animal Planet, Cartoon Network, CNN, ESPN, and HGTV. We have some good news: America’s Top 120 has a 2-year price guarantee through its contract. You’ll be paying less than you would through DIRECTV for the duration of the contract. DISH still has a cancellation fee: $20 per month for each remaining month of your contract. And the price above is for customers who agree to eAutoPay. There is one other drawback to DISH: its TV and internet bundles aren’t great. DIRECTV is owned by AT&T, and most other TV providers are large telecomms companies offering a range of services. So if you want to save by bundling, DISH might not be the best choice. Comcast Xfinity TV If you want to bundle TV and internet, Xfinity is one of your best options. But for a standalone TV package, here’s the cheapest choice: Extra $49.99 per month However, Xfinity TV may have some promotional deals that are even cheaper; it’ll depend on your zip code. The good news is Comcast Xfinity TV has 1-year contracts or no-term agreements. You’ll pay $70 per month for no-term Extra, but at least the option is there. The Extra package includes over 140 channels, including options like FX, TLC, HGTV, Bravo. Overall, not a bad deal. Xfinity offers flexible month-to-month options and a low price. Cox Cable The price tag on Cox’s cheapest TV plan is looking pretty good: Starter $25 per month This cost won’t include the one-time activation fee and monthly fees like equipment. For this price, you’ll get over 75 channels; this is significantly less than the other plans we’ve touted, but take a look at the channel lineup and see if it makes a difference to you. How can I get the cheapest TV package? You have more leverage than ever in negotiating a cheap package. With streaming TV services sweeping the competition, traditional TV providers are in a position to negotiate for their customers. These rates above may not even be the lowest these providers can go. Here are some tips for finding the lowest price: Check that you’re getting all the discounts that apply: autopay, paperless billing, and leasing or buying only the necessary equipment. If you need an internet or phone plan, go through the same provider and see what sort of bundling deals they have. Bundling with your current provider will likely be cheaper than paying for standalone TV. Check the perks. Some providers add gift cards or premium channels as sign-on bonuses. Compare these plans with your streaming options. Pluto TV is completely free if you have devices that are capable of streaming services, and Sling TV has a basic package of $28 per month. Do you really need traditional TV? Read also: Do You Save by Bundling TV and Internet?
“Would you like to learn more about how you can save when you bundle your services?” You’ve heard this line a million times when you call customer support. But do you actually save money by bundling? We’ve looked at bundles and standalone packages from some of the most popular TV and internet providers; we’ve also asked the experts about the pros and cons of bundling. Here’s what we’ve found. Bundles vs. singles: What's the better deal? Companies wouldn’t convince you to bundle if the price tag weren’t cheaper — that’s obvious. But what about companies’ terms and conditions, promotional rates, and rate hikes after a predetermined period? Let’s see what you’d actually be paying with some of the most popular companies. DIRECTV Acquired by AT&T in 2015, DIRECTV can now bundle with AT&T internet and phone plans to power consumers’ electronics. Some experts have criticized AT&T’s move, calling it shortsightedness at the threshold of a streaming TV revolution. But some plans still have a huge draw, such as the NFL Sunday Ticket plan, which allows viewers to watch out-of-market NFL games. In a quick side-by-side, the internet/TV bundles stack up well against standalone TV: TV TV+Internet SELECT 155+ channels $49.99 per month 155+ channelsInternet plans 768k to 100M$79.98 per month CHOICE 185+ channels $59.99 per month 185+ ChannelsInternet plans 768k to 100M$89.98 per month ULTIMATE 250+ channels $74.99 per month 250+ channelsInternet plans 768k to 100M$99.98 per month The packages include internet plans 768k to 100M — a significant range. 768k is incredibly slow, while 100M is a suitable, baseline speed for most households. Still, some tech enthusiasts want Gigabit internet, 1,000 Mbps, to keep them up to speed. What plan you’ll be offered could depend on where you live; rural areas typically have poorer connections. And high-speed AT&T internet isn’t available nationwide, so you might not have the option to bundle the fastest speeds. The terms and conditions also mention a $10 per month internet equipment fee. And these prices are only locked in for 12 months on a 24-month contract. Here’s what those monthly rates look like for the last 12 months for your plan: TV TV+Internet SELECT $85 per month $124.99 per month CHOICE $115 per month $154.99 per month ULTIMATE $142 per month $181.99 per month DISH TV DISH’s plans are harder to dig up online, as the company doesn’t list them on its website. Many of DISH’s landing pages want you to call in to request rates, but there are a few pages detailing TV options: TV America's Top 120 190 channels$59.99 per month America's Top 120 Plus 190+ channels$74.99 per month America's Top 200 240+ channels$84.99 per month America's Top 250 290+ channels$94.99 per month For a package, the site mentions you can get internet bundled starting at $20 per month. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Starting rates are always for the slowest plans, and they aren’t including device fees like the ones we saw for DIRECTV in these calculations. What perk is that DISH has a two-year price guarantee on most contracts. Comcast Xfinity Comcast has rebranded many of its options under the name Xfinity. Comcast was often ranked one of the most hated American companies in years past, so it was in the company’s best interest to rebrand. Like its competitors, Xfinity TV and internet come bundled, but the company also has standalone internet plans we can compare. Here are some TV, TV+internet, and internet comparisons: TV TV+Internet Internet Extra140+ channels $49.99 per month X1 Saver Pro+ Double Play140+ channels Internet up to 200 mbps$69.99 per month 200 mbps $49.99 per month Preferred+220+ channels $59.99 per month X1 Preferred Pro+ Double Play220+ channels Internet up to 600 mbps$104.99 per month 600 mbps $74.99 per month Keep in mind that Xfinity has a variety of other bundling plans that vary internet download speeds, channel options, and price; these were simply the closest 1:1 comparisons. If you want the cheapest plan, Choice TV Select Double Play, it’ll be $39.99 per month for download speeds up to 100 mbps and 10+ channels for one year. Honestly, many internet providers can’t give you a 100 mbps download speed for that price. But read your terms and conditions: Xfinity mentions equipment and installation fees as well as a potential Broadcast TV Fee (up to $14.95 per month) or Regional Sports Fee (up to $8.75 per month). The good news is Xfinity requires a 1-year contract for its 12-month price lock, shorter than a 24-month contract. So, are you saving money with a bundle? The average 100 mbps internet plan is going to cost you $50 per month. Based on that knowledge, a lot of these bundles are looking pretty good. We’re most concerned about the DIRECTV/AT&T bundles providing the speed a customer really needs for household internet activity in a package plan. For its prices, you should be receiving stellar internet. Bundling pros and cons You can add one big bullet point to the list of bundling pros: You save money. But you’ll also have to pull in more factors. Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks from experts. Pros Everything rolled into one bill You don’t have to work separately with a phone, TV, and internet provider. Operations at KWIC Internet Mark Rapley put it this way: “You only ever have one call to make if something isn’t working. You get all your services on one bill for easy record keeping and payments, and you will likely be left alone by your provider’s marketing efforts since you already subscribe to the full range of services.” You might be able to cut a deal With so many streaming services available, TV providers are feeling the heat. But streaming adds up quickly, and depending on what you watch, you might find working with a TV provider to be the better deal. If you go this route, Emily Woolworth, head of partnerships at Electrical.com, has this tip: “Use your negotiation skills. TV and internet providers know that they're facing fierce competition from unbundled offerings, and they are willing to cut deals to keep your business.” Faster internet and more channels go hand in hand If you’re maximizing your options, AT&T Expert Cara Fuller with All Home Connections notes one big perk: “Faster internet packages and TV packages with more channels are often grouped together. If you bundle with AT&T, for example, you also get the added benefit of one year of HBO and three months of premium channels like STARZ and EPIX, plus free installation.” Cons Unnecessary services Do you need a TV plan? What about phone services? You only save on a bundle if you’re buying services you need and will use. Personal finance expert Lisa Bernardi explains the feature creep: “As a rule, bundles are only worth it if you already intended to purchase all the services included before the deal was on the table. Many consumers fall for the same trap: they sign up for a home internet plan for, say, $80 per month, and then see during the checkout process that they could add TV channels for just $20 more per month. Twenty dollars seems like a relatively insignificant amount compared to that original $80, but it's just a trick by the provider to get you to spend another $240 each year for a service you don't really need and might not even use.” Less negotiating leverage You might have hopped on the phone before and discussed your bill with a telecomms rep. If you played your cards right, you may have gotten a rate reduction. But if you’ve already bundled everything into this one provider’s service, you might have less negotiating power. Rapley warned us about this one: “Since you’re already subscribed to all services, your provider may not view you as a good opportunity and therefore may not pay much attention to you if you do need assistance or want to modify your services.” Varying coverage You’re usually locked in a contract when you bundle. And while it’s convenient to have one bill from one provider, that provider might not carry service through to another state. “If you move, be aware that not all internet service providers are available everywhere,” Fuller advises.
Satellite TV users: listen up! With all of the streaming options for viewing your favorite shows, satellite TV providers may become a thing of the past. Expensive contracts mean a two-year commitment and taking out a payday loan just to pay your bill. We all know satellite dishes are aesthetically unattractive, and there is also the risk of having one improperly installed, which leads to potential damage to your home. Everyone who has ever used satellite TV knows that with satellites, there is always the risk of poor reception or signal loss from bad weather, sunspots, or the dog barking too loudly (you get the point). To those who want what they want, when they want it, satellite TV can be incredibly inconvenient. But it’s probably not your only option in 2020. With so many other viewing options right at your fingertips, attaching a dish to the house is probably unnecessary. You can watch most of your favorite shows on-demand, through live TV streaming, and other options. Maybe high-speed internet isn’t an option for you just yet. Maybe you live in an area where it makes more sense to have satellite TV. Maybe you’re just old school and uneasy about separating from a satellite dish. If you find yourself in one of these scenarios, it’s still important that you do your homework first. Choose your satellite provider carefully and be sure to read the fine print on any contracts before you sign. As if those reasons weren’t enough, here are three other reasons why it may be time to switch your satellite provider in 2020. Streaming is the new wave Why wait to watch the latest episodes of your favorite shows when you can stream them on your phone, tablet, laptop, gaming system, or TV? On-demand providers are the new wave, and they’re here to stay. You can watch all of your favorite cable network shows, movie channels, and sports networks on your cell phone by simply downloading an app. Gone are the days of cables and boxes connected to your TV. We live in a culture of instant gratification. Entertainment is at your fingertips now more than ever. What better way to find it than having 24-hour instant access to shows, specials, and series? Services such as Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix are all on-demand streaming services that charge fees for instant access. In general, the fees are less than satellite providers and they don’t require a contract. You can cancel at literally any time. But let’s say you’re a sports fan and the idea of giving up live sports just sends shivers down your spine. Or maybe you just like the hum of a show and commercials in the background for whatever reason. If that’s the case, then there’s an option for you as well. Services like YouTubeTV, Sling, and DirecTV Now all allow you to stream live TV to your streaming devices through your ISP’s in-home Wi-Fi connection. No cords, no boxes, and no contracts! But if this is the route you want to take, your internet service and speeds can make or break your decision. Investigate your satellite internet service before canceling your satellite service entirely. Your connection will have to support your streaming services, and if you don’t have adequate download speeds, your shows will be constantly buffering. Each streaming service will recommend certain broadband connections to support their particular service. Without the connection support, you might be better off staying with your satellite provider. Satellite TV is being replaced in many places by on-demand streaming. Between relying on the perfect weather, contract restrictions, and needing the satellites in space to line up appropriately, it is quickly becoming the antique edition of entertainment options. Less equipment means less hassle Satellite TV comes with all kinds of wires, cables, boxes, dishes, and a headache to boot. From the waiting list for installation to the installation fees, it can be quite the hassle. Installation requires a professional to come and mount equipment safely and securely to your house, either on the roof, decking, or another high point with no obstructions that may diminish quality. There may still be a lag time with satellite TV even without obstructions, while on-demand streaming relies solely on your internet connection. Having said that, with streaming there’s always the nasty issue of buffering. We have all been glued to the TV with our favorite show, right at the good part, and the screen freezes with those three dots blinking that signal buffering. No option is without its flaws. Smart TVs come with on-demand streaming ready to use. HD TVs are ready to hook up to a Roku, Fire TV Stick, or gaming system with on-demand streaming apps already available. Computers and laptops can travel with you wherever you go with your shows at your fingertips. With a few tools that you can hook up or download on your own, it’s a simple solution to the problems of satellite TV. It all boils down to cost Rumor has it that the cost of satellite TV is going to increase in 2020 due to an increase in costs to the providers. Dish and DIRECTV, two of the largest providers, have both announced price increases for satellite TV in 2020. The increases may also impact add-on packages. If you are a current satellite TV user looking for a discount, contact your provider and ask about new package prices. Then call the competition and compare packages and prices. Be sure to ask about discounts they may be promoting for new customers. There may be discounts on bundles or a discount on your overall monthly bill. In the end, the options are limitless! Gone are the days of having one means of entertainment. We don’t have to choose between a couple of providers and just suck it up while they take what they want from our wallets and limit our options. You’re in control now more than ever. So get informed, and let the watching commence! Robyn Flint writes and researches for Loans.org and loves to binge-watch the latest ground-breaking series. Robyn is a licensed Realtor, a freelance writer, and a published author.
Guest Post by Sara Marcum When it comes to satellite television, you are either team satellite, team cable, or team streaming. Streaming entered the entertainment race not that long ago. The popularity of services like Netflix and Hulu has begun to stick it to satellite and cable television options. This has pushed the big companies to start offering perks for their subscribers in an effort to draw them back. These perks give options to those who may not have internet available. Some internet service providers like AT&T have begun offering discounts to single parents and those facing economic hardships. The media isn’t the only ones noticing the struggle that these parents face when it comes to supplying basic necessities. Even the struggle of cheap car insurance for single moms has become more widely recognized. What is satellite television? Satellite television is a type of service that delivers television programming options by relaying the signals through a satellite that hovers above the Earth and transmits to your home location. A lot has changed since the initial launch of satellite in 1961. The Telestar 1 left Cape Canaveral on July 10, 1961 and made history two days later when it sent the first global television signal. Which satellite provider should you choose? The two satellite television providers that dominate the market are no secret. DISH and DIRECTV are the two biggest competitors in the satellite market. However, the rise of the pay-as-you-go model has opened the door for a new competitor, Orby TV. Orby TV does for satellite television what Cricket Wireless does for phone service. Is satellite television worth it? Streaming is taking the home entertainment industry by storm. Hundreds of streaming services available just need an internet connection and a monthly subscription. These offer a multitude of options when it comes to watching the shows you love. Most streaming services don’t offer you the same perks as a satellite system though. We will explore those below. Finding the best satellite TV perks for your buck Let’s take a moment to analyze what each of the satellite television power players has to offer. The only way that you can get the most out of your satellite service is by exploring their options and weighing out which one is right for you and your wallet. Use a satellite provider that offers internet service Only two of the three providers offer bundles with internet service included. The network you choose determines the internet access that you are offered. Keep in mind that just because a service offers the internet doesn’t mean that it is available in your area. For example, I live in a rural country setting where satellite dominates because we don’t have the option of cable. DISH DISH partners with leading internet providers; they do not limit themselves to one company. You will most likely find DISH available with whomever you receive internet through. For us, Windstream offers a compatible offer with DISHTV but not another satellite provider. DIRECTV DIRECTV was bought by AT&T, which means that all of their bundled services are with AT&T. I input my address for internet bundled services on the DIRECTV homepage and was advised that it is not available in my area, but I could still enjoy satellite television services. Orby Orby TV is a new breed of satellite television. This is a pay-as-you-go program that only requires you to buy the equipment and pay a monthly fee for a subscription. No internet services are required, but they do not offer a bundle with an internet provider. The winner of the category would have to be DISHTV because they have a wider range of internet options, especially for those in rural areas. However, if you live in an area where AT&T is available, the choice comes down to which is more cost-efficient. Check out a satellite provider's channel lineup Different satellite packages offer up different channel options. Obviously, the cheaper the package the lower the number of channels available. DISH DISHTV offers channel packages that start at $59.99 for 120 channels and increase to over 290 channels for $94.99 a month. This does not include premium channels like HBO, STARZ, or CINEMAX. These packages require a service agreement for a fixed time period. DVR is available and offered for an additional monthly fee. DIRECTV DIRECTV offers three package options. The first package is 155 plus channels for $49.99 a month. The second package is 185 plus channels for $59.99 a month. The final package is 250 plus channels for $74.99 a month. These require that a service agreement is signed for a fixed time period. DVR is available and offered for an additional monthly fee. Orby After you make the initial investment for the receiver and equipment, ORBY TV is a pay-as-you-go program. You are not tied to traditional payment contracts. If you don’t have the money to pay for next month’s television service, you simply stop the satellite connection and pick it up when you can pay again. With that principle in mind, you can expect that your channel line-ups will be slightly reduced thanks to the contracts media networks hold with satellite and cable companies, and the service will be a little higher in the long run. ORBY TV offers a basic essentials package for $40.00 a month. This includes all the local channels in your area for free. From there they offer add-on packages starting at $6.00 a month. Compare satellite providers to get the best discounts Everyone likes to save money. We are willing to drive 50 miles out of the way for a good price at the grocery store, so why wouldn’t we hunt down the best television offers? DISH DISHTV offers discounts to active duty servicemembers and veterans, and this extends to first responders. They do have special rates for those who are aged 55 and over. Bundling your services is another good way to get additional savings. Right now, when you order services with DISHTV online, you receive a $150.00 prepaid card. DIRECTV DIRECTV offers the same bundling services that DISHTV offers, but with fewer options. Because DIRECTV is an affiliate of AT&T, you are limited to their available services. The nice thing about AT&T internet service is that they do offer a reduced rate for those who qualify economically. A $50.00 prepaid card is being offered when you make your purchase online. Orby As far as discounts go, ORBY TV doesn’t offer any in the traditional sense. Besides the fact that you don’t need an internet connection to operate it and you get to pay-as-you-go, discounts are non-existent at the present time. Personal preference determines the best satellite TV provider In the end, it really doesn’t matter what I tell you about each of these services. You have to choose which one is best for you and your family. While each of the major satellite providers offer stunning prices, you have to keep in mind that they require a commitment, usually a 24-month contract that says you will pay regardless of circumstances. Maybe satellite isn’t for you, and you are more comfortable with streaming services. That’s okay too, but keep in mind that satellite does have its perks. Between bundles, discounts, and area availability, one of the three companies mentioned in this article may be a lower option overall. Sara Marcum writes and researches for AutoInsuranceEZ.com. She is a mother to two boys and the stepmother to a little girl. After many years of working outside of the home, she decided it was time to make a change and pursue her dream of writing. She is currently working on a novel while juggling all the other tasks in her life.
Guest Post by Alexandra Arcand Satellite TV is a popular choice for many people. It offers a wide range of channels, cool add ons, bundles, and packages to fit almost any budget. But with the new year here, and with television companies changing constantly, there are always changes coming to cable and satellite bills. So let’s take a look at what to expect when it comes to changes in satellite TV prices in 2020. Overall package price increases Dish is one of the two largest names in satellite TV. The company has already announced prices will be raised in 2020. Dish’s package prices will increase by about $5.00 per month across the board. Welcome Pack — from $29.99 to $34.99 Flex Pack — from $37.99 to $42.99 Smart Pack — from $35.99 to $40.99 Dish America Pack — from $52.99 to $57.99 Dish America Silver Package — from $67.99 to $72.99 America’s Top 120 Package — from $67.99 to $72.99 America’s Top 120 Plus Package — from $72.99 to $77.99 America’s Top 200 Package — from $82.99 to $87.99 America’s Top 250 Package — from $92.99 to $97.99 America’s Everything Package — from $117.99 to $122.99 Note: These package price increases do not include the $12 per month optional fee to add local channels in your package. DirecTV (now owned by AT&T) is the other big name and will also be increasing prices, though its raises are more spread out. Depending on the package you have, you may see your price go up anywhere from $1.00–$8.00 per month. Basic Choice and Basic Packages — $1.00 Preferred Choice Package — $3.00 Select, Select Classic, Select Choice, Entertainment, and Entertainment Classic Packages — $4.00 Choice, Total Choice, Total Choice Limited, and Total Choice Mobile Packages — $5.00 Choice Xtra Classic, Preferred Xtra, Xtra, and Ultimate Packages — $7.00 Premier Package — $8.00 Satellite TV is reportedly being raised due to price increases of programming on the providers’ ends. Add-on package prices may be raised If you are a Dish subscriber or you plan on becoming one, note that some of the company's packages may require an add-on fee for certain channels. Dish is creating a regional sports surcharge, which will be an additional fee to certain regions. No price for this has been disclosed; we only know Dish has announced the surcharge. Much like Dish’s sports package add on, DirecTV will also be increasing its sports package extras pricing. Depending on the package you choose, you may see a price increase anywhere from $1.50–$2.00. Deals could save you from price increases Satellite TV prices aren’t going the other direction. If you are considering satellite TV or other options, some companies will lock in your price for a set amount of time. This can give you the chance to get a lower price than current customers, and the ability to keep that price for the contracted period. Dish is offering huge savings to new customers in the coming year. All of its “America’s Top” packages are cut by at least $15.00 for new customers, and the price is guaranteed for two years. However, the prices do not include taxes, and there is a fee for early termination before the end of the two-year contract. So be sure to do the math. DirecTV was not as forthcoming with its deals for new customers in the coming year, but it is offering the NFL Sunday Ticket for 2020 with the purchase of any of its packages starting with the Choice package. To get this deal, you must sign a 24-month contract, and the offer is only good for 12 months. Discounts may apply If you fall into categories below, there’s a chance you’ll be able to save and get some extra perks. These offers are exclusive to Dish Network. AT&T does not offer deals on satellite TV alone. It only offer discounts when customers purchase a bundle. Military and first responders If you or a family member are one of the brave men and women who currently serve or have served in our military, a firefighter, police officer, or a paramedic, Dish has a discount for you. For active-duty military, veterans, or first responders, Dish gives its “Stars and Stripes” bundle, which includes eight extra channels to your package at no additional cost. This package also includes a free movie rental each month on Dish. You can choose any one of its on-demand movies to rent for free once a month. This offer also includes a two-year price guarantee and a DVR upgrade, allowing you to store and stream shows right on your phone. Seniors For customers 55+, Dish offers a deal with free in-home technician visits, a free movie rental each month from its on-demand movie list, and the option to add the “Stars and Stripes” bundle for only $10 per month. There are a lot of options out there when it comes to watching your favorite movies and shows, but if you are considering satellite TV or are a current customer, these price changes and potential savings are what you should expect in 2020. Alexandra Arcand writes for FreeAdvice.com and is an avid, movie, television, and sports lover.
With the first month of 2020 behind us, life is getting back into a rhythm. With work back to normal and life settling down after the holiday season, it is no surprise that many of us are getting back into the habit of watching our favorite show each night or tuning in live to our favorite team’s game. So here is the question: How are you tuning in? There are a number of TV watching options for those seeking to keep up. You can choose from satellite TV, cable TV, internet streaming services, etc. The big question is which of these services is going to win out during the next decade. If you were to ask the majority of millennials which of these services will continue over the years to come, they would lean towards internet streaming services. If you were to ask baby boomers and generation x, they would likely say that both provide valuable services. Will Satellite TV survive the next decade? It is hard to say for sure. In this article, we will discuss some of the reasons that current users and industry experts believe that it will continue to be a successful industry and why others do not. Satellite TV holds on To begin, it is important to recognize the names of the companies that are currently offering Satellite TV. The following graphic outlines the top three Satellite TV providers (according to customer reviews and overall value from data collected by Best Company) as well as the benefits and services that each provides. If you decide to go with satellite TV, your three major choices are DISH, Comcast Xfinity, and DIRECTV (as seen in the graphic above). Each of these companies is unique, but they share a couple of things in common. They all have DVR capabilities and they all offer bundle pricing options to make them more affordable. Often, you can bundle your satellite TV services with phone or internet services. The following bundles are offered by our top three companies: Comcast Xfinity — Choice TV Double Play ($34.99 per month), X1 Saver Pro+ Double Play ($79.99 per month), X1 Starter Pro+ Double Play ($89.99 per month). These prices are only guaranteed for the first 12 months and are subject to a 1-year agreement. DISH — America’s Top 120 ($59.99 for TV plus $19.99 for internet per month), America’s Top 120+ ($74.99 for TV plus $19.99 for internet per month), America’s Top 200 ($84.99 for TV plus $19.99 for internet per month), America’s Top 250 ($94.99 for TV plus $19.99 for internet per month). Internet prices may vary depending on location. Prices are dependent on a 2-year agreement. DIRECTV — Select + Internet ($89.99 per month), Choice + Internet ($99.99 per month), Ultimate + Internet ($114.99 per month). The internet is provided by AT&T in these bundles. Prices are dependent on a 1-year agreement. Pros of satellite TV To gain a better understanding of satellite TV’s success while it has been competing with streaming services, we will look into the service perks offered, minimal extra fees, high-end efficient download speeds, and the rural capabilities that its competition cannot provide to customers. Service perks “Satellite TV offers more live programming than any other form of entertainment. Satellite TV subscriptions generally allow customers to authenticate using provider apps. Often, for the cost of a satellite TV subscription, you also get dozens of streaming services for free. An additional perk is the superior parental controls available with most satellite TV providers. Kids watching satellite TV are much safer than those that are let loose on the internet.” — Stuart Sweet, Product, Content, and Engineering teams from Signal Group When in the market for a TV provider, you should know what specific services are offered to you in each company's package. Each package will be uniquely different, but you should look for the package that will provide you with the most services for the best price. You may be surprised by what you find. Here are some questions that you may want to ask yourself while doing your research: Are you able to watch live programming? Are you given access to streaming services as an additional perk? How are the parental controls? Minimal extra fees “With satellite and cable TV, you can watch as much as you want without penalty. If you’re someone who’s used to having the TV going on in the background all day, you’ll probably go over your internet provider’s data cap. That means you could get slapped with huge fines just because you filled your home with the comforting voices of the HGTV crew from your fancy, live TV streaming service.” — Rachel Oaks, TV Service Expert with CableTV.com Have you noticed that though you may be paying a low monthly fee for your streaming services, you often end up having to pay for other random service fees? Though not always the case, this is not an uncommon occurrence. As mentioned by Oaks, some internet providers will charge extra if you go over your data cap. As of February 2020, it was reported that over 190 internet service providers offer plans with data caps. Download speeds “Not all internet providers offer fast enough download speeds to support streaming TV and some even restrict internet usage with data caps. While satellite TV isn't infallible, its high-end download speeds make it a strong option for many TV watchers in 2020.” — Oaks Have you ever found yourself watching a YouTube video or Netflix show when it suddenly stops leaving you watch the throbber (the icon that lets know that your page is loading and is not frozen) as the video loads? One of the advantages of using satellite TV is the highly efficient download capabilities that it has. Very few forms of internet are capable of downloading at the same speed that satellite can. If you are worried about missing a touchdown or having to watch your movie in segments while waiting for it to load, you may be better served by a satellite or cable TV plan. Though more expensive than streaming services, satellite TV and cable TV will provide you with clearer images in real time. Rural areas “Where you live might impact whether it's worth it to have satellite TV. If you live in a rural area and want live TV, satellite TV is going to be more accessible than internet streaming services.” — Morgan Taylor, Finance Expert and CMO at LetMeBank Have you ever considered that there are places that do not have easy access to internet services? Though it is 2020, there are still places even within the United States that do not have access to internet services. According to the 2019 Broadband Report from the Federal Communication Commission, there are over 19 million households that do not have access to fixed terrestrial advanced telecommunications. In rural communities, over 24 percent of the population lack access, and on tribal lands, 32 percent lack access to the internet. In these rural areas, the best option for consumers that would like to have access to television is satellite and cable TV. Cons of satellite TV Now that we have talked about some of the reasons that satellite TV has been successful during the introduction of streaming services in the United States, we will look at some reasons that current industry experts feel that may decline in the coming years. Streaming services for competition “When it comes to services that help you save money, satellite/cable TV is never on that list.” — Grant Sabatier When looking at the pricing for streaming services in comparison to satellite TV, it can be difficult to understand why people pay as much as they do. In many cases satellite TV costs a minimum of five times as much per month than basic streaming services such as Netflix, Disney Plus, and Hulu. Though basic packages from streaming services do not offer live streaming, some more expensive packages have started offering live TV. The real question is how much live TV and/or sports do you watch? And, is that reason enough for you to want to pay more for satellite TV, or would you still get by if you only had streaming services? There is no right or wrong answer to this question, but it is one to think about. More than you need “One of the biggest downsides to satellite or cable packages is that you'll likely get more than you need. You'll inevitably pay for channels you never watch, and you'll probably end up feeling like you overpay since you don't use these channels.” — Taylor Though having lots of channels isn't necessarily a bad thing, when it comes to maintaining a budget, it can be hard to justify spending large amounts of money on a product that you only use a small portion of. It would be like buying a gallon of premium gelato and eating just one small bowl before throwing it out. So why keep your subscription? “This is really going to be different for most people. The number one reason is value. People confuse value with price. Satellite TV has a higher price, but a much much higher value.” — Sweet Yes, it is true, every person will have different reasons for keeping their satellite TV subscription in 2020. Stella Samuel, Team Manager at Brandnic.com suggests that you think about the following three things when making your decision: High-quality images — If you are someone that appreciates the clarity in the images that come with Satellite TV, you may be disappointed if you switch over to streaming services as they may not be quite as nice. Versatility — There are so many channels available through Satellite TV subscriptions. You will never watch them all, but you shouldn’t be bored. Reduced interruption — With signals coming directly from your satellite dish, whether you live in an urban or rural area, you will likely experience very few signal interruptions. When it comes down to it, your decision may not be as clear as you would like. Take some time to think about the pros and cons of satellite TV in your own life, so you can make the decision that is best for you.
Orby TV is a satellite television provider that began in 2019. Odds are, if you haven’t heard about the company yet, you will soon. Here’s why: 1. No contracts Orby TV is unlike other satellite TV providers because customers do not have to sign a contract. Orby TV has adopted a pay-as-you-go format where users can put their payments on pause without any penalty. Unlike traditional TV providers, Orby does not conduct a credit check nor does it mail bills to its customers. Rather, customers can control their spending and view payment history on an online account. 2. Local channels are always free Orby TV includes an outdoor antenna that attaches to the satellite dish. This antenna brings in local TV shows such as ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, and Fox at no cost. Customers who choose to put their payments on pause can still watch these local channels for free! For those who are curious to know what local channels are available in their area, you can type in your zip code in this Orby TV search bar. Orby TV also claims that it will not cut any local TV stations over things such as contract disputes. 3. Self-installation option Although it is recommended that customers pay $150 for a professional installation and one-year guarantee, Orby TV provides a self-installation option. A self-installation kit is available for $70 on the company website, as well as a step-by-step guide on how to install the system properly. Simply put, if you have experience installing satellites, or want to save money, Orby TV gives you the option to skip the installation fee and do it yourself. 4. No internet required No internet required? This sounds like such a foreign concept in a world that is dominated by streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. Orby TV receives its channels via the satellite dish and outdoor antenna. For this reason, as well as others, Orby TV is a great option for customers who can’t afford to pay a large internet and traditional TV bill. 5. DVR options DVR options are available to customers at very competitive prices. Users who purchase a programming package can add on DVR options for only $4 per month. Users who wish to only watch local television shows and not pay for a package can purchase a DVR option for $12 per month. Orby TV DVR can record up to 100 hours of HD TV and 1,000 hours of standard definition TV. 6. Can rent or buy The option to rent Orby TV equipment is available for those who do not wish to purchase the equipment or pay for an installation fee. Rental options start at $55 per month and include the following: Orby TV equipment Free installation Free delivery Free local channels 2-year price guarantee Essentials package 30-day trial For those who do not wish to rent, Orby TV equipment is available in local stores such as Best Buy and Target in the 48 contiguous states. Customers can also call Orby TV directly to purchase their equipment, as well as schedule a professional installation. 7. Available for RV users Orby TV is a great option for RV users. Rather than installing a satellite dish on top of a house, Orby recommends that RV users buy a TV receiver/DVR, a self-installation kit, a signal meter, and a tripod. The tripod is used to support the satellite dish and should be able to hold up to 25 pounds. After installing the satellite and antenna for local channels, customers can begin their service by creating an account on the Orby TV App. Specific instructions for RV users can be found on the company website.
Today’s world offers a plethora of entertainment options for homeowners. Cable, fiber optics, and over-the-top (OTT) streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu have all challenged the satellite TV industry but have failed to completely take companies like DIRECTV and DISH out of the game. Even today, you’ll still find plenty of homes that host satellite dishes on their rooftops. While others have predicted the end of satellite TV, satellite TV providers might not be ready to quit. The technology is still evolving and it offers solutions to many cable and broadcast TV problems, making it a viable and popular choice.If you’ve written off satellite TV, you may want to reconsider. Why? Well, we’ve put together all the benefits of using a satellite TV provider and determined that satellite television is still a practical option for many TV viewers. It works just about anywhere Satellite TV gets its signals from satellites in a geostationary orbit, meaning the satellite travels at the same speed as the earth and stays in the same position relative to the earth’s surface. Once your satellite antenna is properly aligned, the satellite signals are then broadcast from a ground station to multiple satellites, which will then broadcast the signals back to Earth and actually cover quite a bit of acreage. So what does all that mean?It means satellite TV works just about anywhere. You’ll often see satellite dishes in rural areas, as cable companies don’t usually service these areas, but satellite TV does. Cable is generally only available in areas where the provider can run an actual cable into your home. Satellite is available just about anywhere, as long as it can “see” the provider’s in-orbit satellite. You get an absurd number of channels Even with DISH’s most basic TV plan, you get more than 40 channels for just $19.99 per month and DIRECTV’s Select™ plan is only $35 per month with over 155 channels. Basic cable services typically only include 30-40 channels (including local network channels) and cost about $30 per month. While cable packages don’t require you to sign a long-term contract, they are more expensive on a month-to-month basis. On the other hand, satellite actually has a better money per channel ratio — so you’re paying less per channel and getting more channels. If you’re looking to get the best bang for your buck, DISH is your best choice. While the upfront costs might seem a bit pricey and definitely more than other satellite TV providers, DISH promises to keep your price for the entire length of your contract. Other providers will hike up the prices once your 1-year promotion package ends. Read what real customers have to say about their experience with DISHSatellite TV allows you to choose the packages that have the channels you want. With each package, you’ll typically have access to the most popular channels like ESPN, USA, FOX, NBC, and more. However, if your entertainment taste buds aren’t satisfied, you can add premium channels packs to get more. Whether you want to watch the news, live sports, or On-Demand movies, satellite TV is more than likely to have it. The picture quality is better If you have a high-resolution TV but a low-quality video source, then you can forget about getting that crystal clear, sharp image. Upscaling is the process of enlarging an image to fit the resolution of the screen. When a low-resolution image is fed into a high-resolution television, it doesn’t matter if you have the newest TV on the market, the image source determines what kind of picture you’ll get. When it comes to choosing between satellite and cable, amazing picture quality is often at the top of everyone’s must-have list. According to CheatSheet.com, cable television has to cope with the constraints of the coaxial cable which compresses and limits your picture quality. Satellite providers have more bandwidth and don’t have to compress the signal to “fit” the screen, meaning you’ll get a better picture quality. It’s the best choice for watching live sports For a time it seemed like cable and satellite TV was out of the game. As internet streaming services became popular, the juggernauts of the industry saw a drop in customers. However, pay-TV had a saving grace: sports. A 2016 Statista survey revealed that 90 percent of sports fans were willing to pay for some type of sports programming. While Netflix and Hulu are great for watching scripted shows and classic movies, they offer very little to a dedicated sports fan. DIRECTV is probably the best satellite TV provider for sports fans. There are plenty of sports packages to choose from and each cater to a different kind of sports fan. Whether you want to watch NASCAR, hockey, UFC, or football, there are plenty of options. DIRECTV also has exclusive rights the ever-popular NFL SUNDAY TICKET. A subscription to the pack gives you access to out-of-market games that are unavailable through the local networks. Sports fans will rejoice as they can watch up to eight games at once, use the Player Tracker, keep tabs on their fantasy football roster, and get real-time scores and stats from around the NFL.Read what real customers have to say about their experience with DIRECTVSatellite TV is a great option for avid sports fans, entertainment buffs, and those who live in rural areas. While streaming services are great for those wanting to watch their favorite 90s television show, they don’t have much to offer in live television. Cable is a cheaper option but doesn’t offer the same variety and quality of channels that satellite does. Overall, if you’re in the market for a new TV provider, we suggest you give satellite TV a chance. There really isn’t a right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing between a cable, satellite, or streaming service provider. Respectively, they all have their own pros and cons and the choice comes down to what you want. As always, we recommend you call the company to learn more about their services and promotions but also read consumer reviews to find out which company is right for you.
It's no secret that, unless something miraculous happens, pay TV services like cable and direct satellite transmission are heading into a long, long winter. As TV giants like Dish Network, DirecTV, and Comcast lose subscribers to cord-cutting alternatives like Netflix and Hulu, the survival of the satellite TV industry is uncertain at best. Dish projects it will lose as many as 2.5 million subscribers by 2020, and many companies in the industry are looking to expand into the wireless spectrum market. And yet . . . Despite the steadily dwindling subscriber base, revenue in the satellite TV industry is on the steady rise. According to Statista.com, one of the foremost statistics aggregation providers in the world, the satellite TV industry industry, in many ways, is alive and well. (And if you're still interested in seeing what these satellite TV companies to have to offer, check out our reviews!) Not only is the satellite TV industry consistently raking in tens of billions of dollars every year, but it is still growing at a fairly consistent rate. But why? Well, even though satellite TV is on its way out, the five following reasons suggest that it may still outlive us all: 1. Live events Speaking in terms of the mounting competition between satellite, cable, and internet streaming services, there's something that the new kids on the block just don't seem to have figured out yet, and that's the streaming of live major events. The simple fact is cord cutters have limited access when it comes to live events. They can turn to the Internet, but in many cases, live streaming can take up a huge portion of bandwidth. Say what you will about the weather-dependent nature of satellite TV, but at least you don't have to deal with buffering issues or turn off your other devices just to watch your favorite shows. Dan Cashman, executive producer and host of “The Nite Show with Danny Cashman,” addresses the benefit of live events that traditional TV has over streaming services. “The traditional TV model has countless benefits that streaming does not. Traditional TV offers local news , live and up to date from reputable sources, which proves vital in times of emergency. Many TV markets are returning to the model of local programming, offering newsmagazine, sports, and entertainment that is produced at a local level. Video sharing sites like YouTube has plenty of this content as well, but viewers need to weed through the hours and hours of video uploads that are not produced with the intent of entertaining or informing the masses.” This includes live news (an area into which Hulu has made a small footprint), awards shows like the Oscars (which averaged 36.6 million viewers this year), and more. Of course, many of these events, including the Oscars, are also going the way of the satellite TV industry; 2015 saw a six-year low in Oscar viewership, down 18% from the previous year (though, to be fair, Ellen DeGeneres, who hosted the Oscars in 2014, attracted 43 million viewers — a 10-year high). Sure, the dip in viewership might be due to the host, but it could also be attributed to the fact that these live shows do not have the same pull as they once did. Who wants to sit through a three-and-a-half-hour awards show late at night when you can go to YouTube the next day and watch all the highlights instead? 2. Sports Yes, we know: sports are also live events. But because of the massive revenue generated by live sports each year, they deserve their own section. Live sports have long been regarded as the "Holy Grail" of the cable-satellite industry. There has been some discussion as to whether internet streaming services will eventually offer streaming of live sports. The executives at Netflix have dealt with this question several times, and by no means rule out the possibility; however, they don't feel the value proposed by live sports streaming is enough for the company to change its model completely. According to Business Insider, Ted Sardanos, Netflix's chief content officer, says, "I don't think the on-demandness to sports is enough of an addition to the value proposition to change. I think the leagues have tremendous leverage in those deals." Unfortunately for the pay TV industry, their competitors' lack of interest in live sports streaming may not be enough to stem the slow bleed in viewership and eventual revenue. Sardanos wasn't kidding when he said that the leagues - the NFL and the NBA ranking among the most profitable for the satellite TV industry — have a great deal of sway in the cost of media rights to their content. According to Bloomberg News, while satellite TV subscriptions decrease, the cost of sports media rights are projected to increase - substantially. But, in the meantime, sports fanatics know they have only one place to really catch all the action. Following live tweets of the game, or searching for some questionable streaming site that may or may not carry viruses simply doesn't compare. 3. Selection What the pay TV industry has going for it right now is the idea that, for the majority of programming, it's the first place to go for new episodes. As great as Hulu is, viewers are not able to access its network TV programming for a full 24 hours after a new episode airs. And while Netflix does offer a wide variety of movies and television series, many of their more popular selections are cycled in an out of Netflix's queue. Furthermore, Netflix is no better than cable or satellite TV at airing recent or critically acclaimed movies, often taking two years or more to do so. According to a story in The Huffington Post, this is because production studios see internet streaming services as the lowest-ranking revenue stream for their blockbuster hits, often relying first on DVD releases, digital downloads, then online rentals. Or Goren, the founder of Cord Busters, shares one advantage that traditional TV companies have over cordless options. He states, “Less choice: This might sound counterintuitive because many [people] love the choice that cord cutting gives [them] — but some people don't want to have to sit and think about what they're going to watch. With streaming, you need to pick an app (Netflix/Amazon/Hulu/etc'), then go over all those shows and trailers that the companies are pushing at you... With a traditional TV company, you simply turn on the TV, and at most — you can flip through channels. Then, if you happen to see something interesting — that's what you're going to watch, without thinking about it too much.” There's an old joke about the variety of programming on satellite TV that explains this shift away from channel surfing: "hundreds of channels to choose from, but nothing to watch." These days, rather than surfing through channels on television, people are surfing through movie and show options on Netflix and Hulu. Most millenials are familiar with what behavioral psychologists call “the paradox of choice.” Essentially, the more choices you are presented with, the less likely you are to reach a satisfactory outcome. Movie parties with friends often take more time trying to find a movie that everyone wants to watch on Netflix, than watching the actual movie itself. 4. Average revenue per user As we mentioned at the top of this post, all pay TV providers are projecting a downward trend in subscribers over the next four years. So why the steady bump in annual revenue? It's because pay TV providers are actually receiving higher ARPU or average revenue per user. In other words, cable and satellite TV customers, on average, are becoming more and more valuable. In fact, Forbes suggests that Comcast's increase in ARPU will eventually offset its subscriber loss; however, this is largely attributed to Comcast's increased monthly subscription fees, though experts also attribute the ARPU increase to pay TV providers delving into online streaming services. Unfortunately for the pay TV industry, steadily increasing their monthly fees will do little to retain their current subscriber base, let alone attract more subscribers over time. It's a basic law of economics: when you increase the price of a service, the demand goes down. 5. Tradition Last of all, pay TV services are not dead because of (cue the music:) tradition! Picture the pay TV industry as a huge train that has spent the last 50 or 60 years getting not only faster and faster, but also bigger and bigger. Satellite TV has been a part of the American consciousness longer than most of us have been alive, and will therefore take a great deal of time before it comes to a complete and halting stop. Your parents, and even your grandparents probably have some sort of pay TV service, and when you were a kid, you probably thought you were going to as well. This is something pay TV services have relied upon for generations. Derek Szeto, a cofounder of Butter, states the power that tradition can have on satellite TV’s presence. He says, “Old habits die hard — if you grew up with a remote in your hand flipping channels, there is still a certain degree of comfort being able to flip channels and not having to explicitly decide what to what. How many of us have spent 10, 20 minutes just flipping through the different tiles on Netflix weighing what to watch?” Unfortunately however, times change. Among the most significant customer demographics to cut the cord these days — the one that pay TV services have bet on to continue the tradition — is the 25 to 40 age group. Why? Because this is the group that is most likely to start families and pass their television viewing habits on to the next generation. As we have mentioned throughout this post, pay TV isn't going anywhere anytime soon; but as younger generations are taught to seek out programming through alternative means, it will eventually become a relic of the past.