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.
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.