Best cable or satellite service

Best Cable & Satellite TV Providers

DIRECTV offers a wide range of features, channels and packages, DIRECTV is among the best and most popular cable services around. Particularly among sports fans because of their exclusive rights to the NFL Sunday Ticket package. DIRECTV makes setting up service as easy and inexpensive as possible. First, there is typically no equipment to buy as most fees are waived once you order service. This is a welcome perk because there are some providers who charge you monthly to buy or lease your equipment. In addition, DIRECTV doesn't charge you for HD service and if you don't have an HD receiver in your home, your technician will provide you with one free of charge.

Furthermore, there is never any charge for the technician to come out to your home to install service. This is another welcome perk that is in direct contrast to a number of the company's competitors. However, one thing to be aware of is that DIRECTV requires a two-year contract, so you're committing to them for a bit of time when you do sign up.

While DIRECTV is a bit more expensive than much of its competition, it certainly offers the quality service to justify it through its array of packages and bundles. The company's cable packages range from $29.99 to $89.99, and that includes NFL Sunday Ticket free of charge and three months of premium movie channels. While DIRECTV does not offer internet service, if you do want to bundle services, it offers a variety of options via third party agreements with Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, CenturyLink, Exede Internet, HughesNet, Windstream, Mediacom, and Time Warner Cable.

Dish

  • Pros
  • Over 300 channels
  • Valuable pricing
  • Bundle TV, phone, and internet for savings
  • Helpful customer service
  • Reliable DVR service
  • Cons
  • Customer service can take a while to reach
  • Not available in Puerto Rico and parts of Alaska

DISH typically waives all of your initiation fees when you begin service. And there is no additional installation fee for a technician to come out to your home. This gives DISH a bit of an edge over many cable providers who charge installation fees. However, one thing DISH does require you to buy your equipment from them, so expect to see a monthly charge on your bill for that.

Though, one point in DISH Network's favor is that they do provide custom installation of TVs (such as wall mountings) and home theaters and wireless networks. In addition, DISH does charge $10 per month for high-definition service. But if you enroll in Auto Pay with paperless billing, DISH will waive any charges for HD service, which essentially makes it free.

In addition, DISH also recently introduced The Genie. The Genie provides full HD service in every room in which service installed. Secondly, once you have had The Genie for enough time it begins to predict your viewing habits and records shows it expects you will enjoy.

Like DIRECTV, DISH requires a two-year commitment once you begin service. So if you like to jump around between providers you will have to keep that in mind. But you will have some quality service at competitive prices to look forward to for those two years. Dish Network's cable services range from $19.99 to $39.99 per month, which is fairly cheap. Though, their channel offerings and sports packages don't quite measure up to DIRECTV. If you want to bundle, Dish has you covered as their satellite internet and cable service bundles range from $39.99 to $69.99 per month.

AT&T U-verse

  • Competitively priced
  • Combine TV, Internet and phone for savings
  • Free and reliable DVR capabilities
  • Great digital service
  • Free installation
  • Limited streaming capabilities
  • Limited U-verse availability

AT&T U-verse setup is straight-forward and a technician will arrive at your home days after placing your order. As is common with most companies, AT&T waives all of your installation fees. However, be prepared to pay a monthly charge for your equipment as the company requires you to buy it. The charge is only about $8 per month but that does add up after some time. The one benefit of paying for these boxes is that you get to keep them even when you finally terminate your service. Also, another perk is that AT&T won't charge you for re-installation if you move. Just give them a call and they will set up your service at your new residence.

Another little bonus is that, depending on which services you order, AT&T will send you a Visa prepaid debit card with $50 to $300 loaded onto it. The amount of money you get as a rebate depends on which of their array of packages you order. So, for example, if you order cable and internet service, you should get a rebate in the range of $150.

AT&T's DVR service comes standard, which is a nice bonus. And you can record four shows simultaneously using their boxes which is rather convenient.

One of AT&T U-verse's biggest weaknesses is that it is only available in 20 states. One last thing to note is that AT&T requires a one-year contract. So expect to commit to U-verse for at least a year when you sign up.

AT&T's packages are among the best around as well. Ranging from $29.99 to $91.99, they have something for everyone. And if you're bundling telephone and internet service, the value gets even better.

Time Warner Cable

  • Dependable display is rarely interrupted
  • High- quality audio and visual display
  • Unavailable in many areas of the U.S.
  • Negative consumer reviews
  • Poor customer service

Setting up service with Time Warner Cable is simple. Once you select your preferred services, a technician will arrive at your residence within a week's time. And if you have less than stellar credit, there is a way around the credit check. By default, Time Warner does check your credit, but if you set up automatic, recurring payments, the company will bypass a credit check.

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