Satellite TV has come a long way since the old days. Back before it was widely available, only people with backyards big enough for the enormous setup owned satellite TV. The dish was so big, that most of them were roughly the size of a small walk-in toolshed. The bright side was that it came with channels you never even knew existed broadcasting programs that no one knew anything about. Exploring satellite TV in the early days was something of a sport because you could find wild feeds and pick up strange shows from all over the world. It led to some pretty amazing finds, but it was also very costly.
Now, there are two main Satellite TV providers in the United States – DISH and DIRECTV. Both of them operate basically the same way and offer a lot of the same features and benefits. Since those two companies basically share the market, they’re constantly trying to outdo each other. The amount of wild feeds has been cut down, but the number of channels keeps growing as networks keep branching out, splitting off and offering more programming as a way to keep people subscribed.
Even though DISH and DIRECTV really are the only two satellite TV providers, they’re not without their own outside competition. The biggest threat to satellite TV are cable companies because they’re able to provide Internet – either on its own or as part of a bundled package. In this day and age, Internet is a huge part of the entertainment industry. Almost every network is working out some way or another to have their content available on the Internet as well as the broadcast channel. HBO has branched out with its HBO Go app, TCM recently launched its own version with the same concept through the Watch TCM app and many networks stream the current episode on their website. If you have cable, you get the luxury of all the network channels you want to watch and have available Internet to use those on those aforementioned apps, as well as others like Netflix and Hulu. Those satellite TV providers might not be able to offer the same opportunity.
DISH is a little bit ahead, since they do offer Internet service. DIRECTV, on the other hand, doesn’t. If you have DIRECTV, you’ll have to get Internet service from another provider. DISH consolidates everything into a single bill for just one monthly payment. That’s basically what gives DISH an edge when it comes to rival satellite TV providers like DIRECTV.
Both companies will try to stack the deck in their favor by offering a multitude of benefits – like DVR, HD, remote access and smart remotes. Satellite TV providers tend to rely more on the channels and what they can offer aside from Internet. DISH is somewhat reluctant to just be an Internet provider and will do everything in their power to get you to upgrade. Sometimes that includes gift cards or even slightly extravagant promotional events – like offering a free iPad with a new contract.
Satellite TV providers are fighting an uphill battle with the quick rise of streaming and On Demand services. They desperately want to keep up but they’re having a hard time getting hold of a situation they spent so much time trying to avoid.