At a Glance
|Type of Service||Satellite||Fiber|
|Channel Count||Up to 290+ (290+ HD)||Up to 425+ (145+ HD)|
|Equipment Fees||$15/month||Up to $32/month|
|Installation Fee||None||Starts at $90|
|Packages||View DISH Plans||View Verizon Fios Plans|
Data effective 2/17/2017. Pricing and speeds are subject to change. Not all offers are available in all areas.
You know what you want: great, reliable TV with plenty of choice and flexibility at an affordable price. The hard part is figuring out which provider can deliver on those expectations. That’s where the team at CableTV.com can help. We’ve got a wealth of reviews and expert knowledge at our fingertips to draw comparisons, break down where each provider excels, and give you plenty of at-a-glance information so you can choose a package and a provider that’ll fit your priorities.
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Should you choose DISH or Verizon Fios as your TV service provider?
DISH® is a great satellite service that can reach areas other providers can’t. This is especially true when comparing it to Verizon Fios, which has a smaller service area than most. You also get an outstanding DVR, great pricing, and free standard professional installation in up to six rooms. You’ll have to sign a contract for two years, but you’ll also get a two-year guarantee on the great price. DISH’s satellite tech can’t touch the speed and reliability of Verizon’s fiber optics, but if pricing or availability are your primary concerns, DISH is the way to go.
Verizon Fios is a leader in channel selection and reliability, and it gets good marks for customer service. With no contract options in sight, Fios is a great choice—if you can get it, that is. The biggest issue here might be availability; Fios is only available in a handful of states, and generally only in major cities. You also have higher prices and some big fees to contend with. In the end, if reliability, channel selection, and bundling are important to you, Verizon Fios would make a great choice.
Overall Customer Rating
(3.61 / 5)
Overall Customer Rating
(3.66 / 5)
- Widespread availability
- Affordable pricing guaranteed for two years with contract
- Free standard professional installation
- Excellent DVR system
- Reliable fiber-optic network
- Great channel selection
- No mandatory contract options
- Susceptibility to signal interference
- Mandatory two-year contract
- Low channel count
- Limited availability
- High installation fees
- Higher pricing
Installation & Setup
DISH(3.80 / 5)
DISH scores very high in this category, and for good reason: it’s hard to beat free. The overall setup process will likely be more involved than with other providers because you’ll need to have the receiver dish installed—no easy self-installations here. DISH does a good job of making it as painless as possible, though.
Verizon Fios(3.76 / 5)
Verizon also ranks near the top in satisfaction, and the Fios installation process is pretty simple. It should be, because that fee is one of the highest you’ll find. Verizon does offer a self-installation option for select subscribers, and the instructions are clear and easy to follow.
DISH(3.65 / 5)
DISH’s top-tier package, America’s Top 250, offers 290+ channels. That’s a lot less than the biggest offerings from most competitors. That said, all the main channels you would want are still there. In fact, despite the low total, the company still ranked third in satisfaction in our survey. Other big wins include the DISH HD FREE for Life offering on select plans, as well as the On-Demand library of 6,500 titles.
Verizon Fios(3.75 / 5)
This category is another win for Verizon. Fios gives you a hefty 425+ channels with its Ultimate HD package, including 145+ in HD. Combined with a large catalog of shows On Demand, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding something great to watch.
DISH(3.8 / 5)
Satellite has a reputation for being unreliable, and it’s true that during really heavy precipitation you might see some interference. Most of the time, though, you shouldn’t have any issues with your satellite signal. The technology has advanced to the point that day-to-day use is mostly unaffected by small weather issues. Plus the fact that DISH ranks above several cable companies in our satisfaction survey is reassuring.
Verizon Fios(4.08 / 5)
This is another area where customers love Fios. Thanks to its fiber-optic network, Fios is reliable. You can expect a crisp picture and reliable performance even during peak hours, when traditional cable networks tend to choke up.
Monthly Bill (Pricing)
DISH(3.16 / 5)
DISH is very competitive on pricing, with main TV-only packages ranging from $54.99 to $79.99 per month for twenty-four months. The company also offers a Flex Pack that lets you customize your own package. The Flex Pack starts at just $39.99 per month for twenty-four months for over fifty channels—that’s dirt cheap by TV standards. All of those low prices do come with two-year contracts, but the low price is guaranteed to stay the same throughout the contract.
Verizon Fios(3.02 / 5)
Verizon is more expensive than DISH, though not tremendously. Packages start at $64.99 and run up to $89.99 per month. You also get slapped with that hefty installation fee on your first bill. On the plus side, you do get more channels with Verizon—a lot more. Comparing the top-tier packages, DISH gets you 290 channels for $79.99, while with Fios you’ll be sittin’ pretty with more than 425 channels for just ten bucks more. Do take note, however, that most of those prices are only available for the first year.
Tech Support & Customer Service
DISH(3.64 / 5)
DISH ranks near the top for customer service, and the company has a good reputation in this area. The website is a bit difficult to navigate, but all the information you need is there. DISH also goes above and beyond with service appointments, offering an online appointment tool called My Tech that lets you see who your technician is and how far they are from your home. This eliminates the usual frustration of having the rep arrive at some point during a long window—a common complaint among television-service subscribers.
Verizon Fios(3.70 / 5)
Verizon scored very well in our survey for customer service, and the American Customer Satisfaction Index agrees: it ranks Verizon first among subscription TV services. No surprises there; the Verizon support site is well-organized and easy to use, and it’s got all the info you might need for basic troubleshooting. There’s also an online chat support feature if you need to talk to someone.
- Simultaneous Recording: 16
- Storage: 500 hours of HD
- Approximate Dimensions: 2″ x 16″ x 11.5″
- # of TVs per DVR: Up to 7
- Additional Features: Allows you to skip commercials on select shows
- Simultaneous Recording: 12
- Storage: 200 hours of HD
- Approximate Dimensions:2.6” x 12.6” x 9.1”
- # of TVs per DVR: Up to 7
- Additional Features: Pause and rewind live TV
DISH often partners with local ISPs to provide internet and phone bundles, but it also has its own satellite internet service, dishNET. Satellite internet is a bit of a mixed bag. Satellite speeds in general aren’t terrible—they usually fall around 5–15 Mbps—but there is an inherent latency with the satellite signal that can make things like gaming tricky. It’s also vulnerable to weather interference, though this isn’t as common as you may think. On the bright side, it can reach places that might otherwise be stuck with dialup. Prices start at $49.99 per month on a two-year contract, while bundling can lower the price by $10.
Verizon Fios Internet
Verizon Fios Internet puts its fiber-optic cables to good use. The service is fast and reliable, and it has the unique advantage of equal upload and download speeds. (Upload speeds are usually much lower than download speeds, making this a huge advantage.) And when we say Fios Internet is much faster, we mean it—in select areas, Verizon offers Fios Instant Internet, with speeds up to 750 Mbps. Fios Internet is available separately or bundled with TV and phone service. Bundles start at $79.99 for the first year.
More About the Providers
DISH is a broadcast satellite provider that offers TV and internet services to customers across the United States. The company was founded in the 1980s, though the company really hit its stride in the ’90s and 2000s. DISH provides TV service to nearly thirteen million customers across the country.
Verizon Fios is a subsidiary of Verizon Communications. It provides television, internet, and phone service to over five million people across several states. Fios stands for “fiber optic service,” a reference to the fiber-optic cables that keep the service running. The company was among the first major providers to offer fiber-optic services to residential customers in the United States.
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*Pricing and speeds are current as of writing. Pricing and speeds are subject to change. Not all offers available in all areas.