Believe it or not, there was a time when satellite and cable receivers didn’t come with a built-in DVR; you had to buy one separately and pair them up yourself (big ups to TiVo, the original add-on DVR, which turns 20 this year).
Now, every TV provider has gotten into the DVR game—but none have gone bigger than DISH’s Hopper® 3, the most powerful receiver/recorder on the market. It can record up to 16 channels simultaneously, has 2 TB (2,000 hours) of storage capacity, and can power up to six Joeys (secondary receivers) throughout a household. If that doesn’t meet your viewing needs, you might be an unknowing cyborg.
But if you don’t need all of the features of the Hopper 3—it has so many more that you might want to check out our device review—DISH also offers straight-up receivers. The Wally (yes, there’s a kangaroo theme here) is a single-channel, non-DVR HD receiver with built-in apps like Netflix and Pandora, and the Duo VIP 222k can power two TVs (but only one in HD).
For new subscribers, DISH will throw in three months of SHOWTIME®, STARZ®, and the DISH Movie Pack for free. But if you don’t cancel before those 90 days are up, monthly charges will kick in, so watch the calendar. (Also, if you cancel service early, expect to pay a steep early termination fee.)
Other DISH deals include exclusive, if minor, perks for customers aged 55+, active and veteran military personnel, and first responders. For two years, all three qualifying groups get DISH’s Stars & Stripes channel pack (nine channels, including American Heroes and Smithsonian), one free on-demand movie rental, and a Hopper 3 upgrade with DISH Anywhere. In all, a $250 value.
And besides a slightly lower price on combined services, bundling DISH with Frontier can also get you up to three months of free premium channels and packages free (a standard new-subscriber perk from satellite and cable providers—but still nice to have).
Pros and cons of DISH bundles
Can satellite internet service be bundled with DISH satellite TV?
It seems that satellite internet service could be paired up with satellite TV through the same rooftop dish, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple—it would require two separate dishes.
Viasat and HughesNet, the only satellite internet providers in the US, do offer DISH “bundles” in some parts of the country, but you’d want to sign up for them only as a last resort.
If you’re in a remote area with no internet infrastructure, not even phone lines, satellite internet would be your only option. But, even with recent technology upgrades, satellite internet is relatively slow and unstable (and yet still expensive).
Satellite internet also operates differently from satellite TV, hence the separate dish. It’s neither cheap nor convenient; we’d advise researching any other internet alternatives first.
What is digital phone service?
Digital phone, such as the service offered by Frontier, is transmitted over the internet rather than traditional phone lines (even if your internet, like DSL, uses those same lines). It’s also known as VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service.
The advantages of digital phone service include unlimited calls, fewer (if any) long-distance fees, and a huge variety of cloud-based phone options (voicemail, caller ID, call forwarding, etc.). It’s essentially phone service without the phone company.
On the downside, unlike traditional phone service, if your internet or power goes out, so does your VoIP phone. Also, not all digital phone services are connected to emergency services as standard phones are automatically.
Which popular channels are included with DISH’s America’s Top 200 package?
Despite the name, DISH’s America’s Top 200 package actually features over 240 channels—not that you’ll want them all.
We’re here for the Paramount Network (gotta have that Yellowstone) and Turner Classic Movies (ditto, bonafide westerns), but Reelz? Or the Game Show Network? Filler at best.
Here are a few of our favorite channels included with our recommended DISH package, America’s Top 200:
What is the cheapest DISH Network package?
What is the best deal on DISH Network?
The best value on DISH TV service is either America’s Top 120 ($64.99 a month, 190+ channels) or America’s Top 250 ($99.99 a month, 290+ channels). Both have a cost per channel of $0.34. You can learn more about DISH TV service in our review.
Are there any DISH Network packages for existing customers?
There are no advertised DISH Network packages for existing customers. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist—you’ll just have to contact DISH for details. We have a few more tips regarding this in our guide on How to Change or Cancel DISH.
Are there any DISH packages for seniors?
There are no special DISH package for seniors, but there is a discount program called DISH 55 that includes a free monthly movie rental, six free months of equipment protection with upgraded identity theft protection (reg. $9.99 a month), and channel pack discounts to customers aged 55 and older. Ask for it when you order by phone.