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Compare Satellite TV and Internet in Your Area

We’ve compared TV and internet providers for years—let us give you the rundown on satellite services.

Enter your zip code to find the best internet providers near you.

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Is satellite TV and internet good?

Because satellite services are so widely available, they’re a handy option in rural areas where fiber, cable, and DSL services don’t reach. But while satellite TV service functions just as well as cable TV, satellite internet comes with high costs and slow internet speeds.

Satellite pros and cons

Pros

  • Availability across the US, including rural areas
  • Large channel packages

Cons

  • Expensive equipment
  • Expensive internet plans
  • Slow internet speeds
  • Weather can affect satellite signal

Best satellite TV providers

  • DISH—Best overall, best for kids
  • DIRECTV—Best for sports

There are only two major satellite TV providers, and our top pick is DISH because of its two-year price guarantee and top-notch DVR. You can read our full review of each service with the links above or check out our best satellite TV review for all the juicy details.

Compare satellite TV providers

Provider Price range Channel count Details
DISH $79.99–$109.99/mo. 190–290+ View plans
DIRECTV $64.99–$139.99/mo. 165–340+ View plans

DIRECTV and DISH offer a wide variety of plans for whatever you’re looking for, and they’re competitive with cable and fiber TV options. They’re much more expensive than most streaming live TV plans, though.

On top of all that, satellite is the only service type you can take on the go in an RV. A self-positioning dish is a must for this—and quite spendy—but it’s worth it if you want to stay connected to TV and internet on the road.

To see if any of the providers above offer service in your area, enter your zip code below:

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Satellite TV vs. the competition

Satellite TV service is an ideal rural TV solution, but it also holds its own against land-based TV services.

Satellite vs. cable TV

Cable TV installation tends to be a simple, DIY process compared to satellite dish installation, which usually requires a professional technician.

When it comes to reliability, satellite TV may be affected by bad weather. But your cable TV service may drop if local construction cuts a cord or otherwise disrupts your local cable network.

Other than installation and weather issues, satellite TV and cable TV tend to function the same way.

Satellite vs. fiber TV

Hardly anyone but Verizon Fios TV offers fiber TV anymore—instead, fiber providers focus on internet service. If your home is already wired for fiber service, you’ll be able to handle the DIY installation as easily as you would with cable TV. But you’ll need professional installation if your home isn’t connected to the fiber network yet.

When it comes to reliability, fiber TV isn’t affected by bad weather, but it may be disrupted by local construction, much like cable TV.

Satellite vs. streaming live TV

If you have a strong internet connection and fast download speeds, streaming live TV is a great alternative to satellite internet. Streaming services usually cost less and don’t require annual contracts—but they have smaller channel lineups.

If you’re a dedicated satellite TV fan solely because you love watching live sports, check out our recommendations for the best streaming services for sports. You may find a package that fulfills your sports dreams at a fraction of satellite TV’s prices.

Best satellite internet providers

  • Viasat—Best overall
  • HughesNet—Cheapest
  • Starlink—Best data allowance

There are three major satellite internet providers on the market. We recommend Viasat for most folks because it has high speeds and larger data allowances than HughesNet.

Starlink also has fast speeds, and its unlimited data give it a huge advantage over other providers. But its equipment is expensive (and has reliability issues), and Starlink has limited availability.

You can learn more about these satellite internet providers using the links above or by checking out our best satellite internet providers comparison.

Compare satellite internet providers

Provider Price range Download speeds up to Data limit Details
Viasat $84.99–$249.99/mo. 12–100 Mbps 45–300 GB View plan
HughesNet $64.99–$159.99/mo. 25 Mbps 15–75 GB View plan
Starlink $110.00/mo. 50–250 Mbps Unlimited View Plan

While satellite internet providers don’t have hard data limits with overage charges, Viasat and HughesNet will slow your internet speeds dramatically when you reach your plan’s data limit.

When choosing an internet plan from a satellite provider, keep in mind that the listed download speeds measure your maximum bandwidth—you’ll still experience slower speeds than you would with a land-based internet plan because of latency. For more details, check out our “Latency vs. Bandwidth” article.

Satellite internet vs. the competition

While satellite internet is a good option for rural areas, land-based internet services like fiber, cable, and DSL are usually a better option if you can get them.

To see if there are any land-based internet providers near you, enter your zip code below:

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Satellite vs. fiber internet

Fiber internet beats out satellite internet—no contest. With download speeds up to 5,000 Mbps, matched upload speeds, unlimited data, more affordable plans, and even some no-contract options, there’s no denying that fiber is an infinitely better internet option than satellite.

Satellite vs. cable internet

Cable internet download speeds reach around 1,000 Mbps—four times faster than even Starlink speeds. With cable internet, you’ll have fewer latency issues and less expensive equipment fees. Plus, you’ll (probably) have a much more generous data cap.

Satellite vs. DSL internet

DSL technology can reach speeds up to 100 Mbps in some areas. But if DSL providers in your area offer speeds maxing out at one-digit Mbps, satellite internet might have the speed boost you need (even considering latency). Compare download speeds, data caps, and prices before choosing between these internet types.

Satellite vs. 5G internet

5G wireless internet isn’t likely to reach rural communities where satellite internet makes the biggest impact. Its limited range isn’t a good fit for spread-out communities, and you’re more likely to find it in big cities.

But if you’re in the rare position of deciding between satellite and 5G internet, choose 5G for the faster speeds, better data caps, and affordable pricing.

Final take: Wherever you are, there’s satellite

Don’t let your location keep you from getting great TV and okay internet. Check out your available satellite packages by zip code.

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Satellite FAQ

What is satellite TV?

Satellite TV uses a geosynchronous satellite in space and satellite receiver dish on your home to provide TV service. Thanks to its wireless transmission, satellite TV can easily reach remote locations where land-based TV services haven’t built out the infrastructure.

What is satellite internet?

Like satellite TV, satellite internet uses geosynchronous satellites in space to send a signal to a satellite receiver dish on your home. Though the distance your data travels creates latency, the wireless transmission makes satellite internet accessible even in rural areas that don’t have land-based internet services.

Methodology

Our experts have written about TV and internet services for years, and understanding technology types like satellite is fundamental to our methodology. Every month, we spend hours exploring competing internet types’ technical and social aspects.

We base our recommendations on bang for your buck, reliability, features, and customer satisfaction. To learn more, check out our How We Rank page.

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