- DIRECTV's HD dish.
DIRECTV offers 130 high definition channels, made up of HD feeds of the four major broadcast networks--NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX--plus 91 networks and 35 pay-per-view channels. Dish Network has 55 HD channels, including the broadcast networks. The depth of DIRECTV's offering is bolstered by its large number of regional sports networks--namely FOX Sports Net and Comcast Sports Net channels--broadcast in high definition.
- The Dish Network logo.
Both providers have proprietary digital video recorders, with a TiVo-based unit coming to DIRECTV in 2009. DIRECTV's receiver holds up to 50 hours of programming, while Dish's holds only 30. The difference is that Dish offers video-on-demand services similar to cable. The service allows viewers to call on a pre-determined slate of movies and television shows, which can be watched at any time. DIRECTV has no such service.
- The Dish Network SuperDish
DIRECTV is heads and shoulders above Dish Network in high definition sports broadcasts. DIRECTV has four exclusive sports packages with HD programming--NFL Sunday Ticket, MLB Extra Innings Superfan, NCAA Mega March Madness and NASCAR HotPass. It also offers access to HD games through the NHL Center Ice and NBA League Pass packages. DIRECTV also broadcasts 28 regional sports networks.
- The DIRECTV logo.
Receiving local channels was a roadblock for HD viewers considering satellite. Both satellite companies negotiated carriage rights of local high definition signals in 2006, adding channels according to market size. DIRECTV reaches 88 percent of the United States with its HD feeds. Dish Network has surpassed the 25-city mark, but has market penetration in more than 65 percent of the nation. Local channels on both platforms include a minimum of ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC. Many DIRECTV cities also receive local MyNetwork, CW and ION channels.
- DIRECTV packages run from about $45 for its base package to over $80 for its premier package, which includes all of its HD channels, from local to premium movie channels. It also provides access to regional sports networks from outside of a viewer's area. Dish Network's base package is about $25 and tops out at about $40 for its most inclusive package.