| Friday, October 1, 2010 |

What is a Satellite TV Package?

Satellite TV packages are a collection of television channels that you purchase for a flat monthly fee from a direct broadcast satellite provider. The two main providers in the United States, Dish Network and Direct TV, provide a variety of package to meet the needs of varied households.

Both offer several different packages. The simplest is the "family package", which provides local programming, plus a limited number of cable network channels. The selection is focused on wholesome, family-friendly programming. These packages don't offer a great number of sports or lifestyle channels, but do have enough variety of programming to satisfy the average family's basic television needs.

Next are the tier packages, with increasing numbers of channels for an increasing flat monthly price: Dish Network offers packages with 60, 120, and 180 channels, plus an "Everything Pak", while DirecTV's packages have 155, 185 and 250, plus a "Titanium" everything-included package. On top of that, both allow you to add your choice of premium movie channels: HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, and Starz.

Packages aimed at family viewing are the least expensive, while premium "everything-included"
satellite television packages promise and deliver platinum service with something for everyone. HDTV, satellite radio, video-on-demand, and pay-per-view are just a few of the extra goodies available.

Both services include dozens of satellite radio channels, in addition to the video channels: Dish Network provides programming from Sirius Satellite Radio, while DirecTV provides XM Satellite Radio.

In addition to the standard
satellite TV and radio channels that the consumer gets with their monthly subscription, both providers offer certain movies as video-on-demand (VOD) selections. This means you don't have to wait until the movie you want to watch is ready to start- frustrating even when the movie is being played multiple times a day on a premium network- you just go to your VOD channel, select the movie you want and press "play" when you're ready to begin.

Dish Network and DirecTV also provide pay-per-view channels that allow you to spend a few extra dollars to view first-run movies, or special events like major boxing matches or broadcast rock concerts.

Dish Network's packages are a less expensive, but contain fewer standard channels, although they have a greater selection of high definition channels. It remains to be seen whether DirecTV's customers will continue to consider the wide selection of channels and the noted customer service to be worth the higher price.


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