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DIRECTV’s Entertainment vs DISH Family (Smart Pack)

Last updated on October 25th, 2016 by George Levint

The entry-level (and least expensive) satellite TV packages available, DIRECTV ENTERTAINMENT and DISH Family (aka Smart Pack) have plenty of history and backing from their subscribers. Each plan has been around for a few years now and, with their channel lineup and price, it’s clear each company is going after a slightly different type of customer. If you’re trying to decide between the two, there are couple important differences to look out for. Read on for more…

Quick conclusion: At $19.99/mo, DISH Family is the lowest-priced satellite TV plan around, period. You only get 55 channels, but it includes some of the top programming going. DIRECTV ENTERTAINMENT comes in at $29.99/mo for 140 channels (2.5x more than Family), so for the extra $10 per month, you end up getting quite a bit more value. If most (or all) of your favorite channels are already included in DISH Family, go with it; otherwise, you’ll probably be happier with the selection found in the ENTERTAINMENT plan.

Note: visit the plan’s page for more details (linked in the header below). For each category, the larger the “advantage” text, the bigger the upside. If there’s no obvious difference, we’ll call it a “draw”.

Promo (yr 1): $29.99/mo
Promo (yr 2): $49.99/mo
Regular (yr 3+): $54.99/mo
Promo (yr 1): $19.99/mo
Regular (yr 2+): $24.99/mo

✓ Advantage
Number of Channels
Primary channels: ~87
Music/misc: 53
Total: 140

✓ Advantage
Primary channels: ~55
Music/misc: 0
Total: 55
High Definition
Full-time HD channels: 30+
Promo: Free HD for life

– draw –
Full-time HD channels: 28+
Promo: Free HD for life

– draw –
Movie channels included in package
5 channels: A&E, ABC Family, AMC, Audience, Bravo

✓ Advantage
1 channel: Hallmark
Premium movies
Free for 3 months: HBO, Showtime, STARZ and Cinemax

– draw –
Free for 3 months: HBO, Showtime, STARZ and Cinemax

– draw –
Required contract length to qualify for specials
24 months

– draw –
24 months

– draw –
Best Exclusive Offer
DIRECTV On Demand: 4,000 Free movies & shows (no NFL Sunday Ticket w/ this plan)

– draw –
Free Blockbuster @ Home for 3 months

– draw –
Total Potential Savings

✓ Advantage

Specs/rates last updated: 5/28/14

View the latest DIRECTV Specials
View the latest DISH Specials

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