The Dish on Satellite TV

Thinking of ditching cable in favor of a satellite system? Dish Network is one of the more prominent providers of satellite TV with offerings for just about any budget.

Find a Dish Network satellite on Amazon

Dish Network offers a variety of packages from entry level to premium complete with the latest digital high definition technology. In addition, Dish Network has a variety of Spanish and international programming packages.

Switching to a satellite system is easy; the dish connects to the same cables in the home that the cable company uses, so there's no need to worry about re-cabling the home. The Dish Network website is a good place to get started. Their interactive "Dish Builder" helps you choose your entertainment package options and pick the most appropriate equipment for your TV system. Simply answer a series of questions and the DishBuilder recommends the programming package that best meets your needs. You can accept or modify the programming before continuing on to picking out the equipment.

Picking the equipment is also simple using DishBuilder. The DishBuilder asks how many TV sets are in the home and how many are high definition. Next it asks if you'd like to pause and record live TV. If so, they will provide a DVR service. Package deals vary from time to time, but you can often get free activation, free upgrades or free installation depending on the circumstances. Be sure to check the "current offers" section of the Dish Network website to see the latest deals.

While the satellite dish itself and a basic receiver is generally provided as part of the package, prepare to pay extra for upgraded receivers with HD or DVR features.

Dish Network also promotes its new PocketDish unit that allows users to view TV/video, photos, music and more on a handheld device. With a PocketDish, users can store up to 15,000 songs, 300,000 photos or about 30 to 120 hours of video. While other media devices on the market can also do these things, PocketDish works in conjunction with your Dish Network programming package so that you don't have to pay extra to download programming to it. As far as Dish Network is concerned, it's a device similar to a VCR - you can record whatever programming you want, anytime you want.

Dish Network's interactive channel (100) offers games, news, weather, and even karaoke. Using this channel, a user can view a screen of six of the top news, sports or other programs simultaneously, or click the window of his choice for full screen viewing. Users can also pay their Dish Network bills from here as well as shop from stores such as The Sharper Image.

Like other TV programming suppliers, Dish Network has pay per view programming for current movies, sporting events and concerts. These events are regularly scheduled and a user orders access to view the programming. If the user doesn't want to wait for a movie's scheduled pay per view time slot, he can choose Dish Network's Dish on Demand and can view the movie right away.

Dish Network offers Internet access, but their Internet access package isn't true Internet over the satellite system. Instead, it is a deal in combination with EarthLink DSL. The access requires a DSL line, but both EarthLink and Dish Network offer a small discount on each month's bill.

No matter what package, equipment or options are chosen, the digital picture quality of Dish Network makes satellite programming a clear choice. Everything else is icing on the cake.

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