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News & Entertainment for Mason City, Clear Lake & the Entire North Iowa Region

Sound Advice: If your cable TV is too expensive, consider Dish Network or DirecTV

By Don Lindich, McClatchy-Tribune News Service –

Q. What do you recommend for pay TV? We have Comcast, but it’s getting expensive so we are thinking of switching. What do you think of Dish Network and DirecTV, are they good choices?

If we change to satellite, what do we do about Internet service? Again, we are using Comcast. It’s very fast, but oh so expensive.


A. I have Dish Network for subscription TV and have used them continuously for over 16 years. I switched to Dish from cable because at the time I was dissatisfied with cable’s picture quality, customer service and price. In the past 16 years I have never had a reason to leave Dish or look elsewhere. In fact, I have been incredibly satisfied, especially with the picture quality and equipment, the latter having won accolades throughout the consumer electronics industry.

Dish Network’s recent acquisition of Blockbuster makes them an even more compelling choice. Dish subscribers can add Blockbuster Movie Pass to their subscription for only $10 per month. With Blockbuster Movie Pass you get video games, DVDs and Blu-ray discs mailed to you from your online queue selections and video streaming to your TV or portable device. (Think Netflix, but with games also.) With their technologically advanced equipment, excellent picture quality and Blockbuster Movie Pass, I feel that Dish Network is the premier choice for those who are serious about home entertainment. It typically costs less than cable, as well.

Though Dish Network is my preference, DirecTV is excellent as well and everyone I know using their service is very satisfied. DirecTV’s exclusive NFL Sunday Ticket package makes them a good choice for those who do not get to watch their favorite NFL team on local TV very week.

Please note that you must have a clear view of the Southern sky to use a satellite service, so while Dish Network and DirecTV can be used by most consumers, they won’t be available to everyone.

I use Verizon FiOS for Internet, having changed from Comcast a few years ago. FiOS has a highly rated TV service but given my satisfaction with Dish, I stayed with them for TV when I changed Internet providers. FiOS isn’t available everywhere but is worth considering if they serve your area.

Though you are not satisfied with what you are paying your cable package, cable companies vary by region and some are doing a truly excellent job in delivering quality and value. You can compare cable providers to their competition at under the Telecom tab. Cox typically receives high ratings and AT&T U-Verse users give it extremely high marks across the board.

If finances are your only motivation, changing providers may not result in a net monthly savings. You are probably getting a discounted bundle package that combines cable TV, Internet and possibly a telephone landline. Both Dish Network and DirecTV have partners to provide discounted single-bill bundles for your TV, Internet service and phone, but depending on the partner and what you order it may result in the same monthly expenditure. It is worth researching to see if you will save, and even if you end up with a similar monthly bill you may find at least you are using better equipment, receiving more channels or getting better service.

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