One question people often have when considering satellite TV over cable is whether or not they will have to buy the equipment needed to receive service. The first thing you will need is a small satellite dish that is mounted on your home or apartment building. You will need to have an unobstructed view of the southern sky where the dish can be installed. You will also need a receiver for the service. Both DirecTV and the DISH Network offer a variety of receivers, some with HD service, DVRs built in, and various other features. The type of receiver you get is up to you and part of the package you choose.
Unusually, you do not have to pay for any of the equipment needed to receive your satellite service. DISH Network offers free equipment and installation with all of their packages. The equipment is leased so it is not yours to keep. If you choose to discontinue service after your lease agreement is up, you will have to return the equipment. One advantage to the DISH Network is they offer a free DVR built into their standard or HD receivers for free. This is a huge advantage for those who are paying a monthly DVR fee to Tivo or their cable provider. It is important to note that this is based on your credit score. I spoke to a sales representative at DISH Network who explained that they run a credit check on all new customers and if your credit score is low they may charge a minimal fee for the equipment and installation.
DirectTV has several offers that include free equipment and installation as well. Right now they are even offering 3 months free HD and an advanced receiver upgrade that includes HD or DVR with any of their premium packages (after an online rebate). DirecTV does charge a lease fee $of 4.99/mo. for the 2nd and each additional receiver.
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