Here’s a question that quite a few potential subscribers to satellite television would like to have the answer to. It’s a very reasonable question and the people asking are rightly expecting to jump on the internet and find the answer. The bad news, at least from my perspective is that there is no easy answer to this question. There may be a good answer to this question but if there is, I am not afraid to admit that I do not know what it is. I’ll try to explain.
I was a subscriber to DISH Network for about 16 years and to DirecTV for about 2 years so I have spent a fair amount of time watching television with both services. Even after all that time, I cannot honestly tell you which one of them delivers the best picture quality. To me, they both look the same. There are certainly other people out there who may have a different opinion and may have reached a conclusion that’s very different from mine and I will readily admit that they could be right.
To my eyes, there was no difference in picture quality when comparing DISH Network and DirecTV and for my money, picture quality is not a factor that would come into play if I were trying to decide between the two services. Both of them offer HD-quality programming and plenty of it. They now offer so much HD programming that it’s probably not even worth trying to figure out who offers more at this point. When HD was something new, the question of who offered more HD programming was one that people wanted the answer to, but to be honest, both of them offer a lot of HD programming now and I might not even bother looking at that if I was trying to decide which service I wanted to sign up for.
I’m pretty much a regular guy and I don’t have any super powers that allow me to detect subtle differences in the picture quality of DISH and DirecTV. In other words, I think they both deliver a very good picture and I don’t have anything bad to say about either of them as far as that is concerned. You may be able to go to other places on the internet and find detailed descriptions and technological reasons that claim one service is better than the other, but unless you are the type of person who likes to “split hairs,” as the saying goes, you are likely to be quite happy with the picture quality you will get with both DISH Network and DirecTV.
If you want to get into other reasons that make one service better than the other, I do have a few things to say on that subject. Without getting into detail that is well-covered on other areas of this site, I can simply say that DISH Network equipment is superior to DirecTV and will, in my experience, give you less trouble than what you will get from DirecTV. There’s also the fact that DirecTV is now owned by AT&T and you may have feelings about that depending on how your experience has been with other AT&T products or services. Personally, I have endured my share of pain dealing with AT&T over the years and for me, the fact that DirecTV is now owned by AT&T is another good reason for me to stay away.
As I write this it is October, 2016 and I currently have DirecTV, and you can read about how that happened on the DISH vs DirecTV page. Now another thing I will admit here, and it may have some effect on my inability to see any difference in picture quality between to two big satellite TV providers is that I have on older television that just doesn’t seem to want to die and I am too cheap to throw out a perfectly good TV just to get a new one that might look a little better. The TV I do have is a 51-inch Hitachi HDTV that is capable of displaying 1080i resolution, but not 1080p. So, if you want to think of it that way, you can consider this advice as coming from a guy with an older TV that can’t display 1080p resolution. That may be why I do not see any difference but I rather doubt that.
If either DISH or DirecTV had a clear advantage over the other where picture quality was concerned, I suspect I would be able to see that even with my old 1080i-capable television. I also suspect we would hear one of those companies use that claim in their marketing campaigns and I have never heard one of them make the claim that the picture quality they offer is superior to the other. You may be able to find a lot of very geeky conversations filled with technical jargon on some sites where things like compression are discussed endlessly and there may be claims that DISH is better or DirecTV is better but for me, that’s getting back into the whole “splitting hairs” thing and I really don’t see a need to go there.
If you’re an average consumer like I am, I feel pretty comfortable telling you that it is not worth your time trying to determine whether it’s DISH or DirecTV that offers the “best” picture quality. There are plenty of other factors to consider when making that decision and there is a lot more discussions about that on other areas of this site.