How do I Choose the Best Satellite Provider?

John Lister

Choosing a satellite provider is an activity which will vary depending on both the country and city where you live. In some locations you will only have one option, while in others there could be several to choose between. There are several points to look out for if you do have to choose a satellite provider.

People living in rented housing may only be able to use smaller satellite dishes.
People living in rented housing may only be able to use smaller satellite dishes.

Price is the first point to consider. How much a satellite provider charges will often depend on how much competition they face, including that from cable TV firms. Be careful to check the pricing structure and which channels each package covers. Depending on your preferred viewing, you may be able to get a cheaper package and then pay a separate fee for extra individual channels rather than get a premium package which could include many channels you don't really want. Watch out for minimum term conditions on packages: if you later need to cut back your spending, it could prove difficult if you are locked into a monthly fee for a year or more.

Your type of home and location may affect which satellite provider you choose. For example, those in a remote area may need an oversized or even movable dish. People living in apartment blocks or rented housing may only be allowed smaller dishes. Check that such equipment is compatible with the satellite provider you are considering signing up with.

Research the options available to you for personal video recorders. Some satellite providers have such technology built directly into their satellite receivers, usually for an extra fee. Other providers' services may be compatible with third-party Personal Video Recorders, or PVRs, such as those produced by Tivo®.

If you live in a particularly remote location where broadband through a phone line or cable service is not practical, you may find a satellite provider can also offer you internet access. However, this won't always come alongside a TV service and may require a separate dish. If you want to send and receive information at high speeds, you'll need a two-way dish which can be much more expensive. Some satellite providers offer a cheaper option where you receive data through the dish but send date through a dial-up connection. For general web surfing this can be a practical solution, but if you need to send large files or use peer-to-peer filesharing services, it will not be as useful.

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