Spectrum vs Dish Networks: Start Here to Compare the Differences

  We were Dish customers nearly 16 years – with service in 7 rooms & 2 DVR’s – and LOVED Dish. We switched Q4 of 2020 – enticed by the heavy Spectrum advertising about lower cost & no contract. Over the years, door-to-door reps from other companies (U-Verse, etc) would try to say their services would be less expensive, but every time – if devoting the time to really price compare, I found NO company out there could beat Dish’s pricing of $225/month for the Top 250 channels, 7 rooms & 2 DVRs (each providing DVR service to 2 rooms, aka 4 rooms in total with access to DVR), Stars/Encore/TheMovieChannel/HBO (back when DISH had HBO), Showtime, Cinemax. NO company out there beat Dish’s $225/mo price for us. But then came Spectrum. They quoted us $199/mo for 7 rooms + taxes/fees, BUT… that included home phone service of $9.99/mo (for 36 months, after which would be $12.99/mo) + internet & WiFi service of $24.99/mo (for 36 months, after which I’ll likely be finding a different option as it will increase by another $69, or $93.99/mo after 36 mos). BUT – the beautiful thing financially is – for now – I was able to END AT&T service (had been paying $135/mo total for 2 home phone lines-1 for upstairs & 1 for downstairs in home, + internet).

  So with Dish – $225/mo (when no extra movie rentals and no late fees) + AT&T $135/mo, previously paid total of $360/mo (AND, was willing to pay this monthly for years because of medically disabled folks at home that benefit greatly from access to great programming, yet are unable to navigate as would be needed to cut the cord & switch to streaming like so many are doing these days).

  On Switch to Spectrum we are paying: $249.75/mo Total (eliminated AT&T entirely & are content with just 1 home phone line with Spectrum rather than 2), for a monthly savings of $110.25/month! (or $1,323/year saved!) for service in 7 rooms, + 2 DVR’s – though DVR’s only serve 1 room each (big disappointment not to have 2 rooms served each, and bigger disappointment NOT to have whole home DVR). we had some other key disappointing surprises we have learned we are able to live with for the time being – though will likely later switch back to Dish one day; to be revisited as we near end of 36-month promotional discounts that will increase our bill as of 07/23 by +$91/month, by 09/23 by $+94/month total, and by 07/25 by $114/mo total. By then we MAY be willing to ditch our one home phone line IF Dish still doesn’t offer home phone service by then, and MAY consider using one of Dish’s internet offerings. But until our Spectrum bill starts adjusting up in 07/23, we’re willing to settle for poorer functionality of Spectrum DVRs and older movie sections on Spectrum. Beware of Spectrum quotes though – We were repeatedly explicit the quote had to be less than Dish for service to SEVEN (7) rooms. Despite that, our $199/mo quote + taxes did NOT include cost per wireless Apple TV (Spectrum’s ‘equivalent’ of Dish’s wireless Joey’s – for use in any room that does not have a satellite or cable box). Rather, we were surprised to see on our first bill $41.96/mo tied to Apple TV charges which includes $17.99/month just to broadcast your spectrum guide & spectrum channels to your TV using a wireless Apple box, + $7.99/mo/each wireless Apple box. And, as expected taxes added $35/month.

  Other really undesirable surprises we discovered we’d need to be okay with as Spectrum customers:

  *Less movies available in Spectrum’s Gold package than Dish’s Top 250, and never have the newest/fresh movies available, even among on-demand options. On-demand movie options with Spectrum are really bad, and some are $19.99/ea. (though to be fair some are $3.99) but significantly less ideal than Dish’s Top 250. We never used our Netflix account we had even as Dish customers previously, but now are turning to our Netflix account to find something to watch even though paying so much monthly for Spectrum service.

  *No whole home DVR (were informed of this before switching) BUT were not aware a Spectrum DVR only services ONE room, NOT TWO.

  *Didn’t realize DVR’s hold 300 hours of recordings, not 2,0000 hours, and can record significantly fewer # shows simultaneously than with Dish DVRs. (8 vs 16).

  *While Spectrum service isn’t interrupted with heavy rains/storms like Dish can be occasionally – Spectrum updates are applied just after midnight – on days when updates are applied to their system – BUT…. it CAN take up to 8 hours to apply updates (aka YOU MAY NOT HAVE ANY TV SERVICE OR INTERNET SERVICE FOR 8 HOURS FROM 12:XX A.M. TO 8:XX A.M. !!!) My husband was livid when this happened as he’s often up late at night, unable to sleep due to disabling pain/discomfort. AND, if you are one who works remotely during the midnight to 7 or 8 am hours, this is a MAJOR and UNACCEPTABLE discovery. There should be full disclosures around this before signing up new customers. At minimum – appreciative inquiry could be taught to sales reps to uncover whether anyone in the home works remotely during midnight hours. If so, should disclose this info. The Fix for us around this – temporarily – was early on during our first few months following switch from Dish to Spectrum, we kept paying for our AT&T internet service. We found during the 2 nights our Spectrum service was unavailable after midnight during updates, we could go grab a wireless Apple box from room where Apple box was being used, and move it temporarily (overnight only) to our bedroom where Spectrum cable box was used – and remove one cable wire from Spectrum box & plug it into the Apple box, plug 1 cable coming out of Apple box into our TV & other power cord coming out of Apple box into electrical wall outlet, and navigating to Apple TV “settings” changed name of our internet service selected for use from Spectrum internet to the AT&T internet service we were still paying for, and voila – we THANKFULLY still had TV service for hubby during midnight hours while he couldn’t sleep. To be transparent, we’ve only experienced 8-hour outages for midnight updates twice; they just happened to be right after switching. Otherwise, have had some ~ 1 hour outages btwn midnight and 1 am.

  *Unlike Dish wireless Joey’s with regular Dish remotes (super similar to Dish DVR or Dish voice remotes), with Spectrum, for rooms without a Spectrum cable box that instead have a wireless Apple TV box, the Apple remotes DO NOT have numbers on them; rather, the top of the remote is a touchpad similar to small square touchpad of a laptop. SO…. this means it’s not possible to punch in # of the channel you want to navigate to. So…. the user of TV remote in those rooms with Apple TV remote must use touchpad to do some SERIOUS scrolling within Spectrum guide to navigate to desired channel. And either be savvy enough to navigate to and SAVE each of their frequently viewed channels as FAVORITEs, or have someone else who is slightly tech savvy do so for them. EVEN STILL, if someone else does save each of their fave channels to favorites, the user of that Apple remote MUST BE SAVVY ENOUGH to be taught how, and remember how, to (after turning the TV on) navigate to the Spectrum Guide on the screen, then navigate to FAVORITES, then scroll through the shorter list of channels there among their fave channels to find channel they want since there are NO numbers available on Apple remotes. One of my disabled family members whose TV is located in a room without Spectrum Cable box, who has an Apple TV remote, has been unable to make this transition; instead, isn’t watching his TV at all in his room.

  But for now – with saving $110/month, we have decided we will live with these undesirable trade-offs for now. Once the monthly promo discount pricing expires, the undesirable trade-offs won’t be worth settling for.

  Dish had MUCH better functionality, better movie options, better DVR capabilities, and better remotes for disabled folks’ use than Spectrum’s Apple TV remotes for rooms without a cable box.

  (Dish should appreciate their development/tech team talents! & invest in offering home phone service for $10 month/line AND deviate from their preferred business model of applying promo discounts of 3 months’ length that LOYAL customers must repeatedly phone back in every 3 months to get a promo/discounted rate again. Nothing makes a LOYAL customer of 15+ years want to jump ship more than forcing them to call in every 3 months for promo rates. Just apply it for a year or two at a time – or 3 yrs at a time like Spectrum).

  Spectrum should really come up with alternative options for Internet/WiFi that don’t increase up after 36 months to pricing structures that will force me away from willingness to settle for their subpar service in the absence of a $100/month savings like I’m experiencing now with bundled internet & home phone. AND improve your DVR services – look to provide whole home DVR so shows recorded in one room can be watched in any other room of the house that has paid DVR access.