DISH Network vs. DIRECTV vs. Charter Cable A La Carte
Not long ago the folks here at InternetLion.com checked into Charter Cable® and noticed something pretty cool: Unlike most cable and satellite TV service providers, Charter lets its customers build their own Charter cable TV packages. Honestly, we were a little jealous. “Why,” we wondered, “isn’t our own advertiser, DISH Network®, doing this?”
Known as “a la carte,” this type of subscription service is extremely nice because customers can pay for only the channels they’ll watch. To be sure, Charter’s bundle setup isn’t a true a la carte system. But it’s very close to one. And, though Charter’s in competition with DISH Network, we applaud it for that.
After we’d compared DISH Network vs. DIRECTV® vs. Charter Cable bundles, though, it became obvious why most providers avoid a la carte subscriptions: They drive up prices. You see, the way cable and satellite TV lineups usually work is TV service providers subscribe to a package of channels from cable networks like Disney and Time Warner. Not all these channels are necessarily entertaining. But, because network contracts force service providers to order all their channels, usually lineups are chock full of lame and bizarre programming.
There’s been a push to end this all-or-nothing system both in Congress and at the Federal Communications Commission—which estimates subscribers could save as much as 13 percent per year ordering their TV services a la carte (source: Wikipedia.org). But until the federal government bans the old system outright you can bet networks will continue making as much money as possible for producing hackneyed junk.
At any rate, the system Charter cable TV packages work under is halfway between the traditional system and true a la carte. Essentially Charter chops its full lineup into several smaller lineups and allows subscribers to build their Charter cable TV packages out of them. As such, this is the conception of “Charter cable deals.”
Likely, we here at InternetLion.com speculate, Charter can do this because it doesn’t have a nationwide contract with any of the networks. As one of America’s few cable franchisors, Charter lets its franchisees determine which networks they want to deal with. Consequently, Charter franchisees can’t negotiate lower rates with networks based on a nationwide subscriber pool. And they end up passing the resultantly higher rates on to their own subscribers.
Of course, much of this explanation is our own speculation because InternetLion.com isn’t privy to the wherefores of Charter’s business dealings. But our best guess does stand to reason. And it also explains why, in a comparison of DISH Network vs. DIRECTV vs. Charter Cable bundles, Charter cable TV deals are so much more expensive.
DISH Network vs. DIRECTV vs. Charter Cable Pricing
Telling you that Charter cable TV packages are the most expensive in a comparison of DISH Network vs. DIRECTV vs. Charter Cable bundles is all well and good. But here at InternetLion.com we figure we should also show you the price differences. That’s why we put together the following chart, which shows exactly how much more expensive Charter cable TV deals are:
|DISH Network vs. DIRECTV vs. Charter Cable Bundles - Channel Package Price Comparison|
|TV Service Provider||Basic Package||Second-Tier Package||Third-Tier Package||Premium Package||Platinum HD Package|
|DISH Network†||$24.99/mo.||$39.99/mo.||$44.99/mo.||$79.99/mo.||$10/mo. Add.|
*Listed prices apply for 12 months and are only available to new customers with Agreement and auto-bill-pay signup (Source: www.directv.com)
† Listed prices apply for 12 months and are only available to new customers with two-year Agreement (Source: www.dishnetwork.com)
‡ No agreement required ; package prices based on Gardendale, Alabama “Bundle Builder” combinations comparable to competitors’ packages (Source: www.charter.com)
Disclaimer: Please note that this article was written when the satellite TV provider DISH was branded as DISH Network. As of 2/1/2012 DISH Network has changed their branding name to DISH. Article post date: 07/24/2010.