I’m a TV junkie, but it’s been a long time since I had cable. I love Hulu and Netflix, but they aren’t as great as regular TV. With Dish’s new Flex Pack, you get all the best programming for only $39.99. Read our in-house review of Dish and their new Hopper 3.
When I got out of a longterm relationship last December, my new rent in the city was nearly double what my half of a one-bedroom in the Valley had been since 2012. I was was on my own for food, utilities, and cable.
My ex was an entertainment guru. In true Millennial, we used borrowed app passwords to watch everything that wasn’t covered by our deluxe cable package. Then I moved to a cute studio by myself, and the only thing I could was a free season of After Lately they have away on iTunes two years ago.
Once I got high speed internet, I used my ex’s Netflix and eventually got my own Hulu. I could watch a lot of programming for a low cost, but I didn’t have everything. I was pretty annoying to have to wait until the next day to watch new shows. Plus I couldn’t watch the only show I never miss — The Walking Dead.
Sling TV solves that problem, but with Sling you can only watch what’s on live TV. You can’t record, and there’s no way around commercials. It’s like watching TV in the 90s. For the amount I was shelling out for all of the apps, I might as well have just had a cable subscription. My whole goal was to pay less, not the same.
Enter the Dish Flex Package, a first-of-class satellite service that gives you everything good for $39.99/month. Full disclosure: I got it for free so that I could write this review. Before you get jealous, keep in mind that I had a bunch of jobs that barely paid. Free Dish is just deferred compensation.
Dish does a really great job of communicating about your installation appointment. The original time slot was for Saturday afternoon. On Friday, they called me with a 30 minute arrival window, and predicted that installation could take up to two hours.
Saturday morning, I received another automated call letting me know that the technician would be arriving a few minutes late. I’m not super active on Saturdays, but if I were, I’d have totally appreciated the detailed arrival notification.
The installation tech showed up. He scoped the building and decided where to locate the dish, then went about setting me up. Because they have to attach the dish to your roof, there’s a good bit of work involved. Fortunately, I didn’t have to do any of it.
The technician was professional and polite – which came in handy when my constantly complaining neighbor came outside to voice his displeasure at the noise from installing a dish on our roof. It took a little over an hour to complete the installation, which was less than expected.
As soon as I flipped over from watching a movie on Netflix to regular television on Dish, I remembered how great it is to have a standard entertainment package. I immediately began scrolling through the guide while watching reruns of Will & Grace on Lifetime. Don’t judge. There’s not much playing on Saturday afternoons, and I really missed Karen.
The DVR options were way easier to navigate than they were when I had cable. Plus Dish’s Hopper 3 lets you record up to 16 shows at once. I don’t watch sports, but I feel like if I did, the DVR capacity and ability to split your screen four ways would be a huge selling point.
Something else that’s really great is that Dish is built to work with all your apps without making you change the input on your television. If you want to flip over to Netflix, you do it right from the Hopper. You don’t need an extra streaming device like Roku or Amazon Firestick.
I’ve barely watched my apps since switching to Dish. I’ll for sure keep because some shows I like are only available that way, like Difficult People on Hulu and Chelsea on Netflix. Still, I’m loving the Dish experience so far. Just being able to record shows and skip commercials makes it worthwhile — this is a crucial selling point for shows like The Walking Dead.
The OnDemand features are amazing. When I had cable, I always felt like they were limited. With Dish you thousands of programs at any given time. New releases are often available on Dish 28 days before their Redbox release, and you can even watch some pay-per-view movies while they’re still in theaters.
Hopper Go & Dish Anywhere
One of the best things about Dish is the Dish Anywhere App and Hopper Go. The app lets you watch on-demand and live TV from any phone or device, so long as you have a WiFi connection. Going to laundry mat is way more enjoyable knowing that I can watch TV while I waist on a tumble dry.
The Hopper Go is a portable device that’s small enough to fit in your pocket. It stores up to 100 hours of programming from your DVR and lets you stream to any mobile device. It’s perfect for travelling — especially air travel, where entertainment options are notoriously limited.
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