You want your TV time to be more than just mindless entertainment; especially if you have a family. Instead of meaningless cartoons and reruns, the best direct TV packages for families offer the chance to learn, grow, and expand your horizons—all while being entertained.
This means selecting a package based on more than just the dollar amount: a family must consider every element of a package before ordering. Included channels, programming information, and your family’s personal taste and style should all be taken into consideration.
So Many Choices, So Little Time
Take a look at the guide channel on your television and you will be faced with literally hundreds of channels to pick from. There are so many, no one could watch them all—not even in a week. Families are faced with a particularly difficult choice when it comes to television: finding shows that will work for their entire family. Cable or satellite? Sprout TV or ESPN? Starz or HBO Family? There are just so many choices!
Prices, Prices, Prices
It always comes down to money, doesn’t it? When selecting a cable television package, one of the biggest concerns is how much the package will actually cost you. Remember, for the most part the more channels you get, the more expensive the package.
The good news is you can often get great prices on even expensive packages just by asking. New customers often get cut rates for the first few months of service. Adding or deleting extra channels, like movie channels, can also change your bottom line.
Satellite vs. Cable
When you get right down to it, the first thing hurdle to be jumped is a pretty basic question: satellite or cable. While in some areas this may be a no brainer because there isn’t cable service available, most of us have a choice in the matter. So what really is the difference? Both types of service use radio waves to deliver pictures to your television.
Satellite does it via satellites and cable TV via underground cables. Often, it is cheaper to have cable TV in highly populated areas. Rural areas usually have less expensive satellite services. Unfortunately, storms or even heavy cloud cover can temporarily disrupt satellite service. Still, the choice is often entirely personal.
If there are kids in the house, it’s important to ensure that whatever package you select offers programming that is suitable for all ages. Today, there are channels dedicated to just about every age group — including toddlers. Channel availability differs from service to service, but the best TV packages for families include a channel like Sprout or Hub.
- Sprout: Provides educational but fun programming for toddlers without driving parents insane. Popular choice include Caillou and Bob The Builder.
- Disney Junior: Previously known as Disney Playhouse, the channel is tailored to toddlers and plays popular shows like Winnie the Pooh
As much as we might fight it, toddlers grow up to be full-fledged children, and they need programming that is suitable to their ever expanding minds. Most parents don’t mind a bit of mind-numbing cartoonage for their kiddies, but they also want access to programs that are fun and educational. Check the programming for channels like Discovery Kids, The Disney Channel, Cartoon Network, and Boomerang.
Even in today’s hectic world, we all try to find some family time. If family time means television time, it’s important your package include channels that are geared towards the whole family. Family games, movies, and shows can be a great way to spend a bit of time together.
- TV Land: A great family channel addition to any cable package. It combines sitcoms, game shows, and dramas that are oriented towards the entire family.
- Hallmark Channel: Home to many original movies, the Hallmark Channel is the benchmark by which all other family movie channels are judged.
Don’t Forget Mom and Dad
Eventually, the kids have to go to bed, and mom and dad must have something to watch. The best packages for families will offer mom and dad plenty of choices. News, dramas, movies, and documentaries offer mom and dad the perfect opportunity to unwind. Whatever your interest, be sure that your package includes channels like CNN, TLC, The History Channel, and HBO.
Now that you know what to look for in a programming package, it’s time to decide just which package is best for your particular needs. While there are lots of options available, there are a few that really stand out.
- Dish Network: Dish Network has lots of options, but their America’s Top 120 package is ideal for families. It offers a little bit of everything at a price ($24.99/month) that makes sense for most families.
- Direct TV: Their family package includes 50 channels, plus local channels, for $29.99. All the favorite family channels are included making it perfect for families with children of all ages.
- Bundled Packages: As a final option, many families are opting to bundle their television service with their telephone service. Companies like AT&T, Comcast, and Brighthouse, among others, often offer deeply discounted rates on traditional cable television service. Check with your phone provider to determine the prices and packages available.
At the end of the day, picking the best TV packages for families isn’t hard; it’s simply a matter of knowing what is important to you and your family. Once you have figured out the answer to the big question, cable or satellite, the choice becomes relatively simple. Family packages in general offer a selection of channels for every age group. The key is actually looking at the specific channels offered by each provider to determine which is best for you.