Frugal Hack #1: The “Secret” Dish Network Programming Package

December 10, 2012 by Kyle
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(Updated 11/08/16) Welcome to the first post in my new Frugal Hacks series. Frugal life tips which take very little time to implement, but could conceivably save you a ton of money every year.

Are you a current Dish Network customer and tired of paying $50 or more for a bunch of channels you don’t watch? I recently discover a “secret” programming package that gets my family all local channels in HD plus popular channels like TBS, History, TLC, MSNBC, Hallmark, Hub, HGTV, Food Network, Oxygen, CMT, and Boomerang for a whopping 65 cents a day .

We get 60 channels in all, plus one HD-DVR receiver, for a grand total of $26.99 a month. (If you don’t want the DVR service you only pay $19.99/mo.)

The package is called the ‘Welcome Pack’ and most people don’t know that it’s available to ALL Dish Network customers, new and old. Why it’s called the ‘Welcome Pack’ is a mystery to me.

If you log into your online account you’ll notice that this package is NOT an available option. Currently, the only way you can get the welcome pack is to call them at 1-800-333-DISH and ask for it. Took me 5 minutes to call and get our programming changed.

Below is a screenshot of what your account will look like once you have the ‘Welcome Pack’. Your account will actually say ‘Package No Longer Available’  – WRONG! The secret is you just gotta call and ask for it!

The Pro’s

Obviously the price is a biggie. I have never seen a better price (for what you get) with any cable or satellite supplier. Also, you still get a lot of kids programming like PBS, HUB, Boomerang, and Baby First.

The bottom-line is this package is great for those who want to cut back on expenses but still have the ability to get local channels and local news.

The Con’s

Sports. While you’ll still get all the major network sports programming, you’re not going to get ESPN, or ESPN2 or ESPN News, or ESPN3, how many are there these days? This may be a deal breaker for some of you.

But keep in mind that you can still stream ESPNU from your computer or tablet and your TV is still going to be non-stop sports every Saturday and Sunday. Like anything in life, there is a trade-off. A break from non-stop sports to save some serious cash may be a good thing.

Keep an eye out for Frugal Hack #2 coming next week!

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55 Comments on "Frugal Hack #1: The “Secret” Dish Network Programming Package"

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Merna

Do you know if there’s a similar deal at DirecTV?

Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter

I wish we had more access to deals like this in Canada. I guess we just don’t have the population to support things like this.

Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter

Nope.

Tackling Our Debt

We don’t have any cool cheap ways in Canada to watch TV other than if we find something on the Internet. 🙁

Good for you though for finding such a great deal.

D

Do you get Fox news on 205?

Randy

Just so you know, the best way to get the most awesome deals is to be polite even if you are persistent. I worked as a Dish rep, and you wouldn’t believe the rudeness of the average caller.

Bob

I can understand why people get annoyed. As a loyal dish customer, I tried to upgrade from the Welcome Pack to Americas Top 120 and it was going to cost me almost $40 a month more than if I were a new customer. I was prepared to pay around $40 dollars a month, but the rep said $66! I said, “So if I QUIT Dish and then comeback as a “New” customer I save $30 a month?!” They said, “Yes” So I said, “So I am being penalized for being a loyal customer for ten years?! .. That Doesn’t make any sense!” So they referred my to a “Loyalty specialist who, after two (let me check with my managers” got me 6 months of a $30/month rebate so I pay around 36 dollars a month. I wasn’t rude, but I can certainly understand why people are rude on the phone with Dish.

Jay

Just an FYI – I have had Dish for awhile and so I don’t have a contract. They allow me to upgrade during football season and downgrade again later. I recently upgraded for the World Cup. Just know that if you downgrade back to a lower tiered package within 30 days then you are charged $5. I have even done that before to watch one game.

Carol

Just called to see if I could get my bill lowered while upgrading my service so I could get my Dr. Who back. The service rep got me a $20 discount while also getting the upgrade I needed.

Joe Nick Manchin Rahall
Joe Nick Manchin Rahall

Hell will freeze over and then snow over and freeze again before Directv will have a deal equal to Dish’s Welcome Pack. With MSNBC, Comedy Central, WE, Oxygen, TBS and locals, Directv would not even consider offering a deal equal to Dish’s Welcome Pack. For those of you who’ve got to have Bill O’Reilley and his Foxed News, you’d have to go with the Smart Pack which is $32.99. That’s gettin’ up there, Men! If you’re wanting to cut costs, though, Welcome is your way to go.

Chelsea

We had been paying $131 a month for 3 receivers in the house, but today I whittled it down to the Welcome Package on one dual receiver–plus DVR–for $24.99 a month (that’s including all taxes and fees). Told them I wasn’t interested in paying a penny over $25 and ta-da! All you gotta do is ask politely!

jonathan

So is this still an option in late 2014?

Joe Nick Manchin Rahall
Joe Nick Manchin Rahall

Jonathan, it sure is still an option! I’m currently on the Smart Pack, and I’m there till April because of a contract, but believe you me, I’m heading over to the Welcome Pack in April! The Smart Pack is nice with TV Land and ID, but dangit, they aren’t worth an extra 13 bucks a month! Besides, with the Welcome Pack, I’ll get TBS, Comedy Central, WE, Oxygen, MSNBC and other channels that aren’t in the Smart Pack. I just wish I wasn’t under contract till April with the Smart Pack or else I’d be over with Welcome today!

George

I did this March/2014, cut my Dish bill from $100/mth to $20, enough to pay for the smartTV we bought BlackFriday2013. Called in Aug2014 to add the Sports Package to get Redzone, the rep said I needed minimum of Top120, but I was polite and she gave me Top120 for discount, and SportsPackage free til end of year. Now it’s time to go back to Welcome Package until August again 🙂

m collier

Did the welcome pack go up? I called today and the welcome pack for me
Was $47 plus tax? I have ther hopper with the big box n 2 small ones

Joe Nick Manchin Rahall
Joe Nick Manchin Rahall

Sounds to me like you’re being charged for your Hopper plus your two other satellite tuners. Welcome is the only package that didn’t have a price increase this year. It’s still $20 / month while every other package was increased between at least $3 – $5 per month.

Dennis Gannon

I have the DISH NETWORK. I pay $50.00 for all the programming we get. We watch so little, but there it is, we want DIY and HGTV and we are Football Fans so ESPN is important to us. Here is the question.
Can I buy a DVR and own it rather than pay a monthly fee so I can record DIY, HGTV, Animal Planet, TLC, and A&E?
Or must I buy a hopper and go with a monthly fee?

Debbie

It doesn’t matter if you buy the equipment or lease it you still get charged a monthly receiver fee.

D. Wright

I bought a simple easycap and installed it to my laptop. I record all the time without paying an extra dime. It may not be HD quality but who cares. It still looks great on iPads, laptops, and smaller devices.

Joe Nick Manchin Rahall
Joe Nick Manchin Rahall

I don’t know of any way to get Dish programming via satellite without having a monthly package. Once ESPN is added, ZOOM! up goes the price.

Dave

Does the welcome package include our local channels?

charlie

yes, local channels, such as ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, FOX are included in the Welcome Pack. To the person that asked about HGTV and DIY, HGTV is included, DIY is one of the channels they offer a free preview of periodically. Seems like every 2 or 3 months DIY is part of that. I just DVR the shows, which are usually repeats, so really don’t need it EVERY month. THis month it’s Sundance, Hallmark movies & mysteries, Sportsman Channel, Destination America, & Blockbuster @Home outdoor sports.

glenda

hey, i just called them and yaaay i was able to get it as well.. from 118.41 to 53.62 with tax etc.. thats good enough for me

Gary

Thanks for the tip! We live where there is no reception other than satellite and 99% of what we watch are local channels. Dish bill just went from $84.00/month to $19.99. Not bad!

wendy kroschel

Is the RFD channel in the Welcome package? How about the Westerns channel (342)?

Bill Berry
The RFD is not part of the Welcome Pack for $19.99. I was told by Dish that you could receive the locals only and as long as you don’t mind paying the DVR fee that comes in right about $20.00 so the Welcome Pack isn’t a bad option if you enjoy the Food Network, MSNBC, The Weather Channel; there are no sports channels with this package; ESPN by itself charges between $7 and $8 per subscriber now and that’s not counting ESPNU, ESPNews, and ESPN2. There is a cord-cutting solution that’s free after purchasing a Channel Master DVR that costs about $400.00 but it’s no charge after that and it will record your locals in HD and provide a guide, though I recommend using the internet for a more complete guide. I can tell you my ex-wife (we’re still good friends) recently moved and we explored DirecTV since Dish wouldn’t sign off on the install which the signal has to shoot through a line of trees. The apartment complex offers U-Verse TV and DirecPath (DirecTV), I can tell you Dish is an excellent option if you can get it. I grant you 1st year promos are great, but it’s afterwards that you pay through the nose. For those of you really serious about cutting the cord, there is Kodi (formerly XBMC) that is an excellent option, but you’ll miss the remote control experience; a keyboard and a mouse takes quite an adjustment but if you have excellent internet speeds, it works great once you figure out how to navigate the darn thing. ROKU is another option now that many of the networks have extensions or apps. I can also tell you the Dish Anywhere app, the new version has been working terrific on our computers and that is an excellent option if you have it for example at one family member’s home and you can log into the system from your computer. We’re spoiled on it now. The cheapest solution is the Channel Master DVR once you pay for the DVR; I’ve read the future DVRs will have internet streaming apps on it as well. If it weren’t for CBS having their own streaming platform, HuluPlus is an excellent option if you opt to run a HDMI cord from your computer to your HDTV which longer cords can be ordered from Amazon.com for dirt money; I ran a 30 foot cord under my house from my computer to the HDTV and use a wireless keyboard and mouse from my couch. I own the ROKU which is as close as to a remote as you’re going to get. Like one comment, there are sacrifices that have to be made to keep your costs to a minimum, but short of what I wrote about; the Welcome Pack for a total with taxes and DVR fee of $15 (we’re $12 for the moment) is not a bad option; the DVR fee is also $15 over at DirecTV too. Finally, it may be better… Read more »
Bill Berry

Assuming the moderators can input this…where at the end I mentioned the Channel Master and $20.00; the Channel Master DVR costs upfront about $400.00; it’s free after that, no DVR fee. If you opt to go that way, I recommend you hook it up to your internet connection which then will provide an excellent guide. Or…think of your Dish Hopper DVR like a Tivo…you’re paying $12.00 or $15.00 to use its recording capabilities which too double as a sling player, you can watch what you record anywhere which is exactly what we do; the DVR is in my home, 100 miles away and at her house we access it via the app; I can honesty say the Primetime Anywhere part of it is gold. The new AT&T U-Verse DVR frustrates us on so many levels. Tuners to name a few; the lack of.

B Jackson

RFD channel comes in Heartland Package only $6.00 per month

Daniel jaquez

I just switched to the welcome pack best thing I’ve done. I can’t believe I was paying over 100 dollars a month. Great choice.

Case Crum

Hi! My roommate and I switched to the Welcome Pack last year (with the same SD 625 dual DVR), and I plan on upgrading us to HD with an new DVR. What HD channels besides the locals come with the Welcome Pack?

James

Hi everyone! Well, it is April 4, 2016. I just called Dish myself today! Nice and easy! We are on the Welcome Pack and cut our bill from 41.00 to 20.00. Thank you for the information!!

Renee

We are not in a contract anymore with Dish, and haven’t for last 2 years. So I really don’t think I want to completely get rid of Dish, yet. I started out with the next to biggest package with Dish. We do have the Heartland package $6 a month also. We never had HBO, Starz, etc. At that time we had 2 extra receivers, dvr. My bill at its highest was around $110. I dropped it down to Dish America package to 1 extra receiver and dvr.

Then back in Sept. when I seen Dish advertise free dvr, cheaper prices to the new customers, I called and fussed about it not being fair to already customers and they did give me a $25 credit a month for a year, to make up for some of my complaints which I was satisfied with. But my bill was still running about $80 give or take. And now April 1 they had taken INSP channel off of lineup. This really made me so angry and made me rethink my package and pricing. I found the Welcome package and you have to ask for this package as it itsn’t a package you can change yourself online with your account. It doesn’t have the sports channels, but we only watch that during College football season. I was very surprised of the channels that was in this package, it is worth the $20 a month.

Anyway, my son told me about PlaystationVue -streaming Cable. And all I can say is wow. They have 3 packages starting at $30 for 55 channels, $35 for 70+ channels and $45 for 100+ channels, I am on the 7 day trial right now, and I really like it. I am thinking of the smaller package, with Nick channels, to name a few. But for Football season this is good to know, that I do have a choice. No local channels for my area, but some areas do have local channels. If you have caps on your internet, not sure if this would be good for you. I have no caps and pretty good internet. And the good thing about this is you don’t have to have a playstation, Amazon Firestick works with this also.

Loyce

Does the welcome pack require a contract?

Martin St John

Does anyone here know how to recreate all the programming currently available on DishNetwork (or DirecTV) through online entertainment subscription, i.e. Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, etc. I’ve been told it can be done through these subscriptions and that local channels can be accessed through a digital antenna. Does anyone have any experience with this?

Danny lovejoy

Fire stick cost around 40.00 dollars. You won’t be sorry it shows movies all live sports the movies that isn’t in theaters yet and the ones that are.free pay per view any thing you want to watch

Brenda Nowlin

I’m interested in the comments regarding using a digital antenna.

Danny lovejoy

I’m thinking of calling dish network there charging me 188.00 dollars for my TV channels a month. I’d like to know what all comes on welcome package. Please help!

Anna

If you do a search for welcome pack you should be able to find the channels.

Tom Smith

Is TV Land in the Welcome Pack now? Is it possible I’m getting a glitch? Anyone know?

Anna

I found this by accident when I called DISH to possibly cancel my account. Monthly fee went up AGAIN and I was tired of being nickled and dimed to death especially since I don’t watch most of the channels. Well!! They offered me this!

I thought it was temporary but it’s been 2 years at least. It still comes to 35/month with the DVR and insurance which I don’t mind paying. If anyone can tell me how to buy my own DVR….can’t seem to figure that out.

Thanks for posting this for others. I’m sure it will be appreciated.

rebl fleur

i’ve had own all this time and recently i’ve noticed it’s been unsubscribed and i have to pay to get it back. no one requested it to be unsubscribed.

Dee Swenson

I’ve learned from being with Dish for along time NOT to pay for ins monthly. When I needed the ins they let me buy it right then, i had to keep it for a few months b4 I cud let it go, whichh I did, but it still saved me money from paying it every month. And when I needed it I got it?

ANNA

That’s a great tip but but but ? what if they change that just when I need it?

ANNA

I got this by accident. I was so tired of them raising the price I finally called and told her I was going to cancel my account. I just could not justify paying so much for so many channels that I wasn’t even watching. That’s when she told me about the welcome pack!

Be sure to check channel 103 the first of each month as they “give” some of the other channels for the month or a weekend. I do like Hallmark Movies & Mysteries so when this is one on the list, I record gobs of the shows for later viewing.

Kathy

I was going to do this switch but I don’t see fox news in the line up of the welcome package.

J.A.Pena

I live in Puerto Rico and have the welcome package.I pay $30.00 a month with taxes. when I come to the states I call and put the package on pause and all I pay is $5.00 a month. when I get back to p.r. I call again and take it off of pause,and start paying my regular mo. payments.

Pat

Just got it today without knowing about it. Told em I needed the best deal or I was cutting the cord. $20.48 with tax, no time element, no problem. I feel like I won today.

Rema Howell

I seen this site and my dish bill is so high. We rarely watch tv as it is. Like you said, there is no welcome package listed. I called and just had my package changed. I about fell out. My package which was always over 200. a month is under 40.00 now. Thanks for the greatest tip online. I am still shaky from actually having my bill lowered. uh, it is 2016 and the tip still worked. Thanks!

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